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Elvenoutrider
2013-02-27, 06:48 PM
Playgrounders, I have been asked to run a deadlands classic game and I have decided to run it in the great maze. For those not familiar with the setting may I suggest making yourself familiar with the setting and system as they combine to be one of the most fun games I have ever played.

Long story short is an earthquake has turned post civil war california into a monster and undead infested archipelligo with multiple factions including the union, confederacy, chinese, native americans, and mexicans fighting over it which makes it great for free form.

My players will be a team of smugglers/ pirates though I do not know for which side and do not expect them to decide on one. As smugglers I am looking for interesting carge for them to transport. i am looking at some star wars adventures and rewatching firefly for inspiration

Right now I have:

1)unknowingly and illegally transporting slaves
2) Dangerous wild animal
3) crate filled with gremlins
4) vampire casket
5) much sought after piece of mad scientist tech that someone will be hunting them for
6)A young blond kid with a sword, an old man, and their two partialy dismantled kill bots looking to avoid any confederate entanglements
7)pirate gold
8)large quantities of explosives
9)easily startled farm animals that could make a battle a little more interesting
10) zombies



Anyone else have any ideas for cargo, maybe something you have used in one of your games???

ArcturusV
2013-02-27, 06:56 PM
Weapons are always a classic one I've used. Chemical/Biological agents (Drugs, weapons, etc). Collectable objects, art, Stamps, something. Based on the setting as you described stamps would just be coming into a thing that people have, and start collecting. Rare stamps from exotic places? Always worth something. Easy to hide. And the sort of thing that most players probably wouldn't think of on their own.

Dr.Epic
2013-02-27, 07:00 PM
These:

-A gold with gems set in it.
-A piece of paper that reads: "safe combination 34137"*

Drive the PCs mad with confusion.

*the numbers can read whatever you want

Slipperychicken
2013-02-27, 07:11 PM
1)unknowingly and illegally transporting slave

Slaves need to be kept in good condition, in addition to needing food, water, air-circulation, and proper temperature (entire truckloads of illegal immigrants have died of heat exhaustion IRL because the smuggler forgot to let them out). In short, it's an extremely bad idea to try to smuggle those without the smuggler's knowledge. Unless you really like your slaves sick, dead, or getting the jump on the smugglers during their escape attempts.

Also, they are smugglers. Everything they transport is illegal.

ArcturusV
2013-02-27, 07:20 PM
Not necessarily. A gunrunner might have a perfectly legit cargo of Potatoes as well just in case someone cracks open a container to inspect.

Elvenoutrider
2013-02-27, 07:28 PM
It's possible if the trip isn't very long - past one checkpoint. There is also a big variation in what happens to smugglers caught with what cargo. The difference between fines or some jail time for illegally transporting alcohol vs being shot on sight out of shear disgust for transporting slaves

Slipperychicken
2013-02-27, 10:33 PM
Not necessarily. A gunrunner might have a perfectly legit cargo of Potatoes as well just in case someone cracks open a container to inspect.

If you aren't paying the proper taxes and duties on it (i.e. why it's smuggling and not shipping), it's illegal. No matter what it is. That's also why they generally don't let passengers carry food items onto planes.

Drakeburn
2013-02-27, 11:13 PM
1) Stowaways. Either they be spies, deserters, bounty hunters, or criminals.

2) A cursed artifact that summons or attracts monsters

3) A malfunctioning weapon that could misfire, resulting in disaster

4) Ill slaves that could turn into zombies

Just some suggestions I'm pulling out of my head

Animastryfe
2013-02-27, 11:27 PM
What is the technology level of this setting? Also, how is the industrial capabilities of the major factions?

Elvenoutrider
2013-02-27, 11:44 PM
It is a steampunk civil war setting with the mad science turned up to 11. you see columns of soldiers lined up to fire at the latest upstart mad scientist's steam powered automatons while steam jetpackers wearing asbestos pants perform flanking manuevers with dynamite launchers. Most wooden boats have been replaced by ironclads and the engine technology has gotten to the point where speedboats and tanks can exist, though all advanced tech is prone to sudden mishaps that can range from inconvenient to turning whatever town you are in into a smoking crater.


Basically for the most part its wild westvtechnology with the military of each faction having access to some limited weird technology along with the odd wealthy villain or raving mad scientist

edit: tech is whatever the hell the gm says it is in any given area, and this doesn't usually remain constant for very long

Surfnerd
2013-02-28, 12:27 AM
I was watching Firefly today and thought of smuggling slaves by injecting or feeding them some type of coma induced drug. Put them in some coffins with holes poked in them and bam stack em up. I'm not super familiar with Deadlands, but I'm sure there some kind of awakened semi-magical peyote type coma inducing paste that creates a catatonic state that lasts for a week.

