by David Hogg

I’ve got a couple of cards from Hell’s Coming With Me! to spoil in this article, but first I’d like to go into the history behind them. I discovered the Deadlands RPG while studying at the University of York in the early 2000s. The gaming society there would hold weekend ‘conventions’ every term and people would bring RPGs, board games, to play with others. The iconic Deadlands rulebook cover caught my eye as I was combing through a table of stuff, looking for something to play. As I leafed through the book I thought that the setting sounded super cool, along with thematic mechanics. Alas, I didn’t get round to trying the game that day, but it stuck in my mind. 

Some time later I was browsing the shelves at my local game store and found the then new Deadlands: Reloaded book. Remembering how much I liked the look of the setting, I bought it and a copy of the Savage Worlds rules. After getting home and devouring the setting and all the options and possibilities, I started throwing together ideas for a short campaign. I gathered some friends and we had a total blast adventuring in The Great Maze and thwarting the Mexican Army of the Dead’s attempts to invade the territory. This simple campaign continued weekly for four years as the posse ventured throughout the Weird West. I wasn’t aware of the Deadlands metaplot at this point and just ran with the setting as presented, generating stories from the hooks and characters included in the book. The posse got involved in all sorts of adventures and built their legend, escaping from Stone, foiling Raven’s schemes, and attempting to redeem Hellstromme. Finally these brave and intrepid adventurers took on their nemesis, Reverend Grimme, in an apocalyptic showdown. We loved the setting so much that one of the players from my game started her own campaign. I then got the opportunity to play through another different interpretation of the setting.

When Doomtown: Reloaded was announced, I ordered it straight away. After running through the ‘learn to play’ scenario a few times to have some idea of what was going on, I approached some of my old Deadlands group and we ended up playing a weekly multiplayer Doomtown game. I enjoyed it so much I decided I’d venture out to a Deputy event to meet other players. I had a great time, learned what I’d been doing wrong rules-wise, and subsequently went to the next event and was hooked! Through playing in the UK Tournament scene I got to know several of the playtesters and ultimately joined the team towards the end of the AEG era.  When Pinebox took over the reins and were forming a posse to work on There Comes a Reckoning, Scott invited me to join their playtest team due to my enthusiasm for Doomtown and knowledge of the Deadlands setting. I’ve since got involved in art direction and card flavour in addition to playtesting.

When design-a-card prizes for Doomtown were first announced, I decided that if I ever won one I’d want to create something to pay tribute to the playgroup that first ventured into the Weird West with me in both RPG and card game formats. When Pine Box offered the opportunity to the playtest team to submit designs and ideas for the set that became Hell’s Comin’ With Me!, I knew what I had to do. I came up with ideas for dudes based on the characters from the RPG I ran. Unfortunately not all of the posse made it into the final set, but two of its members did.

Arielle Moriah hailed from New Orleans and was from a line of powerful Voodooist Blessed. She was dedicated to the loa of healers and plants, Loko, and had taken a vow of pacifism. To represent this in Doomtown she’s only a zero draw, but comes with a high value, Blessed 1, and has an ability that works well with healing-themed spells such as Lay On Hands and Soothe. Four cost, zero upkeep, and one influence make her an option for your starting posse while her high value means she can be included in your deck without risking failed pulls. She also fills a gap by being the first Jack value Blessed.

Dr. Delphi Wallis was a City o’ Gloom native whose family worked for Hellstromme Industries. She created a variety of useful gadgets but had an accompanying set of quirks and eccentricities, including being extremely absent-minded and being unable to see the color red. I liked the idea of Mad Scientists with abilities that represent one of their trademark Gadgets. For Delphi I picked something to represent ‘The Loose-Endinator’. It was a hypnotic gizmo based off the RPG’s Puppet spell that Dr. Wallis used to distract and disorient foes, even allowing for limited mind control and memory erasure. Doomtown’s Puppet spell on a dude would be far too powerful, so instead Delphi’s ability offers a Shootout control option that prevents an opposing dude from using their ability. She’s able to help in various ways, such as protecting your stud dudes from Hattie DeLorre’s bullet penalty or preventing Jacqueline Isham from becoming a stud. The chosen ability cannot be used until next turn, so one can also target dudes with strong Noon abilities if you can lock them in a shootout early game. Dr. Wallis can also shut down “Thunder Boy” Nabbe’s Repeat ability.

Arielle’s player, Ayesha, is an artist. She used to draw doodles of the characters during the RPG sessions (I still have old character sheets and the like full of art). Her style is different to that of the regular artists we use, but it was how I visualised the two characters. When it came to procuring art for these two dudes, I submitted a request to the rest of the art team that we commission her for them. This was graciously approved, and I’ve got to thank Pine Box for allowing these two cards to have the look that I wanted.