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"The Hooded Riders" starring Arcade's Gang (D&D/Boot Hill)

Silver Moon

Villager
They Rode to Perditionl starring Arcade's Gang (D&D/Boot Hill)

A Boot Hill/D&D hybrid campaign.

Arcade’s Gang Modules (Boot Hill/AD&D Hybrid)

Module #113 – “Welcome to Promise City, Arizona”, Chapters 1 to 16, Played October & November, 2002.

Module #119 – “The James Gang Comes to Town”, Chapters 17 to 28. Played August & September 2003.

Module #123 - "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral", Chapters 29 to 38. Played December 2003 & January 2004.

Module #124 - "All the Difference in the World", Chapters 39 to 61. Played February to June 2004.


Module #126 - "League of Extraordinary Cowboys", Chapters 62 - 67. Played June and July 2004.

Module #127 - "Curse of the Banshees", Chapters 68-73. Played July to September 2004.

Module #129 - "The Elephant Smugglers", Chapters 74-80. Played October 2004.

Module #131 - "The Man From Atlantis", Chapters 81-95. Played February to May 2005.

Module #132 - "Louie, Louie", Chapters 96-97. Played June 2005.

Module #134- "Tombstone", Chapters 98-100. Played October 2005.

Module #137 - "The Hooded Riders", Chapters 101-102. Played November 2006.


Playing Characters (Players by ENWorld name)

Arcade, "The Mysterious Stranger", male human fighter/druid (Enchantr)

Hank Hill, "The Gunslinger", male human fighter (Biz1489)

Yee Lui-Buliang (Louie), "The Chinaman", male half-orc fighter/thief (CelticWolf)

Morgana Talks-with-trees O’Shea, "The Indian Maiden", female half-elf druid/bard (Kriskrafts)

Sure-shot Sam, "The Kid", male human fighter

Qualtaqa, "The Noble Indian", male centaur fighter (Silver Moon)
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 1, "Welcome to Promise City", April 16, 1881:

The oriental half-orc Lu-Buliang Yee (nicknamed Louie) is part of a railroad crew laying tracks between the towns of Tombstone and Promise City. Thus far they have only gone a few miles east of Tombstone, heading north to circumnavigate the Dragoon Mountain Range. He and four of his half-orc buddies are given a few days off, and decide to visit the Promise City establishment known as the Cottage of Wang Li, an opium den. Each is attired in their samurai-style armor, with swords slung to their belts. Hitching a ride on a supply wagon, they are dropped off on Promise City’s Main Street, and proceed directly to Wang Li’s. Each pay fifty cents and partake of the house’s finest product. After about an hour Louie passes out, remaining this way for the remainder of the day.

April 17, 1881:

The mysterious stranger known only as Arcade reaches one of the twin peaks of the Dos Cabezas (Spanish for “two hats”) Mountains. From this high vantage point he can see the town of Dos Cabezas twelve miles to the northwest and the town of Promise City five miles to the south. Deciding that a loose shoe on his horse needs to be seen as soon as possible, he begins to lead his horse down the mountain in the direction of the closest town. He is wearing standard western attire.

Five miles southwest of Promise City, a trio heads out from the “Rocking H” ranch, one of three cattle ranches in the area. The Rocking H currently has approximately 700 head of cattle, and is situated near a tribe of pacifist elvan Indians, many of who work at the ranch as hired hands. The trio is heading to town to bring a wagonload of 42 fresh cattle hides to the tannery. Duke Snyder, a thirty-year-old cowboy, who has worked on the Rocking H for several years, is driving the wagon. Accompanying him, riding on their own mounts, are a young man and young woman. The young man is Yosemite Sam, a fifteen-year-old boy from California who has been at the ranch only a short time. The woman is Morgana Talks-with-trees O’Shea, a druid/bard who lives amongst the nearby elvan tribe. Both of the men have seen Morgana assist with the animals, and heard her singing at both tribal and ranch campfires, but do not know much about this very attractive woman. She appears fully human, but both men have heard rumors that elvan blood also flows through her veins. Running alongside her is her “dog”, which Duke heard was part-wolf, but it looks full-wolf to him. Both men are attired in standard western garb, and Morgana in traditional female Indian attire.

They arrive mid-morning at Promise City, traveling through town to Driscoll’s Tannery. The proprietor, Tector Driscoll, purchases the hides for $ 1.00 apiece. Duke Snyder says he needs to purchase some supplies for the ranch and that he will make sure that their horses all get fed and watered. Since this is the first time that both youngsters have been town Duke suggests that they go check it out, and get a bite to eat before heading back to the ranch. Morgana notices a ‘Help Wanted’ sign in the Tannery window and inquires about it. Driscoll says he is looking for an assistant, telling Sam the job pays $ 10.00 a week. The boy appears less interested than the woman, who answers “We’ll consider it.” They exit the tannery, heading west towards Fremont Street.

Meanwhile, Arcade is heading out of Weller’s Blacksmithing, a one-story wood-sided business at the south end of Fremont Street. The blacksmith told him to come back in a few hours for his horse, which will have new shoes then. Arcade heads north up the street to check out the town.

The half-orc Louie had woken up thirty minutes earlier, finding his four companions had already left. He speaks briefly to Wang Li, finding the man not very helpful. He then leaves the shop, and decides to go look for something to eat. He wanders over to Freemont Street, and enters the Union Market, a grocery store. He purchases a ten-pound bag of rice, and heads back outside. Louie goes only a few feet when four cowboys walk up to him. Two block his path, so he turns to go around them, only to have the other two move to block him. One of the men makes a derogatory remark about Louie’s race and nationality. The half-orc says that he does not want trouble, and only wants to leave. One of the cowboys says that he can, once he has paid the town toll. Louie says he saw no toll booth, and is answered “We’re the moving tollbooth. Pay up.” Two of the cowboys start to poke at him and push him. One then shoves a pistol into the half-orc’s back.

Sam and Morgana walk around the bend at this moment, and see the half-orc being harassed ten feet in front of them. Morgana speaks, telling the cowboys to stop, that four to one isn’t playing fair. Two of the men glance her way, one waving a pistol in their direction and saying “Mind your own business.” A deep voice sounds out from the other direction, and all of the men look up. They see the man Arcade standing there, gun in hand, who says “I believe the lady asked you to play fair.” As the cowboys turn to face this newcomer, Morgana reaches behind her and pulls out her bow, strings it, and then draws an arrow back. Sam reaches his pistol and slowly moves it out of its holster.

The leader of the cowboys says “This is between us and the half-orc, why don’t you others just move along.” “Why don’t you play fair?” Morgana inquires, drawing back her arrow as her companion Sam raises his gun towards the man pointing a gun towards the two of them. Arcade says “Looks to me like you boys started this trouble, not the half-orc.”

Louie feels movement from the pistol at his back, and realizes that the man will most likely shoot soon, so pivots around to stop him. The cowboy is surprised by this, and is pushed back by the half-orc. The cowboy then fires a shot, which misses due the half-orcs continued movement. The sudden gunfire causes the man pointing towards Morgana and Sam to now take aim at them. Before he can get the shot off, Sam fires, hitting the man on his gun arm shoulder and causing him to drop the gun. The shot hits an artery, causing the man to howl in pain, and grab the shoulder to stop the bleeding. Morgana lets her arrow fly towards another of the foes, who is drawing his gun at them. Her arrow hits for a fatal shot, sailing through the man’s head.

The man near Louie fires again, but the bullet bounces off the half-orc’s armor without penetrating. Louie swings a punch into his foe, for a perfect haymaker across the chin, knocking the man out. Both Arcade and the leader simultaneously fire at each other. Arcade’s first shot misses, but the leader’s hits, grazing Arcade’s brow and knocking his hat from his head. Arcade’s second shot hits, striking his foe in the chest for a serious but non-lethal wound. The two wounded but still standing enemies now back up to the nearest wall. The one with the arm wound says to the leader “Cletus, they killed Leroy”. The leader, Cletus, says to the group “OK, you won, let us go.” “I don’t think so,” Arcade replies. “What do we do with them?” Louie asks. Arcade answers “Let’s take these men to whatever passes for law enforcement in this here town.”

Sam ties a rope around the hands and shoves rags into the mouths of the two wounded cowboys as Morgana retrieves her arrow and searches Leroy’s body, pocketing $ 15.78 in cash. “Looks like he’s paying for the drinks” Arcade comments. Louie picks up his unconscious foe. Arcade gets his first good look at Louie, who is even unsightly by orcan standards. “You are one ugly bastard,” the mysterious stranger states, adding “I think I like your style.”

