"They Rode to Perdition" starring Arcade's Gang (D&D/Boot Hill)

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 97, "The O'Bannon Gang", Wednesday April 12th, 1882:

They travel seven miles to the northeast towards the abandoned mine referenced in the note. They reach the area and find fresh horse tracks leading into an opening in the hillside. Hans spots movement; the gang sees someone leading a horse into the opening. They fly around to the back of the hill and disembark. Hank and Arcade sneak over the hill to a point above the opening, but can't see or hear anything, Morgana joins them just in time to hear someone speaking inside.

A voice is whispering loudly, "Vasquez! Wake up, you lazy...", to which another voice replies, "I'm awake - shut up!" A little more such banter is heard and it goes quiet again. Our gang tries to make a plan. Morgana goes invisible and scouts. She sees a wood elf in stereotypical Mexican "bandito" garb reclining by the opening, and another man a little further in. The elf, apparently "Vasquez", hears her and sticks his head out but can't see anything and returns to his post. She waits quietly but can't see or hear anything beyond the two men, so she leaves and reports back to the rest of the gang.

Morgana heads back down, with Qualtaqa following at a distance. Above, Hank readys his magic rope while Sam and Arcade get out their guns. After allowing a few minutes for the still invisible Morgana to reach her position, Arcade tosses a rock down. Vasquez comes out to check what's happening, and Hank snares him with his rope. Morgana sneaks behind him and into the opening as Qualtaqa walks out into view to serve as a distraction. Arcade and Hank pull Vasquez up the hillside as the other man ("Smoky Mountain" Joe) looks out.

Joe draws his gun as Qualtaqa charges - they miss eachother. Vasquez is struggling in the rope and Hank is losing his grip, so Arcade shoots the Mexican. “So much for us having the element of surprise,” Morgana mutters to herself. Hank switches the rope over to grab Joe as Qualtaqa continues past him into the tunnel opening. Hank and Arcade try to pull Joe up as he continues to struggle; when he manages to get his gun hand free, Hank shoots him.

Morgana and Qualtaqa continue to scout further inside. The tunnel goes around a bend and opens into a chamber where 6 horses are stabled. Morgana quiets them. Outside the others climb down, and Sam lights a candle as they enter the opening. Morgana hears voices arguing further down the tunnel past the horses and continues scouting ahead. Just then Arcade, Hank, and Sam catch up with the other two. Arcade notices bits of silver in the walls, reflecting the candle light and the light of a small lantern hanging at the other end of the "stable" area. Just as Morgana passes the lantern, she hears the voices getting closer and sees several figures walking up the tunnel towards her. She quickly knocks down the lantern and "Faerie Fires" these new opponents, catching them totally by surprise. As they pull out their guns, Hank yells, "Drop'em!"

One of these opponents moves out into the open, revealing himself to be a half-ogre holding a shotgun. He yells, “You guys are Arcade’s Gang. I should kill you all! You got my cousin Shotgun killed.” Hank interjects, “So? That’s no reason to make this personal.” One of the other O'Bannon gang members surprisingly also says, "Yeah, Blue, I told you not to make it personal!" Morgana reflects back and says, “If you mean Kentucky 'Shotgun' Krugg we didn’t kill him, that was the James Gang.” Sam comments, “Yeah, go threaten them instead.” The half-ogre points his gun and fires. Hank fires back, downing the big guy. O'Bannon says, "See - I told you never to make it personal!"

The other member of O'Bannon's gang now charges forward. He is holding two guns of his own and commands “Freeze you mangy sidewinders.” Arcade continues to point his gun back and says, “You like to use Western clichés? Fine. Why don’t you drop’em and reach for the sky!” The man continues his charge, firing wildly. Arcade dives behind a rock as he fires, his shot also missing. Hank and Sam both draw their revolvers and fire, both shots missing and striking the rock walls, ricocheting wildly.

Sam gets off a second shot which wings the man in the shoulder. The man continues to charge and fire, one shot grazing Arcade’s leg. Arcade ignores him and fires again, missing. Qualtaqa moves over and "Heals" Arcade. Morgana uses a "Gather" cantrip to stop as many bullets as she can as the other O'Bannon gang member now joins in the gunfight. Morgana now uses a "Magic Missile" spell to wound the onrushing bad guy, which doesn't seem to bother him much. Hank shoots a lethal shot into the still-charging crazy man as Arcade casts a "Heat Metal" spell on his guns, forcing him to drop the weapons as his last living act.

The remaining O'Bannon gang member is still firing, and wounds Sam in the chest. Qualtaqa rushes to Sam's aid while the rest continue firing. The bad guy is wounded, then his guns heat up too much from the effects of Arcade's "heat Metal" spell, which had caught him too. He drops them and tries to run away, tripping over the body of the half-ogre. Morgana pounces on him and holds a knife at this throat and tells him to give it up, which he wisely does. He is grabbed and tied up, complaining all the time that this wasn't how it was supposed to happen, that all he wanted was a little money and fame for taking down Arcade's Gang. He is told to stop whining, and anyhow they were no longer wanted, which surprises and disheartens the man further.

Suddenly, two shots ring out from further down the tunnel. The group quickly confirms that all opponents in this area are dead and then head into the cave, fearing the worst for Louie and Mary, making the captured bad guy lead the way in case there were further traps. They find Mary Wong in a room off the side of the main tunnel. They confirm that she hasn’t been harmed. Sam asks, “Where’s Louie?” She gestures around a corner in the room, where he is found holding a gun on a young woman who is wounded, and loosening the ropes with which he had been tied up. Hank says to Mary, “I’m surprised that they didn’t tie you up too.” She replies, “Why would they do that. They had guns, I didn’t, and I’m only a woman.” Arcade says, “Only a woman?” He then gestures to Morgana and comments, “Mary, you should try living in my world.”

Sam and Qualtaqa check on Louie, and find that he is all right. He explains that the gang had taken his pistols, knife, and sword (!), but missed his derringer, and when he heard the commotion in the other room he used the distraction to free a hand, draw his gun, and wound the woman who had been holding a gun on him and Mary. The woman complains, "That Chinaman has more weapons than anyone I've ever seen!" Arcade comments, "Ever met a Scotsman? We think Louie's really Scottish..."

The woman introduces herself as "Mystery Liz" and Louie says, "She only one in gang not crazy... or stupid." She says she had been the scout for the gang, and had delivered the notes. When she sees the captured man, she yells at him, "O'Bannon, you idiot! I never should have listened to you! Look at the mess this turned into" The man mumbles something and just about everyone tells him to shut up.

Louie retrieves his stuff, and comments, “Mary thinks she saw a ghost”. Sam asks “Where?” Mary’s eyes grow wide and she exclaims, “There he is!” They turn to see the semi-opaque apparition of an old human miner. The spirit states in a gravelly voice, “Who is in my house? Are you trying to steal my mine? My gold?” The group replies in unison “No”. Morgana decides she doesn't want any more to do with the ghost mine (first thing she's ever been afraid of since the gang met her).

