Saturday, January 9, 2021

A Character A Day (kinda sorta): Deadlands

 First, not that anyone is reading this, but I apologize for missing a couple days. I had to travel for a doctor's appointment, and when I got home yesterday, I wasn't really in the mmod for character creation. Not that anyone is reading this anyways. 8)

But, today we are back at it. Originally, because I am sitting here watching Day 14 of the NJPW 2020 G1 Climax tournament (a Japanese wrestling tournament from last year, for those who think I am speaking in tongues), I was going to make a character for Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game. However, looking over those rules, I quickly realized I would need to read those rules over a little more before I tried that.

So, instead, I decided to try making a character for DEADLANDS, since a friend of mine is interested in running a Deadlands campaign at some point. This gives me an excuse to learn how to make a character.

For reference, I am using the 20th Anniversary Edition of the Deadlands core rules for generating a character.

Step 1: Concept

I am going for it right off the bat. Gunslinger. Not gonna waste any time, or beat about the bush. I am going to spin my slightly differently though, and have my character be an exiled British noble, with a penchant for settling arguments through personal duels.

Stpe 2: Traits

I love systems that use drawing playing cards as a mechanic. Okay, let's shuffle up and deal! 

In DEADLANDS, you draw 12 cards from a 54-card deck (you include Red and Black Jokers), then drop 2 cards, and use the remaining 10 to populate your abilities of  Deftness, Nimbleness, Quickness, Strength, Vigor, Cognition, Knowledge, Mien, Smarts and Spirit. My 12 cards are...

8C, 5H, 3D, 4H, 5D, JH, JC, 10H, 8D, Black Joker, 3C, KH

I am going to drop the 3 of Clubs, and 8 of CLubs, as those are both Level 1 skills. I need to redraw a card for the black joker, to give me a skill level (as a Joker counts as a d12), and I will see about revealing the "mysterious past" element of my character that card gives me. My redraw gives me.... a Queen of Spades. So, no aces, but a King, a Queen and a Joker, so that is almost as good. Knowing I need to have high Quickness and Deftness, here's how I am going to split things up...

DEFTNESS        4d12 (joker)   


QUICKNESS     3d10 (KH)

STRENGTH       2d6 (5D)

VIGOR               3d6 (4H)

COGNITION      2d6 (8D)


MIEN                  3d8 (10H)

SMARTS             3d6 (5H)

SPIRIT                1d8 (JC)

I think this defines my character pretty well. High Deftness and Quickness, because he is a gunfighter. Low Spirit, because since he comes from across the ocean, it makes sense he would have a lesser connection to the spirits of the Weird West. Higher Knowledge, Smarts and Mien because he would be better educated than many as nobility, and probably command respect. Average for everything else.

Filling out secondary traits, we get...

Grit   0    / Pace   6    / Size   6    / Wind   14

STEP 3: Aptitudes

Aptitude points come from adding your Knowledge, Smarts and Cognition die together. Adding these up, we get 8+6+6=20 Aptitude points.

For automatic aptitudes, I get Climbin' 1, Search 1, Sneak 1, and Knowledge: Home County 2.

Well, I'm a gunslinger, so I need Shootin': Pistols 5 and Quick Draw 5. That leaves me 10 points left.

I am going to add Overawe 2 (to represent his sense of noble privilege), French 1, Academia: History 1, and Gamblin' 1 (because even a gentleman has to make a living). That leaves me with 5 points left for now. I will add Shootin': Rifles 5 for 3 more points, Ridicule 1 and German 1. There. No points left.

STEP 4: Hindrances

Now, I can add up to ten points of Hindrances, which can let me buy Edges or more Aptitudes.

I am going to take Bloodthirsty for 2 pts. (that's why he is exiled), Ferner for 3pts (he IS British, after all), High Falutin' for 2 (he IS a noble, after all), and Doubtin' Thomas for 3. That gives me 10 extra points.

STEP 5: Edges

Well, I have 10 points to use on Edges. After a little perusing, I think I will take Two-Fisted for 3pts, "The Stare" for 1pt, "The Voice" - Menacing for 1 pt (since that gives my Overawe a +2), Dinero for 3pts, and Belongin's for 2pts. That gives him some resources and material weatlh to back up his noble standing, an edge to back up his gunfighting, and two other edges that play into the idea of him being a noble, and demanding respect.

