Oct 162015
 

The morning after the zombie attack dawned clear, cool, and smelly. While the storm and rain had managed to wash away the worst of the zombies, there were still mounds of corpses around. And so the posse awoke to the sight of the ranch hands slowly dragging them away to a huge funerary pyre. But after a short look, the heroes saw that they weren’t actually normal corpses. No, they were mostly composed of this strange red mud or clay. T. Saint John took a sample, but none of the posse were quite sure what this meant, only that these weren’t ordinary zombies.

The posse had breakfast at the ranch, at which time John Forbush informed them that they’d done a great service for him and his ranch. This feeling was redoubled when the hands from the high fields returned with tales of the walking dead, which they had only survived thanks to numbers. That was what sealed it. Forbush offered each member of the posse their pick of a horse, free of charge. It was the least they could do. And so the heroes went out to pick their horses. Tens and Sister Mary got fine mares, even tempered and good runners. Juan Tomas, skillful in the arts of horseflesh, picked himself out a stallion with more than a little Arabian in it (the Horse has +2 Pace and a 2d6 running die). And T. Saint John picked himself out the worst nag in the paddock. Which Pearl couldn’t abide, as she brought him a sturdy breed with more than a little Frisian (horse is Hardy).

+Digression: I had the entire party roll common knowledge, modified for background. Sister Mary and Tens just got successes, giving them normal horses. T. Stain JOhn failed, which would have giving him an El Cheapo horse, but Pearl got a hit and a raise, and so he got a horse with Hardy instead. And Juan Tomas rolled something like 2 raises, and so he got a really nice horse with the horsey equivalent of Fleet Footed.

Horse and tack acquired, the party was about to say their goodbyes when Tens went to say goodbye to the puppies. And she was so cute that the Forbush family gave her one of them. She promised to take good care of it and quickly squirreled it away into her coat. And the party was then off, fully mounted and ready to ride.

The first few days of travel were uneventful, mostly thanks to Pearl and her knowledge of the landscape. But after a few more days, the posse ran into a roving band of Navajo braves, lead by a medicine man. It was a hunting party of Indians!

+Digression So I just randomly decided that this party was gonna be Navajo, wandering a little far afield. And I had completely forgotten that Juan Tomas was half Navajo. And so what might have been a challenging social encounter suddenly got a whole lot easier.

Juan Tomas quickly recognized the party as Navajo, his mother’s people. And so he rode forward and greeted them. What followed was a short introduction and discussion, but before long the two parties had intermingled and they started talking about bedding down for the night together. While tensions were high at first, the party soon started relaxing and soon meats were roasting over fires, bottles had been uncorked, and a very early end to the day was called.

Tens was surprised to find that one of the braves was actually a young woman about the same age of her. Fast Cloud was one of the best runners in the tribe, and she soon spotted a kindred spirit in Tens. Or was it something more? No matter, the two young women quickly got acquainted and had great fun running races with each other, collapsing in giggles and hugs. Fast Cloud’s uncle, Shooting Star, could only look on with a small smile and a stern gaze. By the time darkness had truly fallen, Tens had learned some tricks about maneuvering in the wilderness and Fast Cloud was begging her to join her in her tipi.

+Digression: So, one players really start interacting with some NPCs, I secretly roll 1d8-2 to determine where they fall on the Kinsey scale. And it just so happened that I rolled an 8 (-2 = 6) for Fast Cloud, which put her firmly on the almost exclusively homosexual end of the spectrum. So, yeah, Fast Cloud was crushing HARD.

Meanwhile, Juan Tomas took the chance to actually relax. He opened a bottle and spent the entire evening in peace, perking up only when the shaman, Kicking Bird, explained that the party had been hunting Skinwalkers who had attacked a neighboring tribe. But for the most part, Juan Tomas was content to just sit back and let things happen.

Sister Mary, knowing a fellow worker of miracles, spent most of the evening talking with Kicking Bird. The old shaman found her a delightful conversationalist, and soon the two were talking about all manner of supernatural things. By the time the fires were burning low and they were ready for bed, both of them came out much wiser.

+Digression: JAZ really played this up and rolled really, really well on her Persuasion roll. And so she earned a +2 on Knowledge: Occult on rolls related to Native American Lore. Juan Tomas earned himself a bonus bennie for relaxing.

T. Saint John spent the first part of the evening learning all he could, performing interviews and taking a lot of notes. But as the liquor began to flow and the night began to fall, he soon started wrestling with all of the braves. What soon followed was a cultural exchange, as T. Saint John taught them some boxing techniques and the braves taught him some special strikes against the evil critters. Even better, the wrestling only served to bind the two groups together even more!

+Digression: T. Saint John now has a small damage bonus against supernaturally evil critters when attacking unarmed.

