The Road to Hell
Hinderances and Edges
These are the most commonly available Hindrances. Some character types might have others available to take, especially if they have a Background Edge.
If your arm sloughs off after your last trip into a blasted city, you can bet you’ve got radiation poisoning. Ailin’ characters are affected by their ailments, depending on the severity and the symptoms of their affliction.
It’s assumed these ailments aren’t temporary. Your hero has tried conventional cures, and they just didn’t take. Even supernatural cures like those administered by Templars or Doomsayers don’t do any good.
Furthermore, if a character contracts an ailment during play and attempts to have it cured by supernatural means, he only gets one chance. Once the cure is attempted and failed, no other supernatural power can heal it, even if it’s from a different source. If your character takes this Hindrance, it means he’s already attempted to heal the illness by supernatural means and failed. He’s stuck with it, buddy.
At the start of each game session, roll Vigor against the TN listed with each type of ailment on the Ailin’ Table. Add +2 if a sawbones is treating your hero and makes a medicine roll against the same TN.
If the roll is failed, your character suffers the associated penalty to all Trait and Aptitude checks for the rest of this game session.
If you go bust on the roll, your character’s affliction increases to the next level of severity. Going bust at the fatal level means he’s dead. An ailment that’s gone above its original level, can be reduced by getting 2 raises on your hero’s Vigor roll at the start of a session.
Value TN Penalty Ailment
1 5 –1 Minor: (Recurrent allergies, asthma, cold, or hives) Your character has a minor but incurable ailment that causes him to cough, get the squirts, etc.
3 7 –3 Chronic: (Early stages of fatal diseases, ghost rock fever, or radiation sickness) Your hero has a chronic illness that causes constant agony and may someday kill her.
5 9 –5 Fatal: (AIDS, cancer, or tummy twisters) Your hero is in the final stages of a chronic illness that can kill him at any time.
Big Mouth 3
A little lip-flapping can cause a whole passel of trouble. Loose lips sink more than just ships in the Wasted West. Your hombre’s lips are looser than mutant wrinkles. He always speaks before he thinks. Worse, he’s constantly blurting out the posse’s plans or telling the bad guys (or one of their informants) what they want to know. The hero also manages to put his boot in his mouth fairly often. No one ever trusts this habitual gossip twice.
Big ’Un 1/2
Your scavvie had best hope he can find the ruins of a “Big and Tall” store. Fortunately, it’s pretty hard to bust up someone this big. The effects of a character’s size depend on whether he is merely husky or truly obese. Increasing your character’s Size has an effect on the damage he can take. See Chapter Five for details. A hero can’t be a big ’un and brawny (an Edge), by the way.
1 Husky: Add +1 to your hero’s Size and reduce his movement by one step (minimum is 4). His maximum Nimbleness is a d10.
2 Obese: Add +2 to your hero’s Size and reduce her movement by two steps (minimum is 4). Her maximum Nimbleness is a d8.
Some folks are just plain mean. Others don’t believe in leaving their enemies alive to come back and haunt them later.Your character’s a warmonger. Worse, she actually revels in carnage and violence. If she’s forced to take prisoners, they don’t tend to
outlive their usefulness.
A good plan can turn a posse into an army, but no army won a war sitting on its tuckus. Your character is a planner. He likes to plot things out long before any action is taken, often to the chagrin of his impulsive, gun-toting companions. Of course, sometimes this can be a lifesaver.
All Thumbs 2
You don’t like machines, and they don’t care for you. This is a great Hindrance for “savages,” adventurers too young to remember before the bombs, when tech was common.
All rolls made to use complex machinery or repair any mechanical device are made at –4.
Bad Ears 3/5
What? Your hero’s lost some hearing. Maybe a gun went off near his ear, maybe a high fever cooked it, or maybe he was just born that way. Choose how bad it is from the table below.
3 Mild: Subtract –2 from all Cognition tests based on hearing.
5 Stone Deaf: Your character can’t hear at all.
Bad Eyes 3/5
Huh? Who said that? Choose how bad your eyes are from the table below. The Marshal might allow you to use your bad eyes as a bonus to guts checks made when viewing gruesome horrors at long range.
3 Myopic: Subtract –2 from your rolls made to see or affect things at greater than 20 yards. If your character wears glasses, reduce the value of the Hindrance by –1.
5 Near Blind: As above, but take –4.
Bad Luck 5
Don’t even think about playing with high explosives. If you go bust, whatever your hero is doing has the worst effect possible. The Marshal should be creative and spread the effects of your calamity to your friends too!
Big Britches 3
It’s good to be confident, but only a fool charges into a den of mutants armed with only a Swiss army knife. Your character is severely overconfident. He believes he can do anything and never turns down a challenge.
If everyone calls you a brainer and laughs at most everything you say—even though you weren’t trying to be funny—the odds are you’re a clueless wonder.
Your survivor is about as alert as toxic goo (which actually is alert sometimes, but you get the idea). Whenever the Marshal asks for
Cognition checks to notice things, you must subtract –2 from your roll. Yes, this includes surprise checks.
Combine Turncoat 5
A short life but a merry one! Your waster was a fully indoctrinated member of the Combine, but for whatever reason, he decided to desert. Miraculously, the chip in his noggin’ didn’t go off—yet. Taking this Hindrance gives your waster Area knowledge (Denver) 3, reflecting his experiences in the city with the Combine. He also gets Enemy (Combine) 3 (he is a traitor after all). The chip in your hero’s noggin is
not broken, just a bit defective. The Marshal draws a card at the start of each session. If he gets the black joker, your waster’s chip finally goes off— goodbye head.
On the plus side, your hero can still use Combine equipment, although if a Combine platoon leader or higher sees him using Combine equipment he might try to trigger the chip, resulting in what we like to call “melon head syndrome.”
If it killed the cat, think what it can do to you. Your hero wants to know all he can about just about everything he comes across. Anytime a mystery presents itself, he must do everything in his power to try to solve it, no matter how dangerous the situation might be.
