The game includes elements of exploration and RPG. Using a worldmap, players advance the plotline by moving the party between points of interest. Reaching them triggers Story Branching dialogs, which can either benefit or harm players, such as new party members or items. Each scenario has its own gameplay quirks, which usually alters this sequence in some way.
The combat sequences are turn-based, similar to those of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Each character has two actions per turn (moving, reloading, shooting, using an item or an ability), using most weapons at the beginning of a turn consumes both action points, with parts of the scenery providing cover. Each character can carry two weapons, two consumables, and one trinket giving a permanent bonus, enemies have an overwatch mode. The combats also have more original elements. Each party member can equip up to five poker cards, which grant stat boosts, as well as either active or passive abilities. Some sequences start with the enemy being unaware of your presence, which allows one to position the party for an ambush.
Hard West's campaign is divided in eight scenarios, which themselves could be loosely divided in three story arcsnote .
Warren and his father the main arc
- Main player character: Father (prologue), Warren
- Plot summary: While travelling on the Oregon trail, a family (two unnamed parents and their son Warren) are captured and robbed by bandits. The father manages to escapes and kills all the bandits, saving his son, but he only finds his wife's severed head. A decade later, he and the now-adult Warren settled on the place of the tragedy, cultivating a (poor) farm. The discovery of gold in the region draws the attention of bandits, while poor decisions from Father brings a curse on the family...
- Special gameplay elements: The protagonist benefits from a prospecting licence, allowing to look for gold in several places (for a limited number of uses). There are several ways of prospecting (surface, deep, under the rock), each of them related to a special skill that can be trained (then granting more gold to the method used). The primary challenge is generating more gold than you spend on excavation. Also, it's the gold prospecting which makes the plot progress.
As Good as Dead
- Main player character: Warren
- Plot summary: Forced to flee his farm at the end of Hard Times while being wanted for murder, Warren is wandering with his girlfriend Florence, living from money he gains playing poker. He eventually pisses of the wrong guy, who have Warren and Florence killed. In his dying moment, Warren makes a Deal with the Devil. Raised as an undead, Warren starts a Roaring Rampage of Revenge...
- Special gameplay elements: In order to find the location of his killer, Warren must cause $65000 worth of damage to the various properties they own. Optionally, Warren can also kill 100 people for special rewards, but the local shops will raise their prices as the bodycount grows and may even flee the area if it reaches an excessive amount.
- Main player character: The Undertaker
- Plot summary: Warren's father fled the farm in the middle of Hard Times, in an attempt to lure his curse far from his family. He eventually managed to work as an undertaker, then his new town is slaughtered by a demonic cult. With the help of the former bounty hunter Oswald Harrington (one of the only survivors), the undertaker tries to stop them.
- Special gameplay elements: Each day is divided in five periods. Moving on the map advances the clock to the new period. Moving when the clock is on the last one forces the party to camp; you can feed each party member once (grants no buff and no debuff), twice (grants a buff), or nothing at all (grants a debuff), which requires to manage food. Also, the interactions offered by some places depends on the hour of the day.
On Earth, as it is in Hell
- Main player character: Warren
- Plot summary: Having learned that he has a way to see Florence again, Warren gathers a team of the finest gunmen in order invade and destroy the Purgatory.
- Special gameplay elements: You need to have three party members in order to unlock the final battle. At which point, you can choose to play it as Warren's team or as the Undertaker's, the unchosen party being the antagonists of the fight.
The doctor, the inquisitor, and the seer
The first scenario of the arc is unlocked at completion of As Good as Dead.
Method in Madness
- Main player character: Solomon DeLear
- Plot summary: An epidemics of violent dementia plagues the region. Doctor Solomon DeLear intends to stop it. Having inherited the laboratory of an old rival of him, he also receives support from a mysterious trio of Pinkerton agents.
