Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Spotlight: Horror at Headstone Hill for Deadlands & Savage Worlds Adventure Edition

Horror at Headstone Hill is a sandbox campaign for the Deadlands Weird Western RPG for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.

It presents to you the entirety of Uinta County, Wyoming beginning Mid-May of 1884. The County's important areas are broken down for the Game Master and important people are introduced and statted out. A timeline of the settlement is also presented to help the setting take shape. While there is a central adventure presented here, like many Savage Worlds products, several dozen Savage Tales are included as well. These Savage Tales help the GM fill in information about certain areas, groups, personas, and critters and give them handy smaller adventures.

The level of detail for the setting is pretty perfect for my habits as a GM, which means the basic information is well presented but there is enough left open to easily customize the campaign area. To help bring my tastes into focus I can get very bored of dry descriptions of room after room or dense background information and this product has none of that. I think I spent less than an hour reading over the County and main campaign or Plot Point in SW terms. I then spent another 30 minutes skimming Savage Tales and where they might intersect certain NPCs or locales. I took some notes of less than a page for use in the game and at the table. My prep was less than two hours but when our first session began I felt very prepared. As a 50-something gamer with not enough free time I love that Pinnacle Entertainment Group gets what is important for a busy GM and what isn't though your mileage may very.

Horror at Headstone Hill works so well for me because it gives a light, but solid foundation to use as a springboard so that when my Players inevitably (within an hour of the first session) went for something I wasn't expecting I had enough information sketched out for me that I could roll with it pretty easily. And while about half of the first arc of the Plot Point has been central to the Character's actions I have not missed a beat filling in the other half they didn't pursue.

This product is literally perfect for my GMing style. I'm not overwhelmed but still informed with this area and I can easily pull in or drop out portions of the area depending on my needs that session. The box set and its maps are wonderful and I use my MacBook at the table to quickly look up something in the PDF if I haven't noted it.

I could not ask for a better tool to help wade into Deadlands for a long term Campaign, my first attempt a few years back didn't go as well and HaHH lets me confidently adjudicate unforeseen situations.

I'd also like to state that while I've owned every edition of Savage Worlds, it's newest edition, known as SWADE, communicates information far better than any previous core rules and all of the SWADE products I've purchased have been top-notch. In a lot of ways, I think it took technology and our industry to catch up to what Shane Lacy Hensley originally envisioned with SW (I remember his original format was going to be three-hole punched products that you could print off a new change when errata was made. I'd also like to take a minute to call out how much I enjoy having the SW Power Cards and Status Cards at our table. I tend to forget who is Shaken or Wounded or has what Condition and the cards make that so much easier to remember while communicating the appropriate rules, as well.

HaHHH succeeds as a great product for any GM wanting to run Deadlands. While I think it could be used with other systems I don't think it would succeed as well if the setting did not have magic, weird tech, shaman, and undead desperados. Before choosing Deadlands I did look at Chaosium's Down Darker Trails and I'm sure this would have been a solution if I had chosen those rules. I also love that it is a box set for the nostalgia that brings me from my AD&D 2nd Edition and Role Aids days.

I heartily recommend Horror at Headstone Hill and I'm excited that a similar product will be Kickstarted for Savage Rifts by PEG on Black Friday.  I will wholeheartedly back that project.

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