D&D Sixguns & Sinners – Bullet 2: PRIDE

Hey hey, I’m still here. It’s been a while, I know, I’m sorry. Been working on a story. Well, a novel. It’s pretty exciting. I’m gabbling. You look great, by the way. We should go for a drink later. You’re buying.

It’s been a bit of nightmare recently trying to get the guys together to continue our D&D Wild West game, but we managed to squeeze in a quick session on Monday, and it was good fun all round!

In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev).

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An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.

So, last time, there was an… altercation with a pair of witches, but that’s all in the past now! Jeb remains tight-lipped about what he needs from the Dwyte brothers as they head towards Saint Pelor, the closest large town. The journey’s uneventful, and when they arrive into town, Jeb hops down off the wagon and tells the boys he’ll meet them later, after he’s taken care of some business of his own. Hurray for convenient excuses as to why certain characters aren’t taking part in the adventure!

(As a sidenote, Jeb will basically be a Gandalf-like figure, disappearing to pursue his own agendas and then reappearing again; this is a compromise Joe and I worked out to accommodate his schedule, as he doesn’t live locally to me like Trev and Darryl do). 

With the rest of the day to kill, the brothers park their wagon and hit the local saloon. John immediately sets to spending his witch-killin’ money on some fine whiskey, while Magnus joins in a poker game that’s going on between four rich-looking gents. I get Trev to do a round of Bluff, Insight and Perception checks, and after passing more than he fails, I declare that he rakes in a tidy $150.

As he’s playing, one of the players – the group’s leader – introduces himself as Dudley Sinclair. Yes, Dudley. Yes, I’d thought of a better name, but I couldn’t remember it, and I’d already described him as being a gentleman pugilist sort of guy, so it stuck…

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“ROW-LING THUNDAH!”

Magnus gives his name, and Dudley declares that he’s heard of the Dwytes, and that they may have met years ago at some social function or another when the Dwyte family wasn’t, you know, all brutally murdered and financially ruined. They start to chat…

Meanwhile John is “gathering intelligence” by staring at the barmaid’s cleavage, and does the standard RPG thing of asking for local news. The barmaid mentions that there’s going to a duel at high noon tomorrow between two local rich men; Gabriel Forrester… and Dudley Sinclair. John asks why they’re duelling…

… and Dudley explains to Magnus. He was out for a stroll one evening, when Gabriel ran right into him, clearly agitated. The two are from rival families anyway, so tempers inevitably flared and they argued back and forth, until Gabriel accused Dudley of being a thief, and demanded he returned what he stole. Dudley claimed not to have any idea what Gabriel was talking about, and was naturally insulted to be accused. One thing led to another, and soon a duel was declared. Dudley is confident he’ll win, as he’s simply better than Gabriel, but he regrets having to go through with it, because…

… the barmaid tells John that Dudley is romantically involved with Gabriel’s sister, Miriam. Everyone in town (especially Gabriel) knows, but it’s not official yet so no-one talks about it. “It’s a shame,” says the barmaid. “Whoever wins, that poor sweet girl’s going to lose one of the men she loves.”  Neither man will back down for fear of losing respect and gaining a reputation as a coward (which is a big deal).

So, we have a duel between two unwilling men, an innocent girl caught in the middle, and a thief on the loose!

John and Magnus decide to go and talk to Gabriel; they think that maybe if they can find the thief and return what was stolen, the matter will resolve itself without the need for a duel. Plus, currying favour with some rich families won’t hurt.

They head to the Forrester house, and the door is answered by Snooty McButlerson.

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(looking the Dwytes up and down as if they’re something he stepped in) “And who may I say is calling?”

Badger

“Tell Mr Forrester the Dwytes are here to see him. We can help him with his problem.”

The butler sighs and disappears into the house, and returns a few minutes later.

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“The Dwytes, you say? Of River’s End?”  *aristocratic sniff*  “Please sirs, come in.”

The brothers go inside and they’re greeted by Miriam Forrester, your standard Southern Belle archetype. Big fluffy dress, blonde ringlets, breathless exclamations of “oh mah stars!”… you get it.

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“Mr. and Mr. Dwyte! What a privilege it is to welcome you into my home! Pappy had told me such horrible things about your sudden decline in fortune, but I am overjoyed to see that the Dwyte name is still strong and alive in you two fine gentlemen! My brother is attending to business in town, but perhaps I can be of service to you?”

