Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween's A-Coming...

And I've got nothing to wear.

Also, I don't have any specific Halloween gaming tales to spin (this is a gaming blog after all). Heck, I just picked up a new board game and it doesn't even look like I'll get to play that unless I'm lucky.

Makes me a wee bit jealous (though that ain't unusual) of the stuff I'm reading around the blogs. I've just never been THAT into horror games (haven't even picked up Death Frost Doom yet!). Even though I own Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu, but I'd much rather read an H.P. Lovecraft story than try to make one up. That's just me.

White Wolf games are NOT my idea of horror, by the way (once you humanize the monsters, they lose their scare factor, even the Antediluvians...and Mummy, sheesh! WW made these guys the Dalai Lama of the World of Darkness!). World of Darkness my ass. This is a series that, in my estimation, has lost more and more with every revision.

Tell you true, here's MY idea of a horror RPG (it's even orange for Halloween):

Deadlands is one of my favorite "new school" games I own. Western? Check. Cannibal zombies? Check. And really, that's all I give a shit about, though I love games that empower American Indians as well (we'll have to talk about Shadow Run sometime...).

Plus, any time you're feeding meat to a horse is downright creepy.

But the system. Ugh! Deadlands is yet another game that I purchased, sold, and re-purchased simply because I love the entire concept of the Weird West. But for all the coolness the game is practically un-playable.

Why? Well, it's got a steep learning curve for a system (trying to explain the concept to folks who don't own the game takes long enough...trying to explain the system as well...?). Not the kind of RPG you can just introduce one evening as a "change of pace."

Then there's the extensive chargen. Fortunately there are archetype character templates to choose from, but for anyone who likes making their own character from scratch, it can take awhile. And long chargen systems, as I believe I've posted before, contributes to an expectation of "no character death." No character death? In a zombie western?!

Of course killing anyone in the game is made hard enough due to the over-complex combat system. When you have to track wounds and "wind" (fatigue) and bleeding and actions in a round and hit location and combat maneuvers (auto-fire? Fanning?)...well, heck I guess Boot Hill has spoiled me for life because I expect gunfights to be fast and furious, not slow and tedious.

In the end, Deadlands is a game that remains firmly on my shelf (I won't make the mistake of selling it back again!) as well as my favorite supplements (The Quick and the Dead and the Book of the Dead). But I probably won't get around to playing the game until I've had a chance to work it over and tweak it simple. Maybe I'll make it a micro-supplement for my microgame Clockwork....

Happy Halloween, folks!


  1. I used to have a shelf full of Deadlands, it was one of my favourite games a few years ago... however, game play can be... slow...

    And the player-versus player screaming matches that ensue from "just role-playing my character, damn it" when you have Hindrances that seriously f*** you up!

    Deadlands is on the top of my list of games to buy back when I can afford to - I'm thinking of starting with the stripped-down Reloaded edition. All I really want is the core books.

    Although, the Call of Cthulhu conversion/crossover, Adios A-Mi-Go...

    The main thing from stopping me from playing again is knowing who I'd be playing it with, and that's a whole other story.

  2. Well, and similar to Boot Hill, generally everyone wants to be the "fastest gun in the West," and only one dude can be the fastest...or rather, if there are more than one fast hand, sooner or later they'll be gunning for each other. And if there's NOT, then doesn't the fast hand end up upstaging the rest of the party in a Western type game? Similar to a Jedi character in Star Wars...

    One of the reasons I like Clockwork (originally entitled "Gunmen")...every player is a gunhand (similar to Boot Hill), but they are more distinct from each other with the addition of clockwork body parts (cybernetics). It's still fast (like Boot Hill) but a little more survivable.

    Just want to say...not much of a pun fan, but "Adios A-Mi-Go" made me snicker. I like it!

  3. Forget being the 'fastest gun', one of my characters was the best piano player in the west - rolled a 61 on piano playing (skill of 5d12), to impress the locals :)

    Having a lawman character in a group of opportunistic ne'er-do-wells is a recipe for disaster, particularly when the lawman disarms you before a major encounter for no other reason than trying to earn an extra fate chip for 'good role-playing'...

    And, a GM who tells you to create a thief-like character, because the game supposedly needs someone to do the sneaking around and investigating and fast-talking, and making an investigative reporter who would be better suited to Call of Cthulhu, and then having nothing but straight-up shootout encounters... and every NPC you meet refusing to talk to a 'muckraker' regardless of how good your social skills (and rolls) are...

    Well, as I said, like the game but can't stand the people I'd be playing it with.