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Sunday 8 April 2018

Wild West Campaign Update: The French Chef

The session started out with Crazy Miller showing just how crazy he really was. He hired the Cowboys (specifically, Johnny Ringo via Curly Bill Brocius) to assassinate Texas Buck, the wealthy rancher who'd married his childhood beau, the Countess (her title coming from her first marriage). This was after the Countess had been nothing but trouble for him when she was in town. In spite of that, he was hoping that if her husband was out of the way she might come back to him.

This turned out to be a crucial adventure-altering event, because it caused Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo to be out of town.

Meanwhile, Kid/Doc Taylor and his business partner Buckskin Frank Leslie had completed the construction of the Cosmopolitan Saloon & Hotel. And it was pretty magnificent.

Having invested thousands into it, they had really pulled out all the stops, and this included hiring a real French chef as their cook. Surprisingly it quickly became a hit with the Cowboys, partly because while Curly Bill was not a man of high society, he was a man who enjoyed fine food.  The Cosmopolitan was right across the street from the Grand Hotel, where Frank Leslie's mistress worked, so it was really ideal for them in every respect.

Marshal Fred White came to see Other Miller, asking his help to go arrest a Cowboy named Springer who had murdered another man after an argument at the poker table in the Tivoli bar. This could be problem, since the Cowboys were meant to be above the law in town, but murder was still murder.

Miller sent Jackson to go looking for one of the Cowboy leaders to try to negotiate a peaceful surrender; unfortunately, Curly Bill wasn't around because of that aforementioned contract Crazy Miller had him working on. So the only leader-figure that Jackson was able to find was Ike Clanton and his brothers.

Ike Clanton was no Curly Bill. He decided that the Cowboys "didn't like no lawmen telling them what to do", and picking Jackson (a black man) as the messenger was about the worst choice Miller could have made.  So pretty soon, Other Miller and Marshall White were facing nine Cowboys all demanding that they let Springer go.

Luckily, Crazy Miller came along, and decided to bank some of the cachet he had with the Cowboys to convince Ike that it would actually be better if he showed his own control of the situation by having the cowboys themselves lead Springer to the jail.  After much discussion, Ike finally agreed; and after that he suggested that Crazy Miller join him in going to the Clanton ranch to talk to his Pa, and explain what had happened.

Now, Old Man Clanton looked like the most hillbilly motherfucker that Crazy Miller had ever seen:

But after about 10 seconds of talking to him, Crazy Miller realized that Clanton acted like this guy:

He even had three kids who were all morons (no midget, though).  Anyways, Crazy Miller suddenly realized much more clearly how the Cowboys had managed to become the most powerful gang in southwest US history.

Pa Clanton had a serious talk with Miller, having realized that in spite of his huge eccentricities, he was also a crafty bastard in some ways like himself. He knew that Tombstone was changing; that damn silver strike was bringing in all kinds of carpet-baggers from back East, hated Republicans and captains of industry who would be trying to force out the Cowboy ways, and that he'd need allies to stop that. In a year, Tombstone was scheduled to have its first mayoral election, and Pa Clanton had heard that a group of mining-industry businessmen had asked the famed adventurer and die-hard Republican John Clum, the only man who had managed to single-handedly capture Geronimo, to come to Tombstone to open a new (Republican) newspaper (the Tombstone Epitaph, which would act as a counterpart to the Cowboy-friendly Democrat paper the Tombstone Nugget).  Pa strongly suspected that they would try to present Clum as the Republican candidate for mayor; and he wanted to present Crazy Miller as the Democrat candidate. Crazy Miller wasn't too keen on this idea, but it became pretty clear to him that the most powerful gangster in the region had just made Miller an offer he can't refuse.