(At this point Darryl mimed unzipping his jeans, because in his mind every line of dialogue is innuendo)

Badger

“We heard about the… ah… issue between your brother and Mr. Sinclair. We were wondering if we could help.”

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“Well I’m glad that someone in this forsaken town will! All they seem to care about is placin’ bets on who will win. No one’s stoppin’ to think on just how pig-headed the two of them are being! I’m most distressed!” *lace hanky*  (is it weird I had way too much fun roleplaying this?)

John cuts to the chase by asking what was stolen. Miriam takes them down into the family vault, which is your standard big safe door with combination lock jobby. Miriam tells them that only she, her brother, and their father know the combination. The vault door itself doesn’t show signs of being damaged or forced. When she opens the vault, the Dwytes see that the contents – gold bars, antiques, lockboxes, etc – are all untouched. Miriam tells them that the only thing that was taken was a small silver box, the kind that a lady may keep jewelry in. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what was in the box, or why it was taken.

At that point, Gabriel arrives home and comes down to join them. He’s red-faced and clearly not in a great mood.
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“Miriam! What’s going on here?”  (to the Dwytes)   “Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?”

John’s hard-wired instinct is to get a gun in Gabriel’s face, but Magnus smooths things out by explaining their presence. Gabriel calms down, and when he does it’s apparent that he’s in a state. He explains that he came downstairs one night and encountered a cloaked and hooded figure escaping the house, and he gave chase. While chasing, he lost them, bumped into Dudley, and things got out of hand, accusations were flung around, etc. He knows full well that Dudley probably isn’t the thief (at least not directly), and will probably kill him in the duel. Gabriel obviously doesn’t want to go ahead with the duel, but he doesn’t want to back down and admit he was wrong for fear of the consequences it would have for his family’s reputation. As mentioned, taking the sensible/cowardly way out is a big no-no in the Territories, what with their Wild West sense of values.

He accepts the Dwyte’s help in locating the thief and the stolen object.

Badger

“And what exactly was taken, Mr Forrester? Seems that the thief was mighty particular.”

Gabriel is reluctant to spill the beans, but Magnus gets it out of him by simply refusing to help until he has more information. Eventually Gabriel tells him; the silver box contained a relic of the duergar.

Background Break! The duergar are the setting’s equivalent of dwarfs. They came to the Territories a few centuries ago to settle, but something Really Bad happened (no-one knows what but some think it’s something to do with the Silent City across the Dry Sea to the west). Now it’s believed that the duergar are extinct, though some of their old strongholds are still standing. They were also very technologically advanced; while the humans were just about getting the hang of gunpowder, the duergar had mage-tech ray guns and power armour.

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“Aw, revolvers. That’s adorable.” *BEEEEEEEAM*

A duergar relic is big news, and regardless of what it is or what it does, there’s plenty of people who’d want to get their hands on it. Trev’s Insight check is pretty good, so I let him know that there’s something else that Gabriel isn’t telling them, but they decide to leave it for now. Gabriel tells them that there’s some other matters he has to take care of in town (a telegram to his father, coffin measurements, etc) and he leaves.

The Dwytes start their investigation in true Agatha Christie style by questioning the staff; the butler, and some maids. Unsurprisingly, none of them know anything about the theft, all of them claiming to be asleep in the servant’s quarters. Miriam sits with them during the questioning to offer moral support to the staff. John then gets the idea to question Miriam, who may know a bit more than she’s let on. However, whereas Magnus has been getting answers with gentle questions and empathy, John decides to just go ahead and grab Miriam and shake an answer out of her. Eesh.

Miriam admits that her brother and father had some shady business dealings; apparently the Forresters weren’t doing so well, so they got help from the Quiet Brothers.

Background Break! When I was sketching up background details for the game, at first I imagined the Quiet Brothers to be a standard Mafia-style organisation. Then I decided to go all out and make them an all-powerful “man pulling the strings” Illuminanti-esque group, i.e. the sort of thing that everyone talks about and suspects exists, but may or may not *actually* exist. Put it this way; I asked for Superstition checks to find out about them, rather than any other knowledge-related skill. 

John doesn’t really know too much about the Brothers, but we decide that Magnus may have had brushes with them before; his old friend/rival Jace Garrett happens to know a guy who knows a guy who may work for them. The Brothers are definitely the group who’d want to get a duergar relic; the implication that the thief is someone who was working for the Brothers, and they decided that the relic in the vault was suitable payment.

