The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

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The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:42 am

These are the original game journal posts for the "The Great Northwest campaign" running from October 2012 to April 2014.

After a longer than usual summer hiatus we've started our new campaign. This time I'm indulging a long hedged desire to try the Western genre, so we're using Savage Worlds and Deadlands Reloaded as our system and setting of choice. It's time to saddle up and head out into the Weird West!

The Posse

The following heroes have been created to face the dangers and horrors of the Great Northwest. I'm using the Trail Guide: The Great Northwest as the basis for the game, because I'm a fan of the Pacific Northwest and I quite like the included mini Plot Point campaign.

Antonia "Toni" Morani is a young and ambitious Chicago muckraker who stirred up so much dirt on meat packing entrepreneur Pierpont Mauler and his connections to the political machine, that she decided a change of scenery was good for her health.

Tyler W. Thorne (W is for Washington) is also on the run - perhaps hunted by more dangerous people. An ex-recruit of the Agency, he stumbled upon a secret he was not meant to know and has been fleeing from his former colleagues ever since. The Pacific Northwest seems to be just the out-of-the-way corner of the country where he can lie low for a while.

Gustav Adolf "Gus" Boll has just arrived in the new world as an evangelist missionary. He's eager, enthusiastic, friendly, and completely clueless. He's on his way to spread the word of God among the heathens of the Northwest. So far his frequent inquiries of "Do you know Ingelheim?" haven't produced anyone able to chat with about his beloved little hometown.

Jack "Hunter" Torrance is another fugitive boarding the train to Seattle, a bounty hunter who hunted the wrong bounty and has been framed with a murder he hasn't committed. The murder he DID commit didn't help the issue.

The Huckster With No Name remained on the sidelines for now, as his player couldn't make it for the first session.

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Opening Scene - Iron Dragon Station

We started off with the beginning of a journey - or the beginning of many journeys in fact - as the heroes all came to Chicago's Iron Dragon Station to board the Transcontinental train to Seattle. Gus helped out a twelve-year boy trying to buy a ticket by claiming he was his guardian and blithely ignored the fact that this unaccompanied orphan boy just forked over $80 without so much as blinking.

No big surprise then when shortly thereafter an angry Chinese "gentleman" by the name of "Toothless Wu" showed up and demanded the surrender of little "Chris" and his purse of $100. As he didn't settle for "No" or "Call the Police" a scuffle broke out between Wu and his five henchmen on one side and Gus and Hunter on the other. Before long the brawl turned ugly (and bloody) when Wu's henchmen produced knifes and clubs, and Wu himself proved a fairly accomplished martial artist.

Toni and Tyler would have gotten involved too, if a mysterious assailant hadn't attacked Toni and the ex-Agent felt required to intervene. The gunman - who latter turned our to be an assassin hired by "Boss" Mauler to silence the pesky muckraker for good - proved to be a deadly shot who was repeatedly foiled by bad luck (two Adventure cards where played to cancel his exploding d10 Shooting rolls).

While Gus put down Toothless Wu, Hunter rescued the boy Chris from being kidnapped. Toni and Tyler struggled to put down the shootist until he finally fled the hall after his gun malfunctioned. The Chicago police arrived late on the scene and put the whole incident down to a failed robbery attempt by a Chinese criminal gang. Tyler had to flash his - illegal - Agency badge to get Toni's photo plates back which were being confiscated as evidence.

ImageFirst encounter with the West

Finally on board the train and steaming out of Chicago, the group learned that Chris hat indeed stolen the money for his ticket from Toothless Wu. But it had been intended to buy the boy from his foster parents, and Chris was now determined to head west and find his own people, the Klickitat, from whom he'd been taken as a baby and placed in a white man's orphanage.

During an overnight stop at Bismarck Junction, Tyler took a closer look at the train because some strange new-fangled freight cars had caught his eye. He learned that they were supposedly refrigeration cars used to transport beef out to the west coast because of food shortages there. This seemed a really absurd idea to him.

A short distance beyond Bismarck Junction the train entered the Sioux Nation territory and was stopped by an Sioux war party, which settled down for some kind of negotiation with Iron Dragon officials. A few of the bored younger braves started showing off, rode back and forth along the train whooping and hollering war cries, and made fake attacks on the train. Gus tried to impress them with a rousing hymn on his harmonium (yes, he's lugging a harmonium along), which only served to incite them further. As the train passengers grew more nervous a shot was fired, felling one brave from his horse.

Only Gus' quick and brave intervention prevented a full-scale battle to break out, as he strode towards the badly injured warrior and healed him with a miracle. Still angry and suspicious but also impressed and somewhat mollified, the Indians retreated and let the train resume its journey.

Technical Details

I ran the encounter in the railways station on a self-made battlemat with miniatures and the Sioux encounter more loosely. Both worked equally well. The first combat was set up to test the rules and get a feeling for what kind of opposition I can throw at the player characters. I already hit a pretty sweet spot. Toothless Wu was a minor wild card, but actually proved less of a challenge than the shootist (a modified veteran gunman, but not a wild card). The Adventure Deck worked very nicely, saving the PCs from two extremely lucky high-rolls on my part. One of those might well have resulted in a very early PC death.

Using miniatures is rare for our group and we'll see how often we actually break out the battlemat. So far it's been fun. Unfortunately another break is coming up due to vacations and Spiel in Essen. The next session will probably be in late October.
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 10:51 am

Continuing with our Deadlands campaign, the second session saw the complete grouped assembled for the first time. The huckster Matthew "Matt" Tyrell joined the posse as a fellow traveler getting sucked into events.