- Special gameplay elements: DeLear can research new items in the laboratory, allowing then to buy them. The items are sorted in three lists (technical, chemical, weapons), each research requires a blueprint to be achieved. Also, the further the plot advances, the more DeLear' sanity is affected (and the higher his combat stats are affected); at some occasions, DeLear can choose to give in to more insanity to receive a free blueprint.
Law and Order
- Main player character: Gabriel de Cervantès
- Plot summary: Solomon DeLear managed to succeed to cure the dementia and formed a secret society to protect the area from it. The corrupt inquisitor Gabriel de Cervantès is tasked by the Devil to destroy all what DeLear managed to create.
- Special gameplay elements: Finding the final area requires to find and kill several members of DeLear's order. You quickly find their approximative location, but must investigate more to have their exact identity. With their identity, you can show up on the place and convince the locals to kill the target themselves, which sometimes grants a reward. Or you can just choose to slaughter everyone, but it has consequences (for instances, several of those places work as shops...).
A Matter of Time
- Main player character: Cassandra Lee Snowden
- Plot summary: Cassandra, a seer employed by DeLear, managed to escape the destruction of DeLear's order by Cervantès. On the run, she's eventually captured, then saved from the gallows by a duo of gunslingers sent by a mysterious benefactor known as "the Protector".
- Special gameplay elements: Some dialogue options can trigger a premonition to Cassandra, which unlock some specific dialogue lines. The player has the choice to accept or reject the premonition, since having one prevents another immediate use of the gift (you must rest or visit another place to refill it).
The prequel scenarioThis scenario is unlocked at completion of As Good as Dead.
In Gold We Trust
- Main player character: Alvaro Vasquèz
- Plot summary: Alvaro Vasquèz mounts an expedition with a couple of friends to find a legendary treasure.
- Special gameplay elements: The worldmap phase of the scenario lies on the careful management of the expedition manpower and a food's stockpile. Several events require a minimum amount of food and workers to be available, and each action usually decreases the food amount, sometimes also draining the manpower. Food and men can be bought on the map; you can also gain food by hunting.
The DLC scenario
"Scars of Freedom"
- Main player character: Libertee
- Plot summary: An escaped slave is killed and revived as a Frankenstein's Monster and fights to survive in a strange new body.
- Special Gameplay Elements: Libertee and other "constructs" gain body parts instead of magic playing cards as in the main game, but must constantly manage their "essence" in the overworld, lest they rot away.
This game provides examples of the following:
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: A good portion of the absurd gun designs in the game are based on real (but no less weird) guns.
- Always Accurate Attack: The Golden Bullet ability allows a character to have a guaranteed hit on any enemy within line of sight of the party, completely ignoring cover and range.
- And Now For Something Completely Different: All scenarios have different overworld mechanics for how you progress the story and generate resources.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: In each scenario, the party consists in at least the current protagonist. You can have up to three followers, usually encountered in the progression of the plot.
- Arbitrary Minimum Range: Rifles and sniper rifles lose accuracy at close range, making it advantageous for a rifleman to carry a pistol or shotgun as a backup weapon.
- Badass Preacher:
- Cervantès, the Villain Protagonist of Law and Order, is a high-ranking catholic prelate wearing the relevant uniform. It doesn't prevent him to be as capable as others party members in gunfights. The description of his unique gun states that he received it from the hands of the Pope.
- Sister Rosario, still in Law and Order, is a nun who betrayed DeLear and can be hired by Cervantès. At the end of the scenario, she understands Cervantès' true intents and leads a counterattack against the protagonists.
- On the good side, there is Reverend Ashmore, a gunfighter hired by the Undertaker during Graveyard Shift. He shows up along the Undertaker and Harrington during the final boss fight of On Earth, as it is in Hell.
- Badass Bookworm: DeLear is just a doctor, but his fighting skills aren't initially less good than the other protagonists. Until madness decreases his stats...
- Bag of Spilling: Player characters lose all their items, cards, and permanent buffs at the end of a scenario.
- On the other hand, unlocking certain items and completing a scenario lets them be purchased again from a "Fate Trader" in other scenarios.