Miriam collapses after that, mumbling something about how she’s said too much. John and Magnus ignore her and head out to find Gabriel and Dudley so that they can talk the whole thing out. Dudley’s still at the saloon, and Gabriel’s at the telegram office. The Dwytes keep the peace by telling them that they’re onto some new information, and make the two promise that if they can find the thief that they’ll call off the duel. Both of them agree, and try not to sound too grateful about it.

Upon returning to the Forrester house, the servants are gone and Miriam’s nowhere to be found. The four of them search the house, Gabriel grabbing a few derringers from a desk drawer so that he and Dudley both have guns.

With a sense of grim finality, they go down into the basement, to the vault. It’s locked, and Gabriel opens it.

Inside, they find Miriam. She’s dead. There’s not a mark on her, so it looks like she’s died of natural causes. However, Magnus knows enough about the Quiet Brothers to know that some of their agents know Diabolic Arts (which I make sure that Trev and Darryl know are *very* different from witchcraft like they encountered last time) which could be used to kill someone without leaving a mark on the body.

Miriam’s holding a scrap of paper. Written on it is “Consider the debt repaid.” Was she a loose end, or was she killed purely to send a message?

Both Gabriel and Dudley are understandably devastated at Miriam’s death. Gabriel tries to vain to revive her.

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“This is your fault, Gabriel! You and your damn father’s! She’s dead because of you! My sweet Miriam…”  He aims the gun at Gabriel. “Looks like I won’t have to wait until high noon!”

I call for Trev and Darryl to make initiative checks (in hindsight, Reflex would’ve been more suitable. Eh). Neither of them are faster than Dudley, and he shoots Gabriel in the chest at point blank range. Magnus immediately goes to help Gabriel, who hasn’t died instantly (because, come on… derringer) while John grapples with Dudley and smacks some sense into him (amusingly, that was the only attack roll made in the entire session).

Things are looking for bad for Gabriel; Magnus tears some material from Miriam’s dress and uses it to put pressure on the wound, but he’s losing a lot of blood. Thankfully at that moment, Jeb shows up as if from nowhere!

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“Step aside son.”

He uses his powers as an Apostle to miraculously heal Gabriel’s wound. Gabriel scrambles up and begs Jeb to do the same for his sister. Jeb just shakes his head sadly.

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“Don’t work that way. Today was her day. I’m sorry.”

By now Dudley has recovered a bit, and after cursing Gabriel’s name, he storms off. Gabriel pulls himself together a bit, and thanks the Dwytes and Jeb. He reckons that the duel’s off; after all, Dudley did just shoot him. He’s grateful for their willingness to help, even though what happened was almost certainly going to happen anyway, with or without their involvement. He also tells the group that they can count on his family as allies if they ever need a favour.

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“But for now, I have to make arrangements for my sister. So get the hell out of my house.”

They take the cue and leave. Later, in the saloon, as they’re contemplating the consequence of getting drawn into something involving the Quiet Brothers, Jeb finally comes clean and explains his agenda…

Which we’ll find out about next time!

New Ally Gained! Gabriel Forrester. Not so sure about his dad though…

The Reaper’s Tally: Still at 2. That’ll change…

Really good session this one, lots of social encounters and fun roleplaying which let Darryl and Trev develop their characters further as a gruff, no-nonsense problem solver and a smooth-talking people-person respectively. Next session will be bit a more action-y though; I’m not sure what the gunfighting equivalent of blue balls is, but Darryl was definitely suffering from it!

Updated 2nd-level character sheets by the way, if you’re interested in that sort of thing!

Jebediah Underwood, the Apostle.

John Dwyte, the Desperado.

Magnus Dwyte, the Scoundrel.

Now I just actually need to think of some plot to glue some action scenes together… this is the risks you take when you don’t go by published modules!

Gareth 

D&D Sixguns & Sinners – Bullet 1: GIRL, Continued

Carrying on from where we left off…

Despite the swarming of stinging insects in the room, John blasts the bee-vomiting Henrietta in the stomach. She stops hurling up bees, screams, and rolls off the bed.

Out in the street, Magnus, the girl’s parents, and the town elder all hear the gun shots. Magnus leaps down off the wagon and runs to help his brother. Because, you know, he’s got a derringer. Ooo, look out!