Chapter 2, "Lookin' fer some honest work?", April 17, 1881

They all head down the street to the Promise City Marshal’s Office and Town Jail, which isn’t very far away. Leroy’s body is dragged by Sam, and left outside of the front door. As they enter the one-story brick building, Marshal Bret Hollister stands up from behind his desk. He questions these unknown people about the wounded locals that they dragged in, and does not appear very inclined to do anything about the situation. Arcade asks the Marshal why he didn’t respond to the sound of six gunshots right down the street, and Hollister answers “People shoot off guns all the time around here, usually just to celebrate something or just to announce their arrival.” Hollister orders the group to remove the rag from Cletus’s mouth, who blurts out that “They killed Leroy!” Arcade gestures to Louie and says “These guys were picking on my friend.” “They weren’t playing fair,” Morgana interjects.

After a long pause the Marshal says “So what, who cares about a coolie?” Louie replies “Yeah, well I’d buy more things here if I don’t get shot.” Arcade comments “Maybe they should put that slogan on a sign at the city limits?” Hearing the phrase ‘buy things’ brings about a reaction from Hollister, who asks to the half-orc “You were buying things?” Louie holds up his bag of rice, saying “Yeah, they came after me just as I was coming out of the Union Market with this.” Looking at Cletus and his companion, the Marshal says “You boys were picking on customers of the people who pay my salary? I though you were smarter than that.” He opens the jail, and the two troublemakers reluctantly get into the cell. The unconscious one is locked in another cell. The one with the arm wound is beginning to look a bit pale, and asks for the doctor. Morgana offers to help, but the Marshal says to them “I think you folks have helped enough.”

Looking at Arcade, who appears to be the quartet’s leader, he says “So, what is your business in Promise City?” “Just passing through,” the man replies. “You may just want to keep passing through,” the Marshal answers. Arcade replies “Maybe, but right now I’m a bit thirsty.” They leave the building, turning west onto South Street.

They reach the Indian Head Saloon, one of the many watering holes in this town. Morgana comments “I like the name of this place.” They enter the single-story clapboard building, which is relatively small being only 15x20 foot. The interior consists of a bar with six barstools and three tables with four chairs each. Behind the bar is the bartender, the only occupant of the building, who introduces himself as Porter Norris. He doesn’t appear to have any problem with Morgana bring her wolf in with her. They order a bottle of whiskey and a pitcher of beer.

The four sit at one of the tables. The mysterious stranger introduces himself as Arcade. “Funny name” the half-orc comments. Morgana is amused, having heard the word before, and says “Oh, does that mean you play with yourself a lot?” The cowboy gives he a lecherous look and says “Nope, I let others in to play with me.” Sam attempts to change the subject, saying that he works on the Rocking H ranch, near Morgana’s tribe, and this is their first visit to Promise City. Morgana comments “I don’t normally stick up for strangers, but they weren’t playing fair.” Louie thanks her and says that it is also his first visit to this town. He tells them that he works for the railroad near Tombstone, but is not really happy with the work. “You’re welcome to hang out with me mate,” Arcade tells the ugly guy.

Morgana’s wolf begins to growl. “Maybe you should feed him something” Sam suggests. Morgana realizes that the wolf is staring towards a corner of the room. She stands up and drops her mug, the beer splattering that section of the room. She sees a large droplet of the beer floating in the air about a foot above the floor, and blurts out “We know you’re there, make yourself visible.” A field of invisibility then drops from a female halfling, attired in a dress with a scarf draped over her head.

The halfling approaches the table, and speaks with an Australian accent to the bartender, saying “Mr. Norris, could you please bring me a seat and a bottle of my usual.” A tall barstool is brought over, which she sits herself on, bringing her to eye level of the table’s other occupants. Morgana lectures the halfling that it is rude to eavesdrop. The halfling gestures to Arcade and Louie and says “Well, I heard him call the other one ‘Mate’, which is a term used where I come from, so was curious about him. Besides, I was here first.” “Why were you invisible?” Sam asks. “Because I can, I dabble in magic, and it keeps me out of trouble,” she answers. “She’s got a point there,” Sam answers, looking towards the half-orc.

The bartender brings her a glass and a bottle of pink champagne. Some of the others inquire as to what it is she is drinking, and she has extra glasses brought over for them to each sample. The halfling explains that she and her brother have been in the town for a month, that they are members of the British Empire, and her brother works as a servant for an English Duke. The Duke has part ownership of a few mines in the Arizona Territory, including a ten-percent share of the Liberty Hill Mine, one of the four mines in Promise City, and has been checking out his investments.

“So what exactly have you been doing for a month?” Louie asks. She replies “Helping to mine the silver, mostly the Duke, as my brother and I are not very strong.” “This Duke must be broke if he’s doing the work himself,” Morgana observes. The halfling answers “He’s actually doing financially okay. This is the most promising of the mines he has invested in, so he is doing what he can to support himself and the other two owners. They are now working on their second minehead, the first mine having struck water and flooded out the previous autumn."

Morgana then asks “What exactly can you tell us about this town?” The halfling answers “It’s only been around for a couple of years. It started with the ranches. Hills and mountains surround this valley so it gets enough runoff to support fertile grasslands for the cattle to graze. Silver was discovered here two years ago, and four separate mines soon sprang up. The town grew up right around the mineheads. Lately the town has gotten good sized, and the townsfolk are now split into two different factions, the law and order crowd and the rough and tumble crowd. The law and order crowd, led by the merchants, wants to bring an end to the lawlessness and turn Promise City into a safe and civilized place. The other crowd feels that this is just a scheme to steal their claims and property. Morgana astutely comments “And the orderly group would also restrict the amount of drinking, gambling and prostitution that they miners have come to enjoy.” “That too,” the halfling answers.

The halfling asks what they are doing in town, and Arcade answers “Just traveling through.” Morgana mentions that the tannery was looking for work. The halfling says “If you’re looking for work the Duke will hire you.” Louie answers “Mining sounds like work just as hard as what I’m doing now.” She replies “Well, that’s not the only help we need. There’s been some mischief and vandalism lately at our mine, which the Duke would like to put a stop to.” “Guard work, that sounds like something worth doing” Arcade states. The halfling says they will pay $ 10.00 a week, and to Morgana she says “$ 15.00 for you if you bring the wolf.” Sam asks who is doing the mischief. “We’re not sure,” the halfling answers, “Could be a rival mine, or perhaps some of the Apache Elvan Indians trying to stir up trouble. Ours is the only one of the four mineheads not facing the town, being over the southeast hill, so would be the most convenient and inconspicuous for the Elves to get at.” “Potential Indian problems?” Sam mulls. “Could be worse,” comments Arcade, “Could be halflings sneaking in to steal all the champagne.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 3, "Finding lodgings ", April 17, 1881:

The halfling recommends they get lodgings at the El Parador Cantina and Hotel, which is where she and her brother are staying, the Duke staying at a fancier place in town. She says that the Cantina is run by some Mexican Wood Elves and Spaniards, and is more tolerant of non-human races than some of the other lodgings in town. Arcade asks “But will they let in a big hairy beast that licks itself clean each day and scratches inappropriately, or the dog?” She says they probably would let the group in. “What kind of dump is it?” Sam asks. She replies “Oh, it isn’t a dump, or my brother and I wouldn’t stay there. It’s clean, but not very fancy. It is also the closest lodgings to our minehead, and is located adjacent to the church of Celts and Druids” pointing to Morgana, who is wearing the holy symbols of that religion.

The female halfling concludes negotiations for the party’s newfound employment, as guards at the Liberty Hill Mine. She suggests they stop by the mine later, and if she isn’t around to just tell the other owner that she hired them. As she is leaving Morgana says “Wait a minute! What’s your name?” The halfling replies “Susan Freefoot Hillfarer of Sydney, but you can just call me Sydney Sue.”

The group have all finished off their beverages, and order another pitcher of beer and bottle of whiskey. They decide to leave. Morgana sends Sam back to the Tannery to inform Duke Snyder that he and Morgana will not be returning to the Rocking H ranch. Arcade heads back to the blacksmith shop to check on his horse. Morgana heads over to the Church of Celts and Druids, with Louie choosing to accompany her.

As she approaches the church she notices that there is a grove of trees behind the building leading up to the hillside. The trees are of several hardwood types, and significantly larger than any others around, having been obviously planted by the druids and magically enhanced to grow in this climate. A player that previously lived in southeastern Arizona, comments “The trees are useful and grow, so they obviously are not from southern Arizona.” She has a brief conversation with the priest in charge, Thomas Valdez, who indicates that in addition to the Celtic and nature gods they also worship the North and Central American Pantheons at this church. Morgana gets permission to stay in the tree grove.

The game is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a player who has been absent for the past several games. The DM explains to him a brief description of the setting and rules, and hands him dice to roll up a character. The player inquires as to the exact timeline, and is informed that it is mid-April of 1881, approximately half-a-year prior to the infamous ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ in nearby Tombstone. Another player comments “Great, we can still get tickets.” Another comments “The OK Corral? Wasn’t that where Wyatt Earp went up against Ike and Tina Clanton?” The first answers “Yeah, right after they sung the song ‘What’s Guns Got To Do With It’.”