Death Wish 5
Sometimes a fellow just doesn’t want to go on. Maybe his family has fallen victim to some heinous creature. Maybe he’s got some plague set loose by Pestilence and wants to go out in style instead of wasting away like a feeb. Or maybe he’s a young upstart who knows just enough about the Harrowed to be dangerous. Your character wants to die for some reason (secret or otherwise), but only under certain circumstances. Most want to go out in a blaze of glory, such as saving a town or taking some
major villain or critter to Hell with them. Your survivor isn’t going to throw his life away for nothing (suicide is easy, after all). The Marshal should reward your character for taking extreme chances, but only when they help him attain his most important goal.
Doubting Thomas 3
Everyone’s heard the old joke about “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Real doubting Thomases probably swam the damn thing and still don’t believe it exists.
Doubting Thomases are skeptics. They don’t believe in the supernatural and try to rationalize weird events regardless of circumstances. Some are simply in shock (the end of the world can do that to you). Others just insist all this Reckoning business is some sort of mass hallucination brought on by the nuclear holocaust.
Needless to say, this Hindrance doesn’t last long. Be prepared to buy it off after a few adventures (see Chapter Six).
Every foe you put down likely has someone who might come looking for you later. Your character has an enemy or enemies of
some sort. You and the Marshal should determine their value based on their relative power level and frequency of appearance.
The militaries of the US/CSA’s allies provided an influx of folks of different cultures into the Wasted West, as well
as news crews and stranded tourists. Your character was one such person, trapped in the West when the bombs fell and the way home vanished.
“Ferners” are outsiders to the culture central to your adventure or campaign. You speak with an outrageous accent, always compare the local ville to the pigsties of Pairee, or have customs that set you apart from the majority of inhabitants of the area. Whatever your “problem,” you are likely to be shunned by most folks in the ruins for your differences.
Your teeth may have all fallen out, but your scattergun’s got more than enough bite for a passel o’ nursing home rejects. You reminisce a lot about how things were “before the war” and how many feet of snow you had to ride your hover bike over to get to the academy. Your hero’s practically a fossil. Most cowpokes call you “old timer.”
You can determine his age yourself. Some folks are old at 40, while others are still young at 90. Regardless, he’s got one foot in the grave and the other in Hell. Reduce your hero’s Vigor (minimum of d4) and Pace (minimum of 2) by a step and act like an old coot. You might also want to take the bad eyes and bad ears Hindrances.
It’s one of the seven deadly sins. But while your soul might be damned to Hell, you’ll sure have a good time here on Earth rolling in loot.
Money and power mean everything to your scoundrel, and she’s willing to do most anything to get more of it. Things that belong to other folks are especially valuable!
Grim Servant o’ Death 5
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.”
— Revelations 6:8
Well, maybe that’s a bit much, but folks do seem to get dead around you—a lot. Maybe you look like a loser, and all the other losers like to pick on you—at least until you pick back.
Whatever the story, your hombre gets picked on a lot, even when he isn’t looking for trouble. He might not even be mean-tempered. He’s just trouble looking for a place to happen. Most of his troubles end up buried in Boot Hill while he runs from the local Law Dog. For obvious reasons, once folks start dying, other folks don’t like your hero much. Forget about peaceful negotiations. Your hombre’s enemies are just dying to put him six feet under.
Folks aren’t much on cleanliness in the Wasted West, but that doesn’t mean they like to watch some mutant picking his scabs.
Your character has a habit others find annoying or revolting. Besides putting off other characters, this Hindrance subtracts a number of points from your character’s persuasion rolls equal to the value of the Hindrance. The value of the Hindrance depends on the frequency of the habit and just how gross and disgusting it is.
If you just can’t think without a stogie in your pie-hole, you’ve got yourself a habit. If it’s alcohol or some drug you’re craving, welcome to Addiction City, population: you. For the record, there are no “illegal” drugs in the Wasted West. There just aren’t enough left to make it a problem. Still, on those rare occasions when some loser hauls out an old case of something potent, the
town militia or the Law Dogs won’t hesitate to put down someone acting dangerous.
A mild hankerin’ means the character is highly addicted to some mildly harmful substance (such as tobacco), or slightly addicted
to a more dangerous substance. These days, though, even finding that kind of stuff can be hard.
A severe hankerin’ means the character is addicted to alcohol, opium, laudanum, peyote, or some other dangerous drug. In those cases, he’d best know how to make the stuff himself because he’ll rarely find it in the wastelands.
1 Mild: Subtract –2 from Mental skills if the substance is not available after 24 hours.
3 Severe: Your character suffers the same as above and also subtracts –4 (total) from Mental and Corporeal skills if the substance is not available every 48 hours.
Heavy Sleeper 1
Logs wake up faster than you. You must subtract –2 from your hero’s Cognition rolls made to wake up in an emergency or when some critter is sneaking up on him. He usually oversleeps.
You’re a mutie’s mutie. Your hero is so mutated he’s barely human. Doomsayers call these folks “hekants” after the residents of Amarna, but you don’t have to be from there to take this Hindrance.
Hekants have two mutations and one major mutation. Taking hekant confers the Hindrance ugly as sin on your character. This is built into the cost— sorry, bunkie, but you don’t get any additional points for being so hideous.
You’re a sucker for someone in trouble. Ever hear of nice guys finishing last? Heroes who go chasing down wild critters aren’t likely to finish at all.
Your character can’t turn down a plea for help. She doesn’t have to be cheery about it, but she always helps those in need—eventually.
High-falutin’ snobs turn their noses so high they usually drown when it rains. And the rain these days burns, friend.
Your character has no tolerance for those of a lesser class, or who seem less “worthy” than him. Those who notice your hero’s upturned nose don’t like him. Subtract –2 from any persuasion rolls you make toward those your hombre thinks are beneath him in social stature.
It’s a terrible thing to come back from the dead and not be able to read the words on your own tombstone. Illiterates cannot read even the most basic words of their own language or any other
language they happen to speak. This Hindrance is pretty rare in folks over age 20. They grew up in public schools where some busty schoolmarm made them learn. Illiteracy is rampant among
“savages” and children under 20. Reading isn’t fundamental anymore, but learning how to fight sure is.
