The Road to Hell
Deadlands: Hell on Earth doesn’t use character classes or the like, but sometimes people can benefit from seeing what the “classic” Deadlands character Archetypes are. Archetypes can provide some insight into the setting, as well as inspiration for those having trouble coming up with a character concept, so have a look…
Adventurers are folks who have no real profession, at least not anymore. They simply wander the Wasted West looking for something better. Some might have been waitresses; others were lawyers. Whatever their trade, they find little use for it now. Your character is an “adventurer” if he’s a common man or woman who just happens to wind up in incredible adventures. His skills are entirely up to you, but he shouldn’t be too good at combat or survival, at least not yet.
Doomsayers are “radiation priests” of the Wasted West. Most Doomsayers are evil right down to their irradiated hearts, but your hero is one of those who rebelled against the “Cult of Doom” and their current leader, Silas Rasmussen. All Doomsayers believe norms are “doomed,” hence their name, but Silas slaughters them to hurry things along. Your character is far more noble than that. He knows norms are going to be around a good long while, and he wants to ensure they don’t rise up and destroy the true watchers of humanity’s destiny.
Gunslingers sell their guns to the highest bidder or those in need, depending on their personal codes. Duels are still fairly common in the Wasted West, so gunslingers are quick-draws and deadly shots. Your gunslinger needs a high Quickness and several levels in quick draw and shootin’.
Indian Braves are Native Americans who followed the “Old Ways.” They sensed long ago that technology was leading humanity to a bitter fall, and so they use only natural, handmade tools and weapons. Indian braves should be good with some sort of hand-to-hand weapon, and a bow is handy as well. Most are excellent trackers and can survive in the outdoors with ease, so high trackin’ and survival levels are a must.
Junkers are the Wasted West’s version of “mad scientists.” They wander the wastelands, collecting junk with which to build incredible machines. The inspiration for their infernal gizmos, some say, comes from the very evil spirits who destroyed the world.
Law Dogs have taken a solemn oath to bring law and order to the ruined world. They have no real authority, just common sense and their own incredible wills. Their enemies are many, and their rewards are few, but someone must bring justice to the wastes. Like gunslingers, Law Dogs need a decent Quickness, quick draw, and shootin’, but they also need a high Mien and overawe to make foes back down before lead starts flying. It’s just too expensive to kill every lawless heathen on the Irradiated Plains, and the best Law Dogs aren’t crazy enough to try.
Librarians are members of a pseudo-monastic order dedicated to preserving knowledge. The Librarians are trying to make sure that the knowledge that humans attained before the Apocalypse isn’t lost forever.
Pit Fighters make their living(or used to) fighting in one of the Wasted West’s arena’s for fame and glory. Most are brutal hand-to-hand combatants, and those who are willing to risk the consequences might even be surgically enhanced.
Postmen make it their profession to deliver packages and letters across the Wastes. Some do it because they see it as an almost holy calling, for others it is just a way to make a living. Postmen have to be tough and savvy to survive in the Wastes. Postmen also have to have a pretty good knowledge of the terrain of the Wasted West, since a lost Postman is usually a dead one.
Ravenites are Indians who laughed at the “Old Ways” movement. They embraced technology and became incredibly rich before the Big Bang, selling ghost rock from the once sacred Black Hills. Now these once-proud tycoons are well-armed wanderers scattered when Deadwood was destroyed by ghost-rock bombs. Some refuse to acknowledge their part in the Apocalypse. Others seek retribution. Ravenites usually have lots of top-quality equipment, so it’s good to take the dinero Edge and grab some extra equipment like body armor, a high-quality machine gun, and lots of ammo.
Renegade Black Hats used to work for the Combine enforcing General Throckmorton’s will. Trained soldiers, they may have valuable insight on the Combine’s operations. On the flip side, most live in fear that the Combine’s loyalty-enforcing “Headbanger” chip might one day detonate and end their rebellion permanently.
Road Warriors travel the ruined highways of the Wasted West looking for fuel to sustain their wanderlust. They often help towns plagued by other highway marauders in exchange for precious ghost rock or gas. The odds are often overwhelming, so road warriors outfit their rigs with salvaged armor and heavy guns. Road warriors need several levels in drivin’, as well as a good artillery skill to fire their heavy weapons. The belongin’s Edge can set you up with a beat-up rig as well.
Savages are younger survivors who have little or no memory of the world before the bombs. Some have built their own communities where “elders” are reviled for destroying the world. Others are simply idealistic youths looking to become a great hero or heroine. Savages don’t have much experience with technology, so most have the all thumbs Hindrance. They’re also usually very young, so the kid Hindrance is common. Guns are tough for them to repair, so most use hand weapons.
Sawbones are what they call doctors out in the Wasted West. Some sawbones learned their trade as legitimate doctors and surgeons before the bombs fell, where others have had to learn their craft the hard way as they struggled to survive in the Wasted West. Needless to say, a sawbones better have pretty good Medicine: General and Medicine: Surgery if he wants to call himself by that name.
Scavengers are those desperate enough to enter the ruins of the blasted cities. They must brave ghost-rock storms, irradiated battlefields, and the creatures of the outlands in search of treasures left intact after the Last War. Most end their days violently, but a lucky few become wealthy traders. Search, scroungin’, and survival are important skills for these wasteland wanderers.
Soldiers are hardy survivors of the Last War. Some lived because they were deserters or cowards, others because fate made them the sole survivors of units annihilated in the final days of blood. Now they wander the wastes, offering their grim services to those who feed them—or pay them just enough bullets to fight the next job. Soldiers should have reasonable Strength, Deftness, and Quickness scores. Some might still have their heavy armor and weapons as well, which you can buy with the belongin’s Edge.
Sykers are former soldiers with incredible mental powers. They learned their amazing trade in government academies where they were made into commandos, spies, and assassins. In the years before the Apocalypse, most sykers served on an alien planet named Banshee, though those that did are loathe to talk about the atrocities they were forced to commit there. Now they travel from town to town, drawn to trouble like moths to flames and using their incredible powers to fight the horrors of the Reckoning.
Tale-Tellers know the Reckoners can only be defeated by spreading hope and eroding their precious fear. They join with other heroes in defeating those evils and then make sure the locals hear the story of their victory. Other taletellers may not be so noble, or perhaps they don’t know of the Reckoners’ weakness. They perform for pay, for food, or simply for a warm bed for the night. For taletellers, high Mien and tale-tellin’ are a must.
Witches have mastered the arcane secrets of the tome How To Serve Your Man. Witches tend to have less outright arcane power and flexibility than Sykers or Doomsayers, but they’re also a lot less well known – most folks don’t even know they’re kicking around, and that can give them an advantage in subtlety if their wise enough to use it.
Templars travel the Wasted West in disguise, looking for those worthy of protecting. Once they discover a worthy cause, they reveal themselves as modern-day knights and pledge themselves to see the trouble through to the end. Once revealed, Templars are heroic figures with white tabards adorned with a red Maltese Cross, and swords enchanted by their own acts and deeds. Templars are a stingy lot however. They don’t hesitate to desert those who prove immoral. They are also cautious and, unlike the chivalric knights of old, have no qualms about backstabbing or tricking a foe if it wins the day.
Traders are merchants who have discovered, earned, or stolen great treasures to sell and barter with others. They often command squads of loyal bodyguards or war beasts to protect their valuable wares. High Mien and persuasion skills are critical to ensuring you get the best deal possible from both buyers and sellers.