Advertisement: Originally released in the s by Pinnacle Entertainment Group , Deadlands: The Weird West was the first setting in what would become a trilogy. The rules were very detailed to the point of being cumbersome, at times , and the setting was more so to the point of being awesome, most generally. Since then, Pinnacle and its affiliate, Great White Games has begun re-releasing the settings with the much lighter but less detailed Savage Worlds rules system. This began in with Deadlands: Reloaded. The Weird West starts out as a sort of Alternate History : long ago, around the time of the Renaissance, a group of Native Americans finally succeeded at closing the doors to the "next world", referred to almost ubiquitously in the game material as " The Hunting Grounds.
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Advertisement: Originally released in the s by Pinnacle Entertainment Group , Deadlands: The Weird West was the first setting in what would become a trilogy.
The rules were very detailed to the point of being cumbersome, at times , and the setting was more so to the point of being awesome, most generally.
Since then, Pinnacle and its affiliate, Great White Games has begun re-releasing the settings with the much lighter but less detailed Savage Worlds rules system. This began in with Deadlands: Reloaded.
The Weird West starts out as a sort of Alternate History : long ago, around the time of the Renaissance, a group of Native Americans finally succeeded at closing the doors to the "next world", referred to almost ubiquitously in the game material as " The Hunting Grounds.
That was actually the goal, as "ill" vastly outnumbered "good". Advertisement: All that changed on July 3, By this time, monsters and dragons were nothing more than folklore, footnotes in cultural history. Then, an enterprising and vengeful Susquehanna shaman named Raven re-entered the Hunting Grounds and succeeded at undoing the work of those who had come before him, opening the spiritual barriers between worlds once more.
All Hell broke loose. Things that previously belonged in nightmares became real. Mere arcanists suddenly became aware there was more to the world than they could see, and some began to barter or swindle dark spirits for power.
Shamans regained powerful medicine. The forces of good eventually began to lend aid to their appointed. And, rarely, the dead began to walk the Earth. Advertisement: The material for Deadlands: The Weird West is extensive, covering approximately 30 or so full-length sourcebooks. The interference of these new malevolent forces turned that battle to the favor of the Confederacy note: in late , they announced a retcon where the CSA has fallen during the battle of Washington DC.
Nothing else is known right now. The setting is filled with historical Shout Outs. Three things really defined the flavor of the original game world, though. Second was the prevalence of the Masquerade , with both the United States and the Confederate States employing agents to ensure that no word of paranormal activity ever leaked into the public at large. Finally, the Deadlands universe is implicitly and explicitly stated to be Faustian: if you want power from the Hunting Grounds, expect to have to pay a price.
It might be as simple as living a pious life or respecting the Nature Spirits. This is reinforced not merely by the incredibly lethal combat system which utilizes dice pools, playing cards, poker chips, and even paper clips for the completist , but by the gruesome fate awaiting failure : Deadlands: Hell on Earth. The year is , but the future is not our own This led to years of ghost rock exploitation, abominations mongering fear, and the eventual invention of the G-Bomb, a nuclear weapon utilizing irradiated ghost rock.
The Reckoners rode east, passing beyond the Mississippi, and, though decimated, the sparsely populated Western U. In , Hell on Earth: Reloaded was released. Set in a star system "far, far away", where a group of sentient, but primitive , aliens may just hold the key to defeating the Big Bads once and for all. Like its big brothers, however, it maintains a very "Western" feel, leading to the tagline used in all three series, "The spaghetti Western In , an Interquel line set between Deadlands and Hell on Earth was released.
Titled Deadlands: Noir, the line follows a timeline from the s through the s, focusing on the early events that led to Hell on Earth. In , the Collectible Card Game was rebooted as Doomtown Reloaded, with cleaned up rules and a new story that begins after the destruction of the old town.
Unfortunately in , AEG canceled the game, but a fan community along with Pinnacle did a continuation through Kickstarter, which ran in September The game has since been supported by multiple expansions. A remarkably comprehensive analysis of the differences between Classic and Reloaded can be found here. In late , a Deadlands: Dark Ages has been announced. Nothing is known other than it will play into the backstory of The Cackler.
It also carries the primary reason for the retcon of the removal of the CSA in the main continuity. The conflict continued into the post apocalyptic far future! Even this alternate history is gaining its own Retcon. Seems something in the past which will be explained in Deadlands: Dark Ages is causing the Confederacy to fall in after the Battle of Washington. With ramifications echoing through out time and maybe space a little bit with the Way Out West setting Lost Colony.
America Saves the Day : It is implied that strangeness is breaking out all over the world, but the forces of darkness and all the major events are concentrated on the North American continent. And I Must Scream : One book points out that any Harrowed who gets his head cut off will experience a new kind of personal hell, as their head will continue to be conscious and immobile for the foreseeable future.
Unless someone is kind enough to sew their head back on and feed them some meat to make it reattach. Animate Body Parts : Animated hands are a form of Critter. Some Harrowed player characters can also do this. Attack of the Killer Whatever : Piranhas, sharks, big mosquitoes, beetles, swarms of tarantulas, man-sized tarantulas, giant tarantulas, carnivorous horses, giant ticks, bigfoot, and giant octopi that wear battleship hulls as armor. An abbreviated list. Back from the Dead : One of the signature elements of the setting is the fact that your player characters can return from the grave as undead gunslingers.