Hank says, “You want gold?” He pulls out a $1 gold coin and tosses it towards the spirit commenting, “Here, there’s something for you to play dead with.” Arcade says, “We’ll all be going now.” Morgana adds, “Have a nice day.” Just then, a handful of skeletons show up behind the ghost and advance towards them. The gang rapidly exits the cave. The horses are startled by all the commotion; Morgana uses "Speak With Animals" to calm them and explain that it would be in their best interests to go along with the people and exit the mine quickly. The horses comply with alacrity as the skeletons come clattering up the tunnel.

They quickly check the bodies of the O’Bannon gang, finding guns and a small amount of loose change. Louie hands Mystery Liz's gun to Mary Wong, saying, "This make nice souvenir, or maybe you even use it someday." Mary is a little tentative, but takes it anyhow. They gather up the O’Bannon horses, two for Louie and Mary and another two for the prisoners. Sam and Qualtaqa tie the prisoners to the horses and lead them to town, with Louie and Mary guarding. The rest ride the airship back to Promise City.

The gang heads over to the office of Town Marshall Mitchell Berg. They inform him of what transpired. He asks, “Why didn’t you come to me from the start?” Morgana replies, “The ransom note said not to. We didn’t want to put Louie and Mary in danger.” Berg replies, “Those notes always say that. And since when has your gang ever done what they were told?” The group treats those questions as rhetorical.

The Marshall comments, “So you decided to just attack and kill them on your own?” Arcade says, “We brought two back.” Hank adds, “We kinda killed the others.” The Marshall says, “Well, there’s not much more I can do, your gunfight took place out of my jurisdiction. But I’ll hold these two for kidnapping since that happened in town.” Morgana thanks the lawman. The gang decides to head back to the El Parador. Louie says he will walk Mary home and then join them.

A short while later Louie arrives, with a depressed look on his face. He announces, “Charlie Wong say I have to either quit gang or stop seeing Mary.” Hank exclaims, “What! We save his daughter and this is the thanks we get! He’s taking away our Louie!” Arcade says, “Well, I would have preferred cash, but I guess that will work as a reward.”

Morgana says, “I’ll go deal with this.” She and Louie head over to Wong’s laundry. Louie decides to wait outside while she goes in. He then hears some rather loud shouting going on inside. A few minutes later Morgana storms out of the building dragging Mary with her. “What happened?” Louie asked. Morgana does not reply and continues on towards the El Parador with the orcan girl in tow.

When they arrive the others also ask what happened. Morgana replies, “He told me that as he father he could control Mary’s life. I disagreed and pointed out that this was America, not China, and different rules applied. From there the conversation and tempters escalated. He made the mistake of asking me what I would do with her if she were my daughter. So I decided to accept that as an offer.” Arcade says, “Hold on, Honey, did you just adopt Mary?”

Mary asks Morgana, “I try to be your daughter now?” Morgana replies, “No, you can try to be a free woman entitled to run your own life.” “Doing what?” Sam asks. Morgana asks her, “What do you know how to do Mary?” She replies, “I can do laundry, watch children, and cook.” Hank exclaims, “This is great! We can now have Chinese take-out whenever we want.” “And can get freshly starched shirts,” Arcade comments. The group decides to hire her on, if she'll agree. She is very tentative, but after a long conversation with Louie, conducted mostly in orcish, with the gang only being able to pick out "America", she agrees. As she exits to get her belongings, Louie says, "She agree to stay on with gang, but still thinking about marry me or not." Mary comes back a little later carrying the hope chest Louie gave her previously, and wearing Mystery Liz's gun!

Morgana makes arrangements for her to live with the gang’s other employees, the Young family. Angelica Young is very happy to add the woman her to the household, as she would much rather work as a newspaper reporter than as a stay-at-home mother, and Mary is happy with the idea of helping to raise the children. Reflecting on the number of employees they have of different nationalities, Arcade mutters “We really have established our own League of Nations.”

Thursday, April 13th, 1882:

The gang hears some hammering outside, two days after having returned from their rescue mission. They discover one of the town deputies putting up wanted posters for Mystery Liz. When asked why, he answers, "She is one slippery customer! Somehow she escaped the jail last night, and disappeared." The gang comments on how that's one more person with a grudge they'll have to stay alert for...
 

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Silver Moon

Adventurer
"Tombstone”, Module 134, Played October 16th, 2005. [Note, this short table game module takes place between the PBP module "Here there be Vampires" & "Ballots and Bullets"]


Chapter 98, “You did what!”, Tuesday, May 23rd, 1882, 2:00 P.M.

Six-weeks have passed since Louie and Mary were rescued from the O’Bannon Gang. During that time things within Promise City have been relatively quiet and peaceful. Arcade’s Gang has fallen into a daily routine where they have been keeping a low profile as respectable newspaper publishers. The Promise City Mirror has proved to be successful in the hands of Editor-in-chief Chumbley and ace reporter Angelica Young.

Morgana has kept in touch with Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who after a brief visit to Promise City decided to follow up on her suggestion of relocating his ballooning factory there from Chihuahua, Mexico. He has indicated that the railroad cars with all of his equipment and men will start to head north by the month’s end.

The group gathers at the El Parador Cantina in the afternoon to sample the new collaboration from their chef Joseppi Franjoluppi and the Cantina’s owner and cook Dorita Figures. The two of them have come up with a crunchy, baked spicy corn chip snack. The group decides that the snack is a grand success, especially when dipped in salsa. They have a long debate on what to call the item, eventually settling on the name of Dorita’s.

“Oh there you all are,” a voice exclaims from the doorway and they look up to see Deputy Sheriff Colin Hunter enter the Cantina. He has a paper in his hand, which he says is a telegram from Cochise County Sheriff John Behan asking for Arcade’s Gang to go see him in Tombstone.

“What did we do this time?” Arcade asks. “Nothing as far as I know,” Morgana answers. “Maybe this is about the O’Bannon Gang? That took place on County land rather than town land,” Louie states. Hank says, “What’s there to talk about. They kidnapped our friend and his girl, we got them back.” Sam adds, “And they fired first, it was self defense.”

Hunter states, “I doubt it’s about that. Those two who you brought back were tried and then hung. I honestly don’t know what this is about, possibly the Earps. Behan and his posse have been hunting after Wyatt Earp and his boys ever since they abandoned their badges and became vigilantes. He hasn’t had any success in catching them so maybe he wants you to help out.”

The group talks about it. They have little-to-no desire to hunt the Earps but decide that it would probably be best to answer the summons from the Sheriff to at least find out what he wants. Hunter offers to buy them tickets on the next day’s stage. “What time does that stagecoach leave?” Arcade asks. The Deputy Sheriff replies, “At 9:00 A.M.”. “That early? Forget it, we’ll ride there ourselves,” is Arcade’s answer.

Morgana decides that before they leave she will head upstairs to visit with her teacher, the elderly wood elf and Dorita’s grandfather named Manuel Gonzales. She enters through his room at the inn and says the magical command word to open up the inter-dimensional portal that leads to his secret sanctuary, a creation from the powerful Merlin’s Magnificent Mansion spell.

She enters through the doorway to see that the forty-by-sixty foot Great Hall has been redecorated since her last visit, with the pool and fountain along the back wall now being considerably larger than it had been before and filled with fish of various shapes and colors. The walls, floor and arched ceiling are all tiled in marble. The only aspects of the room that appear out-of-place are the simple and unmatched wooden tables and chairs in the center of the room.