Leaving the Sioux Nations behind, the Iron Dragon Pacific Express steamed west. During the stopover in Billings ex-Agent Tyler Thorne's intervention in Chicago resulted in repercussions, as two Agents turned up and began looking for him on the train. He had some trouble evading them, but finally managed to do so by leaving the station and jumping back on the train a little outside of town.

For a while the ride as uneventful, until the train neared Butte. Suddenly the brakes screamed and the train came to a halt with a jolt. The posse saw that the locomotive had been derailed by some removed tracks, and they spotted a group of assailants in a nearby rocky ridge. The attackers fired a few warning shots, and then the leader of the presumed bandits appeared, demanding to talk to the train's conductor. A negotiation ensued, in which the posse took no part and which promptly ended in a furious shootout.

As the bandits attacked the train and the posse defended itself, they noticed two things: The leader was wearing a town marshal's badge, and the others were extremely gaunt and desperate. As the fight began to turn against the attackers, Toni Morani made the remaining ones aware of the refrigerated cars in the back, and blew one of the doors with some of Tyler's dynamite. The posse watched in horror as the attackers fell wildly on the frozen meat, some even trying to sink their teeth into it.

They overpowered the remaining assailants and questioned them, revealing they were from the close-by town of Harvest Feast, which had been an important stop during the railroad's construction, but was now bypassed for the much bigger Butte. Apparently supplies had dwindled, hunting was bad, no one was willing to deliver any supplies, and eventually starvation had set in. With the townspeople unwilling or unable to leave the town, they had settled on trying to rob the train for supplies.

Checking out the content of the refrigerated car, Toni was a bit disappointed not to find anything particular sinister, except for the complete carcass of a black bull hung from the ceiling.

Putting the locomotive back on the tracks would be a major undertaking, for which the Iron Dragon workers needed tools and equipment from the town. The posse was curious what was really going on, as the story of famine sounded unlikely and strange to them. Also, Gus wanted to feed the starving people and bought the meat from the dynamited car for the sum of $500 from Iron Dragon - paying with a promissory note on his own missionary association (the "Soul Miners"). So the posse headed down into the Valley to take a look at Harvest Feast.
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They noticed a lot of dead vegetation, saw hardly any animals, and found the town and its people in very bad shape. The church was abandoned (though in its vicinity there was a little more green than elsewhere). As Gus and Jack fed the townspeople with supplies from the train, Toni, Matt and Tyler found the Marshal (who had fled from the attack on the train) in his office and got another part of the story from him.

He told them that the town had been in decline and famine for a year, and the mayor Pete Flanagan had been keeping things together as well as he could. It was him who came up with the idea of the attack on the train, but he didn't leave his house up on the hill anymore, where he lived with his wife. The marshal hinted that both were "not well". So the posse decided to pay the mayor a visit.

To be continued...
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:03 am

The third session of our Deadlands saw the posse climbing up to Mayor Flanagan's house over Harvest Feast to investigate the strange famine that gripped town.

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Click on the image above to download a correctly scaled A3 pdf of the battle mat. Feel free to use it for your own games.

The house had a forlorn air and rundown look and no one answered their knock on the door. Entering uninvited, the posse found the mayor sitting at the dining table with a double-barrel shotgun on his knees. He was extremely gaunt, with a swollen belly, long black fingernails and a feverish look in his eyes. But he was mostly lucid and urged the posse to leave him and the town alone, insisting that they could not help him. While Toni (the Muckraker), Tyler (the ex-Agent) and Gus (the Blessed) argued with him, Hunter (the Bounty Hunter) sneaked around the house to get at one of the windows behind the mayor. Matt (the Huckster) started upstairs to investigate a strange thumping and scratching that came from the first floor. But the town marshal, who had accompanied the posse, stopped him from going all the way up.

Tempers flared, the marshal came to the mayor's help and a Mexican standoff ensued. This allowed Matt to finally sneak upstairs, where he saw a barricaded door at the end of the corridor. Suddenly something threw itself with all its weight against the door from the other side, causing Matt to fire several times into the closed door.

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Click on the image above to download a correctly scaled A3 pdf of the battle mat. Feel free to use it for your own games.

Hearing the gunshots, the mayor lost his nerve and fired his shotgun into Tyler, wounding him badly. In the ensuing firefight the marshal was killed and the mayor knocked out, but not before scratching Hunter badly with his fingernails (luckily the bounty hunter later made his Vigor roll to avoid infection). Behind the barred door upstairs Matt found the horribly deformed wife of the mayor (even heavier signs of malnutrition and the same long black fingernails as her husband). Apparently the mayor had locked her away but had kept feeding her this past year.

A search of the mayor's desk turned up a Chinese treasure map, depicting a portion of the shattered California coast, and a small lacquer box also of Chinese origin. When the mayor regained consciousness, he told the story of a desperate treasure hunt in California to make up for the declining fortunes of the local mine. The map had led him to the wreck of a Chinese junk - but he found no treasure, only the the curse which he brought back to Harvest Feast. It had infected his wife and while he kept a semblance of control, she degenerated into a mindless monster driven only by insatiable hunger. The whole town as well as nature around it had suffered form the curse (although to a lesser degree).

Gus decided he wanted to try an exorcism on the stricken man, but as the mayor begged them to end his life, Matt rather wanted to oblige him. As hew drew his gun, Gus threw himself in the line of fire and took the bullet. Only the Lord's grace saved him (5 wounds, reduced by a Soak roll to 2). Needless to say the atmosphere in the posse was strained after this incident. Despite the shot to the chest Gus went ahead with the exorcism, but failed the attempt. Still cursed (or possessed), the mayor's body gave out at sunrise and died.

