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Beginning with Deadlands

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  • Beginning with Deadlands

    Hello there,
    I'm an old P&P veteran I'd like to say. I finally got a new group together to play and we have chosen Deadlands because two of us (me included) really love the Western setting.

    We want to play on low horror/fantasy. Well I have to be GM so we'll see how it will go.

    I already bought the books. And I think I prefer the tabletop battle phase. So I will need a map and... well here comes my question:

    What do I need for a good start with the game system? Except dice, rules, pen and paper of course.

    I got some tabletop models, I also have seen the ones made from paper which is fine too. But what would be a cheap way to make a good and customizeable playmat?
    Drawing/printing and cutting out things like coaches, houses, barrels and so on? What about houses? I might have some fences from my tabletop games somewhere around here but that would't be enough I think. So I really need some suggestions. As Cheap as possible please. If we alle love the game and play regularly we can still invest more.

    Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    It depends how intensely you want to get into creating your miniatures experience.

    A handful of coins or tokens, roughly showing "This guy is over here, that guy is over there", will cover most of your minis needs. You could easily print off a basic grid if you wanted to measure the squares. On the more expensive end, you can create 3D terrain with a 3D printer.

    For a more common solution, I'd recommend an erasable grid mat. You can use and reuse there with dry-erase markers, and they make it an easy way to continually draw and redraw basic maps (this depends how often you're going to use it - it's a lot cheaper than reprinting out a grid many times, but if cost is a major stopper and you're only planning on using it a handful of times, paper printing is cheaper) . For minis and terrain, some basic flat pictures of cowboys and saloons would do, if you even need those. Basic tokens or coins fill the roll just as well, as does drawing a square on the map where the saloon is.

    Is that about what you're after?
    Check out our Sugar Fuelled Gamers Savage Worlds (and other) Actual Play Podcasts. Over 150 hours of Savage Worlds audio. Our last SW game was The World's Most Wondrous Year, in which our pulp heroes race the villainous Phileas Fogg around the world, racing murder, dinosaurs, time travel, spies and other challenges!

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    • #3
      Welcome! Both to the forums and to Deadlands.
      Originally posted by Buridius View Post
      We want to play on low horror/fantasy. Well I have to be GM so we'll see how it will go.
      Pretty easily done. Don't use most of the varmints or critters, and hold off on the magic for a while. Some published adventures, like Envy can be actually supernatural but appear mundane, especially if you describe all the bandits a living.

      You may also want to look at the Sixth Gun if you still have some free budget.

      Originally posted by Buridius View Post
      What do I need for a good start with the game system? Except dice, rules, pen and paper of course.
      Poker chips and playing cards.
      The cards are used for Initiative, huckster spell casting, and resolving several random tables. The poker chips are used as Fate Chips.

      Originally posted by Buridius View Post
      I got some tabletop models, I also have seen the ones made from paper which is fine too. But what would be a cheap way to make a good and customizeable playmat?
      Drawing/printing and cutting out things like coaches, houses, barrels and so on? What about houses? I might have some fences from my tabletop games somewhere around here but that would't be enough I think. So I really need some suggestions. As Cheap as possible please. If we alle love the game and play regularly we can still invest more.
      If you've got a local gaming store, they may have terrain everyone can use in-store.
      If time is freer than cash, paper models like Whitewash City are a great way to go. For a relatively small price, you get the ability to print infinite copies of a structure, cut it out, and glue it together for a pretty effective city.

      If model structures take too much time, cash, or both, then an erasable tactical map, as Reverse suggested, is a low-cost high-utility option. For about 20 to 45 dollars you get a flexible and reusable space with infinite customization.

      Good luck, and feel free to ask for more help or information.
      Last edited by ValhallaGH; 08-20-2018, 07:27 PM.
      I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

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      • #4
        Honestly, even if you plan to go for the really fancy terrain stuff, I think it's still really helpful to have the erasable map. Eventually you're going to have some scenario in mind that you don't have terrain for.

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        • #5
          Hello guys,
          thanks for the tipps.

          After the last few p&p groups didn't last as long as I hoped I am very cautios about spending money.
          Maybe we will start with normal paper. Are the squares absolutely neccessary?
          I have to re read the books for details though. I forgot everything. We searched 1 year for a 4th member.