Each of the two long walls has a pair of doors on it. Those to the right are his private rooms, a bedroom and a study. To the left are a library and a combination workshop/laboratory. She checks the left rooms finding him in neither. Next she checks the study and then finally the bedroom, opening the door a crack. He is seated on the bed, awake but heavily in thought, his chin resting upon his upturned hand.

She knocks upon his doorway, which breaks his concentration and he looks up. He stands up and comments, “Ah, my little bird. What can I do for you today?” “Is this a bad time?”, she asks. He replies, “It has been a difficult day thus far but will hopefully improve. Just seeing you makes it better.” They exit the room and he leads her into the library. They sit in two of the cushioned chairs their as he fixes them each a cup of tea.

“So my dear, how can I help you?” he asks. She tells him of the summons to see the Sheriff in Tombstone and the speculation about it perhaps being about the Earps. A panicked look suddenly crosses his face. “Teacher, what is wrong?” she asks. He replies, “You would be best to avoid this situation altogether. It may very well concern the Earps. I saw former Marshall Wyatt Earp and his followers just this morning.”

She replies, “Here? They were in Promise City?” He answers, “No, a few miles east. I went there to cast Invisibility spells upon three of them.” “You did what!” she exclaims.

He replies, “I really didn’t have much of a choice. He threatened to expose one of my students for using wizardry and witchcraft if we didn’t cooperate. He’d actually approached her and not me, but I wouldn’t let her put herself in a dangerous situation. So I went to the rendezvous in her place but even after I agreed to help him he still threatened potential harm to me.” Morgana mutters some profanity about Wyatt Earp and stops to regain her composure.

She then says, “So he now knows exactly who and what you are?” Gonzales replies, “No, I went in the magical guise of the human named Austin. I would not put my family in danger of him knowing who I really am and where I live. I will refrain from using that personae again unless I’m required to deal once more with Mr. Earp.”

“Which ones did you make invisible?” she asks. He replies, “Wyatt, his brother Warren and a man named Sherman McMasters. There were three others with them who are still visible, as are all six of their mounts.” “Do you know where they were going?” she asks.

He replies, “I imagine that they’re now on their way back to Tombstone, continuing this mad obsession of his to eliminate the entire Cowboy Gang. I strongly suggested to him that he abandon that quest and use this magical gift to safely leave the Arizona Territory but I sincerely doubt that he’ll heed my warning.”

He sees her thinking and says, “I hope you’re not seriously thinking of taking them on.” She replies, “No, this isn’t our fight. But the Earp brothers still don’t like us for killing their friend Doc Holliday, even though that was in self-defense. And I’m certainly not happy about him threatening you or any of your students.” Gonzales says, “Then what will you do?” She replies, “I don’t know, probably still go to Tombstone to hear what the Sheriff has to say. I’ll go see what the others want to do.”

Morgana reenters the Cantina shaking her head in disbelief. “What is it dear?” Arcade asks. She replies, “Not here. We need to get to Tombstone as quick as we can.” Hank exclaims, “Great! We’ll take the H.M.S. Sam Houston.” “H.M.S. ?” Morgana questions. Arcade replies, “I think it stands for Hank’s Magnificent Ship.” She says, “Fine, whatever. Time is a wasting, grab your horses and stuff and let’s ride out there.”

The group of Arcade, Hank, Louie, Morgana, Sam and their pilot Hans Schmidt are soon riding the five miles northwest to the protected valley between Bowie and Fisk Mountains where the dirigible is anchored. Morgana and Louie help to deactivate the various traps and protections around the ship. The horses are fed and watered while Hans works on getting the batteries and engines going, but before long they are on their way heading the sixty miles west towards Tombstone, flying several miles north of the main road to avoid being spotted.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter Ninety-nine, “Bait”, Tuesday, May 23rd, 1882, 3:00 P.M.

“Okay, it’s just us now. What’s going on,” Arcade asks. Morgana briefly explains about the three invisible Earp vigilantes heading to Tombstone. Arcade and Hank say a few choice pieces of profanity about Gonzales helping them. She replies, “He didn’t have a choice. Wyatt Earp threatened one of his students.” “So what’s the plan?” Sam asks. Arcade replies, “Simple. We go there, warn the law that the Earps are coming, and then come home.”

Sam exclaims, “And what if these invisible Earps come gunning for us?” “Why would they do that?” Arcade asks. Sam says, “We killed their friend Doc Holliday.” Arcade replies, “Yeah, but he had it coming.” Louie adds, “The Earps may not see it that way. From what I hear they’ve been going around killing anybody who they don’t like. That may include us.”

Sam adds, “They also might not be happy about our telling the law that they are on their way to Tombstone.” Arcade says, “They won’t know we were the ones who told them.” Morgana says, “Well, they might if they happen to be invisibly standing in the Sheriff’s Office when we talk to Behan.”

Arcade asks Morgana “Do we know when they’ll reach Tombstone?” She replies, “No, they were east of Promise City late this morning so it should take them a bit of time. But if they hurried they might be there already.” “And they’re all invisible?” Louie asks. She says, “No, just three of the six are, and none of their horses.” Hank says, “Okay, so you’re saying that we should be on the lookout for six horses with three riders.” “That’s actually not a bad idea,” Arcade comments.

Hans Schmidt suggests they get the telescope and the pair of binoculars out of the map box for this surveillance. The work out a rotation, alternating with two of them scanning the road on the distant horizon which Hans flies a bit further south for them to better observe. As they near the Dragoon Mountains, still about fifteen miles from Tombstone, six horses with three riders are spotted. The riders have left the main road and are headed towards the mountains. Hans immediately turns the airship to the north and lowers the airship’s altitude to put the mountains between them and the riders.

Hank comments, “So, what do you make of that? They’ve left the main road and are riding away from Tombstone.” Arcade replies, “They’ve been riding their horses hard all day, the mounts and riders are all probably tied. I’m guessing they’re planning to stop and hold up in the Mountains. That way they’ll be refreshed and alert when they sneak into town. That’s what I’d do if I were them.”

Hank says, “I say that we should go in and get them right now.” Arcade replies, “Using what? By the time we’re close enough to shoot at them they’ll be close enough to shoot back. This huge bag of air above us is flammable and makes a really big target.”

Hank says, “So what? Hans, didn’t you say that the covering over the balloons was reinforced and magically protected?” The pilot interjects, “Yah, it is, small arms fire should bounce off. But if they have magical ammunition, that could pierce it.” Morgana says, “The odds are pretty high that the Earps have some magical rounds with them.” Hank says, “Okay, scratch that, we’ll go back to Plan A.”

They proceed onward, reaching the outskirts of the Tombstone shortly after it has gotten dark. They park the airship a little over a half-mile away using the hills with the stamping mills and smelters to block the view of the dirigible from the town. Hank instructs Hans “Cut the engine but keep the batteries charged, we probably won’t be long.” Arcade adds, “But if anybody comes snooping around just get out of here. We can always take the stagecoach back to Promise City if we have to.”

The five walk into town, reaching it at around 9:00 P.M. They intentionally choose to arrive from the less crowded part of town and making their way unseen via the back alleyways. They decide to start at the more remote County Jail building, correctly assuming that Behan wouldn’t want to see them at the smaller County Sheriff’s Office above the Crystal Palace Saloon given that his office there is adjacent to that of Town Marshall Virgil Earp.