Tired and exhausted the posse struggled back into town where the folk of Harvest Feast assembled. Gus led them into the church for a service and managed to rekindle their hope with a rousing sermon (successfully lowering the fear level). The oppressive air seemed to lessen and the townsfolk decided to try to survive the coming winter and rebuild their little settlement.

With the help of the townsfolk the railway line was soon repaired and the Iron Dragon Express steamed on towards Butte. The train would stay overnight for needed repairs and all passengers were required to leave the cars. Butte's marshal was checking the passengers' face against a wad of wanted posters, but somehow he failed to recognize Jack despite his countenance being among the ads. But his two Chinese deputies seemed to take an interest in Chris and trailed the boy and the rest of the posse.

After picking up his monthly family allowance from the local bank (and risking the notice of the Agency) Tyler invited the others for dinner and a room at a first class hotel. There they secured the services of a Mandarin-speaking westerner (the Chinese conductor had balked at deciphering the treasure map) who told them that the map indeed contained directions to an alleged treasure ship by the name of "Gien".

A little later the posse was visited by an amicable Chinese gentleman by the name of Butterfly Sung, the leader of the local Tiger Triad. Sung asked about Chris, claiming to be curious about the interest Toothless Wu had shown in the boy. The posse claimed Chris had left the train in Bismarck Junction and Sung politely acted like he believed their claims. He did learn quite a bit about Chris' background - about his Klickitat heritage among other things. He Gus, and Matt joined for a game of mahjong and the Huckster did manage to defeat the Triad boss. But as but he was polite enough to keep playing until his opponent had won back part of this losses, Sung warned him about Lotus-Blossom Wen, his counterpart in Seattle. He claimed she was extremely dangerous and Toothless Wu was her servant. They parted in a friendly manner.

The next day the train departed for the final leg of the journey towards Seattle, where it arrived after two days of uneventful travel.
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:16 am

This is the fourth session log of our Deadlands Reloaded campaign "Brothers of the Woods" in the Great Northwest. Caveat: This log contains serious spoilers for that plot point campaign included in the DL:R trail guide "The Great Northwest". If you intend to play this in the future, be warned.

As we last saw our posse, the Iron Dragon Express was just steaming into Seattle, the Emerald City. They were happy to have reached the end of their dangerous journey - or so they thought. Outside the station a young man in a black coat began following them, whom ex-Agent Tyler quickly identified as a junior Agency member. He confronted the man - Agent McKendrick - and intimidated him enough to be left alone for the moment. But McKendrick said that we would be consulting with his boss the Seattle station chief - Agent Black. At the mention of that name Jack "Hunter" Torrence gave a start and seemed a bit disturbed, but denied any knowledge of the name.

Boarding in a small and cheap hotel the posse considered what to do next. The boy Chris was a bit at a loss what to do, but still wanted to find his lost tribe - the Klickitat - while Matt (the Huckster) was looking for some serious gambling, and Toni (the Muckraker) wanted to find proof of the Bigfoot and collect the Tombstone Epitaph's reward. For that she was anxious to get to Walla Walla where rumors of numerous Bigfoot sightings - even attacks - were coming from. Leaving Seattle quickly didn't sound so bad, since food seemed to be scarce in town and way overpriced. Also, neither Tyler nor Hunter were eager to wait for the return of Agent Black.

Thinking they might combine a trip to Walla Walla with looking for Chris' lost people, most of the posse decided to visit a drinking hole frequented by woodsmen and trappers (The Thirsty Raccoon) to find an experienced guide to the Cascades - especially after hearing bad stories about the Wendigo killing people out in the wilds. Tyler, Toni and Matt found two (un)likely candidates: A surly Indian by the name of Angry Mouse and an elderly and hard-drinking trapper called simply "Joe". While the former seemed the more sober and competent, his unfriendly demeanor and higher price caused them to settle on Joe as their guide. They also learned that a Bigfoot had been sighted not far from Seattle at all, near the town of North Bend just a hard day's ride to the South East.

Meanwhile Hunter spotted two loitering Chinese on the other side of the street who seemed out of place in the neighborhood. He walked over and began to taunt them harshly. The provoked thugs promptly flew into a rage and attacked him. He shot down one and let the other run away. As the bystanders gathered around, including the "guests" of the Thirsty Raccoon, it became clear the killed man was a member of the feared Lotus Triad. Promptly a whole gang of thugs arrived out of the night, led by a hulk of a man swinging a giant, iron-studded club. The bystanders retreated from the street as the posse faced off against the Triad gang. All seemed set for a bloody brawl and deadly shoot out.

But then the diminutive Toni a flick her hidden derringer into her hand and shot the brutish leader right between the eyes. He went down like a felled tree. His stunned followers gaped in awe - and then turned and ran.

[This was an amazing use of adventure cards and luck. As the survivor of the original two Triad men fled into the dark, Toni's player threw down "Reinforcements" - bringing in more bad guys - and then added the just drawn "Uh-Oh" - making one enemy larger and more dangerous than the rest. She proceeded to draw a Joker for the first turn, hit the brute with her Derringer, and rolled multiple raises on her damage roll for a total of 23 - which another player then doubled with a play of "Bull's Eye". It just seemed appropriate for the other thugs to flee at this display of uber-awesomeness.]

Back at their hotel, they met Preacher Gus and Chris who had been looking for some information on the Klickitat in town. They had learned that the tribe was indeed considered extinct - though there were rumors of a lost band somewhere - and had a reputation for having been friends with the Sasquatch and speaking their language. They had also met an old Indian who claimed to be able to do magic and offered Chris to teach him to summon the spirits of his dead people. Gus was deeply suspicious of that Indian though, and had not allowed Chris to accept the offer.

