[HoE] What's the deal with Spirit Warriors?

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Wade L
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[HoE] What's the deal with Spirit Warriors?

#1 Postby Wade L » Wed May 11, 2011 12:00 pm

I've heard a lot of people complain about Spirit Warriors - how it and Toxic Shamans shouldn't really be considered part of HoE cannon, that it radically changes how the metaphysics/backstory of Deadlands are see, and that it just doesn't fit in very well.

Why doesn't it fit in?

I haven't really done anything but skim it, so I'm pretty much just wondering "If I go through and randomly pick pieces out, what are the pieces to watch for? What assumptions does Spirit Warriors make that maybe I shouldn't?"

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Re: [HoE] What's the deal with Spirit Warriors?

#2 Postby Clint » Wed May 11, 2011 12:43 pm

Wade L wrote:I've heard a lot of people complain about Spirit Warriors - how it and Toxic Shamans shouldn't really be considered part of HoE cannon, that it radically changes how the metaphysics/backstory of Deadlands are see, and that it just doesn't fit in very well.

Why doesn't it fit in?


No idea. Guess I've never run into anyone who felt that way about it. Seems like a pretty extreme stance to be held by "a lot of people." Is it possible it's a smaller number using a louder "volume?" That does tend to make it seem like more. :-?
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#3 Postby King Snarf » Wed May 11, 2011 12:51 pm

The only thing I can think of is that it does possess a minor retcon- In Wasted West, it's stated that a city buster hit Deadwood and there's now a maelstrom around it, like every other city. In Spirit Warriors, no city buster hit Deadwood.

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#4 Postby Templar » Wed May 11, 2011 12:52 pm

I actually think that it fit in relatively well, not to mention that the toxic shaman stuff was, at least in my and my groups opinion, head and shoulders above the original shaman from weird west.

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#5 Postby Wade L » Wed May 11, 2011 1:50 pm

King Snarf wrote:The only thing I can think of is that it does possess a minor retcon- In Wasted West, it's stated that a city buster hit Deadwood and there's now a maelstrom around it, like every other city. In Spirit Warriors, no city buster hit Deadwood.


HRM. When I heard people talking about Spirit Warriors, they were up in arms about a "Major retcon" that "Totally changed things".

"A lot of people" though, in this case, is mostly just in local circles. It is quite possible that someone locally just had an issue with the book for little to no reason, that opinion spread to their playgroup, who then echoed it to others at the gaming store, etc. The fact that I had to come here to even try and find out what the problems were is indicative that few were really able to articulate what the issue even was - something about the Hunting Grounds/spirit cosmology being described very differently in Spirit Warriors than elsewhere? - might be a good indication that the complaints are all smoke, no fire, here.

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#6 Postby WilyQuixote » Wed May 11, 2011 7:38 pm

I too remember hearing similar grumblings concerning Spirit Warriors. When I finally got a copy of my own to read last year I couldn't understand why the players I knew didn't like it either. I think its a fantastic book with some of the best art work (always a big selling point for me) of any of the HoE books. The book did do things differently with the Toxic Shamans from the regular Shamans but in light of the story told in the beginning I was able to accept it on its own merits.

TS work their mojo with corrupted enviromental spirits (the four elements) and not nature spirits. This might be where some of the hate from players comes from. The regular Shamans don't work with environmental spirits at all and suddenly in Spirit Warriors the TS do. TS also use strain to power their spells instead of garnering favor points like regular Shamans. The tech spirits play by different rules, why wouldn't the corrupted toxic spirits have their own rule book as well? This might be one of the big changes players griped about. Still within the scope of the story it makes sense to me. The Coyote Confederation really ticked off the nature spirits with their failed Great Summoning. Yeah they were deceived the whole time by Raven but the nature spirits hardly care about that sort of detail. One other complaint I've heard about the book is that the TS have weak spells but I didn't really find that to be the case so much.

Spirit Warriors, to me, had the feeling of being incomplete but then I have to remind myself that it is... sorta. There was a supplement in the works that was never made (or published at any rate) called The Hunting Grounds. I'm guessing with that book that we would get all the details on nature spirits, tech spirits, toxic spirits, and dealing with surviving and travelling in a more deadly hunting grounds, not to mention the Net. Unfortunately the book never made it to the shelves. Maybe the manuscript is sitting around collecting dust somewhere. Who knows?

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#7 Postby Doc Firefly » Wed May 11, 2011 9:54 pm

I liked it. I like magical stuff and I thought it did a very good job of having a new type of spirit in the world.
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#8 Postby King Snarf » Wed May 11, 2011 11:25 pm

WilyQuixote wrote:Spirit Warriors, to me, had the feeling of being incomplete but then I have to remind myself that it is... sorta. There was a supplement in the works that was never made (or published at any rate) called The Hunting Grounds. I'm guessing with that book that we would get all the details on nature spirits, tech spirits, toxic spirits, and dealing with surviving and travelling in a more deadly hunting grounds, not to mention the Net. Unfortunately the book never made it to the shelves. Maybe the manuscript is sitting around collecting dust somewhere. Who knows?