There are some folks you just can’t stand. They don’t cotton to you, either, and given a chance, you’d like to push them off a tall cliff. Your character does not get along with certain kinds of people (mutants, Doomsayers, Law Dogs, savages, and so on) and has nothing to do with them if possible. If forced to work with them, he insults and provokes them whenever he gets the chance. The value of the Hindrance depends on the frequency of
encounters your character has with those he is intolerant of and just how violent he gets.
Don’t let that face fool you. A kid with a gun can still blow your guts out. And kids in the wastelands grow up a little faster than they used to.
Your character is a kid 8–14 years of age. Most people don’t take him seriously, his maximum Strength is a d10, and his maximum Knowledge is a d8. You must buy off this Hindrance with Bounty Points (see Chapter Six) by the time the kid hits 16. Oh, and if your kid lives that long, congratulations. He’s either one tough son-of-a gun, or he hides really well.
There’s an old chestnut that says when something’s chasing you and your friends, you’ve only got to outrun one person. Unfortunately, you’re usually the big loser in any kind of
There are a lot of lame folks in the Wasted West. Some lost their legs in the war, others to disease, and some to simple infections. If you take this Hindrance, take a moment and figure out just how your hero got his wound or lost his leg. You might find answering this question ties in with some of his other Hindrances as well.
Lame affects a character’s Pace and certain other skills as shown on the table below. Whenever you modify Pace, be sure
to round down. No matter what kinds of modifiers your hero winds up with, his Pace can never drop below 1.
3 Limp: Your hero’s Pace falls by 25%. Subtract –2 from active dodge rolls and other tests requiring mobility.
5 Crippled: One leg is missing or maimed. Your hero’s Pace is reduced to 25%. Subtract –4 from active dodge rolls and other tests needing mobility.
Law o’ the West 3
Even in the Wasted West, there are a few good-hearted fools who don’t know when to shoot their enemies in the back.
Your hero lives by a code of honor that hardly anyone else subscribes to. He refuses to kill unless provoked, never draws first in a duel, and refuses to shoot someone at a significant
disadvantage (such as in the back).
Even these throwbacks don’t apply their strange rules to hordes of walkin’ dead, deranged mutants, or others they deem unworthy of the code. Still, your hero is only rewarded by the Marshal when he does obey the law o’ the West, so it’s your call.
On the plus side, you can add +2 to persuasion attempts when your character’s honorable reputation is known and might make a difference. Folks love do-gooders.
You don’t have to be crazy to fight some of the critters of the wastes , but it helps. Your hero has a mental illness of some
sort. This can range from being absentminded to being a compulsive liar or suffering from phobias, delusions, depression, or schizophrenia. The illness is always present, and it rules your hero’s actions most of the time. The value of the Hindrance depends on the severity of the illness and its effects on your survivor.
You may not be everyone’s hero, but your friends know they can count on you when the chips are down.
The character is extremely loyal to his friends. He’s willing to risk his life to defend them. Obligations to nations, villages, or ideals are usually oaths, instead.
Lyin’ Eyes 3
You can’t hide those lyin’ eyes. Your character can’t tell a lie to save his life. Because of this, he suffers a –4 to his bluff rolls
whenever he tries to mislead, deceive, or even omit the truth from others. Maybe his eyes twitch or he wrings his hands. Whatever he does, it’s a dead giveaway.
Minor Mutation 1
Your hombre has some minor mutation. Maybe he’s got a third nipple or black boils on his bum. Whatever the mutation, it’s fairly insignificant and barely noticeable, except when he’s stark naked. Then folks can notice it with a Foolproof (3) search roll.
This isn’t a problem most of the time, but since your waster probably doesn’t advertise the fact that he’s a mutant, it might get him in trouble when mutie-haters find out the truth.
A miser knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Miserly characters must always buy the “cheapest” goods available and haggle incessantly over everything. Because of
this, they can only buy cheap gear. See Chapter Four for details.
Mean as a Rattler 2
You were born on the wrong side of the bed. People tend not to like your hero. He’s hateful and mean-spirited. Besides making it hard for others to be sociable, subtract –2 from friendly persuasion attempts. At the Marshal’s discretion, you may occasionally be allowed to add +2 to hostile persuasion or overawe rolls.
So you really wanted your hero to be a mutant but didn’t draw a Black Joker? Okay, we’ll fix you up. One little dose of radiation ought to do it… There. Hello, mutie.
Your character is a mutie. Have the Marshal draw a card on the Mutations Table from the Deadlands: Hell on Earth rulebook.
Your hero can’t talk. Maybe he got his tongue ripped out, or maybe he just doesn’t have anything to say since the world ended.
Whatever the reason, your character can never speak. He must communicate through gestures or writing. Roleplay this well, and you may have a difficult time, but the Marshal should reward you when your hero’s lack of speech really makes things tough, especially when “Look out behind you!” becomes, “Stop the wagon. Fred’s gotta whiz again.”
Night Terrors 5
Anyone not having nightmares these days must be a little mad. Those folks who can’t get away from their nightmares, however, are likely the victims of night terrors.
Your character’s nightmares are far worse than most, something that keeps her from sleeping much. Coffee is her best friend, and she usually only gets three or four hours sleep at night.
Some say those who suffer night terrors are the playthings of manitous. That may well be true, because there’s a chance your hero will lose more than just a few nights’ sleep to her horrible predicament.
Make an Onerous (7) Spirit roll at the beginning of each session or lose your lowest Fate Chip as you suffer horrible nightmares sometime during the session(or are still being affected by the dreams from the last time you slept).
Anytime your character can’t sleep, you should roleplay her sluggish delirium the next day. The Marshal should reward you with Fate Chips appropriately.
If you ever go bust on the sleep roll, your character’s dream self is actually transported into the Hunting Grounds. There she experiences a horrible nightmare scenario that lends insight into her current predicament but risks her mortal soul.
The Marshal should construct this nightmare as a short solo adventure for your character. In it, she is given vague hints about whatever is going on in the current adventure. If she “dies” in the nightmare, her Wind is permanently reduced by –1.
A person is only as good as his word. Go back on it, and people aren’t ever going to trust you— if you ever come back after they run you out of town on a rail. Once bitten, twice shy, as they
say.Your hero has an oath to perform some important task or defend certain values, people, or ideals. The value of the oath depends on how often it might come into play and the risk it involves.