Matt trailed around town a bit more, visiting the Emerald Star saloon and learned about an upcoming big poker game organized by mayor Kenneth "Boss" Boyd. The game was supposed to happen in a month's time, but the princely entrance fee of a 1000 dollars seemed out of reach for him at this time.

The next morning the posse set out towards North Bend - after equipping themselves, buying horses and rousing a thoroughly drunk Joe from his bunk. As they rode out of town (on mules) they caught sight of a beautiful Chinese woman watching them from a balcony. Her eyes glittered with interest as they passed by and her gaze lingered on Tyler. [Tyler's player innocuously played the card "Love Interest", blissfully unaware that the pretty face was actually Lotus Blossom Wen, the leader of Seattle's Lotus Triad.]

Two-days later the posse rode into North Bend, inquired at the Borst general store about the Bigfoot sighting and learned that Gus Mueller was the man who had seen the Sasquatch near his lonely cabin up on Mount Si.

On the way up there, they came across a reporter - hardly more than a pimply boy - named Meriwether Anderson, Jr. who was toting around something that made Toni's fingers itch: An Epitaph camera, an heirloom from his deceased journalist father. They allowed the boy to accompany them on their search for the Bigfoot.

They soon found Gus Mueller's cabin. After the cranky old moonshiner shot both barrels of his shotgun into the air to warn them off, they were able to pacify him and learn that he had seen the Bigfoot four days ago near his still in the woods. As it was getting too dark to look for tracks, they settled in for the night. Hunter's and Toni's sleep was disturbed by an eerie feeling of something large flying across the moon, but the others slept soundly.

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The next morning they found the tracks of bare, huge, but roughly human feet and followed them eastwards into the Cascades, still led by Joe and followed by Merriwether Anderson Jr. Two days later, as night was falling, they came upon a strange sight on a mountain glade. Three young pines had been cut down and leaned against each other, with a bound and gagged human hanging from the makeshift tripod. Toni saw a movement up in the trees to their right, but Matt and Hunter advanced across the stream bisecting the valley to take a look at the tripod.

Just then something dark, winged and huge with enormous claws and fangs swooped out of the sky. It went straight for Hunter, trying to grab him and lift him up into the sky - but missed him badly and crashed into the ground [Adventure card "Not Today" played]. As the Winged Wendigo rose up and towered above the posse, everyone took half a step back - except for Joe and Merriwether who just turned and ran - but then started firing like mad or - in the case of Toni - taking photos [all players made their fear rolls here].

A shot wounded the dazed Wendigo and the a roar arose from the trees above the glade. Two giant, hairy man-apes - Sasquatch - burst from the trees and raced towards the combat, waving wicked looking spears in their huge hands. For a moment the posse was unsure whether these were enemies or allies, but then the two fell upon the wounded Wendigo. Together with the posse they brought down the beast and made very sure it would not rise again.

If the posse was hoping for a conversation or something along those lines at that point, they were disappointed. One of the Sasquatch snuffled at Hunter (who had leaped on the Wendigo's back and stabbed him when his rifle jammed) for a moment, but then only bellowed at him loudly and turned to lope away. Its companion followed, but not before he rammed its spear into the ground in front of the group and left it behind. Weird carvings and images could be seen on the man-high stick. But it had to wait for the moment...

P.S.: Click the glade battlemap above to download a print-ready A1 pdf of the map.
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:21 am

And on it goes, again with free battlemap included.

This is the log of the fifth session of our Deadlands Reloaded campaign in the Great Northwest.

After they defeated the flying wendigo near North Bend, the posse freed the cowpoke hanging from the sasquatch's contraption. He introduced himself as Bill Parker and told how he and his partner Junebug McFee - whom they found imprisoned in a hole nearby - had been abducted from the Double S ranch near Seattle. The Bigfoots had carried the two up here into the mountains and used them for bait - quite clearly to attract the wendigo. They also noticed that the form of the dead wendigo was slowly shrinking to human proportions, as did the fangs that Hunter had pulled from the corpse as trophies. The only lead to learn more about the sasquatch seemed to be the spear one of the hairy humanoids had left. It was decorated with weird symbols and Chris found them familiar, triggering memories of his childhood. Hunter identified them as similar to petroglyphs found all over the American west.

As heading deeper into the Cascades seemed to serve no purpose, the posse decided to return to North Bend together with both the wannabe reporter Meriwether Anderson Jr. and the two cowboys. Two days later they arrived back at the Borst farm and trading post. There they ran into a party from Seattle: Lotus-Blossom Wen with a retinue of hired guns led by the scout Angry Mouse. The cowpokes were harassing an old Indian by the name of Dull Knife and the posse intervened. Tensions rose but were defused by Gus and Lotus-Blossom Wen. The Chinese Triad leader seemed friendly enough and talked with Chris about the Klickitat tribe and his quest to find remnants of his people.

In the meantime the posse learned from Jeremiah Borst and Dull Knife about War Eagle Mountain*, where supposedly a restless spirit dwelt who knew everything about the Cascades and the people living there. They suggested this might be a way to learn about any surviving Klickitat. Unfortunately Lotus-Blossom Wen also learned about this, and after a peaceful evening at the campfire and a romantic encounter between Wen and Tyler on the river bank, she quietly left North Bend early the next morning to reach War Eagle Mountain before the posse.

*My apologies to Idaho; I moved War Eagle Mountain to Washington, using Tamanos Mountain near Mt. Rainier for its location.