Heck, there were TWO unfinished books related to Spirit Warriors; they mention a Deadwood boxset that never saw the light of day.

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#9 Postby Templar » Thu May 12, 2011 1:01 am

I do wish we had either gotten a Deadwood book or a hunting grounds one, if only for some of the other fun and possible options. Though I can probably whip up stuff for deadwood, monsters, collapsing buildings, and a few warehouses full of loot here and there can offer much along with your usual panoply of walkin' dead and a few possible Raven cultists...

But yeah, spirit warriors was, IMO probably one of the better supplements. The toxic shamans were interesting and as I said before I found them to be much better designed than the old school shamans which my group found rather lacking.

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#10 Postby WilyQuixote » Thu May 12, 2011 11:56 am

King Snarf wrote:Heck, there were TWO unfinished books related to Spirit Warriors; they mention a Deadwood boxset that never saw the light of day.

Yeah I really wish the boxed sets had been able to be published. There were three of them if I'm not mistaken. Denver, Lost Vegas, and Deadwood of course. To think of all the material Teller wrote for Denver and Vegas that didn't make it into the books for lack of space. :(

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#11 Postby King Snarf » Thu May 12, 2011 1:07 pm

Denver and Vegas were pretty good. I found an old post where I lambasted it, and honestly I don't know why, as rereading it recently, it's pretty good. Vegas was lots of fun, though the art was either a) recycled from other books, or b) just not very good.

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#12 Postby Teller » Sun May 15, 2011 3:12 pm

Speaking of art for Vegas--the original cover was a great piece of art and I'm really bummed it never made it in. It's hanging on the wall of my hobby room at the moment.
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#13 Postby Wendigo1870 » Sat May 28, 2011 10:42 am

I guess it could be that, besides the 'whole retcon business' (which was remarkable but not so very problematic at all), Spirit Warriors isn't really 'woven into the setting'. The original major Arcane BG's each got their own book, then some other big themes in the setting (Cyborgs, certain cities/area's, the military) also had their book,... And then suddenly there's also Spirit Warriors. They only got mentioned marginally in the Wasted West book and not at all in the Main Book. The book itself is nice, and adds a whole new AB to the setting. But that's also it's problem - the setting could easily have done without this book. The other books expand a lot on basics that are pillars in the setting, and most mention the other 'factions'. Toxic Shamans don't get mentioned anywhere; they're apparently not a core HoE element as such (compared to junkers, templars, even cyborgs and librarians are more integrated).
That's probably what doesn't make it fit in.
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#14 Postby ValhallaGH » Sat May 28, 2011 11:11 am

Man, Wendigo didn't even mention Witches. Poor, unloved potion-makers. So cool, and so neglected.
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#15 Postby Wendigo1870 » Sat May 28, 2011 11:30 am

Harsh huh? And that wasn't because I forgot them - they had an even sadder fate, ... Mentioned in the 2nd main book, shown as an extra AB, and then they don't get their own book (witch (pun) they really needed to make themselves feel as worthy as any other BG :wink: ). Even some never-mentioned spooks suddenly get one, and even simple Librarians suddenly get AB status :razz: in Shattered Coast!
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#16 Postby Stampede » Tue May 31, 2011 11:17 pm

I loved the Toxic Shamans myself setting wise. They were cool and if anything fit more into the general setting milieu of HoE then many others.

I think it's a VERY weak argument to say just because they weren't mentioned in the core two books they didn't "fit". Considering the original Deadlands had Native Americans take two very large chunks of territory back from the U.S. and C.S. governments, not mentioning the Natives was doing a large disservice to them.

Toxic Shamans if anything corrected that oversight, and also let us know just what the heck happened in the Coyote Confederacy and the Sioux Union within the Interim years between Weird West and Wasted West.

Now, if you do want to talk about any possibly downsides, it's Power Creep. Hell on Earth suffered from HORRIBLE power creep. With each new supplement introducing a new, or improved version, of an Arcane Background completely capable of blowing everything else to hell and back.

I always felt bad for the Psykers, my personal favorite AB. They suffered from being "First out the gate".
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#17 Postby WilyQuixote » Wed Jun 01, 2011 5:24 pm

Stampede wrote:I think it's a VERY weak argument to say just because they weren't mentioned in the core two books they didn't "fit". Considering the original Deadlands had Native Americans take two very large chunks of territory back from the U.S. and C.S. governments, not mentioning the Natives was doing a large disservice to them.

