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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: Three Killers Legend

The town of East Las Vegas keeps being an absolutely insane violence-ridden nest of criminals. Hoodoo Brown made himself mayor, and then made Doc Thomas into the town Coroner (which would allow the doc to make official papers declaring obvious murders 'accidental' or 'self defense'). The player characters just can't believe the amount of violence and criminality going on here (such that would put Dodge City to shame), and yet they're all making crazy amounts of money from contributing to this criminal enterprise.  They know there's no way something this nuts is going to last, so they're planning on milking it for all it's worth.

So Other Miller and Dirty Dave Rudabaugh were on their regular stagecoach-stick-up run, when they again ran into a large group of Commancheros. They agreed to stay and convey the message Hoodoo Brown wanted to send them, though Dirty Dave ran off at the last second, leaving Other Miller in the lurch. Even so, the leader of the Commancheros was sufficiently curious about the balls on Hoodoo for suggesting a parley that he let Other Miller go with his life.

The parley happened at a place not far from town called Piedras Rojas, where Hoodoo intentionally went with only about a dozen men (including all of the PCs except Doc Thomas), knowing that the Commancheros would outnumber them. He basically decided to psych them out, and get them to consider an alliance, and convinced them of the benefit of having a town where they would be free to come and go without any fear of arrest or harassment, and get all the pleasures of the flesh they would like.

Among the Commancheros, who came back into East Vegas to shoot up the town, get drunk and use all the whores, was a mysterious white man who started asking questions about Crazy Miller, and also Doc Holliday (who had not come with Hoodoo's group, but who was of course at his usual place in the saloon he partly owned).  The stranger had a haunted look, and a killer's gaze, the likes of which Crazy Miller had only ever seen in two other people: John Joshua Webb, and Holliday himself.

The next day, the stranger was gone, along with Dirty Dave and Mysterious Dave Mathers. It turns out that they headed off early and robbed the Santa Fe Railroad. This was a big problem, since the Santa Fe railroad are part of Hoodoo's network of powerful people who help keep him and the town protected from the real lawmen, and perhaps even more importantly because they'd gone and done it without Hoodoo's permission.  Hoodoo had also promised the Railroad men that whoever did it would pay, before realizing that two of the three people who did it were part of his Dodge City Gang.

When they got back to town, rather than hide or deny it, the two Daves went right up to Hoodoo and admitted what they'd done, that it went off without a hitch, and that they'd got a haul of $12000 which was a payroll belonging to the Railroad. And it was all thanks to the mysterious white commanchero. Hoodoo was still going to punish them, but Mysterious Dave explained that they had to do it, and he'd understand, once he knew who the man was. And when he told Hoodoo, Brown agreed.

Meanwhile, Doc Thomas was visited by a scruffy dirty teenager who'd sewn up his own bullet wound on the trail. It was also not the first wound he'd taken in his young life. He was also heavily armed, and looking to meet Doc Holliday. Doc Thomas, perhaps a bit smitten by the lad, decided to take him over to Kate's Saloon.  Turns out the white commanchero was there too.

The boy sat down very brashly at Doc Holliday's table, and started talking him up, admiringly but boastfully about how he'd heard Doc was 'almost as good a shot as he was'. And telling Doc that they should team up.  Doc was just about to shoot the boy, and asked him who the hell he thinks he is to be talking such when he can't even grow a beard yet.
Turns out, he's Billy the Kid.

This did change Doc's perspective, but he still said he had no interest in joining a gang with him. But then the White commanchero jumped in and said that Doc was wrong, that it was Providence that brought them all here, to this place, and that they were beholden to destiny to work together.  When Billy asked how he figured such, the man explained: he's Jesse James.

Now, a little historical context: It is pretty much an historically known fact that Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday did in fact meet, in East Vegas, in 1879. But it is also a long-standing legend that Jesse James met them too.  This is a lot more historically questionable; this wasn't Jesse James' country. But 1879 was a time when James was in places unknown, laying low, trying to rebuild after the end of the James-Younger gang, and in fact many people at the time assumed he'd just died. So it COULD have been that he ended up in East Las Vegas, where he knew he'd have a measure of security and a likely spot to find people to join him in a new criminal enterprise. And a lot of fans of the west will claim that this definitely happened.  And anyways, it was too good to pass up in the campaign.