STEP 6: Background

So, the first thing I am going to do is address the "mysterious past" my Joker gives me. I am going to reveal the past, since this isn't a REAL character. Anyway, I draw a card for the "mysterious past", and I get... a King of Spades. A Cursed Relic. Interesting. I instantly come  up with an idea. Since I am playing my character as an exiled British nobleman, sent to the Americas for his penchant of killing opponents in duels, I make the cursed item his family's signet ring, which he always wears.  Since the write-up for a cursed item sasy choosing a mundane item means the character will have Bad Luck until he figures out the curse and rids himself of the item, I have a very creative idea. LEt's say that my character was exiled to the Americas until he could clear his name, because he was always getting in duels with people over his honour. So, let's say that the curse on the ring is one that, any time his honour is at stake, the only course of action my character will allow to restore his honour is a gunfight to the death. No matter how slight the dishonour, he wants to settle it with a gunfight. The irony being, until he renounces the family signet ring, the most personally significant item he owns, he will contantly be getting into gunfights to the death, and will never clear his name enough to be allowed back home. I think that fits the flavour of the curse quite nicely.

Alright, so here's what I got... 

Lord Blair James,  13th Earl of Huntington

Occupation: Gunslinger (he prefers to be called an Armed Duellist)

DEFTNESS        4d12

    - Shootin'    5d12

        - pistols, rifles


    - Climbin'    1d6

    - Sneak         1d6

QUICKNESS     3d10

    - Quick Draw 5d10

        - pistols

STRENGTH       2d6

VIGOR               3d6

COGNITION      2d6

    - Search         1d6


    - Area Knowledge: Home County    2d8

    - German        1d8

    - French         1d8

    - Academia: History    1d8

MIEN                  3d8

    - Overawe        2d8

SMARTS             3d6

    - Gamblin'    1d6

    - Ridicule      1d6

SPIRIT                1d8

Grit   0    / Pace   6    / Size   6    / Wind   14

Hindrances: Bloodthirsty, Ferner, High-Falutin', Doubting Thomas

Edges: Two-Fisted, "The Stare", "The Voice" (menacing), Dinero, Belongings

Belongings: matching silver-plated British Webley revolvers (same stats as Colt Peacemaker), 200 rounds of Webley .455 ammo (double cost of .45 ammo, must be imported), matching quickdraw holsters, gold watch, 2 fine suits, fine trenchcoat, riding boots, derby hat, silver flask w/ single malt Glenmorangie scotch, 1 deck of fine playing cards, $500 in gold coins, $500 in cash

Story: Lord Blair James was a minor British noble in an insignificant house of the British royalty. His family disitinguished itself by being an early trading house in the colonies of America, amassing a small fortune which raised the visibility of the house in British society. However, from an early age, the well-educated by but unmotivated Blair showed a particularly vicious mean streak, always getting in fights with anyone and everyone who ever dared question the honour of his family. Little did they know, the reason beyond Blair's fanatic devotion to his family's honor was the family's signet ring, which he never took off. He had received it when his father had died during his travels amongst the the Indian colonies, looking after the family's tea trade. What no one knew, however, was that the ring had been cursed before his father's death, when the elder Lord James had disrespect an Indian yogi of some fame. When he challneged the yogis fantastic displays of physcial prowess as simply "parlor tricks" and smoke and mirrors, the yogi cursed  his family, saying that whosoever wore the fmaily's signet would be cursed to constantly have to defend the fmaily's honour against every slight, no matter how small, until their reputation for violence ruined them. Blair come into possession of the ring as the oldest son (but not yet of the age of majority) when his father died. In a very short time, he gained a reputation as a bloodthirsty young noble, challenging anyone who would question his family's honor to a duel. By the time he turned 20, he had already shot down 15 men. His uncle, considered to be the head of the family until young Blair reached the age of 21, sent him to live in the Americas, knowing that with his reputation and the ill will he was creating, promoting Blair to the head of the family business would ruin them. He told Blair that he would be living in exile, supported as much as possible by his family, but unable to return home to claim his rightful place in British society until he did something to address his reputation as a ruthless, cold-blooded killer. Little did Blair know that as long as he bears his father's ring, he will always challenge anyone who questions his honour with a diel to the death, thus meaning he will never be able to return home until he renounces the one heirloom that connects him to his family. Until then, he lives a nomadic life in the colonies, living off his family's forebearance, and whatever money he can make from gambling. He is usually quite mild-mannered, relying on the common knowledge of his bloodthirsty reputation and his nobility to impress the local populace into quiet subservience. However, woe betide the man who ever questions his honour, or that of his family, for that challenge will be met  by copper-jacketed bullets and cordite.

Well... that was fun. I think that makes a relatively good DEADLAND gunslinger.

1 comment: