Deadwood

Deadwood (9)

Monday, 17 August 2020 17:05

Deadwood - Game 9 - 08/14/2020

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We started, still in the graveyard.  Onacona tended to the wounded.  At Thomas’s suggestion, Hawthorne and Virgil went to fetch the mayor, figuring it would be good to get the last remaining authority figure on our side.  Phoebe Ann was sent to fetch Buster.  The reporter NPC showed up and started asking questions.  Unfortunately, all the “talking” characters had left so it fell to Thomas to describe the grisly scene in the church.  However, she was pretty accepting of the story, given the evidence so that worked out okay.  On their way to get the mayor at the bar, Hawthorne and Virgil heard cackles and screams coming from the doctor’s office.  Hawthorne blew the locks away and Virgil burst through the doors.  They were greeted with yet another grisly scene.  The doctor was stripping the flesh of one of the guys from the train.  Virgil demanded he drop the knife but the doctor charged instead.  Unfortunately, Jon had forgotten to reload his pistol and it was too amusing to Brian to assume the reasonableness of a gunfighter would have surely reloaded despite Jon’s error.  Brian gave him a Smarts roll which Jon rejected.  The upshot was that Virgil took another wound before Hawthorne could blow him away.

Hawthorne made an amazing doctor roll and kept the victim alive although, with the mutilation, that may not be a good thing.  The mayor showed up after and we all met up at the hotel with the wounded.  He was happy to hear that the marshal was dead and not that concerned about the reverend.  The rest of the townsfolk didn’t seem to care.  Or at least none of them showed up.  There were plenty of things to do.  Thomas said he wanted to go back to the mine and check on the Indian spirit.   Onacona also wanted to go as well as the NPC reporter.  They headed up the mountain and back down into the mine.  The spirit was not there but Onacona could sense a feeling of contentment. 

Meanwhile, the rest decided to check out the ghost at the schoolhouse.  Phoebe Ann was off shooting rats.  Buster was convinced there was no ghost and eager to disprove it.  When they entered the grounds, they were confronted with the ghost of the little girl again.  Virgil attempted to turn her to no avail.  She quickly summoned that whirlwind again.  So, it was pretty much a repeat of Phoebe Ann’s encounter.  Paul played his “Get a Clue” card and Brian pointed out that the back of the schoolhouse looked particularly colder than the already colder than town schoolyard.  So, people started heading into the building.  The ghost was dangerous but had to rolled to hit and missed most of the time.  However, the whirlwind “hit” anyone trapped in it so that became a matter of how many exploding dice and therefore how many wounds and therefore how quickly your chips got used up.  But since neither of them could be affected, the “combat” was completely one-sided.  No one missed the various guts checks, at least.

The map was large and the movement rates are low so it took time, all the while under attack.  Eventually, Virgil found a journal in the one desk that wasn’t destroyed.  He ran out of the building and gave it a quick read.  It belonged to the little girl and it seemed she had a crush on her teacher.  Everyone immediately concluded that the teacher killed her (or worse).  Buster found some girl’s mittens in the teacher’s desk.  Big John finally got to the cabinet and found the decayed corpse of a little girl.  Meanwhile, Thomas and Onacona enjoyed some overpriced snacks at the airport.  The ghost was interested in the body and despite everyone’s urging to be honest with the ghost, Dan decided to go with the “nothing to see here” plan.  Who knows which was right?  At this point, at Virgil’s repeated urging, they ran for the fence so that could do some investigation and discussion.  More attacks were taken but eventually, they all made it out and the attacks stopped.  It was pretty comical.  “I got a journal.”  “It got some mittens.”  “I got a corpse.”  You win.

At the hotel, Thomas suggested asking the hotel owner about the school.  It had been closed for 2-3 years and the teacher had long since moved away.  So, there would be no closure on that although Hawthorne put finding him on his long-term plan list.  I think a card was played and it was decided that a respectful burial was needed.  (Note from Dan: I suggested the burial since it was the obvious and traditional solution but got a Beny taken away for not playing my Clueless .  Everyone, including the priest, ignored me and wanted to to take the body to the demon-infested desecrated church instead.  Who would have thunk? It took someone playing a card to get us to bury her.) Using the journal for material, Buster gave a nice speech and it was done.  A quick trip back to the school and all was well.  By then it was almost midnight so we wrapped it up.  Ms. Pearl extended an offer to have Onacona become the town doctor since the old one was insane and dead.  She said it would be okay if he set up shop outside of town if that was what was needed.  I’m not sure how the townsfolk would react to that but any doctor is better than no doctor.  As long as he didn’t strip their flesh off, it’s a step up.  The last thing was Hawthorne making his vigor roll and staying alive one more game.  Andy pointed out that he had had a -1 on his roll from his wound for 3 straight games but unfortunately it was still the same day.  One long day.

Sunday, 02 August 2020 18:44

Deadwood - Game 8 - 07/31/2020

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We got off to a slow start.  Several still needed to spend the Advancements they earned last time.  Additionally, Brian could not get the adventure cards to deal out.  He tried several things including assigning them manually but to no avail.  We also tried rebooting.  Eventually, we got going without them.  The first order of business was to help all the wounded.  Since Doc Hawthorne was just brought back to consciousness at the end of the last game, that put the Indian shaman in charge of it.  He asked that the wounded be gathered outside to get away from any residual evil vibes in the church.  However, Virgil wanted to search the evil reverend to make sure he was really dead.  And not regenerating or anything.  He did have a ceremonial dagger that when touched, felt “really wrong”.  He wrapped it up and put it in his pack.  He then decided to remove him from “his” church and brought him with him to the triage station.  There were some arguments about how far away the body needed to be for Onacona to do his thing.  It seemed rather pointless.  During all that, Onacona hadn’t tended to anyone, waiting for everyone.  But then he cast a spell to give himself a bonus to a skill for 5 rounds (+2 when he activated it with a raise) and it became clear why he was waiting.  The fact that it took more than a round to do proper doctoring was waved aside.  So finally, with wounded Doc’s assistance, he tended to Virgil, one of the Pearl Gang gals, the NPC Laura Giles, Big John, and finally Thomas.  They rolled well enough such that only Virgil was left with a wound (better than the 3).  Hawthorne still had a wound from last time.

Meanwhile, which is to say in the middle of, Phoebe Ann wandered off again.  Of course, she was unwounded as usual.  She decided to move the horses to the hotel.  While doing that, she ran across the Marshal and a couple of deputies.  They wanted to talk to Virgil and gave her a note to give to him.  She returned to the churchyard and the note said for him to meet in the graveyard.  So, everyone headed next door except Onacona who stayed with the NPC wounded.  Phoebe Ann considered getting into the church tower in case there was trouble but Thomas convinced her that without Buster, who was obsessively working on his story, she’d be the one to hopefully defuse the situation with words.  We all expected a “we said” “they said” exchange that would probably end up in a confrontation.  Sure enough, with very little talking, the Marshal and his deputies opened fire.  Turns out there were another 8-9 hiding behind tombstones and on the mausoleum roof.  Brian pointed out that he had just bought the Danger Sense edge.  However, Brian ruled (for now) that this would not stack with his Alertness so he only got a +2 and not the +4 he was expecting.  +4 seemed like an automatic success which seemed wrong to Brian but was exactly what Brian was gunning for.  Regardless, everyone got a Notice roll and only Thomas missed it and lost a round to surprise.  Looking back, we could have approached this fight with a bit more caution but since two of us were already wounded, I think we were hoping to at least delay it a bit.  A sneaking Thomas coming in from the north, for example, would have been a big help.