Law Dogs, Templars, and Doomsayers all have different kinds of oaths. For Law Dogs, see their Edge later in this chapter. Templar and Doomsayer oaths are described in their chapters.
A hero’s got to do what a hero’s got to do, and so do you.
Your character is obligated to his family, his job, the military, a town, or a duty of some sort. The value of the Hindrance depends on how far and how often your character can leave his area.
A good 1–2 point obligation might suit a regional messenger or mail carrier. His job is important, but he can carry it out however he sees fit, so it’s only a minor responsibility.
An example of a 3–4 point obligation is a hero tasked with finding something of importance for someone, and with only a few weeks or months to do it in. Maybe his village is dying of typhoid and needs medicine, or the water hole has gone bad, and the villagers need a new home.
The sheriff of a small village has a 5-point obligation. She can’t leave the area to go off on some wild adventure, and she’s always “on duty.” A character with a child or sickly spouse who can’t take care of themselves is another good example of a 5-point obligation. Note that an obligation is not the same as an
oath. The hero doesn’t actually have to care about his job, he just has to do it, and he usually can’t get away from his home base or some other attachment for long. Law Dogs, Templars, and Doomsayers usually have oaths instead of obligations.
Times are hard, so make your own rules. If the Law Dogs get in the way, it’s their problem. Outlaws are lawbreakers by nature. They have little respect for the law and are likely wanted for anything from petty larceny in a single town to being a renowned killer throughout the West. Of course, some outlaws are branded as such for crimes they didn’t commit. Or maybe they didc ommit a crime, but for a good reason. These types don’t hate Law Dogs, but they’re certainly wary of them.
One-Armed Bandit 3
There’s lots of folks who have lost an arm in the Wasted West, but it only takes one finger to yank a trigger.
Your character has only one hand or arm. You must subtract –4 from any skills that require the use of two hands.
Being a pacifist doesn’t mean a survivor is afraid of a fight. It’s just that he’d rather find a different way. Or maybe he knows all that violence only feeds the Reckoners.
Pacifists range from those who simply don’t like to kill until it’s absolutely (in their judgment) unavoidable (3 points) to those who refuse to kill under any circumstances (5 points). Pacifists kill animals for food, but not for sport. Monsters and other strangeness are fair game regardless of how “peaceful” a person is.
A fool and his money are soon parted, and the bullets you’ve got in your pocket are burning a hole straight through your jeans.
Your character has a hard time saving, and he spends bullets (the currency of the Wasted West) like water. Anything he buys eventually falls into disuse and is lost or discarded. He also starts with only $50 in starting funds.
Radiation affects your waster more than most. Against resisted rolls, such as background radiation or certain Doomsayer spells, you must subtract your character’s Hindrance level penalty from the Trait or Aptitude roll. Damage-causing spells of the Doomsayers or other creatures of radioactive origin cause an additional 1–5 points of damage, depending on the level of your hero’s Hindrance. The hero suffers both penalties against a power that is resisted and causes damage. Woo-hoo!
If it moves…
Your character wants sex and lots of it. He or she hits on every reasonably good-looking member of the opposite gender in sight, usually more than once. Like it or not, men and women
suffer this Hindrance differently.
If your hero is a man, he’s well-known in every local bordello. Polite society thinks he’s a pig, and “respectable” women avoid him like the plague. The lecherous hero has a –4 to any persuasion rolls made to influence these types.
If your character is a woman, all other women, respectable or not, call her all sorts of unpleasant names. She suffers the same modifier as a man around polite society (rare as that may be), but other men might treat her differently, especially if the two of them are alone. Your heroine may never gain any real respect from “respectable folk” or be able to hold a position of authority if her sordid past becomes known. It may not be fair, but that’s just how it is in the Wasted West.
On the plus side, a female with this Hindrance actually gains +4 to any persuasion rolls she makes to seduce a fellow. This can have its own consequences, of course, but it can be really handy in distracting guards and the like.
“Faminites” are victims of a particular type of plague loosed on the world by Pestilence. They’re skinny and rabid, and folks mistake your bag o’ bones for them all the time. Scrawny survivors are slight and weak and must subtract –1 from their Size (see Chapter Five). Their maximum Strength is a d10. A
character’s slight frame might benefit him in certain situations, like crawling through a small cave or window, but usually it just gets him picked on or mistaken for a faminite.
Self- Righteous 3
If you’re not always right, then you’re at least sure the ignorant masses are always wrong. Given a chance, you’re sure you can prove it. Your character believes everything she does serves some greater cause (such as protecting mutants, upholding the law, etc.). She never backs down from her beliefs.
You’d better learn to fight, ’cause you ain’t gonna get away from anything that’s chasing you.
Your hombre is faster than a dead turtle—but just barely. His Pace is reduced a step, down to a minimum base Pace of 2.
Don’t take this Hindrance if your hero is also lame: crippled. You can only get so slow before you’re just downright immobile, brainer.
Your voice is high-pitched, painful, and annoying as Hell. Needless to say, that’s not a good quality in the Wasted West (or anywhere else, really).
Your character suffers –2 to any test of wills rolls he initiates (he can defend normally) that involve his voice. Folks don’t tend to take him very seriously.
You can’t hold your chow when you see blood and gore. It’s a little embarrassing compared to your friends who don’t flinch when rifling through corpses for bullets or milrats. Guts checks caused by blood, gore, or other grotesque spectacles are made at –2. Your hero isn’t necessarily more afraid of monsters or even
carnage, he just has a weak stomach that wants to get in on the action and spew some food at the scene.
It’s your way or not at all. If the rest of the world is too stupid to realize you’re right, they can go hang themselves with an itchy rope. Your hero is pigheaded and as stubborn as a mule. He always wants to do things his way and holds out until everyone agrees or some major concession to his idea has been made.
Owls never hoot “just for the Hell of it,” and black cats should be shot before they cross your path. You keep a rabbit’s foot in your pocket, and you rarely wonder why it didn’t seem to do the
rabbit any kind of good. Your character believes in superstitions and tries to live his life by signs and omens of portent. You should check out a book of superstitions from your local library to help you roleplay this Hindrance.
