Monday, June 13, 2011

In Which The Warlock Shoots Off Some Fireworks...

My preferences in games, it seems, often leads me into a bit of a strange situation.  While I've been lucky enough to be able to run pretty much anything that I want, ever since my first days as a GM, I find myself often unable to actually play the games that I most enjoy.  Believe it or not, this was particularly true of Deadlands.  Ever since picking up the "Reloaded" version last year (...and the "Classic" version a few months later...and "Hell on Earth" a few weeks ago...), I'd never actually sat down to play a character of my own! 

The inspiration for Nigel Worthington-Smythe:
Sean Connery's Allan Quatermain from LXG
So, when Will the ManMan (who now has a blog...go read his thoughts at The Journeyman GM!) offered to run the Deadlands one-shot "Independence Day," the PlatinumChick and I leapt at the chance.  But what character to play?!

Eventually, I settled on one of my favorite pre-gens:  Nigel Worthington-Smythe, the former British Navy officer, turned big-game hunter.  With his signature Bullard Express in hand, Nigel was ready for whatever Dodge City could throw at him.

I won't spoil too much of "Independence Day" for you, faithful readers, but it centers around the players tracking down a supernatural serial killer known only as The Butcher.  Meanwhile, Dodge City attempts to prepare for the coming centennial celebration for the Union, and conflicts between various factions explode into the streets of Bloody Kansas.

Overall, the game was pretty much what I could have hoped it to be:  lots of investigation, a bit of humor (Nigel managed to humiliate the aggravating Ladies' Temperance Society by getting the shrewish leader, Ida Mae, drunk in public!), and a truly horrifying villain.  Will's preferred system has been Savage Worlds, and it really shows--he's able to ad-lib easily within the rules, while keeping the system mechanics balanced with quality description.

The Butcher stalks the
Dodge City night...
I only had one real complaint about the module, which was something that wasn't something that Will was really responsible for.  While confronting The Butcher on the rooftops of Dodge City, Chris III pulled off a phenomenal pistol shot, dealing 25 points of damage, which L-Train's Adventure Card doubled to 50!  That equated to a "Shaken" result and 10 Wounds...on a 4 Wound track! 

Unfortunately for us, that didn't mean much.  The Butcher was immune to all sources of damage, aside from a certain vulnerability (no spoilers for you here!).  As such, our bullets and L-Train's hexes were all for naught, until we managed to figure out that vulnerability.  While we managed to figure out that vulnerability and bring peace back to Dodge City, the sheer absurdity of the situation seemed infeasible. 

But, that alone wasn't enough to spoil the game for me.  Even as Nigel fought desperately to stay alive--no easy feat, against the intensely powerful Butcher!--I genuinely had a great time.  It's so rare that I get to play a game in one of my preferred systems, so being able to follow up ChaoticFrederick's Dark Sun game with a one-shot of Deadlands was really a treat for me.  And now, with Will the ManMan looking at running a Legendary-level Deadlands mini-campaign, it looks like I might be a player for a while, and not just a GM!  Excitement!

To me, this is a matter of importance for any GM.  If you can't play your favorite games once in a while, if you can't manage to set aside the GMing role for a while, you run the risk of *gasp* burnout.  Plus, it gives you, as a practicing GM, a chance to sit back and watch something new, to watch another's GMing technique and practice, and to refine your own abilities.  It's a grand thing...especially when convention season comes calling!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:21 PM

    Glad you enjoyed it! For the Journeyman GM's view of how the scenario happened, click here!