Henrietta springs up off the floor, and she’s… changed… in the last few seconds. Her eyes have gone compound, like an insect’s, and there’s weird bristles on her arms. In my 6S&S settings, I wanted witches to be more than just “naughty people with magical powers”. Hence, witches in the setting are more like mutants from the Marvel universe, specifically the Grant Morrison New X-Men run, when not all the mutants looked like Famke Janssen.

That awkward moment when you realise you’ve been staring at the screen for ten minutes. God damn.

So yeah, witches are basically baby eldritch abominations, and no, I’ve never heard of Puella Magi Madoka Magica (bless you!), why do you ask?

Gertrud
i FeEl PrEtTy, Oh So PrEtTy…

She shrieks at them, and spits a gob of acid at John’s face, though thankfully he manages to dodge it. In response, Jeb blasts her with his holy weaponed six-shooter, blasting straight through her innate damage resistances to mortal weapons and leaving her on low health. The bees still keep swarming them though, and it’s starting to look bad.

By now, Magnus has run into the house. He sees the room full of bees and puts a shot through the window. John follows up by smashing out the glass, meaning that the bees have somewhere to go. Sure enough, the swarm starts filtering out of the window. Henrietta, seeing that Jeb has got a weapon that can definitely hurt her, takes her chances by leaping out of the window. As the watch, she dissolves into a swarm of bees herself, and drifts off. As she leaves, all the bees in the room fall to the floor, dead.

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“Figger we should be askin’ her folks a few questions.”

The three of them confront Henrietta’s parents, and ask them all sorts of questions; how long was she ill, did anything out of the ordinary happen before she was sick, that sort of thing. The parents are in shock, and have no answers.

Magnus, sensing an opportunity to make some money, sidles up to the town elder.

Badger “You know sir, we could track down that witch and get rid of it… for a price.”

Magnus and the town elder haggle back and forth, and it’s decided that they’ll each be paid $50 for killing the witch. There’s no sense capturing her, or trying to save her; when a person becomes a witch, they’re no longer themselves. There’s no cure, except for a high velocity metal injection between the eyes.

The parents come forward, and suggest a place where they may find Henrietta; a field of wild flowers about an hour’s walk from the town. People don’t usually go there even though it’s very pretty, but Henrietta usually went there and spent hours picking flowers. It’s not much, but it’s a start; it makes sense that she’d probably go somewhere familiar to recover from her injuries, plus she has that whole bee theme going any way. And yes, there was a near-endless parade of bee-related puns from Joe, Trev and Darryl.

The Dwytes leave their wagon as collateral. To ensure that the job’s done properly, the town sheriff orders his deputy/son Wyatt to go with the group. Wyatt is your stereotypical dumb, fat, “aww shucks Pa!” kind of character, but who knows, he may prove useful.

Henrietta’s parents are locked up while the town elder decides what to do with them (hint: it may involve a noose). They may have been ignorant of their daughter’s condition, but they were still sheltering a witch and in law-abiding places in the Territories, that’s a big no-no.

After taking a quick rest to heal up from the stings they received, the group borrow some horses and ride out. Eventually they find the field, which is full of red and white flowers. There’s also a wood cabin at the centre.

jeff-grit_1783061c“Damn it Wyatt, why didn’t you say there was someone livin’ here?”

Oh, that cabin? It’s just where some crazy old lady lives, but that’s not relevant, is it?

The group surrounds the cabin; the Dwytes go round the back and Jeb and Wyatt take the front. As they advance, guns ready, a screechy woman’s voice comes from inside the cabin;

“Well well, look at you fine gen’lmen! I must say, you flatter an old girl with your visitations, but I must insist you vacate my property before I become a-vexed with you!”

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“We’re here for the girl, ma’am. She’s a witch.”

“And there ain’t nothing wrong with that! You move along now, you hear, and leave her and me be.”

While this exchange has been happening, Magnus has snuck up to one of the windows at the back and peered into the cabin. It’s just one big room, cluttered with junk. At the centre of the room, hunched over, is Henrietta. She’s changed a bit more, and become even more of a strange human-insect hybrid.

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Just missing pigtails and a gingham dress.

An old lady appears at the window then, jump-scaring Magnus.

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“Hell with this.”

John takes a shot at the old lady through the window, but a wall of vines grows up from the ground and blocks the window, deflecting the bullet. So we have two witches here, one with bees and one who can control plants. Great.