So, it became the “Shoot Out at the Double Tree Graveyard”.  Heroes shot and dove for cover.  Villains shot and most of them were already behind cover.  That first round, the heroes got hit several times and started burning through their fate chips.  Virgil got shot at a bunch.  The Marshal was a common target and he used all the chips on that side.  When Big John engaged him in hand to hand, he chose to beat on him with his pistol which was probably a win for us.  However, people were hesitant to fire into that melee so shots were scattered amongst the minions.  With most everyone getting +4 for cover, it slowed up.  The fact that we didn’t have any adventure cards contributed to the slugfest nature of the fight.  Those cards inject some uniqueness into things.  The initiative cards were also behaving oddly.  It seemed like each round, more of the low cards were not appearing.  By round 4, Thomas drew a Queen but went second to last.  As long as it went in random order, it didn’t really matter what cards were drawn except that it meant extra jokers.  However, the heroes didn’t get their first joker until near the end at which point several were desperate for another chip.

After one round, maybe one minion was down.  The main deputy fumbled, fell back into the mausoleum, and was never seen again.  Onacona and a couple of Pearl Gang gals got onto the map and ran into the action as best they could.  Even his owl got into it.  After another round, maybe another 1 or 2 were down.  This was going to take a while.  But it was the fate chips that mattered.  Ours ran out and he ran out.  After a couple of rounds, Thomas and Phoebe Ann started risking firing to the melee.  Thomas shook the Marshall and he had to take it.  Phoebe Ann hit him and he had to take the wound.  Hawthorne charged forward and got up against the mausoleum.  The next round, he stepped in and blew the head of the Marshall off.  He informed the minions but they disbelieved him and vowed to fight on to the death.  Heroes started to press forward as the minions started to drop.  Then they started to run but still shooting as they went.  They were all gunned down soon enough.  I think maybe only Phoebe Ann took a wound after using up all her chips on the previous hit with bad rolls.          

At this point, Brian tried to wrap up since it was late.  He wanted to move forward and start talking about long term fallout.  Several were eager to do various bits and pieces but Brian deferred those and wrapped up.  (Those bits and pieces were what most of us excepted the night to be about but the fight took longer than expected.  +4 cover, mainly.)  So, Ms. Pearl offered the Marshal job to Hawthorne who had picked the badge off the body.  He agreed.  Virgil had plans to clean up his church.  We assumed Buster would get the newspaper going again.  Thomas would sign on as a “ranger” and patrol the wilderness around town as a pseudo deputy.  It sounded like Onacona planned to grab onto a similar role.  As an ‘old ways” Indian shaman, his options were limited in town.  Phoebe Ann had previously said she wanted to work over at the theater but was silent this night.  Big John planned to stare at the mechanical organ in the bar which seemed more like a hobby.  The last order of business was for Andy to roll his ailing hindrance.  He had 3 fate chips at the ready but rolled two 1’s.  So, it’s now a major and he’s dying.  Some suggestions on what he can do about it (i.e. buy it off) were floated but nothing was decided.   Lots of loose ends to work through next time.  Ghosts, Indian spirits, rats and bees, former mayor and a town full of people who need to be told everything has changed, etc.

Saturday, 18 July 2020 18:10

Deadwood - Game 7 - 07/18/2020

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Brian started by informing us that we should have gotten an advancement last time.  Some people who already had a plan in place took it but most deferred until they had some time to research.  We were still given the choice of using the portal to get directly into the church by the Indian Spirit.  Brian attempted to share that map but it wouldn’t load for anybody.  We restarted, cleared cache, etc but it was a big distraction.  Eventually, everyone but Jon was able to see it.  He used the shared Skype image and did the best he could.  Brian enticed Buster into not taking the portal by invoking his Skeptic hindrance for a free fate chip.  It helped that Paul hadn’t arrived yet so he couldn’t argue.  Everyone else jumped into the portal, eventually.  Buster took the horses back to town which took an hour.  When he arrived at the church, he found it buttoned up and the doors glowing with strange purple light.  He heard no gunfire and saw no signs of a battle.  He attempted to get the marshal and his useless deputies to come help but they did not.  He ended up at the hotel, hoping to rally the few allies we had in this town.  The rest of the players ended up emerging from various mirrors throughout the town.  Each was handled one at a time.  Some did some investigation but eventually, everyone gathered at the hotel.  Only Hawthorne managed to get an ally, Laura Giles, to join us.

So back at the church, we examined our options.  Thomas considered avoiding the doors by climbing up but the only other entrance was the bell tower which was 3+ stories up.  Possible but not trivial.  Virgil then took the bull by the horns, said a prayer, and attempted to open the door.  To no one’s surprise, it did not.  The cultists had removed the big stone cross from the church so we used that as a battering ram and busted the doors open.  Inside the pews had been cast aside to make room for a huge pentagram on the floor.  Around it was all the brothers and sisters, A through U.  At the pulpit was the Reverend, casting some spell to gate a demon into the pentagram.  At his side was his deacon.  Cards were dealt and things started moving.  Quick moving players got into the church entrance but it quickly became clogged with all the minions.  Thomas did manage to get a hit on the Reverend which thankfully disrupted his spell before it got too crowded.  Onacona managed to get to the stairs up to the landing above before that path was cut off.  Laura got a high card and ended up in the front lines, to her woe.

What followed was a battle of attrition.  With so many enemies, it took a long time for a round to complete.  We managed to get a few shots through to the villains but mostly it was grinding through the minions.  Occasionally one would hit and do exploding damage which then soaked up fate chips to stay alive.  I’ll hit a few highlights, most of which center around the adventure cards.  Phoebe Ann, through a complicated series of moves and at least one fate chip, managed to weave her way into the room opposite the stairs only to discover there were no stairs on that side.  The preacher’s first action was to cast an AOE Fear spell which ate up some fate chips to avoid.  Brian played a card that enticed him to pontificate on his evil plans and lose a turn.  When a turn takes over an hour, that was a big deal.  Big John kicked ass in hand to hand with these guys.  He particularly benefited from the unlimited opportunity attacks in this system.  Laura was almost killed but somehow managed to stay up.  Jon played a card to get +2 damage against the cultists but then found Virgil an easy target.  He quickly ran out of fate chips and was almost taken out.  But Dave Green played a card that turned any hit into a critical failure.  So, the killing blow turned into a trip over the nearby cross which took out the minion.  Onacona was followed up to the landing.  When attacked, Dave played a card that turned a miss into a hit against another nearby minion.  So, he tossed his attacker off the landing and hit another guy below.  Andy played a card that brought in allies from an unexpected source.  After consideration, Brian brought the Pearl Gang into the action.  He rolled randomly for where and Jon managed to root for an 8 and get them through the hated windows to everyone’s delight.  However, they got rocked their first round and didn’t have that big an impact other than divert some of the minions away from us. 

