The new and improved defender of RPGs!

Sunday 24 March 2019

Wild West Campaign Update: The Battle of Iron Springs

The PCs continued riding with Wyatt Earp and his Immortals, hunting down any Cowboys they can find.

Having set themselves up in the eastern road to Tombstone, they decided to wait in ambush for any Cowboys that might come along to join the huge posse they now knew Johnny Behan was forming to go after them.

After waiting for some time, they finally spotted a group of four Cowboys. The nine Adjudicators divided themselves in two and rode in on them from either side, coming out from behind some dunes.

There was a fairly quick shootout, but the four Cowboys didn't stand a chance. One of them was an important Cowboy rancher, Ben Maynard, and as he lay dying, he warned Kid Taylor that they'd all been charged with murder, and Curly Bill and Johnny Ringo were lawmen now and were coming after them with 50 men.

The group decided that given this news, it might be better for them to turn around and head toward the Dragoon Hills, track around there, and then circle back to come out in southern AZ where they could go through the various small towns of Cochise county and kill more small groups of Cowboys.

They rode toward the hills, but the next day, Crazy Miller's eagle-eyes spotted some horsemen coming toward them. He couldn't quite make out from that distance whether they were Cowboys or not, but they realized that if they were there were about 15 of them and it would be wise not to engage. So they turned off-trail, heading for a dry creek-bed familiar to Sherman McMaster, where they could hide a while and make a stand if necessary. They hid out there, but when they weren't approached they assumed the riders either hadn't spotted them or didn't follow them. They proceeded toward the woods around the hills.

Arriving near the entrance to the hills, they encountered a group of renegade Apache. It looked like just a handful of them, but the party knew that it was common practice for the Apache to have a larger warband hiding nearby. The Indians asked them if they had an beef, and the PCs offered them some jerky; remembering that the Apache didn't like the Cowboys, they explained who they were and that they were planning to kill all the Cowboys. The Apache were incredulous, knowing the Cowboys' numbers. But one of them noticed Doc Holliday, and commented that he has the 'spirit of death' in him.

Either out of respect for the Adjudicators, or fear of Doc Holliday, the Apache let the party pass without incident.

The party carried on and the next day went through the wilderness. They rode up to Iron Springs where they planned to rest the horses for a while, but then Crazy Miller spotted someone on the other side of the creek: Dirty Dave Rudabaugh. He wasn't sure if Dirty Dave, his old companion who had now joined the Cowboys (on account of his friendship with the Clantons), had intentionally exposed himself to warn the party or was just incompetent, but either way he just barely managed to shout out a warning that it was an ambush.

The firing started, with Texas Jack Vermillion getting his horse shot out from under him, pinning his leg. He would spend the entire fight trying to get out from under it. Kid Taylor's horse was shot through the neck but he fell free of it, and headed for cover. The rest of the Adjudicators jumped off their horses, except for Jackson, who was slow to react as usual, and Turkey Creek Jack Johnson who turned around and tried to gallop away, deciding he'd had enough of this.  There were nine Cowboys on the other side of the creek, including Dirty Dave, Johnny Barnes, and Curly Bill Brocious, who was so sure they'd got Earp now that he mocked them "How you doing, Wyatt? We got you in a bit of a crossfire!"
From behind them, several shots rang out, as another five cowboys shot at Turkey Creek as he fled.

After getting of his horse, Doc Holliday stumbled, falling to the ground from a coughing fit. All this hard riding was devastating his fragile health, and the PCs had seen him getting more pale, covered in his own sweat and struggling to breathe as he hacked out blood. It looked like he might not be able to do any good in this fight.

From tree cover, the PCs tried to shoot back. Kid Taylor got behind his dead horse for cover. One of the cowboys nearly shot his head off but the bullet was blocked by his rifle butt as he was reaching for it.

Jackson managed to get off his horse and go for cover, but then a couple of Cowboys shot him in the knee and chest as he peeked out to shoot.

Wyatt seemed in a haze. He gripped his rifle tightly and shouted "NO"! He turned and started walking, right out in the open, and straight into the creek. The Cowboys on the other shore all started firing on him, and yet he kept walking. They shot his hat, his coat was riddled with bullet holes, and his gun holster was blown off, but not one bullet as much as grazed him.

Crazy Miller was behind cover, when he saw the five other Cowboys coming up behind him. He called for help and fortunately, Doc Holliday was up by then. He'd willed himself to stand calling out to Wyatt to stop, thinking his friend had lost his mind and was going to be filled with lead; and when Doc heard Crazy call out he spun around fast, two guns in hand and hip-shot both of them shooting two Cowboys dead both through the head.

The other PCs, seeing that the Cowboys across the creek were momentarily distracted firing all around Wyatt, turned too. They killed two more of the men coming at them from behind. One of the Cowboys got a shot off at Kid Taylor, hitting him in the chest with what should have been a mortal blow. but to everyone's surprise, he was still alive!  The shot had been partially stopped by the Bullet-Proof Vest invented by Kid Taylor's friend Doctor George Goodfellow.

Wyatt, meanwhile, had gotten within 20 feet of Curly Bill, who came out to meet him. Curly Bill shot at Wyatt but missed, as all the shots fired on Wyatt did. Wyatt shot back and killed the leader of the Cowboys.

The PCs, meanwhile, had been shooting the hell out of the rest of the Cowboys, as they had now turned the tide. Within a very short time, all the Cowboys at Iron Springs were dead, except for Dirty Dave Rudabaugh, who had fled and tossed away his red sash in a panic.

The party had won the battle, though not without cost. Texas Jack had a badly sprained ankle. Kid Taylor was injured but not nearly as badly as  he otherwise would have been. But Jackson was critically injured. Kid Taylor's medical skill stopped his bleeding with an emergency surgery, and pulled the bullet out of his chest, but he was still very weak, and would soon die from infection.

While Kid Taylor operated, the other Adjudicators caught their breath. Sherman McMaster scouted around to make sure no Cowboys were left in the area, and came back to report. "Where's Wyatt?" he asked.
"Down by the creek, walking on water.", said Doc. Holliday was trying to play it like he was just relaxing on a rock but it was obvious that he was actually too ill to stand.

"Damn it, Doc!" said Texas Jack, "You ought to be in bed. What the hell are you doing this for anyways?"

"Wyatt Earp is my friend."

"Friend? Hell, I've got a lot of friends!"

"..I don't."

Realizing that there were more Cowboys on their way, and that they couldn't stay there, the party rode out, heading toward the Sierra Bonita ranch belonging to Henry Hooker, a long time enemy of the Cowboys, in the hopes that they would find some sanctuary there to attend to the still-ailing Jackson, and Doc Holliday.

Henry Hooker, who had more than a passing resemblance to Charlton Heston, welcomed them to stay for a while. He wasn't a big fan of the Earps' fondness for gun control laws, but he liked their "kill all cowboys" policy.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Shell Diplomat + C&D's Crowley's Best

No comments:

Post a Comment