They knock lightly on the door to the Jail. Sheriff Johnny Behan opens it up and they see that he is alone inside. “You called for us?” Arcade asks. He says, “Yes, come in.” Getting right to the point Arcade asks, “Is this about Wyatt Earp?” Behan says, “Yes, Those Earp Outlaws have run roughshod these last ten weeks, murdering innocent men. Their friends are harboring and helping them, making it nearly impossible for myself and a handful of deputies to catch them over and above all of our other regular duties.”

Arcade and Morgana exchange glances without comment. Behan continues, “Well, one person says that he’s had enough and that person is the United States President Chester A. Arthur. The President has telegrammed the Territorial Governor saying that if the lawlessness continues here within Cochise County he’s going to declare Martial Law and will be sending in Federal Troops to resolve it.”

Hank exclaims, “Damn! If this place is swarming with Federal Troops there’s no way they’ll miss seeing the Sam Houston. They’ll confiscate it!” “The who?”, Behan asks. “Never you mind,” Hank replies. Arcade adds, “And given our gang’s reputation they might take us into custody as well. I think we’re in agreement that we don’t want the Feds around here.”

Behan replies, “Good. Then I’d like to deputize your group. With you as part of the Posse we should be able to find those Earp Outlaws right away.” “Or scare them off when they hear we’re on the case,” Hank enthusiastically adds. Arcade ponders that for a minute and says, “No, Wyatt doesn’t scare and we already know that he hates us. It sounds to me Sheriff that you want to use us as bait to draw them out.” Behan’s facial expression gives away the fact that Arcade’s assessment is correct.

A long tense period of silence follows. Arcade turns to his associates and says, “Let’s go home. Morgana adds to Behan, “Have a nice life.” Behan exclaims, “Hold on a minute, are you saying you won’t help out?” Arcade replies, “We’re not bait! This isn’t our problem.” Louie comments “But the Earps could become our problem.”

Morgana says, “Sheriff, I’m going to do you a really big favor, which is more than you deserve. I have some information about the Earps.” Behan asks, “Where is this information from?” She replies, “Never mind that and don’t ask. Wyatt Earp and five of his men are on their way here right now, they’ll be here by morning. And three of them are covered in magical invisibility.” He interjects, “Wait, how do...” Hank cuts him off with, “You hard of hearing? She can’t say how she knows, but trust her on this.”

Behan says, “But I need...” Hank cuts him off with “Sheriff, just say ‘Thank You’ to the nice lady.” Morgana doesn’t wait for the dumbfounded Sheriff to answer, interjecting a “You’re welcome.”

Arcade says, “Sheriff, I only have two more things to say to you. Good bye and Good luck.” With that he walks out of the building with the others following him, slamming the door behind them.
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter One-hundred, “Bombs Away”, Tuesday, May 23rd, 1882, 9:30 P.M.

The gang makes their way quietly out of town. Once they are clear of all the buildings Morgana mutters, “What an idiot.” Arcade comments, “Seems to be a lot of that going around, the Earps are idiots for coming here to stir things us. That’ll just get the Feds to come in even quicker.” Morgana says, “And from what I’ve seen the Feds just know how to barge in, take over, eat everything in sight, and take whatever they want from the local businesses.” Hank says, “They can’t do that, that’s our job.”

Arcade says, “Why don’t we just hope for the best, assume they’ll find and kill the Earps and we can just set back and die of old age.” Louie says, “Sounds good, we respectable gang. They leave us be.” Morgana mutters, “Unless they put these invisible Earps into an even more psychotic rage and they come gunning for us.” Hank says, “You think the Feds and the Earps will all just leave us out of this mess? Would anybody care to take any bets on that?”

Morgana says, “So this is still our mess, whether we want it to be or not.” Arcade says, “Well, we can resolve this now if we want to. We have a pretty good idea where to find the Earps.” Hank says, “But they’re sure to be at a defendable spot where they’d see us coming.” Arcade replies, “Who said anything about going in on foot.” Louie says, “We talk about that already. If we close enough to shoot from balloon they shoot back.”

Arcade states, “We could fly higher and use something other than rifles.” “Like what?” Sam asks. Arcade replies, “Well, right now we’re in the biggest mining town in Arizona. How hard do you think it will be to find some dynamite?” “The stores would all be closed now,” Sam adds. “Who said anything about stores?” is Arcades reply.

Realizing that the mines would store their explosives a distance from the town the gang checks out the various storage sheds near the hills. They come upon three locked and windowless sheds. Louie picks the lock on the first one, finding it filled with picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. The next shed has a much better lock, which takes Louie longer to get off. Inside they find two unopened crates, each labeled as having a hundred sticks of dynamite. They decide to take both, also gathering up a burlap sack that they fill with fuses, wires and blasting caps.

Louie and Hank carry the first crate, Arcade and Sam carry the other, with Morgana holding the sack. They take their time, very carefully making their way back to the dirigible. They crates are opened up and then carefully loaded on board as Hans gets the engine going.

As soon as they get airborne Arcade suggests putting the dynamite into bundles of six sticks with a single fuse and detonator in the center of each bundle. The group quickly gets to work at this task. As they near the Dragoon Mountains they have Hans kill the engine and continue to drift forward to the east in silence.

A campfire is seen in the distance, camped on a plateau halfway up the southeastern side of a mountain, with horses tied up in a group a short distance off. Morgana peers through the binoculars and says, “It’s them. The three visible ones are sitting around the fire.” The trapdoor at the bottom of the passenger compartment is opened up, with the four men each standing on a different side.

Morgana says she can shoot a Firefinger spell from her finger that they can all uses to light the fuses from. Louie says, “Good, I didn’t want to have to light other fires here with all this dynamite lying around.” Arcade says, “Okay, each of you guys take a bundle in each hand and put two more bundles near your feet to grab right after the first ones are gone. We’ll light the ones we’re holding all together. Just make sure that you get them all outside instead of dropping them on the floor by accident.”

Hans continues to steer the dirigible forward towards the light of the fire, which is now approximately 500 feet below. Morgana holds her hand with outstretched index finger over the center of the trapdoor and the four men simultaneously hold up their fuses up to light. Arcade flings his two bundles down together towards the fire and Hank does the same. Louie and Sam aim and drop theirs one at a time. By then Arcade and Hank already have their second bundles up to the flame. Louie and Sam grab their next bundles.

The gang had previously worked as mine guards, which now pays off for them. They had learned enough from the miners at the Liberty Hill Mine to generally estimate the right fuse lengths. Arcade’s first two bundles had been dropped just a bit too early and hit the ground a short distance away from the target without immediately detonating. The ‘thunk, thunk’ sound catches the attention of the men. Before they can react however Hanks bundles land, one almost directly on top of Turkey Creek Johnson, and the twenty-four sticks of dynamite simultaneously explode. Louie and Sam’s first two bundles then reach their destination and explode, both a distance off but stilling spreading rocks and debris over the area. Sam and Louie’s next pair of bundles land near the horse corral, killing one mount and wounding two others.