Although led by Angry Mouse, Wen's party could not match the speed with which Hunter guided the posse through the wilderness towards Mt. Rainier. Joe proved hardly any help at all, but Tyler assisted Hunter quite well instead. The posse overtook their opponents and arrived first at War Eagle Mountain.

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As they climbed towards the peak, a ghostly Indian appeared out of thin air and threatened them angrily. Gus' "Tongues" miracle allowed him to understand the specter. It named itself as War Eagle, a Shoshone warrior who had confronted an evil man named Raven on this peak, had been defeated and then bound to this place by Raven's curse. War Eagle's broken skull was horrible to behold, the shock causing Hunter to jump from the mountain side into a convenient, but icy pool. Despite this the posse overcame their fear, pressed on towards the peak, managed to calm down the spirit and convinced him that their intentions were honorable. As they asked about the Klickitat people, War Eagle told them that indeed a last band of this tribe lived in a hidden valley to the south.

War Eagle was about to point them towards that valley when he became aware of Lotus-Blossom Wen's party also ascending the mountain. He moved to confront them as he had the posse, and that quickly escalated to violence as Angry Mouse immediately fired at the ghost. One of Wen's retinue - a burly Chinese named Bu - suddenly transformed into a huge and grotesque ogre and attacked War Eagle, but most of her other followers couldn't stand the ghost's horribly visage and fled down the mountain. Hunter, Toni and Gus got embroiled in the fight while Tyler desperately tried to convince them to stand aside. To him, the conflict seemed entirely between the Indian Ghost and Lotus-Blossom Wen, a view the others - especially Gus - could not share.

As the ogre and War Eagle struggled, Wen seemed to look for something among the bones strewn across the peak and then her eyes fell on a cracked skull that matched War Eagle's horrible injury. But before she could pick it up, Chris snatched it away and on Gus' urging refused to hand it over to her. Just then Hunter managed to bring down the ogre with a well-placed shot and Wen raced to her companion's side. She tried to staunch the wound, apparently caring quite a lot for Bu. Gus offered to heal him in exchange for her promise not to interfere anymore, and she agreed. As Gus miraculously closed the gunshot wound, the ogre rose, picked up Wen in his arms and fled the mountain.

War Eagle told the posse a little more about Raven and the manitous his enemy had unleashed upon the world to fight against the white man. Apparently they were the cause for the sickened land, the famine and the fear that stalked the land.
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:29 am

After a hiatus around New Year our campaign continues with the "triumphal" return to Seattle:

After they learned the location of the lost Klickitat tribe from War Eagle, the posse took stock of their supplies and realized they were running too low to make the trip to Northern Oregon on a direct route. So they decided to head back to Seattle, resupply there and take a steam boat to Portland, which was much closer to the destination. Toni (the Muckraker) was especially keen on this, because it would give her a chance to publish her Bigfoot photographs.

On the way back north to North Bend the posse caught up with Lotus Blossom Wen, her ogre guardian Bu and Angry Mouse. Although not all were happy about it, the posse joined their erstwhile opponents for the trip home. They learned quite a bit about Kang and about Wen's ambition to learn magic independent from her mentor. Apparently that was her motivation to learn the secrets of the Klickitat people. The failure on War Eagle Mountain seemed to have ended Wen's current quest though. She told the posse she had to return to Seattle to take charge of her business again - meaning the Lotus Triad, a gang beholden to Kang's Lion's Roar Triad.

The trip back to Seattle was uneventful. Wen invited the posse to take lodging at her "Green Dragon Guesthouse". They were pretty sure the invitation was not without hidden motives, but still accepted, remembering their rather unfriendly lodgings during their first stay. Toni hastened to send her photographs by mail to the Tombstone Epitaph, while also publishing them along with an article in the Seattle Times. At the newspaper's office she encountered Agent Black, the Agency's station chief in Seattle, obviously back in town. As it later turned out, he censored the publication of her article and prevented the Times from printing the photos.

Meanwhile a crowd gathered in front of the Green Dragon Guesthouse, as the posse's exploits had already be covered in the newspaper - by Meriwether Anderson, Jr., the young wannabe reporter they had met at Mount Si. Taking advantage of their celebrity status, they scheduled a story-telling hour for the evening, where they would tell of their adventure and answer any questions. This quickly made the rounds by way of mouth-to-mouth propaganda and people flocked to the Chinese guesthouse for the event.

Unknown to the others, Hunter (the Bounty Hunter) had a scary encounter a little earlier. After he had sold their mules he ran into someone he knew: mayor Pete Flanagan of Harvest Feast. The man didn't look to good, which was no surprise, as Hunter had helped to dig the man's grave and put him in, just a few days ago. Badly rattled Hunter ran from the man and at first didn't tell the others.

The story-telling event went perfectly and Toni really inspired the crowd with her tale (bringing down the Fear Level a notch). But as they finished, events took a dramatic turn. First Mayor Flanagan showed up, hell-bent on revenge for the death of his wife (and his own). He specifically targeted Matt (the Huckers) and Gus (the Blessed), the former because he actually killed Flanagan's wife and the latter because he failed to exorcise the hunger spirit. The posse had big trouble bringing down the freshly risen corpse - what finally tipped the balance was Toni's appeal to some of the cowering townspeople to help.

[Lesson learned: Harrowed are tough. I was expecting this to be more of warm up encounter than a serious battle. But the posse had to pull all the stops to overcome him and was pretty exhausted afterwards.]

If that wasn't enough, after Flanagan was put down (again) Agent Black showed up with two of his henchmen. He took charge of the corpse and urged the posse to keep quiet about all these supernatural events - and not in a friendly manner. Instead he came across as bullying and arrogant. When the posse didn't seem exactly likely to follow his directions, he pulled out a mnemonizer and "suggested" that everything had been something better not discussed publicly.