After a character dies, they may attract an evil spirit. Almost guaranteed to have Unfinished Business. Body Horror : A lot of Abominations qualify. Texas Tummy Twisters are parasites that can be picked up by drinking contaminated water.
Cankers are horrific critters with elements of spiders, crabs and octopi, which spontaneously manifest in the stomachs of people suffering depression, worry or stress.
They grow bigger and bigger, eating the organs of their host until eventually they suck the eyes out from inside and replace them by extending their own eyestalks up to sit inside the hole. And the host is still alive through all this because the Canker grows appendages to replace the organs it eats.
Flesh Jackets are the completely removed skins of human beings sans the skin from the neck, face and head , which are capable of both slithering around under their own power and slipping onto living people, as their name suggests, to take over their bodies.
California Collapse : California was shattered by an earthquake, causing much of the state to collapse into the ocean. The Pacific flooded into the resultant fissure, creating the Great Maze. Critical Hit : Called an "ace. Critical Failure : Carry penalties version. If you were using arcane powers or El Cheapo gear at the time, or had a certain flaw, said penalty was steeper.
And they could get pretty steep indeed. Certain unlucky or shortsighted players could trigger multiple ones from separate sources, and some things increased the odds of these occurring. Further, carried nitroglycerin explodes automatically on critical agility failures. Cursed with Awesome : See Back from the Dead , above. In short, becoming a Harrowed means that you receive a "Get out of Boot Hill free" card and super powers Curiosity Killed the Cast : Oh yeah.
If the players were sane, they would just stay home and tend the farm. Averted in Lost Colony; the Mute class is infused with nanotbots and can fabricate equipment with no downside at all. Except for you know, the fact that the bots are using every bad deed you do to erode your sanity and make you a loyal pawn of the Government and will eventually make you slaughter your friends in their sleep Hollywood Cyborg : Cybernetic limbs are available in all settings, but cyborgs are only a class in Hell On Earth.
This is a realistic rule that most games omit. Damage Typing : Temporary damage from fatigue, blood loss, spellcasting, etc. Deal with the Devil : It is actually possible for a player character to become a non-player character if he signs away his soul for power. Any huckster knowingly deals with evil spirits to do "magic". Mad scientists also deal with those same spirits, but not knowingly.
Grifters gain power from the Manitou by indulging in sacrificial vices, such as drinking and smoking. The resulting addiction creates a hunger that empowers Famine itself. Destroying The Brain : The only way to permanently kill a Harrowed. Or, indeed, almost any kind of Undead in the setting. Gloms are a particular nuisance because that vital brain can be hidden under a lot of other dead flesh. Divided States of America : And how. Deadlands also adds the Coyote Confederation and Disputed Territories before they get annexed by one faction or the other.
For whatever reason, innocent people die and disaster occurs wherever they are. The Dragon : Each of the four Big Bads has one. Eldritch Abomination : The Reckoners certainly qualify; possibly also their Manitou servants, though to a much lesser degree. Also, the Mojave rattlers, in a more traditional tentacled Lovecraftian beast sense. They also are Old Gods who lost most of their power through lack of believers , at least until they created the Wormlings to worship them.
If the Fear Level rises too high in an area, anywhere turns into this. Enemy Within : The Harrowed and their manitous. Evil Tainted the Place : Deadlands offers a metaphysical mechanism of this trope working.
In this universe, an evil place is feared by people, and things feared by people become evil because of Clap Your Hands If You Believe. So, any villain who lives in a town or house long enough to give it a frightening reputation, automatically stains his real estate and makes it evil-infested.
Also, he killed the reincarnation of Knicknevin. Fearsome Critters of American Folklore : some of the less wacky critters made it into the list of Abominations in Deadlands Classic and Reloaded. Fetus Terrible : Blood Babies.
Impressions of Deadlands Hell on Earth Reloaded
Plot[ edit ] As the name implies, Deadlands: Hell on Earth is set in the same exact place as the original Deadlands roleplaying game. Specifically, it is set in a post-apocalyptic future of the original "Weird West" setting of Deadlands, also known as the "Wasted West. The formation of these large "deadlands" allows the Reckoners to enter the realm of Earth , where they are revealed to be the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They ravage across the globe, destroying civilization and turning most of the Earth into a wasted landscape of nightmares and death. Then they mysteriously vanish. Thirteen years have passed since the Reckoners appeared, and civilization is once more attempting to assert itself in small, isolated pockets. Players take on the roles of characters struggling to survive the nightmarish wasteland that the Reckoners left behind.
Deadlands: Hell on Earth Reloaded
I documented some of the action on the RPTools. I was pleased to see Pinnacle released another setting book in their award winning line of Deadlands products: Hell on Earth Reloaded. Like most Savage Settings, this one takes the a genre and applies a Savage twist. Aside from the normal PA problems with mutants, psykers, and road gangs - the players must also contend with horrors from another dimension and their minions. It features card shark spell casters, mad scientist inventing infernal devices, quick draw gunmen, fire and brimstone preachers that can call down actual fire and brimstone, native American shamans on first name basis with their nature spirits, and lots of Kung-fu action as well. Humanity fought the same wars in our history except with the North and South as bitter rivals.