Soon the embers began to burn low and the posse started bedding down for the evening. Sister Mary was given a tent with the other girls, though strangely Fast Cloud and Tens weren’t among them. Instead, Fast Cloud managed to drag Tens to her own little tipi and the two soon started canoodling. It was a first for Tens, but she enjoyed the experience.

+Digression: RC rolled a die for Tens, and oddly enough, Tens ended up being attracted to Fast Cloud. I think there’s more here and I might call back this relationship soon.

Juan Tomas bedded down outside, and T. Saint John slept with the warriors. Soon the entire party was asleep, but not for long. Somewhere in the middle of the night, a small band of skinwalkers attacked! Each one was wearing the skin of a confederate solider, but that didn’t do much to deter the posse. When they added their might to that of the hunting party, the skinwalkers weren’t really much of a threat. Bullets flew, fists crushed, and prayers were called. The attack was over almost as soon as it begun, and Kicking Bird was pleased. They had taken out the entire band, without so much as a single loss of life. A good sign that the posse will be welcome among the Navajo again.

Eventually the sun rose, and the posse had to bid the Navajo farewell. Last goodbyes were exchanged, though Fast Cloud pulled Tens aside. There she tied a feather into Tens’ hair and gave her own last kiss. Fast Cloud was the last to turn around as the posse rode on.

+Digression: I have plans for Fast Cloud. Oh, do I have plans.

A few short days later, the posse found themselves riding toward the town of Coffin Rock. It wasn’t much to look at, and by the feeling in the air it had seen better days. And the sign above the Crystal River Hotel certainly wasn’t inviting. Now it read ‘Cry a River Hotel.” An ominous beginning to a new adventure.

+Digression: Well, it took me three sessions, but I finally got the posse to Coffin Rock! Given that they’re a bit more experienced, I don’t see them taking too long with this adventure. We actually played a bit more into this session, but I think I’m going to save that for next time.

Oct 092015
 

+Digression: Happily, RC was able to join us for this session. And so I rewound just a bit to retroactively add her to the train (as written above) and to catch her up. But we hadn’t done a lot, so it was easy.

When last we left our posse, they were busy dealing with the aftermath of a strange train derailment. The Corpsejack Strangler had been dispatched, most of the wounded dragged away and tended to, and the first put out. But there was still a whole lot of wreckage to deal with and the question of how to get to Denver while the rail line was gone. While the rest of the posse went about making sure folks weren’t gonna die, T. Saint John got on the telegraph and let Wasach know what had happened. They replied that they were sending a rescue crew, but that the line itself wouldn’t be up and running for at least a week. Which left the posse in a strange position, as all of them wanted to keep going.

Fortunately enough, Juan Tomas knew of a large horse and cattle ranch not too far from the rail line. The rancher would likely have horses for sale, and so he started walking in that direction. To which Sister Mary and T. Saint John questioned him of his intentions. And after a short palaver about the situation, the trio decided that traveling together for a time wouldn’t be the worst idea. T. Saint John was in search of a story. And the nun figured that she’d run into some sort of monster while following the lawman. And Tens? Well, Tens was just interested in following this strange group. They looked like suckers, at least the Nun did.

And so the posse gathered together for the first time and started heading West toward the Forbush Ranch. The first few miles were uneventful and boring, which was good. The posse were able to speak a bit about themselves, letting the others know a little bit about who they were and what they could do. Even Tens was spotted and asked to join them. It was an educational, if pastoral, introduction.

+Digression: I was a bit surprised that MJ didn’t really give any of the other players any sort of hooks to follow him. He just set out on his own, trusting that the other players would soon follow. Which was totally true to the character, but kind of irked me as a GM. But the other players were good enough to play along and figure out their own reasons, and so I gave them all a bennie. After that, I let the players sort of do their introductions again, just so folks had names and such. It was your standard “you meet the party” kind of deal.

After a few hours of walking, the party found a small river that Juan Tomas knew lead past the ranch. The posse started following it, and after a short while they began to hear a strange buzzing sound. They slowed their approach and crept up over the rise as quietly as they could. And for once, they all were quiet. And they spied, down below in the river clearing, a mass of HUGE wasp nests. And wasps as big as cats. As dogs! Juan Tomas knew them as Cazadors, but Sister Mary called them Pit Wasps. But both of them knew they were trouble. But fortunately for them, they had the drop on the nest.

What followed was a one sided battle as all four posse members unleashed their weapons upon the nests. Sister Mary took out the larger soldier wasps with her rifle. T. Saint John rushed forward to deal with the stragglers. Tens donned her Kinetic Amplifier and was soon blasting the smaller swarms with ease and aplomb. And Juan Tomas burned up the hives with one fearsome salvo of his six shooter. The battle was over almost as soon as it was begun, with the posse victorious. The heroes then clambered down to start looking at the nests.

+Digression: It’s amazing what giving one side a free turn and the Drop will do. The posse just cut through my pit wasps like tissue paper. But after the tough fight at the train station, I felt they were due a good victory. And RC got to see just why mad scientists and the bolt power are so cool!