The hardened veterans who live in the wastes don’t think much of overeducated, fancy-talking types. You can spot tinhorns a mile away. They’re the ones who use big words and brag a lot
about their careers before the war. Subtract –2 from persuasion, overawe, and bluff rolls.
You get splinters from your own pistol grip and don’t quit whining about it until you see a sawbones. Increase your character’s wound penalty by 1.
A strong man can run a mile without getting winded. Others get tuckered out just getting up in the morning. Reduce your character’s Wind by –2 for each point of tuckered you take, down to a minimum of 4.
Ugly as Sin 1/3
It’s too bad the old saying about “stopping a bullet with your face” isn’t true. If it was, you’d sure never have to worry about being shot. For 1 point, your hero got a serious beating with an ugly stick. Maybe he’s always dirty, or he dresses in lime-green
leisure suits scavenged from a retro store. Whatever the case, looking at him is as painful as getting the squirts from a bad milrat. Subtract –2 from friendly persuasion rolls made whenever your character’s looks might intervene. On the plus side, you can add +2 whenever his looks might actually help, such as when making overawe or hostile persuasion attempts. For 3 points, your hero is an obvious mutant. He’s got pustulant sores, scales for skin, rotting digits, a third eye, or whatever. Most norms don’t
want his kind in their towns. Double the usual modifiers whenever another character knows or can see your hero is a mutie.
The world needs to be taught a lesson, and you’re the professor.
Your character must always attempt to right a wrong committed against him. Whether this revenge is violent or not depends on his nature.
Be careful what you wish for. You might get it. Your character has a dream or goal of some sort. Maybe he wants to restore the old United States, become a Law Dog despite his age, or prove himself once and for all the fastest gun in the wastelands. The more difficult and dangerous the yearning, the more points the
Hindrance is worth.
If the character ever actually attains his goal, he might have to buy off this Hindrance. The Marshal might forget about making you buy off the yearnin’ if fulfilling your ambitions come with a whole new set of problems. Most dreams do.
You usually get shot in the backside, and you’ve got the stitches to prove it. Cowards don’t have the heart for combat and try to avoid it whenever possible. Survivors don’t like scaredy cats.
Subtract –2 from persuasion rolls made against those with little respect for your character’s cowardly ways.
Edges are physical bonuses or background advantages you can purchase for your hero. Descriptions of each of the Edges and the effects they have on your character follow.
Arcane Background 3
Characters with this Edge have mastered some kind of supernatural power, something well beyond the pale of what most folks would consider standard, scientific knowledge. If your
hero has this Edge, she’s a Doomsayer, junker, syker, Templar, Witch or the like. In Hell on Earth, no hero can ever have more than one arcane background. One person can only serve so many masters, so to speak.
Doomsayers are heretical radiation priests who have rebelled against Silas Mercer’s murderous Cult of Doom. They use radiation magic to scour the wastes, protecting the world from their misguided brothers (who want to kill every unmutated human) and searching for a prophesied mutant they call the “Harbinger.” This Edge also has a lower point version called Initiate for those just starting on the path.
Hucksters are practitioners of an obsolete art and their tricks aren’t too safe anymore. Many of the junkers who existed before the war were trained hucksters though, and junkers can take the Huckster background(this is an exception to the “only one Arcane Background rule). Your brainer can cast hexes the oldfashioned
way. He must be old enough to have been a practicing scientist prior to the war, generally 33 years old or higher. A younger huckster, at least with junker origins, would be extremely rare. Very few old junkers pass this knowledge on to their students—it’s too dangerous and there are easier ways of doing things.
Junkers are far more than tinkerers and mechanics. They knowingly consort with evil spirits for inspiration and assistance in
designing their amazing contraptions. Then they build their infernal devices and power them with the incredible fury of ghost rock and their own mortal souls. Many do not trust them. Most everyone fears them.
Sykers were trained by the military and spent years in intensive training academies, learning incredible powers of the mind. Most fought in a horrible psychic war on the distant planet of Banshee before returning to a ruined Earth. They don’t talk much about the atrocities they were forced to commit there in the names of their governments.
Templars are the both noble and selfish knights of the Wasted West. They live by their swords, and they pledge them only to those survivors whom they deem worthy of their efforts. Their powers aren’t as spectacular as those of the sykers or the Doomsayers, but they’re also not nearly as costly. There is a religious fervor about them, but it’s tempered with practicality. This Edge also has a lower point version called Squire for those just starting out, and another called Companion for those associated with the Templars but who, for whatever reason, cannot gain their powers. Oh, and you can also take a different version called Anti-Templar for 5 points. Mysterious, eh?
Witches have deciphered the secrets of a book called How to Serve Your Man. They aren’t quite as powerful as the other Arcane Backgrounds, but they’re also a lot less well known. A Witch will probably want to buy Belongin’s 2 as well to have a copy of How to Serve your Man.
Background: Soldier 5
Your waster was an experienced member (at least 10 years) of the military of either the North or South. That means your hero is at least 41 years old (or older for higher ranks). Your brainer’s years of service get her a few basic Aptitudes related to her specialty for free. The various specialties are listed on the following page. In addition your hero can buy these specialty skills up to a level equal to 5 plus their rank at no additional cost (level 6 costs 6 points). All soldiers begin with a free rank of 0. You must buy rank at its full cost if you wish to have a higher rank.
The last perk of this Edge is that some of the points your hero spends on belongin’s count double as long as they’re spent on military equipment. The number of points which can be doubled is equal to the brainer’s rank level.
On the bad side, extended military service is bound to leave more than just the obligatory tattoo. Draw a card (two if your hero is Special Forces) and have your Marshal check out the Soldier Background Table tucked away in her section on page 125.
Some heroes claim they need nothing more than a trusty sidearm to get them through the Wasted West. If an opponent has a bigger sidearm, a wise hero might think differently. This Edge covers all the unusual equipment you might want for your character. You need to work out the specific point cost of any given item with the Marshal, but the table below should give you a rough guide.