Gunpowder, Dust, flames, burning campfire logs and Johnson’s body parts cover the area as the next eight bundles of explosives rain down. One of Arcade’s is a direct hit on the already wounded Texas Jack Vernillin, the explosion ripping him to bits. Both of Sam’s bundles, as well as the final ones from both Arcade and Louie, fall directly upon the remaining horses.

As the dirigible begins to drift away they conclude that they are too far off for another volley. They gaze down below at the carnage of dead horses and Arcade says, “Looks like nobody’s riding away from this one.”

Morgana peers down further back with the binoculars at Earp’s man Charlie Smith and says, “No, but one of the men is limping away. There’s also no telling what happened to the invisible ones.” Hank yells, “Hans, turn this thing around for another pass.” The pilot replies, “I’ll have to start up the engine.” Arcade says, “Go ahead, I think they already know we’re here.”

Hans fires up the engines gives the ship’s wheel a hard turn to the right. The ship turns a full 270-degrees in the start of a figure-eight maneuver, now coming in from the south. Arcade asks his wife, “Got another one of those fire spells?” She says, “Yes, one more.” He announces “Okay folks, same thing as before.”

As the now noisier dirigible nears rifle fire shoots up from below, the shooters using rocks for cover. “Damn,” Sam exclaims as a bullet deflects off of the floor to the passenger compartment. Hank exclaims, “We can’t wait until we’re above them this time.” Arcade says “You’re right, everyone brace the dynamite so it doesn’t shift. Hans, pulls up steep.” The pilot does as instructed, with the change in altitude causing the compartment to now pitch at a twenty-five degree angle. That has the trapdoor now angled forward instead of straight down.

Arcade instructs the others “Light’em and pitch them out. Aim for the rifle discharges” Both Louie and Arcade’s first pitches are close to on target and the shooting stops. Louie and Hank’s next bundles also land in that vicinity. The dirigible then moves forward to the point that it is over the target zone as they each light and drops their final two bundles, with one from each hitting right where they want it to.

They have Hans level off, complete the figure eight and begin to descend. They have him hover above the ground as they drop the rope ladder and climb down for a quick reconnaissance.

Four men are confirmed dead while another is unconscious but still alive. Hank and Sam drag him over to the ladder and tie him to it. Warren Earp is among the dead but his brother Wyatt is not. They find tracks heading a short distance off which then disappear abruptly. “Looks like he used magic to escape,” Morgana exclaims. “Then we ought to get out of here too,” Arcade states. They climb back on board and pull up the ladder with the man, performing some simple first aid on him.

They arrive back near Promise City at around 11:00 P.M. Sam heads over to the El Parador to borrow handyman Grant Keebler’s wagon and they bring the wounded man back there, the man’s wallet having enough in it to identify him as being Sherman MacMasters. Morgana gets Manuel Gonzales and he helps them sneak the man up to his bedroom while Louie and Sam go with Hans to bring the dirigible back to the valley and ride the horses back to town.

They heal him to the point that he is barely conscious and he verifies that he is Sherman MacMasters and that Wyatt Earp was with them at the campfire. He then passes out again. A short debate follows about what to do with him, settling upon the notion to release him somewhere far away with forceful instructions for him to start a new life. They question destinations that Gonzales knows to teleport to, settling upon Athens, Greece. He and Morgana take the man and they teleport away. She is back by midnight and the gang all turn in for the night.




DM’s note: The Players decided to end the module at that point, with no plans to revisit this campaign at any time soon. I had originally planned for this module to last several character days, with the fate of Wyatt Earp being a significant unresolved loose end.

So decided to pick up the storyline here with my other gaming group, in our Play-by-Post campaign also set in Promise City. As a segway I ran a short “prelude” set the day prior to the Arcade’s Module to directly involve those characters in the Wyatt Earp plotline. We have just now the full module, which starts the day immediately after the events above. The Story Hour for this module is titled "Ballots & Bullets".




And as always, Reader's comments to this Story Hour are welcomed!
 

Silver Moon

Adventurer
Module 137 - November 5, 2006

Chapter 101, “Boom”, Thursday, June 15, 1882, 6:00 P.M.

The Story so Far: (events from the parallel module “Ballots and Bullets”)

On Tuesday, May 23rd, 1882 , returning from Tombstone via airship Arcade’s Gang carried out an aerial assault with dynamite upon the renegade Earp gang (Module #134). The United States Army was credited for the attack on the Earp Gang. Two days later a major fire took place in Tombstone and Wyatt Earp was seen alive and uninjured in Tombstone on that day.

Three weeks have gone by since then. An election is set for the upcoming Tuesday for Promise City to elect a Mayor, Town Council and Town Marshall. Five different political parties have been formed. Hank Hill of Arcade’s Gang is running as an independent candidate for Town Marshall.

During the last three weeks there was a outside the Marshal’s Office which left four dead including a Deputy, followed by sporadic killings which included a few candidates for office one of them being Deputy Sheriff Colin Hunter who was running for Town Marshall. Many of the dead were affiliated with Cowboy Gang are were presumably killed by the renegade Wyatt Earp.

Last Saturday night a mine owned by the Mayoral frontrunner was attacked by a group of eight hooded riders who threatened him unless he withdrew. The following morning while most of the town was in church a group of seven hooded riders attacked the northwestern end of town, dynamiting homes and businesses of a half-dozen candidates including the Freedom Party Headquarters (the Palace Saloon). Two riders were killed in the attack.

Two arrests were later made including bank clerk whose boss was Mayoral candidate Derek Avery. Avery is later found murdered. Several attacked candidates withdrew. On Monday Freedom Party candidate Bob Skull was arrested for Avery’s murder and jailed with the two arrested hooded riders. They used magic to escape and a posse failed to find them.

Yesterday Hank Hill transported two Town Deputies south via airship to meet a wood elf rancher in Mexico who provided circumstantial information linking Law & Order Party Town Marshall candidate Ashley King and the hooded riders. They returned to town as the Town Marshall debate was that night and Hank Hill did a good job of fending off criticisms and answering some tough questions. That night the hooded riders return to the previously hit mine and are were attacked by the miners, one rider being killed.

Two hours ago Deputy Marshall Chester Martin was involved in a shootout at a hardware store which ended with three dead including cattle rustler Billy Clanton and bank robber Brice Koontz with an arrest of Billy’s brother Ike Clanton.

Thursday, June 15th, 6:00 PM

Arcade’s Gang is now sitting down to a fine dinner in their home prepared by their Italian Chef Joseppi when gunshot sounds are heard a short distance to the south. “Should we go see what that is?” asks Sam. Arcade replies, “Nah, that newspaper Editor who works for us will tell us what happened.” Morgana says, “He’s done a good job, we should do something for him.” Arcade says, “Okay, Louie, why don’t you head over to the store and pick up a bag of Halfling Chow.” More gunshots fire. They decide to ignore the weapon’s fire and continue eating.

There is then a massive explosion, shaking the entire building and causing various dishes and small objects to fall over and onto the floor. Flying debris rains down on the roof and several of the house’s windows become cracked and broken. Hank exclaims, “I hope nobody was smoking on the Zepplin.” Morgana says, “That’s miles away, that blast was close.” Sam says, “Sounded like it was just a bit to the south.” Morgana says, “Ah yes, the dynamite shed over at Slade’s Hardware.”

