Fear Level question

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Fear Level question

#1 Postby McCurmudgeon » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:30 pm

Does a Deadland stay that way if there's nobody around to be scared of it?

Also does the Fear Level penalty apply only to guts checks that roll against the fright table or also nausea checks?

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#2 Postby Clash957 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:39 pm

NOTE: Marshal's ONLY. If you are a player in Deadlands this post has NOTHING you want to see. It is full of boring how the Deadlands setting works stuff that will ruin you're fun.

Basically you're asking, "If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is around to hear it; does it make a sound?"

Personally, I say yes. I'm not completely certain but the Rules As Written (RAW) way, but I Marshal a Dead Land (Fear Level 6) has been lost forever and treat it quite literally land that is dead and ain't coming back again. . . ever. Deadlands is a horror game, and knowing the Earth itself can die a bit at a time is damn horrifying.

In the Fire & Brimstone adventure, The Mission, I ran a very, very long time ago I discovered something that effects most players. The posse failed that adventure and the area became a dead land. All the players were crushed when they learned what a dead land meant. They wished they would have followed up on the clues and would have sacrificed their characters if it meant stopping it. Because players almost always have this idea of a continuing world. The players know that even if they had new characters in a new campaign, this area was lost forever. The game world is forever changed for the worst. For the rest of that campaign, the player characters became avengers of good against the inhuman evil that caused the dead land. The adventure completely changed the tone of cowpokes trying to get rich (your basic murder-hobo game) to people saving the world from the forces of evil.

A might fuzzier concept is what about fear levels in areas that are not a dead land. Seeing that the Reckoners have to expend energy to make the place scary, they wouldn't waste it in regions that no one going to be passing through. Quite the opposite in fact. However, even though the American West is still the frontier with wide open spaces, there isn't as many places out there that won't see humans. There might not be any white men, but Indians scout all over. I give most places a Fear Level 1 anyway but tend not to make a big deal of it since no one is going to be making Guts rolls and I'm not going all purple prose of descriptions anyway.

I also get the sense you're asking is, "Say a town was a Fear Level 4, but well everyone was killed or moved a way. Does the Fear Level drop?" In this case, I say yes it does. Why spend energy mining for fear when the mine's tap out. The Fear Monger (old concept) just moves on down the road somewhere to get to stirring up trouble. That's why the Reckoners don't want to kill everybody just yet. That's what Hell On Earth is.

Like I said, I'm not sure if that's the Pinnacle answer, but that's how I run it. And I ain't liable to change if it be different then my idea.
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#3 Postby McCurmudgeon » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:57 pm

Thanks I really like the whole deadlands being permanent idea (or at least almost impossible to get rid of) and I think I'd probably apply it partially to lower fear levels.

I'm running Coffin Rock as the intro to Deadlands and was wondering what would happen if everyone died or the town burnt down and stuff. So if there's nobody left around the Fearmonger could either stay there or move on but the Fear Level will remain the same because survivors will tell stories and people with remember that location as being scary

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#4 Postby PlatinumWarlock » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:08 am

Something to keep in mind is that none of these places exist in a vacuum. Just because no one lives there, that doesn't mean that people aren't still afraid of the place or that horrible things don't still lurk there.

Take, for example, Worm Canyon. No one lives there, outside of Ursula, her handful of cultists and a pile of Mojave Rattlers, but people in the areas around it surely are afraid of that canyon!

Plus, it brings up the whole idea of "the bad place" from classic horror. While things might be nominally "okay" in town, the constant creeping fear of what might lurk in that box canyon, of what might be under the floorboards in that old manor, or the memory of how many people died in that abandoned hotel still resonate.

To use your example from earlier, regarding the Ghost town, I'd advocate exactly the opposite. You now have a place where the proverbial walls are thin, and its easier for the Reckomers to breach through to our world. While no one might be in the town proper, the guys in the next town are going to be might afraid of it! "Yeah, I been up there," the town sheriff might say, "Ain't never goin back there, neither. The dead don't rest out in them there streets, and there's a ill wind blowin' from there. Somethin' killed all them people, and I ain't about to go find out what....if you're smart, you'll stay away too."

Just because a place is empty of people, doesn't mean that the Reckoners aren't gathering fear from there...and from places nearby...

Long story short, if an area is abandoned the Fear Level should at least stay the same, if not rise.
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#5 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:13 pm

McCurmudgeon wrote:Thanks I really like the whole deadlands being permanent idea (or at least almost impossible to get rid of) and I think I'd probably apply it partially to lower fear levels.

Officially, you can lower the fear level of a Deadland. It is just insanely hard.

Step 1: Locate Deadland.
Step 2: Identify Fear Monger. This is the scariest monster in a place that is as literally Hell on Earth as a location can be.
Step 3: Reach Fear Monger. Usually this involves a whole lot of sneaking past the "scrub" monsters (walkin' dead, nosferatu, lurkers, etc.) with occasional battles, until you finally get face-to-face with the fear monger.
Step 4: Kill Fear Monger. And Survive. This is made more difficult by the fact that most of the fear mongers of actual Deadlands are Servitors, or otherwise nearly invincible. Doable, but very hard.
Step 5: Escape the Deadland. Much like step 3, except all the other monsters heard the commotion of the battle and are coming to eat you, and maybe promote themselves to status as the new Fear Monger.
Step 6: Tell the tale, successfully. Given that your Tale Telling roll takes a -6 penalty (Fear Level of the Deadland), this is very difficult, especially if you're still wounded from the actual deed. Oh, and you have to tell it to the people who exist in the area of the Deadland - not inside it, but around it; your tale will lower the fear level of the area your audience is in, so that audience needs to be in your deadland to lower the fear level of the deadland.
Step 7: Repeat, on your slow quest to save the world.

Not an easy thing. Not at all.
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