Swarms of bees smash through the windows and start circling the cabin. I know that the Monster Manual treats swarms of insects like normal monsters, but I ran them differently. In the MM, swarms have attack rolls and can be damaged by weapons, like normal creatures, which just seems… wrong. If you’re in the same space as a swarm of bees, you’re getting stung. If you shoot a gun at a swarm of bees, guess what, nothing happens. The bees were essentially roaming 5-foot cubes of GTFO. The group would have to take down the queen bee.

Magnus dodges the bees but is just in time to get body-slammed by Henrietta as she leaps out of the window at him, grappling him and knocking him down. Then she spits a load of acid on his face. Lovely. John rushes to the aid of his brother, narrowly avoiding some thorny vines that whip out of the ground and try to ensnare him.

Jeb and Wyatt burst in the cabin, guns blazing. Jeb misses his shot at the old lady, but Wyatt hits her, which she’s not happy about.

Magnus manages to break free of the grapple and rolls away in time for John to boot the younger witch in the ribs and shoot her at point blank range. She’s hurting, but still going; her thick insect-like exoskeleton absorbs most of the damage. She gets to her feet, and the bees start swarming round…

Inside the cabin, the old lady shrieks with rage and slashes Jeb with her razor-sharp nails. Jeb goes for a point-blank shot but misses. Bet he wished he’d saved his holy weapon ability for this fight. Wyatt takes another crack at her, and hits her again. Boy’s getting pretty damn good at this. It’s even funnier because we all decided that Wyatt would have disadvantage on his attack rolls to represent how incompetent he was.

The bees descend on the Dwyte brothers, but the two of them get clear before they’re stung to death. John finishes off Henrietta with two shots from his sixshooters, knocking her down into the flowers. Like before, all the bees instantly die and fall to the floor. That’s one down.

Back inside, the old lady screams as she feels the death of Henrietta. She commands the vines that were blocking the cabin window to fly inside and form a barrier between her, Jeb and Wyatt. The vines rush in, but unfortunately Wyatt’s to slow to dodge them, and he gets crushed and impaled against the far wall. Jeb takes a shot, but the vine-barrier blocks the shot. The old lady then whips the vines round like a wrecking ball, smashing down the rear wall of her cabin in a bid to hit all three of them; Jeb’s hit and knocked down, but the Dwytes manage to dodge it.

Magnus and John both manage to hit the old lady with a few more shots, but it’s Jeb who delivers the final shot from prone. Even better, it’s a critical, which is always nice for overkill.

The old witch dies with a earsplitting scream. Just as with Henrietta and the bees, the old lady’s death has it’s own consequences; all the flowers in the field instantly wither and die. Guess it’s not going to be much of a picnic spot now.

The group take a scrap of Henrietta’s dress as proof of her death, and recover Wyatt’s corpse. He was only with them for a while, but they got attached to the guy, and he contributed more than any of us were expecting. Upon return to the town, the group collect their reward and deliver Wyatt’s body; they actually lie and say that Wyatt was the one who killed both witches, ensuring that the townsfolk will honour his memory.

With nothing left to do in Rusty Creek, Jeb and the Dwytes mount up and hit the trail for Saint Pelor.

Badger“Preacher, what about the girl’s parents? Ain’t you gonna try and help them?”

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“Their lives for you two, fair’s fair. Besides, she weren’t no girl.”

Damn Jeb, that’s cold.

So the three of them ride off into the sunset, off to start a grand adventure? What does Jeb need them for? We’ll find out next time. Unfortunately we’ll have a short hiatus due to summer holidays and whatnot, but rest assured we’ll be returning to the Territories to catch up with Father Jeb and the Dwyte brothers soon. The next session will be a bit more grounded in reality, and more “traditional” Wild West; some poker, a saloon brawl, a showdown… all that good stuff.

Level Up! More HP! Everyone’s proficiency bonus goes up to +2! John gets Ignore Pain (a 1/day healing ability), Magnus gets Lucky (a 1/day re-roll for an attack, skill check or saving throw), and Jeb gets Small Miracle (a 1/day manifestation of divine power, such as reading someone’s mind, moving an object, or creating water).

Ongoing Quests: Get to Saint Pelor.

Darryl hasn’t expressed his usual penchant for collecting grisly trophies (I was so certain he’d want to scalp people), so in lieu of that, I’m going to keep an account of everything these three have directly killed. I wonder if we’ll break triple digits by campaign’s end?