He also took Tyler aside (the ex-Agent) and offered him a deal: Instead of arresting and deporting him back east, he would let him go and hold a protective hand over him - for a price. $100 of Tyler's monthly allowance ($150) would from now on go to Agent Black instead. Tyler would have until next morning to think it over, as Black told him to bring the necessary papers to the F.W.Morse shipping office near the railway depot.

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Hotz Whitewash City Shipping Office

Tyler wrestled with this for a while, but finally decide to accept the humiliation and accede to Black's deal - for now. His revenge would come later. He delivered the requested bank order and quietly took Black's barbed insults. Then the posse boarded the steamer to Portland.

[As you can see from the picture and the floorplan below, I was prepared for the posse taking on Black and his goons at the shipping office. But after the tougher-than-expected fight against the harrowed Flanagan caution prevailed and the posse took the safer path of paying off Black for the moment. But the conflict is not canceled, only postponed.

The paper building is from Eric Hotz' excellent Whitewash city line of paper models. It comes with a matching floorplan, I only had to add a secret underground level to make it a nice location for a dramatic encounter ... which didn't happen. Click the link below to get a scaled pdf of the underground floorplan.]


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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 11:56 am

This is the session log of our seventh Deadlands Reloaded session (February 1st, 2013).

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On board the steamship "North Pacific" from Seattle to Portland the posse settled down for a hopefully relaxing trip. It was not to be. Matt (the huckster) was pleased to see quite a few people gathering to play poker during the trip, but blew his Smarts roll to find a good table. Instead he landed in a game with a violent psychopath. The resulting shoot out was an excellent opportunity to test the duel rules, which turned out to work just fine: Matt was quicker on the draw and put a bullet in his opponent's heart. The onlookers all agreed that it was clearly self-defense and the "Renown" adventure card made sure people would be talking about Matt's lighting draw and cool head in the future.

As the evening drew on and most passengers retired to their cabins and berths, Tyler (the ex-Agent) and Toni (the muckraker) went on deck to get some fresh air. They witnessed one of the sailors lowering one of the boats and when they approached them, he became frantic and jumped into the boat. Before they could stop him he cast off and vanished into the night. The captain, quickly alarmed, was furious about the stolen boat. It dawned on the posse that a lone sailor fleeing from the ship was not a good sign, and when they learned that he had been seen with Agent Black on the pier, they began to search below decks for signs of sabotage.

And Hunter (the bounty hunter) did indeed find something: A barrel of dynamite attached to an infernal triggering device. In a dramatic action (first time to use these rules too), Tyler and Hunter got the contraption out of the barrel and through a porthole out into the sea where it exploded. The resulting blast almost capsized the North Pacific. Had it happened inside the ship next to the ghost rock boiler, the result would almost certainly have been fatal to ship, crew and all passengers.

The North Pacific steamed into Portland the next day, and the captain promised the posse to take them on the next trip for free as a thank you for their help in saving the ship. The posse stayed in Portland only for the night, and chose not to follow up on some murders that had happened the nights before, despite a sizable reward being offered. Instead they stocked up on provisions and headed into the wilderness in search of the lost Klickitat.

Toni's memory of the valley that War Eagle had shown her, combined with Hunter's excellent survival skills to guarantee them a fairly quick search. They had to take shelter from a sudden snowstorm once, during which a large beast prowled about their camp. Tyler drove it away with a thrown stick of dynamite, without them properly laying eyes on the creature.

The next day the posse reached the Klickitat's hidden mountain valley. Gus' (the Blessed) Tongues miracle ensure easy communication, and although the Indians were suspicious at first, Chris' presence and Gus' properly chosen word convinced them of the posse's good intentions. Their chieftain Storm Eagle invited them into the tribe's longhouse as guests.

During the ensuing conversation, when the posse asked about the Klickitat, their role as spiritual guardians of the land, and about the Sasquatches, Gus - again with the help of the Tongues miracle - learned that the Klickitat were apparently without a shaman at this time. Storm Eagle deflected any attempts by the elders to talk about someone called "Walks Alone at Dawn". Before they could follow this up, the chief declared there had been enough talk for the day. The posse was invited to spend the night in the longhouse; more could be talked and decided tomorrow.

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No self-drawn maps were used in this session, but for the first time I used my gorgeous new Raisz landform maps for planning the travels and locations. While actually much more recent than the late 1800s, the emphasis on natural landscape makes it easier to use them for the Deadlands setting.
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:00 pm

This is the log of our eighth Deadlands Reloaded session (on February 15th, 2013).

After a peaceful night in the Klickitat longhouse the posse managed to learn more about Walks Alone At Dawn, the tribe's shaman. He had had an affair with Storm Eagle's wife and had been exiled for his crime. Hunter learned from Slender Fir that the shaman now lived further up the valley on the far side of the mountain lake.

Gus tried to convince the tribe elders that he should be allowed to bless a location in the name of the Lord, which they could either use as a chapel or a store room to protect their food against the "rotting curse". But the Indians were unwilling to allow a "holy site of the white god" on their lands.

Early in the morning Toni had spotted an unusual figure in the woods, and as the posse now trekked up the valley to find Walks Alone At Dawn, they felt shadowed and found wolf tracks that didn't seem quite natural. Something was out there in the woods observing them.

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As they reached the mountain lake with the sun setting behind the western peaks, they spotted a light at the far end of the lake. The shaman's hut was near. But snow began to fall quite suddenly and from the woods on their right a massive beast, quite obscured by the whirling snow flakes, emerged. A Chinook! And an incredibly massive one at that (the adventure card "We're gonna need a bigger boat! was played on it).

