Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Crunchometer and Savage Worlds / Deadlands Reloaded

My current Deadlands Reloaded game is moving towards a storyline climax after which we will change systems, and possibly just do something else completely. I like the setting, but it's a lot more complicated than vanilla Savage-Worlds. I've been running Deadlands Reloaded every other Sunday, and a few sessions of straight Savage Worlds fantasy with a different group in-between. What I've learned is that if Savage Worlds is a c12 on the crunchometer, Deadlands Reloaded is at least a c16, and probably a c20. Even without the Adventure Deck (which we've been using), the additional fate chip options and the far less homogenous magic of Deadlands make it really hard to keep on top of the expanded system.

By contrast, in the vanilla fantasy version I spend a lot less time looking up rules, and especially charts. I can run it without opening a rule book except when we're leveling-up the characters or if a PC gets incapacitated. For the Deadlands version, I've made a different summary-sheet for each spellcaster, plus printed off combat modifier cheat-sheets for the whole group, and yet we still end up having to consult charts or text every single session.

I know there's D&D groups out there that make do with that all the time, but for me it's a real drag to pause and look things up in the middle of a session (in session after session). It's been diminishing the fun, so we're intentionally moving towards a plot resolution that will allow us to ditch the system. The group was a little divided on this. Of the 5 of us (down from 6 after one player moved out-of-state), 1 really likes the system, 1 loves her character so much she'll tolerate the system, and 3 of us detest the system enough we want to end the game. Obviously, that's not healthy or sustainable, so we're wrapping up. My plan is for 2-3 more sessions.


Lunatyk said...

I always wanted to play Deadlands, it's too bad the system is starting to destroy your fun :(

Knight of Roses said...

Shame that the system is getting in the way of the fun. I like SW: Deadlands Reloaded and the system is a lot more friendly than the original Deadlands which was crazy complex. But yes, quite a few subsystems involved.

However, I really like Hucksters and 'dealing with the Devil' both as a subsystem and as a world element.

rbbergstrom said...

However, I really like Hucksters and 'dealing with the Devil' both as a subsystem and as a world element.

I did too at first - but there's a lot of Edges for increasing the number of cards you get. Our Huckster was drawing nine cards, and it's very rare to not get at least a full house. Sure, it's all he does, but his three powers have infinite fuel. In practice it's less fun than it was on paper.

rbbergstrom said...

To be fair, I still like it plenty as a setting (and like the Hucksters as a world element). Just needs some play-balancing, and a few of the fiddlier bits smoothed over.

And honestly, despite drawing 8 or 9 cards, our Huckster was usually overshadowed by the two Blessed.

rbbergstrom said...

Looking back at this comment randomly years later, I realized I should add: The reason our Huckster was overshadowed was that the rules for Blessed are stupidly broken. The Huckster had incredible power because he was min-maxed for it. The Blessed were both created by method-actor heavy roleplayers who didn't do much at all to maximize their stats. In the hands of someone with the inclination to tighten up and focus their character designs mechanically, the power-gap would have been even wider. I can live with a system where you can build a busted character if you work at it, but it's a big let down if one of the basic character "classes" is just hands-down significantly more powerful than all the other options, which is how it seemed to be. It's been years so I don't remember the mechanical specifics very well, but IIRC, blessed had a lot more flexibility than other casters, and a lot more power than non-casters.