The Reaper’s Tally: 2 witches.

’til next time, partner.

Gareth

D&D Sixguns & Sinners – Bullet 1: GIRL

Alright, so let’s finally get some Wild West D&D underway!

In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).

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An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman (that’s Wild West talk for Dungeon Master).

We begin our story in the sleepy little town of Rusty Creek, where’s there’s a lynching about to go down. Unfortunately, it’s the Dwyte boys who are being led up to the gallows. See, the folks of Rusty Creek don’t take kindly to strangers coming into town and scamming them out of their money. Magnus and John have been rumbled, and an angry mob has gathered to watch ’em swing.

While the mayor demonises them, Magnus spots a preacher in the crowd, and thinking quickly…

Badger “Wait now! You wouldn’t condemn us to fiery damnation without a man of the Lord saying a few words for our immortal souls first now, would you?”

The town elder grumbles a bit, but allows it. The preacher, obviously, is Jebediah Underwood, who steps up onto the gallows. He looks the Dwyte boys up and down, then turns to the crowd. Joe nails his Perform check, and Jeb delivers an impassioned sermon about guilt and sin and redemption. He says that he knows the Dwytes have done wrong, but maybe there’s some good they can do in the world before their time comes. He then demands that they be freed, and that he’ll take full responsibility for them.

The town elder isn’t too keen on that, and is about to protest, but Jeb over-rules him by whipping off his eyepatch and displaying his glowing eye Stigmata, showing that he is an Apostle and blessed with divine powers and authority. The townspeople can’t really argue with that, and after much bowing and scraping, John and Magnus are freed, and their possessions returned. The town elder, still butt-hurt (he really wanted to see ’em swing) gives them an ultimatum; they may be free, but he wants them out of town by nightfall. John and Magnus are happy to oblige, eager to put this redneck murder-village behind them.

They get to talking with Jeb. Everyone puts on a broad Southern state accent. Lols are had.

Badger“Preacher, why’d you save us?”

jeff-grit_1783061c“Shit son, I can ask them to string you up again if you’re disappointed.”

Badger

“I been a lot of places and seen a lot of things preacher, and I ain’t never seen nobody doin’ somethin’ for free in these parts.”

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“Damn right. You boys are stickin’ with me. I got a long damn journey ahead of me. Reckon I can count on a pair of Dwytes.”

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“As long there’s cash and booze, I’m in.”

Badger

“Dang it John! You ain’t even worried about how this preacher knows who we are?”

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“Son, I knew your folks, back in the day. Damn shame what happened to ’em. But I could always count on ’em, and I figure I can count on you two as well.”

They’re packing the wagon ready to go, when one of the townsfolk nervously approaches Jeb, and asks if he could say a prayer for his daughter, who’s been ill for the past few days. He’s heard that Apostles like Jeb have some kind of healing powers, and if it’s not too much trouble…? Jeb umms and aahs, but gives in when the man says that his wife will provide dinner.

The three of them go to the man’s house (he’s not happy about the Dwyte brothers coming along, but Jeb assures him that they’re harmless) and go to see the daughter, Henrietta. The family dog isn’t happy to see Jeb, and starts barking.

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“Ah, don’t you fret. It’s the power I got. Spooks ’em.”

The girl is in bed, and looks ill and feverish. Jeb uses his healing touch, and there seems to be an instant change; the girl stops tossing and turning and groaning, and seems to settle down. Grateful, the man and his wife give Jeb and the Dwytes a meal of stew (though the Dwytes get less, along with disapproving glares from their hosts), and the group take their leave.

They go back to the wagon.

Badger

“So where we headin’, preacher? The more miles my brother and I put between ourselves and these folks, the better.”

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“Saint Pelor. Maybe along the way I’ll tell you the reasons why.”

The town elder sidles up along with the town lawman to make sure the brothers leave, and make a few threats about what’ll happen if they ever show up in Rusty Creek again.

Suddenly the man they helped comes running down the street, and telling them to come quickly. “It’s my little Hetty!” he screams.

John and Jeb dismount. John’s already got his guns out.

4804830_f260“Now Magnus, you stay with these nice gentlemen.”

Badger

“Fine, you do mindless violence better’n me anyhow.”

John and Jeb burst into the house, and the first thing they notice is the screaming coming from upstairs. Jeb roars at the wife to get out, and she seems happy to oblige. Expecting the worst, Jeb uses his holy weapon ability on his sixshooter.

