I’m a pretty huge fan of Westerns so it’s no surprise really that I eventually got around to making a Savage Worlds treatment of the genre. After playing a session or two of Deadlands Reloaded I thought to myself, “you know, I really like this, but it would be even better if there was no magic involved.” Yeah, yeah call me crazy — that’s what makes Deadlands “Deadlands” — and while I still think Weird West stuff is totally cool and fine over in its corner of the world, my preference lies with straight up white hat, black hat and gray hat Western stuff. Like in the movies.
So, I set about taking a seed from Deadlands, pulling out the things I didn’t want and slapping in the things I did. I kept the gunfight mechanic but added in some additional rules around the effects of booze and gunfighter reputation. What really shines about this is the town of Megiddo itself, I feel. For the first time I detailed out a rogue’s gallery of 52 locals, one for each card in a deck — well 53, there’s a Joker in there there too. The idea is you can roll into any location in the town, draw a couple of cards, and have an instant situation develop between the NPCs, which the players can either latch on to or ignore. It gave the town a living, spontaneous quality that I enjoyed as the Game Master.
I did manage to run Megiddo once or twice to generally favorable reviews. There’s a looseness and freedom to running a Wild West game — everyone has some kind of exposure to the genre already so the players step in already having a feel for the setting and the characters. It makes things flow pretty easily. It remains one of my sentimental favorites.