Deadlands – The Ballad of Chuck and Daniel

Deadlands

We had last left the posse down one Ranger and up one mad scientist and one Harrowed guide after it was revealed a former companion was actually a skinwalker in disguise. With their new guide in tow the Rangers set off from Redrock investigate the manor where Sen. Grissom was last seen.

Located half a day’s ride from Redrock, the mansion was secluded from the main cattle trails by a smaller nearly overgrown path. The trip was uneventful other than the weather turning south as the posse approached the manor. They hoped to take shelter within from the storm while they looked around but unfortunately would find the dilapidated residence less uninhabited – and far less safe – than they had expected.

Session 3 – February 3rd

Before we got started with the game properly Pat introduced his character to us.

Rudolf Mordheim, played by Pat. Rudolf is a German mad scientists, emphasis on ‘mad’ over ‘scientist.’ Although a brilliant man, Rudolf’s obsession with mechanics and electricity distracts him from his mission from time to time.

The weather continues to pick up as the posse arrives at the run-down two-story manor. From that they can tell the building is in rough shape – most of the windows are boarded up, and the one that seems to still have a few panes of glass left has been broken out. Jonas cringes slightly as he recognizes it as where he was shot from. When their mounts balk as they’re brought near the run down two-story manor the posse leaves them tied up at the edge of the woods while they go inside to investigate and get out of the rain.

The first floor of the mansion is found to lack any furnishings, though there are a few small oddities. First is a bloodstain leading from the broken window back to the parlor. There’s also a small burnt area in the parlor surrounded by more bloodstains. The charred area still smells faintly. In addition although most of the house is very dusty, most of the floors have been cleaned by recent traffic. In general the house feels very very empty.

While most of the posse explores the first floor, Aristotle heads upstairs to look around. As he gets about halfway up the stairs the temperature suddenly drops. Within a few steps the temperature had dropped nearly twenty degrees, and Aristotle decides he should head back downstairs. Just before he turns around he hears some very light footsteps but doesn’t see anyone around.

It doesn’t take an occult specialist to figure out that there’s something supernatural going on in the mansion. Jonas heads upstairs to have a look around while the others try to light a fire in the first floor fireplace. The upstairs is very dark, lit by just a few beams of light through cracks in the roof. In the shadows at the end of the hallway the Harrowed catches a glimpse of a familiar shape – Chuck, one of the Senator’s bodyguards – but the figure quickly fades.

Sen. Grissom’s bodyguards – Chuck and Daniel – were created and named before I had created Chuck Walker before the first session. It was just a coincidence but for obvious reasons we weren’t going to change the bodyguards’ names. 🙂

Meanwhile the rangers downstairs had gathered enough scrap temper they had scavenged to get a fire going. Unfortunately they get very little flame and even less heat. The only thing generated in the fireplace is a greasy black smoke that quickly fills the entire chamber. Suddenly the cloud coalesces into a vaguely humanoid form which lashes out at a nearby Barry.

While Aristotle is paralyzed with fear and nausea, Barry and Mordheim struggle with their ghostly attacker until Barry manages to impale it with an old bellows. The huckster is able to draw the ghost into them and toss towards Dr. Mordheim for vaporization via electro-gun, with the resulting explosion showing the room (and its inhabitants) with soot and dust.

Mordheim: Herr Doyle, that vas inspired tinking.
Barry: But it ruined my suit!

At the same time that the rangers on the first floor are attacked, Jonas is suddenly assaulted by his own ghostly attacker. It’s as if the harrowed gunslinger has had an icicle thrust through him, chilling his dead body to the core. As his extremities start to numb he can make out a feint accusatory whisper, “you got away!?” Jonas calls out to Chuck, trying to find his old compatriot but the attacks continue, unaffected as the gunslinger empties his guns into the darkness until he is finally driven back downstairs.

He rejoins the others to find them gathered in a soot-filled room that smelled strongly of vomit.

Jonas: What the hell happened down here?
Mordheim: It vaz a zmoke monzter. I zapped it to deat. Again.

Jonas relates what happened upstairs and says that he thinks Chuck s still around somehow. The Posse decides the first floor seems secure and decide to head upstairs to see if they can find any answers to why the Senator’s bodyguards seemed to be hanging around past their expiration date.

The upstairs is still cold – even more so than the first floor. When Barry and Mordheim examine the upper rooms the entire house starts to groan and shake. Fear washes over the posse in waves, though they stand their ground. Suddenly some sort of misty force strikes Jonas, knocking him off his feat and dragging him toward the stairs.

Once upstairs the posse was subjected to some sort of supernatural dread, which they overcame to start investigating. While the others searched the rooms Jonas was attacked by second spirit. It felt as if it was trying to pull something out of Jonas, tearing his soul from his body. Eventually Jonas figured out he could pull back and after a short struggle, wound up drawing the spirit into himself.