“Didn’t that blow up just a few months back?” Louie asks. Morgana says, “Yes, they made him move it further from town.” “Not far enough,” Arcade comments, surveying the damage their own house just sustained. “Maybe we should put somebody else in charge of the dynamite,” Morgana suggests. Hank says, “Yeah, that Sam Slade doesn’t know he’s doing. I’d sooner put Freddy No-thumbs or Billy Firestarter in charge, they’d be safer with dynamite.”

They decide to head outside to survey the damage. Dozens of people are heading in a southward direction. The dust is still settling and Morgana spots some boot-shaped dust floating feely in the air and moving steadily. Signaling Louie that there appears to be somebody invisible present the two move in on either side of the moving dust particles and the two then grab a man between them. A short struggle follows with the man becoming visible. Hank grabs him from behind, the man turning out to be Bob Skull, who had excaped from the town jail three days earlier where he was wanted on murder charges.

They quickly discuss whether there was a reward for this guy. Deputy Sheriffs Frank Leslie and Dave Nagle are seen nearby and the prisoner is turned over to them. They march the man off to jail. Skull’s friend, the Palace Saloon owner was near where Skull was grabbed but denies knowing that the other man was following him. Morgana does not believe Adair but they have no evidence to the contrary.

Reporter Angela Young comes by and is swearing a blue streak. “What is the matter?” her employer Morgana asks. The very pregnant young lady says, “That explosion caused me to go into labor. This is the biggest story this week and I can’t cover it because I have to have this baby instead!” Louie quickly retrieves his girlfriend Mary Wong to assist Angela over to Doctor Eaton’s house, where Eaton’s wife Beth is a trained widwife.

The gang continues south where they spot a huge crater where the dynamite shed used to be. Town Marshall Berg arrives on the scene with Fire Marshall Jeff Mills and some of the fire brigade. Berg asks Deputy Chester Martin, "What in blazes happened out here, Deputy?" He looks at the crater. "Slade's shed blew up again? And who are these men?" Chester says, "This here's Elmer Koontz, wanted for robbing Condon's Bank last January. Mad Dog Moore was helping Elmer hide out in Fisk's house." The newspaperman Chumbley is nearby and hears Chester's summary while taking vigorous notes in his notebook.

Marshall Berg tells Chet to keep an eye on the prisioners as he heads up Silverbell Hill to inspect the damage to the stamping mill, smelter and mine and make sure there are no serious injuries there. Chester replies, "Yes, sir. Looks like Liberty Party headquarters didn't make out so good." Jeff Mills and his fire company put out the buring blankets and curtains that had been previously thrown out the windows of Fisk's house as well as small brush fires caused by the previous fireball. A small crowd has gathered further west down by Baines Butcher Shop. Chester sees the members of Arcade's Gang over there. Marshal candidate Hank Hill notices Chet and starts to head over in his direction.

Deputy Marshall Chester looks down at the prisoners to note where they are, then he looks up at Hank and waves. "Coming out for all the excitement, Hank?" Hank says "Yep, I hear that Sam Slade was careless with his dynamite again. Looks like this building took quite a beating. You have things under control over here?" Chester nods. "Something like that. He's going to have to store that stuff outside of town from now on. That's twice this year." He nudges the unconscious Koontz with his foot. "These two aren't giving me any problems. Looks like the Liberty Party is having some problems, losing their house and all.”

Hank kneals down and looks closer at the three dead bodies near the door, recognizing one as Marshall candidate Charlie Villars and another as council candidate Porter Norris. "These guys weren't killed by the dynamite, those are gunshot wounds. Looks like Earp decided to take out the Liberty Party. I wonder if he was the one who blew up the shed to try to cover up his handiwork?" Chester replies, "Hard to say. I was inside when the shed went up. If Earp did this and he's still around, the other Liberty Party guys should stay out of sight."

Around fifty feet further east the two young sons of the town butcher begin to point to something alongside the back wall of the butcher shop. “What is it?” Morgana asks. Hank takes a quick glance and says, “Looks like a dust-covered guy passed out drunk.” Arcade says, “Not fair, that’s my spot to pass out drunk in.” They head over there, and as they get closer they see that dust is the only thing covering the unconscious man, as he is completely naked. They then recogninze him as Wyatt Earp!

Hank says, “Somebody should go get the Marshall.” Morgana replies, “No, maybe somebody should make a citizen’s arrest Hank, perhaps someone WHO IS RUNNING FOR TOWN MARSHALL!” Hank says, “Yeah, good idea, I can do that.” Hank gets Sam and Louie to help him carry Earp over to the Marshall’s Office.

Hank goes back and tells Chester, "Oh Earp is around, my friends have him. I'll bring him over to the jail right now." Chester does a double-take. "They... what? Uh, yeah, bring him by. I'm going to take these two in now." Chester hauls Moore to his feet. He slaps Koontz in the face. "Let's go, you two. Time to go."

Morgana locates the newspaper editor Chumbley to have him write up Hank’s arrests of both Wyatt Earp and Bob Skull. They head over to the Town Jail where Chumbley asks Hank about what transpired. Hank says, “We all heard the big explosion. I grabbed by my guns and then saw this strange patch of dust that turned out to be that Skull guy using invisibility, must have been how he escaped before. So I grabbed him and turned him over to the Deputies, since they have a jail Skull hasn’t busted out of yet. I then head over here and see Wyatt Earp. I figure he’s up to no good, probably was the one who set off the explosion, so I arrest him too.”

Once the reporter has all of the information and things in town start to calm down Hank suggests that the Gang head over to the Long Branch Saloon for some drinks. He buys drinks for whichever eligible voters also happen to be hanging around. The Gang stays there for the rest of the evening and then wander back home.
 
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Silver Moon

Adventurer
Chapter 102, “Fall of the Hooded Riders”, Friday, June 15, 1882, 5:45 A.M.

Arcade’s Gang are woken up an hour after dawn by their wizard friend Manuel Gonzales. While the early hour is unwelcome he was wise enough to bring with him a pot of hot coffee from the El Parador. He appears agitated as they sit down at the breakfast table to see what he wants. He begins, “I have spent the last several days out at the ranch a mile south of town that my Great Granddaughter Sonoma co-owns. Wyatt Earp had coerced her and her business partner into assisting him, which could have led to difficulties if the authorities found out. I went out their to dissuade him from bothering them in the future.”

“Well, that’s not likely to happen now that he’s in jail,” Hank states. “As I have heard,” Gonzales replies. “I hope you didn’t wake us up this early just to thank us,” Arcade interjects.
Gonzales replies, “No, another matter of grave importance has come up. You are of course familiar with the Hooded Riders who attacked the town last Sunday morning.” Hank says, “Yeah, those explosions woke us up way too early too.” Louie comments “Two of ‘em were caught but broke out of jail on Monday. What about them?” Gonzales replies, “I found them.”

That information causes the Gang to perk up and Morgana exclaims, “Where?” Gonzales replies, “At the Perez Ranch, just over the hill from my Granddaughter’s ranch. I have been friends with the Perez family for many years and it occurred to me that I had not seen any of them around the last few days, so headed over there at dawn to say hello. I didn’t see any of the Perez’s but did see two human-sized men with brown hoods. I assume that my friends are being held hostage by the men with dark hoods, so came back here right away to alert you.”