- Battle Couple: After rescuing his girlfriend Florence from the Mexican's hands in Hard Times, she becomes a party member and intervenes in a couple of the next battles. As Good as Dead first battle consists in Warren and Florence trying to shoot as many mooks as possible before an unavoidable end.
- Big Good: Death, who has been The Narrator for the entire game, recruits The Undertaker/Father to stop Warren from destroying Purgatory. There's hints that he's been helping Solomon DeLear during Method In Madness in the form of the Persons.
- Body Surf: In Graveyard Shift, Bathym Raum reappears by possessing mooks, as long long their are still mooks alive on the map. During the last fight of the chapter, you also can disable his body surfing ability by destroying the blood vials.
- Booze-Based Buff: In As Good as Dead, ordering a drink in the saloon grants Warren a buff for the next fight.
- Cannibal Clan: In As Good as Dead, there is a battle against a clan of cannibals living in a ranch and keeping a Cannibal Larder in their barn. You have to fight them to recruit a party member (who also knows information about the Masked Man).
- Cash Gate: In A Matter of Time, advancing the plot requires to take part in a poker tournament. You must gather $25,000 to be able to pay the entrance fee.
- Cattle Punk: The more bizarre guns available, such as a 9-barreled shotgun and a revolving revolver, appear to be this. However, all those guns existed in Real Life. See Aluminum Christmas Trees, above.
- The Chessmaster: The Devil. Warren's miserable life have been manipulated to eventually makes him become the villain he is to destroy the Purgatory, thus doom humanity. Vasquèz (AKA the Masked Man, Warren's killer) was sent into the journey who changed him into a villain by Cervantès, who is himself explicitly described as a Devil's servant, turning the whole In Gold We Trust scenario in another step of this convoluted plan.
- Choice of Two Weapons: Each character can carry up to two guns and switch between them at will.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Warren's physical appearance is modeled after a young Clint Eastwood.
- Crapsack World: As befitting the title of the game, life in the west is shown as harsh and merciless with murder, crime and corruption being commonplace alongside supernatural evils.
- Critical Existence Failure:
- Averted for the party members if you activated the "injury" feature. During the fight sequences, it turns very damaging hits into a debuff called "wound", which affects various stats, usually including a malus to the maximum hitpoints amount. After being carried during two fights, a wound is healed and replaced by a "scar", which grants a permanent buff as well as a low debuff to a specific stat.
- Played straight for the party if you didn't activate the option. Also, the enemy aren't affected by it.
- Deal with the Devil:
- In Hard Times, a mysterious man offers you to become better in exchange of "a part of yourself" (it permanently decreases the luck stat if accepted). He is the same man than the one met right before Warren's demise...
- In the beginning of As Good as Dead, Warren turned to a cursed undead gunslinger after doing one while he was dying, to avenge his (and his girlfriend's) death. It turns that the same deal was offered to him before the (unwinnable) gunfight who saw his demise, but he didn't accept yet.
- In Hard Times, doing a bargain with the local gang leader (benefiting from his protection in exchange of a commission of your gold finding) is a metaphorical example, especially when said gang leader keeps claiming an higher and higher commission, eventually turning against Warren.
- Decoy Protagonist: The player can choose to invoke this at the end of On Earth, As It Is In Hell if they choose to switch to playing as The Undertaker instead of Warren for the final battle.
- Developers' Foresight: The only available weapons in the game are firearms, there are no fistfight mechanics. What happens if you enter a tactical encounter with a character who doesn't have any weapon equipped? He receives a special gun named the "Rusty Peashooter", which is a sixshooter revolver inflicting 1 point of damage per shot.
- Drowning My Sorrows: In As Good as Dead, each time the party goes to the saloon with Old Man Murray in the team, the dialogue mention him sitting at a table while drinking booze and repeating the name of a Roberta. He then suffers from a debuff named "ebriety".
- Dumb Muscle: Paco, one of the party members of A Matter of Time, is described as very strong and very dumb.