Toxic Shamans if anything corrected that oversight, and also let us know just what the heck happened in the Coyote Confederacy and the Sioux Union within the Interim years between Weird West and Wasted West.


Agreed

Stampede wrote:Now, if you do want to talk about any possibly downsides, it's Power Creep. Hell on Earth suffered from HORRIBLE power creep. With each new supplement introducing a new, or improved version, of an Arcane Background completely capable of blowing everything else to hell and back.

I always felt bad for the Psykers, my personal favorite AB. They suffered from being "First out the gate".


Eh this didn't bother me so much. Every RPG and table top miniatures system I can think of suffers from this problem with one exception. The HERO system was and still is pretty good about keeping everything equalized but then the system rules are so tight it couldn't really happen any other way.

I don't know if your old enough but maybe you remember back to 1st Ed AD&D when Unearthed Arcana came out? Players were scrapping their favorite fighters and thieves to make a new assassin, cavalier, thief-acrobat, or the legendary game breaker that was the 1st Ed monk. That was the first instance of it I can remember but it might have been happening even before that. Since then the worst offenders have to be RIFTS or WH40K. I'd say its a toss up between those two who is the bigger offender. I guess I've just become so used to it that I don't even register it anymore. Power creep has been around a long time though and I don't hold it against the game designers for letting it happen in Deadlands too.

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#18 Postby ValhallaGH » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:51 pm

Stampede wrote:I always felt bad for the Psykers, my personal favorite AB. They suffered from being "First out the gate".

Huh? Why? Because each kind of syker only had seven unique powers to kill you with? Or was it their lack of defensive powers?

Yeah, sure, Nukie One and Nukie Two can kill more muties, faster, than most Psykers. They're also religious fanatics, which means that they'll get the posse killed.

Sykers are absolutely awesome at what they do. But what they do is not "blow up everything at the drop of a hat." That's the job of Radiation Priests or grenade-launching machine guns (and the Arson and Detonate powers). What sykers do is to screw up the other guys with the scariest combination of special operations imaginable, and they can do it all by their lonesome. They're like Batman, they need a bit of prep time to really wreck face. But not as much prep time as the poor Witches.
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#19 Postby Stampede » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:48 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:
Stampede wrote:I always felt bad for the Psykers, my personal favorite AB. They suffered from being "First out the gate".

Huh? Why? Because each kind of syker only had seven unique powers to kill you with? Or was it their lack of defensive powers?

Yeah, sure, Nukie One and Nukie Two can kill more muties, faster, than most Psykers. They're also religious fanatics, which means that they'll get the posse killed.

Sykers are absolutely awesome at what they do. But what they do is not "blow up everything at the drop of a hat." That's the job of Radiation Priests or grenade-launching machine guns (and the Arson and Detonate powers). What sykers do is to screw up the other guys with the scariest combination of special operations imaginable, and they can do it all by their lonesome. They're like Batman, they need a bit of prep time to really wreck face. But not as much prep time as the poor Witches.



Witches never really needed prep time, just a bag of skulls/rocks to carry around with them and they were fine.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. The thing is, Psykers were really good at one thing. Killing the Hell out of one guy. They had like 9 different powers all related to really really killing the hell out of that one guy.

Where as every other Arcane background ended up getting a few abilities which would allow them to do a few things more then say oh.. Really really making sure that one person is DEAD DEAD DEAD.

They were crappy healers, crappy buffers, crappy at fighting anything that wasn't that one guy. Oh sure they could sneak around too and be all stealthy, but at the end of the day, they didn't have the variety of the other Arcane backgrounds. ((Doomsayers to be fair had the problem of a million and one different types of explosions, but also had several other powers useful in other situations))

I loved Psykers, and in play, my players who did play them, would always emphaize their strengths. ((For example I had a player who ran around with a Flamethrower and would cast Fireproof on himself all the time so he could stand in the flames while burning things)) But they didn't receive as much love or expansion to them as many of the other Arcane backgrounds did as the line moved on. Furthermore, they fell very much to the background plot wise as time went on too as opposed to many of the others.

They weren't horrible over all, they just lacked abit of variety, lacked some powers to cover their holes up, and seemed to get swept away some in terms of the development of the plot and expansion of the west. ((It seemed as if the new Psyker Academy Jericho, was never mentioned again except for during the Adventure "The Unity" for example))

Just my .02
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#20 Postby Mort » Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:28 am

Teller wrote:Speaking of art for Vegas--the original cover was a great piece of art and I'm really bummed it never made it in. It's hanging on the wall of my hobby room at the moment.


Hrrrm. Don't suppose there's an electronic version of that piece for us to sate our curiosity on?
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