Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Gun

Here's the framework of my Deadlands campaign: The Gun.
  • The PCs backstory is fairly open, but they must have settled in a particular town and been livin' there for at least a couple of years. Then the town burnt down, and they lost everything. The PCs (and any NPCs suggested by their Edges or Hindrances) are the only survivors. More about that in a bit.

  • One extra step in character creation will be to document what you lost when the town burned down. Could be family, could be your ranch that was finally starting to turn a prophet, could be that gal you was a courtin' and about to ask fer the hand o'. Obviously, there's a revenge motif comin' up. Not only what did you lose, but how, and how did it spring from The Gun.

    Tangent to that, you'll be documenting what, other than revenge, motivates your quest for The Gun. Could be you want to stop it from churning up a swath o' destruction all the way to Back East, could be you wanna save the life of the innocent girl The Gun is hunting, could be you think there's an extra special irony if you use The Gun to put Finnegan Cobb back in the ground, could be yer a Whateley and you covet the awesome supernatural power of The Gun.

  • I'll be using "Story Time" similar to what I did back in my old Vampire LARP. At the start of every session, each player has the option of taking a minute or two to tell a short tale. You can share your character's backstory, legends about The Gun, or rumors you've heard of what's coming up ahead. If I like your tales, I'll work them into upcoming sessions. The context is these are tales being told round the fire on the trail - so you can make up any detail you want, and we'll determine the level of veracity later.

  • The Gun is cursed. Ever since Finnegan Cobb got his hands on it, he started acting ...different. Prior to that, he'd been a mousy little man, barely able to keep a roof over himself and his wife. The Gun made him cocky, fiery, vengeful. He pistol whipped a man to death in town square, over something inconsequential. Cobb shot one of the Deputies in the back, then stared the Sheriff down cold.

    He was never without the gun - he slept with his holster on. He'd started cheatin' on his wife, and beatin' her too, so one night, she tried to slip it out and bury it. He woke up when she lifted it. She swares she doesn't remember pulling the trigger, but his corpse had six slugs in the head. She hocked the gun at the General Store, went to Confessional, and then headed out of town. Her hand was bandaged and bloody as she left - the Priest said she chopped off her trigger finger because he couldn't drive the devil out of it. Three days later, Finnegan Cobb clawed his way up from Potter's Field. By sunup the next morning, the town was burning, and any number of supernatural things were on the loose. The details of the Town's destruction will remain mercurial to fit whatever gets filled in at storytime.


  • The players are on the trail of The Gun, Finnegan Cobb, and/or his Wife. Every session involves them arriving in another town on the trail. Someone in that town has been touched by The Gun. There's a standard place to start - askin' round 'bout strangers who come through a couple days before, an' whether or not said strangers shot anyone. The Gun has transformative properties on those it comes in contact with, and on those it shoots - this will provide Episodic diversions. There's a pursuit subplot, but it's more of a story conceit - and I'm being upfront about it with the Players. Catchin' up with Finnegan is the sort of thing to happen in a season finale, not some random mid-season episode just cause a PC got a lucky Tracking roll. In the meantime, the players are passing in Finnegan's wake :) putting down the beasts he done stirred up.


  • I cracked out my old Doomtown CCG cards, and sorted out all the Deeds. I figure I'll need a way to lay out the towns they head to in the campaign, and I don't want to sweat trying to make a bunch of believable maps. Instead (and I'm stealin' a page here from my wife's Cyberpunk campaign) each town is lain out via a dozen random draws from the Deed Deck. This is very much gonna be a "seat of your pants" game, most likely featuring "monster of the week" if you hadn't figured that out yet.


  • Deadlands (and Savage Worlds in general) rewards the use of miniatures (indeed, any game involving gunfights benefits from knowing who can draw a bead on whom), and normally that makes me happy. I've got tons of minis. But, upon looking through my stash, I realized there's not much in terms of Western minis on my shelves - and certainly nothing becoming of a Huckster. I searched high and low for Western minis, which is a tale for another day. Eventually, I settled on Legos. I've got some old Western lego sets, and I'll have the Players build representations of their characters from those bits. Lego minifigs on a map made of Doomtown Deed cards... looks like I'll be abstracting the movement rules a bit.

2 comments:

Vampir said...

That sounds like a really cool game.

I'm not that into miniatures but I do love Lego!

SiderisAnon said...

That sounds absolutely awesome! If we were only still living in the same state....

Keep us posted on how it goes.