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“I thought you healed her!”

Jeb just shrugs, as confused as John is. They go up the stairs, weapons ready. They don’t know what to expect, but the screams definitely don’t sound normal.

As they reach the top of the stairs, the screaming suddenly stops.

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“Well shit, that can’t be good.”

Instead of screaming, they can hear a different noise now, like buzzing. John, having had quite enough for one day, decides to boot the door down, and gets a face full of BEES.

John gets the full brunt of it, and takes some damage. Jeb, at the back, gets off a little better. John blunders through into the girl’s room, and finds her on the bed, mouth wide open and vomiting forth an ever-expanding cloud of stinging insects.

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“She’s a goddamn witch!”

Witches are very much Bad News in the Territories, and all bets are off if you find yourself up against one. Swatting away the bees that are mobbing him, John takes aim at Henrietta…

To be continued!

Gareth

D&D: Sixguns and Sinners Character Sheets

Just a quick one tonight; I mentioned that I’d make the guys’ character sheets available for view so that you, dear readers, can get to know them a little more.

Father Jebediah Underwood, the mysterious Apostle.

John Dwyte, the revenge-obsessed Desperado.

Magnus Dwyte, the silver-tongued Scoundrel.

Those documents also contain the information for the homebrew classes they’re playing; the Apostle, the Desperado, and the Scoundrel. You may notice though that there’s some unfamiliar sounding rules in there; Defence? Cunning? Destiny Points? Recovery Dice? Dazed? Worry not, all will make sense in an upcoming post when I give the run-down of the house rules we’ll be using for this campaign.

Gareth

D&D: Sixguns and Sinners Episode 0: Characters

When I wrote about the end of our run with the Lost Mine of Phandelver, I mentioned that the next campaign round my table would be a Weird West adventure, and all that entails; despicable outlaws, drunken lawmen, grizzled bounty hunters, insane inventors, depraved demon-worshipping nobility, and trusty shootin’ irons. Ladies and gents, welcome to the Territories.

Ever since I read FFG’s Spellslinger mini-campaign setting, I’ve wanted to do a Wild West fantasy rpg. I’ve dug out the book and have drawn a lot of inspiration from it, tweaking rules and background for D&D 5th edition. 51UJBfMqziL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_   This has been quite a pet project for me; I’ve written up the setting background of The Territories, and made up new setting-appropriate classes; the Desperado, the Scoundrel, the Trailblazer, and the Apostle. The campaign will run up to level 5, so approximately ten sessions. Joining me at the table will be my Phandelver alumni, Darryl, Trev and Joe. Liam may also pop in occasionally as a recurring “guest character”, but the campaign will mostly centre around the misadventures of the three.

Tonight was session zero, where we went over the background and talked character generation. This is a step we missed out for Phandelver due to the pre-generated characters, and for Joe and Darryl it was their first time making a character from scratch.

We did all the usual guff of ability scores, buying equipment and so forth, but most of our time was spent making those numbers and scribbled notes into actual living, breathing characters. We explored personalities, obligations, flaws, supporting characters, story hooks, ambitions… everything to fully flesh out the characters they’ll be using for the next few months. I’ll put their character sheets, along with the homebrew class and setting information, plus our house rules, up for view once I’ve turned the rough notes into something legible.

Until then, let’s quickly meet the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, who will be causing all sorts of merry hell in the Fragmented States of Aurelia. jeff-grit_1783061c  Father Jebediah Underwood, played by Joe. A preacher who is also an Apostle, an individual who has been granted divine powers by the Almighty. His eye patch hides the proof of his power, an eye that burns with divine light. Has a mysterious past; he was a normal by-the-book preacher but disappeared for ten years. When he came back to civilisation, he was carrying an aelfar tribal bow and could heal wounds with a touch. Some say that he actually found the Ancient City, far to the west across the Dry Sea, but that’s just crazy talk… 4804830_f260  John Dwyte, played by Darryl. The Dwytes were once one of the wealthiest families in the Territories, and John was an officer in the Aurelian First Rifles. However he was court-martialled and dishonourably discharged by his commanding officer, Colonel Thaddeus Jefferson, on falsified charges. Worse, the Dwyte family home was razed to the ground shortly afterwards. John believes Jefferson to be responsible, and is consumed by the need for bloody revenge. Badger  Magnus Dwyte, played by Trev. John’s younger brother. Smarter and more of a talker than his gruff sibling, Magnus put his talents towards swindling and scamming when the family fortune was lost. Always on the look out for a new opportunity for easy money, Magnus relies on his older brother for muscle when things start going south. He’s a bit of a dandy and has an appreciation for the finer things in life. He has a dark secret about the downfall of the Dwyte family which he can’t bring himself to tell John about.