- Empowered Badass Normal:
- Each player character is pretty badass by himself/herself. Then you can equip your team with occult trinkets and playing cards granting supernatural abilities...
- Warren. He turns to an undead gunslinger during As Good as Dead, but he already was pretty competent with guns since Hard Times.
- Extra Turn: One of the card active abilities gives its bearer an extra action point each time the character kills an enemy.
- Fragile Speedster: In battle, Cassandra is both the weakest party member and the one who can move the most during a turn. Though, give her the right gun and she becomes a Glass Cannon as well.
- Game-Breaking Bug: Method In Madness had a pretty bad one where players found themselves unable to move on the map screen. Patch 1.5 finally fixed it.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- In Law and Order, Sister Rosario betrayed DeLear because he has a seer as an adviser. When she is in the party, there are no consequences for equipping her with occult trinkets or enchanted playing cards.
- Cassandra's premonitions are described to give her horrible headaches, justifying why she must rest to use her gift again. In her character's sheets, it doesn't give a negative modifier to her stats, which means that entering a fight without having rested (and thus, with a crippling migraine) won't have the slightest effect on her fighting abilities.
- Greater-Scope Villain: While each scenario has its own specific big bad, it turns that the descent of Warren into darkness has been orchestrated by the Devil.
- Green Rocks:
- In Method in Madness, it's eventually revealed that the insanity has been caused by a meteorite which landed in the area.
- In On Earth, as it is in Hell, Warren can get permanent buffs by absorbing meteorite fragments in his body.
- Heel Realization:
- In In Gold We Trust, Diego then Zacharias (after Diego's demise) eventually understand Vasquèz true intents and betray him. The penultimate and last fights of the scenario consist in fighting your former men.
- In Law and Order, Sister Rosario eventually understands she has been used by Cervantès for his occult goal. She abruptly leaves the party after the penultimate fight. She reappears at the second part of the final mission, leading a counterattack which must be dispatch to win the scenario.
- Hero Antagonist:
- Solomon DeLear in Law and Order.
- On Earth, as it is in Hell ends with a fight between Warren's party and a group of the actually heroic characters, lead by the Undertaker, determined to stop Warren to complete his insane plan.
- In Gold We Trust ends with Diego and Zacharias, two of Vasquèz friends, understanding the protagonist's true intents and trying to stop him.
- <Hero> Must Survive: Each scenario has a main protagonist who must survive the fights, as well as important party members who are involved in the plot (some other characters aren't plot critical, and only serve to provide more firepower during the battles). Losing one of those heroes requires to start the battle again, unless you play in "Iron Man" mode, in which case you'll have to restart the scenario from the beginning.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: It's possible to kill some characters with their own unique weapons once unlocked. In fact, there's an achievement for killing Joachim Perez with his signature Canon Calavera.
- Human Resources: Some of trinkets (ear necklace, tooth necklace, human hide shirt) are made with human body parts.
- Humanoid Abomination: Undead Warren is eventually revealed to have been turned into one. It seems that the mere existence of the undead Warren is a bad enough violation of nature that it is what caused the souls of the recently departed to be trapped in Purgatory.
- Improbable Aiming Skills:
- The ricochet ability.
- The golden bullet card active ability allows to shoot a target with 100% accuracy and the maximum amount of damage for the gun, regardless of cover or any obstacle (the only condition is that someone in the party has spotted the target).
- I Just Want to Be Normal: In A Matter of Time, Cassandra have premonitions which are followed by crippling migraines. After being saved from the gallows by two men sent by the mysterious Protector, she decides to follow them to see the Protector when she learns that the Protector could get her rid of this gift.
- Infinity +1 Sword: The Judge, a firearm earned in On Earth, as it is in Hell for recruiting H. Persons. Its damages are so high that it One-Hit Kill absolutely every character in the game who is not in cover position. Including the final bosses.
- Instant-Win Condition: Averted in most battles (you either have to kill every enemy, survive for X turns, or lead the whole team on the exit point), but played straight at two occasions:
- The final battle of Graveyard Shift ends when the demon is defeated, regardless of whether there are still mooks alive or not (but only if the blood vials are destroyed).
