Deadlands Reloaded: The Weird West

A Story About A Camera
The Smells like a setup

The Posse:
Mr. Cotchry—Ex-Law Man
Russ Brown—Mad Scientist
Max “Doc” Cunnningham—Blessed Sawbones
Samuel Mars—Gunslinger

The Posse had been in Denver a little over a week now. Their wallets much lighter than they were when they first reached the “Queen of the West.” City living was expensive. And the trips to the hospital weren’t helpin’ their budget none. With Mr. Cotchry on the mend, Russ, Doc, and Sam tried to find work, but jobs evaporated the moment their shadow filled the door. It wasn’t until Mr. Cotchry was up and about that they made contact with a potential employer. It seems that a muckraker had lost something and wanted a group of men with the Posse’s skill set to get it back for her.

The Posse met with the muckraker at Denver’s largest Saloon and Casino, the Golden Nugget. She was sitting at the bar drowning herself in whiskey and gin. She was dark haired woman with long limbs that gave her a rangy almost lanky appearance. She was pretty but by no means stunning. As Mr. Cotchry walked over to her she finished her shot of whiskey. He could smell the alcohol wafting off of her.

“I heard you need some men to recover something for you.” Mr. Cotchry said. The woman Finished her shot and turned around to get an eyeful of the handsome ex-lawman. She smiled a sly smile at him before giving his far less attractive posse members the evil eye. “Why yes I am. Why don’t you sit right here next to me and I’ll tell ya all about it.” the woman said patting the bar stool next to her. She then pointed to a dark corner on the far side of the huge saloon, “Your boys can wait over there. Now then, why don’t you buy me a drink and I’ll you all about the job?”

Mr. Cotchry flagged down the bartender who placed two frothy beer mugs in front of them. The muckraker introduced herself as Ms. Annabel Hardin formerly with the Rocky Mountain News. She claimed that she was their top reporter until her last expose. She had infiltrated Wasatch Railroad Denver Office posing as a secretary. She slowly began to earn the company’s trust before she decided to break into “The Brickhouse.” A completely windowless building more than fifty feet tall with a single known entrance. She snapped some photographs with her Epitaph camera of some very incriminating evidence. Before she could get out she cached the camera and hid herself. She managed to escape, but couldn’t recover the camera. Now she wants to head back to the Brickhouse with some men in case there’s trouble.

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Things to do in Denver When You're Almost Dead
Sometimes, its better to be good that lucky

Log Note: I going in a different direction for this game session log. I’m going to write them as newspaper articles instead. While the meat of adventure is still there, much of the information loss or wrong from what happened in actual play.

The Posse:

Russ Brown—Backwoods Mad Scientist
Max “Doc” Cunningham—Blessed Sawbones
Mr. Cotchry—Ex-Lawman turn Avenger

Excerpt from the Rocky Mountain News

Dime Novel Gunfight on the Streets of Denver!

by Joseph Ashley Hogan

DENVER, CO—Yesterday evening was the scene of a dramatic gunfight ripped straight from the pages of some Dime Novel or Penny Dreadful. Outside of Buck Wild’s saloon two men, one Russ Brown from the Appalachian mountains and Willie “Scorpion” Phillips from the Oklahoma Panhandle dueled it out on the cobblestone streets of Denver just before sunset. Witness reports claim that Mr. Brown walked into Buck Wild’s Saloon only to be veritably abused by Scorpion Phillips particularly about Mr. Brown’s ugly appearance and obscenity. The two men agreed to the duel and stepped out into the street.

After a quick exchange of insult and steely stares, Scorpion Phillips drew his .44 Army Revolver first narrowly missing Mr. Brown. Emily Witness was quoted as saying, “The bullets musta been afeared off my his [Mr. Brown]cow pie he calls a pus, because there ain’t no way they could miss. He was so fat you’d have to throw a diamond hitch to keep him in the saddle.”

Mr. Brown returned fire but also missed. It wasn’t until a mysterious stranger took it upon himself to intervene and shot Scorpion dead. Little is known about this third gunslinger other than he wore a shabby poncho and had nasty scars, “like a train ran over his face.”

Some reports indicate that the stranger and Mr. Brown knew each other. This reporter is saying that Mr. Brown and the stranger set up Scorpion Phillips to be murdered. But after a little research, it was discovered that Scorpion may have been hired as part of a saboteur team by one of the Railroads who wanted to tie up some loose ends.

