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.