Draw! - Makin' Heroes


One rule I’ve always instituted in my Deadlands game is double draws. Deadlands offers a great capacity for making a wide variety of heroes. The problem that comes with the luck o’ the draw system is that it can hurt the creativity that the system is set to inspire. Here’s what I mean, say you want to play a gunslinger but you draw a handful of d6’s and d4’s, now it doesn’t work so much just like if you wanted to play the bumblin’ fumblin’ tinhorn and wound up with 2 jokers and 4 aces. Maybe you want to stay away from mysterious stuff for your hero but your staring at a joker, the draw can kill a good character concept.

In response to this I created the double draw rule. During character creation draw everything for your hero then do this a second time. Now that you have two full characters drawn pick the one that best fits your character concept. If you have any veteran’s o’ the weird west or mysterious pasts to draw, dementias, etc. during creation you also draw these twice and choose the one that works best for your character concept.

Aptitude Levels

To keep things special I’m instituting an aptitude rule. A level 4 is the max level for a starting character unless they have a darn good reason for having a world class 5. This has two benefits, one, it gives heroes a wider spread of aptitudes because they aren’t as concerned about getting something to 5. Two, there aren’t a lot of over-powered heroes and villains running amok. 3 should be considered a high aptitude as we start this story.

Group Dynamics

Not so much a rule as a bit of good advise. Try to find out the other party members strengths and make a hero that compliments them. That is if the group already has a scout why make a second scout.

Most Recent Errata

This is Deadlands Classic but that said we will be using the most recent errata whenever possible.

Don’t Get Ahead of Yourselves

Just another tip here for our new players. I suggest checking out the player sketches starting on page 32 of players guide. Look these over and if something seems interesting start here and then if that sketch is one that would have an accompanying source book (huckster, shaman, mad scientist, blessed, etc.) then look at that. This way you don’t have to worry about information overload.

Extra Hindrances

Alright after talking with a couple of you I have decided that I am going to allow players to take an extra 5 points in hindrances with a couple of stipulations. One, you don’t get to spend the points from these on edges or aptitudes, they are strictly for a roleplaying benefit and can provide opportunities to earn extra fate chip rewards. Two, don’t something just because now you can, if you ran out of Hindrance points but wanted one more to round out your character now you can essentially.

New Hindrances

Lame Wing 1/3 – Your hero has all but lost the use of one of his hands or arms. For 1 point his hand is pretty useless. He can attempt to use the hand if he passes a TN 9 strength roll. If he succeeds he may use the hand but all actions with it suffer a -4. He can preform tasks that require two hands if he passes his strength test and the penalties for these actions only suffer a -2 as the heroes good hand picks up the slack. For 3 points the heroes whole arm suffers these effects. If he attempts to use the arm it requires a TN 11 strength roll and the penalties for actions using this arm are at a -8. Any action that requires two hands suffer the same penalties as the One-Armed Bandit hindrance unless he passes the strength test to use his bad arm.

One Eye 3 – Your hero lost an eye somewhere along the line. Now she has trouble judging distances and perceiving threats from her blindside. Cut range increments in half for any weapon your hero is using. Also she suffers a -2 to Cognition rolls when trying to notice anything on her blindside.

Bad Teeth 2 – Your hero has chompers that would make ol’ Doc Holiday flinch. The biggest problem for him is trying to eat solid food. As long as there’s a stew or soup he’s but don’t even think about beef jerky or corn on the cob. In game terms if your hero has only solid foods to chose from at chow time roll a TN 9 vigor roll, if this roll is failed your hero can’t manage the food and has to go hungry. As you can imagine repeatedly failing this roll can lead to starving.

Nervous Nilly 2 – Your hero has trouble in social situations. She has a nervous tick such as wringing her hands, stuttering, not making eye contact, or excessive sweating during conversations. She suffers a -2 from any overawe, bluff, perform, or ridicule rolls. On the bright side, years of being berated for this tick gives her a +2 to scrutinize rolls.

Midget 5 – Folks treat you badly, and you feel fortunate if they just ignore you. By taking ths hindrance you are Size 4. Your Pace is Nimbleness divided by 2. The maximum Trait die for Strength is d6. In most cases, the Marshal should rule that overawe and hostile persuastion rolls are at -4. On the plus side, you can dodge and sneak at +2.

Tenderfoot 3 – Some dudes just aren’t cut out for the dangers that await on the wild frontier, and your hero is one such greenhorn. For as long as he’s been out west he’s never seem to fit. Your hero has a -1 grit. A hero with this hindrance can’t take the True Grit edge.

New Edges

Veteran o’ the Weird West – just a note here. You may not want your hero to start off as a veteran o’ the weird west, ignorance is bliss after all, and I’m fine with that. Most likely you will earn this edge during the course of play. Basically if you tangle with things supernatural in nature it’s going to happen. You need to have or purchase at least one point in academia: occult, have defeated an abomination, and suffered one of the ill effects from the VOTWW table. Meet those prerequisites and you are considered a veteran, with the 1 point of grit and 15 points for aptitudes and/or edges. Also VOTWW comes with a point of Grit. You can’t fight all the nasty critters that gives you this edge and the nastiness that comes with it without earning the primary reward for facing those nasty beasties.

