Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Deadlands - Return of the Clampett Gang!

Our Deadlands campaign "continues" from where it started (almost 3 years ago! - that went by quick!). Having boarded a west-bound train in Missouri, the next leg of the trip will take them across the great plains of Kansas. Next stop is Andover Station, followed by Barlowe Station, then Varney Flats - and veterans of the Weird West probably know where this is heading now.

For now though, we have a brief stop in Andover to change crews and take on water and coal. To pass the time our heroes (gunslinger Will Treaty (Blaster), huckster Isaac O'Hardy (Red), and new scientist Doc Lightning (Who)) stop in at the saloon after the mad scientist stops in at the general store and buys some "junk". Conversation at the sparsely-populated bar reveals nothing of interest locally and the boys are resigned to drinking to pass the time.

A shout from the street brings rouses the bored patrons. There is a group walking towards the town from the north, and as someone recognizes them - "It's the Clampett Gang!" - doors and shutters start slamming as the well-known local criminals make their approach. The gang hasn't been seen in these parts for months but their reputation does not seem diminished. The sheriff is not in town as he rode out to deal with trouble on a farm this morning and hasn't made it back. As the other townsfolk run for cover our heroes are perfectly fine taking on the gang.

Will Treaty calls out that they know who the gang is and the town doesn't want any trouble. The criminals continue to approach without making a response.

Isaac calls out that the gang needs to stop at the edge of town. The criminals continue to approach.

Will fires a rifle shot over their heads as a warning. Nothing changes.

Doc Lightning charges up his lightning gun and moves to a better position, grinning.

As the gang closes in, it looks like the biggest member, Jethro, is in the lead, along with the sharpshooter Ellie May. Jed, shotgun man and the leader, and Granny, his adviser, are behind them. Drysdale, the knife specialist, and Hathaway, the pistoleer are spreading out to the flanks. Our heroes take cover and prepare to fire and note an odd, shuffling gait to the intruders.

Then Doc Lightning rushes from cover, closes in on Ellie May, and realizes she does not really match the tales of her comliness, what with the oddly colored skin, open wounds, and groaning sounds coming from her mouth instead of speech. He unleashes the power of the lightning gun on her  as she raises her pistol and puts an end to whatever problems she is having.

This opens the festivities on a high note and in less than a minute a tremendous volley of shots, electricity, and flying magical cards are blasted all over the place. The gang is clearly some kind of walkin' dead and their well-known gun prowess appears to be vanished but they are still firing. Gunslinger Will drops his rifle and fans the hammer on Jethro and Hathaway as Huckster Isaac drops a huge blast of green flame to finish them off and Granny is blown away by lightning. Drysdale almost gets close enough to use his knife on the huckster but falls to urgently-tossed magical bolts and a bullet as the fight ends.

Art by DrStein - lots of good stuff here

Shaken, the grateful townsfolk thank the travelers. Drinks are on the house, and the sheriff returns before the train leaves and gives them a reward - "well, I don't know what they were but they're dead now so you can claim the reward" is pretty much the extent of the discussion.

DM Notes: This was a short "shake the rust off" encounter to get us back on track with Savage Worlds and Deadlands. It was a couple of hours of digging out character sheets, re-gathering the props (poker chips, cards, hat for the fate chips, miniatures) and bringing them back up to speed on the situation. I like my "westbound train" campaign kick-off idea and I'm going to stick with it for the first few sessions. Sure, it is literally a railroad, but they don't have to leave the train station/saloon and go looking for trouble - that's strictly up to them. Once we reach California they will have more options as the Great Maze is just full of interesting things.  

The session went well with some socializing and haggling followed by combat. I think the walkin' dead having guns was a surprise but they handled it (and they only have a d6 in shooting anyway) and they all got some glory time in. They're pretty enthusiastic about it and they've been asking to play again ever since but with vacation in there we haven't had time, or rather I haven't had the energy after being out on the boat all day. We will try to pick it up again this week and move on down the line to Barlowe Station.

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