The posse soon made a few discovers. Sister Mary and T. Saint John found a poor, certainly mortally wounded dog surrounded by the corpses of several pit wasps. But Sister Mary wasn’t about to let such a noble animal die on her watch! She called down the power of the Lord and managed to stabilize the pooch and keep it from dying. Meanwhile, Juan Tomas found the remains of a mostly eaten cow and Tens jury rigged her gauntlet to move earth. With such a fantastic device, the posse soon started clearing out the wasp nests. They found two things of interest: a bag of silver dollars and the body of a barley living young boy! Sister Mary jumped into the pit and called down her power to heal the boy, which kept him from dying and stabilized his condition.

+Digression: This whole bit? It was just me thinking on my feet as fast as I could in response to some really high Notice rolls. I originally threw in the wasps as some random encounter, but halfway through I figured that maybe one of the cows had gone missing and the poor Rancher’s boy had gone looking for the cow. The boy and his super badass dog (I rolled a random d6 to see how tough it was and got a 15 after exploding twice) ran into the pit wasps. But the players really rolled well and focused on them, and so they both ended up living. Still, I think this was one of my better ad-libs.

But things were starting to look bad. The posse now had a seriously injured boy and his loyal hound. And one of the most serious and arcane of storms was blowing into the area. And so the group redoubled their efforts to reach the ranch, pushing themselves as best they could. But the pace was a bit much for Sister Mary, as she became a bit fatigued. But fortunately for both the boy, his dog, and the posse, they found one of the ranch hands out looking for the missing kid and his dog. Juan Tomas recognized him as Alejandro, one of the head ranch hands and a good friend. The posse handed off the boy and told Alejandro that they wouldn’t be far behind. And Alejandro rode like the wind.

The heroes arrived at the ranch just as the rain really started pouring. And they arrived as fated heroes. The hearth in the main ranch house was burning brightly and Sarah Forbush and her daughters had put on one hell of a feast. It took the posse a good five minutes to even get inside, as every ranch hand and John Forbush himself wanted to thank them at the door. Inside they found mountains of food, warmth, a lot of ranch hands, and a heroes welcome. Most of the posse just sat right down, but Tens did her very best to put on the air of a poor, starving orphan. And boy did it work. The Forbush family made sure she had extra helpings of the entire meal!

+Digression: As part of the urchin thing, RC is asking me about putting forth certain “personas.” And so I’ve been having her roll persuasion to set up how she’s received. And in this instance, she rolled a 9, which is a hit and a raise. And so her poor, starving, soaked orphan bit was taken in with vigor.

As the storm continued to grow, Juan Tomas suggested to John Forbush that he should send some extra ranchers up to the high fields to check on the cattle. Knowing that Juan Tomas was usually right (MASSIVE Persuasion roll), he readily agreed and sent his three senior hands to go check it out. But that done, the heroes had a chance to eat, bath, and relax just a little. Sister Mary decided to do a bible reading in the living room. Tens, after playing with some of Duke’s (the hero dag) puppies, went up to her room to “sleep.” Juan Tomas went out to the bunkhouse to play some poker, and T. Saint John retired with one Pearl, a lovely young ranch hand who’d taken quite a shine to him!

+Digression: So, I enjoy playing with the adventure deck. And about this time JE handed me a card: Love Interest. And my mind immediately went to Zoe from firefly, and so I gave him a companion sort of like that. Her name is Pearl, and she’s a skill scout and Ranch hand. She was born in the saddle and longs to see more of the world. And so T. Saint John got himself an extra to care for and deal with.

 

Pearl Rogers
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d6, Guts d6, Knowledge: Photography d4, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Survival d4, Tracking d6
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6, Charisma: 2, Grit: 1
Gear: Unarmed Strike d6 (Str), Winchester Lever-Action d6+2 (1-3d6, 12/24/48), Knife, Bowie d6 (Str+d4+1), Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket, Boots, Camera, Canteen, Harmonica, Horse, Iron Skillet, Mess Kit, Rifle Boot, Rope (per 50′), Saddle, Saddlebags, Shirt/Blouse, work, Stetson, Trousers/Skirt
Special Abilities:
•Heroic: Never says no to a person in need
•Loyal: Will never leave a man behind
•Overconfident: Believes he can do anything; Accepts all challenges
•Quirk (Sucker for something pretty): Minor humorous foible
•Attractive: +2 Charisma
•Born in the Saddle: +2 to Riding rolls; may spend Bennies to Soak rolls for ridden horse
•Scout: You are expert at avoiding or detecting hazards.

The night continued apace. T. Saint John had a great time. Sister Mary got to speak religion with some Mormons. Juan Tomas lost a bit of money at cards (his gambling roll SUCKED!). And Tens read more of her father’s notes, as the crashing lightning was giving her ideas. Her father talked about harnessing lightning, and so Tens did sneak downstairs and gather the materials she needed for the experiment, no one the wiser. She then made her way up onto the roof, where she managed to CATCH LIGHTING IN A BOTTLE!