Anything really incredible, such as a fighter jet or a legendary weapon like Excalibur, can’t be bought with this Edge. Those are prizes your hero must find during the game. Don’t be too disappointed. Part of the fun of a game like Hell on Earth is finding these kinds of goodies. Lesser magical items (relics) can be bought with this Edge, but be reasonable. Relics usually
add a +1 per level of belongin’s bonus to their user’s skill roll when used. Weapons add +1 per level to their damage totals as well. Other magical effects must be approved by the Marshal, though even a level 5 belongin’ shouldn’t be quite as spectacular as a legendary weapon.
Finally, check out the dinero Edge if your hero is well-equipped and has a way of getting more bullets and other necessities when he needs to, whether it’s through contacts or trading savvy.
Cost I tem
1 Item worth up to $1000
2 Item worth up to $2000
3 Item worth up to $3000
4 Item worth up to $4000
5 Item worth up to $5000
Berserks have gotten in touch with their inner stepchild and like to beat the snot out of it. For whatever reason, certain things set the hero off, turning her into a frenzied deathmachine.
Whenever your hero takes a wound, she must make a Smarts roll equal to the TN of the wound (just like on the Healing Table). If she fails the roll, she goes into a berserk frenzy, allowing her to make two hand-to-hand attacks each action.
The downside is that neither her fightin’ levels nor her weapon’s defensive bonuses are added to the opponent’s TN to hit her. She must also rush into hand-to-hand combat no matter what the
situation. She might not jump off a cliff to get at someone, but she’s happy to charge an army all by herself once berserk.
Big Ears 1
Some folks got “head handles” as big as a donkey’s. Those that do can usually hear a softtoed critter creeping over stone at 100 yards. A character with the big ears Edge adds +2 to Cognition rolls involving hearing things.
Blessings o’ the Atom 3
Your mutant is fortunate enough to have received the blessing of being able to choose how stable sources of supernatural radiation affect her body structure upon exposure. Before purchasing this edge, the character must first be a super mutant or have taken the mutant hindrance (nonmutants need not apply). Though you start with no extra mutations, when exposed to certain source of radiation you will have the opportunity to purchase beneficial mutations with Bounty.
Most folks aren’t really brave—they’re just too stupid to know better. Either way, they’re often the last to run and the first to die.
Characters with this Edge add +2 to their guts checks. This is in addition to any bonuses for Grit, so brave and experienced heroes don’t usually run until they want to.
Some folks think a fellow as big as you is dumb as a post. They sometimes change their minds when your 21-inch biceps let them know what it feels like to be a post.
Your character is big—not obese, just big and chock full o’ muscles. He must have at least a 2d8 Strength to take this Edge. If he does, you can add +1 to your hombre’s Size. Your hero can’t be both brawny and a big ’un.
Old money makes great toilet paper in the Wasted West. Paper money that is. Coins just hurt.
The real currency these days is in salvage (see Chapter Four). Your hero can usually come up with some sort of valuable goods for trade when he needs to.
A wealthy individual starts with additional funds and can come up with more when pressed. To do so, he simply makes a Hard (9)
bluff, persuasion, scroungin’, or streetwise roll. How much time this takes and exactly which skill your character uses depends on his background. Bluff means he’s conned someone. Persuasion means he’s talked others into giving or loaning him something of value. Scroungin’ is for those who have a knack for finding something valuable to trade. Streetwise characters get goods by arranging deals, usually the shady type.
Certain trades or professions might also net the hero some found money. If successful, your savvy hero gets the “found money” shown on the table below. The “money” is usually favors, milrats, a gun, fresh fruit, or maybe even healing by a traveling Doomsayer or Templar. Whatever, your survivor manages to
salvage, weasel, con, or even steal it. In any case, the hero can’t “find money” with this Edge more than once a week in the same
place. He could use other methods, of course, such as scroungin’ or actual adventuring.
Cost Starting Funds Found Money
1 300 25
2 400 50
3 500 100
4 1,000 200
5 2,000 400
Don’t Get ’Im Riled! 3
“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”
—The S-Mart Overlord
When your hero is injured, he adds Xd4 damage to his hand-to-hand attacks, where X is the hero’s highest wound level. A hero with a serious wound, for instance, adds +3d4 to his hand-to-hand damage rolls. Reroll any Aces you get on the bonus roll, and then add them to the Strength part of the damage total, just like any other “plus.”
Eagle Eyes 1
Sharp-eyed folks can spot a fly on a raisin cake at 20 paces. Others might just wonder what’s so chewy. You may add +2 to any Cognition rolls made for your character to spot or notice things at a distance.
There often comes a time when a hero needs to hightail it away from some angry varmint. If that’s the case, remember the golden
rule of skedaddling: You only have to outrun one person. Unless there’s a lot of angry varmints, of course. Then you’d better be fleet-footed enough to outrun the whole posse!
Your character’s base Pace is 2 more than his Nimbleness. A character with a Nimbleness of 12, for example, would have a base Pace of 14 and could run up to 28 yards in a single round.
Friends in High Places 1–5
It’s not who you know—it’s who knows you. Your character has friends who occasionally help him out. The value of the friends depends on how powerful they are and how often they show up. A biker boss who shows up with the cavalry every other game or so is worth 3 points, or 1 if he usually shows up alone. A wealthy
trader who buys your character’s way out of trouble on occasion might be worth 2. There are many ways to use this Edge, so work out the details with your Marshal before you determine the final point cost.
Gift o’ Gab 1
A lot of foreigners fought for the Northern and Southern Alliances. Most of them don’t speak a lot of English. Sometimes the only way to talk to one of these grizzled veterans is in their own language.
This Edge allows your character to learn languages at half the normal cost (round down).
Veterans of the wastelands expect the unexpected. Other folks are just jumpy. The only thing they’ve got in common is that they can both sense a walkin’ dead creeping up on them from 50 yards away.
A keen hero notices little details, sounds, and movements that others may ignore. She may add +2 to any Cognition-based rolls.
Law Dog 1/3
The badge of a lawman carries a lot of weight, mostly in the form of responsibility. The common folk depend on you to fight off marauders, bandits, and stranger things. While this Edge grants your hero a great amount of authority, it also brings trouble.
For 1 point, your character is a local lawman of some sort. Most towns call them “sheriffs” these days. Folks do what you say in matters of justice and the defense (unless there’s some other official with that job).