So, most of the minions were cleared out in a couple rounds but most of our fate chips were as well.  When we finally got shots on the villains, Brian started using those fate dice to keep them up.  The Reverend cast a magic missile which hurt.  He then cast a domination spell, trying to turn Hawthorne over to his side.  But he saved with ease (i.e. exploding) and laughed it off.  But then he drew a Joker and did the magic missile again.  He hit Thomas with a raise and did 3 wounds.  He played a fate chip to reduce it to one wound but kept his last fate chip for the next attack.  He then hit Pearl and wounded her.  Then he hit Hawthorne with more exploded damage.  He had no chips left and there were no cards left to save him.  He was bleeding out, losing a die of Vigor permanently from the gut shot.  He made one death save (based on his new lowered Vigor) and at -3 from his wounds.  Onacona ran to his aid but missed his medicine roll.  Andy made 2 more death saves before anyone could help him.  But the next round, Thomas drew a Joker after spending the whole fight at the bottom.  With that +2, his second shot hit with a raise.  That extra die exploded twice for a big hit.  The Reverend was out of fate chips and finally fell.  A flame of fire coming out of the bullet hole in his black heart.  The deacon was then blasted, mostly by the Pearl Gang gals and it was over.

Eventually, the first aid guys managed to save the dying doctor.  We stopped at that point with wounded all around to be tended.  Andy made another Vigor roll to keep his Ailing hindrance from becoming terminal.  We were granted another advance which put us up to Seasoned.  That grants access to a new list of Edges so there were some discussions about options people were considering.  Brian said that we will likely be declared heroes of the town and we should consider what job/role we might want.  Andy, for example, plans to challenge the Marshal to a duel and run him out of town.  Obviously, Buster will try to get the newspaper going again.  Phoebe Ann would like to run the theater however Miss Bella is still there so that’ll be complicated.  We assume Virgil will take over the church.  Some of the others aren’t so obvious.  Perhaps deputies for John and Thomas.  I’m not sure where Onacona would fit other than hermit in the woods.         

Cults2

Sunday, 12 July 2020 23:04

Deadwood - Game 6 - 07/03/2020

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Brian felt we had rushed the end of the last game so he wanted to back up and spend more time roleplaying some things.  Unfortunately, this meant that we were unable to play the flurry of cards that we used last time to aid this since we no longer had them.  But first, we had to introduce Dave’s replacement for the dead Slim.  Brian decided to explain Andy’s Doc Hawthorne’s absence by saying that he went to Denver with NPC Laura Giles.  While there he met an old Indian friend, who followed the “Olde Ways”.  Onacona.  He had been having visions of some great imbalance in the natural world and when he saw Hawthorne, he knew that’s where he needed to go.  Brian also allowed them to bring the horses we all intended to buy but could not have had on the train.  They all arrived in town, sensing that the fear factor was much worse.  As they tried to piece together what was going on, we shifted to the cleanup of the last battle.

The marshal with his deputies emerged from their stronghold and started bossing people around.  He started hassling Virgil who had just broken out of jail the night before.  When it was pointed out that Virgil had just assisted in saving the town from these walking dead, the marshal graciously allowed him to remain free.  However, he accused us of bringing some of this misfortune with us, not entirely untrue, and put the responsibility of clearing the rat problem on Virgil.  Phoebe Ann attempted to assist him with some fast talk but only got herself on the hook as well.  Meanwhile, Thomas examined the body of Slim and was pretty sure he was dead.  But he had no medical skill so he ran to the nearby town doctor’s office.  That doctor was more interested in examining the walking dead (science!) than helping him.  However, Thomas then spotted the rest of the group and knew Buster had some medical knowledge.  So most everyone went to the stables to view the grisly scene.  I believe it took a Guts roll which Phoebe Ann missed.  This sent her crying back to the hotel which allowed those 2 characters to get re-linked in.

So, Little Vampire Womenwe got Slim out of the filthy barn and put him somewhere.  The other bodies were cleared up.  Buster and his ex-wife competed for the true story of the events, Slim’s heroic last stand, in particular.  But since Thomas was the only living witness to it and he was Buster’s friend, Buster pretty much got the scoop.  We debated what we should do.  The choices were to try to deal with the things going on in the town or go to the mine and try to help the Indian spirit.  Since the town seemed on the brink of spiritual collapse, which course would have the best immediate impact? Opinions fell on both sides but all could agree that we had to bury Slim in the morning first so that decision was deferred.  That afternoon, Phoebe Ann stopped by the general store to see if they had any rat poison or traps.  That led to an attack of killer wasps.  (This town is like a dungeon.  Every building is a monster or a trap or some other problem.)  She managed to get away and stopped at the saloon to get a beer to steady her nerves.  Bella managed to convince her to stay longer and drink more than she intended.  When she didn’t return to the hotel, several characters went looking for her.  They too encountered the wasps, the Doc getting the worst of it.  Eventually, they found Phoebe Ann at the saloon.  Bella tried to charm Big John but he managed to out fate chip the GM and everyone got out. (Dan: I played a card that turned her critical success into a failure.  Brian says that John swears he saw fangs).

 The next morning, we prepared for the funeral.  Phoebe Ann, unphased by her late night of drinking (ah, youth), assisted by walking the town and inviting the people.  Virgil started it by making a speech.  He rolled a critical failure and ended up focused on what a mean SOB he was.  Buster went next.  With his storytelling edge, he could reduce the fear level in the town with a good roll.  He did okay and with support from some others, managed to do some good.  Phoebe Ann noticed a fresh grave with her name and today’s date on it.  We also noticed that the tomb of Mr. Pearl was opened.  A modest tracking roll indicated that it was opened from the inside.  Unfortunately, with all the people in the graveyard, there was no way to track him further.  We were then back to the debate on what to do.  Virgil, in particular, could not just leave town with a walking dead unaccounted for.  Phoebe Ann, on the other hand, had had enough of this town and was ready to go.  As we debated, we headed towards the burned-out Pearl estate and spotted our zombie.  A quick firefight put him down again.  He was placed back into his coffin and we left town.  As we left, the marshal locked eyes with Virgil and gave him the “you’re dead” sign.  Thomas suggested we search for poison plants as a cover for leaving town before dealing with the rats.  It turns out, with the fear rating so high, the woods were full of them.

He headed up to the Broken Earth mine.  We suspected it would be guarded by the Reverend’s men since it seemed to be the source of his power.  However, when Onacona’s owl scouted ahead, it reported no humans around.  We searched the buildings for some lanterns and headed in.  We came to an elevator however Onacona declared that his commitment to the “Olde Ways” would not allow him to ride in a mechanical thing such as this.  He would climb down afterwards.  As we piled in, Phoebe Ann spotted piles of rocks on trap doors above the car.  We piled out and Thomas climbed up to see if there was some sort of catch to allow the Reverend’s men to use the elevator without getting crushed.  There did not seem to be but he eventually triggered it.  Once the rocks were cleared, we headed down.  Onacona had no issues climbing.  Once down, we encountered the spirits of several miners.  They offered to help if we’d allow them to merge with us.  Buster, Onacona and Phoebe Ann took them up on it.  These spirits were forced to become Blood Men.  (Or was it Mud Men? I was never clear.)  Some questions were asked on them but they added nothing we didn’t already know.  With them as guides, we headed straight to the main chamber. 