But the flash of the lightning also revealed a serious problem: a horde of shambling zombies! Including a horrible collective of zombies that had somehow merged together. What followed was a desperate battle to defend the ranch from the undead. Juan Tomas informed the ranch hands to shoot at the shamblers, then dived out the door and made his way to the porch, in order to protect the main house. Tens tried blasting zombies from the roof, but only had limited success. T. Saint John and Pearl rolled out of one of the bunk houses, shotgun and fists at the ready. And Sister Mary eventually joined the fray on the front porch, her rifling flashing in the night.

The main zombie horde went down in a hail of gunfire without much trouble, but the the massive glom proved to be more of a problem. The posse poured shot after shot into the massive body, but nothing seemed to hurt it very badly. Desperate, Juan Tomas fired a salvo of hellfire bullets into it, but that only succeeded in wounding it, and he and Sister Mary had already been badly hurt. But then Tens came to a horrid realization: she could either keep her lightning in a jar, or use it as a weapon. Since she didn’t want to see new friends die, she tossed the jar of lighting on the glom. The resulting explosion of electricity was more than enough to kill it, and the horde finally went down.

+Digression: And this is where I was reminded that high toughness monsters are just terrible to fight. I think the stupid glom was up to 17 toughness by the time all was said and done. Because I kept spending bennies to also suck up any shaken zombie. I think that was probably a mistake. That’s not something I’m going to again anytime soon.

Exhausted, the posse declared that they were too tired to continue. And so they racked out, leaving the mess for the ranch hands or the rain.

Oct 022015
 

+Digression: This session was a bit short, as everyone had to make characters first. Fortunately, both MJ and JAZ were famliar enough that they could help JE finish his character relatively quickly. RC wasn’t here for this session, but she does get mentioned in passing as I wanted to work her in a bit. Since this was a short night and I had some folks not so familiar with the game, I ran it as a bit of a tutorial.

The game begins with, how else, our posse on a train. They don’t know each other yet, but future events are soon going to change this. In one of the cabins, we find our heroes. T. Saint John is busy talking with his cameraman, Johan Olegson, about the last big scoop. The two men are heading out west in search of mysteries and the rail barons undead son. T. Saint John, being the large man that he is, takes up most of the seat. Not too far away sits Sister Mary Katherine. She is calmly reading her bible, her blessed rifle sitting beside her. She has been joined by a rather quiet school teacher. Further back sits Juan Tomas Longknife, the Texas Ranger with the fancy shooting iron, searching for an escaped horse thief. And in the shadowiest, least seen corner sits Tens, trying her best to look utterly uninteresting.

The first few days of the rail journey from out East toward Denver are uneventful. Juan Tomas had to break up a fight between a Yank and a Reb. Sister Mary blessed the books of the young school teacher heading west to start a new life. T. Saint John interviewed a few of the passengers. And Tens mostly tinkered with her device.

+Digression: I tried to give each player one small little event where they could toss some dice. This was mostly all just funereal.

Things were going great until the train neared the station. There was the horrible sound of rending metal as the train derailed abruptly and with great force. Many of the passengers were thrown around, but Longknife, Sister Mary, and T. Saint John all managed to keep their footing enough to avoid serious injury. Poor Tens, however, was knocked out and unable to participate (as she was gone, but her retroactive roll was a natural 1, which I thought funny). They held on for dear life and when the train stopped moving they were able to take stock of the situation.

The situation was grim. Many of the passengers were trapped, wounded, or near death. But even worse was the thing that had derailed the train. Some strange plant had grown up right in the middle of the tracks! It was at least 12 feet tall and looked like a shaggy mound of thorny vines, topped by a snapping fly trap mouth. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part were the pulsing blood-red fruits dangling from the vines. They seemed to beat like hearts, pulsing with an evil glow. Oh, and half-rotted bodies could be seen in the main mound of the body. Even a few severed heads.

The heroes took in the horror and managed to keep their lunch (time to introduce fear checks!). But poor Johan Olegson couldn’t hack it. The poor boy, fresh from Boston, saw the monstrosity and abruptly died of a heart attack!

+Digression: The heroes rolled well, but poor Olegson. JE rolled snake eyes, and then hit the fear table. Which was a natural 1. As he was an extra, I rolled he died on the spot.

The situation was dire, but our posse was up to the challenge. Sister Mary clambered atop one of the overturned cars and took careful aim at the strange creature. Juan Tomas, seeing that the station attendant was trapped in some horrifically painful looking vines, jumped out of the cabin in order to start rescuing him. And T. Saint John, that mountain of a man, popped out and started rushing right at the creature!