But speaking of Firefly, they smuggle all kinds of stuff. NPCs seem to be all kinds of fun, maybe a companion, a priest and a doctor.....

If its a semi-tribal warzone filled with warring faction anything of value is probably going to need to be smuggled between points. Simple things like rum, tobacco, grain or cattle.

Vitruviansquid
2013-02-28, 04:06 AM
The way I see it, there would be no way in hell most smugglers would want to ship an item they don't know. They wouldn't know what the penalty for being caught with it is, they wouldn't know if the item is dangerous to them, and they might not know how to even handle the item (for example, smuggled slaves should probably be watched closer than smuggled items that can't make noise or escape). This creates the problem that whoever set these smugglers to carry something they don't know about probably had to pay them huge amounts of money to get them to agree to take it... but then again, if the item being smuggled is worth a lot, the danger of a double-cross, where the smugglers simply take the item for themselves becomes a big danger.

So here's my ideas:

1. Something like the Platinum Chip from Fallout: New Vegas - it's an item worth a ridiculous amount of money to the right people, but most folks, including the courier tasked with delivering it, will neither recognize its significance nor be able to use it.

2. A cooperating person, like Luke Skywalker or Simon Tam - Unlike smuggling slaves, smuggling someone who wants to reach where you're taking them is relatively low-risk. Hell, you could probably even get them to help out around your ship, and they're the ones paying you!

JustSomeGuy
2013-02-28, 05:33 AM
Might i suggest a viewing of smokey and the bandit :smallbiggrin:? No, ok... how about smuggling important NPC's - either taking fatcat bosses over hostile borders so they can influnece neighbouring economical politics (evil party, and the ycan do stuff like ferry around the corporate OCP guys from robocop who are all about profits and market domination and robots and junk, or ferry killing machine terrors or biological/chemical weapons from place to place and releasing them/setting them off before hightailing it out of harm's way - like the evil company from alien/s), or political leaders who are trying to make delicate alliances and parley and stuff but the polulations despise each other so the alliances take place in secret for decades influencing social conflicts and ethnic attitudes etc (good party trying to make stable societies and lasting peace and whatnot). I'm thinking willing people because they'll be easier to transport if everyone knows they're the cargo, smaller vehicles can be used so (to use the smokeyand the bandit example, the party can drive a muscle car instead of a truck, which would no doubt make for better evasion/route planning etc), and there can be interpersonal conflict becasue the NPC's can be important and have personality instead of a boatfull of nobodies with a cursory description.

Another thought: Ferrying crack troops, government agents and spies about, like commandos, foreign CIA insertions, the rescue team from predator etc. for a more neutral party, like the government can be made out either doing bad in the name of good, doing bad in the name of national security, or doing good for the good of their people or however you want to play it.

hamishspence
2013-02-28, 05:59 AM
Vehicles, as per the old joke about the guy who keeps being arrested crossing the border in a vehicle, all they can find in his luggage is sand- and when he retires, he tells the policeman that it was the vehicles he was smuggling.

i am looking at some star wars adventures and rewatching firefly for inspiration
It's been done in Star Wars comics too- in this case it was Han Solo, smuggling spaceships. Eventually the Imperials caught on, a little too late to catch him.

mjlush
2013-02-28, 08:18 AM
Anyone else have any ideas for cargo, maybe something you have used in one of your games???

A large crate of Maltese Falcons which must be delivered at exactly 22nd July 14:30
the cargo is junk what the chessmaster wants is the PC's in the right place at the right time :->

Jack of Spades
2013-02-28, 09:09 AM
It is a steampunk civil war setting with the mad science turned up to 11. you see columns of soldiers lined up to fire at the latest upstart mad scientist's steam powered automatons while steam jetpackers wearing asbestos pants perform flanking manuevers with dynamite launchers. Most wooden boats have been replaced by ironclads and the engine technology has gotten to the point where speedboats and tanks can exist, though all advanced tech is prone to sudden mishaps that can range from inconvenient to turning whatever town you are in into a smoking crater.


Basically for the most part its wild westvtechnology with the military of each faction having access to some limited weird technology along with the odd wealthy villain or raving mad scientist

edit: tech is whatever the hell the gm says it is in any given area, and this doesn't usually remain constant for very long

....Do I detect Deadlands?

If so, classic or SW? Because for classic...

Gremlins, Jackalopes, Prairie Ticks, Braincrawlers, Dusters, Flesh Jackets, Hands, Horned Serpents, Humbugs, Night Ravens, Saddle Burrs... Hell, those'd probably all come on of their own power!

Also, any cursed artifact. They're all fun.

If not, most of those names are pretty self-explanatory.

