Monday, February 22, 2010

Deadlands: Reloaded—Coffin Rock—First Play Session

Saturday marked our first session of Deadlands: Reloaded. Seeing myself as a greenhorn Marshall (That's Game Master in Deadlands Speech), I've chosen to start the Campaign using the Adventure Module Coffin Rock.

This is my second campaign and the first thing that is different, is not the fact that I'm running a Western instead of a Modern Day setting. The first thing that became apparent to me, was that I had pre-game jitters again. The reasons are two-fold: First, this is a new setting. Yes, I ran what I felt to be a successful Savage Worlds game last year—Yes, Deadlands: Reloaded is a Savage Wolrds Game; but there are parts of the setting that are just different enough that I'm nervous about running them (High Noon Style Gunfights for instance [and fear levels]). Second, the adventure/setting is much more open ended.

Zombie Run was a very linear tale, each session consisted of a fairly self contained story, and I probably could have run them all out of order if I wanted to and it wouldn't have made a difference. I only really had to have one chapter in mind for each session.

Coffin Rock is a very different creature indeed. It's a thirty page adventure, with multiple plot hooks that are all intertwined. I have to keep track of everything going on in and around the town of Coffin Rock (thankfully it's a small town).

I feel that the session went fairly well. Most of the things that I had pre-game jitters about, were non issues when it came right down to it. [Though I'm still a little shaky on handling Fear Levels]. Right now my biggest concern is that I didn't give the players enough direction. I know one of the things that my wife doesn't like when playing Role Playing Games is feeling directionless—this is a little tricky when there is a level of investigation involved.

Investigation in Role Playing is a sore spot for some, because in a lot of games it is handled in such a way that the players may not obtain the clues. This is something that the Gumshoe system has tried to change by making it so that players always find the clues—making the game about what they do with the clues obtained. I haven't read my Gumshoe book yet, so I don't know exactly how that system accomplishes that particular task—this is something I wanted to integrate into my Savage Worlds games. I think I faltered on it a little bit, but not enough to say I failed (as a whole they were rolling well enough that it was a non issue).

They hit upon about a dozen of the intertwined clues in the course of the evening, but none of them went to conclusion. There are quite a few subplots in the adventure as well and I hope we get to explore some of them.

One of the changes I made for this campaign, was to do character creation as a full session. We didn't quite finish that night, so we tied up the loose ends before jumping into play. I didn't do that when I ran Zombie Run, because I thought it was going to be so deadly that character creation would be a regular part of the game. It didn't turn out that way, and I think it suffered a little because of it—but not enough for it to be a game breaker.

With Deadlands: Reloaded, I'm hoping that people really get to explore their characters and develop them on a deeper level, which is why I took a whole evening for character creation—an evening augmented by conversations on Google Wave. I feel that we have some really nicely fleshed out backgrounds and it showed in-game. My wife really got into her character and was channeling someone else completely when speaking in-character.

What I learned:

My Improv skills are a little rusty.

1 comment:

  1. It was a fun game!
    Now I need to get better at figuring out the clues.