Let me open up with saying I don’t play or know how the bennies work in Deadlands. I do know that setting has some unique rules as to how bennies are used.
The following are some ideas I had to spice up the benny economy in play. I currently use the red and green benny rules described below. The green benny rule actually came from Sean Patrick Fannon’s own house rule.
Here are some benny rules by color:
Red Poker Chip: Regular Benny
Green Poker Chip: Nomination Benny, the player can spend this to help another player.
Blue Poker Chip: GM Friendly Benny: When used, the player gets to reroll as usual, but they get to add another D6 to the reroll. Anytime a blue chip is used, the GM gains a regular benny added to his GM pool.
I have each player start with three red bennies and 1 green benny. What I’m looking to do is to have each player start with two red, one blue and one green. When bennies are handed out, I hand out a red or a blue benny, whichever color I have more of sitting in the poker chip holding tray. That way, it guarantees that there will always be blue chips out there!
Horror Setting Variant:
I always liked the idea that boons that help the players should also help the bad guy when playing a horror type setting. The following rule creates a balance of sorts in the horror game. The more the players use their bennies, the more bennies the GM gains to use against the players. I love giving players horrible choices! They can fail, or they can try again, but doing so hurts the party…..
For this, I would use black poker chips. Players start with their normal number of bennies. The GM starts with none. As players spend bennies, the GM gains those spent bennies. The more bennies the player spends, the more that the GM has to play with. This results in a scenario where the PCs are far more powerful, or “lucky” if you prefer, in the beginning but as the scenario advances, the GM gains more ability to screw with the players.
Additionally, I was also looking into creating a limit to the total number of bennies available. I would say the total number of bennies available in the game be four times the number of players. So a 5 player game would have a total of 20 bennies. Fifteen bennies start in play, with each player having 3 (unless they have unlucky or lucky). This is all the bennies that are available, period. The GM awards bennies as normal until the benny pool runs out. When the GM spends a benny, it is returned to the pool of available bennies.
In this horror variant, the GM wildcards do not gain bennies of their own, the GM only has his general GM pool to pull from.
I think this will create a tense benny economy, especially if there are several difficult challenges that force PCs to spend bennies early on in the game. But in this scenario, the GM should avoid hoarding bennies too much as well. Keep the bennies flowing, but keep the pool of available bennies low.
I also recommend using the joker’s wild setting rule with this variant. There’s nothing better than drawing a Joker and there are 5 players, but only 2 bennies in the available pool. In this case, the bennies go to the players with the fewest number of bennies. In case of ties, the players choose which player gets it.
What do you guys think?
Do you use some variant benny rules in your games?
Let me know!