Thursday, May 18, 2017

Madelyn Kidd's Academy for Inquisitive Children: Saturday Morning Investigations in the Deadlands

My recent enjoyment of Saving Throw's recently added Wildcards streaming role playing game show, and the announcement of a Scooby Doo/Supernatural crossover episode on the CW, I was inspired with a small campaign kernel. So join me as I introduce you to...



Madelyn Kidd's Academy for Inquisitive Children

On "real" Independence Day (July 3rd) 1863 the United States and the world experienced "The Reckoning." The border between Earth and the Happy Hunting Grounds was sundered, if only for a moment, and all kinds of terrors leaked into our world. On that day, the field of Gettysburg was littered with corpses...and some of those corpses rose from the grave to spread horror. In the years that followed, the sinister Reckoners selected four champions who would transform the world into a literal Hell on Earth. All of this is well documented in the Deadlands Role Playing Game. What is less well known is that on that day, the forces of Good selected some champions of their own. Four children who were born on the day of The Reckoning who might just have a chance at stopping the world's transformation, but only if they could meet up and gain sufficient knowledge and power to thwart the Servitors who served the Reckoners.

These young children would never have met if it hadn't been for Madelyn Kidd. A simple school teacher from Serendipity, Pennsylvania, Madelyn had been on a picnic with her beau Aleister McKenzie overlooking the Battle of Gettysburg when the events of the Reckoning took place. Her beau was killed by a stray bullet and as Madelyn reached over to comfort her dying lover, she experienced a vision of a terrible future. She saw the world as it would be if the Reckoners had their way. She also saw a vision of hope where she was the founder of a new kind of school, a school dedicated to teaching children the skills necessary to fight back evil and to bring joy to lands that are dominated by fear.

While her vision was grand, the results so far have been very meager. Madelyn Kidd's Academy for Inquisitive Children was successfully established in 1865 in the town of Serendipity, Pennsylvania. The first graduating class of two students matriculated in 1869 and both of these students have gone on to jobs with the Union Government. Since that time, Madelyn has trained a number of gifted young students and currently has 45 students enrolled in her school. For all that success, not one of her students has gone on to achieve any great success against the evils the world is facing. All of her students are struggling against the darkness, but no great hero has emerged. Madelyn is on the verge of giving up hope as her four oldest currently enrolled students seem more concerned with solving local mysteries than they are with confronting greater threats.

Madelyn had high hopes for these four students. All four were born on the same day, July 3rd 1863, and all four exhibited high levels of potential. They were quick learners too, but they lack focus. They constantly take day trips in their Stagecoach, which they have named the Ratiocination Roller, to neighboring cities to unravel mysteries that the locals think are supernatural. Initially, Madelyn encouraged the behavior because she knew how important it was to fight real supernatural dangers, but as it became clear that every "supernatural" foe the students fought was revealed to be a fraud she began to lose hope. How would these students fare against the real horrors of the Weird West, let alone the Servitors, if they never had to face down supernatural horrors? It's a worry that has begun to affect her sleep. She recently sent them on a trip to disputed territory to do a field study of flora and fauna in the hopes that the students would begin their training in earnest. Time is so short and 17 year old kids have to grow up quickly in the Weird West.

What Madelyn doesn't know is that her students really are fighting supernatural foes, they only make it appear that the creatures they defeat are humans in disguise of swamp gas. This is because "Em" Vilnius noticed that when she made towns think that the evil that haunted them was a mere trick being performed by greedy individuals, those towns became happier and more successful places. It didn't take "Em" long to catch on to the fact that the best way to undermine the Reckoners was to take away the power that fueled them...fear. The kids, who call themselves Ratiocination Incorporation, are looking forward to their trip into the Weird West with the knowledge that if they get into too much trouble, they might be able to call on Madelyn Kidd and her other students to help them fight the good fight.