Things intensified quickly. The great strange plant shook itself and sent a few of the blood seeds flying. And when they hit the ground, they exploded and grew into small little vine creatures! Juan Tomas found himself beset, as did T. Saint John. And a few more were looking to snack on the wounded passengers! But Sister Mary was unaffected! She took careful aim and shot the strange plant, wounding it a bit!

Juan Tomas did his best to shoot down the plant monsters mobbing him, but with limited success. Still, he was able to eventually take care of them before working his way around the back of the station house in an effort to free the station attendant. Juan Tomas found him, badly injured from the strange burrowing vines. But a bit of knife work later, the poor attendant was unstrung and some intensive first aid kept him from dying.

+Digression: I have to hand it to MJ: he really played up the heroic. He spent what must have been two or three rounds working his way around the back of the station to free this poor schlub. Then he burned at least one bennie healing the guy up. It was awesome.

Meanwhile, T. Saint John started going after the other blood seedlings who were threatening the passengers. One great leap into an overgrown cabin and he started mowing down the things with his mighty fists. It was too bad that his cameraman had died, as it would have made a great shot. But he did win the affections of many a lady passenger. And when that task was done, he scrambled to find some alcohol and a rag. The ginger giant had an idea!

Outside, Sister Mary continued to lay down fire with his blessed rifle. Few who saw it could believe it, as her aim was true and her bullets blessed by the Almighty. And thought she was able to clear the way for Juan Tomas, she was unable to fully take down the great plant. Not without help that is. The poor station attendant rescued, Juan Tomas made his way toward the creature, his sixgun crackling like the fires of doom. The barrel belched hellfire as he poured magically enhanced bullets into the creature. It was reeling when T. Saint John popped out of the train, moltov cocktail in hand. He rushed at the wounded thing and shoved the thing into the center mass with his own fists. Only his fast reflexes saved him as the corpsejack strangler went up in flames!

+Digression: This was just some great teamwork. Sister Mary was up on the high ground, using her amazing range and Marksman ability to full effect. When she figured that damaging the big plant was tough, she instead started blasting away some of the seedlings, freeing up Longknife to work around. Longknife finally got to use his Shootist bullets, and he took the thing down to like 2 or 3 wounds. But it was T. Saint John who killed it. The player didn’t have any throwing, and so asked me about making it a melee attack. I told him he could use Fighting, but he’d also take the damage from the moltov. He took the option and proceeded to roll like a madman on his soak, taking zero wounds. And I rolled like ass.

With that, the strange plant creature crumbled and died and the heroes were left with the wreckage of the train. But they were quick to spring into action. T. Saint John used his incredible strength to clear the debris, letting Juan Tomas perform triage for Sister Mary. The heroes acted with such precision and speed that the death toll was only 2! But they could plainly see that the tracks were well and truly screwed up. They’d have to find an alternate route to Denver. But at least Juan Tomas found his bounty inside the vegetation of the strange plant.

+Digression: Instead of doing a bunch of rolls, I just asked the plays what they were doing and had them roll once. They all tossed bennies at the problem, but also rolled well, so the death toll was really low. Turns out having a nun who can heal people really does keep the fatalities down. All in all, this was a great capper to the intro session.

Corpsejack Menace

So, this monster was something I came up with on the fly. He’s sort of a combination of the Shambling Mound and the fungus critters from Magic: the Gathering. They grown in areas with fresh corpses, sucking their blood to make seedlings. They can move around a bit (Pace: 2), but are mostly burrowing critters. They like to pop up and send out their seedlings before using their tentacles to drag more bodies into their main mass.

The seedlings are nothing at sneeze at. D6 physicals, d4 mentals, Fighting d6, Notice d4. Or whatever you use for mooks in your game.

Name: Corpsejack Strangler
Creature: -none-
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Intimidation d6, Notice d6, Stealth d4
Parry: 6, Toughness: 12(2), Grit: 5
Gear: Natural Weapon d8 (Vine Tentacle), Natural Armor +2 (+2)
Special Abilities:
•Burrowing 4″: Surprise on Stealth vs. Notice (+2 attack; +4 raise)
•Camouflage: +2 Stealth in woods/brush
•Fear -1: Enemies roll Guts check with Fear rating as modifier
•Huge: Attackers gain +4 on attack rolls
•Natural Armor +2: Natural defenses
•Natural Weapon (Vine Tentacle): Str+d8; Reach 3″
•Poison +2: Roll Vigor when Shaken/Wounded or suffer effects
•Size +4: Adjustment to Toughness based on creature’s mass
•Spawn Seedling: For every corpse the Corpsejack Menace has devoured, they can spawn a Seedling. The Corpsejack menace can spawn 1d6 seedlings a round.
•Weakness: Fire: Special susceptibility for the creature

Oct 022015
 

All right, gather round. It’s time to meet this posse.

