Jan 012016

+Digression: Originally, I had planned to end the first “season” after the 6th session, but poor RC wasn’t feeling up to running her Dragon Age game, and so I was called in to pinch hit. As I had nothing planned and hadn’t even been thinking much about the game, this session turned into an extended downtime chat. Which ended up being really fun and informative. I encourage other GMs to think about doing something similar between large story arcs. It was low-key and thoughtful.

Fresh off their victory against Revernad Cheval, the posse took stock of Coffin Rock. While they wanted to press on to Denver, they couldn’t leave the town in the shambles it was. And so the posse decided to take a week or two to help set things right. But near the end of their little vacation, the first snows of the season started to fall and the heroes decided to winter in their newfound home.

+Digression: I was up front with my players about the time gaps. I told them that they’d likely have a good 6 months between story arcs, and so an early winter seemed like a good way to keep them in town. Originally I was just going to have them email about what happened, but we instead just used the session to talk it out. Much to the better, I think.

Of most immediate concern were the derelict buildings and the lack of a Sheriff and Reverend. The buildings were easy enough to repair, but new manpower was going to take a bit more work. Fortunately enough, Juan Tomas was able to call upon his family holdings to back some of the new construction. When combined with the new wealth just beginning to flow into the town from the newly discovered veins of copper, it was more than sufficient to starting raising more buildings and repairing the ones that were left.

The posse naturally started with the Crystal River, which was now once more under the watchful eye of Carl and his new Fiancé, Cora. The place was given a new coat of paint, a new addition, and a new sign. Now that the mines were operating again, it was once more busy. Though the posse all had permanent rooms set aside by a grateful Carl, even if they did insist on paying.

And as the rest of the town was cleaned up and repaired, the posse went about hiring some new personnel. Sister Mary reached out to her colleagues among the Orders of Solomon, and before long got word that they were sending a young preacher by the name of Brother Constantine. As Brother Constantine wasn’t due to arrive for a few weeks, Sister Mary took up the spiritual needs during the down time.

+Digression: I was to get a chance to flesh out the order of Blessed that Sister Mary belonged to with my wife. I had originally thought of them as just a small orde of nuns, but as the night went on I felt that it was more of a inter-faith organization. And thus was born the Orders of Solomon (Shamelessly stolen from Witchhunter: the Invisible World. One hazard of sitting across from my gaming book shelf is that when I’m winging it I’m prone to pulling ideas for other RPGs I own or have up on my portfolio shelf. As it happens I’ve worked on most of the Witchhunter line, and so this was an easy pull.).

+ In my head, the Orders of Solomon are a loose order of Blessed and mundane holy men and women dedicated to fighting evil. An though they might disagree on fine points of dogma, they are all wholly dedicated to goodness and humanity. I think they’ll be a good source of NPCs for the posse.

T. Saint John had only two concerns: getting the story of Coffin Rock out into the world and getting the Coffinn Rock newspaper up and running. The prior proved to be a difficult, but rewarding, task. He worked long into the night for nearly a month, making sure all of the accounts were accurate and that he had every interview he could think to conduct. The photographs from Pearl were a well-added bonus.

T. Saint John’s patience and diligence was rewarded. When he finally sent his story back to the head office, it was run on the first page. Which wasn’t that unusual. What was unusual is that many of the other Eastern papers picked up the story and started broadcasting it wide. Within another month T. Saint John had offers to write a novelization of the story and dozens of questions from fans. His name was starting to gather an audience.

Tens spent most of the time pouring over her father’s notebook, though she, too, put some work into the town. Thanks to her genius, the new community meeting hall had electric lights! That and there were a few maimed folk who were now sporting very precise and delicate clockwork prosthetic limbs. Zeke was the first to receive such a thing, and his finely jeweled clockwork hand with hidden tools was a wonder to behold. Tens was really starting to make a name for herself as one of the few folks who had figured out the secrets of melding steel and flesh.

+Digression: RC doesn’t now it yet, but these augmentations are going to attact a lot of attention from a certain someone. Her life is going to get really interesting very soon.

But it was Juan Tomas who had the most to say about the town of Cofffin Rock. Calling upon the reserves of the family silver mines, he quickly started buying up property around the town and toward the rail line a few miles outside of town. He then called in some markers and convinced Wasach to build their line into and out of Coffin Rock. The town was really on the map, now!

One of the properties that Juan Tomas snatched up was the remains of the Jewel Theater, which no one really wanted to go near. With the help of the posse and some local workers, he gutted the place and refit it as a fancy new watering hole. Such a joint quickly attracted attention, and so he quietly started propping up the Six Feet Under quietly, suggesting some changes to Taylor and giving him enough money to keep going. It was Juan Tomas who suggested that Ray cover the mirror behind the bar with a velvet curtain and charge curious folks a nickel to take a peak at the window that had once spat out T. Saint John.

Juan Tomas hired Lizzie Pierce, the showgirl who had left the Jewel long before it went bad, to start finding him some new dancing girls. Lizzie, it turned out, was a fine hand at dancing and before long the new Jewel Theater (name to be determined) was a fine upscale saloon and dancing hall the envy of the big cities. Not too mention a great place for Juan Tomas to pick up rumors of trouble.