In there we saw the Indian spirit, suspended above the ground by some sort of energy field.  We saw two Mud Men shoving mud into a miner, transforming him into one of them.  And we saw a guy fitting the Evil Reverend’s description, although none of us had ever seen him.  He commanded his minions to kill us and then dove into one of the mud puddles, never to be seen again.  So, the Mud Men had a big melee attack 1d10+1d6 and a decent ranged mud fling.  And 7 points of toughness to overcome.  We started blasting and they charged to attack.  The first round Brian used some fate chips to hit Onacona and Buster, exploding that d10 and doing massive damage.  Paul managed to explode his soak roll and did okay but Dave rolled “merely average” and was on death’s door again.  The spirits launched out from the possessed and attacked what we thought were their original bodies.  But once those bodies were dropped, the spirit disappeared so they didn’t have a big impact.  It looked dire but they missed a lot and we were doing multiple shots and after 3 rounds, they were out and we were all standing.

The spirit, once everyone stopped interrupting him, thanked us for our efforts but told us our work was only half done.  He then gave us a vision of the church, all decked out with evil pentagrams.  He said he had enough power to allow us to use the same portal the Reverend did to get there instantly.  Some more questions were asked but no further answers were given.  We tried to figure out how to heal Onacona who had taken 3 wounds.  Since it was the end of the night, there was a flurry of card questions, everyone trying to “bend” the intent of their cards to fit the situation.  It was a bit of a mess.  Eventually, I think Brian allowed Dave to use one of his cards to get the spirit to just heal him up so that we could move on.  We stopped there although further discussions about various things continued on into the night.  Next time, hopefully, we’ll finish off this guy.  How much of the town’s problems will be solved by that and what possible ramifications there might be (i.e. there’s a lot of pro Reverend people in this town), remains to be seen.  No advancement was given but we’ll probably get one next time which should boost us up to “seasoned”.

Sunday, 21 June 2020 15:56

Deadwood - Game 5 - 06/19/2020

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So, while the rest of the party was doing the spirit walk thing, Slim was forced out by critically missing a Vigor roll.  While he waited, he spotted a scene down the mountain towards town.  He saw 3 people on horseback shoot someone on foot and then ride towards town.  He tried to call out to the others but they were currently out of their heads.  So Slim went down to investigate by himself.  Perhaps the wounded man could be helped.  When he got down to where he thought it happened, he found nothing.  No body, no tracks that he could read and most perplexing, no blood.  He searched around but when he came up with nothing, he went back up the mountain.  About that time, the others regained consciousness.  The Indian, the camp, and the cave were gone.  They compared notes while Slim described what he saw.  While describing it, he spotted someone crawling towards town.  This time everyone went down and eventually caught up to it.  It turned out to be a walking dead man (crawling really) that turned the stomach on any who missed a Guts check.  After some discussion, Phoebe Ann, who had it in her sights, put it out of its misery.  The chronicler had to step away but somehow the players became convinced that more of these could be heading into town.  So, the urgent trip to the trapped earth spirit was put on hold and we headed back into town.

We entered at the northeast corner and could see several walking dead trying to claw their way into buildings.  We could tell the terror level in town was up a notch.  We proceeded in initiative order, blasting away at any that we could see.  Everyone but Slim and Thomas headed south along the east side of town.  Dan arrived late and Brian placed him in the bar, further into town.  There were several of them in there along with plenty of townsfolk including the mayor.  So Big John finally got a chance to use his hand to hand skills.  Despite their gang-up bonuses, he managed to stay up and beat on them.  The rest headed down to help him but movement is slow without double moves and the town was big.  Of note, Phoebe Ann jammed her rifle with a critical failure.  Virgil gave her his, and she critical failed with it as well, this time hitting Buster who was engaged with one.  She managed to do it again, jamming that rifle, a few rounds later.  For the most part, they were just blasting away, taking them out as they could.  A couple popped out of buildings to cause trouble.  They were tough but at least they didn’t need a headshot to drop.

Meanwhile Slim and Thomas headed across the town with the intent of coming south on the west side.  The action seemed to be at the bar but they didn’t know if there were any on that side.  It seemed a waste of time when the Archer gang rode into town at the northwest corner.  Slim acted at a joker and fired two warning shots at them while calling out for the marshal and his guys to come out to help.  (They did not.)  He then took cover behind the barn at the stables.  Unfortunately, Thomas went last so he had to just stand there while all 10 of them went before him.  But since Slim shot at them, they shot at him.  But with the cover of the barn, the medium-range and being on horseback, only the last one managed to hit him which he soaked with a fate chip.  When Thomas went, he ran behind the well and plugged the leader who was in the front of the pack.  He soaked it away too.  The next round Slim hit the leader and then stepped into the barn for better cover.  He was feeling pretty invincible and Brian was rolling pretty poorly.  Thomas also hit the leader and dropped him.  On Slim’s next action, he killed the guy trying to bandage the leader guy.  Thomas fell back to the trees, trying to maintain his rifle versus pistol range advantage, and trying to get closer to the rest of the group so they could hear him.  He figured the bandits would ride towards him but instead most dismounted and came into the barn, looking for Slim.

So initially Slim managed to avoid getting hit but eventually his luck ran out.  (As did their minuses to hit.)  He got hit with exploding damaging (is there any other kind?) and rolled poorly on his soak.  That used up the rest of his fate chips.  The next hit did 3 wounds and he had to just take it.  That left him 1 wound from dead, bleeding out, shaken, etc.  (He also lost one permanent die of Vigor from the serious gut shot wound.)  Brian said that they’d ignore him, laying in a pool of blood and go after Thomas.  However, Dave pointed out that he wasn’t down.  Staying in character, he leaned against the wall and hurled insults at them.  Thomas burned some chips to get closer to the barn but he couldn’t get there in time.  Brian gave Dave one more chance to live like a possum but he elected to die like a mean SOB.  (Turns out these guys were “bloodthirsty” so any parley attempts would have been tough.)  One of them went and finished Slim off.  The next round, Dave got a Joker which gave him a fate chip.  He used it for one final shot as he fell.  He hit but didn’t kill the bandit.  Thomas went next, leaped into the barn, and finished him off.  At that point, the bandits had gotten back on their horses and left town.  Slim and Thomas had managed to kill over half of them but they killed half of us.