Beleriphon
2013-02-28, 09:24 AM
Realistically you could smuggle anything at all that wouldn't be easier and cheaper to get through legitimate means. It could be a cargo of water if you really wanted to set it up that way.

snoopy13a
2013-02-28, 11:09 AM
If you aren't paying the proper taxes and duties on it (i.e. why it's smuggling and not shipping), it's illegal. No matter what it is. That's also why they generally don't let passengers carry food items onto planes.

Yes, but penalty-wise, there's a huge difference between smuggling in items to get around paying tariffs and smuggling in items which are highly illegal.

Kami2awa
2013-02-28, 11:28 AM
A military unit in disguise. It's a Trojan horse-style attack.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-28, 11:54 AM
Highly addictive and harmful drugs. Bonus points if they're lethal and can be weaponized by the PCs.

Stolen figurines or busts of semi-famous dead people.

Expensive paintings.

Ancient vases from a lost civilization. Intended for sale to a wealthy collector, museum, or drug lord.

The Fury
2013-02-28, 12:05 PM
An elaborate chest with gold angels on the lid-- under no circumstances may it be opened because if you look inside your face will melt off.

If not that... a crate filled with lime gelatin? Sorry, I guess I'm not feeling very creative at the moment.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-28, 12:18 PM
Crates full of anarchist/communist propaganda.

Blueprints and technical specifications for a weapon which melts people's skin off, resulting in extreme/unnecessary pain, violating dozens of human rights conventions, and sending the users' alignment right down the tubes. Lower power settings allow it to be used for crowd control (like the lasers which DARPA was checking out). Bonus points if the PCs' organization has them test out a prototype for it a few months down the road.

snoopy13a
2013-02-28, 12:30 PM
Gems are always a good choice. They are also nice and compact. Perhaps stolen paintings?

lord of pixies
2013-02-28, 01:17 PM
im thinking something along the lines of trebbles. something small, but if the PCs interact with it the wrong way they multiply.

Mark Hall
2013-02-28, 02:11 PM
Do you want the cargo to be a plot point of a Macguffin?

Some cargos, it doesn't really matter WHAT the cargo is... just that it's illegal and they have it.

Other cargos will interact with the group... dangerous weapons, slaves, animals, cursed objects... so they become a problem due to their nature, not just their fact.

I'd decide on that, then go from there. Do you want them to have to deal with the cargo, or with just the fact of having the cargo?

Slipperychicken
2013-02-28, 03:33 PM
There was one mission in KotOR which involved smuggling.

Basically, the player has an ancient-looking box on his ship, and is strongly warned against opening it. Upon opening, the box sucks the protagonist's soul into it. He meets the soul of a long-dead guy who claims to have been in there for a thousand years. He wants to escape, but his body is dead, so he tries to use the protagonist's body, but allows him the chance to leave peacefully if he beats him in a game of riddles.

Something like an ancient spirit in a container could potentially be awesome, especially if it's crazy by the time the PCs get it. Maybe it could haunt the ship or something.

AntiTrust
2013-02-28, 03:34 PM
foo dog puppies

Mark Hall
2013-02-28, 03:57 PM
There was one mission in KotOR which involved smuggling.

Basically, the player has an ancient-looking box on his ship, and is strongly warned against opening it. Upon opening, the box sucks the protagonist's soul into it. He meets the soul of a long-dead guy who claims to have been in there for a thousand years. He wants to escape, but his body is dead, so he tries to use the protagonist's body, but allows him the chance to leave peacefully if he beats him in a game of riddles.

Something like an ancient spirit in a container could potentially be awesome, especially if it's crazy by the time the PCs get it. Maybe it could haunt the ship or something.

Heh. I missed that one entirely. I'm a goody-goody.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-28, 07:16 PM
Heh. I missed that one entirely. I'm a goody-goody.

Heh. I usually do my first playthrough of any game with the "good" actions. But when the game basically says "Peek into this box for adventure. Or not, if you want to be a BORING LOSER", I just can't refuse. Unless it's something truly bizarre, stupid, and out-of-character. Like that one Skyrim mission in which the protagonist willingly gets himself a life sentence in the prison from which no-one has escaped in a thousand years...

ArcturusV
2013-02-28, 07:18 PM
No One Escapes from Cigna Mine... yeaaaaah. That was stupid. Also when I did it, it bugged out. I still had the 10,000 gold bounty on my head after I escaped...

Axinian
2013-03-01, 03:00 AM
I'm fond of having smugglers smuggle exotic creatures... dangerous ones. Like rust monsters. Or velociraptors.

Elvenoutrider
2013-03-02, 11:09 AM
Thanks for all the ideas guys. My party has some very interesting adventures coming