Return to That Godforsaken Country
Character Creation for Deadlands Reloaded: Return to That Godforsaken Country
Deadlands Reloaded runs on the Savage Worlds base rule set, which makes character creation a fairly straightforward process, although there are a very large number of options available. This is a basic outline.
Begin with your character concept: Who is your character and what is (s)he doing in the Weird West? Some possibilities are:
Law Enforcement Officer
Anything else you can think up that seems to fit is fine. You will want to decide early whether your character will have an Arcane Background (See page on Arcane Backgrounds.) Be forewarned, however: If you choose to take an Arcane Background it will dominate most of what your character’s advancements will be.
There are 5 Attributes in Savage Worlds, measured by die types. They are Agility, Smarts, Spirit, Strength, and Vigor. Each starts at d4. At character creation you get 5 points to spend increasing your attributes. If you spend one point on each Attribute (an “average” character) you would have each one at d6 when you finished this step. If you want to push one to d8, you would have to leave another at d4, and so on. Attributes are used in the following manner: There can be direct Attribute tests (such as rolling St to see if you can lift something), and Attributes are associated with skills. Skills cost double to raise above their associated Attributes.
Speaking of skills, after assigning the 5 points to Attributes you get 15 points to assign to skills. At this stage it costs 1 point to take a skill at d4, and a point to raise it one die type, up to the level of its associated Attribute. It costs 2 points to raise it above the level of the associated Attribute. (Example: Jane has Ag d8 and is assigning skills. She wants to take Shooting, which is associated with Ag. It costs her one point to take Shooting at d4, another point (for a total of 2) to raise it to d6, and another point (for a total of 3) to raise it to d8. If she wants her Shooting to be d10 the last increase would cost 2 points, for a total of 5.) Note that the skills are very broad. Here is the list:
Driving (Ag) (Note: Applies to wagons, coaches, and infernal devices)
Fighting (Ag) (Note: This is the skill used for all melee combat, no matter what weapon — if any — you use.)
Guts (Sp) (Note: This skill is not used in all Savage Worlds settings, but it is used in this one. While it isn't tested often, failing a Guts roll can have severe consequences — it is used to resist the fear and horror of extremely nasty things.)
Healing (Sm) (This is for medical-type healing, and must be attempted within an hour of the patient's receiving any wounds. Note that there are Arcane powers which heal as well.)
Investigation (Sm) (Note: This is used for research primarily from written sources, such as newspapers or court documents. For gathering information from people see the Streetwise skill.)
Knowledge (Sm) (Note: Must be specified, such as Knowledge: Law or Knowledge: Occult)
Notice (Sm) (Note: This is likely the skill used more often than any other.)
Piloting (Ag) (Very rarely used; applies to infernal flying vehicles)
Riding (Ag) (When engaged in mounted combat you use the lower of Riding or your combat skill)
Shooting (Ag) (Note: This skill is used for any ranged weapon that is not thrown, from buffalo rifles to revolvers to bows and arrows.)
Streetwise (Sm) (Used primarily to gather information from people.)
Survival (Sm) (Used to find food, shelter, etc. in the wilderness.)
Throwing (Ag) (This includes thrown weapons such as knives and sticks of dynamite.)
As a note, it is normally better during character creation to take a larger number of skills at low levels (even at d4) than only a few at higher levels. This is because during normal character advancement new skills cost double (2 points) what they cost at character creation.
The most important skills, which it is recommended each character take at a minimum of d4, are Fighting (because it affects the Parry derived Trait), Guts (special setting skill), and Notice (probably rolled more frequently than any other skill, including combat skills.)
In addition, each of the Arcane Background Edges has an associated skill. Characters without the AB could conceivably learn the skill, but it would be pretty useless.
Faith (Sp) (AB: Blessed)
Magic (Sm) (AB: Huckster)
Tribal Medicine (Sp) (AB: Shaman)
Weird Science (Sm) (AB: Weird Science)
Hexslinging (Sm) (AB: Hexslinger)
The Martial Arts AB has a separate skill for each power; in addition, Martial Artists are required to take TWO Edges: AB: Chi Mastery and the Martial Arts Edge (from the core rulebook).
Arcane Backgrounds represent one type of Edge which characters can choose, but there are a plethora of others, far too many to list here. Before Edges, however, your character must choose Hindrances.
Hindrances come in two categories, Major and Minor. Major are worth 2 points, and Minor are worth 1 point. You may choose up to 4 points of Hindrances; the standard practice is to choose 1 Major and 2 Minor, but any other combination will be allowed. You are not required to choose 4 points worth, or, for that matter, any Hindrances at all, but they are highly recommended. In the first place, the Hindrances you choose will allow additional benefits during character creation; the up to 4 points obtained can be used to purchase Attribute upgrades (2 points each), additional Edges (2 points each), or additional Skill points (costs as above.) However, Hindrances have a much more important use: When one of a player’s Hindrances has a significant detrimental effect on the character, the player gains an extra Fate Chip (a.k.a. “benny.”) Normally a player can only gain one Fate Chip per Hindrance per session.
Edges: During character creation each character gets one Edge for free, plus any additional Edges that are purchased with points gained from Hindrances. There is a plethora of Edges available in both the core rulebook and the DLR Players Handbook, far too many to list here. There are Edges that are applicable to combat, social situations, Arcane Backgrounds (in addition to the actual AB Edges) and a number of others. As a note, the “Knack” Edge should only be taken during character creation, not later. (See the page on Knacks for more information.) In addition, the “Veteran of the Weird West” Edge should only be taken by players who have played DLR before.
Finally, the character’s derived Traits are determined. Pace is 6 (equivalent to 30 in D&D terms) unless modified by Edges or Hindrances. Charisma is 0 unless modified by Edges or Hindrances (which will make it a positive or negative modifier to Persuasion or other social skill rolls). Grit is 1 for all beginning player characters. Toughness is 1/2 of the Vi die type + 2. (So a character with Vi d4 has 4/2 = 2 + 2 = 4, while a character with Vi d10 has 10/2 = 5 + 2 = 7.) Toughness determines how much damage a character can take in combat before being Shaken or Wounded. Parry is similarly 1/2 of the Fighting die type + 2. Parry is the target number for characters to hit in melee combat. Note that if a character does not have at least a d4 in Fighting the Parry is 2, which means that in melee an opponent must roll a 2 or higher to hit.
Finally (and this step can come later) write down an outline of your character’s worst nightmare — what really scares him/her? Don’t worry; it’s not anything that could possibly be a problem.