- The final battle of A Matter of Time ends when Cassandra activates the machine.
- Karma Houdini: Cervantès, depending on the choices. After ruining DeLear's work, he chases Cassandra during her scenario, without suffering from any consequence. Can be averted in On Earth, as it is in Hell if you recruited him, and fought the final battle as the Undertaker instead of Warren.
- Luck Stat: In combat, the luck stat affects the chance to dodge a bullet (each missed shot decreases the target's luck, each hit gives him/her some luck back); the special abilities granted by poker cards also consume luck when used. On the worldmap, the success chance of some actions is calculated from the protagonist's luck.
- Mana Meter: One of the uses of the luck stat. It only affects the abilities gained from the playing cards.
- Mad Artist: One of the points of interest in Method in Madness is the cabin of a mad painter. Looking at his paintings worsens DeLear's madness.
- My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Overwatch is unavailable to the player characters, in order to force the player to flank the enemy instead of turning each tactical battle into a purely defensive firefight.
- Multiple Endings:
- Bittersweet Ending: There are two way to unlock it, but it leads to the same final cutscene. If the player eventually chooses to fight the final battle as the Undertaker, or if the player keeps playing as Warren, then kills the Undertaker and his posse, and finally chooses the suicide, the cutscene tells that the Devil's plan have been defeated, that Warren is sent to Hell while Florence goes to Heaven.
- Downer Ending: If Warren kills the Undertaker's party then destroys the Purgatory, the cutscene tells that the Devil lied about finding Florence again: incapable of interacting with the living, the dead souls eventually flooded the world and caused the disappearance of humanity, leaving the immortal Warren alone in a dead world.
- Last-Second Ending Choice: This choice appears after the end of the final battle.
- Necessary Drawback: Each type of firearm has its upsides and downsides.
- Standard pistols are good at short ranges, but lose power over distance. Some of them allow fanning, which fires three shots in quick succession at the cost of accuracy.
- 2-shot pistols (which also includes the 4-shot Lancaster pistol and the Chain Revolver) do less damage than standard pistols, but can be fired twice in the same turn. With the exception of the Chain Revolver, each of these weapons has a lower ammo capacity than regular pistols. The Chain Revolver, on the other hand, has a capacity of twenty rounds at the cost of being incapable of being reloaded.
- Shotguns are, good close up and come with the Cone Shot ability, allowing the player the ability to hit multiple targets at once, but are useless at any kind of distance, have low ammo capacity and do less damage to an enemy in cover than other weapons.
- Rifles are good at medium distances, but suffer accuracy penalties at closer ranges.
- Scoped Rifles are excellent long range weapons and can penetrate cover better than other weapons, but, like rifles, suffer accuracy penalties up close and have to be reloaded with every shot.
- Nightmare Face: After becoming an undead, the right side of Warren's face now has a glowing eye , scars, and holes in his cheek.
- No Name Given: Father/The Undertaked (though a fake name he uses is revealed in game), the Mexican, the Protector. Warren's surname is never revealed, and Old Man Murray doesn't really sounds like a proper name.
- One Degree of Separation: While the scenarios can be separated into three independent arcs, several of the characters are involved in more than one.
- Cervantès is not only the protagonist of Law and Order, he's also one of the hirable party members in On Earth, as it is in Hell, as well as being the man who sent Vasquèz on his treasure hunt.
- In Gold We Trust is about how Vasquèz became the Masked Man.
- The former prostitute saved and then recruited by Hardin and Cassandra during A Matter of Time reappears at the end of On Earth, as it is in Hell as a member of the Undertaker's party.
- H. Persons, one of the available party members in On Earth, as it is in Hell, is stated to be an ex-Pinkerton obsessed by some meteorite fragments. He is probably one of the "Persons" from Method in Madness.
- The demon Bathym Raum, the big bad of Graveyard Shift, appears as a NPC during Law and Order. He eventually joins the party for the final fight.