Sam from Yosemite tells Duke Snyder that he and Morgana are staying in town. Duke says “Fine kid, I hope you two are very happy together.” Sam tries to get their back-pay from Duke, who says “Hey, I’m not the paymaster. You need to take that up with the ranch owner, Forest Morand.” Duke says that he will pass the request on to Forest, for them to eventually get the money due them.

The group meet up outside of the El Parador Cantina and Hotel, and head inside to find lodgings. Arcade, Sam and Louie each get a room for twenty-five cents a night, with stabling for Arcade and Sam's horses for another twenty-five cents each. They head upstairs to check out their rooms, with Arcade commenting “All of the comforts of home, except that this also has a roof and walls.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 4, "Standing Guard", April 17, 1881:

The Liberty Hill Mine, located just over the hill from the El Parador. After an inordinate amount of time spent deciding whether they will walk over or around the hill, the group makes their way to the mine. They arrive at the Mine head, and are greeted with “What do you want?” by a human in his mid-thirties, wearing dirty jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. They explain that they have been hired as the new guards. “I already have a guard,” the man replies.

Morgana states that “Sydney Sue hired us.” “Oh, well that Englishman who she works for can pay you then.” he replies. He finally introduces himself as Graf Holzer, the owner of the mine. “We thought the Duke owned it?” Louie states. Graf says “He and my other partner each own part of it, but I own a full fifty percent for myself.”

Another man walks up from inside the mine. The well-armed human looks to be between eighteen and twenty years of age, and also gives the appearance of someone who knows how to use his weapons well. Graf introduces him to the others as “Hank, the guy I hired today to watch the mine.” “Looks like we’re working together,” Arcade says to Hank. “Fine by me,” Hank replies, taking a very appreciative look at the woman dressed in native attire. Arcade whispers to Hank “Watch it, I think she’s sweet on that Sam character.”

They enter the mineshaft, which only goes in around seventy feet. Looking at the roughly dug out walls, Arcade comments “We love what you’ve done with it.” Graf says “Hey, this one is fairly new. Our first mine got flooded out last year.”

The group asks about the recent trouble at the mine and he explains how all of the recent vandalism occurred at night, so that is when they will be needed. They ask about other troubles in town, and are told that the owner of another mine, Justin Boyer, had his house burned down recently, and that he has been living in a tent since then. They decide to go investigate this.

Hiking over the hills to a spot about 350 feet to the north, they reach the Belle Mine. Not far from the mine is the aforementioned burnt out wooden building. They also see the owner’s tent home, not far from a large storage shed. Looking at the shed Hank comments “He has a wooden structure he can use to live in and he stays in a tent? This guy can’t be too bright.”

As the group begins to investigate the scene a grizzled middle-aged human rushes out of the Belle Mine head to stop them. “What are you doing around my building?” he states in his scratchy voice, confirming that he is Justin Boyer. They introduce themselves as new guards at the Liberty Hill mine, and say they are interested in finding out what happened to his home. He says that employees of the Silverbell Mining Company burned it down, because he refuses to use their ore smelting operation, shipping his ore off to Tombstone to be processed. He explains that Silverbell charges too much, despite the fact that the cost of transporting the ore two days away costs him more in the long run. Hank concludes that his earlier assessment about the man’s intelligence was correct.

Morgana inquires about the fire, having already concluded by the debris that it originated from the inside near the northwest corner. He confirms this, saying that it went up fast while he and the others were in the mine, and as they fought the blaze he saw that a window near where it started was broken. There is no actual evidence that anyone from Silverbell started it, although he insists they were responsible, as nobody else had a motive. The party suggests other possible motives, but he dismisses them.

The group departs, heading back to the El Parador for more drinks and some food. They start to ask Hank some questions about himself, such as what his last name is. The player draws a blank, stating “Hey I’m dealing with a work in progress here.” The other player responds “Yeah, so is your character.”

The conversation at the El Parador centers about how stupid that Boyer guy was. Arcade looks at Louie and Sam, and says “Well, some of our company shouldn’t talk.” Morgana mutters “I believe my dog is smarter than some of our company.” As no names are mentioned nobody appears offended, assuming the reference was to others in the group.

Louie makes a comment about their previous problems in town. “What happened?” Hank asks. Arcade replies “We kinda killed a couple of guys just to watch them die.” Morgana supplies some details about what happened earlier. The group decides to all go to their rooms for some shuteye prior to their evening guard assignment. Louie makes a comment about needing his beauty rest. Arcade answers “Won’t do much good. You’re one of those fellows who can get up at 4:00 A.M. just to scare the dark out of the sky with your looks.”

A few hours later the group head over to the Liberty Hill Mine, just as Graf and his two miner workmen are finishing up for the day. They lock up the Mine head, but leave the storage shed open for the group to guard from. Both Morgana and Louie take up positions outside, hidden in the shrubbery. They also set some traps to alert them of anyone approaching. The three human cowboys settle down inside the shed. The cowboys make a mental note of the amount of dynamite in the shed, deciding that it might be of future use.

April 18, 1881:

A short while after midnight Louie hears a horse nearby, and alerts Morgana. She has him go get the others, and climbs over a hill to check out where the sound came from. She sees a group of five warrior Apache elves holding rifles. One of the five has climbed off of his horse, and is beginning to climb the hill she is on the top of.

The others move up to the ridge on the hill, but about forty feet away from Morgana, being careful to not be seen. As the Apache warrior gets closer Morgana stands up. All five warrior elves raise and point their rifles at her. Morgana raises up her hands, indicating that she is not holding a weapon, and says “Do we speak or do you leave?”

The Apache climbing the hill returns to the others. He climbs onto his horse and all five ride away to the southeast, soon disappearing behind other hills. Hank comments “She got five Apaches to go away just by talking to them?” Arcade mutters “Damn, we gotta start being nicer to her.”

A discussion follows, with Arcade concluding that the Apaches were the source of the vandalism at the mine. Louie says that may not be true, that it could have just been a coincidence that they were riding by. Arcade and Hank don’t buy it. The group resumes their guard positions. The remainder of the night is uneventful.
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 5, “The Legend Begins” April 18, 1881:

At down Morgana and her dog do some hunting, catching a few rabbits. She returns to the others. The workers arrive at the Liberty Hill Mine, and the party head back towards their lodgings. As they near the El Parador the smell of freshly baked corn bread reaches them. They enter the building, and sit down for a breakfast of steak, eggs, corn bread, refried beans, milk and beer. Louie comments about the beans being rather strange. Morgana offers the rabbits to Dorita Figueres in return to stabling Morgana’s horse. Following breakfast everyone heads to their respective bunks to sack out for a fair amount of the day.

Mid-way through the afternoon everyone gathers back together in the El Parador. The innkeeper, Pedro Figueres, has a note for Arcade. It is from a Parker Baxter, who offers to buy Arcade a drink during either lunch or supper. Parker states that for lunch he will be at O’Reilly’s Café and for supper he will be at The Gay Lady. Arcade mutters “The Gay Lady, I’m not going to any Lesbian Blues Bars!” He figures it might be too late for lunch, but decides to try O’Reilly’s Café, getting directions from Pedro.

Morgana questions whether walking around town is safe for them. Arcade answers “Don’t worry your pretty feathered little head about it.” She replies “Pretty Feather is my cousin.” Arcade, Louie, Morganna and Sam head across town to O’Reilly’s, sticking primarily to back alleys rather than the main roads. The building is a small one-story wood-framed structure. A sign on the door declares “Best Breakfast in Promise City according to the Editor of the Promise City Herald."

The group enters, seeing two occupants. One is the bartender, a short balding man with spectacles named Walter O’Reilly. Arcade inquires about Parker Baxter, and is directed to the other gentleman, seated alone at a table with a half-filled bottle of whiskey beside him. Baxter is a middle aged man, rather plump, wearing fancy but food stained clothing. As the party approach he motions for them to sit down, saying “You must be Arcade.” “A’Yup,” Arcade answers, “Your note said something about a drink.” Baxter yells across the room “O’Reilly, how about some glasses.”

The waiter brings four glasses, which Baxter pours whiskey into, refilling his own glass as well. He introduces himself as the Editor of the Promise City Herald, and wants to get the details of their big shootout for the next edition of the newspaper. “Not all that much to tell,” Arcade answers. Baxter is filled in on some of the details of how the fight started.

Baxter has to press them all to get any details. They find out that the one who Sam shot died this morning at the Doctor James Eaton’s house. Baxter says “Mike Keegan had lost too much blood. Doc Eaton did what he could, even used leeches.” Morgana states “Leaches wouldn’t do anything to help with bullet wounds or blood loss.” Baxter asks Sam “Have you put a notch on your gun yet Son?” Arcade interjects “No, he’d cut his fingers trying. He’s too young for us to trust him with a knife yet.”

Baxter turns to Louie and Morgana, asking “So, which one of you put the arrow in Leroy Harris? Morgana takes the credit for that. Baxter asks Louie “And you’re the one who punched Chris Fargo?” “If that was his name,” the half-orc replies.

