+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.
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
•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.