This article was written less than a week later but was rejected the Tombstone Epitaph.

Denver Hospital Murder Coverup

by Annabel Hardin

DENVER, CO—Recently, there was a panic at the Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital here in Denver. According to the finest work that trained monkey’s can accomplish at the Denver Police Department, a posse of men broke into the hospital for emergency health care. The official story is a gang of bandits broke forced their way into the hospital with their injured/sick buddy in tow. They forced one of the surgeons there, a Doctor Edmund Grape, to operate on the hurt desperado. Unhappy with the procedure, the gang became angry shot of the operating room and strangled Dr. Grape. Though this story conflicts with the offical autopsy that yours truly managed to secure. Little is known about the gang other than they are lead by a dwarf.

However, this reporter has dug deeper than other newspapers in Denver who simply publish the reports given to them by city officials. What was uncovered was, one of the men in the gang had a parasite similar to the Texas Tummy Twisters* reported in previous editions of the Tombstone Epitaph. This reporter believes that the gang brought their sick man to see Dr. Grape to have the parasite removed through a brand new procedure involving cutting open the man and removing the parasite directly.

Something must have gone wrong. Perhaps the parasite knew something was wrong and killed Dr. Grape and then attacked the posse. It could have infected one of the other members having a new host. That would explain why no creature was found with Dr. Grape. Only strange chitinous barbs were discovered up his right are and on his neck. Another, theory is maybe the Denver Police took the creature’s body away to cover up the weird ordeal. Whatever the truth is, this story is yet another example the ineptitude of city officials and failure of local journalistic publications.

*Texas Tummy Twisters are reported to live in bad water holes in Texas and once inside a host grow to the size of house cats as quick as a week. The parasite has been described as a mass of barbed tentacles.

Note from John Clum, Editor-in-Chief of the Tombstone Epitaph:

Miss Hardin,

We here at the Tombstone Epitaph must regret that we cannot publish your story as is. While many people’s consider us little more than a tabloid thanks in no small part from the reports of Lacy O’Malley, we do not print every article from every crank that mails to us.
Your article is far too full of bile focused toward the Denver Police and Denver Newspapers to be useful. Perhaps with a re-write that is more objective and has a more complete account of what happened could we here at the Epitaph consider running this.

Regretfully,
John Clum, Editor-In-Chief

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House Call
Time to Pay the Doctor a Little Visit

Game Notes: This story was from the One Sheet Adventure House Call from Pinnacle Entertainment Group. The link will take you straight to that Adventure ifna you want to run it fer yer posse. The adventure ain’t tied to Colorado so feel free to play it where you want.

The following Dime Novella written by Annabel Hardin

The Posse:
Mr. Cotchry – A ex-town Nebraska marshal who lost his entire town to a brutal gang. Now his only wish is to hunt the villains down and make them pay.
Russ Brown – A backwoods tinkerer who suddenly began to get dreams of strange inventions. He is seeking Dr. Gash of Salt Lake City to replace his fat, ugly, boil-covered body with that of beautiful steel.
Max “Doc” Cunningham – A dwarf sawbones who has seemed to be given the power of healing by laying on hands. He wanders westward guided by divine providence to find what purpose God may have for him.
Samuel Mars – A Gunslinger with scruples, a rare thing these days. He heads west hoping his gun can help others to make up for the pain it has caused.

PURITY, CO—It was sunset when the four riders moseyed into the small town of Purity. The posse daydreamed about a nice shot of whiskey and a real bed after a days on the trail. However, something was amiss in this normally sleepy frontier town.

The former law dog, Cotchry noticed it first. The wasn’t anyone on the streets or in front of the businesses. Not particularly odd for Sunday, but the Posse came to the agreement that it was Wednesday. The men slowed their horses to a trot, their hands involuntarily reached for their guns. The windows of Purity were dark or curtained. It was Calvera all over again as the hairs on the back of their necks stood up.

As the Posse continued, they couldn’t help but notice the mansion up on the hill. It stood like a giant tombstone. It stood dark and oppressive even with the sunset pushing its long shadow away from Purity. The place was beginning to show signs of disrepair, and it was obvious that no one had tended the grounds for over a month.