The rest was storyboarding.  Buster used his new tale-telling edge to tell the heroic story of Slim’s last stand.  He used a card that guaranteed his success.  Phoebe Ann assisted and with a teamwork card from Thomas got double the normal bonus.  All that reduced the fear level in the town a couple of points.  Evidently, we were at a 5 and at 6 it becomes a piece of Hell, beyond redemption.  We also parleyed that into getting the marshal to forgive Virgil for his crimes.  (I suspect the Preacher, if we ever find him, won’t be so forgiving.)  Slim was buried in the local cemetery.  When asked where he’d like to be put, Dave suggested he be placed on the edge of the path so that people might trip on his tombstone on their way by.  Mean to the last.  I believe is tombstone read “Meanest SOB to ever grace Colorado.”  We stopped there since it was midnight.  Dave was given a ton of suggestions on a new character.  Unfortunately, Slim was the cornerstone of the whole adventure so it might be nice if his new guy was also a railroad guy but I suspect he’ll go in a different direction.  We’ll work it out.  Someone from the town? Someone on the train? Someone that happens to wander by? We shall see.  It’s a lethal system and we made it to game 5 before the first death.  Rest well, Slim.  

Sunday, 07 June 2020 19:47

Deadwood - Game 4 - 06/05/2020

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Brian backed up time a bit to launch the game.  Most of the players were having dinner at the hotel, discussing what we’d seen.  (Andy did not play.)  But the main topic of conversation was what we were going to do about Slim being arrested.  A couple noticed that their mash potatoes were in the shape of the Coffin Rock but then a second look, they did not.  There was also a strong flower scent downstairs, as if some odor was being masked.  Both of those turned Virgil off the meal.  About then, Slim showed up with the Marshall who joined us.  That curtailed some of the discussion.  Meanwhile, Phoebe-Ann passed by the graveyard and thought she heard moaning.  As she got closer, it was revealed that Big John was in one of the newly dug graves.  He did not remember leaving the theater/brothel or why he was wearing a dress.  Once Phoebe stopped laughing, she went back to the hotel to get him some clothes and a rope.  She sped by the dinner crowd, grabbed the stuff, and climbed out the window to avoid any questions.  Unfortunately, that climb wasn’t very good a several heard something.  But nothing came of it.  Big John had gotten out of the grave and removed the dress.  Phoebe didn’t like the sight of him in his long johns and pushed him back in.  They returned to the hotel, washed up, and joined the dinner.  As the Marshall was leaving, Phoebe started asking questions.  Brian player his “spill the beans” card which should have gotten him to spill his guts.  But Brian couldn’t reveal the entire plot so she pretty much got what we’d already known.

After dinner, we spilt up again.  Virgil went back to the church with Thomas and Slim.  They found the church doors locked which flabbergasted Virgil.  Thomas went around to a window and found that there were 12-20 people in there.  Virgil attempted to kick the doors open but they were too tough.  Soon enough the door was opened.  We more or less burst in and found the people getting ready to bed down for the night.  Since these were people from out of town, drawn in by the church, they had nowhere else to stay.  Basically, Jon was playing up his righteous preacher paladin, making accusations and demanding answers.  He got none.  Once again, no one in this town thinks anything is wrong.  Dave played up his mean investigator, checking out the church and pretty much ignoring the confused church folk.  Dave was left trying to play his mild-mannered, trying in vain to keep things from getting out of hand.  Slim noticed that one of the stain glass windows depicted the final judgment and casting into the fiery pits.  Those being cast looked much like our party.  Thomas confirmed and chalked it up to yet another weird vision but when Virgil noticed the part of Jesus had been replaced by who we assumed to be the preacher in the middle of all this, he declared to be blasphemous.  To everyone’s surprise, he pulled his gun and shot the preacher image right out of the window.  Pause here.

Meanwhile, Big John went back to the theater to get his gear back, bringing Phoebe and Buster as his (persuasion skilled) backup.  That went easy enough.  Phoebe stayed at the bar and knock back some whiskey while talking to the madame.  But she had no new information.  The other two talked to one of the girls and got his stuff back.  Buster attempted to ascertain if this sort of thing happened all the time.  She seemed to think he had just had too much to drink and went loco.  We put it on the list of strange things and moved on.  On their way back, they heard the shot at the church.  They raced towards it.  Meanwhile, Slim drew on Virgil and ordered him to put down the gun.  Virgil was certain he was in the right.  But then the church folk who weren’t even important enough to be on the map, started acting.  Most of the men charged Virgil.  He had a good parry but each new foe gave them bonuses to hit and once they got 4-5 around him, he was brought down.  Slim tried to sell it as temporary insanity brought on by the train attack but they didn’t buy it any better when Phoebe tried it to save Slim the day before.  Like before, Virgil was arrested and put in a cell for the night.  Again, he played a card, this time to acquire a skill (thievery) temporarily.  With some rolls and some fate dice, he managed to get away.     

  

So, Virgil went back to the church and waited as far in the woods as he could and still watch the church.  The Marshall woke the rest of the group and asked questions about the jailbreak.  We could honestly say we had no idea where he was.  They almost got him, figuring he’d been watching the church, but he managed to elude them.  The next morning Phoebe was up early since she was not awoken by the Marshal, went next door to check out the school.  It was I ruins, the windows all blown out from the inside.  The area was extra cold.  She was attacked by a whirlwind of debris that didn’t do any real damage.  Undeterred, she continued until she was confronted by the ghost of a child.  A brief conversation ended with Phoebe trying to get away.  She won initiative the first round and avoided her touch but lost the second.  She got two streaks of gray in her hair for her troubles.  She ran past Thomas on the way to her room.  When she told him what had happened, Thomas was unsurprised.  With all we’ve seen, of course, there’s a ghost.

So, the plan was to meet with Miss Pearl.  Buster figured since everyone in this town seemed unconcerned about the strangeness, maybe the unhappy Miss Pearl would be more informative.  Or at least more willing to talk.  Virgil met with us outside of town.  He had had a rough night of little sleep but he did have a dream/vision about the Coffin Rock.  Miss Pearl was still mainly concerned about her deeds.  When we told her that we’d seen deeds in her name in the mayor’s office, she was eager to retrieve them.  On the list.  However, until we could put them in front of a law above the Marshall, I don’t think they are going to do any good.  She also said that the mines had all run dry about the same time.  All the miners and most of the residents had left town.  It made us wonder why she was so eager to own a piece of this town.  She said it wasn’t too hard to get up to the rock.  She’d done it as a kid.  Other than that, she really didn’t have much new information.

So, we went through town and headed up the trail.  Virgil managed to go around and met us.  At the rock, we met an Indian by the name of Laughs at Darkness.  He said we had been chosen to end the great evil in the area.  Tell us more.  We participated in a ceremony.  First, there was a Vigor roll that Slim missed so he had to bow out.  Then a Spirit roll.  Our spirits flew to the nearby mine at the bottom of which was a trapped spirit.  It said that it had been protecting this land for thousands of years but recently the miners had dug too deep and it had lost its connection to the land and its power was reduced.  Then a white man with knowledge of dark magic managed to tap its power for his own purposes.  The Preacher, we assume.  It wanted us to go to the mine to help it and restore balance to the land.  Finally, a task.  So, the plan is to go directly to the mine next time.  Even though it was late afternoon, we didn’t want to risk getting waylaid in town.  Luckily the vision had left us well-rested, even Virgil who had been up all night.  (Slim is unfortunately fatigued.)  There is still some doubt as to whether helping this spirit is the right thing to do but at least we can check it out.  Another advancement was granted.  The next game is planned for 2 weeks.

