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Deadlands D20 is considered to be a poorly attempted conversion that .. I understand how free-form character creation works and I like it but I. No, we don’t have any plans to bundle Deadlands D20, Weird Wars, or our other great games. We’re doing (orders only). Visit our web site for free updates!. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Please Note: This product requires the from Wizards of the Coast(r). Want to play Deadlands but prefer the D20 system?.

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Why is D20 Deadlands terrible? Hey guys, my group is planning on starting up a deadlands game. However, I believe it’s the d20 version. This is the picture on the cover: I was looking through the site though and no one here gives d20 free a good review.

I just wanted to find out why it’s so bad so I don’t get involved in something I won’t enjoy. Because the orignal rule system is so much better. It gives the world a much stronger and diffrent feel. The Deadlands rules were so elegant and perfect for the theme. The were a mix of dice and playing cards.

You cast hexes using poker draws and got number of actions based on a die roll based off of your speed and then a drew playing cards to determine when in the round you actually took those actions. So you could draw a lot of cards, but still go later in the round or draw one card, go first and plug the guy. Sometimes slow guys just get the drop on fast guys. I strongly recommend the old rules, if you can manage it. Best game I ever played. Deadlands rules are built in the theme of the Deadlands game.

The game is built around big heroes and villains and the atmosphere of poker chips and playing cards. The rules reflect that.

They’re fast, fitting and deliberate. Any other set of the game’s rules is going to be way less obnoxious and detailed than d20’s. If you grab one of the other Deadlands or Savage Worlds editions, the system’s not going to take any longer to learn than it would to sift through the materials for the d20 version.

And poker chips and paper clips. I think the original Deadlands rules, while stylish, were a cluttered and clunky mess of conflicting subsystems. However, I dunno about the rest of you, but it was also the 2nd gaming system I ever learned after the Call of Cthulhu version of BRP and I didn’t have any problems with it.

There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it quickly became second nature. Having a bucket-o-dice so everybody could have their various die pools in front of them without having to sort through things every time or reroll the same die to simulate a pool helps a lot. Everybody with an arcane background has to learn their own sub-system, but not knowing how the other guys’ mojo works is part of the charm, in my opinion.

I can’t think of any adaptation of an already existing system into the D20 ruleset that didn’t turn out to be terrible.

All of them just limit the choices you can make, prune out the unique things about the way the game handles things, and give nothing in return except a familiar ruleset for people too lazy to learn a new system, even though that ruleset is completely unfitting to the setting. If there are any that are actually decent, tell me. I’ve yet to see one. I brought it up to my DM and this is what he replied with: So, I did some digging on your inquiry and discovered some things.


Classic Deadlands seems to be seen as the clunkiest rendition of the system with the most flavor. Deadlands Reloaded is regarded highly but is cautioned as an oversimplification of the system akin to the 3. It also uses a different core book.

Savage Worlds On a side note, a lot of the anti Deadlands D20 hatred is stemming from the false assumption that it killed classic Deadlands, when in reality it was terrible publishing platform and non-vocal fan base. Thus, Classic players often akin themselves to being the victims of some tabletop holocaust at the hands of the publishing companies. So, there’s a lot of bitter feelings in that regard.

Deadlands Reloaded being a later installment into this franchise and utilizing a different core system escapes the brunt of this attrition on the merit that it is not D20, aside from that though, Deadlands Reloaded does seem to be the most well thought through version.

If it’s not too 4th edition, I’m strongly considering researching it. I highly doubt that I’ll be looking too much into classic though, a brief description of a round of it’s combat brings back the nightmares of Mech Warrior and spending an entire night getting through two rounds of combat.

Not that I will completely shun it though. For once, I’ve done my research. Classic is still an option if enough people want it. Based on what I’ve learned about though, I wouldn’t suggest it personally.

I’m interested to see what savage worlds did with it. I show you guys this so I can possibly send him this thread link and he can read over the playground’s opinions and we can decide what system we’re going to play. Deadlands D20 is as clunky and unbalanced as classic, but it doesn’t have the cards and token chips – and they created a very fun atmosphere. Deadlands Reloaded being a later installment into this franchise and utilizing a different core system escapes the brunt of this attrition on the merit that it is not D20It’s also Savage Worlds, which was originally designed as a spinoff from Deadlands, so it’s considerably closer to the original feel.

SW still works dice and poker chips where it can. If it’s not too 4th edition What does that even mean? A good enough compromise, I think, though I’m not too familiar with it. Just say away from the d20 version if you can, as said. Sure, it kinda works, but it’s boring and not made for games like this. Sort of a square peg in a round hole situation. Not sure, but I can guess.

Maybe he means as long as it doesn’t suffer from the oversimplification that 4th did to 3. Or maybe he means as long as it doesn’t resemble 4th? I linked him to this thread so hopefully he can jump in and converse. I recall reading a quote on the publisher’s website admitting that they were mostly going along with the crowd and didn’t put a lot of effort into it.

Alternatively, rather than picking the lesser of three evils, perhaps another system might work better for your group? I don’t think we know enough to suggest any but there are some out there.

D20 is clunky at times, yes, but it does offer a broad versatility and if you’re creative, can repurpose to any sort of game. Funny how you got on here before Steven did, Phil. I’m just trying to make sure we have a fun game with a fun system that doesn’t get old and really feels like a fun game.


Judging by the other threads on this forum though, D20 Deadlands gets beat up a lot because it’s so bad.

I’ve even heard multiple people say to never play it or “it doesn’t exist” so really it can’t be that good at all.

List of free Savage Worlds Adventures – Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forums

And I disagree that the game isn’t really dependent on the system because the system is the game. If it’s not a good system, deadlanss the creativity and imagination doesn’t mean squat. And there’s tons of Deadlands systems, I’m just working to find the best one. The original has a bit of a learning curve to it but it plays well. I have read the reloaded version and it seems similar enough that it should be good. Hey guys, I’m the DM for this Deadlands game.

Otherworld hit it right on the head. When I say too 4th edition, I’m referencing the oversimplification of the system. Mainly I want to avoid a cookie cutter character situation. I’m happy to jump in on this conversation and am open to all suggestions. People keep using that phrase, I do not think it means what you think it means. Either that or people don’t really understand the systems enough to d2 judgment yet do so anyway. Ok, so far, I’m seeing that D20 isn’t a viable option because it takes the flavor out of the game and gets boring correct?

Classic has a learning curve but is rewarding with the amount of flavor it brings right? And Savage Worlds was originally intended as a spin off of Deadlands so it retains a lot of the flavor but in a new system.

This is my understanding of what’s been posted so far. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m just trying to catch up on what I missed out on, I’ve been a long time reader of these forums, but this is my first time being a contributor, so please be patient with me.


Please elaborate, my understanding of it is this: Basically all the same capabilities within all the classes save for the flavor text accompanying it. That last post is in reference to the cookie cutter thing only.

I wasn’t saying anything about Savage Worlds. I don’t know how to shrink the quote. A huge pool of skills, spells, and edges to choose from s20 that no two characters will probably be alike yes they’ll share some similarities.


In fact the only thing that every character should have is the guts skill which is because everything is scary as hell in the weird west. In a game I played in a couple years ago had 2 hucksters: Mine was a combat-focused blaster who took mainly spell and weapon focused edges. The other mainly focused on card shennanigans drawing extra, swapping some out etc.

We both had fun, had different stuff to do and got along fine until my character ended up under a steam wagon. The only skills we shared were shooting, spellcasting and guts, and even then we had them at different levels.