The group does some quick planning, grabs there gear, and mount up. They quickly ride out to Sonoma’s ranch and leave her to secure their horses. Gonzales makes his way up the hill between the two ranches accompanied by Arcade, Hank, Louie, Morgana and Sam. They stay low and watch the Perez Ranch from a distance, which is comprised of a ranch house, barn, and two smaller storage buildings. He says that three members of the Perez family reside there, Ricardo Perez, his wife Francesca and his father Hosea. They also have a cow, a small flock of sheep and a couple goats who reside within the barn.

The group discuss how to proceed. Gonzales indicates that he has been a guest at the Perez house before so knows the interior. He draws out a short diagram in the dirt, indicating that there are four rooms on the first floor and three rooms on the second floor. They make an assumption that the outlaws would currently either be awake on the first floor or asleep on the second floor.

Morgana asks about the use of Gonzales’s teleport spells. He indicates that he has two but adds that he is only capable of teleporting up to three other people in addition to himself. Another drawback to using that the spell is that it requires the use of a small fire to activate, but it is unlikely that anyone in the farmhouse will be looking due east because of the rising sun. The group concludes that the best course of action would be for him to teleport three of them into a second floor bedroom and then incapacitate any outlaws sleeping inside of that room.

Reviewing abilities it is decided that he will take Arcade, Hank and Sam with him, as Louie and Morgana have the best change of stealthfully approaching the house on their own. It is decided that the pair will go under the cover of invisibility and approach from the far side of the barn so that the large building will help to shield any disturbance of dirt and dust from their approach plus the sounds from the barn animals would obscure any sound that they might make. They set up a signal for Louie and Morgana to make when they are in position and the pair set out to circumnavigate the ranch and come in on foot from the far side.

Fifteen minutes later a pair of riders are seen coming towards the ranch from the north. Louie and Morgana are now some 500 feet from the barn and freeze in place while the quartet up on the hill lie down low to avoid being spotted. A hooded man exits the farmhouse to greet the riders being handed the reins from the men as they dismount. The hooded man leads the horses off towards the barn while the other two head towards the house, each pulling a brown hood from the coat pockets and placing it over their heads before entering the building.

Gonzales says, “That’s a good sign, the Perez family must still be alive or the men wouldn’t bother to cover their faces.” Hank says, “I recognized one of those guys before he put the hood on, that’s Ashley King, he’s running for Town Marshall.” Gonzales says, “Hmmm, yes, ironically on the Law and Order Party ticket. Seems to me that on Sunday the Hooded Riders didn’t attack any place owned by Law and Order Party candidates.” Arcade asks “How many of them did you see at dawn?” Gonzales says two, including the one who is now in the barn. With the two new ones that makes at least four who are awake. There’s probably a few more based upon prior accounts of the riders.” Sam comments, “Maybe, maybe not, the second floor bedrooms might be empty then.”

Louie and Morgana make their way more cautiously towards the barn. It has large double doors in the front and a single door in the back.. The back door is latched from the inside but Louie manages to slip in a knife and lift the latch. Morgana says she will head up to the front to signal those on the hillside that they are ready. She follows through, stirring up a small pile of dust in that corner of the building. “That’s it,” Arcade states. Gonzales ignites the fire in the brazier needed for his teleport spell and immediately casts the spell before any of the outlaws below notice the smoke.

Guns drawn, they arrive in a bedroom which is unoccupied although the bed appears to have recently been slept in. Gonzales immediately extinguishes the fire in the brazier before the room fills with smoke. They make their way out into the corridor, hearing voices from downstairs. They second bedroom is also unoccupied. As they approach the third and final bedroom Hank peers down the adjacent staircase, seeing an armed hooded man near the bottom of the staircase, who is thankfully facing away and talking to somebody else on the first floor. Hank signals for the others to proceed, that he will cover the man below.

Arcade opens the door as Sam draws his gun. An armed man in the room is asleep in a chair near the door. Tied and bound on the bed are the three Perez family members. Arcade uses his rifle butt to strongly strike the man on the head while Sam grabs the man to keep him from falling out of the chair. He is now unconscious and they pull off the hood, recognizing him as Jason Snavely, one of the hooded riders who had escaped from jail.

Hank moves away from the staircase and guards outside the door as the others shut it. Arcade quickly ties the unconscious man up as Sam unties the three Perez family members, with Francesca confirming that they have been hostages since Monday. Gonzales suggests that he use his remaining teleport to get the hostages away to safety from the building and Arcade replies “Good idea, that’ll leave the rest of us free to act.” Gonzales gets the brazier going again and then teleports him and the Perez’s back to Sonoma’s ranch. Arcade suggests shooting the one at the bottom of the stairs before he spots them. Hank says, “I can’t shoot somebody in the back.” Arcade replies, “I can.” Hank answers, “Sure, you’re English.”

Louie gets impatient waiting and decides to head into the barn. As he moves forward he accidentally trips on some hay ropes and falls to the floor with a crash. The man in the barn securing the horses draws his gun and fires in the direction of the sound. Louie jumps behind a wooden water trough and fires back, making himself visible. Near the front doors, Morgana swears and waits by the door, anticipating the outlaw inside to soon exit. Instead, the front door of the farmhouse opens and two hooded men exit, moving quickly towards the barn and holding revolvers. Arcade heard the front door close and looks outside the window, seeing two people head towards the barn. He says, “Morgana and Louie are distracting them, let’s head downstairs while they are split up.”

Hank hears movement on the staircase. He steps out and fires at the man, the hooded rider being hit in the leg and tumbling down the stairs. Hank, Sam and Arcade hurry downstairs. Hank is the first down and sees one man at the far side of the room below and fires a shot, hitting the man in the shoulder. The man returns fire, missing Hank but hitting Sam in the side. Arcade, Sam and Hank all fire again and the hooded man falls dead to the floor. The kitchen door then opens a crack and shots fire out at the heroes.

Morgana casts a Hold Person spell at the pair of hooded riders approaching the barn, causing one to freeze in place and the other to run for cover behind the nearby stone storage shed. He starts to fire at the corner of the barn where he heard her voice. Inside the bar, shots continue to be exchanged, with Louie having been stuck twice before he gets an incapacitating wound into his opponent.

The shot fired from the kitchen didn’t hit anybody, giving Hank and Sam time to move for cover behind the living room furniture while Arcade hugged the side wall out of the kitchen door’s line-of-sight. Hank and Sam both return fire to their opponent, Sam striking the doorframe while Hank’s bullet splinters the door above the hooded man’s head as he fires back. Arcade makes his way through the door in the side wall, leading to the dining room that is adjacent to the kitchen. As Hank and Sam continue to command their opponent’s full attention Arcade casually walks into the kitchen, picks up a frying pan, and clubs the hooded man on the head from behind.

Louie reaches the front of the barn and opens the door, only to be shot at by the man behind the storage shed. Louie returns fire, distracting the man so that Morgana can get away from the barn and over by the farmhouse. Arcade and Hank exit from the rear kitchen door and Morgana catches their attention. After a minute of coordination they work out an ambush to surround their remaining opponent, with Louie continuing to fire from the barn and Sam from the front door of the farmhouse while the other three make their way around and behind him.

