Jul 212016

Welcome back, gentle reader. The long hiatus is over, and I’ve been back behind the screen for some more Deadlands action. But before I start dropping a few sessions worth of recaps, I’d like to take some time to talk about the campaign and some changes in our merry group of players.

First up, a bit about this campaign. My players will be the first to attest that prior to this game, it had been a long time since I’d run anything resembling a long-term campaign. Instead, I kept running one or two shots, or even just having people making characters before moving on to the next shiny new thing. And so this game has become something a bit special to me. For whatever reason, Savage Worlds is a system I can just keep running without burning out easily. And Deadlands lets me draw on my deep love and knowledge of the Western genre. It’s a great match for me.

Now that I have a few more sessions of Season 2 (more on that later) under my belt, I’ve come to realize that this game might never actually use the three Plot Point Campaigns (The Flood, Last Sons, Stone and a Hard Place) I originally intended to run. Originally I had this great image of the posse eventually going up against all four of the Harbringers. I can now see that it might not ever actually get there. And the reason is that I keep coming up with fun adventures on my own.

You see, I tend to run my games like a television show (I think I got the idea from some old Dragon Magazine Article). Some games, like D&D, are like your serials with 22 episodes a season. The heroes adventure for a long time, mostly doing the same thing multiple times, with an overarching season plot in the form of some big villain.
But with games like Deadlands, I take a more HBO style approach. I go for more substantive and heavily story-based seasons, most of which are shorter. In my head, the Coffin Rock saga was supposed to just be the pilot, a way to introduce everyone to the setting and characters. But it quickly grew legs, thanks to some fantastic player input, and so it then comprised the entirety of Season One.

And then, as often happens with groups of middle aged folks, life happened in a big way. RC made a big jump into a new career that I think she’ll do fantastically at (and it’s really close to what I do, so I double applaud her). But as she was striking out on her own, she had to leave us all for an indefinite amount of time. So, for the time being, Tens is busy researching several new inventions and won’t be ranging with the posse.

Secondly, my dear wife JAZ, finally got her dream job. She’s working at a wonderful vet clinic full of cool people. But now she’s working medical staff hours, which means that it’s really hit or miss on whether she can play. And so she’s been shifted to the occasional Guest Star. Which is okay, as a Blessed is reasonably easy to write out or in, as I can lean on the old divine providence or edict trope.

But, it wasn’t all news about people leaving. Our good friend JC, after a long absence due to baby, is back. After breaking him back into the group with a Shadow of the Century playtest, it was high time that he got in on the Deadlands fun.

But down both of our female players, and with JC still having to miss the odd (or more) session, I felt that we needed some fresh blood. Which ended up arriving in the most serendipitous of manners. I live in a lovely little condo and one day I spotted two of my neighbors, one of them with Snow Crash under her arm. I remarked on the book, learned that they were leaving for D&D Encounters, and casually mentioned that I might need some new players for a group I had. A few months later and we had two new players: SY and her boyfriend J2 (same first name as JE, so I shall be calling him J2 from henceforth).

Both players have been a wonderful new addition to the group. It’s breathed a bit of new life into the game, and coupled with a few other life changes I feel like things are going better than ever. And so I drove into this new season with vigor, while at the same time knowing that I’d need a break from GMing in the future.