For 3 points, your hero is one of the Law Dogs. It’s his job to travel the wastes and bring justice to the survivors. Remember that these days justice is more important than law. That means he’s got a lot of room for personal judgment. Of course, a Law Dog who makes a lot of bad decisions is likely to be hated by even peace-loving folks.
Most villages obey the wishes of the Law Dogs, but are quick to turn on a lawman who doesn’t live up to his reputation. How much authority your character can command depends on his deeds, his words, and lastly his gun. All Law Dogs have a –5 point oath to bring justice to the Wasted West.
Veteran gunmen claim speed and skill are vital, but they’re overrated compared to keeping your cool, aiming at your target, and putting it down. A hothead who empties his hogleg too fast soon finds himself taking root in the local bone orchard.
Immediately after drawing Action Cards in combat, a character with this Edge can discard his lowest card and draw another. If the character draws a black Joker on the first draw, he’s out of luck and can’t draw again.
Over five billion souls perished in the Last War and the Reckoning that followed thereafter. Of those who managed to haul their irradiated carcasses out of the ruin, many are tough sons of bitches. Of course, women can take this Edge as well. After all, it’s not like there are just “hardy boys.”
Your hero’s one of those hard-bitten survivors, and he heals a little bit faster than most. He gains Wind back at the rate of 1 point every 30 seconds (or six combat rounds), instead of the
usual 1 point per minute. Also he can make a healing roll to recover from his wounds every three days instead of the regular five.
To take this Edge, your hero must have a Vigor of 3d10 or better. Both the Coordination and the die type of this Trait must be at this level or higher. After all, fragile wimps just aren’t the hardy sort.
While most folks tromping around the Wasted West are just trying to survive, some dedicate themselves to higher purposes. The Librarians are trying to make sure that the knowledge that
humans attained before the Apocalypse isn’t lost forever.
A hero who takes this edge has been recruited by the Librarians. She is issued a palmcorder (see page 26) with which to collect
data, and sent out into the wilderness to rescue information.
The benefits of this aren’t bad. Librarians are expected to assist each other in acquiring information, and they get free access to the Grand Library in Sacramento, CA. Their mission of preserving information also gives them a +2 to persuasion rolls when dealing with any intellectual or scientific people. This only applies if the person in question is aware of the hero’s status, of course.
There is a catch. The waster also has to take a 2-point obligation: Librarians Hindrance, and must travel to the Grand Library in Sacramento at least once a year to report on what she’s found.
Light Sleeper 1
Sleep doesn’t always come easy in Deadlands. While it might make you grouchy before your morning cup of java, being a light sleeper can be fairly handy when some critter tries to slither
into bed with you.
A character with this Edge may add +2 to Cognition rolls made when he needs to wake up quickly. Light sleepers may also add +2 to their night terror Spirit rolls if they happen to have that Hindrance as well.
Luck o’ the Irish 3
A survivor with luck like this might catch an incoming bullet on the new pistol he salvaged a few hours earlier. That’s the way it works for these folks: Some minor bad luck winds up saving their butt in some genuinely freaky but ultimately fortunate way.
Whenever you spend a red or blue Fate Chip on a die roll (more about this in Chapter Six), you may reroll any 1s. Note that you can’t spend anything but a Legend Chip if you’ve already gone bust, however (again, Chapter Six, friend).
Mechanically Inclined 1
Gadgets and gizmos lie strewn about the blasted battlefields and ruined cities. Those who know how to fix them can recover valuable tools.
A character with this Edge adds +2 to rolls involving fixing or understanding machinery. No good junker would be caught dead without this skill. Of course, those without it probably are already dead.
Nerves o’ Steel 1
Some heroes are too darn stubborn to run, even when their boots are full of “liquid fear.” Most of their skeletons lie glowing in the irradiated wastes, but a few are still fighting the horrors of the Reckoners.
When the hero fails a guts check and the Scart Table (the Marshal’s got this) says he must flee, the character can stand his ground instead. He still suffers any penalties imposed by the Scart Table. A hero with nerves o’ steel isn’t necessarily brave. Sometimes he’s just more afraid of being branded a yellowbellied
coward than he is of death. Some folks are funny that way. Most don’t live long.
Omega Man 3
For some strange reason, your waster never grows old. (And he doesn’t fade away either.) The power only manifested itself since the Reckoning, but at some point in the last 13 years, he just stopped aging.
Your hero can never age, even by supernatural means. There are few other game effects unless your Marshal advances time frequently, but this does mean your waster could be older than
most. Maybe he was an officer in the Faraway War or one of the scientists who helped Hellstromme develop the Tunnel. Note that the cost is fairly expensive for an Edge that doesn’t have many tangible game effects. That’s because this is a very rare mutation and very powerful in certain circumstances. Also, if it was any cheaper, everybody would take it. If you’re not comfortable with that, don’t take it.
Maybe he still has teeth. Or maybe he found a comb somewhere. Whatever, your hombre is one good-looking survivor.
A purty character may add +2 to most persuasion rolls or other situations where his attractiveness might come into play.
Some folks like it hot. Your waster likes it microwaveable.
For whatever reason, your hero is particularly resistant to the effects of radiation, both natural and supernatural. He can add +1 per level of the Edge when resisting its effects. This works against Doomsayer magic that can be resisted, and it acts as 1 to 5 points of light armor against their blasts or other damage-causing powers. If a power is resisted and causes damage, radtolerant works against both.
A reputation’s a funny thing. The bigger it gets, the more most folks stay out of your way. But the fellows who don’t get out of the way are most likely gunning for you. Recognizing a famous person is a Fair (5) task for most—a Foolproof (3) task for those in the character’s field, town, etc. Add +1 per point invested in this Edge to any persuasion rolls made on those who know your hero, assuming they actually like him that is!
1 Well-known among a small group (town, junkers, Law Dogs, sykers, Templars, Doomsayers).
3 Well-known among a large group of people (county-sized region).
5 Known everywhere (war hero).
Sand, grit. You’d think folks in the Wasted West never take baths. Well, most don’t, but that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the kind of hombre who keeps fighting even when his boots are full of his own blood. The kind of hero who can
punch the Grim Reaper in the face and then ask him to dance. In short, a hero with fire in his eyes and spit in his belly.Every level of sand allows the hero to add +1 to any stun and recovery checks he must make during combat.