But the biggest task was finding a replacement Sheriff and deputies for when Juan Tomas was gone. And so the Ranger kept an eye out for local talent. His first applicant was a young farm boy by the name of Owen. The youth was gangly, with jug ears and a lack of education. But he was possessed of an iron will that Juan Tomas had rarely seen. He was judged suitable and soon the townsfolk got used to seeing Juan Tomas, with Owen in tow.

+Digression: In sessions where I’m required to generate a lot of NPCs on the fly, I have two tactics I use. The first is that I liberally borrow from media for basic hooks. Owen was your basic amalgam of your central casting farm boy. The second thing I do is that I’ll roll 5d8 to determine attributes. Halve each die and treat the result as number of die steps (1-2: d4, 3-4: d6, 5-6: d6, 7-8: D10). You can use the same trick with the first few skills that get tested. This quickly gives you a decent number of high/low stats, at least enough to give some spark of personality. In the case of Owen, he ended up with a d4 Smarts (he’s slow), but a d10 Spirit and a d12(!) Guts! That’s when I decided that Owen had grown up on a remote farm and that he’d seen the badness. He hadn’t really been educated, but the kid could stare down the Devil.

The town was beginning to take shape. Juan Tomas had his deputy, the ground of the former church had been burned, salted, and blessed. Many of the derelict buildings were being repaired and signs of new construction were a sure sign that the mine was really beginning to boom again.

Just as the new church was beginning to go up, Brother Constantine arrived on the train. He was a tall Brit with blond hair, a lot of stubble, and a cockney burr to his voice. He greeted Sister Mary politely and then asked where he could get a cold pint. The entire posse greeted the new reverend and took him over to the Six Feet Under to get to know him better.

Brother Constantine was nominally a Protestant preacher who had seen a lot of the world. Like Sister Mary, he was also blessed, though that wasn’t his only talent. Over the years he’d delve deeply into the occult and he could, with a great deal of effort and ritual, duplicate the effects of other magical styles. It was a talent he used sparingly, and only then to banish the truly dark creatures. Sister Mary gave grudging approval, and T. Saint John took a shine to him.

+Digression: Yes, I ripped off Hellblazer. I ripped it off so hard. But you know what? He works. all I did was take John, smooth out some of the rougher edges, and removed the more tragic backstory elements. Which was just enough to make him a really strange Blessed. He’ll be a good source of occult lore for the posse in the future.

As the months passed, the posse really got to know the townsfolk, and the townsfolk took a shine to their new heroes. T. Saint John got the old Mayor, Wilfred Hambly, to act as the new editor of the Coffin Rock Gazettte. The mayor wasn’t much for writing (rolled him a d4 Knowledge: Journalism), but he was a pretty solid editor. At least it was good enough to get the paper up and running again.

Juan Tomas then called in a couple more favors. First he managed to hire the services of an excellent Spanish Doctor, Javier, for the town. Javier was experienced, willing to work for the town, and best of all, not obsessed with skin grafts.

Secondly, Longknife made some inquiries with the Rangers. Eventually he managed to convince a retired Ranger, Walt, to serve Coffin Rock as its sheriff. Walt had once been a legend among the Rangers, but an attack by a vicious Rattler had taken his left arm off at the elbow. He arrived a few weeks later, and Tens wasted no time in trying to fit him for a new mechanical arm. At first Walt was very hesitant, but Tens were very persuasive and by the end of the next month Walt was sporting a brand new original clockwork arm.

Now that Juan Tomas had his replacement sherrif, a few more locals flocked to try out for another deputy spot. But none of them proved to be all that suitable, save for one: Clementine, Pearl’s oldest friend. She was ready to settle down with her friend, and serving as deputy seemed the way to do it. Now Juan Tomas had a real sheriff’s department. Even Owen had made great strides in making quicker decisions, thanks to patient work by Juan Tomas.

+Digression: So, it was at this point that we all realized that we had accidentally more or less recreated the Longmire sheriff’s office. Which wasn’t hard, given that MJ flat out said “I want a sort of Walt Longmire” when he recruited Walt. And so we just ran with it. Why break what works?

Thus was new order brought to the town of Coffin Rock. Once a town on the brink of damnation, it now stands as a shining beacon of peace and prosperity in the Wilderness. And word had spread that disturbing this peace is a good way to earn a quick trip on a short rope. Seems that their sheriff is a might protective. And so we fade out on our posse, judging the annual Christmas brewing contest, surrounded by the townsfolk they have befriended and sworn to protect.

Final Thoughts
This was a really fun session! It was nice to delve more deeply into the characters and I feel like we came out of it with a really good idea of the town and what’s important to the PCs. From this point forward, Coffin Rock is going to be the hub from which the posse exits. I’ve decided that it’s not going to be threatened while they’re gone (or if it is, they’ll know about it fast enough to make a difference). The PCs have put a lot of effort into making this town their home, and that effort is going to pay off in spades.

To Be Continued in 2016.