Walks Alone at Dawn emerged from his hut and came to the posse's help - which was desperately needed. The beast seemed almost completely impervious to their bullets and spells, as well as the shaman's tomahawk. Even Tyler's prodigious use of dynamite didn't seem to impress the Chinook. Quite contrary to Hunter, who got severely damaged by a blast. It seemed to take ages for the monster to finally go down.

[With a toughness of 14 - 12 original plus 2 from the card, the Chinook shrugged off almost all damage, despite not being a wild card. As a result the combat took VERY long, much longer than expected and longer than was really fun. I'll be more careful with high-toughness monsters in the future.]

After the fight they took care of the wounded as well as they could - Hunter's injuries were severe - and Walks Alone At Dawn invited them into his hut. From him they learned more about the Sasquatch and their home and spiritual center, the Old Glade. If the cause for their strange behavior could be found somewhere, it was there. Unfortunately the shaman didn't know the glade's location, but he knew an old holy place of the Sasquatch, where perhaps a clue could be found: Hell's Canyon on the Snake River. He also took a good look at Chris, and declared him to be "Gazes in Wonder", who had been stolen from the tribe many year's ago by the white men. He would take him as an apprentice, if he wanted, for the spirits looked favorable on him.

The next morning the posse found the carcass of the Chinook badly mauled and surrounded by many wolf tracks - bipedal wolf tracks. Walks Alone At Dawn knew what that meant: A pack of Wolflings had come to the Valley and his people were in great danger. He resolved to return to the village risking the wrath of the chief. The posse immediately offered their help and started on the trip back.

[You can download the Frozen Lakeside battle map in pdf format from this link.]
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:07 pm

This is the log of our ninth Deadlands Reloaded session (on March 1st, 2013).

Accompanied by Walks Alone At Dawn the posse returned to the Klickitat village. First they had to convince the chief and his warriors that the situation was dire, but when Storm Eagle learned that a tribe of wolflings was about, he grudgingly allowed the shaman back. The posse immediately began preparations to defend the great longhouse by piling up barricades in front of the two entrances and erecting a platform on the roof to serve as a good place to shoot from.

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[Click the battle map image above to download the full A1 version.]

As the daylight dwindled, more and more howling was heard from the forest around the Klickitat village, until when dusk settled into night, the wolflings erupted from the woods to attack. The Klickitat ignited prepared stacks of kindling with flaming arrows to illuminate the battle. The carnage began.

While Hunter, Toni and Tyler used the platform on the roof to thin the ranks of the wolflings with rifle and pistol fire, Gus and Matt defended one of the entrances. Gus helped and was helped by a Klickitat warrior woman named Racing Cloud, while Matt let his poker cards fly wild. The first wave of wolflings was defeated without too much trouble, but a second, larger one soon came on, led by the pack's alpha male. A mighty shout by Tyler (Adventure card "Shakin' in their boots) made them stop in their tracks for a moment and gave the posse the opportunity to take some out before they came too close.

The alpha didn't attack the entrances, but jumped on the roof instead to rip the shooters' throats out. But some well-placed shots and a timely poker card from Matt took him out before he could kill anyone. The rest of the pack fled.

[I only used two waves of wolflings instead of the suggested three, adding some extras to the second group and including a boosted alpha male for more variety. I felt doing three identical waves one after another could have become a little boring.]

The Klickitat were grateful for the posse's assistance and allowed Gus to sanctify a little hut or shrine that he build himself in the following weeks, while the others recuperated from their wounds. Gus hoped that the shrine would prevent any food stored there from spoiling - and perhaps demonstrate the power of the Lord to the natives.

The posse spent Christmas at the Klickitat village and further discussed the Bigfoot problem with Walks Alone At Dawn. Chris would stay with the shaman to learn the way of the spirit world. The posse planned to return to Portland, travel to Walla Walla and from there search for the Sasquatch holy place. The Klickitat advised them to wait for Spring to travel the mountains and Racing Cloud promised to meet them in Walla Walla and lead them to Devil's Canyon.

The session ended with heart-felt farewells to the Klickitat, and a revelation from Chris: "He" was actually a "she". Christina's disguise as a boy had fooled the posse through all their time together. [After a prolonged series of failed Notice checks in the first three sessions, I had decided they were so thoroughly convinced, that no further checks were called for.]
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Re: The Great Northwest - Campaign Journal

Post by Uthoroc » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:18 pm

This is the log of our tenth Deadlands Reloaded session (on April 12th, 2013).

After spending Christmas at the hidden Klickitat village near Mt. Hood, the posse decided to return to Portland and possibly spend the winter there. Rage-filled wolfling howls followed them, a reminder that some had escaped and were out for revenge [The huckster's player had played the adventure card "Enemy" last session and I decided on the pack's alpha female to become that nemesis]. But they didn't make an appearance yet.

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Crossing the Willamette River on the harbor ferry, Hunter (the bounty hunter) noticed a man on the docks observing the new arrivals and recognized him as a fellow bounty hunter he had met years ago back in the mid-west. The man perked up when he noticed the posse and followed them into town until Toni (the muckraker) confronted him. He seemed nervous, mumbled something, and then quickly left. They later learned that he was part of a group assembled by "the Colonel" an ex-Confederate soldier and bounty hunter. Apparently they were after some member(s) of the posse, but who exactly did not become clear yet.

The posse's first stop in town was the marshal's office, but the marshal himself wasn't in. Apparently some kind of beast or monster was terrorizing the shipping on the Columbia - reputedly a maze dragon swum up from California - and the marshal had formed a hunting party. Armed with a boat-mounted Gatling cannon they were out on the river looking for the beast.