Baxter says to Arcade “And I hear that you are the one who shot Cleatus James..” Morgana interjects "Any relation to Jesse James?” Baxter answers “Not that I can confirm, but Cleatus claims to be a fifth cousin three times removed.” The newspaperman tells the party that James and Fargo left town this morning, shortly after Keegan passed away.

Baxter tells Arcade “You seem to have earned yourself a reputation. People will be frightened of you now.” Arcade gestures to Louie, and says “Him too, but just for his looks.” Baxter makes a comment about “People will think twice of running a foul of the Arcade Gang.” The group raises some objections to the new team name, which appear to fall on deaf ears. Baxter says that the paper will be out in two days. Arcade requests permission to drop by and check the copy first.

As they leave Louie asks Arcade “Should I get a gun?” Arcade asks “Do you know how to shoot?” Louie says “No, only with a bow.” Arcade answers “Skip it, you might hurt yourself.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 6, "Almost famous" , April 18, 2002, 5:00 P.M.

The group returns to the Cantina for dinner, which consists of, not surprisingly, rabbit stew. The Cantina begins to get a bit crowded. The Mexican half wood elf with a handlebar mustache that they saw tending bar the night before comes in, dressed very differently, now in a fancy suit. He sits at a table, and takes out a deck of cards and pile of chips. The man introduces himself as Carlos Ramirez, and invites them to play cards with him. Arcade says “Sam, he seems friendly. Why don’t you join him at his table.” Sam wisely declines.

Pedro and Dorita’s daughter enters the room, wearing a sundress and holding a guitar. She begins to play and sing, with many of the patrons calling out her name, Sonoma. Arcade mutters “Why would anyone name their daughter after a car” (OK, it’s out of period, but it was funny.)

Louie does a double take as the gambler’s identical twin brother Jose enters and takes his usual place behind the bar. Morgana walks over by Sonoma, and joins her in a duet, which the wood-elf doesn’t seem to mind. A pair of female wood elves, wearing dance hall clothing and a lot of make up sit at the bar, leaving a few barstools between them. Arcade tries to encourage Sam to go talk to them. The boy again wisely declines. Arcade shakes his head, commenting “You won’t play cards. You won’t sit with the harlots. Other than killing people, what do you do?”

The group eventually finish their drinks and make their way over to the mine. Hank is on duty, and says "You're late. The workers left a few hours ago." "And what's happened since then?" Arcade asks. "Nothing" is Hank's reply. "Then what are you complaining about" Arcade answers. The night is uneventful.

April 19, 1881:

The day also turns out to be rather uneventful. After eating a light breakfast at the El Parador Arcade decides to head up to O'Reilly's to see what the "Best Breakfast in Promise City" is like. While the food is actually not as good as Dorita's cooking, O'Reilly's serves hot coffee, which the mysterious stranger greatly appreciates.

They sleeps until mid-afternoon and then just spending the day at the Cantina. They again show up late for their jobs, figuring that Hank can handle things without them for a few hours. Once again Hank chastises them for arriving late to work. This night is also uneventful.

April 20, 1881:

The party has breakfast, Arcade going straight to O'Reilly's to get a hot cup of coffee. They sleep until mid-afternoon. By the time they awaken the newspaper is out, reminding Arcade that he forgot to stop by and check the copy. The paper is four pages long, two pages of which are ads (the largest two ads being for the two establishments that the Editor goes drinking at). The story of the exploits of the 'Arcade Gang', under the banner "Shootout on Freemont Street" is on the front page, but it is not the top story. The story is surprisingly accurate, with even the exaggerations still having a basis in truth, for example it says that "between six and twelve shots were fired", when the reporter had been told the correct number was six. The only disturbing item was the final quote from Cleatus James, said to be the "cousin of Jesse and Frank James". Cleatus says he will go round up his famous cousins and come back to Promise City where "there will be a reckoning".

The lead story in the paper concerns the water pipe going from the creek to the pump house of the Breakheart Stamping Mill and Smelter. The pipe broke during the night, flooding the hill and a few basements and forcing the mill and smelter to close for the day. "Hold on," says Arcade "Are you telling us that a broken pipe is more important than a group of strangers wandering into town and killing a few people?" Morgana finishes the story, and says "Well yes. It says that the Breakheart is the only smelter in town, which processes the ore for three of the four mines. The mines keep the town employed, so if the ore can't be processed it is big news."
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 7, "Morgana's Investigation, April 20, 1881, 3:00 P.M.

Morgana wanders over to the Breakheart Mill and Smelter, seeing a group of workmen working on the broken pipe. The pipe is metal, around a foot in diameter, and runs for 150 feet. The break was just before the Breakheart building, at the top of the hill. She speaks to a well dressed gentleman supervising the repairs, finding him to be Elton Hubbard, the owner of the Silverbell Mining Company, the parent company of both the Mill & Smelter and the adjacent Breakheart Mine.

Hubbard says that the pipe broke in the middle of the night, and it took over an hour before he could get the water pump turned off, the controls having rusted in place during the past year. The house at the bottom of the hill that got the most flooding was his own, something that his wife is very upset about. He asks Morgana why she is so interested in this. She says she works as a guard at the Liberty Hill Mine. Hubbard replies "Oh, well tell your bosses not to worry. They can bring their ore over here at the end of the day. We'll have this working again in no time."

Morgana wanders up to the workmen, examining the break in the pipe. She notices that the break is about six inches in diameter, and that several rivets are missing. She speaks to her dog and the two look around the immediate area for the rivets, not finding any. She points this out to Hubbard; suggesting that is was sabotage rather than an accident, because the rivets are missing. He dismisses this, saying that "When the pipe burst the pressure would have sent them flying far away, and they were then washed down hill by the water." She rechecks the angles and flood erosion, not buying this explanation. She inquires as to who might hold a grudge against him, being told "Only that crazy guy at the Belle Mine. He says that I burned down his house because he doesn't use my smelter. A lot of hogwash that is, I don't give a damn if he wants to cart his ore all the way to Tombstone, I'm busy enough with my own and the other two mines in town."

The group hangs out again at the El Parador until well after dark. They arrive late at the mine again, earning them another rebuke from Hank. Morgana decides to go check out the area a bit further away from town. She comes across a series of a dozen or so fresh horse tracks. The tracks do not show that the horses had horseshoes, making her think Apache.

She returns to the mine, informing the others of this. They decide that it should be further investigated, asking Hank if he can keep any eye on things there on his own. He replies "Well, it's not like you haven't left me alone here before." The group retrieve their horses from the El Parador stable (Louie riding with Sam), and head off out of town following the tracks.

The tracks head towards the distant hills and mountains to the east. The group continues into the hills. Morgana hears the distant sound of horses, and has the party stop. She dismounts, and moves up on foot, peering over some rocks. She sees a group of 8 Elvan Apache warriors on horseback, stopped in a circle and talking to themselves.

The others hear the sound of horses riding up behind them, and turn to see nine Elvan Apache rapidly riding up, each holding shotguns. Two other Apache warriors, each holding a repeating rifle, then rise up from behind rocks to both the left and right of the party, as the ones who Morgana was watching now ride up to the group as well, leveling their own rifles on the party.

Outnumbered 19 to 4, Arcade suggests that his party "Stay calm, and keep your hands away from your weapons." Morgana has assessed who the leader of this group appears to be, and begins to approach him, raising her hands in the air to show that she is unarmed.
 

Silver Moon

Villager
Chapter 8, "Hail to the Chief," April 21, 1881, 12:15 A.M.

The leader of this group of Elvan Apache Indians approaches Morgana and asks why she was following their tracks. She tells him "There was trouble in the town, I wanted to talk to the people who may have been responsible." He asks, "Why do you, one of the people, work with them" and he gestures to her three associates. She answers "Who I associate with should not matter to you. What is important is that I wish no trouble to come to your people."

While this is going, and with most of the Indians' rifles still pointing at the other three Sam whispers to Arcade "What should we do?" Arcade sarcastically whispers back "How about this for a plan. Louie and I will take out the nine in front of us, and you can get the other ten." Sam gasps, and exclaims "No!" Arcade says "Then why do you just calm down and let the lady do her job."

Morgana returns, and tells the others that they will all be taken to the Apache Chief. The Indians separate the three party horses, and lead them for several more miles, deep into the hills. The DM begins to describe the terrain, then turns to one of the players and says "You lived in Southeastern Arizona for a few years, why don't you describe it." The player answers "Imagine a whole state of kitty litter."

They eventually are led up and down through a series of winding trails through the hills, which the party concludes is to confuse them about the path taken. Eventually they approach a campfire, with about twenty Apaches standing around it. All but the leader of the group that brought them stop. The leader dismounts, instructing the party through Morgana to do as well. Some Apache braves are to each side, using rocks as cover with their rifles still trained on the party.

