Ok, some of you may have heard of this series, many probably have not.
Deathlands is an action series written primarily for men. There is lots of fighting action, some romantic interludes and a fairly formulaic plot between books.
I first found out about this when a friend from work let me download his extensive MP3 library that included the first 50 or so of the books in audiobook format from a company called Graphic Audio. What I liked about these was that the books are done like full cast audio dramas. There is a narrator and a different voice actor for each character. They also add in music and sound effects. The end result is quite entertaining.
But dude! Why are you talking about some random audio book series?
Deathlands is a series perfect for a role playing game. The setting is fully fleshed out and if you’ve read the series, there are plenty of locations detailed all across the US and across many areas of the world including Russia, South America and the Caribbean. Even if you haven’t read all the books, there is enough information online to piece together a pretty good idea of how it is laid out.
In a nutshell, Deathlands is like the world of Mad Max, but with a bit of a twist. The main characters of the series have stumbled onto a series of old pre-holocaust government installations call redoubts. Each of these are underground facilities, usually with hidden entrances. All of these facilities have a special chamber near the bottom of the facility called a MatTrans. They have learned how to use these but not how to control where it sends them. So each book has them popping into a new facility and exploring the area. Fighting whatever evil local baron there is and then heading back to the redoubt to jump again.
I personally would not run a game how the books play out. I would have the players roaming the Deathlands more akin to the old David Caradine show, Kung-Fu or the old series Have Gun, Will Travel. Or even like the 1970’s Incredible Hulk TV show. The players would wander through the wastes, trying to survive day to day and getting rid of evil and deranged barons.
I could also see a campaign evolving from a roaming game to the PC’s taking over a small village or even larger barony and defending their newfound kingdom.
Basically, the series is not half bad. It’s cheesy, violent and the writing can be inconsistent as the series was written by several authors.
What I’m going to do over the next week or so is to post a Savage Worlds setting for the Deathlands novel series.
I hope you guys like what you see!