Morphing a DL:R campaign into Savage TORG

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Rambling Scribe
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Morphing a DL:R campaign into Savage TORG

#1 Postby Rambling Scribe » Tue Nov 11, 2008 10:40 am

So back in the day, TORG was my favorite game, and it still has a special place in my heart. I used the rules for other games as well, notably Space 1889 (although usually moved up to the 1920s, just before the Gaunt Man invades).

Then I played Deadlands oldschool for a few years. Funny thing, I sent my characters to Mars via the spirit realm, using some Space 1889 trappings.

For the last several years my group has mostly played D&D 3E, and our current campaign has been winding down. My players have asked me to run a short Deadlands adventure. I was going to run it oldschool, since I have the old rules, but at Origins I purchased SW:Ex, and I like both the fact that the rules are streamlined and improved and that there's a more defined tactical element to combat. So I've ordered DL:R and am going to run that.

So here's the deal, I don't like to make anything easy on myself, and I've been wanting to run some TORG again for a while. But what I'd really like to do is start TORG as a normal campaign of another sort and have the PCs uncover the highlord's plans and travel to Core Earth. This is tricky because I will be changing the premise of the game without warning the players. But I think I can pull it off.

Now, I always thought that Deadlands had followed some paths blazed by TORG, and SW does as well. So I'm thinking that now's my chance. I know there's a fan-generated Savage TORG already out there, and I'll probably base some of my stuff off it. But mainly I'm going to run a one-shot that will lead to the highlord's portal, and ask the players if they want to continue.

So I have a few things to work out. One problem is that Deadlands already is a bit of everything. There's already magic, spiritual power, weird tech etc. Part of my thinking is that Deadlands is actually a more normal western world that has been invaded by a steampunk-horor realm.

So here's a bunch of questions, just to see how I'm doing.

1) How would you feel if your GM pulled something like this on you?

2) How well do you think SW:Ex does as an engine for TORG?

3) Who is the highlord of the weird west?

4) If going to do this, what SW settings would you use as invading realities? Which TORG realms would you keep?

As an aside, I'm currently thinking of using NE as the basis for one of the invading realms, and I know one of my players loves the cyberpapcy, so that has to stay in.

5) What other advice or suggestions do you have?

Thanks in advance!

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#2 Postby Control » Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:44 am

If no one's beat me to it, welcome to the forums. :)

If you need help locating Savage TORG let me know, I have not run or played it but I read through it and it looked like it was well put together and kept the feel of the original TORG while using Savage Worlds.

I can only speak for my own experience with a genre change mid game. I had a GM running GURPS as 1930's pulp transport the characters into what we at first thought was a Cthulu horror adventure but turned out to be high tech future aliens. It ended badly.

The party had a close encounter while flying across the United States, and when we landed to re-fuel found the airport and nearby town deserted. Exposure to a hallucinogen caused my character to go berserk while on point. He turned on the PC's following him and emptied the 50 round drum on his Thompson SMG. He finished off the only PC to survive with his service 45, then overcome with grief and horror shot himself in the head. At this point the GM informs us that we all wake up, that we have reverted to our natural forms. Seems the UFO took a mental snapshot of the humans in the plane and that aliens in the far future (took a while for the probe, to get back) are experimenting on humans by imprinting their minds into a shape changing slave race. It might have gone over better if the party had had more time to adjust to the new setting before the big reveal but my TPK spoiled that. In my defense I did ask if I had to make hand to hand attacks while beserk and the GM's response was I needed to use my most powerful attack. :firepower:

I think your suggestion to run it as a one shot with the option to move on to other genre's is a pretty good idea. It gives you the pleasure of surprising your characters, and then gives them the option to run with it or bail. Personally I hope they run, and with some time to think it over they might. If not you could continue with Deadlands and have the TORG plot hook pop up occasionally.

If I remember correctly the big bad guys behind the Weird West are the Reckoners who encourage fear and other dark emotions because it feeds them or makes them stronger. The highlord could be The Reckoner or another being set above them in the realm's hierarchy.

I hope this gives you some food for thought and good luck with your game.
Getting more savage all the time...

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#3 Postby Sadric » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:50 am

Its good doing such things as a one-shot. So the players havent invest time and grey matter in a character background that after the big revelation doesnt get used.
But I wouldnt make it in Deadlands. Deadlands has enough weird things. I would start in a more "classic western" world. Going from one weird/magic/steampunk world to a weird/magic/scifi world doesnt sound so big like going from historical wildwest to weird/magic/scifi world.

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#4 Postby Rambling Scribe » Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:10 am

Thanks for the welcome, and you both make valid points.

I figured the one-shot option would simply open up the possibility of continuing in this line without committing the players to a game they didn't sign up for. If nothing else, they may just decide to make new characters for a later savage TORG (or even straight TORG).

As for not starting with Deadlands, given my druthers, I would have run something like Rippers as a starting point, with a villain based on Springheeled Jack who turns out to be a fugitive from the New Nile Empire. I proposed running a Victorian horror game and they all voted for a Deadlands one-shot instead.

After the one shot, the plan is to play another D+D campaign, but I may try to Savage it, which only makes sense, since it's "The Savage Tide" from Dungeon magazine. Regardless, this will give the players time to decide if they want to revisit Savage TORG or straight DLR, or not. <crosses fingers>

Thanks again!

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