An Apache Shaman steps forward, speaking in elvan. He tells Morgana "Instruct your friends to upholster their weapons. Tribesmen will come forward and then take the weapons. They will be returned to you when it is time to leave." Morgana translates, and the party does as instructed. Once disarmed, the Apache Chief steps forward. The Shaman tells Morgana that he will cast a spell, to allow all present to be understood. He chants and then throws some powder into the fire. A bright flash of many colors quickly follows. The Shaman moves back.

The Chief introduces himself as Geronimo. He tells the party the history of his people. "This group of Apache is the tribe known as Chiricahua Elves. Twenty years ago the humans forced a confrontation with the Apache chief Cochise. Cochice was a man of peace. He was falsely accused by a human Army Lieutenant of kidnapping a human boy. When Cochise said he knew nothing of this the human called him a liar, and had members of Cochise's family as hostages until the boy was returned. Cochise then took hostages of his own, and the Lieutenant retaliated by killing three hostages, Coshise's brother and two nephews. What followed was ten long years of war, during which 1,500 humans died.

Nine years ago peace was negotiated between Cochise and an Army General named Howard. It was agreed that the Chiricahuas would be allowed to live here, in these hills and mountains that we call our home. Seven years ago the great chief died. Soon there after the humans broke the treaty, saying that we needed to move to a reservation in the land known as New Mexico. We have resisted this relocation, and will continue to fight for what is ours. I see more and more humans coming to this place, and will do what I can to stop this."

Morgana replies "The humans will come. They breed far too quickly. Fighting them is not the way." Geronimo replies "I do not wish to fight them. My war is with the Wood Elves to the south, in Mexico. They killed my family, and I seek vengeance. I do not wish to carry on two wars at the same time." Morgana answers "That is wise. War with the humans is one that you cannot win. They are great in number, and will continue to come."

Geronimo asks, "Why did you seek us out?" She replies "To keep a large war from igniting. Just one can make war, like peace. We have told none in that town that it was your people who have caused the trouble. They believe the trouble was natural. It is time for your people to stop, while the humans still believe that." "Why do you help them?" the Chief asks. She answers "I believe in a balance, and that balance is peace." The Chief says "But they take what is our." She replies "They protect what they believe is theirs. A balance must be sought."

Geronimo turns, and looks towards the darkness "You have heard." A voice replies "I have," as a pair of centaurs ride forward. One is attired as an Indian chief, the other as an Indian brave.
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 9, "The Noble Indian", April 21, 1881, 2:00 A.M.

The party looks up at the pair of centaurs. The one attired as a chief asks Morgana "You are familiar with our people?" She replies "I have heard of your tribe, but have never actually seen one of you." He answers "We do not usually travel the far to the south. We prefer to roam the wide open plains rather than the deserts and hills." "What brings you here now?" she asks.

He looks towards Geronimo. The Apache Chief answers "They came as messengers of warning. They say that we of the people need to talk to the humans. Talk has never worked. Treaties are signed and then the humans break them. The time for talking has passed." The centaur leader speaks again "I do not agree. This woman, one of the blood, feels that a balance can be sought. I agree. An ambassador must be chosen to speak to the humans for the Apache, so that this balance can be found."

The centaur then looks directly at Morgana and asks, "What is your political influence with the people of the community." "Little to none," she answers. Arcade speaks up, saying, "We were just passing through." The centaur ponders this, then asks her "Are you safe among the humans?" "Yes" she replies. "We make sure she is safe," Arcade answers. She then says, "I have found worthy companions. They have accepted me as part of their group. We look out for each other." "An honorable thing," the centaur answers.

Geronimo speaks again, saying, "They have no influence. They can be of no help. We must make life hard for the humans so that they will leave." The centaur turns to Geronimo and says; "Things are changing. I have met the man known as the Territorial Governor, to negotiate safe passage for my people. Things in this land are changing. Within the next few years they plan to turn this Territory into something called a State. That will bring more people, and more soldiers. This is not the time to cause trouble with the humans."

Hearing this Morgana speaks again. She tells Geronimo "We came to this camp tonight in peace. I mean you no harm, but listen when I tell you that this is not a place for you, or those of the blood. Making things difficult for the humans will only bring you trouble. I can try to help your people if you let me, but please listen to what I am saying." Geronimo answers "I hear your words, and believe your conviction to them, but this is not my way."

The centaur again speaks, saying to Geronimo "Will you wait, and do as I have asked?" The Apache Chief replies "As you wish." He then turns back to Morgana and her companions and says, "You may go." Their mounts and weapons are brought to them. The centaur chief says something to his centaur companion in an unknown language. The companion stays with the Apache as the other centaur rides off, leading the party away from the camp.

They travel silently for the next hour, with the Chief taking them on a different winding path through the hills. They finally reach the plains, and the centaur continues to ride with them. Morgana asks his name, and he replies " Quletaqa. In my language that means 'Guardian of the People' [DM's note: translation from the Hopi language]. Arcade asks, "Why do you travel with us?" The centaur answers "This is the land of the Apache. I ride with you now so that you will be protected by me. When we reach the human settlement I will then be protected by you." "What did he just say?" Louie asks.

Morgana asks Quletaqa "Why do you want to go to the human settlement." He replies "To represent the Apache. It is too dangerous for one of their tribe to go. If and Apache were to go to talk to them, and the humans were to kill that Apache, then Geronimo would go to war. It is therefore best that a non-Apache serve as ambassador to the humans. She asks if he is the Chief of his people. He replies "No, I am a sub-chief. Serving those of the blood, no matter what tribe, is what I have dedicated my life to."

"I don't like the sound of this," Sam mutters. Arcade says "Nothing to worry about kid, I've figured this one out." [Arcade's player then postulates that "The DM has thrown this new guy in as his own playing character, in case one of us wants to DM a game in this setting." The DM replies "You are 100% correct. I wanted a character whose personality was like that of a Paladin, and thought that this might work." "Yeah, but only if he doesn't get himself shot dead first," Louie's players states.]
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 10, “Hello Ma’am. Have I seen you some where before?”, April 21, 1881, 4:00 A.M.:

The group arrives back at the mine. Hank Hill takes one look and the centaur and says “Who the hell is he?” “Say hello to your new partner, he will be helping with guard duty,” Morgana tells Hank. Hank just rolls his eyes, and mutters “This place just gets weirder and weirder.” Another player says “Yeah, this is a different planet and a different game system, and the party is still brining home stragglers.”

The sun is just coming over the horizon, and Louie comments “We might as well stay here until the miners show up.” Hank sarcastically answers “You haven’t been here all night, why start now?” Ignoring Hank, the others stick around for the next hour. Graf Holzer arrives and asks what is with the centaur. Sam answers “He followed us home and says we get to keep him.”

As they head towards their lodgings, the centaur Qualtaqa follows behind. Arcade decides to ignore Qualtaqa, but Morgana intervenes, getting Dorita to find him lodgings in a private part of the stable. Louie gives the centaur the advice of “Whatever you do, don’t go to the store.” Sam interjects “Yeah, you don’t like rice do you? Buying some will only get you in trouble.”

The group all have a nice breakfast at the Cantina. Sydney Sue joins them, and they discuss what went on the night before. With the addition of the centaur, and since his presence will keep the Apache Elves from attacking, she tells the party to “Take the night off, you’ve earned it. The centaur and that Hank guy should be able to handle things on their own.” The group head to their respective rooms.

When they awaken mid-way through the afternoon Pedro hands Arcade a note, which is from a man named Job Kane, who invites him to a game of poker that evening at the Lone Star Dance Hall and Saloon. The others try to talk him out of going, but Arcade says that it sounds like something interesting to do. Morgana asks if he would like company, and Arcade replies “Sure, a guy walking into a poker game should have a beautiful woman on his arm.” That gives her an idea, and she says to Sam “Come on, I’ve got something to take care of.” The two of them then leave.

Louie says to Arcade “I really think that I should get myself a gun. Will you help me pick one out?” Arcade replies “Sure, let’s go,” and the two head out for the only gun store in town. On the way there Arcade asks the half-orc “Exactly what are you looking for.” Louie replies “Something that is cheap and easy to use.” Arcade gestures up to a pair of saloon girls, sitting on the second floor balcony of a saloon they are passing and replies “Cheap and easy? How about one of them?”

They enter the shop, Arcade telling the proprietor “My friend here wants to purchase a firearm". The man tries to interest them in his most expensive new rifles and pistols. They eventually decide on a used Colt 45 caliber handgun. They purchase the gun, a used holster, and four boxes of ammunition for a total of $ 15.95. Both then head off a quarter-mile south of town. Arcade sets up a series of tin cans atop rocks, and spends the next hour teaching Louie how to shoot.

Meanwhile, Sam and Morgana go clothes shopping. She finds the best clothing store in town, and purchases a women’s wool waist-cut suit jacket and matching pants, a silk/cotton blend blouse, and a good pair of women’s shoes, for a total of $ 19.50. They then go to another shop and she buys some scented soaps and imported French bath oils. They then return to the Cantina, with her having Sam carry all of the purchases.