What every the case, Madelyn hopes to create a world where the Reckoners might have succeeded if not for those Madelyn Kidds kids.




Madelyn Kidd 

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d8, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Spellcasting d10, Stealth d4, Streetwise d8
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5; Grit: 3
Hindrances: Enemy (Major), Heavy Sleeper, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), Attractive, Brave, Connections, Investigator, Linguist, New Power, Power Points
Powers: Armor, bolt (burning cards), hunch, mind rider; Power Points: 15
Gear: Hatchet, Knife (Str+d4) x3, Playing cards x8, Shirt/blouse, dress, Spectacles, $247 

Jedediah Heiter

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d4, Guts d6, Investigation d6, Notice d4, Persuasion d4, Repair d8, Shooting d6, Weird Science d8
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 5; Grit: 1
Hindrances: Big Mouth, Doubting Thomas, Overconfident
Edges: Arcane Background (Weird Science), Knack (Bastard), New Power
Powers: Deflection (Jedediah's Ocular Disruptor), stun (Jedidiah's Auditory Imbalancer); Power Points: 20
Gear: Backpack, Bed roll, Boots, Canteen, Derby, Drill, Duster, File, Gun belt, Hammer, Lantern, Lantern oil (per gallon) x2, Lockpicks, Mule, Rifle (.38-.52) x5, Shirt/blouse, work, Trousers/skirt, Watch, gold, Winchester ‘76 (.45) (Range 24/48/96, 2d8, Shots 15, AP 2), $62.65

Petra Quartz

Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d4, Riding d6, Shooting d8, Streetwise d4, Throwing d6
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5; Grit: 1
Hindrances: Arrogant, Stubborn, Vengeful (Minor)
Edges: Quick Draw, Two-Fisted
Gear: Backpack, Bed roll, Boots, Chaps, Colt Peacemaker (.45, Double-Action) (Range 12/24/48, 2d6+1, Shots 6, AP 1) x2, Duster, Gun belt, Knife (Str+d4), Pistol (.40-.50) x10, Quick-draw holster, Rifle (.38-.52) x5, Shirt/blouse, work, Trousers/skirt, Winchester ‘76 (.45) (Range 24/48/96, 2d8, Shots 15, AP 2), $133 

Eliza "Em" Vilnius (Hellstromme)


Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Faith d8, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Investigation d4, Persuasion d8, Riding d6, Shooting d6
Charisma: 2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5; Grit: 1
Hindrances: Bad Dreams, Heavy Sleeper, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Miracles), Brave, Charismatic
Powers: Aim, armor, barrier, beast friend, blind, boost/lower trait, confusion, deflection, dispel, elemental manipulation, environmental protection, exorcism, gambler, greater healing, healing, inspiration, light/obscure, protection, pummel, quickness, sanctify, smite, speak language, stun, succor, warrior’s gift, windstorm
Gear: Boots, Horse, Knife, Bowie (Str+d4+1, AP 1), Saddle, Saddlebags, Shirt/blouse, dress, Shoes, Shotgun shells x2, Suit/fancy dress, Trousers/skirt, Winchester LeverAction (Range 12/24/48, 1–3d6, Shots 4, +2 Shooting rolls), 80¢

Mockingjay 

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Riding d6, Throwing d6, Tracking d4, Tribal Medicine d6
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 7; Toughness: 6; Grit: 1
Hindrances: All Thumbs, Curious, Loyal
Edges: Arcane Background (Shamanism), Beast Master, Brawny
Powers: Beast Friend, healing; Power Points: 10
Gear: Arrow x5, Bolas (Range 4/8/16, Str+1, Shots 1, see notes), Boots, Bow (Range 12/24/48, 2d6, Shots 1), Horse, Knife, Bowie (Str+d4+1, AP 1) x2, Shirt/blouse, work, Spear (Str+d6, Parry +1; Reach 1; requires 2 hands), Tomahawk (Str+d6), Trousers/skirt, $68.50
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