Sense o’ Direction 1
You can usually find north, smart guy. To determine direction, make a Fair (5) Cognition roll. With a Hard (9) Smarts roll, your hero also knows about what time it is.
Some of the greatest heroes have sidekicks, whether they’re mutated allies, guy or gal pals, or gabby old geezers. If your character gains a sidekick during the course of the campaign, you don’t need to use these rules. That’s just one of the rewards of roleplaying. If you want to startwith such a close companion, however, you need to buy this Edge.
The first thing you should do is write out a brief description of the companion and his relationship with your hero.
The Marshal then generates the character’s game statistics based on your description. A sidekick should never be more powerful than your character. Otherwise your hombre would be
If your survivor’s sidekick isn’t around half the time, drop the cost by 1. If he only comes around when you call for him—and that takes some time—then you have friends in high places instead. Sidekicks are more or less always in your hair.
Before you imagine you’ve picked up a living shield, let’s get something straight: sidekicks are strictly under the control of the Marshal. Neither you nor your character control them. Although
they are very loyal, they probably won’t throw themselves in front of bullets for you, even if you ask real nice. Got that, brainer?
To reflect the relationship with your ally, your hero automatically has an obligation (–2) to safeguard the companion’s life. After all, your hero would be pretty broken up if his best friend became mutie kibble. Despite the listed cost, the obligation Hindrance is free to your character. It does not confer additional Hindrance points, nor does it bring you over the 10-point limit on Hindrances. No whining: It’s the price of having another pair of hands to help out in a pinch.
One last thing. The world of Deadlands is a creepy place, and old friends make nasty enemies if left for dead. Imagine having an
enemy that knows your every weakness and how to cause you the most grief possible. Now imagine having that enemy come back from the grave as one of the Harrowed. Keep that sidekick kicking, friend!
Super Mutant 5
So you want to be a mutant—but not the ugly, stupid, flesh-eating kind. You’d rather be one of those big, brawny types with weird powers.
Okay, brainer. Buy this Edge, and you can draw cards for a either a standard or major mutation (your choice, but you’ve got to make it before you draw) until you get a Face Card, Ace, or Red Joker. You’ve got to keep the first one you draw however. Yes, you can buy this Edge even if your hero is already a mutie.
Super Soldier 5
Every government in the world messed around with weird science and supernatural powers at one point or another. One of the most notorious of these experiments took place during World War II, when the scientists of Nazi Germany created a breed of super soldiers. That serum was discovered by a United States infantry patrol in the final days of the war, and taken back to the
North for testing. Ten years later, the US had their own breed of super soldiers. Trouble was, the gremlins that plagued most mad scientists had messed with the formula, and most of the super soldiers went mad. This was all reported in the Tombstone Epitaph years later, though most folks dismissed it as yet another wacky conspiracy theory.
Anyway, a few men and women survived the serum and emerged just as the government had hoped. Maybe your hero was one of them. If so, he must be brawny and have a Strength of 3d10 or better and a Vigor of 4d12 or better. Both Coordination and die type must meet these minimums.
Here’s the big payoff. The hero gets to raise his Strength and Vigor by one die type each. (That means Vigor is at least 4d12+2 now.) The super soldier also gets the thick-skinned Edge, plus 5 levels of sand and tough as nails, all for free!
The downside is that hero’s Knowledge, Smarts, and Cognition all drop a die type. The same drugs that enhance the body atrophy the mind.
Being a super soldier is a great trade-off if you’re looking to make your hero into a hulking brute. Just don’t expect him to win any science fairs.
“The Stare” 1
There’s something in your stare that makes others nervous. When your eye starts twitching, someone’s about to meet his maker. A character with “ the stare” may add +2 to his overawe attacks, as long as the intended victim is close enough to look into his steely gaze (usually less than 30 feet or so).
Whether he’s tough-as-nails or just plain dumb, a fellow who can handle a little pain is a hombre that’s hard to beat. Tinhorns cry over a splinter. Thick-skinned survivors blaze away with both guns even when they taste their own blood.
Thick-skinned characters may ignore 1 level of penalty modifiers per wounded area. Thus a character with light wounds in both arms has no modifiers (see Chapter Five).
Tough as Nails 1–5
Some folks keel over in a stiff wind, but you chew razor blades for breakfast. A real hero’s got to persevere no matter how rough things get. Every level of tough as nails adds +2 to your character’s Wind. She can tough out losing blood
and getting banged around when others are curling up like babies with their thumbs in their mouths.
A rare few are just as good with their left hand as they are their right. These folks make deadly gunfighters and better cheats.
A two-fisted character ignores the –4 penalty for using his off hand. Note that this doesn’t negate any penalties for using a second weapon—just the additional –4 penalty for using the wrong paw.
Veteran o’ the Wasted West 0
You can tell by the stare. Or the way her hand slowly eases down toward her SMG when there’s trouble. Some folks have seen what humanity was not meant to know—in living color—and
lived to tell the tale.
Your character has been around a while. She’s encountered the denizens of Deadlands and said “howdy” to a few of its less-than-friendly types with her machine gun blazing.
Your character has an extra 15 points with which to buy Edges or Aptitudes or even improve her Traits or Coordinations (at the usual cost).
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Don’t think your hero’s encounters with the occult come without a steep price, brainer.
If you decide to make your hero a veteran o’ the Wasted West, the Marshal figures out what kind of Hell your hero’s mind and body have gone through to get there. Be warned. The cost for playing a veteran can be high. You might lose a limb, be stalked by a nefarious creature, or find yourself drawn into a struggle against evil far older than you could ever have imagined.
“The Voice” 1
When you speak, folks shush up and listen hard, whether you’ve got something worthwhile to say or not. It’s the medium, not the message. You can choose what kind of voice your character has. A soothing voice adds +2 to persuasion rolls made in calm, seductive, or otherwise peaceful situations. A threatening voice adds +2 to overawe rolls. A grating voice adds +2 to ridicule rolls. You can buy multiple voices as well.