Back in town, Doc Taylor had been visiting the Earps, trying to spread gossip about how Crazy Miller was in bed with the Cowboys. He decided to join Morgan Earp in going to greet John Clum, who was arriving. They were eager to meet the great western hero who had bested the frightful Geronimo, expecting to find a rough tough frontier die-hard. Then they met him:

Suffice it to say that he didn't look like what they expected. But Clum pretty quickly showed himself to be a tough man of law & order. His first priority was going to be to start his paper, condemn the cowboys and set up a Tombstone Vigilance Committee of private citizens opposed to the criminality of the region.  So he looked like this:

But really acted more like this:

Worse still for Doc Taylor, Clum recognized him as Kid Taylor and knew he'd been part of the Dodge City Gang under Hoodoo Brown in East Vegas. He was not impressed.  This couldn't have come at a worse time for Taylor, who had been already networking with some of Tombstone's businessmen to try to get himself into a position of being a "pillar of the community" (his current personal goal).
He decided he was going to try to get Virgil Earp on board with the Vigilance Committee, as a way to get back in the Republicans' good graces.

Another way he hoped to get back into the good books of Tombstone's better class was to try to convince a local German blacksmith to sell his plot to a businessman named Adams; the blacksmith had thus far refused to sell. Taylor wined and dined him with his french chef that night, but unfortunately for him the blacksmith didn't budge.

Later that night, Kid Taylor got a knock on his door. It was his partner, Buckskin Frank. Something had happened at the Hotel. Their chef had apparently killed a man, and then fled.  They got to the hotel and found the body of a man who had been staying there, in the kitchen, very clearly beaten to death with a frying pan.  Fred White had already been brought in. They soon found out that the chef had apparently gone over to the OK Corral and stole a horse. 

Things went from bad to worse when the Cowboys found out. They loved the chef and demanded that he not be sent to hang. Doc Taylor distracted them by sending them on a wild goose chance to Crazy Miller's Argent Saloon.  Then Taylor, Buckskin Frank, and Virgil Earp rode off to look for the Chef, who was not an experienced rider, and who seemed to be trying to dash off in the night heading for Mexico.

The Cowboys were causing quite the ruckus in the Argent, and Crazy Miller tried to keep them occupied with booze.  Other Miller, meanwhile, decided he'd had enough of the Cowboys' nonsense and went to bed.

 The posse found the chef after several hours; he'd caused his horse to stumble, and both the chef and the horse had broken their legs. The horse had to be shot, and the Chef was arrested for murder and horse theft. It didn't look good for him.

It took the posse till morning to get back to Tombstone, and shortly after they'd gotten the chef in jail, they found themselves surrounded by a mob of Cowboys demanding his release.  Virgil Earp was quite willing to shoot any Cowboy that tried to move forward, even though they were outnumbered ten-to-one. But Crazy Miller and Doc Taylor decided to momentarily set aside their differences, and convinced the Cowboys to stand down, pointing out that with the chef's broken leg there wouldn't even be a trial for a week or more until the Doc judged him fit to stand trial, and that Curly Bill would be back by then.

Then Doc Taylor, unwilling to lose his chef, found the owner of the dead horse and bought it off him for $100, to be able to avoid the charge of horse theft.  There was still the matter of the murder, though as the chef told it that had been in self-defense, as the murder victim had come into the kitchen aggressively angry about a sandwich he felt had been made not to his liking. When the chef argued with him the man came at the chef with a knife.

The whole thing was resolved with a very lucky turn: Morgan Earp and Fred White had investigated this guest, and found that he'd signed into the Cosmopolitan hotel under an assumed name. He was actually a man wanted in Texas, with a price on his head: $500, dead or alive. This meant that the chef was not only a free man, he was $500 richer for it ($400 richer after he paid Taylor back for the dead horse).  When the cowboys found out, they hurrahed in glee that their favorite cook was a free man, and carried the chef on their shoulders back to the hotel for some breakfast.

So the whole situation was resolved without a shot fired. It was still a very significant session, as the PCs suddenly found themselves involved in the emerging political situation in Tombstone, and realized they would soon need to take sides.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Poker + Solani Aged Burley Flake

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