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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Wild West Campaign: The Law of the West

In this weekend's game, most of the PCs were heading into Tombstone; Crazy Miller and Doc Thomas by train and stagecoach, Other Miller traveling on his own on the old Cimmaron Trail.

Meanwhile, Kid Taylor and his wife and infant daughter went back to Dodge City, to visit with his wife's mother, and her father Judge Wright. Kid Taylor was feeling quite bored with the visit when all of a sudden who came knocking at his door but the irascible and irredeemable Bat Masterson!

Bat, you'll recall, was Dodge County Sheriff when the PCs lived there, but had since lost re-election against the Better People (mainly because he'd lost most of his important allies when the PCs left town for East Vegas). But he'd stayed in Dodge because Bat and his brother Jim were owners of the very successful Lady Gay Saloon.

This time, though, Bat had come to see Kid over a mutual companion of theirs from their famous adventure in the Royal Gorge Rail War, Ben Thompson.  Ben's brother Billy was in deep trouble, facing hanging in the town of Oglalia, Nebraska, and of course Ben was heading to break him out. Bat and Kid both agreed immediately to help Ben, without so much as a consideration as to whether Ben's kid brother really committed the crime or not.

Crazy Miller, meanwhile, had run into an old friend on the stagecoach from Tuscon to Tombstone: Morgan Earp.

Morgan was Deputy Marshal for Pima County (his older brother Virgil being the US Marshal for the county), and he was guarding the stagecoach on account of a rich Texan and a Countess being on board. Morgan was optimistic as ever; the Earp Brothers (Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt - who was not currently a lawman but was working private security for Wells Fargo) had bought into a large stake in the silver mines, which looked like it could be the second biggest silver strike in US history to date.  He explained how Tombstone itself was booming beyond belief, slightly disappointing Doc Thomas by explaining how in fact Tombstone already had three other Doctor's offices. It also had a huge number of saloons, whorehouses, its own Chinatown and Mexican neighborhood, butcher shop, bank, two different french restaurants, a great hotel and another in the works, all in a city that had grown ten times it's former size in the last 18 months.

It made the PCs wonder if they hadn't chosen to show up too late.

As for Other Miller, he'd been going through the desert, and found his way to a small village of Mexican-Americans, where a massacre had only just happened.  A group of local Banditos, who had taken over the town after crossing over from Sonora, had started a small gang war with the Cowboys. The Cowboys fell upon them and massacred the lot, and then had a party right in front of the corpses, while having their way with the banditos' women.  Other Miller met Curly Bill Brocius, leader of the Cowboys, and some of his men (including Sherman McMaster and Indian Charlie Cruz).

He also met the stone cold killer, Johnny Ringo, just as Johnny was murdering a priest.

At that moment, Other Miller decided that he hated the Cowboys, and would end up opposing them.

Not so much Doc Thomas; when he got to town (this being a few days later, when both the Cowboys and the PCs were back in Tombstone), Thomas went to see his boyfriend Billy Breakenridge. Billy had decided he was going to purchase the Tombstone Nugget, the local paper, rather than start up his own; and Curly Bill and the cowboys were helping him to do it. They'd taken a shine to Billy and were friendly to Doc Thomas too, promising both that if they ever had any problem with anyone in town they could just talk to them and the Cowboys would take care of it.

In the end, Doc Thomas leased an office to go into practice (with Kid Taylor, once he arrives) above the Crystal Palace saloon, for a fairly good bargain. Crazy Miller and Other Miller ended up buying no less than four lots: two to make a huge saloon and gambling hall, one for a general store, and one for Miller's platonic lady-friend and madam, Miss Scarlet, who would open a truly classy whorehouse.

As for Bat and Kid Taylor, they got to Oglalia, along with Ben Thompson and Jim Masterson, who had followed them along. They'd also kidnapped the Mormon Gambler, planning to get into the Sheriff's office in Oglalia passing themselves off as bounty hunters, and the Mormon Gambler as the infamous outlaw Derek McClue (who was his doppelganger). Unfortunately, in the process of kidnapping him the Gambler suffered a very bad concussion; so they had to come up with an alternative plan, and Kid Taylor went with one that once worked to get Doc Holliday out of jail in Fort Griffin: Jim would set fire to the lumberyard and in the chaos they'd break Billy out. It worked like a charm, but the party soon had a posse of more than 20 men riding hard behind them.

It looked grim for the gang, but then Bat remembered something: not far from where they were was a ranch belonging to someone who he thought might be willing to help them.  He got there, met the ranch's owner for the first time, shook his hand, and the ranch-owner was immediately willing to do whatever he could to help.  His name?

Buffalo Bill Cody. Though they'd never met before, Buffalo Bill knew Bat and considered him a brother. So he gave them sanctuary in his ranch, and then spirited them away from the posse in the middle of the night, helping them get back across the border to Kansas, and safety.

The interesting thing was that at this point, in 1880, a lot of the youngsters in the Wild West considered Buffalo Bill something of a joke. A sell-out, who'd gone back east and made a fortune with a totally fake "wild west show". They didn't know, the way Bat did, that Buffalo Bill was a western legend. Once upon a time, in another, earlier, wilder "wild west", he was the greatest Buffalo Hunter who ever lived. He was close friends with the likes of Wild Bill, and countless other hunters, Indian scouts, and desperados, almost all of whom were dead by then.

When they parted ways, Kid Taylor said that maybe someday, when the "wild west was over", he'd go join his show. Buffalo Bill answered that he thought it was funny, that Kid Taylor thought the Wild West wasn't over yet.  "I guess the wild west is a different thing for different people; kid. My Wild West ended a long time ago."

That's it for this session.  Kid Taylor and his family ended the session heading out toward Tombstone, and Jackson should be there too next time, so we'll be back to full complement and with all the PCs together again in one place.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti half-volcano + Country Doctor

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