Sunday, 24 May 2020 15:20

Deadwood - Game 3 - 05/22/2020

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Game 3 - 5/22/2020

We switched back to the old Fantasy Grounds since it seemed like FGU wasn’t quite ready.  Brian said that Jon’s character (Virgil Bowden) was the religious man that was on the train previously.  I’m not sure why he’s joined us exactly but I suspect we’ll find trouble soon enough and he’ll pitch in.  We figured he stayed with the train when we fought the spiders.  We did a little rehashing of the past events but got going pretty fast.  Slim had noticed supplies associate with a new spur a ways back and figured that would be the easiest path towards Coffin Rock.  So we headed that way at an angle.  A good tracking roll from Thomas later and we were on the path.  We didn’t have any trouble and soon found ourselves on the Coffin Rock map. 

Virgil

We heard gunfire and saw a riderless horse running toward us.  The Doc managed to grab it.  Others ran forward and saw a woman being attacked by two men that didn’t look quite human.  One of them seemed to shoot something from his hand but it was hard to tell at that distance.  Despite the range and the risk of hitting her, they were dropped soon enough.  She was dress as a person at home in the wilderness.  She was the daughter of the man who used to own a large portion of the town.  He was killed when his mansion burned down.  She returned from her boarding school back east for the funeral.  She claims the town Sheriff had cheated her out of her inheritance and advised us to avoid him.  Some of her friends/employees (a group of similarly equipped ladies) arrived.  Despite the fact that they avoided the town, they agreed to help us and our innocents get there.  She said we could contact her by leaving notes under a rock by the town sign so it must really mean she avoids the sheriff.  We made it into town without further issue.

Coffin Rock

We headed to the hotel first to get the wounded woman settled in.  Phoebe-Ann ran ahead to fetch the town doctor and Virgil headed to the nearby church.  They had reservations under Slim and Phoebe-Ann and despite our unexpected numbers, they managed to find a place for everyone.  There was no telegraph or mail service beyond the stagecoach so the train people might be here a while.  The owner said his wife has been feeling poorly (we should have our doctor check that out) so he wouldn’t be able to serve the meals he normally would have.  The railroad cook offered to take over.  Buster heard faint crying but the sound seemed to move about and he was unable to pinpoint it.  Big John and Slim noticed their reflections in the windows looked more worried than their actual faces.  That was just the tip of the weirdness we were about to find.     

Virgil went over to the church.  We noticed that the bell kept ringing, even during the service.  He noticed that there were no kids in attendance.  He noticed that those in the sun, looked bruised and battered and those on the other side did not.  When he sat with them, he too looked battered but when he moved over, he did not.  The kids were sent over to keep them busy while their injured mother was examined by the town doctor.  The sermon was so boring, one of them fell asleep on the floor.  Virgil sent them back afterward.  Once it was over, no one seemed to leave.  He questioned the deacon who was standing in for Reverend Cheval.  The Reverend was out in the area, “gathering” more to their flock.  They call themselves the Brethren of the New Covent.   The deacon was very proud that people from other states were coming in to be part of what was going on in the town.  Virgil asked about the Blood Men but got nothing.  Basically, he admitted that things were strange but claim that it was a sign of great things coming to the town.  Virgil returned to the hotel with that bell still ringing.

Phoebe-Ann made it to the doctor.  The office seemed worn but organized.  The doctor seemed concerned for her health but with her urging, she got him moving.  He moved slow due to his heavyweight but came eventually.  Phoebe-Ann checked into her princess suite on the top floor and took a bath.  Our Doc said that the town doctor was competent.  Meanwhile Buster, Thomas, and Slim went to the sheriff’s office.  Thomas noticed a red welt around his neck (i.e. from a noose) in his reflection from the sheriff’s badge hanging outside.  The Marshal was not there but there were plenty of tough-looking deputies.  Buster wanted to check in with the local law, told them about the attack of the Blood Men, and about the train wreck.  They said it was likely the Archer gang however they had never hit anything that big and were thought to have around 6 men which were way too small.  Thomas looked that their wanted posters and didn’t notice a match.  It did seem to be a large number of deputies for such a small town.  Slim asked Deputy Wilbur about that and got a steely stare back.  That conversion escalated and Slim was in danger of getting into trouble so he left.  He went next door to the bank and found that it had been cleared out.  As they headed back to the hotel, Hawthorne and Phoebe decided to go to the church and investigate the bell.  They slipped up the stairs and Hawthorne boosted her up into the bell tower.  She found that the bell was moving without any rope, mechanism or person.  She cut the leather strap and removed the clacker.  Hawthorne tossed it into a barrel of water they found up there and they exited. 

We regrouped at the hotel and compared notes.  We tried to come up with a plan of action but there were still lots of buildings and people to check out so the best plan we could come up with was to split up and just start working on the list with the hour of daylight left.

Slim, Virgil, and Hawthorne went to the Assay office.  It still seemed in business, unlike the bank, but currently closed despite it still being within operating hours posted on the door.  Their reflections had a look of greed to them.  After vigorous knocking, Slim picked the lock and went in.  With the others standing guard, he did a critical failure on his research roll to search the papers but then used a red chip to get a better roll.  About then, 2 deputies came down the street and the other two stalled them.  They said they had business at the salon next door and they went in with them.  These windows were too dirty to show reflections.  They found the mayor, drinking heavily.  He said that the town had been going downhill since Mr. Pearl was killed in that fire and he felt responsible.  There was also an invention in the corner, just sitting there.  The inventor had disappeared.  The kept eyeing the deputies and talked to the mayor.  The bell had been ringing so long, he didn’t even notice it anymore.  The Reverend Cheval showed up a few months before the fire.  He said maybe it’s a good thing as they were growing the town although they mostly stayed to themselves.  Meanwhile, back at the assayer’s office Slim found that the last transaction was 5 months ago which seemed odd for a mining town.  Either the mines had dried up or they weren’t using the town anymore.  He then tried to pick lock on the back room and did another critical failure.  But he was out of chips.  Two more deputies got the drop on him and he had no choice but to drop his gun.  He tried to claimed that he’d seen a ghost in here but they didn’t buy it and cuffed him.  About this time, Phoebe-Ann happened to be going by.  She tried to support his crazy ghost story with a persuasion roll.  She rolled well enough to come along to make a statement but not near good enough to get him off the hook.  Meanwhile, back in the salon, Hawthorne asked whether Mr. Pearl had any relatives.  He said he had a daughter back east who came for the funeral but then left as far as he knew.  He assumed she was rich since she should now own half the town.  They went to his office and he had records that showed it.      

