When You Give Your Posse Dynamite…

I realized that I forgot to share a very important thing about my Deadlands Devil’s Tower campaign. In the middle of the campaign, the party snuck into Rock Island Prison, the Alcatraz of the Weird West. They were joined that session by a replacement character: a Scottsman martial artist (he really could throw telephone poles and such).

The real Alcatraz Island. The layout of Rock Island Prison is heavily based on this.

He also had dynamite on him. Now that wasn’t unusual in and of itself and I didn’t think much about it. Any character can purchase dynamite in Deadlands and I’ve often said that no Deadlands campaign is complete without at least one massive dynamite explosion.

As they’re traveling through Rock Island prison, they found an armory for the security guards. And they decided to blow it up. It took out a big chunk of Rock Island prison and managed to cut the guards off from the sublevels where they were.

When planning an escape route, they decided not to exit from the sewer pipe that they entered, but instead to just blow a hole through the wall. About this point, I asked how much dynamite the Scottsman actually had on him. He said that he had a whole bunch strapped on a bandolier. So he had a lot, but how much?

For this Legendary Rank campaign, I figured each of them had made a fair amount of money and gave each character $1,000 starting cash (which, adjusted for inflation, would have the buying power of roughly $20,000 today). Seeing as he had so much dynamite, I asked how much of his starting cash he spent on it. Turns out he spent $420 on sticks of dynamite (over 150 sticks!), put as many as he could carry on his bandolier, and put the rest of them in his saddlebags!

Unfortunately for the Scotsman, he started running low and only had twelve sticks left. So the party spent a few minutes trying to figure out where the best place to place them would be to do the most destruction to Rock Island Prison. Finally, one of the players said, “Why don’t we put them all right next to the ghost rock power generator?”

For those of you not familiar, ghost rock is a substance in Deadlands that is highly flammable, burns hotter and longer than coal, and is used to power all sorts of weird science gadgets. And Rock Island Prison had a power generator with superheated chunks of the stuff inside. So they set all twelve sticks of dynamite next to the thing, got as long a fuse as they possibly could, lit it, and ran for their lives! Old Pete picked them up in a getaway boat, fired up the engine, and went full throttle before…


And the posse blew up Rock Island Prison.

For what it’s worth, it really was a shining moment of awesome and I think it’ll be something that the group will remember for quite a long time.


Posted on August 23, 2011, in Gameplay and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Definitely, you should NEVER underestimate a Deadlands posse with dynamite.

    My group just found out the utility of it, as they were attempting to sink an ironclad warship, belonging to Warlord Kang of Kwan Province. They dropped an 8 stick bundle dead-center of the ship’s stern…the Chinese ogre pilot had one moment to look down before *kaboom*!

    A roll of 36 on the damage dice definitely didn’t hurt there!

  2. I had a posse dynamite an entire graveyard once. They had a meeting scheduled there with a not-too-bright baddie, and they sent some people in the night before. They knew about the ghoul tunnels under the graveyard, having cleared them earlier in the campaign. The PCs ran dynamite all through those ghoul warrens, under the entire cemetery. When the bad guy showed up, the PCs didn’t even bother to show themselves – they just set off the explosion and ran for it. It wasn’t quite enough to kill the tough old Harrowed outright, but it did slow him down quite a bit, allowing the PCs some breathing room they didn’t have beforehand.

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