IE Acquisition of the Harrowed Edge “Ghostly” I had bought with a previous advance. I asked Luke to do it in-game (and to have Jonas not have complete control over it) instead of just using it freely it since he was new to the whole undead thing. It was a fun encounter in-game that unfortunately doesn’t translate to this quick write-up quite as well.

After seeing Jonas thrash about Doc Mordheim shoots Jonas with his entangle ray, thinking the Harrowed was losing control of his manitou and going crazy. Jonas rolled out of the beam and threw a nearby newel post at the doc in frustration.

Barry approached one of the closed rooms, drew some glyphs on the door in chalk, threw some dirt at the door, and walked in, sure he had purged the room of its evil. He calls to the others saying he found something they needed to see. Everyone rushed in but when Jonas went to get up, he suddenly passed through the floor and fell to the first floor.

Inside the room the posse (sans Jonas) finds a young boy huddling in the corner. He looks up as the posse enters, whispering “they’re finally gone.” Aristotle checks to make sure the boy is ok as he and Barry try and find out what he’s doing in the mansion with a pair of tormented spirits. During the encounter they learn that the boy is Nicolas, Baxtor Grissom’s son, and that his father apparently did something to him in some sort of ritual. During the conversation the boy occasionally locks gazes with each of the members of the posse (including Jonas when he finally can force himself corporeal enough to climb the stairs) before delivering a vague prophecy.

To Aristotle: “The butchery is not finished. Your work is not done.”

To Barry: “You are a house divided, but you cannot remain that way. Your faith will lead you astray.”

To Jonas: “The man in white is following. He’s who did this to you and he’s gong to want your thanks. He’s also going to want something else you don’t know you have.”

To Mordheim: “Boom!”

After he finishes Nicolas tells the posse that they’ve freed him from the angry ones, and now that he’s passed along his messages he wants to be left in peace. Jonas asks about where Sen. Grissom went and Nicolas replies that “he’s doing it again.” We’re linked after what happened here – after what he put me through. But he got what he wanted.” As he talks to the posse, Nicolas slowly fades from view. Once the young ghost had completely dissipated the temperature in the house returned to normal and the oppressive feeling lifted.

Despite Jonas’ protests the posse decided to stay on the first floor for the night and head out for Denver in the morning. They spend the rest of the evening searching the house but don’t find any additional clues. Next morning the posse saddled up and headed north.

It took half a day or so to reach the cattle trail that lead north to Denver, and a few more days before the posse starts to see the Rockies on the horizon. They started small groups of travelers on the road and asked a few for news from up north. Turned out the Arapaho were on the rampage up in the Denver area. It wasn’t completely unexpected but it did make the trip up and the return back (hopefully escorting the Senator) more dangerous.

Sure enough a few days later the posse comes across the scene of an Indian attack. They find a wagon stuck in the mud at the side of the road with five arrow-riddled and scalped corpses laying around. Aristotle was able to determine that the family had been dead for a few days. All of the goods and supplies seemed to have been taken but the posse does a newspaper from the Denver Post dated about a week ago. Though it was mostly damaged they were able to make out a few headlines.

Most of the paper seemed to be local news about trade or the Denver Pacific but there were a few items of interest: The Palace (which Jonas informed the posse was the premiere gambling place in town) was celebrating opening a new game room, which Sen. Grissom would definitely want to attend. There was also a note about a mysterious illness wiping out the old and frail over the last few weeks. Apparently several bodies had turned up, all in their late 60’s-early 70’s with no identification, all appearing to have died of natural causes.

The last leg of the journey to Denver is rainy and cold. The posse continues to pass various travelers along the way until arriving in Denver one evening. Without much in the way of funds and being in a Northern city (thus not being able to draw on Ranger favors) Jonas and Aristotle head out to find lodgings they can afford while Barry and Mordheim decided to find a nicer hotel.

After securing lodgings Barry makes it his mission to try to win the group a small bankroll through gambling. When he fails at cards initially (almost getting shot at for cheating) he moves on to betting people can’t out drink Jonas, who seemed to be unable to get drunk since becoming Harrowed. Barry’s marks prove unhappy with their loss and eventually start a brawl to get their money back.

The shotgun blast that the bartender fires into the air ends the fight quickly and everyone is thrown out, but not before Barry is able to get the cash he won. He splits it among the party and they return to their lodgings, planning on starting their investigation in the morning.

* * * * *

I’m waaay behind with these and it’s nobody’s fault by my own. I completely underestimated how long they’d take to do and because of that it’s almost two months since this session actually took place. The Deadlands campaign as actually ended recently and we’ve moved on to our next game, but I’m going to finish these up regardless. And since I’m running the current campaign (details to follow in a later post) Luke has volunteered to do the write-ups for my game.

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