Wednesday, June 08, 2011

In Which The Warlock Presents Sam Clemens...

With this year's Origins on the horizon, I've been feverishly trying to get everything in order for our games.  I've been checking items slowly off of my to-do list, but every time I seem to make some progress, more and more get added!  While I finished my preparations for my ICONS scenario--"The Near-Orbit Mass-Driver Blues", I have yet to touch SunnyVale Acres...primarily because El Willy needed me to do an additional run-through on the "Ultimate Dungeon Party" and because I took a day to apply for a part-time position with Green Ronin Publishing!

But, with things slowly falling into place, I wanted to make sure that I got to take a crack at this month's RPG Blog Carnival, hosted for this month at the Dungeon's Master blog.  This month's topic?  Gaming characters, inspired by real-life.  Well, whoo!  Deadlands has that one in (pardon the pun) spades!

As such, take a look at the star of my Origins scenario, the inimitable Samuel Clemens, better known to many as Mark Twain!

I wanted to reflect a version of Clemens that wasn't overpowered--someone who could hang with the PCs if he had to, but whose life definitely took him a different direction.  Clemens' focus on writing and politics show his strengths, but damned if he isn't just the luckiest bastard this side of the Mississippi! 

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)—Cantankerous Author                          XP:         40

Strength:             d4                                                           Charisma:            +4

Agility:                  d6                                                           Grit:                       3

Vigor:                    d4                                                           Pace:                     5

Smarts:                 d10                                                         Parry:                    5

Spirit:                    d10                                                         Toughness:         5


Big Mouth (Minor)

Habit—Drinking (Minor)

Elderly (Major)



Improved Luck

Scholar (Writing and Politics)

Tough as Nails



Jack of all Trades


Know: Writing—d10 (+2)

Know: Politics—d10 (+2)

Persuasion—d10 (+4)

Taunt—d8 (+4)









Key Gear:

Mint Julep

White Suit with Black Bolo Tie



  1. Thunderforge11:04 PM

    I think ol' Mark Twain should definitely have the Tale Teller edge (not that he's ever going to use it as an NPC, but for completeness sake). I'd personally drop Tough as Nails (that's a Legendary edge anyway). Maybe also give him the Poverty hindrance (he blew a whole lot of money on financing inventions and running his publishing company). And no skill dice in Boating? I assume your Deadlands version also was a riverboat pilot.

    Also, I think since he could afford them, he should have a few of Smith & Robbards' Vocal Unction Elixirs on him for when he goes public speaking. And if you want to mess with the timeline a little bit, he could have an invention from his friend, the budding Mad Scientist, Nikola Tesla (assuming of course that it isn't going to unbalance him with the rest of the party).

  2. Tale Teller would make sense, but I can't see him going out to fight the Reckoners with it. Besides, he wasn't too keen on the supernatural...

    I gave him Tough as Nails (even though he shouldn't have it), just to make sure the party has a chance to keep ol' Mark Twain alive! That San Juan Express is a deathtrap, you know!

    Good call on the boating, though...definitely need to change that one around.

    Oh, and Tesla? I wouldn't think he'd be kicking around the Weird West...not yet, anyway.

  3. Thunderforge3:51 PM

    I suppose the Tale Teller edge was more of a thematic thing, since Mark Twain is a person who tells tales. Sure, he's not likely to take advantage of the mechanical benefits as an NPC, but I thought it would still be appropriate to have.

    Also I don't think that planning to go out and fight the Reckoners is necessary to have the Tale Teller edge. Even if Mark Twain knows nothing about the supernatural and is 100% ignorant of the Reckoners (which I think is a reasonable assumption), that doesn't change the fact that tale tellin' has power in the Weird West and is effective whether he realizes it or not.

    But of course, he's an NPC and unless a player gets to take control of him to tell the tale, it's unlikely he gets to use the mechanical benefits of the edge. Maybe you could modify the edge so that he gets a +2 to Persuasion when telling any tale even if it isn't about the posse's endeavors. So if he needs to convince a sheriff of something and in his argument tells a brief quip from Huck Finn or one of his other stories (or invents something on the spot), he gets a +2 to his Persuasion rolls, but there wouldn't be a Legend Chip or anything. People just like to listen to him when he tells a story and that's that.

    Still, he's your NPC to use as you see fit.