I'm looking to run Deadlands again, but I've only played Classic Deadlands. While I love the original edition of Deadlands, I'm curious about the other editions. I especially like the incorporation of poker chips and playing cards in the mechanics of the original game.

Which other editions of Deadlands use poker chips, playing cards, or both, and to what ends are each used?


3 Answers 3


In Deadlands Classic, cards are used for character generation and for initiative (Action Cards), as well as gambling, spellcasting (hucksters), and inventions (mad scientists). Chips are used as fate chips.

In Deadlands Reloaded (Savage Worlds rules), cards are used for initiative (just as in normal Savage Worlds) and chips are used as fate chips as a Classic-like modded variation on the usual SW bennies. Cards are also used for dueling, gambling, spellcasting (hucksters), and Harrowed abilites but not Mad Science/gizmos. This version runs a lot like Classic, really, slightly simplified.

In Deadlands d20, there are fate chips but the role of cards is much reduced - magic uses spell points/skill rolls, initiative is d20 style - I'm not sure if there's a use for playing cards in any of the expansions, but cards are not part of the core game at all. Warning: d20 Deadlands is in general a poorly regarded conversion attempt.

I don't have GURPS Deadlands: Weird West, but I am given to understand it uses cards some (for hexes) but not as pervasively (not for chargen, initiative) and does not have Fate Chips. (Of course, grafting Fate Chips back on is trivial and many folks have done that when playing GURPS: Deadlands.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks! Bounty to you! \$\endgroup\$
    – DM John
    Oct 13, 2015 at 19:44

Deadlands Reloaded

Poker Chips

  • As the setting equivalent of the generic Savage Worlds concept of Bennies. They come in white, red, blue and yellow varieties.
    • White - used to reroll a Trait roll or remove Shaken status.
    • Red - used to add d6 to a Trait roll, which gives the GM a chip, or as a white chip
    • Blue - used to add d6 to a Trait roll or as a white chip.
    • Yellow - a legend chip, rewarded when the posse kills a particularly nasty monster and lowers the local Fear Level. Used to reroll any roll, add d6+2 to a Trait roll or can be cashed in at the end of a session for 1 XP.

Playing Cards

Used extensively by the underlying Savage Worlds system, and this extended even further with Deadlands Reloaded.

  • To decided initiative in combat, as with most Savage Worlds settings.
  • As part of a simplified poker mechanic for extended gambling situations.
  • As part of the mechanic for duels.
  • As part of the mechanic for Dealing with the Devil, which Hucksters can do to gamble for magical power points.
  • In plenty of other places, such as for Interludes, deciding whether random encounters happen, helping GMs put together more detailed random encounters etc.

Deadlands D20

Poker Chips

  • As 'Fate Chips', which players can used as a reroll or to recover d6 hit points.

Playing Cards

  • Not used in this system.

Deadlands Classic uses playing cards and poker chips in a lot of places dice would normally be used. I have not played any other versions, so I am not sure how they are used in those.

At the beginning of each adventure/session each player and the Marshal randomly picks a set number of chips from a pool of different colored chips. These chips are used in play in order to affect the outcome of different actions such as adding to your dice pool or shrug off wound levels.

At the end of the session unused ones can be converted into XP to increase your Characters Stats.

Playing cards are used throughout the game.

--your character is generated by drawing playing cards each suit and face has a value. --you draw from the deck to determine order of play in combat. --You play poker against the devil in order to cast spells. --you draw a poker hand in order to determine if and how well inventions work.

There are more but the big two for every player are character generation and initiative.

There are lots of places where you have to draw a poker hand and beat a certain other hand in order to succeed. Many of these are specific to certain Archetypes.

The entire game uses poker terminology, even when rolling dice. If you win at a dice roll by a certain amount you get a raise; which increases the effect of whatever action you took.

  • \$\begingroup\$ IF it helps on the edition the ISBN on my book is 1889546011 \$\endgroup\$
    – jperkins
    Oct 12, 2015 at 4:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ jperkins, you didn't answer the question, and from your response, I have doubts that you actually read the entirety of the question. I will say that you give a great synopsis of how cards and chips are used in the classic game though, even if it's not what we were looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – DM John
    Oct 12, 2015 at 15:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Now that the word other has been inserted into the question I would agree. \$\endgroup\$
    – jperkins
    Oct 12, 2015 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ The addition of "other" didn't seem necessary at first, since it already said they knew Classic well, indicating information on just Classic would not be real help. Adding "other" does emphasise that though, yes. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 12, 2015 at 20:22

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