Morgana inquires to Dorita about where she could get a bath, and is given directions to a nearby bath house. She tells Sam “I’ll handle this one on my own, stay here.” She arrives at the bath house, purchasing an hour in a private tub. Following the bath she dries and fixes her hair up, puts on the new clothes, and then exits from the back door of the place, bringing her Indian clothing back to the church she is staying at, then returning to the Cantina. She enters the room, looking like a refined Easterner, with no resemblance to the Indian maiden that she previously appeared as. Sam comments to her “Wow,” and goes to sit down by her. She tells him to sit at another table instead, wanting to be sitting alone and surprise Arcade when he returns.

A short while later Arcade and Louie enter the room. Arcade immediately notices the attractive young woman. She looks somewhat familiar to him, but he fails to recognize that she is Morgana. He pulls his chest up and swaggers over to the table, saying to her “Hello Ma’am. Have I seen you somewhere before?” She increases her voice a few octaves from her normal speaking voice, and replies “You definitely have Mr. Arcade.” He thinks for a minute and asks “Virginia City?” She answers “I believe it was in an alley way that we met.” He answers “I really don’t think that would be the case. What would a fine woman like you be doing in an alley?”

Meanwhile, Sam is sitting two tables over busting his gut, and trying rather unsuccessfully to contain his laughter. Louie has also recognized her, and has headed up to the bar for a pitcher of beer and some glasses, enjoying the entertainment almost as much as Sam. Louie heads over to the table just as Morgana responds to Arcade’s question with the reply of “What would I be doing in an alley? I’d be putting an arrow through the head of a local thug.” As Arcade’s jaw drops Louie slides a mug in front of her, casually saying “Here Morgana, have some beer.”

Arcade regains his composure and says “I knew it was you.” Morgana, Louie and Sam all burst out laughing at that. Sam says “You did not.” Louie comments to Arcade “Yeah, he’s right. With your poor observations skills how did you ever get to be the leader?” Arcade ignores both of them, not being able to take his eyes off of Morgana, and tells her “You sure clean up nice.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 11, "Lookin' for trouble or staying out of it?", April 21, 1881, 5:00 P.M.

Still mesmerized by her change in Morgana’s appearance, Arcade cannot take his eyes off of the attractive young lady. She tells him “You wanted to bring me with you to the poker game. You’ll be playing against an experienced gambler, so I thought it might give you an advantage if your opponent had something else to look at.” Louie comments “Yeah, but I think Arcade will be distracted too.” It is getting towards evening, and Morgana says, “I guess we should get going," She and Arcade stand, link arms, and head out the door.

Sam and Louie continue to drink their beer when the centaur Qualtaqa enters the Cantina and heads over to join them. Several patrons give this odd-looking Indian stares, and a cowboy comments “I hope he cleans up after himself.” “What’s up,” Louie states. “Shouldn’t you be heading off to work?” Sam asks. Qualtaqa answers “I will soon enough. But first I need to go and talk to one of the town leaders. I hear he spends evening at the Long Branch Saloon.” Sam tries to talk the centaur out of going, to no avail.

Qualtaqa leaves, and Sam says to Louie “Shouldn’t we go with him.” Louie answers “I’m not going anywhere. I don’t want to get into any more trouble. I’m staying here where it is safe.” “Fine, suit yourself,” Sam answers, and charges out the door after the centaur. Sam catches up to him and again tries to talk the noble Indian out of “This crazy idea of yours.”

The reach the Long Branch Saloon and the centaur marches inside. As soon as he enters the piano player stops playing and the entire saloon becomes totally silent. Qualtaqa announces that he is looking for Hamilton Fisk. A well-dressed man at one of the tables stands, and states that he is Fisk.

Qualtaqa approaches the table, and announces that he is acting in the capacity of ambassador for the Apache. “What do you want from me?” Fisk asks. Qualtaqa replies “You are said to be one of the most influential people in the town. The Apache would like to have peace, they do not seek trouble. I want assurances from this community that they will be left alone on their lands.” Fisk replies “I don’t want trouble from them either, but I’m not the one you should be talking too. Talk to the Deputy Sheriff, he’s in charge of Indian relations.” Qualtaqa answers “It is important that all town leaders agree. If you wish to talk to me further know that I am staying at the El Parador Cantina, and know that I am protected by the group called Arcade’s Gang.”

Sam nearly faints upon hearing that, as the centaur turns and exits the building. A stunned Sam chases after him, stopping Qualtaqa outside and yelling “What did you tell them that for!” The Indian replies “Because it is true”. “We’re not protecting you!” Sam yells. “Then why are you standing here with me?” is the centaur’s response. Sam doesn’t have an answer to that one.

Meanwhile, back at the El Parador, Louie has just finished off another drink. Unfortunately for him, his idea of staying behind to keep out of trouble doesn’t exactly work as planned. Two tables away, a Mexican sitting in the corner stands up. The person tosses off his sombrero and poncho, revealing himself to be the human Chris Fargo, the man that Louie had broken the jaw of several days earlier. Fargo has his gun drawn on the half-orc, stating “I’ve been waiting a long time for you to be alone Ugly. Now you’re gonna die.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 12, "Shootout at the El Parador Cantina", April 21, 1881, 5:45 P.M.

Looking down at the gun barrel of Chris Fargo’s revolver, the half-orc Louie now regrets staying back alone at the Cantina. Neither the bartender, Jose Ramirez, or any of the other five patrons appear willing to make any moves to assist. Fargo repeats his threat of “You’re gonna die right now, you Ugly varmint”. Louie and the others present have same trouble making out exactly what Fargo is saying due to the man’s broken jaw.”

Just then the halfling mage Sydney Sue is descending from the second floor, and sees her employee being threatened. Using the staircase as cover, the 2’10” woman quickly scurries down to the first floor. She then makes her way over to them from beneath the tables, to keep the gunman from spotting her.

Fargo continues to threaten Louie, and asks the half-orc “So, are you gonna beg for your life?” Before he can answer Sue acts, using what little strength she has to push the flimsy table up into Fargo’s gun hand. He fires, but the table knocking against him is enough to deflect the shot, the bullet striking the wall eight inches away from Louie’s head.

This sudden movement gives Louie the chance to draw his own gun from its holster, and he fires a shot back at Fargo. Since the half-orc had never fired a gun until three hours earlier, his marksmanship leaves a lot to be desired. The bullet hits Fargo in the left arm, which is unfortunately not his gun hand, and not does it hit any main blood vessels. This only serves to make Fargo angrier.

Fargo now take careful aim at Louie, pointing his gun directly at the half-orc's chest. He is totally ignoring the female halfling, who grabs the human’s leg and casts a Shocking Grasp spell. The spell has the desired effect, sending an electric jolt through the gunman and throwing off his aim, the bullet grazing Louie’s shoulder and deflecting off of the half-orc’s oriental armor. Louie takes aim and fires again, this time hitting his foe squarely in the chest. The gunman falls dead in front of Sue.

The tavern is totally silent for the next minute, then the patrons of the Cantina applaud. Louie walks over towards the body of his foe, and one of the Mexican wood elves asks the half-orc “You aren’t gonna eat him are you?’ “Nah, I never eat anything that died of lead poisoning” is the half-orc’s reply. He does take a few minutes to help himself to Fargo’s gun, gun belt, and the $ 10.91 that the man was carrying. Meanwhile, one of the human patrons of the Cantina makes a hasty exit out the door.

Once the gunfire ceased, the Cantina’s owners Pedro and Dorita Figueres enter the dining room and find out from Jose what has happened. Louie apologizes to them for the mess. Pedro tells Louie not to worry about it, but does ask Louie to help him haul Fargo’s body outside, leaving it on the street near the door. Pedro tells Louie that there has never been a shootout at the El Parador before, so the two bullet holes in the wall from Fargo’s shots will add some notoriety to the place. Dorita has Jose pour both Louie and Sue a drink “on the house”.

Before they finish their drinks the Marshal arrives. He takes a look at Louie and says “You again! I thought I told you to get a move on. I don’t like trouble makers in my town.” “I didn’t start it,” Louie states. “But you did finish it,” answers the Marshal. Louie replies “Well, he wasn’t that good a shot.” The Marshal tells the half-orc to get up, that he’s going to jail until this is all sorted out. Louie opts to not resist, telling Sue “Let the others know what has happened.”
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 13, "Deal’em and weep.", April 21, 1881, 5:45 P.M.

Arcade and Morgana walk arm-on-arm into the Lone Star Dance Hall and Saloon. The three-story building is approximately thirty foot square, with a small dance stage on the side wall near a staircase leading to the second floor. The bar is along the far wall, with two patrons sitting in bar stools. There are also five tables, with a single man sitting at two of them, cards and poker chips on the table in front of each man. Arcade heads straight towards the bar, ignoring the two gamblers. All of the men in the building are almost mesmerized by the sight of Morgana in her high-class attire, as this town does not get many attractive female visitors of wealth.

