Favorite Themes in Deadlands

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Favorite Themes in Deadlands

#1 Postby StalkThis » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:46 am

Deadlands is capable of a wide variety of playstyles and campaigns (even when running a single Plot-Point), and everyone has different attitudes towards the world.

When You Play Deadlands (as a Marshall or an Hombre, hombre), what theme s do you like to include/play/utilize/experience?

I like using themes of the past following people: My characters seem to often be people who came out West looking to escape, with nice beefy hooks for the return of whoever is chasing them.

In the Flood, (which I was prepping to run until my group shattered like the west coast), I was interested in using both that theme, and the notion of Faith in the face of despair, particularly with certain aspects of the finale.

So, once again: When You Play Deadlands (as a Marshall or an Hombre, hombre), what theme s do you like to include/play/utilize/experience?

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#2 Postby PlatinumWarlock » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:25 pm

In my version of "The Flood" possession became a pretty major theme, particularly through the allegory of addiction. Between our Harrowed rodeo gal, our outlaw gunslinger possessed by one of the spirits of Jehosephat Valley, our were-touched boxer, and our scrapper opium-addict, each character ended up taking a difficult and different route regarding the "monkey on their back".

The harrowed succumbed to their manitou.

The outlaw came to peace with his rider, eventually deciding to kee him around.

The boxer saw it as a curse, and did his best to get rid of it.

The scrapper....spread their addiction to our Indian shamaness and our mad scientist!
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#3 Postby The Stray » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:52 am

My games tend to focus a lot on the destructive influence of intolerance.

My Blackthorn game, for instance, had outlaws (a band of cowboys and regulators working for the local cattle baron) struggling against the law (represented by the PCs, hired on as deputies of the newly-elected marshal, as well as a wet-behind-the-ears Texas Ranger), whites vs. Indians (thrown into conflict by the local Fearmonger), Union vs. Confederacy (a band of Union guerillas who couldn't accept the war was over caused problems for the town, but the town's response was bad enough that their souls wouldn't rest easy. also, the Marshal is a Yankee carpetbagger who gets almost no respect from the Texas townsfolk and was mostly elected as a figurehead...now that he's flexing his authority around the town, the folk are getting resentful). Intolerance and poor communication are the big levers of strife in that game--if the townsfolk could just band together, the problems facing them would be easily solved. Which is why almost no one can get along.

The Last Sons game I'm running also has Intolerance as a huge theme (fitting for War's realm). This has Intolerance writ large. There's a lot of Man Vs. Man conflict here...The Sioux want the whites off their land, the miners want the gold in the hills and don't respect the dirty heathen savages, Ravenites clash with Old Ways followers...while there are supernatural critters around, they're secondary to the conflicts between normal people.
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#4 Postby Nordicnomad » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:45 pm

The game we're doing currently (At least as far as the plot arch of the moment goes) is focused on redemption. The posse was framed for robbing and cannibalizing a peaceful town on the eastern range after uncovering a nefarious plot.

Now that the authorities have been convinced to not string them up by the neck. They're out to bring the conspirators to justice.

On top of that, the posse members themselves have a similar vein. Mad scientist with daddy issues. Daoist monk hunting his master's killer. Preacher trying to create a new religion. And several gunslingers with haunted pasts and shadowy enemies.

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#5 Postby catalac » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:20 pm

hmm well for me our particular gaming group made it feel like world war one. although the role playing and social fashions are similar to the west and the civil war it had a lot to do with the sort of nationalism (pumped up by the fact that in our deadlands universe Governor Caleb decides enough is enough and creates the denver defense force making colorado a three way state [not that the usa and csa can do much about it unless they start working together]) and tech(rate of fire weapons tanks flamethrowers and torpedo boats) that came into play during world war 1. also similar to that time period deadlands is going through the fact that women are beginning to assert their rights and take part in world events.
also some fun bits with flying that made some points seem like Vietnam with all the attack copters.
a bit of horror as we explored union secret labs in the deep cellars of area opps i mean fort 51 discovering magical experiments, murdered scientists, animal cruelty, bald vampires, demon summoning cults, and anemic confederates. (that story arc was fun. the minions err low ranked union soldiers obviously didn't know the lab was down there and and peed their pants regularly. nothing says fun like the gm saying " the cavalry finally arrive! upon seeing bodys of dead cultists around you and the cackling demon above you they [rolls] promptly have a heart attack but luckily they raised 4 times on their saving throw so they seem more concerned by the fact that they pissed themselves for 3 rounds strait." hey what can i say horror can make detours.)
all in all deadlands was fun but it wasn't really all that much of a western for us and we weren't really aiming for it either except for the evil huckster/ cavalry officer... sort of. he got the bit he wanted lots and lots of gambling. he also got blood magic, demon possession, (luckily a neutral spirit) and kickass mercenary attitude with more weapons in his armory then the rest of the party combined... so even there not really old west.

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#6 Postby iskandar » Fri Jan 11, 2013 6:00 pm

With the flood I had a ton of fun running a firefly themed campaign with the crew running a boat across the great maze, doing good deeds (and getting paid well) along the way.

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