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So, last night we finished up our Deadlands: Reloaded game. First the write-up, then we talk a little about the game itself.

Remember that last time, the characters had just killed Jessup and some thugs (and a 'glom), and discovered that Nikolai was apparently getting married. They beat leather back to Novygrad, and discovered Nikolai had left, apparently after being delivered a message written by Lillie asking him to meet the PCs somewhere. Of course, Lillie had written no such note.

Shortstop and Mark noted that Spike, the guy who had delivered the note supposedly from Nikolai to them, had left the bar suddenly when Suzi had entered. Shortstop talked to his horse (didn't know he could do that, did ya?) and they tracked him down. They caught up with him using his horse as cover and threatening to shoot. Shortstop whistled his horse to walk away, and they took him into custody. They tried to beat a confession out of him, but in a comedy of errors best suited to "Yakety Sax" playing in the background, they didn't manage to even hurt him (I was hoping Shortstop would kill him by accident, but it didn't happen).

Anyway, while they were off doing that, Suzi and Lillie got their magic on. Suzi found Nikolai's ledger case (though the ledger itself was missing) and used Mind Rider. She discovered he was in a box, sick (possibly poisoned), bound and gagged. They were bouncing over uneven ground, traveling in more or less a straight line. He was being taken somewhere - but where?

Lillie used Hunch to see Nikolai's past, and saw him in the saloon, reading the note. He muttered the words "Black Ridge," which was a town a few hours' ride from Novygrad. Then he ordered up his carriage to go.

Lillie and Suzi wasted no time in heading out, and they arrived in Black Ridge a few hours later. The town was pretty quiet. Suzi rode up to the sheriff and she found him unhelpful, but he finally mentioned that if anyone had come into town today, he hadn't seen them. It was safer, apparently, for him not to have seen anything.

Lillie rode to the town stables and had a hand open the back door. She found two stablehands who refused to lift a tarp that she suspected contained Nikolai's carriage. Then the hand on the outside closed and barred the door, and the other hands pulled weapons. Lillie yelled for Suzi, but then just used Blast and stunned them both. Suzi rode in and hit them with Fear, reducing them to jello.

They revealed that Mina had paid them to slow down or kill anyone from Novygrad. The object under the tarp was indeed Nikolai's carriage, including the driver - dead from black magic. About then, Mark and Shortstop rode up (they'd learned from the bartender in Novygrad where to go, since they suck at interrogation). They went to the saloon, where the patrons nearly attacked them, but Suzi danced on the bar and managed to turn opinion toward them. They revealed that Nikolai had been there, and had gone on into town but not come back.

The characters headed up and heard Morse code ticking from the train station. Investigating, they learned that the train that normally comes through Black Ridge early in the morning had been switched, and it was running northwest of town. Mina's carriage had gone to meet it, so the characters followed, charging through the dark.

They found the train and saw Mina on board, and jumped onto a moving train! Annabelle and some thugs climbed up to the attack them, and Mark realized that it was Annabelle who'd slaughtered his friends and family. He shot her, the thugs shot up Lillie pretty badly (Suzi healed her up some), and then the roof the train blew up with magic - Mina, using Blast.

The characters were injured, but they stayed on the train and stayed alive. Shortstop, using his newly acquired Wing Chun Edge, kicked Annabelle right off the train, and she was lost in the night. Lillie hit the three thugs with the Blast that vaporized them (but drove her temporarily insane). Shortstop jumped down into the car and confronted Mina, but she wrapped her whipped around him. Mark took a shot at her, and she dropped the whip, and teleported away.

The characters found Nikolai in a coffin (alive), and a marriage certificate drawn up for him and Mina. It was pretty clear that she meant to "marry" him and then kill him, taking his town. They also found evidence that linked Black River Rail to the destruction of Mark's town and the death of Shortstop's parents.

Mina reappeared sometime later, in Denver, untouchable and surrounded by lawyers. Annabelle has not, yet, reappeared at all. But we'll be picking this game up again, so who knows what we'll find in the Black River next time?

So, the game. I like this system better than the original Deadlands system. It's much more forgiving, and starting characters are competent. That's one thing I like about Savage Worlds in general, actually - the rules seem crunchy, but they're really quite simple, and even Novice characters are perfectly capable of doing cool things. I like the cards and the chips and the fiddly bits, and I like, after some consideration, the magic system. I do think, though, that you really need a setting and some special rules for magic or powers - the bare bones systems makes for wimpy power-users (which is why Necessary Evil uses a beefed-up system). But especially now that the characters are Seasoned, they're starting to be really bad-ass, not just competent. And I like that, because it means I can throw badass stuff at them next time.

And with all that in mind, I'ma make a character!

The Game: Deadlands: Reloaded
The Publisher: Pinnacle Entertainment
Degree of Familiarity: Probably the longest Savage Worlds game I've run so far, and I played the original a bit.
Books Required: The Player's Guide and the Savage Worlds book.

Yeah, I did a character for the original Deadlands game, but that was three years ago tomorrow.

Good lord. I've been doing this chargen thing for more than three years. I started just over a month before Cael was born.


And I'm nowhere near done.

Oof. Anyway, yes, I did a character for the original game, but this one's different, the backstory is different, the system is different, and I just got through running it, so screw it.

Well, Step One is race, but "human" is the only option. I can do some concept first, though. I want to play a mad scientist.

Dr. Charlie McDermott graduated with a degree in Chemistry. The day after he got his degree, though, the whispers started. He just had this weird urge to go west, out in the disputed territories, looking for...he wasn't sure what. He's used up the money that he had saved getting here (in style), and he's kind of gullible and susceptible to the blandishments of women of dubious virtue, but he's here, and he's hoping the whispers will stop.

They haven't. They've gotten worse. And they get louder whenever he sees the sunset. He fears that his final stop might have to be the Great Maze.

Good start! Attributes! Obviously I want Smarts high, so I'll put that up to d10. I'll put Spirit and Vigor at d6, because making soak rolls is important.

Skills! I need Weird Science, obviously. And I want Knowledge - Chemistry. That eats six points right there because I want them at d8. I'll skip Guts, because I don't mind Charlie being a tenderfoot, but I'll take Notice at d6, Shooting at d6, Investigation at d4, Persuasion at d4, Riding at d4, and Repair at d6.

Special Abilities. That is, Hindrances. I want Pacifist (Minor). I'll take Lyin' Eyes - untruth just don't come easy to ol' Charlie. And because I think it'll be funny, I'll take Grim Servant o' Death. I get a bonus to damage rolls, but I also run the risk of killing my friends with my gadgets (coupled with Pacifist, I find that amusing).

I would take Alchemy, but I only get one sodding power anyway. Eh, what the hell. I'll take that as my second Edge. I still get my four points to play with. I'll buy Fighting at d4 so my Parry doesn't completely suck. For the other Skill point, I'll buy my Weird Science up to d10. I'll take the New Power Edge so I have a little bit of choice in the matter. That also makes me crazy to start with, but I'll get to that. Last point, I'll buy Notice and Investigation up one level.

I get 20 power points, 10 of which I can use in Alchemical preparations. For my powers, I pick Boost/Lower Trait and Stun. Either of those makes sense as a chemical effect, and I figure Charlie has a medicine bag full of little vials that he can quaff and make himself stronger, faster, charming or whatever.

As usual, I get some money to spend, and as usual, I can't be buggered to do it. I think I'd spend it on a good horse (as opposed to a bad horse, some fancy and impractical clothes, and of course, some glass vials to brew powders and potions in.


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