The Rail Wars
Note that sections of this fan wiki page are taken directly from the Deadlands: Reloaded sourcebook.
The race out West for Ghost Rock is one of the major drives in the Deadlands universe. Each of the Rail Barons has their own motive, personal or political, for attempting to win the race to the Maze. Note that sections of this wiki page are taken directly from the Deadlands: Reloaded sourcebook. The players in the Rail game are:
Bayou Vermilion runs from New Orleans, LA to Tombstone, AZ. There is a bit of tension, as New Orleans remains a Union port, where Tombstone is solidly in the Confederacy. The line is run by Rail Baron Simione LaCroix. LaCroix seems to have little interest in the war between the North and the South and he seems to also have little concern for material gains. Out of all the Rail Barons, his motivations for becoming involved in the Rail Wars is the most mysterious.
The railhead in Tombstone also makes it convienent to attempt to get further out West, you can usually find a reputable transport for $50 per person, but you better be willing to pay in gold, silver or Ghost Rock.
While BV doesn’t have the monetary resources of some of the other lines it does have one thing the other Barons lack, a workforce that never tires. As the posse has discovered, the rumors that LaCroix uses undead workers is quite true.
Black River was established by Miles Devlin and runs primarily through the disputed territory. Miles was a ruthless son of a bitch, who had no problem killing anyone who got in his way. Some folks didn’t much care for that and saw to it that he took a nice long dirt nap. With Miles dead, all of his shares in Black River became property of his absurdly beautiful wife, Mina.
Turns out that underneath that raven hair and flawless alabaster skin, Mina is even more stone cold than her husband ever was. She spent no time tracking down her husbands killers. No one knows exactly what happened to them, though most probably wouldn’t want to know. She also has a group of enforcers knicknamed the Wichita Witches that monitor all her operations.
Mina clearly favors the Confederacy, but she has also been dealing with Union Blue (and there are some interesting rumors about her and Joshua Chamberlain of Union Blue, but no on can prove anything).
Dixie Rails was started by the renowned Confederate general, Robert E. Lee. After Lee was assassinated by cowardly Yankees, shares in the line were willed to his nephew, Fitzhugh Lee. Sadly, Fitzhugh was nowhere as intelligent as his uncle and for awhile it looked like DR was going to go under.
Almost miraculously, the trains on Dixie started whistling westward again! The younger Lee says that it took awhile, but he’s been inspired by the memory of his uncle to move forward.
Dixie Rails is, obvious, a strictly confederate line.
Everyone who lives in the Great Maze fears the colorful sampans of the Warlord Kang. His pirates
steal ghost rock from other miners, raiding their camps and making off with their ore-laden barges. He makes a great deal of money shipping his ill-gotten ghost rock to points East—that’s Far East, Marshal. The rest of his fi lthy lucre comes from the opium trade, prostitution, and any other vice he can dip his well-manicured hands into. Needless to say, vice is big business in the Maze.
Kang entered the race later than most, so he had some catching up to do. Worse, all the good routes had already been claimed by his competition, so he was forced to attempt what no one else had been able to manage—negotiate right-of-way through the Sioux Nation. The reason why the Sioux allowed him to do so are unknown.
Kang is loyal only to himself. He is a ruthlessly efficient warlord, superior martial artist, and rumored to be a powerful Chinese sorcerer, but that’s not enough for him. He wants to create his own Empire in the northern Maze…as a start.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, the hero of Gettysburg, is president of the Union Blue Railroad. He was working as Ulysses S. Grant’s aide de camp when the transcontinental rail competition was announced. Realizing its importance to the country, he requested a leave of absence to form Union Blue. Union Blue runs just south of the Sioux Nations, and as you might expect, Chamberlain is often forced to build spurs into the Disputed Territories in order to bring in much needed revenue. With the current cessation of hostilities, however, he can no longer rely on Union troops to protect his rolling stock in the Disputed Territories, and his coffers are running low.
Chamberlain’s real advantage stems from his personal character. His incredible sense of integrity and honor has won him many friends along his path, including many military commanders, politicians, and The Agency. He is aware of what is said about him and Mina Devlin and stresses that they are vicious rumors and that he is a happily married man.
Back when the Rail Wars first got underway, most folks were betting on Darius Hellstromme and his Wasatch Railroad to win the whole enchilada. His amazing technology and financial might allowed him to lay track at an astounding rate. Unfortunately for Hellstromme, he’s come up against a wall called the Denver-Pacific Railroad. Owned by his most prominent scientific rivals, Smith & Robards, the DP runs from Denver all the way to Virginia City, Nevada, the very same territory Hellstromme wishes to run his rail line through. Had the work begun years ago, Wasatch could have laid track around the DP line, but the railroad is now hemmed in by Black River to the South and Union Blue to the North.
Undeterred, Hellstromme put his enormous intellect to work and invented an enormous drilling machine with which he intends to burrow beneath the Rocky Mountains and emerge clear of the DP line. The crew working with this device have nicknamed it the Hellbore thanks to the tremendous racket sent up by the enormous amounts of ghost rock the thing burns, a cacophony only amplifi ed by the confined spaces in which the machine operates. Thus far the Hellbore has vanished deep into the Rockies along with the rail crews following behind it.
The Minor Players
There are other smaller lines that are not truly involved in the Great Rail War. These are usually small spurs and passenger lines that eventually get gobbled up by one of the Barons when they are deemed useful.
The one exception to this is Denver Pacific, the line owned by Smith & Robards. Originally, Hellstromme and the S&R boys worked out an amicable business arrangement that allowed Wasatch to use DP rolling stock and it seemed the great technological rivals were forging some kind of monopoly. That state of affairs didn’t last, however (some say Smith was against it all along), and in a spectacular bust up, DP dumped Wasatch stock off their trains in the middle of the desert. No one knows what the cause of the aggravation was, but the only thing more surprising than S&R passing up a chance at a profit was Hellstromme’s reaction.
Instead of launching an all-out war (his usual bargaining strategy), Hellstromme tendered a series of generous buyout offers, and never mentioned the hundreds of thousands of dollars of machinery that was destroyed in the incident. Rumor has it that Hellstromme’s calm response has S&R more rattled than if he’d brought down the thunder. They’re ready for anything, but Smith & Robards aren’t selling or surrendering.