The two reach the bar, and Arcade orders himself a whiskey, and a glass of wine “for the lady”. The two nurse their drinks, and size up the two gamblers, attempted to evaluate which one is the one who called for them. Morgana whispers to Arcade “You do gamble, right?” He replies “I came here with you didn’t I?”

The better dressed of the two gamblers eventually speaks up, saying “You Mr. Arcade?” He replies “Just Arcade, Mister is what I call my mother.” The gambler answers “I read about you in the paper.” “Must have missed that,” Arcade answers, the asks “Are you the Job Kane that invited me here”. The gambler answers “I am. The paper says you are ruthless.” Arcade replies “Newspapers tend to be a bit jaundiced in their outlook. I just do whatever needs to be done.” “Care to play a hand of cards?” Kane asks. “Sure,” replies Arcade, and he heads over to the table with Morgana. She quietly tells Arcade “If you put me up as a stake in this game I will shoot you in the head.”

Arcade buys $ 25.00 worth of chips. The two begin the game, with each only putting a dollar chip into each hand. Kane wins the 1st hand, Arcade the next three, and Kane the 5th. Stakes do not raise until the 6th hand, where Kane wins the $ 12 pot. The winning alternates sides for the next five hands, the 12th hand being rather juicy for both. Arcade is confident with his full house, queens high, and the pot is raised up to $ 32. Kane also has a full house, but only 10’s high, so Arcade wins. Morgana realizes that Arcade is now $ 10 ahead of where he started, and wants to cash in that amount. Kane hands Arcade the $ 10 bill, which is then passed directly to Morgana, Arcade telling her “Buy yourself something nice.” Another ten hands of poker are played, at the end of which Arcade is only down $ 1 from his initial stake.

The game is then interrupted by the arrival of Sam, who charges into the building yelling “Louie is in trouble” to Arcade. Both Arcade and Morgana give the youngster a dirty look. Arcade tells Kane “Please excuse me a minute while I see what the kid wants.” Morgana stays at the table, flirting with Kane.

Arcade walks Sam over to the far wall by the dance floor, with Sam blurting out “Louie is in Jail.” “And…” Arcade asks, needing more information. Sam states “You know that Chris Fargo who was after him…well, not anymore.” “Louie shot him?” Arcade asks. “Yeah,” Sam replies. Arcade asks “What started it? Louie wasn’t trying to buy rice again, was he?” “No, the guy came looking for him,” Sam replies. “So it was self defense. Go bail him out,” Arcade answers. Sam also tells them about Qualtaqa’s speech at the Long Branch Saloon, but Arcade is not overly concerned about that.

Arcade shoves Sam out the door, with Arcade yelling “And don’t interrupt me again". Arcade returns to the table, Kane asking “What was that all about?” Arcade replies “One of my companions got into some trouble?” “What kind of trouble?” Kane asks. “Shot and killed a guy,” Arcade replies. “Is that all?” Kane answers as he starts to deal the next hand. Morgana does not comment, continuing to play the part of the dumb girlfriend.

They play another three hands, after which Arcade is still down only a dollar (and actually $9 ahead counting what Morgana took). The tide of the game then shifts with the 26th hand, with Kane winning the next three hands, with Arcade loosing another $ 10, now being just below where he had started. His luck then changes, with the 29th hand dealing Arcade a four-of-a-kind Jacks. Kane also appears to have a very good hand, and both players keep raising the bet, not stopping until all of Arcade’s chips are in the pot. Arcade considers buying more chips, but a stern look from Morgana convinces him to call the bet. Kane then reveals a four-of-a-kind hand, Queens high, and takes the pot.

Kane thanks Arcade for a good game. Arcade replies “Well, it was a learning experience….but it was an honest game.” “We only play honest games under this roof,” Kane replies, a fact that does not agree with what they heard about the gambler at the other table, Tom Lucky. Arcade answers “Glad to hear it, but my personal preference are honest games that I can also win.” Arcade and Morgana then head back to the bar.

She asks Arcade “Louie killed someone?”. Arcade says “Louie shot a guy in self defense. I assume the other guy is dead, since Louie is now in jail.” “Is Louie hurt?” she asks. “Sam didn’t say”, Arcade replies. They then engage the barkeep in conversation, finding out that the ‘Law and Order’ faction of the town is headed up by the lumberyard owner Neil Cassidy, general store owner Zeb Cook, and town doctor James Eaton. Morgana comments “I had better check to see if Louie needs some healing. I wouldn’t trust him to that doctor.”

Tom Lucky then wanders over to the bar and asks Arcade “Up for another game.” Arcade replies “Not tonight. The lady would prefer that I pay her some attention, if you know what I mean. Being broke I can handle. Being broke and lonely is another matter.” “I understand” Lucky replies. Arcade and Morgana then leave the Saloon.
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 14, "Aftermath", April 21st, 1881, 8:00 P.M.

Morgana and Arcade arrive back at the Cantina, seeing Sam there alone. "Didn't you go bail Louie out?" Arcade asks. Sam answers "I wanted to, but that centaur insisted that he wanted to come along too, and I thought he would just make matters worse." "I'll do this myself," Morgana states in a huff, and walks out the door.

She arrives at the Marshal's office. Marshal Bret Hollister clearly does not recognize her in her new attire, and asks, "What can do for you Ma'am." "I want to bail Louie out," she says, gesturing to the half-orc, then asks, "How much is bail?" Hollister now realizes who she is, and replies "How much do you have?" She answers "Ten dollars." "That'll do," he answers.

As she goes to hand over the money she says, "I will get this back, won't I?" He replies "Sure, as long as the ugly guy shows up in court. If he skips town or gets himself killed then you lose it." She looks to Louie and says, "Try not to get yourself killed." The Marshal unlocks him from the cell, advising the half-orc "And try not to kill anybody else either, that'll look bad to the judge at your trial."

They return to the Cantina, where the other patrons treat Louie like a celebrity and Arcade tells him "You did well". Sam suggests that they find somewhere else to stay, but Louie answers "Nah, the guy who wanted to hurt me is dead, and I like the free drinks."

Morgana states that she will be heading back to the druid church next door. Arcade asks to accompany her. They arrive at the grove, and Arcade finally reveals to her that he is also a follower of the druid faith. They have short services to the nature gods, after which she invites him to see where she spends the nights. He takes that as an invitation, and the two of them then find a quiet place together in the tree grove behind the church, where they take the relationship to a whole new level.

April 22nd, 1881:

Sam and Louie come downstairs for a late breakfast, and notice that the others are nowhere around. Pedro says he has a note for them from the newspaper editor. Sam comments "Louie, it's for you". "Actually for you and Arcade," Pedro comments. "Must be about yesterday," Louie states. They wait around until early afternoon, and Arcade still does not return. Louie concludes, "He must be busy. Want to join me to go see this guy?" "Sure, I'll go with you, as long as you don't shoot me," Sam jokingly comments.

The two of them make their way over to O'Reilly's Café, where they find a very intoxicated Parker Baxter. Baxter pours them each a drink and another for himself, and pulls out his paper and pen to take some notes.

"So, you shot up Chris Fargo?" Baxter asks. "He didn't leave me any choice," Louie answers. Baxter says, "Well, I've been asking around. Apparently when Cleatus James left to go get his cousins he told Fargo to stick around and keep an eye on you. So what happened? You saw him and decided to take him out?" Louie says "He drew on me first, and fired the first shot. He missed so I shot him back. Both of my shots hit, his missed." "So you just cut him down in cold blood?" "I guess you can call it that," Louie answers.

Baxter then turns to Sam and asks "And you condone this Mr. Arcade?" Sam says "What, No!" "You don't condone this Mr. Arcade?" Baxter then asks. "I'm not Arcade!" Sam yells back, "as to whether I approve or not, well if somebody had a gun on me then I would kill him." Baxter frantically jots that down. The editor then turns back to Louie and says, "If it was just self defense then why were you arrested?" Louie answers "I don't know. Ask the Marshal." Baxter replies "I did. He said you were a trouble maker." Louie replies "I don't cause trouble, it comes to me." Baxter jots that down, finishes his drink, pours himself another one, and then says "Thanks for the interview." Sam and Louie finish their drinks and then leave.

April 22nd & 23rd, 1881:

These two days pass by surprisingly uneventfully. Arcade and Morgana spend a lot more time together. Louie continues to be congratulated by the Mexicans and other patrons of the Cantina, although they no longer buy him free drinks. Sam wanders around the town, managing to stay out of trouble.

April 24th, 1881:

Sydney Sue meets the four of them for lunch at the Cantina. She pays them for their first week's work. She says that with Hank and Qualtaqa handling the night guard chores they aren't really needed anymore, but she offers them a chance to "stay on retainer for half-wages, without having to work unless trouble comes up." That sounds like a good idea to the four. She adds "Well, as long as the town knows I've got you guys hired that should be enough of a deterrent, given your new reputation." "What do you mean?" Arcade asks. "Haven't you seen today's paper yet?" she asks, "with the big headline "Arcade Issues Challenge!".
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 15, “Yellow Journalism”, April 24th, 1881, 1:00 P.M.