Though the tension was thick enough to cut with a bowie knife, the Posse reached the Clean Ore Saloon without provocation. The men stepped through the double swinging doors to the small empty establishment. A door behind the bar creaked open only a crack. The Posse paused readying themselves to grab cover and slap leather.

“You from the trail?” a voice cracked with fear cried out. The Posse nodded in affirmative. Slowly the door opened and out stepped a man with salt and pepper hair, a face drawn pale and covered in sweat dressed in a common suit with a bartender’s apron. The bartender’s eyes were bloodshot and his hands trembled as set out some glasses and poured whiskey for the Posse and himself.

“What’s got the whole town so spooked?” spoke Cotchry before he scooped up and downed his shot of whiskey. The other members of the Posse waited for the bartender as they finished their drinks save Doc Cunningham.

“Well last night their was a scream straight outta Hell itself from up at Doc Sawyer’s place. Well, ol’ Sheriff McLean and his two deputies Dunk Burrell and Eli Alton went up there to see what the scream was all about and if Doc Sawyer was still kickin’. Only a minute or so after I saw them enter the mansion, I heard a couple of gun shots and some shouting. Before I could even turn away and run, I see Eli burst threw the front door. Somethin’ must have had hold of him because he tripped. And before he could get back to his feet, that somethin’ dragged him back in screaming in terror.” The bartender explained.

“God almighty, I ain’t never goin’ to forget that.” The bartender’s whole body was shaking. He then looked each of the other men in the eye and clasped his hands together in a plead. “You fellows look pretty tough, maybe you could head up their and find those men or their bodies. Maybe even take care of the thing that’s hidin’ up there. I could go around town and rustle up some money for ya. I can’t promise it be much, but were in desperate need.”

Mr. Cotchry finished another one of his whiskeys before standing up, “It ain’t happenin’ tonight, too dangerous. The beds up that way?” The ex-lawman pointed up to the hotel bedrooms. The barkeep was stepped back and nodded.

In the morning the Posse met back down in the saloon. Each checked their weapons and began to walk up the small hill the mansion sat upon. They stood shoulder to shoulder just outside the inky shadow cast in the morning light of the giant house. A cold wind picked up for a brief moment as the Posse steeled themselves for what they might find.

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Map of the Mansion

On the landing, Cotchry noticed and bit of blood and some scratch marks in the wood of the landing just in front of the large double doors of the mansion. Cotchry took one side of the doors while Mars took the other. With a countdown with his fingers and nod of their heads the two men burst through the doors followed up by the fat mad scientist and small blessed sawbones. Sam quickly ran to the center of the large entrance hall while Mr. Cotchry pushed open the heavy curtains to get some light into the dark cavernous chamber. Mr. Brown held his strange pistol with both hands as the weapon’s chamber glowed demonically orange of its own light. Behind the blubberous backwoods Brown was the dwarf doc.

The Posse were in the main entrance hall, a large room that made up much of the inside of the mansion. The floor was a checker board of white and black tiles. On the walls hung mostly uninspired landscapes and one of a older man with white hair and beard with a stern look wearing a white coat carrying a black doctor’s satchel. On the floor just in front of the door was some more blood and signs of a struggle. However, it was simply too dark to follow where the sheriff and his duties went.

“Let’s get some more light in here.” Cotchry said as he spied a couple of kerosene lamps built into the wall. Sam kept the ex-law dog covered while Brown and Cunningham pushed open the curtains to get a little more light in the entrance hall. It wasn’t until Cotchry was but a mere couple of paces when he saw a rat-sized tarantula pounce at him from one of behind one of the lamp holders on the wall. Despite the thing’s speed and agility, Cotchry was able to quickly dodge the nasty thing. That’s when he saw it wasn’t a tarantula at all. The truth was far more horrifying than that.

The thing was too big to be tarantula. It also didn’t have enough legs though it was nearly as hairy as the arachnid. No, this was a thing that shouldn’t be, it was possible. Yet here it stood scurrying around full of life. It was a severed yet animated hand!

