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Sunday 22 May 2016

Wild West Update: Calamity!

Today we had a fairly short session. One of the players had to deal with a case of mistaken identity: the Mormon Gambler is apparently a perfect doppleganger of a big-time cattle rustler and train robber from the southwest, who's currently in hiding. He found this out in a very comedic situation where one of his henchmen was completely convinced the Gambler was actually his boss in deep cover.

But the main attraction of tonight's adventure was none other than her:

Yes, Calamity Jane came riding into Dodge.

She was hot on the trail of the coward who'd shot her lover, Wild Bill Hickok.  And true to her name she brought sheer calamity with her, getting drunk, causing fights, and shooting up half the town.  The PCs were kept quite busy having to chase her around Dodge, keeping her out of trouble, while trying to figure out if Crooked Nosed Jack McCall (Wild Bill's killer) was really around, and also trying to figure out what to do about the criminal who mistook a tee-totaling Mormon for one of the great gang leaders of the west.

The situation ended up solving itself, when the criminal in question mistakenly thought that Jane and one of the PCs were coming for him (when they were actually looking for McCall), and got into a shootout where Jane (in spite of being three-bottle drunk) managed to shoot him fatally in the thigh.  It turned out McCall had already gotten the hell out of Dodge, and so Jane continued off on his trail; with everyone feeling quite relieved that her whirlwind stay in town was mercifully brief.

If any lessons were learned, it was once again that not all Wild West legends were quite what their stories made them out to be. Wyatt Earp confessed to one PC that he'd actually gotten into very few real gunfights in his career, and that the most important trait for a good lawman wasn't being able to shoot well, but the art of intimidation and a talent for giving a good pistol-whip.  And Calamity Jane was certain a disaster worthy of her title, but her talent too lay more with alcoholic recklessness and brash shock-value than careful aim (though she was as great a tracker as her history made her out to be, and a pretty good nurse to boot).


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Rattray's Old Gowrie


  1. So what did the PCs do while you ran your plot? Aside from the gambler, it sounds like they were observers rather than participants in this game.

    1. No, not at all. At the end of the session they commented, rightly, on how many different ways this could all have gone. They were the ones who were basically directing events. The criminal was a kind of hapless idiot, and whatever he did depended on what the PCs were doing; while Calamity Jane was just a walking disaster area, for the PCs to contain or direct. It would have even been completely possible for Jane to die in the shootout if things had played out that way (though given it was two against one and the PC with Jane at the time is the best gunman in the group, it seemed unlikely; it was just as unlikely how it turned out - where Jane, who is in fact not a good shot and doesn't aim managed to get a freak hit with exploding damage that blew out an artery in the criminal's thigh). If the crook had lived, the PCs might also have been able to figure out more info about the person the gambler was mistaken for, and his group.