Veteran o’ the Wild West 0 – This hombre has seen all the west has to offer. Boomtown brawls, the Great Rail Wars, the War between the states, deadly gunslingers, and ruthless injuns. He’s drunk stagnant water from muddy hoof prints and been happy to have it. Your heroes been down the trail and maybe the stories of ghoulsish things in the night are just that because it’s one thing he hasn’t experienced yet. Your hero gets 10 points to buy edges and aptitudes or improve traits and coordinations (at the usual cost). This doesn’t give you as much as Veteran o’ the Weird West but the cost’s aren’t as high either. If you take this edge draw a card and let the Marshall know what you pulled he’ll cross reference it with his table and let you know what your travels through the wild and dangerous frontier towns have left you to show for it. These range from bad habits to permanent bodily injury so make sure its really worth it. One more thing Veteran o’ the Weird West supercedes this so you can’t have both.

True Grit 5 – Some folks just seem to exude toughness and your hero is one of them. He has gravel in his guts and ice water running through his veins. It takes more then some tough words or long shadows to spoke this hombre. Your hero has +4 Wind, +2 to stun and recovery checks, and +1 grit.

Fast as Lightning 1-5 – When your hero goes for his irons folks best not blink or they’ll miss it. Some say he’s the fastest gun in the west and they might be right. Each rank in this edge gives your hero a +1 to their quick draw rolls.

Contortionist 2 – Sure, your fellow posse members will laugh at you for being ableto bend your knees backward or fit into a suitcase. Their laughter will turn into pleadings for help and praise as you wiggle out of your ropes those cannibals tied you up in and ride away as they wait to find out who’ll be breakfast. Contortionist characters are extremely flexible, giving them a +2 bonus to any Corporeal Trait or Aptitude check such freedom of movement would assist in (i.e. getting out of ropes, sliding your hand between the cell bars to grab the keys the sheriff left hanging on the wall, etc.). In addition, a character who is a Contortionist can treat his Size as one smaller for slipping through small passages.

Full-Fisted 2 – Sometimes a cowpoke just has to fire a rifle one-handed, your hero makes a habit of it. Whenever she uses a rifle one-handed she reduces the normal -2 penalty to a -0.

Hip-Shootist 1/3 – This hero has probably lost a toe or two he’s so quick on the trigger. Usually he barely skins his smokewagon before the lead starts to fly. A hero with this edge subtracts 1 from any shoots from the hip. At 3 points the penalty is removed completely.

Master of Daring Feats 3 – Some folks seem to laugh in the face of danger. They risk life and limb performin’ feats that turn most dudes guts to jelly and usually survive to tell the tale. For this hero leaping box car roof to box car roof on a speeding train, jumping there horse over a ravine, or hoping onto an outta control nitro cart to rain it in before it gets to town seem like the mundane. He receives a +2 to any nimbleness roll when he has to perform an acrobatic and dangerous task such leaping large gaps, climbin’ around on fast moving vehicles or animals, or attempting some other risky stunt.

New Knacks

Tempest – just a minor change here. The chips will work in steps now. So a white chip is the first step for the hex, a red is the second and a blue the third. Legend chips are still the Marshall’s call. This means it is now possible in some instances to get higher then 2 pair with tempest on a blue chip.

Touched by Death 5 – This pour soul has seen more than the elephant, he’s walked hand and hand with death to the river sticks but before he took his boat ride someone yanked his spirit back to the land of the living. It left him with the knowledge of the other side and some ability over the dead, that’s dead not undead. Also there’s not much left that can shake him after this all but coming back harrowed. Oh and if you died all the way before coming back you can’t take this take and lose it if you become harrowed.

White Chip – If your hero ever fails a guts check he can throw a white chip in the pot and roll again.
Red Chip – The hero can gleam information from fresh corpses with a red chip. The corpse must be no more than a month old. He can see any events that the corpse viewed up to 3 months before his death. This can sometimes be cryptic though as everyone has different ways of perceiving the world but usually the hero is able to get some useful information.
Blue Chip – With a blue chip your hero can pull a corpses soul kicking and screaming back from the other side, well it’s not quite so dramatic most folks are just a bit confused when they come to but are civil enough. He must make contact with the corpse of the soul he wants to speak to and make a TN5 spirit roll. If he succeeds the corpses spirit returns to the body. Breaking contact for any reason allows the spirit returns to the hunting grounds and the spirit can only remain on this side for 1d4 minutes before it burns to ash, this is great for hostile spirits because you can always let them now that you’ll let ‘em burn right up. This ability can only be used once per session.
Legend Chip – The hero is able to to pull the soul back back of someone who has died before they cross the river styx and bring them back to life. The person they are return to life can’t be dead longer than one hour and there death wound must be treated by a doctor in a way that could pass as survivable, it isn’t perfect science and there’s a good deal unexplained magic going on here. Then the hero must make contact with the corpse and not break it for one hour while he goes into the great beyond to fetch the soul and bring it back, if he breaks contact for any reason he fails and the soul can not be recovered.

Draw! - Makin' Heroes

Deadlands: No Man's Land joeyschichtel