Monday’s session was fairly quick, and went in a direction I hadn’t planned for but definitely should’ve anticipated; still, it was all good fun, if you can call shoot-outs in the Fragmented States of Aurelia fun…
In Attendance: John Dwyte (Darryl), Magnus Dwyte (Trev), Jebediah Underwood (Joe).
An’ naturally, I’ll be servin’ as the Lawman.
So after that little incident on the train, the Dwytes and Jeb eventually arrive in River’s End, the Dwyte’s hometown. Neither of them have been home since the family home was destroyed five years ago, but it seems that little has changed. Jeb is eager to get to old Dwyte mansion and look for the knife that he was promised years ago, but it’s been a long day, and besides, John’s already headed for the saloon.
They pass the night without incident; John drowns his sorrows, Magnus plays poker, and Jeb displays a talent for the piano. John lets it slip that he and his brother are back in town, and that causes a bit of a stir amongst the townsfolk. While playing poker, Magnus hears some mutterings about a young man who was brutally killed by the notorious Morgan “The Branded” and his Red Brands gang. This makes him nervous as the last time he saw Morgan, things got a little… heated.
The night wears on, and the group retires. Joe continues to play his miserly priest role to the hilt and demands free bed and board at the local church; his new catchphrase is a bombastic “YOU WOULD NOT DENY A MAN OF THE LORD…” and then insert whatever goods, services, etc as appropriate. It’s pretty damn funny so I’m letting him get away with it for now.
Oh yeah, that duergar relic they got from the Butler last time. Call me weird, but the first way I thought of describing it was like a chunky glass-fronted pocket watch, kind of like Rosette’s soul-watch from Chrono Crusade, which I may have rewatched in its entirety fairly recently, so shut up.
They poke and prod at the relic, but nothing happens. They clearly need to take it to one of the few experts on duergar relics in the Territories, such as at the Academy in New Varn, but that’s a job for another day.
They do a bit of shopping in town and Trev and Joe spend their
hard-earned money; Trev gets some big bang bullets for his shiny new sawn-off and a speed loader, and Joe gets some knuckle dusters (he pays extra to get them inscribed with HOLY and WAR!) and a bullwhip even though he’s not proficient with it, because he loves to have his characters use weird weapons. If you haven’t read about his trident, you should.
Loaded up, they go and see the local sheriff to inquire about the Red Brands and the safety of the area. The sheriff assures them that the rumours of Red Brand activity are exaggerations, and that everything’s fine. He gets a bit funny with them when they say they want to go up to the old Dwyte manor, but doesn’t stop them; he just thinks that it would be a waste of time. He also mentions the bounty on bringing in Red Brands, dead or alive, and the very sizeable bounty on the head of Morgan “the Branded”. Darryl gets dollar signs in his eyes…
They head out, and on the way out of town, John gets a shock when he sees a carriage pull up next to a dressmakers, and his ex-fiancee Mildred gets out! She doesn’t see him (and probably wouldn’t recognise him anyway) and heads into the dressmakers. Magnus stops his brother from rushing after her.
“John, now’s not the time!”
“I just miss her SO much!” He gets a hold of himself, and brushes himself down. He’s in a state; he’s exactly as dirty and disheveled as you’d imagine a drunken penniless ex-military gun-for-hire would be. “When we get back,” he says firmly, “I’m gettin’ a shave and a haircut, an’ a proper suit. You’re right; can’t have her seein’ me like this.” Magnus rolls his eyes, but humours his brother’s attempt to try and woo back his ex-fiancee. Jeb just wants them to get a move on.
They walk to the burned-out Dwyte manor which has remained standing for the past five years. I let Trev and Darryl describe it (it’s their characters’ home after all), though I cut them off when they inevitably get carried away and start getting into fucking Tracey Island territory.
They go into the house, and unsurprisingly it’s in pretty bad shape. They go down into the basement and after a bit of searching, they find a strongbox hidden in the old furnace (along with a crate full of unspoiled bottles of the family vineyard’s red, which they all take two bottles of). Jeb reveals he has a key for the strongbox, and he opens it to reveal that yes, it is the knife he’s been looking for. He immediately tucks it away in his pocket before either of the Dwytes can get a good look. Hmm…
With the knife retrieved, and no other reasons for staying, the three of them head back outside so that they can head back to town. And that’s when the Red Brands ride up; six of them, and the big guy at the front of the group has a very distinctive marking on his face…
“Well, well. Magnus and Jonathan Dwyte. This must be my lucky day.”
Yes, they come face-to-face with Morgan “the Branded” Redd. He and his goons aim their guns at Jeb and the Dwytes, and demand that the Dwytes surrender and come with them. Morgan drops some hints that although he’d love to string them up and fill them full of holes, his “employer” has requested otherwise. He also twists the knife and taunts Magnus about the “last time he visited the house”; remember, Darryl’s character John thinks that it was his superior officer in the military who burned down the house and killed their family, and Trev’s character Magnus has never told him otherwise.
“We’ll talk about this later, brother.”
John shoves both Magnus and Jeb back inside the house, then does a Max Payney bullet timey fall back-while-shooting thing. They’re going to make the Red Brands work for it!
The fight is over quickly, mostly because my dice sucked. The Red Brands missed their shots, Morgan fluffed both shots of his volcano gun, and the best I got was a lucky critical on Trev (which dropped him, but Joe was there to immediately heal him); meanwhile, from the cover of the house, the three of them managed to pick off all the Red Brands- Darryl got three of them by himself, three of which were with his shiny new revolver Songbird – and put a dent in Morgan, but not before I’d revealed that Morgan’s distinctive facial scar was actually a Stigmata… Morgan “the Branded” is an Apostle as well!
Seeing his men blown apart, Morgan decided to turn tail and run, shouting about revenge and blah blah blah.
“Huh. That was a thing.”
But smart quips won’t stop John smacking his brother in the face and demanding to know the truth. Magnus tells John was really happened, while Jeb stands around probably feeling a bit awkward. John clams up, and they head back into town. They turn in the bounty for the Red Brands they killed, sell the carbines that the outlaws were using, and go on a further spending spree. John keeps his promise and gets himself cleaned up, and upon exiting the tailors, looking all swish and suave, bumps into Mildred just as she’s leaving the dressmakers; what a coincidence!
“Jonathan? Is that you?”
Yes, we rp’d a “bumping-into-an-ex” conversation, because shut up. A brief but polite and pleasant chat was had (John only screamed “I LOVE YOU TAKE ME BACK” once), and Mildred invited John up to the house that evening so that they could catch up properly.
The Reaper’s Tally: 2 witches, 5 train robbers, 5 Red Brand gang members.
All in all, a resounding success. I mean, yeah, they were meant to lose that fight and get captured, but that’s how the dice fall. Now I’ve got to come up with a totally different plot! Now that Jeb has this mysterious dagger, what’s their next move? What does he need it for? And you can bet that Morgan Redd won’t take his defeat lightly, he’ll be back and with more men. And who’s this “employer” he’s talking about? So many questions, and so little time. That’s how it is out in the Territories.