Ghost Rock Reckoning

"Ghost Rock Reckoning" is a Savage Worlds Deadlands campaign run in 2023 with the Houston-area RPG group.

The campaign followed the adventures of certain citizens in the town of Howell, Wyoming during the year 1884. The party was brought together while traveling west on the Denver Pacific rail line passing through Cheyenne to Laramie, until their train is derailed under questionable circumstances. After disembarking near Laramie, they found themselves in the employment of James Williamson Bosler on his Eighth of the Bar Ranch. From there, the Weird West took over providing escapades for characters while they continued to survive on the High Plains. The first episode was played on May 27, 2023, continuing weekly until later, with the game sessions happening on Saturday evenings, but taking time off for various interruptions.

Campaign Setting

The Weird West of Deadlands is much like the Wild West of our own world, but with a few bizarre differences. In this alternate timeline, the most notable of these is that the Civil War lasted five years longer than it did in our history. The United States changed drastically after the “Great Quake” of 1868 with part of California split asunder and falling into the Pacific Ocean, while the remainder of the state is transformed into a maze of labyrinthine sea canyons. With the West Coast changed forever, a new geological discovery is made from beneath the surface. Like coal, this sedimentary deposit is composed predominantly of carbon along with white streaks within the strata. This new mystery ore is called "ghost rock", as it burns hotter (and louder) than normal coal and has allowed for an era of super science with this ore being the main fuel supply. Super science quickly transitions to weapons of war and the additional years of the American Civil War see weapons and constructs that are more efficient at destroying the enemy. The War Between the States finally ends at Battle of Washington in 1871, with General Meade (not Grant) forcing General Lee to capitulate. Even though the race to complete the transcontinental railroad has been won, rail barons continue to fight bloody battles to decide who will control the country's main source of transportation. The Sioux have retaken the Dakotas and the Coyote Confederation dances the Ghost Dance on the High Plains. Some even say the dead walk among the living. 

Player Characters

The main function of this campaign is a plot-driven story line with character just trying to survive the Old West Wyoming while avoiding the supernatural evil that seems to permeate everyday life. The characters are stationed in the remote regions of southern Wyoming, just north of Laramie, defending the United States citizens and Native Americans against growing supernatural threats. At the outset of the campaign, each player will start with one character. All players have the option to select Hinderances, then allocate character points into Attributes and Skills, finalized by Edges. Humans are the only race allowed, to mitigate the issue with other races seen in fantasy and superhero settings. Advances are awarded based on game play, not just killing enemies.

Important NPCs

As the campaign was self-contained within the area of Wyoming in 1884, the players had ample opportunity to meet and establish a variety of NPC contacts, allies, and enemies. Each NPC had a different significance to the campaign, as the players developed relationships that had a bearing on the overall campaign. Minor NPCs tended to add enrichment to the main plot points, while major NPCs offered a perspective which either complemented the players or added an adversarial aspect to the campaign. Due to the scope of the campaign, actions of the players sometimes dictated the importance of NPCs to their characters' lives. Some NPCs were not grounded in one place and would appear in totally unrelated locations, while others would always be in the same place for the players to find them.

Episode Guide

Each weekend, the players assembled to play what has been designated as an episode. The characters initially were assigned to Fort Valjean in the central part of Free Quebec, to defend the base and support the outposts of Cosette, Eponine, and Fantine. As the campaign progressed, adventures occurred farther from their home base. Each week, a recap of the most recent episode’s happenings was sent out via email to allow those who have been missing for many or few episodes to get a feel for what they had missed. Since this campaign was developed before the advent of DIY websites and social media, information about the adventures of Blue Fox squad have been documented here.

Places of Note

The main plot of the campaign revolved around the encounters taking place in the Deadlands reality of 1884 Wyoming. A map was created to give the players a visual aspect of where their characters are traveling to and from. Individual towns and villages were not mapped out as their sizes are small in comparison to cities and military installations. As the campaign progressed, general information was given to flesh out the locations.

Rules and Redundancy

The main goal of the campaign is to have fun. Unfortunately, there are times when rules can come into conflict when players are attempting to achieve their goals. House Rules allowed for situations like these to be mitigated when there was insufficient information to deal with specific encounters.

Weapons Locker

Core rule books contain a plethora of melee and ranged weapons for the players to choose from. However, there are times when the characters encounter weapons and items of power that go beyond the scope of what is readily available for purchase. Herein lies an inventory of non-standard items encountered throughout the campaign, from the mundane to the spectacular.

Ghost Rock Reckoning  by Eduardo Ferigato, Important NPCs by Jakub Jagoda, Places of Note by Rosy Ziegler

All other artwork on this page falls under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.