Welcome to part one of my translation of the Deathlands novels into the Savage Worlds rules set!
NOTE: This is a violent and explicit setting. Prostitution, slavery, drug use, and intensive combat are common. This is intended for mature players only! I recommend the setting to be considered PG-13 at the minimum and depending on how the GM and players want to play it, can quickly run into the “R” rating. I personally would strive to keep it at the PG-13 area, not wanting to dive too deep into the more explicit and adult situations.
The world blew out in January 2001.
On January 20th, 2001, Russia and the US and their allies engaged in an exchange of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Both nations, along with the rest of the world, were devastated; humanity was badly culled, but not completely wiped out. There were survivors, and these survivors began to rebuild, though there were many obstacles – persistent radiation, radical changes to geography and climate, and mutated creatures and humans.
Humans are nothing if not persevering, through; three generations and 100 years after World War III, towns have been established, feudal baronies created, and traders have begun to travel the land, bringing news, goods, and hope to those without. Things are not the same, though, and never will be again. To those inhabiting the former lands of the United States and Canada, their new home is now called Deathlands.
Above from James Axler.com Wiki pages
Characters are created just as in the Savage Worlds Deluxe book. Everyone is human in this setting and most are not mutants. The exception are the doomies and seers (see the Edges and Hindrances below).
Doomie (Mutation) (Minor)
You have been born capable of seeing when death is near. This is both a hindrance and an edge. Anyone who knows of your ability considers you an outsider which imposes a -2 to your Charisma. Travelling in an area that has experienced the death of a sentient being within the past year leaves you feeling uncomfortable and on edge. You gain a +1 bonus to Notice checks but a -1 to all other Smarts and Agility skill checks. Any time you are entering an area that can likely turn into a violent conflict, you gain a sense of dread. You cannot be caught off-guard. You cannot be the target of “the drop”, you also have the same sense of unease that grants a +1 to Notice but a -1 to all other Smarts and Agility skill checks.
The only Arcane Background edges that can be chosen are Psionics and Weird Science. Both are extremely rare in the Deathlands and tend to draw unwanted attention.
Note: Weird Science is not really in the series per se. There are a few books that have the main characters running into high tech equipment though and I figured it would be a Savage World kind of twist to allow it!
Arcane Background (Psionics)
This remains unchanged except for the availability of powers. The only powers available are: Armor, Beast Friend, Blind, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Damage Field, Darksight, Deflect, Disguise, Divination, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fear, Healing(limited), Light/Obscure, Mind Reading, Quickness, Slow, Slumber, Smite, Speak Language, Speed, Stun, Succor.
This edge cannot be taken if you have Seer.
Healing Power (Psionic)
Healing power works as described in the SWD book, except it takes 1D6 minutes per wound healed. During that time, the wielder must maintain concentration. After using the healing power, the wielder must make a Vigor check with the same penalty imposed for the healing caster check or gain a level of fatigue. This fatigue will wear off as normal.
Arcane Background (Weird Science)
This AB is unchanged from the SWD book, except for the availability of powers. The only powers available are: Armor, Barrier, Blast, Blind, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Burst, Darksight, Deflection, Entangle, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fear, Fly, Invisibility, Light/Obscure, Pummel, Slow, Slumber, Smite, Speed, Stun, Wall Walker.
Each power must be its own unique creation and each must look like a believable scientific or technological device. The items created are closer to bleeding edge technological devices rather than the steampunk look they often look like in other settings. This edge cannot be taken if you have Seer.
You are naturally capable of seeing the future. You can use Divination a number of times per day equal to half your Spirit score. This does not require any power point expenditures. This edge cannot be taken if you have any arcane background.
Setting Rules (Updated!)
This setting uses the Blood And Guts, Born A Hero and the Critical Failures setting rules from the Savage Worlds Deluxe rulebook. In addition to these, the setting also uses the following.
Uneducated Masses: The majority of people in the Deathlands are illiterate. As a result all players start out with illiterate. This can be bought off at character creation by expending an edge or later by using an advance to buy it off.
I would like to point out that the environmental conditions like cold, heat, drowning, etcetera should all be used mercilessly!!!
See you next time!