The bounty for the brutal killer of Sam Landry and his gang was still unclaimed. It had even been upped to $1000 by the R.M.A. (the Rock Miners' Association or "Rockies"). Apparently a posse of eager claimants had left a while ago to hunt for a tribe of Bannock Indians, who were thought to be behind the killings. A rumor had made the rounds that Landry had had a run-in with them, and people had been quick to put the blame on the redskins.

The posse then looked for a boarding house for the winter where they could rent a complete floor. They found a place on the outskirts of town that seemed good enough, but proved to have a couple of downsides [snake eyes on the Streetwise roll to locate it]. One, it was quite far on the outskirts and the way to and from the city center was pretty lonely and scary, especially after dark [Portland's fear level of 4 is not to be scoffed at]. And two, an awful scratching in the walls (Rats? Mice?) kept the lighter sleepers awake at night. On the other hand, their landlord Bob was friendly and sociable and they could do their own cooking in his kitchen. So they stayed.

Next morning the posse headed to the docks to check for news about the marshal and the river monster - they were entertaining the idea to go hunting themselves, if the bounty was right. Toni was eager to get some pictures of another monster too. Nobody had heard anything from the hunting party yet, but a ship from Seattle was just arriving and unloaded some familiar faces: Lotus Blossom Wen and her ogre servant Bu (again magically disguised as a human). Tyler (the ex-Agent) was delighted to see her and the two met up for lunch and some private time. Tyler learned that she was in Portland on Triad "business" and had "work" to do this evening.

Meanwhile Toni heard back from the Tombstone Epitaph after she had telegraphed yesterday. They had accepted her Bigfoot photos as proof, and she had won the $500 award together with a $60 payment for the article. She quickly headed to the bank to pick up the money and Tyler gave her an authorization note to get his monthly check too. Unfortunately it turned out that someone had already done just that... posing as Mr. Tyler W. Thorne in Seattle. The suspicion fell of course on Agent Black.

A little later a commotion on 1st Street turned out to be the returning Bannock-hunting posse. They waved some scalps, claimed to have found and killed the murderers, and headed towards the marshal's office. They got angry when the deputy on duty refused to pay out the bounty, but Matt, Tyler and Hunter came to his aid and intimidated the mob into waiting for the marshal to return. Hunter decided to look into the original murders a little more closely and interviewed Sam Landry's landlady. She had heard the murderer breaking into the house back then and told Hunter about the heavy steps ascending the stairs and the wild-shooting by Landry, who had apparently emptied his gun on the intruder without being able to stop him.

Evening came over these investigations and the posse returned home. Tyler was alone and later than the others, when he noticed three people trailing him and two lying in ambush ahead. A firefight ensued, with Matt and Hunter joining in from the upper story of the boarding house. Two of the attackers were left dead and the other three retreated back into town. Taking a look at the bodies, it was the bounty hunters: the observer from the docks and another man they had seen with the Colonel. The landlord Bob offered to get rid of the bodies to avoid any trouble with local law enforcement. The posse was glad to accept this, as there was a price out on Hunter's head back east after all [he has the minor Wanted hindrance].

The next day Portland was abuzz with horrible news: A new murder in the style of Sam Landry's killing had occurred. Jake McGall, the leader of the Bannock-hunting posse, had been found horribly butchered right in front of the Barrelbelly saloon. While the posse was still looking at the murder scene, another cry went up: the murderer had been caught. To their horror it was the ogre Bu who was dragged from a shack near the harbor, no longer disguised but in his monstrous shape. The posse tried to convince the crowd that he was "harmless" but only managed to prevent a lynching on the spot. Bu was carried off to jail and when Tyler tried to get Lotus Blossom Wen, she was nowhere to be found. He managed to convince the deputy to let him talk to the heavily guarded ogre, but only managed to get a few words out of the simple-minded, confused and frightened fellow: 'Wen', 'Gone', 'Laundry', "Dim Sum" and "Bu Frightened".

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Meanwhile on the murder scene Matt spotted something peculiar. While the wooden Indian on the porch of the Barrelbelly saloon was spattered with blood from the killing, the edge of its wooden tomahawk was more heavily smeared [adventure card "Revelation" played]. It also proved to have quite a number of bullet holes in it, which had been painted over not too long ago. An interview with the saloon owner and his helper boy revealed the story that "Chief Barrelbelly", as the statue was known locally, had been stolen from a Bannock shaman several years ago and been left here by the thieves. He had become a local landmark and name patron to the saloon since then.

The posse suspected now that the wooden statue was coming alive to kill in the night (though not all of them were convinced of this), but feared that this claim would not easily be believed. So they planned to wait for the night, try to catch the murderer when it moves out, and put its vile deeds on camera!

To be continued...

[True to my intentions I threw a lot of stuff at my players here: The loose end of the Savage Tale "Chief Barrelbelly's Revenge" which they hadn't followed up the first time in Portland, the Savage Tale "Flashpoint" in a roundabout way through Lotus Blossom Wen and Bu, some come-uppance for the multitude of "Enemy" and "Wanted" hindrances in the group in the form of the Bounty Hunters, and the "River Monster" hunt - although so far the latter is completely optional for the players. The "haunted" boarding house was just an added bonus from the snake-eyed Streetwise roll. I just love how the plots interweave from there - Bu as the suspect in the Barrelbelly killing was a spur of the moment idea and just fit wonderfully. I do have an idea for the boarding house and the dead bounty hunters too...

No big battlemats this time. I had one prepared for when the players got invovled in the "Flashpoint" tale, but that hasn't happened so far. I'm confident it might do so next time though.]
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