Grace Elizabeth “Tens” McCall – Urchin Inventor
Played by RC.
The 16 year old daughter of Professor Elijah McCall. When her father wasn’t teaching, he was tinkering in his lab. Grace would listen as she worked and sometimes even assist him. She learned about science and inventions from an early age. When she was 11 or 12, she was sent on a summer vacation at an aunt’s house. While at Aunt Polly’s, she got word that her father had been imprisoned and she rushed back home. She was in time to see a bunch of men in suits clearing out her father’s lab. She was only able to get away with his secret stash of notes. From then on she was an urchin and picked up the trade from a young boy named Zack. He taught her the trade and she started tinkering on her own. Now 16, she’s joined up with the Posse because there’s strength in numbers. That and maybe they can help her with getting her father freed. Grace is now a Mad Sane Scientist of her own. She wears a kinetic gauntlet that can shoot blasts of kinetic energy, speed her up, or slow others down. And unlike other mad science inventions, this device isn’t powered by ghost rock.

+Digression: RC was having trouble with a character, but then she found this portrait and it just clicked. Tens is sort of a mash up of a thief and a mad scientist. Only she has Born on All Hallows Eve, which has let her avoid any dementia’s. RC and I are working on the idea that her father was way big into alternative fuels. He might know something about ghost rock. Anyway, this gal is fun!

Name: Grace Elizabeth “Tens” McCall
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d4, Guts d4, Knowledge: Chemistry d6, Knowledge: Physics d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Repair d8, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Streetwise d4, Taunt d4, Weird Science (Arcane) d8
Pace: 8, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6, Charisma: 0, Grit: 1
Languages: English, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish
Gear: Kinetic Amplifier d4 (Str+d6), Unarmed Strike d4 (Str), Colt Lightning d6 (2d6, 12/24/48), Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket, Boots, Canteen, Derby, Ghost Rock Detector, Gun Belt, Hammer, Horse, Lantern, Lockpicks, Mess Kit, Quick-Draw Holster, Rope (per 50′), Saddle, Saddlebags, Shirt/Blouse, work, Trousers/Skirt
Special Abilities:
• Curious: Must check out everything and solve all mysteries
• Heroic: Never says no to a person in need
• Loyal: Will never leave a man behind
• Trouble Magnet: Nothing goes right for the hero
• Arcane Weird Science: Gain the Weird Science arcane background
• Fleet-Footed: +2 Pace; Roll d10 when running
• Gadgeteer: Create one-shot gizmo with half Power Points (1/sess)
• Knack: Born on All Hallow’s Eve: See text.
Arcane Powers:
• Bolt: Single bolt 2d6 damage; Up to 3 bolts at 1pt per bolt; 2pts does one 3d6 bolt
• Entangle: Restrained target suffers -2 Pace and skills linked to Agi and Str; Break free with Str or Agi; Single target costs 2 points, Medium Burst Template costs 4
• Speed: Doubles target’s Pace; Running is free with raise

Juan Tomas Longknife – Hexslinging Ranger
Played by MJ
Juan Tomas is the son of a Spanish Aristocrat and his Navajo wife. His father fell in love with his mother in his travels and decided to stay with the tribe. Juan Tomas spent his early life among a small tribe of Navajo, but then they were attacked and killed by some strange force. Juan Tomas was one of the few survivors and was taken to a Christian orphanage. But it wasn’t long before his uncle heard word of the tragedy, and he came to claim his Nephew. Juan Tomas then spent the remainder of his youth under the tutelage of his uncles in their villa down in Texas. From one he learned about the law. And from another he learned the power of the Hexslinger. Eventually Juan Tomas joined up with the Texas Rangers, who have put him on extended assignment to deal with “Native problems.” He’s a steady hand and a good shot.

+Digression: I love this character. A lot. He’s sort of a cross between the Man with No Name and Rick Standing Bear from Longmire. And he’s a single gun hip shooter, which I love far more than the two gun Joe bullshit.

Name: Juan Tomas Longknife
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Guts d6, Hexslinging d8, Intimidation d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d8, Stealth d4, Streetwise d6, Survival d6, Tracking d6
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6, Charisma: 2, Grit: 1
Languages: English, Navajo, Spanish
Gear: Colt Peacemaker (SA) d10 (2d6+1, 12/24/48), Unarmed Strike d6 (Str), Colt Revolving Rifle d10 (2d8, 24/48/96), Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket, Boots, (50x) Bullets, .45 Pistol, (50x) Bullets, .56 Rifle, Canteen, Chaps, Coup Stick, Duster, Fugitives from Justice in the Confederacy, Handcuffs, Horse, Lockpicks, Playing Cards, Quick-Draw Holster, Rifle Boot, Rope (per 50′), Saddle, Saddlebags, Shirt/Blouse, work, Stetson, Tobacco, smoking (pouch), Trousers/Skirt
Special Abilities:
• Coup Counter: Always tries to count coup on an enemy before entering combat
• Heroic: Never says no to a person in need
• Loyal: Will never leave a man behind
• Trouble Magnet: Nothing goes right for the hero
• Arcane Magic: Gain the Hexslinger arcane background
• Hip-Shooting: Only suffers a -2 penalty when Fannin’ the Hammer.
• Marksman: If no movement, gain Aim maneuver; Max ROF is 1
• Noble: +2 Charisma; Rich; Obligations to uphold
• Rich: Three times starting funds; High annual salary
• Texas Ranger: You work full time for the Texas Rangers.
Arcane Powers:
• Aim: Called shot penalties are reduced by 1 for a success, and by 2 for a raise.
• Shootist: Carve secret runes on bullets, creating a variety of effects. See text for details.
• Smite: Target weapon gains +2 damage (+4 with raise)