“WHAT!” Arcade exclaims, upon hearing from Sydney Sue what the top story in today’s newspaper is. He looks around the room for anyone who may have a copy of the paper. He sees a Mexican wood elf reading one at a corner table, and walks in that direction. “May I please take a took at that?” Arcade asks. The elf looks up, sees who is talking to him, and frantically throws the four-pages of newsprint at Arcade, stammering out “S-s-s-s-sure, kept it, just don’t hurt me!” Arcade shakes his head and goes back to his friends with the newspaper.

The headline "Arcade Issues Challenge!" takes up a third of the front page, with the story below it. Morgana takes the paper from him and begins to read the story:

“For the third time this week another long-time citizen of our fair city has been placed to rest on Boot Hill, the victims of newcomer Arcade and his gang of rabble-rousers. The most recent fatality is part-time carpenter and occasional wrangler Chris Fargo, who was gunned down in cold blood on April 21st at the El Parador Cantina. The half-orc member of Arcade's Gang known as Louie shot him. This is the gang member that had initiated the gunfight on the 17th, which left Larry Harris and Mike Keegan dead at the hands of Arcade and his followers.

Arcade has apparently staked out the El Parador as his headquarters, and anyone who runs afoul of his gang there will suffer the consequences, as Chris Fargo was unfortunate enough to discover. Fargo attempted to defend himself from the half-orc, reaching for his own sidearm. This was hardly fair, as Fargo was still recovering from a beating at the hands of this gang from earlier in the week, so not fast enough. The half-orcs first shot struck Fargo’s arm, incapacitating him. The half-orc then fatally shot the defenseless human in the chest. Louie, like his mentor, feels no remorse at all for his actions. When asked by this reporter about second thoughts for his bloodthirsty act of bravado the half-orc said “He had it coming to him. He drew on me so I shot him.” The half-orc then issued a challenge to the town, saying that “Trouble can come and find me, I’m ready.”

Arcade was asked by this reporter if Louie spoke for his entire Gang, and the mysterious stranger replied “Sure he does. I condone his actions.” The gunfighter then issued his own challenge and warning to all, stating that “If somebody points a gun in my direction I will kill them.”


Morgana looks up, saying “That’s the end of the story.” Arcade slams his fist on the table, exclaiming “I never said that!” “No,” Louie comments, “Sam did.” “That wasn’t exactly what I said,” states Sam. “If Sam said it then why am I quoted?” Arcade exclaims. Louie states “That Baxter guy was totally drunk at the time and thought Sam was you.” “I think we need to go talk to him,” Arcade answers. They get up to leave, with Morgana comments “I find it interesting that those thugs and deadbeats are now written up as respectable ‘long-time citizens’, especially since this mud hole of a town has only been in existence for a little over a year.”

The four leave the tavern, without noticing the three related stories on two other pages of the paper. On page 3 is a story about Qualtaqa, the Indian centaur. It has an almost factual account of his conversation with Hamilton Fisk at the Long Branch Saloon about being an ambassador for the Apache. The story includes the reference to his now being protected by Arcade’s gang. It also mentions that the centaur is working as a guard with Arcade’s gang at the Liberty Hill Mine. The newspaper editor then speculates that there may be a connection between Arcade and the Apache tribe, especially with the Apache woman and her pet wolf as part of his gang.

Another almost factual story recounts Arcade’s card game at the Lone Star Dance Hall and Saloon. Most of the quotes about the card game are from Tom Lucky, the gambler who had watched from an adjacent table. Lucky talks at length about the “classy looking dame” who was with him, and then about his own challenge of Arcade to a game of cards. Lucky’s final quote was “He turned me down for a game. At the time I didn’t realize what a ruthless gunslinger the guy was, so I guess I should consider myself lucky that I didn’t play him. He had already lost to Job Kane, and was already upset. Loosing to me might have really set him off.”

The final related story is one page 4, and concerns Cletus James. It reminds the readers that Cletus left town a few days ago to go fetch is cousins Jesse and Frank James, of the infamous James/Younger Gang. It then says that Cletus had told Chris Fargo to stay behind and keep an eye on the Arcade situation. The newspaper editor speculates that with Fargo now dead at the hands of Arcade’s Gang the James Gang will definitely be seeking retribution. The story concludes with “Woe to the poor citizens of Promise City who will be caught in the crossfire between these two vicious groups of killers.”

Next: The conclusion.
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Promise City, Arizona

Chapter 16, “Freedom of the Press?”, April 24th, 1881, 1:30 P.M.

The quartet of Arcade, Louie, Morgana and Sam arrive at O’Reilley’s Café looking for Parker Baxter. The bartender and owner, Walter O’Reilley, tells them that the newspaper editor has not come in yet this day. The group get directions to the office where the newspaper is published.

They arrive at the office, the only employee being a teenage boy who is carrying a box of type letters. They enter, the boy looking up and asking “If you people are looking to buy a paper we’re sold out.” “People call me Arcade,” the man announces, which causes the boy to let out a yelp and drop the box of type onto the floor. Arcade walks up to the boy and says “I don’t like what I’ve been reading in the paper.” The boy exclaims “Please don’t kill me, I have a wife and kid to support.” That comment takes Arcade by surprise, and he asks “Wife and kid? How old are you boy?” “Fourteen” the boy answers, adding “We kind of had to get married.”

“OK, listen up kid,” Arcade says. “I won’t kill you provided that you do two things for me. First, tell me where I can find Parker Baxter. And second, promise me that you will NEVER AGAIN set the type for any story about me. I mean it, if I ever see my name in this rag again I’m going to hold you PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE! It that clear?” The boy nods, and agrees to both terms. The group then leave.

They arrive at the Baxter house, a large two story brick structure. The front door is unlocked and slightly ajar, so they enter. Nobody is on the first floor, and there are dirty dishes from the previous night as well as several empty whiskey bottles. “Must be upstairs sleeping it off,” Louie concludes.

They make their way upstairs, finding Baxter passed out on the bed, wearing a pair of long underwear that he apparently had on the day before. The pudgy middle-aged man has a day’s growth of beard and smells like he’s been showering in booze. Morgana tells Louie and Sam to go back downstairs and get some pots and pans from the kitchen. They soon return, and she instructs them to “Bang those together near his head while Arcade and I thrown open the curtains.” As they do so Morgana adds to the racket by letting out a high pitched scream.

The sudden onslaught of light and noise immediately wake the hung-over newspaper editor, who yells out “WHAT IS HAPPENING!” Arcade gestures for his companions to stop making noise and says “I have a bone to pick with you?” “Who are you?” the confused man states. “ARCADE!” he yells back, “And that rag you print is as yellow and sorry as your liver.” “What, Huh?” Baxter states. “I’m sick of the lies you are printing about me!” Arcade answers.

Baxter regains some composure, and says “What are you talking about. Those were direct quotes.” “I didn’t say any of that!” Arcade replies. “Sure you did, you told me all that a few days ago at O’Reilley’s”. “That wasn’t me you drunken louse, you were talking to him” Arcade says, pointing to Sam. “You want me to print a retraction?” Baxter says. “No, just leave me out of your paper all together…..or else!” Arcade answers. “You’re threatening me?” Baxter exclaims. “Not a threat, a promise,” is Arcade’s answer.

Baxter then gets uppity, stating “How dare you! You break into my home! Threaten me! And have no respect for the freedom of the press!” “We didn’t break in, the door was open,” Sam states. Baxter mutters “The young lady must not have locked it on her way out.” Arcade sarcastically states “Shocking! Imagine that, a young lady could actually bring herself to leave such a fine specimen of a man as you.”

Louie joins in the fun, stating “What should we do with him?”, and smiles a grin showing off his fangs. Morgana suggesting tying him to the bedposts so that he can think about what he’s done. The others go along with the idea, and the man soon has his arms and legs lashed tight. Baxter protests loudly until he is told “Shut the hollering’ or we’ll gag you too.” Arcade then instructs him “If I ever see my name in your paper again I’ll be back, is that clear.” The man nods. They start to leave, and Baxter says “Are you going to let me go?” Morgana states “We might let the kid or works for you know to come by later.” Louie says “Yeah, or we might just set the fire to the first floor.” They all exit the building, being sure to lock the door behind them.

One consistency with the real wild west is that Arcade’s reputation was created by the press rather than actual fact, especially considering that he was the only member of his quartet who didn’t kill anybody during this module.

The End (for now).
 
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Silver Moon

Villager
Follow-up

Arcade's player is currently writing a module that will bring the characters to 1881 Victorian-era England. Should be an interesting place to drop a group of cowboys and indians.

And while the characters are still in England, Morgana's player has a few thoughts on how to use them in that setting too.

I'm not sure which of those modules will actually be ready first, but I am personally looking forward to getting to play the centaur paladin-like Indian.
 
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