Monday, March 30, 2009

Power to the Players

In my Deadlands campaign, the PCs have a lot of power.
  • 3 of them started out with the Veteran O' The Weird West edge.
  • We're using the fate chip rules, so Bennies have a bit more power than vanilla Savage Worlds. What's more, I hand out the bennies like drama dice were goin' out of style.
  • Two of the PCs are Blessed, the arcane background with unlimited power (as long as you don't sin).
  • We're using the Adventure Deck*, which really empowers the players. I'm using some house-rules on damage that favor the posse, too.
  • During story time (the start of every session) they can improvise elements into the setting or back story with really no restriction.
Honestly, I have zero control over this campaign - all the power is in the Player's Hands. It's a hoot!

Of course, that'll change a bit when they catch up to Cobb. [Evil Laughter] I have plans for that session (or sessions, 'cause it might involve a cliff-hanger).

* = The Adventure Cards are a downloadable PDF (available at Drive Thru RPG for like $5 or $10) that you print off on cardstock. The cards have various one-time-use benefits. Some are bonus dice, some are plot elements, etc. Each player gets one at the start of each session. The players can trade them if they get something that doesn't fit their character, or if one player hates his card but the others like it. They go away if unused by the end of the session, so you can't horde them.

Four example cards to give you a feel for what they can do:
  • Villainous Verbosity - play to make an NPC lose his next action by gloating or talking about his master plan.
  • Love Interest - the player plays this card to create a romantic connection between them and the target NPC.
  • Backstab - add +1d20 (!) to any single trait roll or damage roll vs any allied character, including PCs.
  • Folk Hero - play after you save a group of people from dire circumstances. The community adopts you and your party as local heros, and you can always find aid there.
The cards give a lot of power to the players, but in really narrow and unpredictable ways - there's around 50 in the basic deck, IIRC. I love how they spice up the game. I put my in opaque-backed sleeves, and deal them out face-down, so the PCs can surprise me. Shakes things up nicely.

1 comment:

Ben Turner said...

Just thought I'd put down a comment to say liking the deadlands posts. Run a couple of sessions myself, but trying to get the material and players together for a full-blown campaign.

Had previously ignored the adventures deck - but handing some narrative control over to the players is my new flavour of the GMing month, so I might just have to build myself a deck