- Lafortuna, the unseen gang leader serving as a villain for the beginning of In Gold We Trust, is also involved in the events of A Matter of Time, as being involved in the search of the Protector, as well as being the organizer of a poker tournament which you must enter to advance the plot.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: While it's normally averted, there is the card ability "Equalization", which drops the hit points of every characters on the map (enemies and party members) to 1. This is especially dangerous for the ability's user, because, being a card ability, using it consumes luck, which also decreases the dodge chance.
- Optional Stealth: In some fight sequences, the enemy isn't alerted at the start, and remain this until you open fire, enter in one of their detection area, or perform a specific action scripted to start the combat. Since most of those missions require to shoot everyone, this stealth is usually just here to provide the option to place the team in strategic positions before starting the combat, though some missions (such as Reverend Ashmore's rescue in Graveyard Shift or the bank robbery in As Good As Dead) can be entirely completed without firing a single shot.
- Pay Evil unto Evil/Roaring Rampage of Revenge: In As Good as Dead, an undead Warren tries to avenge his death and Florence's by causing enough damages in the Masked Man's properties to lure his attention and eventually have his revenge. In this scenarios, available options include poisoning the water supplies of a farm inhabited by cannibals, killing all the hunters who are poaching on the Indian lands, robbing a bank guarded by demons, or burn down the Mask Man's mansion with every servant inside, after locking every issue.
- Pinball Projectile: One of the cards active abilities allows to shoot some specific objects in order to have a ricochet, thus allowing to hit at full damage an enemy who is behind cover or impossible to aim; there's a Steam achievement for hitting an enemy after at least three ricochets. It decreases the accuracy of the bullet.
- Pinkerton Detective:
- Three expendable Pinkerton agents (A. Persons, B. Persons, and C. Persons) serve as support for DeLear during Method in Madness. Each of them is replaced by an identical man when killed, and they refuse to answer to the question about who sent them.
- Someone named H. Persons is one of the hirable gunslingers available during On Earth, as it is in Hell. He is stated to be an ex-Pinkerton.
- Prospector: Warren does this in the first scenario. The amount of gold found depends on the level of skills which can be trained in a prospector camp.
- Protagonist Journey to Villain: What 'As Good as Dead'' is to Warren.
- Rare Guns: In addition to the usual western guns, such as revolvers, Derringers, doubled-barrelled shotguns, Sawed Off Shotguns, and Winchester rifles, the game adds triple-barrelled shotguns, Quad-barrelled shotguns, Howdah pistols, Lever action pistols, and single shot Hand Cannons. And that's not even getting into the crazier guns, such as chain pistols, twelve barrelled Pepperbox pistols, or single shot rifles that can obliterate anyone in a single hit.
- Remixed Level:
- In Hard Times, Warren goes once to the Mexican's village to kill him and free Florence. Latter, there is a notification telling that the Mexican has been replaced by an even worse thug, and you receive a sidequest offering to go back to the same village to finish the job.
- In On Earth, as it is in Hell, the fort you must defend in the beginning as the Undertaker is the same place that the one in which H. Persons is latter held prisoner.
- Sanity Slippage: DeLear goes more and more insane through the course of Method in Madness. Ingame, it results in incurable stat debuffs which grow progressively higher.
- Satan: This shady guy who give power against a piece of yourself? Who gave Cervantès the task of destroying DeLear's society? Yeah, he's the Devil. And the ending of the last scenario explicitly states that his corrupting of Warren is part of a plan to make him destroy the Purgatory, thus releasing hordes of spirits on the living world and dooming everyone.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: There are Steam achievements awarding this sort of things.
- "The Shootist": Complete any tactical encounter firing sure shots (100% Chance to Hit) exclusively.note
- "Sudden Death": Use Equalization in the first combat turn, then complete the mission without raising your characters' Hit Points with items.
