I was driving home listening to the latest episode of the SavageCast podcast episode with the crossover with the Wild Die podcast having just come from running a Deadlands Twilight Legion game no less, when I heard the lengthy discussion about hindrances and the Old Ways Oath hindrance from Deadlands Reloaded. I felt like commenting. But I need to get something out of the way first (This is a Nebraska thing)
HEY EVERYONE. NEBRASKA was mentioned in a podcast!
Sorry. We get excited by those kind of things around here.
Now I have to disagree about the Old Ways Oath being a broken hindrance. I have run several con-style adventures with this player/character and I have not had any issues with his hindrance being game breaking in any way. In fact, it provides several opportunities for humorous exchanges during the course of an adventure. These typically involve someone explaining a bit of modern machinery or philosophy into simplistic terms that the character can understand. I think it requires a little bit of creativity to work around. No, there are no numerical penalties involved with the hindrance, but it does make the game more interesting. The rest of the posse is forced to go along with a fellow hero that is a fish out of water. Plus, that hero is never going to 'man the Gatling gun' or some such, which is a truly situational hindrance.
In the example you gave with the adventure set entirely on a train, I would have handled the situation this way...tell the shaman that he has had a vision. His spirit animal tells him that he must go on a quest to stop a great evil. He must be brave and let the white-man's giant iron snake swallow him, because the evil resides in that snake.
Now, I confess that one of the reasons that I like Deadlands to begin with is that I enjoy adventures with Native American themes. If that is something with which the Marshal is not familiar, then I can see where it may be difficult to work around. In all my years of gaming, I have found it harder to get players interested in a setting where a certain minimal level of historical knowledge is needed to appreciate it. I think that is why Fantasy is so popular.
I understand that you have airtime to fill with discussions about gaming, so please don't read too much into my protestations. I enjoy them. Keep going!