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Saturday 20 January 2018

Wild West Campaign Update: Snake Oil and Backshooters

This was one of those sessions where you start, as a GM, with some ideas of what's going to happen, and then a significant chunk of the adventure gets swallowed up by something completely unexpected.  And man, was it unexpected.

The session started out with Kid Taylor deciding to build off his reputation gained last session as a kind of hoodoo-medicine-man, to make up a batch of Snake Oil and start to sell it.

He purchased a large supply of alcohol from Other Miller, who had just started up a side-business as a brewer. He added a mix of some local herbs, and then he made up a label for his 'miracle cure'.  For whatever reason, not feeling totally confident that his own good name would be enough, he named his concoction "Jim & Miller's", giving the impression that he was in a partnership with Crazy Jim Miller, the local magnate (owner of the East Vegas bank and two brothels as well as some businesses back in Dodge City).

He made a pitch on Railroad street, with a good number of the town coming out to see what he was selling, and he started making some initial good sales. But Crazy Miller had come along to see what was up, and he was NOT amused by the attempt to conflate his name with this product. At first, he demanded that he either get half the profits or that Kid Taylor change the label.  Kid Taylor pointed out that his own first name was also "Jim" (though he usually goes by James) and that "Miller" referred to Other Miller (his alcohol provider); but this did not satisfy Crazy Miller. He went on to demand that Taylor change the labels, but Kid Taylor again refused.

So Crazy Miller walked off to one of his brothels, picked up club, came back, and started destroying Taylor's bottles of snake-oil!
To say that Kid Taylor took this badly was a huge understatement. He drew on Miller, in spite of Miller not being armed with a pistol. Other Miller tried to intercede but Kid Taylor is incredibly fast and used his trademark 'Hip shooting" tactic; he honestly meant to shoot Crazy Miller in the hand, but his aim was off and instead he ended up grazing the top of Crazy Miller's head, leading everyone to assume he'd been trying to blow Crazy Miller's brains out!

At this point Sheriff Dirty Dave Rudabaugh and Deputy Jackson showed up, and very promptly arrested Kid Taylor. Both men were very heated, but Taylor surrendered himself while Crazy Miller went off to Las Vegas to get his wound looked at (fortunately for him, his hat took more damage than his skull).  Obviously, the whole situation demands that Judge/Mayor Hoodoo Brown decide what if anything to do about all this; it's a huge problem when two major members of the Dodge City Gang (one the acting town doctor and Hoodoo's own 'spiritual protege', and the other the richest merchant in town and the guy handling all of the Gang's ill-gotten wealth) seem to be looking to murder each other. 

In the end, however, clearer heads prevailed. By the time they went before Hoodoo Brown, both men agreed not to press charges, and swore that they wouldn't try to do each other any more harm for however long they remained in East Vegas at least. Hoodoo also ordered Kid Taylor to change the label on his bottles. It was clear, however, that their relationship was now very very strained.  Crazy Miller had a memorable quote when he said "I always say I would take a bullet for my friends... this one was yours, Taylor".

Crazy Miller even tried to manipulate his promise, hinting to his friend (and the infamous murderer) John Joshua Webb that he wouldn't mind seeing Kid Taylor dead. But Big Nose Kate (Webb's business partner in Kate's Saloon) overheard this, and browbeat Webb into agreeing not to do anything about it no matter how much he might want to. The last thing she wanted was for their to be trouble with Hoodoo Brown.

Meanwhile, what was originally meant to be the main plot of the adventure, dealing with a trio of brothers who were all utter dregs (Joshua, Leroy and Drey Green) causing some serious trouble stemming from Joshua having backshot two Mexicans who'd offended him, getting arrested, and then his two brothers dangerously trying to break him out of prison, became largely secondary by comparison.

Still it led to some interesting action, chases, and a few funny moments of misunderstandings. In the end of it, Leroy was dead (trying to break his brother out), Joshua got hung, and Drey managed to get away.

As for Kid Taylor and Crazy Miller, it's hard to say how things will turn out. Both of them are fairly nuts, but like many of the wild personalities of the wild west, they make and lose grudges fairly easy. In a couple of sessions they might be fast friends again, or they might end up at each other's throats again. We'll have to wait and see.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Peterson's Old Dublin