The old lawman drew back in terror for a brief moment while trying to take a shot at it with his revolver. Unfortunately, the meaty hand was both too small and too fast to be hit in the dim light. Sam drew a bead with this pistol at the hand not yet able to make out what it was. He waited for a clear shot. From above another animated hand fell upon Rus managing to sieve the thick neck of the ugly tinkerer. The hand was strong and began to strangle the mad scientist to instinctively stumbled back into the light of the window and clawed at the horror with his free hand. Passing through the narrow light of the windows the Posse saw two more of these animated hands scuttle toward them before returning to the shadows.

Fear gripped Doc Cunningham as his mind flashed back to all the amputations he performed. He remembered back to grisly pile of severed limbs he once saw in a medical tent after a gruesome battle between the North and South. However, he quickly steeled himself to push the fear out of the way.

For Sam it wasn’t so easy. The fear had shaken him. He froze up for a moment. When feeling returned to his hands, the gunslinger fanned the hammer causing volcano to erupt in an explosion of lead at one of the animated hands moving toward the Posse. The hand was struck twice in the hail of gunfire and skidded to a stop twitching.

Russ Brown continued to struggle with the hairy severed hand around his throat, its meaty fingers trying to crush the life out of him. The fat man finally managed to break the grip of the thing throwing it to the ground. He used his colossal weight to crush the thing by stomping on it.

Mr. Cotchry continued to shoot at the animated hand that attacked managing to shoot off a couple of the thing’s fingers to slow it down enough to get the killing blow in. The thing limped and twitched around in its death throws like a beaten rat with a broken leg.

The forth and final hand quickly turned back and scurried back. Russ Brown was fired his strange pistol firing a weirdly green glowing projectile. The bolt went high and struck the far wall of the entrance hall leaving a phosphorescent glow slightly weaker than candle light. Bathed in the sickening green glow the Posse watched as the last hand escaping under a door. Mr. Cotchry and Mr. Brown looked at each other as spoke, “We should have shotguns for this.”

The Posse left the mansion to make their way to Purity’s general store and gunsmith. The owner never even asked them what the men needed the weapons for. He knew it was best not to know what evils could draw the color out of harden men like these faces. Cotchry picked himself up a double-barrel and Brown a Winchester lever-action shotgun. Armed with these weapons and a couple boxes of shells the Posse returned to deal the other horrors.

The Posse searched the rest of the mansion room by room. The place had been torn up, furniture knocked over and broke, books and other items tossed about. In their investigations the Posse found but two clues. One was a strange sort of text book from the dark ages detailing how to revive the dead to some semblance of life and the other was Doctor Sawyer’s journal. The journal spoke a patient turned assistant named Maxwell. The doctor’s journal never detailed how Maxwell came to be patient only that he required much in the way of stitches and over all ugliness that would likely cause womenfolk to faint at the sight of him. Never the less, the doctor mentioned that Maxwell was an extremely loyal assistant, and Sawyer could find no one more dedicated to his research.

The rest of mansion turned up little until the Posse discovered the basement. The basement was a packed earth and stone series of rooms. As the Posse made their way down the stairs by the light of Russ Brown’s improvised Lantern they discovered Doctor’s Sawyers assistant, greatest discovery, and more frightening thing they ever saw.

Laid out on the floor out the basement was a man with white hair and beard, his body spread eagle with chest cavity ripped open. In the corner of the stony chamber they learned the fate of the sheriff and his deputies. The deputies had been brutally beaten and had their hands chopped off at the wrist. Sheriff Mclean on the other hand was been dissected by a hulking man. The hulking brute turned at the posse had left out a horrifying yalp before charging at them with his might fists.

The Posse’s blood turned to ice as the the hulk stomped toward them. He was a patch work a body parts sewn together with thick cord stitches. Much of behemoth body was covered in patches of gray-green skin that varied from quilted nature of the body parts that made him. The abomination had to slump to keep his head from touching the wooden rafter of the basement ceiling.

With his mighty arms the patchwork man Maxwell brought down his fists like hammers on Mr. Cotchry in a furry of blows. The attacks caused the ex-lawman to stumble back but he managed to hold on to his shotgun opening up both barrels into the patchwork man. The blast of shot pushed the brute back and peppered his dead flesh but didn’t seem to stop slow Maxwell much. The rest of the Posse opened fire into the the monster. At first it didn’t appear as if the thing was harmed after enough lead to kill 10 men, but the Posse kept their attack up severing stitches and the tendons to the hulks limbs. At first the Maxwell’s arms gave out on him, then his legs as the patchwork man collapsed to the ground no yet conceding. It was the lever-action shotgun of Rus that exploded the brute’s head like a melon. The rest of Maxwell massive form slumping to the packed earth ground as a dark ichor seeped out.

