Saturday, March 21, 2015

It's All Black

Despite many attempts I have never warmed to Deadlands. I like Westerns, and I like supernatural Westerns -- High Plains Drifter is ace and Preacher is one of my favourite comics of all time -- and I have a fondness for multi-genre kitchen sink games, and I love Savage Worlds, so I should like Deadlands but it's never clicked for me. Big, perplexed shrug.

As such I wasn't too interested when Pinnacle Entertainment Group cranked the game world's clock forward a few decades for Deadlands Noir, but Stuart was interested and a good thing too as we've played a couple of sessions in the past two weeks and it's been great fun.

Stuart was not impressed with the published campaign for the game so he chucked it out and instead wrote something a bit more freeform and situation-based that saw us playing as employees of a struggling private detective agency tasked with finding a New Orleans socialite's lost poodle. From that humble start we uncovered a Mafia interest in the case, borrowed some money from said criminal organisation without asking them first, kidnapped a spy, recovered an experimental weapon, shopped said spy to his enemies, blamed the missing money on that poor spy, and -- most crucial of all -- found the lost dog.

Oh, and there were some zombies too.

The walking dead aside, the game has captured the noir feel, with multiple factions all vying for the prize and our hapless detectives -- most of whom seem to have no useful detective skills, and proved unable to shoot guns or drive cars with any success -- in the middle, doing everything they can to come out of the mess with something in their favour and as few bullet holes as possible.

It has been big heaps of fun so far; how much of that is hardcoded into Deadlands Noir and how much is a result of Stuart's adventure design I don't know but I feel none of the ambivalence I've felt to Noir's older cousin. I am already looking forward to my next visit to this strange and dangerous alternate New Orleans.


  1. So funny, I had a very similar experience in that I don't like Westerns over much, and I'm generally not a big horror fan, but when a buddy took Deadlands and created his own, homebrewed setting for it, the game rocked.

    Other attempts I've made to read, and play Deadlands left me flat. Not interested in the slightest.

    1. It is very strange. I should like it but it doesn't click. I have no idea why. There is probably something profound to be said about the right GM making a game work, but it's too early on a Sunday for me to string those thoughts together!

    2. I will say that although I've run and enjoyed Deadlands, I've always had the nagging feeling that I'm not enjoying it as much as I should, if that makes sense. Certainly, I hated the Plot Point Campaign I ran and will never run another. But even the core books leave me a bit flat. Somehow, the magical and the weird get flattened and muted.

      I have had my my eye on Deadlands Noir for a while now. I'll probably pick it up eventually.