- "Arizona Colts": Complete any tactical encounter without firing weapons other than the Rusty Peashooter.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: While Method in Madness ends with DeLear finding a cure to the dementia, Law and Order consists in destroying his work and eventually killing him.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Averted. Shotguns have normal attacks (in which they fire at a single target and can hit at a relative long range while still inflicting the same amount of damage, though their accuracy drops faster than other weapons'), and a cone of damage' one (in which the weapon hits the targets standing inside a cone-shaped area, in a much shorter range).
- Sinister Minister: Gabriel de Cervantès, the "corrupt inquisitor". He actually is a servant of the Devil.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Averted. While there's several instances of party members leaving the party, each time it results in their items and cards being given back to the party's shared stash.
- Start of Darkness: The In Gold We Trust prequel scenario is about how Alvaro Vasquèz became the Masked Man.
- Take Cover!: The areas in which the battles occur have plenty of objects and obstacles (columns, tables, walls, stone benches, etc.) which can be used at cover. Being behind a cover greatly decreases the damage inflicted and drops the attacker's accuracy. Obstacles have two levels of cover, of varying efficiency.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: In A Matter of Time, at one point during the poker tournament, Cassandra has the possibility to remove an opponent from the competition by putting some laxative in an unattended glass (if you bought the laxative in the hospital).
- The Nose Knows: One of the cards gives an ability allowing to locate wounded enemies by smelling their blood.
- Undertaker: Why is Warren's father referred as "the Undertaker" in Graveyard Shift? Because he's the undertaker of his new town (and he indeed wears more formal clothes than in Hard Times).
- Unstable Equilibrium: Losing non-essential party members can make later fights more difficult, as you may have to fight the next fight with an incomplete team (in some instances, their are opportunities to recruit some other peoples); making poor decisions during the Story Branching (or playing with the injuries activated and suffering from some of them) can also lead a character to suffer from the debuffs granted by wounds.
- Unwitting Pawn: Warren is eventually revealed to be this for the Devil. Telling him that he could see Florence again if he destroys the Purgatory was technically true, but it forgot two details: 1) the dead spirits are unable to interact with the living 2) releasing them would eventually cause the extinction of humanity. Oh, and the worst thing? The mere existence of the undead Warren is a bad enough violation of nature that it is what caused the souls of the recently departed to be trapped in Purgatory (Florence eventually goes to Heaven after Warren's death).
- Villain Protagonist:
- Warren becomes one in As Good as Dead, with a touch of Pay Evil unto Evil. In On Earth, as it is in Hell, his goal is to invade and destroy the Purgatory, which would actually have terrible consequences. It turns that Warren was an unwitting pawn of the Devil.
- Gabriel de Cervantès in Law and Order has been tasked by the Devil to destroy the work of Solomon DeLear.
- Alvaro Vasquèz in In Gold We Trust. In the course of the scenario, the expedition uses more and more extreme methods. After ordering the massacre of Indian villages to avoid them to meddle in your excavations in their lands, then turning on his friends and companions for their betrayal when they tried to stop him. It turns that Vasquèz is the Masked Man, having found it near the end of the scenario.
- Villain with Good Publicity: In Law and Order, everyone trusts Cervantès, and several NPCs state that his visit is a honour to them. Not very surprising, since the man is described as very charismatic and is a high ranked catholic prelate wearing the relevant garb.
- "Wanted!" Poster: In As Good as Dead, the progress of the objectives (destroying worth of $65,000 of the Masked Man properties, as well as the side objective of killing one hundred people) is reflected by the evolution of the numbers shown on Warren's own wanted poster, in the bottom left corner of the worldmap.
- Weird West: The setting is explicitly described as such by the developers, being set in a grim western frontier beset by gun-toting demons, an inexplicable force driving people to madness, ancient curses, and a dark-suited stranger offering wealth and power to those down on their luck...for a price.
- You Can't Go Home Again: At one point in Hard Times, Warren's father decide to leave his loved ones in order to keep his curse away from them. Then, the scenario ends with Warren and Florence defending Warren's farm from an attack of bandits... who are then identified as men from a railroad company who acquired their land, forcing the couple to go on the run.