For those of you who aren’t familiar with the game Deadlands allow me to give you a quick introduction to the setting. Deadlands is an alternate history RPG produced by the Pinnacle Entertainment Group, it consists of 3 main settings: Weird West, Hell on Earth, and Lost Colony. Deadlands Noir was written separately using different rules, but the story fits in nicely.
Pre Weird West
In Deadlands: The Weird West, the story line gets kicked off. In Earths past mysterious and powerful supernatural beings known as the Reckoners once sent their minions to terrorize humanity and created a harvest of fear and death for them to feed off of. This ended round about the late middle ages when a group of powerful Native-American Shamans called the Old Ones decided to put an end to it. They talked the nature spirits into waging war against the Manitou (the servants of the Reckoners). This came at a great cost: the Old Ones would have to join them in their fight. The war waged on for years in the spirit world (known as the Hunting Grounds), but eventually the Manitou were defeated. Being spirits the Manitou could not truly be destroyed, instead they were bound by the Old Ones; so long as the Old Ones remained in the Hunting Grounds the Manitou could no longer harm humanity. In time, the creatures created by the Reckoners died or retreated to the status of myth and legend.
That lasted till around 1863 when a man named Raven conceived a plan to bring about a Reckoning against the white men who had killed his tribe years ago. He and several like minded men calling themselves the “Last Sons” found the door to the Hunting Grounds that the Old Ones had used centuries ago. Hoping to use the Manitou to send the white man back across the sea, they slew their ancestors and released the Manitou from their bonds. The Manitou wasted no time returning to their original job, harvesting fear from the world and delivering it to their masters. The Reckoners were roused from their malaise from the new fear brought to them by their servants and decided it was time to toss back a few morsels of fear in the form of monsters, horrors, and abominations that would increase their bounty of terror. This time however, they would be smarter about it, they would leave their creatures at the edges of the civilization. These abominations were rare enough to be obscure; they could still be feared but not effectually organized against.
This changed the world forever, as the Manitou’s return brought in a great wave of supernatural power to the world. What magic there was in the world grew more powerful, and ancient horrors returned to life. In the Americas it was the middle of the civil war. The battle of Gettysburg was winding to a close. Both sides started piling up their dead and they realized that some of the dead were getting back up, this time with a hunger for brains. The civil war raged on as dark things stirred in the corners of the earth preying on the poor and forgotten in cities and settlers on the frontier.
All sorts of weird things started happening, technology jumped ahead by leaps and bounds fueled by the discovery of Ghost Rock. Ghost Rock is a coal like super fuel, which burns hot and long. Mad scientists were motivated by strange whispers in their minds, and found unbelievable uses for Ghost Rock.
Long after the dust had settled in America, supernatural things kept on causing problems elsewhere in the world. In WWII Adolf Hitler brought the infernal inventions of German engineers and blood magicians to bear against the allies in his attempt to form his third Reich. These war machines were fueled by the blood of Jewish prisoners and wrought horrible destruction and carnage all across Europe. Secretly Hitler was trying to create such an atmosphere of fear across Europe that he could summon the Reckoners themselves into the world. The Reckoners would carry his army to victory. Fortunately for the rest of the world, Hitler died when the allies dropped the first atomic bomb on Berlin and supernatural activity started to die down for awhile.
By 2063 (200 years after the Reckoning) Dr. Darrius Hellstromme perfected the city buster a bomb powered by Irradiated Ghost Rock. Strangely enough, the very same day the City Buster was built, all the worlds mad scientists seemed to run out of ideas. Even previously invented devices looked like complete hogwash to these inventors; it was as if their collective muses had gone on strike. This of course affected the rest of the world very little, as it now had one of the most effective super weapons ever created.
A City Buster acts like a sort of neutron bomb, doing little damage to cities but killing their inhabitants. It was theorized that the bomb would leave most of the buildings standing and the area ready for habitation in about 10 years (of course this turned out to be dead wrong). This had made Ghost Rock an even more desirable commodity, and it was in short supply. To make matters worse, a geological survey called the Hauptman survey stated that the world had about a 20 year supply left.
Hellstromme industries discovered an Alien Planet called Banshee. Fortunately, there was a mother load of Ghost Rock on Banshee. A gold rush swiftly took place, and mining colonies were set up to take advantage of those resources. Troubles with restless natives and human rebels quickly made importing the Ghost Rock unfeasible. This of course left one sure source of Ghost Rock left, the great maze in California.
Hell on earth
While the world was pondering its ghost rock shortage, various political problems between the CSA and the Latin American Alliance boiled over into an all out war. The early part of the war had gone well for the LatAm, they had managed to advance through Arizona as far as Phoenix. The CSA rallied pushing the LatAm back into Mexico. After a failed rear-guard effort by the LatAm, the CSA managed to capture Mexico’s General Ramirez, leader of the LatAm forces in North America. After the General had a few sit down talks with the CSA psychic core the Confederates found that much of the LatAm’s technical and financial muscle was funneled to them from the good ole USA. The CSA demanded the USA’s half of the Great Maze (one of the last major sources of Ghost Rock on earth) in restitution for their part in the CSA – LatAM conflict. As things spiraled out of control more world powers lined up behind the CSA or USA in exchange for the Ghost Rock in the great maze.
By 2079 the war that would come to be known as the Last War overtook the world. Though there was a brief cease fire in December 2080 and talks of a permanent peace treaty, these all evaporated when American President Mary Rose Tremane disappeared. After that Vice President Andrew Bates was sworn in saying that he would make the Confederacy pay for Tremane’s death. He claimed that is was the CSA and the Southern Alliance who were responsible and he’d nuke a Confederate city a week unless his demands for Confederate surrender were met….
On September 23, 2081 it finally happened…
The end of the world came with a bang. The energies released by the mass detonation of ghost rock bombs, along with billions of deaths created perfect conditions for the Reckoners to manifest on earth. They were revealed in the flesh, taking the forms of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: Death, War, Pestilence, and Famine. They carved a path of destruction across the remains of the American west before disappearing over the Mississippi to parts unknown. In their wake they left more unspeakable horrors to terrorize man kind. It is now 13 years after the apocalypse and we are in Hell.