So I found this on a Savage Worlds Facebook group of some other big changes coming to Deadlands. The Confederacy is being retconned so that it lost the war and is no longer a playable faction. This was listed as one of several things in an October update on the official site.
Shane Lacy Hensley said:Hey friends! Let's talk about today's Deadlands announcement.
I'm going to try and keep it short, but...we'll see. (Edit: I failed. )
First off, the ultimate decision to ditch the CSA in the Deadlands timeline is mine and mine alone. I created the world, I run the world with the help of some excellent people, and I know where it's heading.
Some may not know my bona fides, so here they are to avoid that discussion. I have a Masters Degree in Political Science and Military History. I've read dozens of books on the Civil War, visited at least a dozen museums, and walked the battlefields from Gettysburg to Franklin, TN and even out here in Arizona (the furthest "battle" of the West fought at Picacho Peak!). I've written historical miniatures rules featuring the ACW, was raised in both Ohio AND Virginia, and studied and modeled numerous battles of the Civil War for various wargames. I'm happy to academically debate what the war was all about. But not here, and not in Deadlands.
So what are my politics and biases? I'm a fiscal conservative, social liberal...though there are LOTS of exceptions and nuances in between, like most everyone else. My main mottos are do unto others as you'd have them do unto you, and live and let live. I served in the US Army, went to Virginia Tech, and now live in the beautiful deserts of Arizona where I can be a little closer to the West I love so much.
Now back to the game stuff.
I made the decision to remove the CSA from Deadlands about two years ago as we were creating Deadlands Dark Ages, and I knew the "Morgana Effect" would be the story reason for this revision and other, lesser continuity issues. The fall of the CSA after the Battle of Washington (1871 in DL lore) is just the thing people are going to get riled about.
I talked over the idea with the core team way back then. They're northerners and southerners and Europeans and Westerners and conservatives and liberals of many backgrounds and perspectives...and we all agreed it was the way to go for a great number of reasons.
I'll tell you why below, but first, we knew there was no business "win" here. The folks who accused of us being Southern apologists for the last twenty years would continue doing so. Those who had defended the existence of the South as a far more complex story decision (and thanks, btw!) would say we sold out, were pandering, and leave.
We knew we would absolutely lose some fans and sales over this decision. So to say we're pandering for sales is incorrect. Again, we're going to lose sales. Certainly for a while.
I acknowledge that and am okay with it. I accept the fallout today's announcement will cause and am completely okay with it. Nothing said here will change our opinions or hurt my feelings.
But Deadlands is mine, friends. I get to make those decisions and decide what's in the sandbox.
I love the enthusiasm people have for the Weird West. I love what they add to it. I love how they dress up for it at LARPs (and have even taken over entire towns for them--check out our Russian partners at Studio101!), play the RPG, get tattoos of Hangin' Judges and Jackalopes, and even get married in Deadlands garb. It's amazing and awesome and humbling.
But it's still mine. And until I die, it will stay that way. I know what it is and where I want it to go.
I also get to see the big picture among communities all over the world. People love Deadlands in Spain and Italy and Russia and Poland and Brazil and Germany and Hungary and China and SO many other places.
So why make the change?
Because first, we don't need it for the grand story we want to tell. When I created the whole thing twenty years ago the existence of the CSA was War's main strategy for sewing chaos and division in the US (War is one of the Reckoners in DL for those who don't know). It was a hook to create the world of Deadlands that was relatively empty then, and certainly unladen with the 25 years of history and dozens of sourcebooks you know now.
Since that decision, the role of ghost rock, the various factions, the Cult of Lost Angels, the Rail Barons, the secret organizations, and all the other wonderful and cool stuff our core team and dozens of freelancers have added to the world since were FAR more interesting and colorful.
But there is a real world "cost" to keeping the CSA, and it's one I don't have to pay...someone else does. And I don't want that. Having characters loyal to the CSA...not just "Southerners" but actual loyalists to the cause, even if anti-slavery but loyal for some reason... can be incredibly uncomfortable for others at the table. Especially those of African-American descent. Imagine the GM having to roleplay those voices. That's not fun. That's not what our game's about. It's not what we want our game to be about.
I run Deadlands for people all around the world. I play with all ethnicities, genders, orientations, cultures, religions, and political outlooks. I've literally run thousands of games for probably about ten thousand people over the last 25 years, and met and talked to FAR more than that in various talks, panels, guest appearances, signings, etc. And I love meeting you all. I love learning about our similarities AND differences and then having a drink and throwing some dice and shooting zombies with you.
We just want to tell wild tales of the Weird West. Yes, we'll make an occasional statement...I slip my views into everything I write, intentionally or otherwise...who doesn't? But our main goal is for people to spend time with friends they'll probably know for decades and leave game night feeling like a hero. Hopefully with a big goofy smile on their face as they remember that weird encounter with the jackalope or tumblebleed or the called shot that rolled 34 damage.
So what about the story and history of Deadlands? How will Noir and Hell on Earth work? We answered those questions internally a long time ago, and think the post-Morgana Effect stories we're going to tell are FAR cooler and more interesting.
And honestly, I'll tell you a secret. it really doesn't change much even in the Weird West. We just haven't done much with the Civil War or the CSA outside of the "Dead Presidents" adventure or as occasional background.
Everything up to the Battle of Washington stays the same. The Agents and Texas Rangers still fight with each other over the best way to handle the Reckoning. The Great Rail Wars still happen.
We described the USA / CSA a bit more in Back East North and South in Deadlands Classic, but the "north and south" still exist. The South just isn't its own government anymore. Tensions still exist. Loyalists from both sides still skirmish, especially in the border states. Fort 51 and Roswell compete with each other just like the Agents and Rangers. Honestly, it's just not that big a deal.
(The Last War in Hell on Earth gets a little weirder but a LOT more fun and Deadlands-y! )
Maybe you'll agree. Maybe you won't. That's okay. We're doing it anyway. We hope you'll join us, of course. Every creator wants to see their works loved and appreciated and our team is no different...but ultimately, and I'll just speak for myself here, I create the worlds I want. I know who I am and what I stand for, and can say the same for our team...even those with vastly different viewpoints. Meet me in person in a casual environment and I might even have a political conversation with you if you seem genuinely interested in a conversation. Just be warned. You might like what I have to say...you might not. But if I say anything, it'll be honest.
And by the way, I expected some to say I was pandering in SWADE with Red and Gabe. Think that if you want, but they're just who I saw in my head the entire time I was writing it. That's what I did and I'm happy with it. I hope you are too, but it's okay if you aren't. That's your business. I know my mind and my heart and I'm sure you know yours.
Thanks for reading this long post. We knew this would be a controversial topic, and that's okay. But we aren't going to answer to it anymore. I might point people to this post, I might just delete new threads if the tone is going to derail and poison the community we've ALL worked so hard to build. Fair warning.
If you want to talk about or critique the decision further, feel free to do so elsewhere. Our decision was made long ago and we're moving on. Nothing will change that opinion.
Our efforts are focused on making the best game and worlds we know how to make. If they don't fit your tastes, that's okay. We're all lucky to live in a golden age of gaming right now where there are hundreds of other choices for you to patronize. I'm very happy to see any of my friends at other companies get your business and for you to find whatever game / company / system makes YOU and your friends happy. Truly.
Thanks again for reading, friends, whether you like what I had to say or not. We'll see (most of) you on Banshee, where you can find out just what happened to the Reckoners after the Unity adventure. We think it's pretty cool, and hope you think so too!