Once the man is surrounded Hank calls out for his surrender. Instead he turns and shoots at Hank, resulting is the heroes all firing back from different directions, with all but Morgana hitting. The man falls dead to the ground. Hank rushes forward and removes the hood, revealing him to be Ashley King. One of the other two dead is town baker Don Hudson, the other is a man who they do not recognize.

The group better secures the four wounded, pulling off the hoods to gag them. Other than Jason Snavely one is a private tutor from town named Icabod Shackelton, another is Kirby Watkins, son of Hank’s former landlord. The final one is a teenage boy who they don’t know. They put them in the back of the Perez’s wagon along with the three deceased. They hitch up some draft horses and head over to Sonoma’s ranch where Francesca Perez agrees to accompany them into town as a witness to the hooded riders' crimes.
 



Silver Moon

Adventurer
Arcade’s Gang in “They Rode to Perdition”, Module #159 – 4 games played 6-24-12 to 7-15-12

Cast of Characters (Owl Hoot Trail Character Class in parenthesis):


Lord Josiah “Arcade” Arcadian – male human fighter/druid (shaman)

Morgana Talks-with-Trees O’Shea Arcadian – female half-elf druid/bard (shaman) played by Kriskrafts

Hank Hill – male human fighter (marshal)

Louie (Lu-Buliang Yee) – male half-orc fighter/thief (ruffian)

“Sure-shot” Sam – male human fighter (gunslinger)

Professor Branford von Snicthellstein III – male Halfling gadgeteer (gadgeteer)

“Silver” Jake Cooke – male fighter/thief (scoundrel) played by BaradtGnome

Introduction – My friend Kevin Kulp (PirateCat) was co-authoring a new Role Playing Game titled “Owl Hoot Trail” for Pelgrane Press. It was a fantasy western that combined elements of a traditional western with fantasy elements similar to D&D 3rd Edition and utilized the ‘Open Game License’. Kevin was aware of my Arcade’s Gang campaign, which used comparable rules, and asked if we could play test his module with character sheets modified for the “Owl Hoot Trail” system. We were happy to do so, and one player created a new character using the gadgeteer character class from that system.

Note: The RPG is still in print and can be obtained as a physical book or as a PDF at the following link Pelgrane Press Secure Checkout The module “They Rode to Perdition” is included with the RPG, and it includes many scenes and encounters that my players did not play out in their game.

Chapter 103: "The Annoying Halfling", February 4, 1883:

It has been over seven-months since Hank Hill became a Deputy Marshal in Promise City, Arizona and during this time the group known as Arcade’s Gang has done their best to become respectable citizens in the growing mining town. Several new streets have been added to the town and a municipal park covering the equivalent of three city blocks is being constructed as part of this. Two large brick houses are now under construction on Park Street, one for Lord and Lady Arcadian and the other for the remainder of Arcade’s Gang, both houses looking out upon the southwestern corner of this park. In the meanwhile the group continues to reside in their current home further south in town.

The day begins with the arrival of Hezekiah Chumbley, the Halfling from Australia who has been editor of the Promise City Herald for the last fifteen months, with the gang’s Morgana as the newspaper’s publisher. Sam makes the mistake of asking “What is the news for today.” This is followed by the enthusiastic newspaperman speaking non-stop for the next ten minutes. He is finally stopped by the gang’s chef Joseppi Franjolupi, who thrusts a mug of coffee and a plate of food into his hands.

The Halfling stops to eat, after which he says, “I could also use some help from you.” When asked for what he produces a telegram which he says is from his cousin Caledonia Roundhill, the shopkeeper of a mercantile store in Perdition, New Mexico. “Where in perdition is that?” asks Arcade. Chumbley says “Around two-hundred miles northeast of here. There are no direct train routes so it would probably be easier for you to get there on horseback.” “Why us?” Louie exclaims. Chumbley replies, “Because she asked me to, and I am asking you. I have been working for you for over a year and have never asked you for anything.” Morgana says, “Except for a better printing press, higher-quality-ink, a backlog of paper, an expanded workshop, and more employees.” Chumbley says, “Those weren’t for me, those were for the business, that doesn’t count.” “Money out of my pocket counts,” she replies.

“Hold on, what does your cousin need?” Hank inquires. Chumbley says, “She’s been in Perdition a long time, back even before it became part of the United States and was still owned by Mexico. Her father started the store, but he died a long time ago. Our grandfather raised her after that but he died two months ago, this was the first that I heard of his passing. She was engaged to be married and her fiancé was expected back in town following a business trip, he never arrived.

The stagecoach that he was on was found overturned and burnt, the seven bodies including him, the drivers, and other passengers lying tied and bound in a nearby ditch. She says that it is the work of a gang known as the Killers of Carcass Creek. The gang is led by a man called “One Bloody Knife” and there is a reward of $500 for him, dead or alive. The other ten gang members have rewards of $50 alive, $25 dead, more alive since they could then testify against their leader. But the capture or elimination of the entire gang is worth the most, a flat $2,000.

Arcade heads over to Chumbley and says, “Thanks for the information” as he walks the little man to the door. Arcade then shoves him outside and slams the door behind him, and then locks it. The Halfling stares to bank on the door and then starts yelling from outside, asking if they will do it. Louie says, “You realize that he is not going to go away.” Morgana says, “We should probably let him back in.” When Chumbley fails to be let back in or hear a response from inside his inquiry then turns to begging. Arcade says, “We should probably agree before he starts crying.” The chef Joseppi is clearing the dishes from the table and Louie points to him saying “It’s all his fault, once you feed them they never go away.”

Professor Branford von Snicthellstein III, the gang’s newest member and gadgeteer, comes downstairs wanting to know what all of the racket is about. “Chumbley!” they all exclaim in unison. The gadgeteer rolls his eyes. He has mixed feelings about the Australian, but has some sympathy as they are two of the only four halflings living in town (with the other two being Chumbley’s wife and child) so he decides to let him back in. Rather than walking to the door however the Professor pulls a recently installed lever on the wall near the icebox which causes the door across the room to unlock and open on its own. Chumbley bounces inside saying “So you’ll do it?”

They chat for another ten minutes for more information and it becomes clear that Chumbley has never been to Perdition. He knows from his cousin and grandfather that there had once been some mining there, but the town is primarily known for its cattle ranch, owned by a half-elf named Alberto Criojo, whose family has been there forever. He says that the Native American side of Criojo’s heritage is Navajo. The town itself is a good hundred miles east of Navajo territory, with the local native America tribe of that area being the Haqat, who also refer to themselves by the traditional elvan name of “The Shee”. This leads to a ridiculous number of pronoun-based puns regarding the words “he”, “she” and “them”. The group reluctantly agrees to undertake the mission.

Deciding that they are light on thieving skills for a mission of this type (and because a player from my former Play-by-Post campaign also set in Promise City wanted to pay) they decide to extend an invitation to Silver Jake Cooke, gambler and co-owner of the Lucky Lady Dance Hall and Saloon and also the Silver Palace Saloon. He is knowledgeable of mining operations, being co-owner of the Fisk Mountain Mine. They head over to the Lucky Lady to discuss this with him.

After considerable back-and-forth conversation about this Jake agrees to join them provided “The next time I am in need of a favor, that Arcade’s Gang would look favorably upon granting it.” They agree to those terms. They decide to leave the next morning.
 

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