Buster, Thomas, and the NPC report went to the burnt-out mansion but there was not much left.  They could tell it happened a few months ago, but nothing else.  They stopped at the Newspaper office on the way back.  In their eagerness to get in before the other, the newspaper folks burst into the building, only to fall through the weakened floor and into the basement.  That unleashed a swarm of rats that, unless dealt with, would increase the fear level in town.  They got out without issue and returned to the hotel.  Meanwhile, Big John and Phoebe went to the Theater.  The madame offered to sell Phoebe-Ann a beer which pleased her to finally be treated as an adult.  Given her rural upbringing, she was impressed by the fancy theater which was actually pretty shabby.  The fact that it was a brothel seemed to elude her.  John went upstairs to check that out but the rooms were closed.  He was then propositioned but her persuasion roll was low.  Brian spent a GM chip and did a bit better.  For $10, he got two girls but what happened after that, occurred off-camera.  Phoebe-Ann talked to the madame.  She said that people were leaving because the mines were running dry.  She claimed to know nothing about Blood Men.  Eventually Phoebe-Ann got creeped out by the looks she was getting by the patrons and left.  She had her little encounter with the law and headed back to the hotel by way of the graveyard.  

Andy had to leave so we tried to shut down for the night but Dave wanted to play his adventure card before he lost it.  It was a Contacts one.  So, it turns out he knew the Marshal as he used to work for the railroad too.  They got along because both were mean SOBs.  Slim knew he was greedy and figured that with enough cash, maybe he could get out of this.  Marshal claimed he owned half the town.  He was not worried about the weirdness and figured once the Reverend got things turned around, he’d make a killing.  He asked for $50 dollars toward a steak dinner in Denver like they used to have in the old days.  Slim agreed and invited him to join us for dinner.  So, as we sat at dinner trying to figure out what to do about Slim being arrested, he showed up arm in arm with the Marshal.  That might be troublesome since he’s likely one of the two villains in this story, along with the Reverend.  We stopped there with the impending threat of the creepy graveyard at sunset and the promise of some action. 

Coffin Rock City

Sunday, 24 May 2020 15:15

Deadwood - Game 2 - 05/15/2020

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Game 2 - 5/15/2020

We started with plenty to do.  But first we had to tend to the wounded.  Thomas and Buster went down into the gully to find the engineer and coalman dead.  They brought the bodies up.  The passengers were collected into the dining car which took the least damage and was the warmest.  Slim was consulted as to how long it would be before we could expect a rescue party.  Days to a week, depending.  We were in the snowy mountains but we had shelter, food, heaters, and plenty of coal.    We debated, staying and waiting, going a couple of days along the tracks to Denver, or due north overland into Coffin Rock.  Regardless of the various merits and risks, we were steered toward the adventure and that was Coffin Rock.  Although it took some time to get everyone on board.  We talked about gathering the bandit bodies but it was pointed out by an NPC that if we wanted to get down to the baggage car and back before dark, we had no time to waste.  After some attempts to leave some characters behind, we all ended up going along with that reporter NPC.  I believe the NPCs were told to at least gather the guns although it seemed like anybody that could shoot, had a gun.

Due to the hexes that appeared, we approached with caution but we found nothing alive.  We did find that a crate had been ripped open from the inside.  Its label said it belonged to that missing collector from the museum in Boston.  There were holes in it so evidently it once held something that was alive.  That probably explained why he kept going back here with the conductor.  The doors to the car also seemed to have been ripped open from the inside.  There was a lot of blood and Thomas could see that several bodies had been dragged into the forest.  However there didn’t seem to be any animal tracks, just strange silt like tracks in the snow.  Various Notice rolls were made to try to reconstruct the order of events but the bottom line was that all 4 train men were gone, likely dead and dragged off. 

Again, the course of action was encouraged in that night was soon falling.  If we wanted to make it back to the train before dark, we could not go tracking into the woods.  We grabbed what we could before heading back.  Packable food and warm clothes were prioritized.  In addition, we found and returned Phoebe’s gun and Thomas found a Gatlin pistol which no one claimed.  We went back to the train without issue.  We posted guards.  During the night several heard something but nothing was found.  However, in the morning, the bandit bodies were noticed to be gone.  The same stilt tracks were found.  The reporter said she was very concerned about the escaped creature.  Most wanted to head to Coffin Rock and deal with whatever may come.  But then she offered a reward it was obvious Brian was pushing us to do it.  So eventually the players headed off to investigate, leaving the cook to gather supplies and such so we could set out the next day.

We started at the baggage car, figuring that would be the easiest trail to follow.  Despite a skill of d6, Thomas managed to make several tracking rolls, and eventually the spooky forest gave way to a clearing with hexes.  We could see patches of cleared snow where the earth had recently been dug.  Once we got close enough a bunch of zombies emerged from the grave.  Everyone had to make Guts rolls or be frightened.  (Are you sure this isn’t Cthulhu?)  The Doc, the NPC, and Slim missed their rolls and had to spend their actions moving away.  The zombies only moved 4 but Brian rolled very well on their run rolls so they closed pretty quick for zombies.  Most fired and then backed up.  Big John is a melee guy and stood his ground.  That got him surrounded by 3 and attacked by more since he ended up being the only one within reach.  Again, the first attack was a massive exploder and he had to use his chips to keep from dying.  The first hit on a zombie seemed to do a lot of damage but since it was already dead, it didn’t fall.  It wasn’t clear if that was damage resistance or something else.  The next shot was a call headshot which dropped it.  When another was dropped something strange happened.

The zombies pitched over and stopped moving.  From the back of their neck jumped hand-sized spider-like insects.  (Now we knew the reason for all those Notice rolls Big John kept missing.)  These things were small so hard to hit, had a bite or spit poison that caused blindness.  Those that were hit by that and didn’t save, used chips to avoid it.  And they moved 8 so the backing up plan wasn’t going to work anymore.  The other thing that happened was that they drew a Joker and since they all went as one, they all got +2.  That made them seem unstoppable for that round.  Somehow, tough guy, John managed to stay upright.  Buster ran out of chips and was blinded.  Things were looking dire but then the Doc finally made his Guts roll.  He used his two guns, hit one, and used a card to do double damage and then hit another with a raise and did enough to drop it too.  Then Slim, learning his lesson from the previous round where he shot twice, missing both due to the -2, shot 3 times and managed to kill 2 more.  And that quick, it was over.

The Doc attempted first aid but could do nothing for blind Buster.  (It’ll just take time.)  We searched around.  The zombies were the missing train guys plus some bandits.  Soon enough we found a cave.  Despite everyone looking for a giant spider on the ceiling, when it attacked those that failed a Notice roll, were surprised.  Again, surprised Big John was attacked and ripped apart.  This mother spider was very tough and some shots were bouncing off it.  When Thomas got to go on round two, he used a card to retrieve Doc’s double damage card.  He hit and did 12 on 2d8 then added 5 with a chip and then doubled it for 34.  That was enough to kill it.  So heroic but a bit of a let down since it ended the combat “early”. 

The bodies of the men and the insects were burned.  There is no “treasure” in this system however Thomas searched the museum guy for a journal in hopes of figuring out where this thing came from.  All he found was and ID and badge from something called the “Agency” that no one had ever heard of.  We made it back to the train and got our $100 reward.  She was very relieved and it was obvious to us, although no one could really best her deception, that she knew more than she let on.  The night passed and we’re poised to head overland to Coffin Rock.  An advancement was granted.  It sounded like everyone was taking an Edge or bumping a skill or stat so that they could qualify for an Edge next time.

