The Deadlands Adventurer’s group will forever be known as the party that destroyed the universe. Really. Here I intend to explore some of the theological ramifications of this turn of events.
For those of you who haven’t been keeping track, our Sunday night Deadlands campaign took a nasty turn when we discovered that an Evildoer(tm) was building some kind of doomsday clock that would destroy the world. As we were led to understand, if the clock ran down, the world would end.
So after careful investigative work (which my character James Jadwin predominantly did at the local whorehouse), we tracked down the Evildoer and her clock to an abandoned mine. There’s the clock—sitting still except for one whirring gear. You might as well have painted a bullseye on it, Josh!
I am relieved to say that I didn’t fire the fatal shot. Which is not to say that I wouldn’t have, perhaps. Our Mormon character Cal (played by Paul) took aim, tossed in his blue chip for good luck, and fired before we could do much of anything. My first inclination had actually been to shoot at the Evildoer and her minions, figuring that the clock itself could wait. But Cal’s shot was true, and the clock stopped, destroying the entire universe.
Now, hindsight is 20/20, but when I think about it, I still don’t think that Cal’s actions were all that unreasonable. The threat as we understood it was if the clock were to run down. What better way to prevent the clock from running down than from stopping it prematurely. Think about it—the ticking clock cliche is that when the clock reaches a fixed time, something explodes. The way to prevent this is to stop the clock, or pull the wire to the detonator, or something equally silly. This is best done with one second to spare. But in general, you WANT to stop the clock one way or another. Cal and the rest of us can hardly be held culpable for assuming that the Doomsday Clock would work this way.
After the End-Of-The-World-As-We-Know-It, our party found ourselves in another universe, which we eventually discovered was ruled by a goddess named Althea. All of us except Sor Teresa, that is, who wound up going to Christian Heaven. Here’s where things get weird. First, Althea actually appears to us—something the Christian god in the universe we just destroyed had never bothered to do, even when we were on the brink of destroying all of creation. Then she’s afraid that we will destroy her world as well, and we are politely ejected from this universe.
Next thing you know, Sor Teresa is back from heaven as an Avenging Angel or some other weird shit, telling us that God is giving us a second chance, and wants us to reconstitute his universe. We’re given time-travelling clocks to make the job easier. Although the full mechanics aren’t clear to me yet, it sounds as if we we’re supposed to be gathering occult artifacts which we will use to make a barrier around the abandoned mine, containing the explosion.
A whole slew of nasty theological questions has arisen:
1) What kind of God would make a universe that is so easily destrotyed by a .22 slug?
2) Having destroyed said universe, why would this God trust the very people who destroyed it to put it back together?
3) Why does God need us to put the universe back together? Can’t God just do it himself?
4) Why are we playing along with God’s plan? God clearly isn’t who he claimed to be—not the only god, apparently, not omnipotent, and definitely not very wise.
My character James Jadwin was never a very pious fellow to begin with. However, I find his attitudes taking a strange turn. Now on the one hand he knows that there really is a God. On the other, God is a bumbler, and not very awe-inspiring. Should we succeed in putting the universe back together, I wonder if we can have a final showdown with the Big Guy himself.
Parenthetical note: Did I mention that in the course of recovering one of the artifacts (an obsidian blade), our party accidentally committed a human sacrifice on one of the natives? And that this allowed us to recover the artifact in a very straightforward manner? But that is a story for a different time.