          If we like it the eraseable map will be the thing to go. And after that I will ask them what they prefer I guess. I can build some terrain too I guess. I have some Warhammer terrain.

          The cut out city looks really good but damn... 60 bucks... that's a **** ton of money for that... Maybe a friend of mine could make them by himself. I'll see and maybe share them with you if you want to.

          And I think at first I will start using my Malifaux miniatures. Maybe buying more miniatures which are cheaper. Again: waiting and seeing how it works out.


          I got poker chips and card decks. I'm a very apprentice magician small tricks for friends level.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Buridius View Post
            Maybe we will start with normal paper. Are the squares absolutely neccessary?
            Nope. Savage Worlds uses a distance measure for tactical combat, so you can use actual spacing and a tape measure for movement and ranges - just like Warhammer.

            If you've already got a lot of miniatures and terrain from miniatures combat games, you'll be able to reuse a lot of that for various Deadlands adventures. You'll want a few more wooden shacks, rail or barbed wire fences, and random livestock, but what you've already got should be pretty applicable.

            Originally posted by Buridius View Post
            The cut out city looks really good but damn... 60 bucks... that's a **** ton of money for that...
            I hear that. Once upon a time, you could buy most of the buildings in that set piecemeal, but you got a decent discount for buying the whole set at once. I'm not sure if that's still the case.
            Originally posted by Buridius View Post
            Maybe a friend of mine could make them by himself. I'll see and maybe share them with you if you want to.
            Good luck. If you, and your friend, want to share then I'm sure folks would appreciate it.

            Originally posted by Buridius View Post
            And I think at first I will start using my Malifaux miniatures.
            If you've already got them then that's a good choice. Malifaux has a lot of Deadlands compatible miniatures.

            Good luck!
            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe it's just me but... I really don't think you need miniatures at all to start out. IMO, the problem with set pieces like that city is that it works for your average random frontier town, but when you want something a bit more special (like LA or SLC), it won't help you at all.
              As some other folks already mentioned, I'd just get an erasable map. It is not expensive and, what's more important, you can use it for all kinds of RPGing, not just Deadlands.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Buridius View Post
                After the last few p&p groups didn't last as long as I hoped I am very cautios about spending money.
                Maybe we will start with normal paper. Are the squares absolutely neccessary?
                It depends how specific you want to get. Broadly, sticking a bunch of token on the table to loosely indicate "You guys are over here by the bar. The baddie is ducked down behind this table, over here. And the woman with the saddlebag full of cash is running out the door here, onto the street" is often more than enough. The minis/tokens are an indicator so people aren't miscommunicating with each other ("Wait, aren't I over by the door as well?")

                However, several abilities in Savage Worlds trigger off relative distance from each other, like how far you can shoot your gun, or whether the explosion catches more than one person. With some groups, you don't need to bother. With others, it's very helpful. The 1" square grid means you don't have to break out a tape measure, which may be more to your liking.

                The biggest - and least needed - expensive is the minis, however. Any form of identifiable tokens will do fine. Coins, board game pieces, rocks, little printouts of cowboys, minis you already possess, plastic army men from a giant cheap bag of them, old LEGO figurines... anything that can identify that this piece is Player 1 and this piece is Bad Guy 2 will do the job perfectly. Anything further is simply cosmetic.

                If cost is a big factor, I'd suggest starting with nothing, then adding to it from there. See what you need piece by piece. You might be surprised how little you can get away with.

                As I say, I think the dry-erase square mat is the best value for money over the copious years of gaming life it will give you (set terrain pieces look fantastic, but limit what you can do with them) - but it's completely unnecessary if you're only planning on a handful of games.
                Check out our Sugar Fuelled Gamers Savage Worlds (and other) Actual Play Podcasts. Over 150 hours of Savage Worlds audio. Our last SW game was The World's Most Wondrous Year, in which our pulp heroes race the villainous Phileas Fogg around the world, racing murder, dinosaurs, time travel, spies and other challenges!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you're looking for free, simple papercraft buildings, http://papermau.blogspot.com is a good place to start. There's also a free, simple Western town available here: http://www.thortrains.net/armymen/freecomsa.html.