Sister Mary Katherine – Blessed Nun Sharpshooter
Played by JAZ
What can you say about Sister Mary Katherine? She was once engaged to a brave young Yankee soldier. But that all ended when he she was informed that he was killed in the war. Obsessed with the death, Sister Mary soon learned that he wasn’t killed in the war. No, he was killed by some creature of darkness. And so she decided to give herself to God. But she didn’t fit in at the first monastery, as they were much more about fighting things like drinking rather than monsters. But luckily for her, she was found by a member of the Nox Custos, an order of nuns dedicated to fighting evil in a more tangible way. And so she worked with them for a time. Then the monastery was attacked by a VAMPIRE! It hurt many of the sisters, but eventually they were able to kill it. But the sire is still out there. And so the sisters outfitted their most skilled sister, Sister Mary Katherine. She was given Auroraculat, the blessed rifle, and sent on her way.

+Digression: We all call her Sister Mary Machine Gun. The rifle she carries is modeled on Quiqley’s Sharps Rifle. It’s a total beast. She might only get one shot a round, but damn if that shot doesn’t take things down. Within the posse, Sister Mary works mostly as a buffer and healer. That and she has a gun that can “shoot through schools”, as MJ puts it.

Name: Sister Mary Katherine
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Faith (Arcane) d8, Fighting d6, Guts d8, Healing d6, Intimidation d4, Knowledge: Occult d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d4, Shooting d8, Stealth d4, Survival d6, Tracking d4
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6, Charisma: 2, Grit: 1
Languages: English, French, Spanish
Gear: Unarmed Strike d6 (Str), Auroraculat d8+1 (2d8+2, 60/120/240), Backpack, Bedroll, Bible, Blanket, (100x) Bullets, .45 Rifle, Canteen, Horse, Iron Skillet, Lantern, Mess Kit, Nun’s Habit, Rifle Boot, Rope (per 50′), Rosary Beads, Saddle
Special Abilities:
• Enemy (Vampire’s Sire): Someone is out to kill you
• Heroic: Never says no to a person in need
• Lyin’ Eyes: -2 to Intimidation and Persuasion when he lies; -2 to Gamblin’ when Bluffin’
• Vow (Holy Orders): Vow causes problems
• Arcane Miracles: Gain the Miracles arcane background
• Conviction: Reduce power cost by 1 PP (Min 0).
• Marksman: If no movement, gain Aim maneuver; Max ROF is 1
• Speed Load: Reload and shoot without the -2 penalty, or reduce reload time.
Arcane Powers:
• Boost/Lower Trait: Raise/lower a trait by one die-type (or two with raise)
• Deflection: Attacks are at -2 (or -4 with raise); Serves as Armor against area effect weapons
• Healing: Heal wounds within one hour (2 with raise); Cure poison and disease within 10 minutes
• Inspiration: Gain +2 (+4 with raise) to Persuasion roll to reduce the local Fear Level.
• Stun: All within Medium Burst Template roll Vigor or Shaken (-2 with raise)

T. Saint John – The Ginger Giant
Played by JE
T. Saint John is a Northern muckraker and investigator. A native of Boston, he grew up rough and tumble. He also grew up big. Really, really big. His career as a journalist was going rather well, until he reported on the death of the son of one of the local rail barons. The ghastly man had been killing prostitutes by slitting their throats and cutting up their bellies. And T. Saint John helped track him down. And he was there when the man was hanged and buried. But a few days later, T. Saint John spotted him…up and walking around! But no one would believe him. And so now he’s looking for clues about the supernatural and trying to find this member of the “walking dead.”

+Digression: T. Saint John is just a straight up bruiser. Only he’s smarter than he looks. He runs right into the fray, swinging fists and punching for justice. According to JE, the T stands for Tiberius. Yeah, he’s pretty much playing Kirk, if Kirk were a brick.

