The eight-times Origins Award-winning setting has been converted to many other systems over the years and is available in the original Classic Rules, the revised Classic Rules, d20 System, GURPS, as well as a Savage Worlds version called Deadlands: Reloaded. The game is set in deadlands reloaded players guide pdf United States in the last quarter of the 19th century. The canonical year for the first edition of Deadlands is 1876.
A later supplement, Tales o’ Terror, advances the game’s backstory and metaplot ahead one year, to 1877. The canonical, basic setting is referred to as the “Weird West” due to the juxtaposition of the Western setting with the horrific and fantastical elements of the game. The history of the Weird West is identical to real-world history, up until July 3, 1863. The Reckoners feed on negative emotions, particularly fear. Sufficient levels of fear in the population of a given location allow the Reckoners to begin subtly altering the environment of that location: the sun shines a little less brightly, trees become stunted and “evil” looking, rock formations take on the appearance of corpses or monsters, and so on. The more powerful the fear, the greater the environmental changes.
The ultimate goal of the Reckoners is to turn the entire Earth into an evil, haunted wasteland — literally a Hell on Earth. However, the Reckoners cannot directly enter Earth’s realm unless the overall fear level of the entire planet becomes sufficiently high. To this end, they use their powers to create monsters, madmen, zombies, and other creatures and villains that will sow fear and terror throughout the land. The unleashing of the Reckoners has had a number of important side effects. Magic was revealed to be real, although it involves challenging otherworldly spirits, “manitous”, in contests that are either viewed as a negotiation or a test of will. These same manitous can possess a recently deceased body and reanimate it, creating a “Harrowed”. Deadlands features a unique way of creating playing characters for the game.
In a Deadlands game, the Game Master is called The Marshal, and the players are called The Posse. To perform an action a player rolls for successes with a handful of dice and hopes that at least one of the dice rolls the Target Number or higher. Rolling the highest possible number on any of the dice is known as “rolling an ace”, and that die may be re-rolled, with the total being added to the initial roll value. A successful skill check allows the player to draw five or more cards and makes the best possible poker hand with those cards. The strength of the hand determines not only whether the hex was successfully cast, but also the strength of its effects. Blessed characters can use their faith to invoke miracles—they pray for their patron to grant their request.
The miracles are usually protective or restorative in nature, although there are some for attack. Native American shamans cast spells by making deals with spirits. This happens in three stages: the shaman asks for a favor, performs the ritual that tradition demands for that favor, and then his skill is tested by the spirit. If he succeeds all three, he earns “appeasement points” according to how well he succeeded. If he earned enough points for the favor, it is granted. If not, his work was in vain.
Instead of rolling for Initiative as in most other RPGs, the players make a “speed” roll on the bones — the exact number and type being rolled determined by each character’s stats — and then draw a number of cards from a community playing card deck based on the results of that roll. The Marshal then calls out card values, starting from Aces and going all the way down to Deuces. Along with Bones and Cards, characters get Fate Chips which are typically poker chips, although colored stones or coins can also be used. These are drawn from a hat or some other container that the player blindly chooses at the beginning of play. Each player draws a certain number of Fate Chips at the beginning of the game from the Fate Pot, modified according to player actions and Marshal preference. At the end of a gaming session, players can cash in unused Fate Chips for Bounty Points.
These are like Experience Points in other systems and are used to improve Traits and Aptitudes. The Marshal may also award additional Bounty Points at the end of the session for completing the mission objectives and any exceptional role-playing that had been done on behalf of a player. Marshals are also encouraged to reward players with instantaneous rewards for good role-playing. Big Britches, Bloodthirsty, or Big Mouth. When a player role-plays this Hindrance well, the Marshal can reward them instantly with a Fate Chip.
This has the effect of promoting and encouraging role-playing. Deadlands: The Great Rail Wars — a tabletop wargame with miniature figures. Doomtown — a collectible card game. A sourcebook for the town described in the game was released under the title Doomtown or Bust! A secondary sourcebook, detailing the town after the events of the CCG, was released under the title The Black Circle. Range Wars — a tabletop wargame that used collectible cardboard disks instead of miniatures. As much a spin-off from Doomtown as Deadlands, it used many of the same factions.
It is based on the Disk Wars game. The base set: Doomtown: Range Wars was released, and a single expansion, Ghost Creek. Deadlands: Hell on Earth — a role-playing game set in one possible future of the Weird West, where the Reckoners succeeded in turning the entire Earth into a haunted wasteland. Deadlands: Lost Colony — a role-playing game set in the same future as Deadlands: Hell on Earth, except on another planet. This game features sci-fi, Western, and horror elements.