When Doc asked what the two other deadliest killers in the west were proposing, Kid admitted he didn't rightly know but that he needed a new gang (most of his old gang were dead, scattered or imprisoned). Jesse James (who was in much the same situation) did have an idea, however: He had heard that Crazy Miller had made his fortune because of connections he had to the famous bandit Derek McClue, and that he knew where McClue could be found.  McClue had once double-crossed Jesse James, and Jesse felt he was owed a considerable amount of money McClue had promised him, so his idea was to force Crazy Miller to tell them where he was so they could go get it.

Of course, long-time readers will know that this is not true: the "mormon gambler" who was a PC in Dodge City was a spitting image of McClue and was frequently mistaken for him, and Miller made his fortune through a bit of cattle rustling, then some savvy legitimate business, and also inheriting money from the widow he married (who was later killed by his horse). And the other PCs from Dodge could vouch for the former, while Doc Holliday (whose aunt was the aforementioned widow) could vouch for the latter.

So that plan was out, except that Billy the Kid then casually mentioned that he knew where Derek's brother Robert McClue and most of the McClue gang were hiding out, in a town a couple of days' ride from here named Navajo Springs.

So that was the new plan. Doc, Jesse James, and Billy the Kid, along with Crazy Miller, Other Miller and Doc Thomas would all ride out to Navajo Springs and rob the McClue gang.

While they headed out, Sheriff (kid) Taylor and Deputy Jackson were busy with another job: since Hoodoo Brown had decided not to kill the two Daves (he had to admit that no one would pass up a chance to rob a train with Jesse James; plus they were giving Hoodoo half the money), they needed some patsies to take the fall. He charged the Sheriff to find three bums, kill them in a 'shootout' when they were 'resisting arrest' and plant the payroll bag with a bit of the cash on them. The Railroad would thus get their crooks, and sadly accept that most of the money was already lost, hidden or squandered.

Only, Kid Taylor being who he is, he fucked it all up. Taking Jackson and Smiley the mad scotsman with him, they went out looking for 'bums', and Smiley naturally suggested that the ideal choice would be Irishmen (since no one would doubt their criminal nature, and no one would care if they died). There was a small but significant community of Irish wastrels in East Vegas, so finding three of them, getting them alone and killing them probably wouldn't be hard. 
Except Kid didn't do that. Instead, he tried to arrest three of them right outside a tent-saloon where there were about 20 other Irishmen drinking cheap moonshine. The Irishmen called for help, and their countrymen came out en masse threatening the Sheriff and his men with violent death. Kid Taylor and the others ran for it, and took refuge in the Sheriff's office, now surrounded by a large mob of violent drunken Irishmen.

Naturally, Hoodoo Brown couldn't take this lying down. So he came out to the street with the two Daves, Dutch Henry, and a number of other goons; and when the Irishmen refused to disperse they started massacring them. Several Irishmen died and the rest fled, presumably racing out of town. Hoodoo was understandably upset at the boobery of Kid Taylor's bungled job, but in light of Taylor's talents he decided not to kill him. Instead he fired Taylor, and made Dirty Dave Rudabaugh his new sheriff.  Taylor, meanwhile, would have a chance to redeem himself as one of Hoodoo's strongmen instead.

Hoodoo was also upset at how the Millers hadn't come in answer to his call to deal with the Irishmen. He interrogated Big Nose Kate and she explained how they had gone with Doc, Jesse James and Billy the Kid. Now Hoodoo realized that yet again some of the members of HIS Dodge City Gang had gone off without his leave, and were potentially going to start a gang war with a rival band of outlaws. He decided to raise up a posse and go after them, not sure yet whether he'd be going to help them or to kill them himself (that last bit was probably bravado, as it was already clear from the previous adventure that Doc Holliday was one of the few men that Hoodoo feared).

The other PCs had arrived somewhere outside of Navajo Springs, and they decided to send out Other Miller and Doc Thomas (the only two in the bunch who weren't at risk of being recognized) to go into town, pretending to be passing through on the way to join the Cowboy Gang, and gather some intelligence.
They went into town, and soon learned that the McClue Gang (now led by Derek's brother Robert) were definitely in town. They were laying low and semi-retired, but were apparently planning to make an alliance with the Cowboys, the newest and fastest growing criminal gang in the southwest (led by the infamous outlaw Curly Bill Brocious, and based in an area of Pima County protected by the Clanton family).

Unfortunately, their questions did not go unnoticed. Robert McClue made his way out of his large walled hacienda with a number of his men, and cornered the two in the town's only saloon. Now, he said, he was going to be the one asking the questions, and then he'd decide whether he would invite Doc Thomas and Other Miller to join them, or just kill them.

That's it for this session, this one turned out to be a two-parter.


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