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MyGURPS - Deadlands Glossary

Deadlands Glossary

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These concepts are both important to Deadlands and either changed from or nonexistent in the real world. Included are events, places, things, and groups, but not individuals (there are so many "important people," it would dilute this list). For character types (e.g., "What's a 'huckster'?"), see Deadlands Character Options.

Note that the average citizen doesn't know about 99% of the supernatural details here! They think ghost rock is just a potent fuel source, have never heard of a manitou or Reckoner, etc. Even your PC probably won't know all of this.

Agency: Full name the Special Services Agency. The Union formed them out of the Pinkertons to ferret out conspirators to the nation and investigate supernatural threats.

Civil War: Started 1861 and in this setting ended 1871 (instead of 1865) due to the discovery and weaponization of ghost rock.

Coyote Confederation: Eastern Oklahoma belongs to Native tribes, most of whom are pro-technology rather than following the Old Ways. Outsiders are welcome at border towns like Perry, but buffalo poachers are killed painfully.

Deseret: The territory of Utah, settled by Mormons and outfitted by Hellstromme Industries, who declared independence as the State of Deseret in 1866. The capital Salt Lake City is known as "the City O'Gloom" thanks to constant industrial smoke.

Ghost Rock: Damned souls in physical form, found as ore within the Great Maze and elsewhere. Burns 5x hotter and 10x longer than coal and can be alloyed into ghost steel. Hellstromme Industries knows how to turn it into ghostfire bombs (basically nukes). A key component of mad science gadgets and other infernal devices.

Great Maze: The California coast, which was sundered into chunks by the Great Quake of 1868. The main source of ghost rock. Its largest city is Lost Angels (see below). Dominated by Chinese Triads (especially Shan Fan) and warlords (especially Kang).

Great Rail Wars: From 1871-1879 the Rail Barons (see below) competed to built the first transcontinental railway, using magic, undead, and other evils — both in construction and in outright attacks on each other. Ended when Wasatch Rail dropped the first ghostfire bombs on its competitors near Lost Angels.

Hellstromme Industries Ltd.: Based in Salt Lake City, Deseret, this company led by the infamous Darius Hellstromme produces cutting-edge (read: dangerous) infernal devices. Hellstromme recently disappeared, leaving a Mr. Hanuman in charge.

Hunting Grounds: The spirit world, which the Reckoning opened up. Not every spirit there is evil, but enough of them are.

Lost Angels (Los Angeles): Largest city in California's Great Maze, run by Rev. John Prosperi and his Reformed Church of Lost Angels. In contrast, the underground Cult of Lost Angels follows the evil teachings of (deceased) founder Ezekiel Grimme. A nearby area known as Ghost Town still burns with ghostfire to this day, remnant of the Great Rail Wars.

Lost Sons: A group of Natives, led by the evil shaman Raven, who unleashed the Reckoning. Their faces are horrifically scarred from it.

Manitou: Evil human souls, effectively lesser demons who serve the Reckoners. They empower the Harrowed, magic, and mad science.

Rail Barons: Powerful, cutthroat companies who caused the Great Rail Wars. Empire Rails (Union veterans), Lone Star (Texas cattle barons), Bayou Vermilion (New Orleans voodooists), Black River (Kansas witches), Iron Dragon (Chinese warlord Kang), and Wasatch Rail Company (mad scientist Darius Hellstromme). Denver-Pacific Rail (Smith & Robards) is important but wasn't part of the Wars.

Rangers: Originally the Texas Rangers, charged by the Confederacy to bring law and order to the unclaimed territories and fight supernatural threats. Now the United States has created Ranger groups for many territories, not just Texas.

Reckoners: War, Famine, Death, and Pestilence, also known as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Powerful beings who feed on fear. They stay withdrawn, relying on countless manitou and a few human servitors to further their plans.

The Reckoning: When the Lost Sons unleashed the Reckoners and manitou into our world, in 1863.

Sioux Nations: Former Dakota territory. Thanks to nature spirits known as thunderbirds, modern technology breaks down here; the town of Deadwood and Iron Dragon rail lines leading to it are an intentional exception as neutral ground for outsiders.

Smith & Robards: Popular manufacturers of infernal devices and similar high-tech gadgets. Known for reliability (relatively speaking!) rather than for being on the cutting edge.

Tombstone Epitaph: A tiny paper that became a nationwide phenomenon, thanks to muckrackers like Lacy O'Malley reporting on the truth of the Weird West. Most consider it great fiction, but savvy folks know better.

Twilight Legion: A monster-hunting society dating back to Rome, who still exist and helped get the Agency and Rangers to put aside the Civil War and unite against the Reckoners (an agreement known as the Twilight Protocol). They recruit a wide variety of heroes to root out threats. Their public front is the Explorer's Society.

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