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                  • #10
                    Hey there,
                    I had a really busy and **** week...
                    Well I think I can now imagine what we will start with. Thank you guys.
                    real miniatures would be cool but not important, especially not at the start. I use what I have.
                    I really like the Idea with the tabletop for fights. spares much time and it becomes much more tactical.

                    Maybe my friend can make some proper paper cuts. The free to use version look like from a lucky luke cartoon...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Regarding miniatures: now we're using numismatic protectors (plastic cases for rare coins) which are about 1" across and we print symbols for characters to put inside. Most reusable Extras are card suits, which looks appropriate.

                      Previously we played Classic and some people on the team had extensive LEGO collections which was useful! Good if you have them, expensive if you don't though.

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                      • #12
                        There are a lot of token images available with the advent of virtual table tops. You could get a bunch of 1 inch washers and print out a bunch of those tokens, glue them to the washers and you've got instant minis! Granted they are more 2 dimensional than 3 dimensional, but you end up with nice looking representations for the characters in the game.

                        I agree with what a lot of the others have said concerning a battle mat. I've got one that is double sided that rolls up easily. One side is squares the other hexes. I bought mine from Chessex, you can find it at Walmart, Amazon and Chessex themselves. Chessex even sells water soluble markers, but I just pick up the ones you can get at Walmart made by Crayola and they work just fine.

                        A large number of companies make paper terrain, like ValhallaGH mentioned, Whitewash City is a good resource for western buildings. I actually own every building that he had made as of 2014, but I know he's put out more since then and should take some time to update my collection. World Works Games also makes western terrain if you ever desire to get into making paper terrain for your games. While they are not making anymore new terrain, they do have quite a few sets still available.

                        Personally I've moved away from gridded movement for running games, but some of my players are not quite there yet, so while I do run some scenarios without the grid, some times I include a grid. For when I'm not running with a grid, I took some dowels and cut them to 6 inch pieces, then painted them red, taped off 1 inch sections in an every other inch pattern and then painted the exposed areas black. This gave me some easy to read 6 inch measuring sticks. So for short distances, we didn't need to get out the tape measure!

                        Well, hope these suggestions help. If you have any other questions, ask.

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                        • #13
                          Another question came to my mind regarding the terrain.
                          How big/tall should the papercut buildings be? If we use Malifaux minatures for example the buildings would be very huge... but we have to decide for one specific height so it is consistent. It would be weird to change that (gun range does not change).

                          I don't think grids are even needed in Deadlands. at least as far as I know. Maybe I make my own map with a big laminated paper.

                          Any creative ideas to bring the players together? Should they all start with one posse member or do they get them during the game?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Buridius View Post
                            Any creative ideas to bring the players together? Should they all start with one posse member or do they get them during the game?
                            I put that question to the players. "How do your characters know each other? What's [player A]'s connection to [player C]? Why do you hang out together?"
                            I've learned that the "how do we meet" part of the story is the least interesting part of the campaign. I've also noticed that when I put them on the spot to come up with connections, they come up with something far better than whatever I might create for an introductory adventure. I've concluded that the best approach is to have them come up with cool back stories and connections (that I can use as the start of future adventures) that can inform the real action of the campaign.

                            Now, that won't be true for every table, or even every campaign for a given table, but it is true often enough that I recommend it to others.
                            I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              So when I'm doing paper buildings from an outside view, I just print out the normal size and then assemble them. For any interior terrain, I keep the walls on the edges of the rooms short, say 1/2 inch to 1 full inch as any higher and you begin not being able to see the figures in the actual rooms. I'm currently assembling a 'house' that I'm going to use for the House Call one sheet, that once I get it finished, I'll post some pictures of it. I've also got some buildings that I'll post pictures of as well.

                              As far as bringing characters together, I completely agree with ValhallaGH. Make the players do the work of how their characters know each other. I've done the you all start out as passengers on a stage coach and while that works, you can have some of your players throw a wrench into the game by doing some really 'funny' things in their minds, but that cause bad feelings to other members of the group.

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