‘Bad Times on the Goodnight’ acts as a good introductory campaign for Deadlands, but I would recommend that both the players and Marshal have a few games under their belts before taking it on. The basic premise revolves around the characters being employed to help move cattle long-distance and the challenges against which they must prevail in order to do this. There is enough fodder here for a decent number of sessions, and the information is presented in a very readable manner, which will help novice and experienced Marshals alike. There is some variety in the types of encounters from roping panicked longhorns, to wrasslin’ with railroad thugs, and even a strange encounter in Roswell. The adventure boasts an action-packed finale, with plenty of room for players to spend time strategisin’ (and probably cussin’ by the time it’s over).
The major challenge in running this adventure is two-fold. Firstly, there are a few NPCs who are recurring travelling companions (or adversaries), and if the Marshal runs the other adventures in this series, some effort really needs to be spent to make each NPC shine. The PCs should care about (or hate) the main NPCs and playing on this will provide further motivation, and a chance for some good roleplaying opportunities. This isn’t made explicit, so the Marshal needs to consider how to build this rapport into their game. Secondly is the nature of the job for which they are employed. Basically moving cattle from Point A to Point B doesn’t sound too exciting, and can be a downright linear, mechanical process if you’re not careful. Whilst the premise is quite simple, running this adventure does have a number of subtle complexities. Marshals should consider this as they are planning their session.
That said, it’s a good start to the series, offers a range of situation types from investigation, to combat, to fast-talkin’ and this should make it widely appealing to Deadlands enthusiasts.
[4 of 5 Stars!]