Politics in Deadlands
The USA and CSA
In our history, the Battle of Gettysburg was regarded as a major turning point in the Civil War. The Union assault combined with the vast number of casualties the shattered the South morale and began the inevitable defeat of the Confederate armies and its reintegration with the United States.
In the Deadlands universe the Gettysburg was also a critical turning point. The casualties were still incredibly severe, but there was one key difference. The dead got up and kept on fighting, with no regard for gray or blue. While talks of “walking dead” would later be dismissed as hallucinations of the survivors, one thing was abundantly clear when the battle was finally over. There was no winner of Gettysburg, and both side retreated to lick their wounds and fight another day. The world just kept getting weirder after that.
It is the summer of 1877 and the North and South are still at war. One could say that the CSA effectively won the war, as they were fighting for their independence and it seems very unlikely they will lose it any time soon. The Confederacy abolished slavery of it’s own accord in the mid 1860s, realizing that the slave were more likely to fight on their side as free men.
To make matters more complicater, the Great Quake of `63 turned western California into a mess of archipelagos that came to be known as The Maze. It also exposed an incredible mineral that burns longer and hotter than coal and is more energy efficient than petroleum. This mineral came to be known as “Ghost Rock” due to the odd wailing noise it makes as it burns. It also became the basis of new and wonderous technologies. The USA and CSA quickly embroiled in an arms race to develop new war machines. Of course they also needed to get to the Ghost Rock, and there were just a few other people in the way.
The Disputed Territories
The ownership of Colorado, Kansas, and what’s left of Oklahoma is constantly under dispute by the USA and CSA. This is exacerbated by the fact that the people of these territories are fairly split on where their allegiance lies, and woe betide the Confederate sympathizer who stumbles into a Blue town, or vice versa.
Dodge and Denver are the two biggest cities. The only reason Dodge doesn’t erupt into war is due to the vigilance of Wyatt Earp and harsh gun control laws. Denver fares slightly better as the home to Smith & Robards, the second largest purveyor of new science in the States. They have a slight Union bias, but they have no trouble selling to the South.
The Sioux Nations and the Coyote Confederacy
While the North and South battled it out, two groups of Native Americans decided to consolidate their power to keep the white man, and his evil technologies, at bay.
Several smaller tribe banded together under the enigmatic man known only as Coyote to form the Coyote Confederation in the area that we would know as Oklahoma. While the Confederacy’s shamans speak against the technologies of the white man and a need to return to the teaching of the nature spirits, the Confederation is a bit more willing to “deal with the devils” than their northern counterpart.
In the North, the Great Sioux Nation was formed in the area we would know as the Dakotas and Wyoming, comprised of 7 great tribes. The “Seven Council Fire” is comprised of high Shaman from each of the tribes and lead by the great chief Sitting Bull. The members of the Sioux nation are significantly more technophobic than their counterparts and have a heavy push for their people to follow the “Old Ways.”
Ironically, one of the richest deposits of Ghost Rock outside of the Maze is located in the Sioux’s sacred Black Hills and the braves found them in constant struggle with illegal miners from the Union. In order to avoid all out hostilities with USA, Sitting Bull engineered the “Deadwood Creek Treaty” which established the Union backed settlement of Deadwood and restricted mining conditions for citizens of the USA. This has given a minor edge to the US in technology race so far.
There is currently an uneasy truce between the CSA and Mexico. Though Mexico does have its eye on the Ghost Rock in the Maze.
Who gives a crap about Canada?
The State of Deseret
The area we know as Utah has been christened Deseret by Morman leader Brigham Young and is home to the Church of Latter Day Saints. Though ostensibly neutral in the War, they only maintain that status due to the presence of the genius British scientist, Darius Hellstromme. Hellstromme Industries is at the cutting edge of “new science” and sells indiscriminately to either side of the conflict. If anyone messed with Brigham Young, they’d have to mess with Hellstromme and his company’s army of automatons.
There are two significant cities bordering the Maze:
Home of the Chinese Triads and seat of power for Warlord and Rail Baron Kang. Better mind your manners and show proper respect if you don’t want to be taken out with a poison blow dart from the shadows.
A theocratic city-state founded by Rev. Ezekiah Grimme, a real fire and brimstone sort of preacher. While a civil government exists, Grimme and his enforcement group the Guardian Angels hold the final say in most decisions. The city was built as a ring of concentric circles, with the inner circles being the nicest and home to Grimme’s church. The Church is a focal point of the city, and if you convert to Grimme’s faith you are welcome at the elaborate Sunday suppers. Few farms and ranches can survive near the maze due to contamination of Ghost Rock and sea water in the water table, so those Sunday Suppers draw a lot of converts. Lost Angels sits near one of the richest known deposits of Ghost Rock, and Grimme is a little picky about who gets let through.