Shit, you know what, forget the RPG, this has the makings of a novel…

Plenty of gunslinging good times ahead. Hope you stick around for them!

Gareth

Age of Sigmar: A Few More Thoughts

So last time I shared my first musings on NewHammer: Age of Sigmar. But it’s been a few days now, and I’ve actually managed to get a game in with the new rules!

Yep, I did something I haven’t done for about ten years… I went to my local Games Workshop to play a demo game! I went on Wednesday lunchtime, and managed to convince Darryl to come along as well; though to be fair, he needed very little actual persuasion.

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I just showed him this picture and a few seconds later he’d already grabbed his coat.

Thankfully our office is just down the street, so we had plenty of time to get to grips with the new game. So new, in fact, that the GW Worthing staff hadn’t had time to fully paint the Stormcasts and Bloodtide beyond a basecoat…

Shiny!
Shiny!

 

Spiky!
Spiky!

First of all, I have to confirm that yes, the models are absolutely fucking gorgeous. The Lord-Celestant and Lord-Relictor are both incredible centrepieces, but my favourites were the Retributors and most surprisingly of all, the basic Marauders Bloodreavers. The Khorgorath is a little goofy-looking though, and the Prosecutors (while also amazing) will cause much frustration due to their enormous (and fragile) wings. On the whole though, A+.

But enough about models, we were here to play! Unfortunately we were limited to one of the smaller display tables, so everything was sort of clumped together. Darryl took the (infamous) four-page rules, I took the big book with the Battlescrolls, and we were off!

We only managed a few turns before we had to dash off back to work (booo!) but the turns we had were fairly eventful. As the table was small, things quickly devolved into a big ruck in the centre. So, you know, like a normal game of Warhammer!

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If I could take this photo back in time, you’d have to pick up the bits of my 12 year-old brain with tweezers.

I was kept busy flipping back and forth for each unit’s special rules, plenty of which we missed as we rushed through things; re-rolling attacks, bonuses for rolling 6s, extra range on charges… it was a lot to take in all at once for a game that Internet Tough Guys are dismissing as “simplistic” and “for kids”.

On the subject of Internet Tough Guys, one actually manifested in the real world in his true form as a miserable fartsoul neckbeard who wandered over as we were playing, practically snatched the book off me, and hooted to discover that, yes, there are no points values. SHIT HOWEVER WILL WE HAVE FUN!? Oh wait, my Chaos Lord is squaring up against the Lord-Celestant and my Blood Warriors are beating the crap out some shiny golden lads and we’re rolling dice and having a laugh, soooooo… yeah. Thankfully the store manager engaged the neckbeard in word-to-word combat before Darryl and I made him eat his fedora, and we got on with it.

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KAPOW! BANG! SMASH! YEAAAAAAH!!!

On the whole, I like the new rules. Battleshock didn’t really play too much of a part; both sides seemed to have a lot of abilities that let them ignore it. We probably got a few things wrong in the heat of the moment and may have covered up with half-remembered 40k rules knowledge, but like I said, good fun was still had.

A few criticisms though…

1) I would’ve included individual unit cards or reference sheets; as it was the book was already showing some wear and tear as we flipped back and forth for each unit. I guess this is something that’ll be fixed when the starter set units get their War Scrolls added as PDFs for download.

2) Some rules are a little too vague. I’m impressed they managed to condense the rules into four pages, but I would’ve loved it if they’d made it six pages and expanded on a few things. For instance, there’s technically nothing in the rules that stops you shooting into melee combat with perfect accuracy, or even using a model’s ranged weapons when they’re engaged in close combat!

3) “Bloodsecrator” sounds like an awesomely terrible 90’s comic book character.

So, yeah. Needless to say Darryl and I got a bit hooked and we’ll probably be going halfsies on the box set soon. And then there’s that entire unassembled Empire Battalion I’ve got that I haven’t done anything with for four years… oh, and I’ve always wanted to get some Orcs Orroks ORCS

Sigh. Bye bye money.

Gareth