See the Deadlands Fate Collection HERE.
We played the second session of our Deadlands Fate game right before the holidays. The recorded podcast of our session is up at theRPGAcademy.com.
Episode 2 – “The Good, the Bad, and the Zombie”
We jumped in right in where we left off the last time, with the dead train passengers rising from the dead. Martine fled from the zombie in his car, shutting him behind a door. He then moved through the train back towards the conductor’s car, where Jonah and Sebastian were. He reached a passenger car and saw the same scene of carnage that the others saw in the passengar car near them. Passengers rising from the dead, eyes glassy, their bodies twisted, attacking the other surviving passengers and Apache raiders alike. At this point the players suddenly thought to ask about the cowgirl they’d seen earlier. I got a big grin on my face as I let them know that in the confusion of the attack, she is nowhere to be seen.
Martine avoids the carnage by climbing on top of the passenger car, at which point he sees the cowgirl on top of the conductor car ahead of him. She swings over the edge of the train, kicking in through a window in a move that would make James Bond proud. She crashes through the window of the conductor car, where Jonah was, kicking the conductor square in the jaw, and immediately pulling her gun on Jonah. She insisted that he hand over Sebastian. To prove just how serious she is, she shoots the conductor in cold blood.
Sebastian was just outside the conductor car, and proceeds to pull a clever trick to send a stream of zombies from the nearby passenger car pouring to the conductor car, but not before Jonah managed to jump out of the way. The zombies attack the Wichita Witch assassin in the conductor car, and the last the group heard was a loud frantic chanting, and then a fiery explosion. Just outside the conductor car, Sebastian agilely makes his way up to the roof of the passenger car, where Martine has also ended up. Jonah was stuck down just outside the conductor car fending off the attacks from the zombies down there, with some assistance from covering fire from Martine up above. He turned a grapple to his advantage and leapt from the backs and shoulders of zombies up to join Martine and Sebastian on top of the passenger car. This whole sequence was pretty badass, and full of pulpy awesomeness.
At this point everyone realized that since the Witch’s explosion, the train was starting to slow down and would presumably stop, with them standing on top of a horde of zombies. Rather than get trapped up there, the heroes opted to leap from the train down a shrubby hill, with Martine’s mystically enhancing the vegetation to cushion their fall. Sebastian and Jonah had a little middair scuffle trying to make the other cushion their fall for them. It was pretty hilarious.
The train continued on down the tracks, carrying the zombies on down the line. We ended with the heroes realizing that they while they had escaped the immediate crisis, they now had a new problem on their hands. They were stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert and were completely unprepared for such a trek.
This was a super fun sequence. I felt like I invoked some legitimate horror at the beginning with the zombies, but things naturally took on a very cinematic and pulpy quality before long. The players started getting a better feel for how Creating Advantages can really be effective. The characters really started coming into sharp focus. And most importantly, everyone seemed to have a great time!
How Did It Work?
Through the train sequence, I established each car as a zone, with the platforms between them also creating another zone. We got into a bit of confusion when Sebastian tried to pull off his trick to sick the zombies from one car on the Wichita Witch Assassin in the other. I had to stop the action and sketch things out roughly (since I’m really not using tactical maps at all) to clear it up. I ended up letting Sebastian’s player, Michael, spend a Fate Point to declare that the doors opened up a certain way to pull it off. I probably made it too easy for his trick to neutralize the Witch, but it was clever, and I was just kinda rolling with stuff. In retrospect, I really like her as a recurring issue, so I’m kind of glad no one actually saw her die.
As Jonah found himself trapped on the platform with the zombies, I planned to ramp up the pressure by progressively stacking a growing teamwork bonus against him. However, he got out of that mess after the second round, so it didn’t really have time to build up that much pressure.
Frankly, there really hasn’t been anything too lethal yet. I’m still feeling my way out for how difficult different things are. A little stress was taken, and a few Fate Points were spent by the players, but there were no Consequences taken, and I didn’t spend any of my Fate Points. This was definitely a session where the “rule of cool” reigned.
I haven’t come up with a good method yet in Roll20.net to keep track visibly of PC stress, Fate Points, and aspects. The character sheets in Roll20 are just inaccessible enough, and awkward enough. Thus far, everyone has their characters on the same Google Doc, which I can easily toggle over to peak at. Not a great solution, but working… sort of.