Sunday, 24 May 2020 15:12

Deadwood - Game 1 - 05/08/2020

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The Cast:

“Slim” Rickets:  A railroad man who worked his way up in the ranks to become a one-eyed inspector.  A hard-nosed law and order kind of guy.

Big John Reid:  A bodyguard whose interest in the up and coming weird scientist has put him in charge of guarding various scientists and engineers.  His last charge disappeared mysteriously and he’s looking to get to the bottom of it.

“Doc” Hawthorne Mills:  A retired doctor who now travels the rails, making a living playing cards.

Thomas Gray Wolf:  A Sioux orphaned as a child and raised by Christians.  He ended up a mix of both but not at home in either.  He makes a living as a guide/scout/tracker in Western Colorado.

Buster Clemens:  A newspaperman whose mission is to debunk the various mystical con artists that prey on the foolish.

Phoebe-Ann Mosey:  A “liberated” 16-year-old girl who is determined to make her own way through life, unencumbered by the stereotypes of women in society.

Virgil Bowden:  A former gunslinger who has put down his shooting irons and picked up the good book.  For now.

Game 1 - 5/8/2020

The first order of business was to somehow tie all these characters into the plot Brian had to run.  The Denver and Pacific railroad were looking to expand into the mining town of Coffin Rock, named for the coffin-like outcropping overlooking it.  They tasked railroad inspector, Slim Rickets (Shimota) with putting together a team to assess the feasibility of doing so although known only to Slim, the decision has already been made and he’s really been tasked to pave the way.  Slim brought in Buster Clemens (Paul), a noted investigative journalist, to help him.  Buster knew Thomas Gray Wolf (DG) as a local expert and brought him in.  The D&P executive also had a niece by the name of Phoebe Ann Mosey (Brian) whom was looking for adventure.  He asked that she be included, figuring she’d be relatively safe and at least working in the family business.  To ensure her safety, they hired Big John Reid (Dan) to act as a bodyguard plus an extra bit of muscle couldn’t help.  Lastly Slim knew a doctor by the name of Doc Hawthorne Mills (Andy) and figured a doctor would always be handy to have.  (Jon) did not attend so we’ll have to figure out how to add him when he does.  They were to be paid $40 dollars for a week’s work plus expenses in Coffin Rock and train fare to Denver where the overland trip was to begin.  It was also stressed to keep a low profile and not reveal that they worked for the D&P for fear of tipping off the other railroads. 

Somehow, we all ended up on a train heading east from Salt Lake to Denver but we didn’t worry about the why’s on that.  We all got a sleeping berth, with food and drinks paid for.  The first half of the adventure was interacting with the various passengers on the train.  Some of those interactions were more memorable than others.  In no particular order.  Doc and Buster got into a card game with a guy who happened to have a treasure map to an Indian burial ground.  (Too bad Thomas was not in the car for he would have told them Sioux chiefs were not buried with “treasure”.)  Unfortunately, the guy rolled great on his persuasion and Andy felt obligated (in a role-playing sense) to believe him even though the players did not.  (We noticed a lot of double and triple exploder rolls throughout the night which seemed statistically unlikely.)  He talked him into gambling the map against the $100 price tag but unfortunately, he blew Doc’s gambling roll away.  Andy spent several chips but could not alter that outcome.  Then Buster offered $5 to get a peek at it and a good Smarts roll revealed that it was in fact a page torn from a book of myths of the west that he helped edit.  He raised a stink and got his $5, Doc’s $100 and $5 more from others in the room to keep it quiet.

Phoebe drew the scorn of a couple of tough looking twins.  When she offered to best them in a shooting contest, they dismissed her, claiming they’d give her $5 if she could even lift a gun.  She went back to her luggage, got her pistol and showed them some fancy gun twirls.  “One of you owes me $5.”  They declined and she offered double of nothing on a shooting contest but they declined.  When one got up to teach her a lesson, Slim got involved.  He admonished her for pulling a gun on a train and for not keeping a low profile.  The conductor showed up and confiscated her gun.  Not the outcome Brian had hoped for.  There was a lady on her way to marry a farmer but she was looking to upgrade to say a retired doctor.  A missionary from Salt Lake who tried to save some souls.  Slim crunched up his pamphlet and threw it out the window.  A newspaper lady who asked a lot of questions.  Some brat kids and their tired parents.  A couple of railroad employees.  About the only possible “clue” was the fact that one guy went into baggage area with the conductor a couple of times but railroad guy Slim that that was “reasonable”.

Several days passed.  Then one day on a steep incline, the brakes were urgently applied.  Slim and Buster headed to the engine to see what was going on.  Phoebe and Big John climbed on the roof of a car, looking for robbers.  Thomas and Doc stayed in the middle car to watch those thug twins.  As Buster and Slim climbed over the coal car to get to the engine, they noticed the baggage cars had been detached and were being left behind.  And then there was an explosion and the bridge up ahead was blown.  The engine and the coal car plunged into a gully and the rest of the train plowed into them.  Those who were outside were given an Athletics roll to jump from the train and lessen their damage.  Phoebe had a Free Runner edge which allowed her to run towards the back as it was happening.  Unfortunately, Slim was still stuck between the coal car and the engine and went down with the train.  (Like a good train man should.)  Thomas had the same edge and manage to reduce his damage as well.  The damage was rolled.  Those that jumped, took enough to be Shaken but not damaged.  Slim and the Doc took more damage but used chips and take less damage.  It took some time to figure out how to take damage, how to avoid damage and how to do it all in FGU.  The passenger’s fates varied.

So then Brian switched maps.  He used a new FGU option that limited each player’s view of what his character could see.  With doors and windows, it was a neat effect but it was crippling to the program to render.  It also had an animated snow effect.  Eventually Brian gave up on both so that he could actually do things.  So people were placed in various locations, the NPCs were also in play and there were about a dozen bandits out in the trees.  About the first thing that happened was that Big John who was flung into a bush was triple exploded for so much damage that he would have been killed if he hadn’t used up some chips.  He didn’t get to do much after that.  Doc attempted to help the mother of the kids who happened to be lying near him.  It took several rounds but he did save her but it also kept him from helping with the fight until the end.  Phoebe had grabbed her rifle and once she got on the roof, she blew the crap out of them.  Buster went for his shotgun in the sleeper car but didn’t get a chance to take many shots because there are no double moves in this system so it took a couple of rounds.  Thomas also went for his rifle but took several shots out the windows with his pistol as he went.  Slim did pretty well with his pistol, even at medium range.  Some of the NPCs also helped.  But ultimately, we had cover in the train and they did not so they started to drop.  Once their leader fell after 3-4 rounds, they started fleeing but it took hours with all those actors (players, bandits and NPCs) and figuring out the rules and the program. 

They got away and managed to take all the horses with them.  We stopped there at 1:30 AM.  There’s plenty to do.  Help the injured including the engineer in the gully.  Sort and stack the bodies of the bandits.  We’re in the middle of the mountains and it’s snowing but as long as we stay with the train cars, survival shouldn’t be an issue.  But how long will it take to be noticed as overdue and expect help? And is another attack coming? And we’re still not even in Denver so the adventure hasn’t really even started. 

train