Name: T. Saint John
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d8, Guts d6, Healing d4, Investigation d8+2, Knowledge: Journalism d6, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d4, Streetwise d8+2, Throwing d6
Pace: 9, Parry: 6, Toughness: 7, Charisma: 0, Grit: 1
Languages: English, Latin, Spanish
Gear: Unarmed Strike d8 (Str+d6+2), Double-Barrel d4+2 (1-3d6, 12/24/48), (20x) 12g Shotgun, Backpack, Bedroll, Blanket, Camera, Derby, Horse, Lantern, Lockpicks, Matches (box of 100), Mess Kit, Pipe, Saddle, Shoes, Shotgun Thong, Suit/Fancy Dress, Tobacco, smoking (pouch)
Special Abilities:
• Curious: Must check out everything and solve all mysteries
• Heroic: Never says no to a person in need
• Loyal: Will never leave a man behind
• Vow (Get story at all costs): Vow causes problems
• Boxer: Considered armed, +d6 unarmed dmg
• Brawler: +2 to unarmed damage rolls
• Brawny: +1 Tough; Load limit is 8 times Str
• Investigator: +2 Investigation & Streetwise; +2 Notice with evidence

And there you have it. That’s the posse, as of character creation. I may do updated stat blocks every rank or so.

Oct 022015
 

Welcome, gentle reader, to what will hopefully be my ongoing actual play of my home Deadlands: Reloaded game. Because for the last year or so I’ve really been in a DMing funk. Nothing has really gelled, piqued my interest, or otherwise caught fire. But we’re now three sessions into this game and it appears to be going swimmingly. Even better, I’m excited about it. I’m actually taking a few notes and posting things on our G+ group. And since I’m going to have to write recaps for that anyway, I figured why not do an actual play. But first I’m gonna ramble at y’all just a bit.

I’ve been a big fan of Deadlands for a long while now. It was one of the first non Shadowrun or D&D games I got my hands on as a youth. And I was drawn in by the promise of undead cowboys and six shooters. I don’t think this was an accident, as one of the fondest memories of my grandfather was watching Westerns with him. Or reading Louie L’amour novels. Or even just walking out on his 100+ acre farm with a pistol, shooting at stumps and sometimes a small critter or two. And then from mom’s side I got to hang out with my Uncle Arnold, who taught me how to make salmon hooks, or build a birch bark canoe, or other tribal stuff. In short, I was born to this genre. And I still love it to this day. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that this game is going well.

I’m also blessed with an extraordinary good group. This group of folks is more than willing to try new things, to stay in character, to generally put as much in themselves as the GM does. Which is just great. We’ve been gaming together for years now, and so the trust is pretty darn high. I’m really lucky and I know it. And so sometimes you might see things flying that wouldn’t work in other groups. But I’ve never worried about overpowering folks or the like. A quick rundown of the group. I’m just gonna use initials, even though I know most of them don’t care.

  • Me: Your humble Marshal for this game. Y’all should know me, at least a little bit.
  • JAZ: My wife of 13 years, and a veteran roleplayer. JAZ is less concerned with mechanics and tends to lean on me for mechanical advice. She does, however, know and quite like the Savage Worlds system. She’s a newbie to the Western Genre, though wants to see more. Favorite Western: Tombstone.
  • JE: A veteran roleplayer and purveyor of terrible, terrible, puns. I’m serious. They’re awful and we continually threaten to put him on the porch, but still he persists. Within the group, JE is the one most likely to try oddball or out there concepts. He’s a relative newbie to Savage Worlds and utterly new to Deadlands. Favorite Western: Open Range
  • MJ: Longtime veteran player and my drinking buddy. A great guy to have at the table, enthusiastic and willing to go with the flow. MJ is decently familiar with Savage Worlds and a bit familiar with Deadlands. He’s good at herding cats and getting the group to focus when needs be. Favorite Western: Unforgiven; Favorite Beer (for now): Pelican Brewery Flock Wave (at least right now).
  • RC: RC is veteran player, though I think she’s the one who’s played the “least” (where least is measured in years, instead of decades). RC is a lovely gal who is utterly unfamiliar with Savage Worlds and only passingly familiar with Deadlands. RC tends to be a bit quieter at times. She also runs a mean game of Dragon Age. She also paints miniatures really, really, really well. If I start posting pictures of them, know that she more than likely did them. She has a fun tumblr here!
  • JC: Another veteran roleplayer and new(ish) father. A great storyteller and a good artist, too. He’s currently not playing with us, as he and his wife welcomed their second boy into the world a while back. We hope to see him again.

That’s the group, such as we are. As for this game, I have a rough idea of what I want to do. This game is going to be a mix of random stuff and plot points. My vague idea is that I’m going to run them through Coffin Rock on the way to doing the Flood. Then it’ll probably be The Lost Sons, into Stone and a Hard Place, and then finishing up with whatever they do for Hellestromme. In short, I’m gonna give my PCs a chance to off all four of the harbringers. Along with other stuff.

And for those playing along at home, I am running this game with some house rules and modified character creation rules.
My House Rules
Character Creation Rules: I’m running what I like to call “Big Damn Hero” mode. The characters are starting out potent. But because my group is awesome, no one has really min-maxed or anything.