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Game Mechanics

Character Creation

Deadlands is a class-less, level-less system where characters are built with a combination of randomly generated Traits, and points-buy Aptitudes, Edges, and Hindrances.

Presented in the books are a large number of thematic Archetypes which I’ve collated in the section below.

Some of these Archetypes employ backgrounds which provide mechanical and dramatic effects, these backgrounds can be combined in pretty much any way, provided you have the points.

  • Archetypes – Suggestions for characters that tie into parts of the setting.
  • Backgrounds – Character features that provide both mechanical & dramatic effects.
  • Arcane Backgrounds – Character features that provided magical mechanical & dramatic effects.


The end of the world means the “almighty dollar” is pretty much worthless in the post-apocalyptic barter economy, and while some larger communities may produce their own fiat currency, the basic unit of exchange has become the bullet.

Functional equipment is a precious thing in the Wasted West, and while world of 2080 was replete with technological wonders, keeping most of them working has proven impossible, meaning most of what people use end up being late 20th century equipment that’s simpler to keep going.

Beyond the Game

Points of Reference & Inspiration

  • Mad Max – Especially the later, weirder instalments.
  • Fallout – Weird apocalyptic tales, set largely in a desert.
  • Robocop – Think of it as a snapshot of what bits of America were like just before the last war.
  • Water World – For the ramshackle look of the communities.


Being a post-apocoliptic scifi western horror with magic, there’s a pretty broad range of miniatures that can work.

Wild West


  • Wild West Exodus – These really nail that “weird west” aesthetic.
  • Reaper Miniatures – Savage Worlds – The official Deadlands minis.
  • Malifaux – Leaning towards the weird steampunk look, Malifaux is a good source for character who aspire to civilisation.
  • Wolsung – Steampunk and Victoriana.
  • Privateer Press – A wide variety of minitatures with a fantastical steampunk feel.
    • War Machine – A wide variety of steampunk armies, ranging from regimented to monstrous.
    • Iron Kingdoms – A range of character models for their RPG set in the War Machine universe.
    • Hoards – Tending more towards fantasy, the hoards range has some possibilities for back to nature types.

Science Fiction

  • Reaper Miniatures – Chronoscpe – Reaper’s more scifi styled range.
  • Infinity – Leaning towards the cleaner, more “Ghost in the Shell”, end of the cyberpunk aesthetic Infinity has some great dynamic models for near future bad-asses.

Post Apocoliptic

  • Dark Age – For that scavenger, survivor, raider, or mutant look.

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