What rank should characters have reached when playing the individual plot points in Deadlands Reloaded's campaign "The Flood"? In particular, what rank is the final encounter designed for?
There are no official guidelines for what ranks a character should be when they reach certain plot points in The Flood. There is no rank that they are required to be at. Posses are encouraged to start them whenever they feel they are prepared.
The lack of rank guidelines is common to all Plot Point Campaigns from Pinnacle*. I believe that this is by design for two reasons:
- Savage Worlds has traditionally rejected the idea of an "encounter level". Sometimes things are easy for low-powered group and hard for a high-powered group.
- It prevents some of the metagaming of "am I powerful enough to win this encounter." In real life, you're never entirely sure and that's something that Pinnacle wants to replicate.
That said, Savage Worlds Deluxe, which was published after The Flood includes a formula for "Combat Ratings" under the "Balance" section of the Gamemastering chapter. Of course, there are some mitigating factors that might throw off the formula. For instance, Grimme is invulnerable if the posse hasn't found out how to exploit his weakness in combat. Also, the fact that the posse wins if they can hold out the requisite number of rounds means that they don't need to totally defeat everyone.
As someone who has run The Flood myself, I found that bringing my posse up to Legendary rank felt about right for this battle. They were early Veteran when they were looking for the glyphs and had one rank in Legendary when they faced off against Grimme. I think that they were experienced enough to hold their own, and it felt about right thematically for the posse to go from Novice to Legendary and then do actions that would go down forever in Deadlands history. I'd probably recommend the same to anyone else trying it, but that's just me.
* The only exception that I am aware of is Necessary Evil. In that one, Plot Points 1-3 are Novice, 4-6 are Seasoned, 7-8 are Veteran, and 9 is Heroic (no Savage Tales have rank suggestions). This is of course a completely different campaign, but it might suggest that the writers at Pinnacle have ending at Heroic, or higher, as an end goal for most of their campaigns.