|Doctor Darius Hellstromme|
|Affiliation||Hellstromme Industries, Wasatch Railroad|
|Setting(s)||Deadlands, Hell on Earth|
Darius Hellstromme, Ph.D, is an avatar of science untrammeled by conscience or any emotion; a cold and destructive man who thinks of nothing but his goals... and his tragedy. His is a story of love lost that spans three centuries and one man's quest into Hell itself to regain it at any cost - even his very soul.
Hellstromme appears to be a well-cultured gentleman whose British heritage is revealed the moment he opens his mouth, with a neatly trimmed black beard and mustache that compliments the distinguishing scar across his cheek perfectly.
History (Weird West)Edit
Darius Hellstromme was born in 1824 to poor London laborers. He went to work in his uncle's factory and discovered his knack for 'improving' machinery there, and that uncle sent him to Sandhurst Military Academy. It was while Darius was at Sandhurst that he met his future wife, Vanessa. His uncle purchased him a commission in Her Majesty's Royal Engineers and he was sent to the colony of India, where his life took the turn that would shape the history of Deadlands. Vanessa was mortally wounded by rebellious Sikhs. He promised to stay by her side, but while she slept fitfully he went into the next room to work on an invention for his revenge. She awoke alone and committed suicide, believing Darius had abandoned her for his machines.
The next few years saw Hellstromme removed from his post in the Royal Engineers and wandering the world, searching for a purpose. He found a small quantity of ghost rock in Africa and experimented upon it, but after the Great Quake revealed vast deposits in the Weird West he traveled there, eventually choosing Salt Lake City as a base of operations for his eventual goal... to retrieve his wife's soul from the afterlife.
Hellstromme Industries and the Wasatch Railroad were created to fund his researches, and by 1880 he had reached two major goals: near success in the so-called Rail Wars and the invention of the Hellbore, his first instrument for invading the Deadlands and finding Vanessa. While he succeeded in the first, reaching the City of Angels by going under the mountains rather than over or around, his trip into Hell was a failure. He did not suspect that the Reckoners themselves, not wanting to let Plague's chosen servitor out of their grip, had hidden her soul in a place that would take him a thousand years to find.
History (Hell on Earth)Edit
Hellstromme grew concerned at the growth of the Pure Science movement that the fledgling Sons of Sitgraves were promoting, with their (accurate) claims that the 'mad scientists' were getting their inspirations from demons, and in 1893 wrote an essay that refuted their statements. Ordinary people accepted his words at face value, but most scientists took a step back and either consciously decided to ignore their warnings, or reject their 'inspirational' thoughts in favor of more solid science.
During the 1900s, Hellstromme himself disappeared, only to reappear during 1917 with his brain in an automaton's body. During the first World War, he offered tanks and automatons for the effort, helping to sweep aside Germany, and in the 1930s his name became synonymous with science as every household had at least one Hellstromme Industries gadget in it. It wasn't until the 1960s, and the peace movements, that his popularity began to plummet, though it was during these years that he purchased Smith & Robards.
In 1987, because of complaints from Colorado, Hellstromme began constructing the future savior of Junktown: The Vanessa Hellstromme Memorial Dome, a covering over Junktown that would filter pollutants from its air before letting them out. It also contained technology that would protect against the future ghost rock bombs. During the last decade of that century, his company also perfected the nuclear reactors that used irradiated ghost rock fuel to create vast amounts of power.
Hellstromme's attempts to find Vanessa did not falter during these years, and in the 2030s he built a spaceship called the Unity as another tool for that goal. However, the forces of good intervened, and his abortive journey into Hell failed... but led him to another solar system entirely, the only place in the entire galaxy that the Reckoners could be weakened enough to destroy. Knowing this, the Reckoners touched the main planet in the system, Banshee, and created great ghost rock reserves, at the same time lessening the amount left on Earth.
The horrific slaughter that Hellstromme Industries Marines wreaked upon first landing was the final straw for the Latter-Day Saints: they expelled Hellstromme from Deseret. He moved to Denver, creating a dome similar to the one over Junktown and a spaceport to help him exploit the wealth of Banshee. It was in Denver that scientists working for him made the final breakthrough in 2063 that doomed billions: nuclear weapons that used irradiated ghost rock. After that event, the 'inspirations' of mad scientists across the world disappeared; the manitous that had given them had finally accomplished their job.
Perhaps realizing this, perhaps not, Hellstromme threw himself into finding his wife's soul, and (hoping to distract him from their presence on Earth) the Reckoners finally granted his wish sometime during the early late 2080s or early 2090s - not coincidentally placing him, and Vanessa, on the wrong side of the gateway between Banshee and Earth. Despite reaching his goal, however, Hellstromme refused to be distracted, and discovered a way to bring the Reckoners to Banshee to destroy them. His remorse over his own involvement in what Earth had become meant he entrusted that to a group of heroes and set about to reshaping the Hell on Earth into something less hellish.
Some illustrations of Darius Hellstromme place his scar over his left eye, rather than his right eye. The earliest illustrations place it over his right eye and so this is generally considered the true location.
Game information and Marshal usesEdit
Dr Hellstromme is meant to be an overarching plotter, rather than a direct confrontation, and was not statted until the Deadlands Reloaded book. He could act as malevolent patron or hidden nemesis for groups, hiding behind his automatons, mad scientists, and Wasatch minions or hiring the players for duties that would turn out to have darker purposes than originally intended.