Hell’s Comin’ With Me’s Homebrew Heroines

Hell’s Comin’ With Me’s Homebrew Heroines

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.

 

Lacy O’Malley – A Newsworthy Legend

Lacy O’Malley – A Newsworthy Legend

by David Avery with an introduction by David Lapp

Lacy O’Malley was born in Ireland and subsequently raised in New York. He joined the Tombstone Epitaph in 1875, writing stories on the supernatural occurrences of the Weird West. Lacy is a prominent figure in the Deadlands universe and a member of the Explorer’s Society, a league of heroes involved in the Twilight Legion. Lacy aims to bring truth to the common people expose the Reckoners and join heroes together in the fight to save humanity.

The four servitors in There Comes a Reckoning serve as embodiments of Deadland’s Reckoners. They provide significant benefits such as ways to buff bullets, gain control points, or find and attach spells. These benefits come at a price in the form of added starting cost along with a detrimental trait that a skilled opponent can exploit. The heroes of the Weird West are less overtly powerful, but they are pure of heart and harder to play around. Lacy O’Malley’s detriment requires some forethought, but with careful planning should not provide an undue hindrance. While at the same time, the second part of his trait facilitates extraordinary card draw.

“Card effects cannot cause cards to leave your discard pile, and cards in your discard pile cannot be played.”

Lacy does inherently rule out certain deck concepts while limiting others. Kung fu, the Office of Ancestral affairs, and of course the ubiquitous Maggie Harris horse decks are unusable with Lacy. Doomsday Supply, Technological Exhibition, and Buried Treasure, are also out. Still, many deck archetypes can benefit from the veteran newshound. Search effects like Father Tolarios will still partially work as long as the card you seek resides in your deck rather than your discard pile. There is also no restriction about pulling cards out of boot hill, so the Fearmongers necromancy effects that bring back aced cards remain effective. Crucially, these are all decisions you make in deck building rather than something you will need to consider during play. So once your deck is built you no longer need to worry about Lacy’s weakness. 

“During Sundown, discard all cards in your play hand”

Hand jam in any card game is a problem, since if you don’t draw many cards you are limited in what your deck can do. Doomtown lets you discard a card at sundown and then draw back up to your regular hand size. When your deck is firing on all cylinders, this might mean you redraw three or four cards every turn. However, we have all been in situations where nothing is working and your hand is full of cards you just can’t quite get into play. This can happen if you get a clump of high priced cards, if you are playing against a slide deck which won’t let you play your shootout actions, or if you are just plumb unlucky. Lacy shortcuts all these scenarios by guaranteeing you five new cards in hand every turn. This allows you to get through your deck reliably, giving you significant card advantage over your opponent. Be warned, not being able to hold on to some cards does mean you need to adapt your play style. 

Frequently you will hold a card at the end of your turn to ensure you have cheatin’ punishment or at least give the impression that you have some. Lacy nullifies that strategy, so on table cheatin’ punishment is a must. This makes the Law Dogs a natural home for Lacy with both Virgil and Wyatt Earp providing significant disincentives to cheatin’. And don’t forget those long-time Law Dog stalwarts, Philip Swinford and Tommy Harden. Weapons such as Lemat Revolver, Jael’s Guile and Quickdraw Handgun also present powerful reasons for your opponent to play legal hands. Hell’s Coming With Me adds a new cheatin’ spirit useful in a shootout.

Increasing your hand size is only useful if you are going to play most of the cards in your hand. There is little advantage to having an eight card hand size if you are only playing a couple of cards and drawing two new cards each turn. Lacy rewards decks that can increase their hand size by allowing you to draw eight or nine new cards every turn. Anarchist mainstay Randall is an easy way to increase your hand size. Silent Sigil is also a great combo with Lacy as it allows you retain one card, such as that all important cheatin’ punishment, while still drawing back up to six cards.

The First People with the Eagle wardens and Spiritual Society already give you accelerated card draw. Lacy further turbo charges both these outfits, particularly with the new First Peoples core deed 

Lacy is an incredibly versatile legend who pops up anywhere and across many factions, much like the intrepid reporter himself.

Hell’s Comin’ With Me is currently available for preorder for consumers and retailers and will be shipping March 2020.