The posse discovered notes detailing Doctor Sawyer’s obsession with staving off death. Doc Cunningham determined while Maxwell was likely the murderer of Sheriff McLean and his deputies. It was more likely that natural causes killed the old doctor. Rus Brown couldn’t but help himself to a choice selection of chemicals and research notes that even Max Cunningham could make out more than gibberish.

The Posse returned to the Clean Ore Saloon. Mr. Cotchry told the tale of what they had see and how they stopped it. It was a strange thing the each of the men of the Posse noticed. The shadows of Purity became less ominous. There was no longer an air of tension and fear. Even the townsfolk noticed it as they came out of hiding. It was like the fear that covered Purity like a heavy duster simply vanished.

Each of the men experience some disturbing dreams that night, though none of them could remember exactly what they were. They didn’t speak about with others in morning as they evaporated with the morning sun and hot cup of coffee. The next day the Posse was back on the trail heading toward Denver. Purity managed to collect $38 in sliver for their troubles. Something told the men this would only be the first of much weirder things to come in their adventures west. . .

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Prelude: A little trip to Boot Hill
The Posse meet and get a man up to Boot HIll to be buried.

The Posse:
Rus Brown (Mad Scientist)
Mister Catchry (Ex-Sheriff)
Max “Doc” Cunningham (Sawbones)
Samuel Mars (Gunslinger)

CALVARA, KS—It was mid-morning when the Eagle eyed ex-Sheriff noticed the boom town’s undertaker arguing with a carpetbagger out in front the funeral parlor. The two men seemed to be having a increasing heated discussion over payment or the lack of it. Oddly not one of the undertaker not being paid, quite the opposite, the undertaker was refusing payment handing the a gold eagle back to the norther only to have a few choice words and the coin given right back. From the Livery stable across Main street a crowd of cowboys were forming interesting in how this argument was going to play out.

It was from the livery that Samuel Mars walked over from to discover what the argument was about. It seems that the undertaker was refusing to put the man in the pine box in the back of the hearse in the graveyard. It seems that man was an Indian, a Sioux in fact. It wasn’t long before the carpetbagger’s friend urged him to give up this foolish argument so they could be one their way.

Now look here." said the carpetbagger “If any of the men up in boot hill have any objection to this Indian being buried with them, they long gave up their objections now.”

“To be sure the bone yard is full of thieves, cut throats, rapists, and murderers, but they ain’t the element that’s objectin’” replied the undertaker. “Seems there’s folk in this town don’t like the idea of a redskin being buried along with such illustrious and noble folk. And when they ain’t afraid usin’ lead to keep it that way, well sir, I become bigoted too.”

“You just need a driver to get that man up to boot hill. Hell, I drive the hearse up there.” spoke the olive skinned man with a face that looked like a train ran over it.

“I’ll ride shotgun to get this man to his internal rest.” spoke the handsome ex-sheriff as he wheeled his Winchester to his shoulder after checking the ammo. The gunslinger nodded and the other man climbed aboard the black wagon.

Two other men, one heavyset man in stained overalls with a pocked and boil cover homely face with thick spectacles strapped to his face armed with some strange pistol device, the other a appeared as small as a child yet he was in thirties. Each man stepped on the running boards on each side of the black lacquer hearse. The Wagon canted to the ground on the fat man’s side as he stepped up. With a quizzical look, Sam Mars eyed these other two. He thought to ask them to stay behind, but decided a couple of extra guns could be handy and the big one might draw a lot fire.

The hearse’s horse needed a little more effort to get moving but slowly began down Main Street Calvera many of the buffalo hunters, prospectors, and other cowboys followed behind to see how this trip to Boot Hill was going to play out. Some of them making bets on if they all would get that man up to the old bone yard. Sam pulled out cigarillo

The Posse hadn’t traveled no more than across the intersection of Main Street and Old Farm Road when they spotted a twitching of a curtain in a second story window above the stage coach office. It was the Doc that spotted the man with a double-barreled shotgun drawing a bead on the Posse.

It was the ex-Sheriff that drew and fired first at the gunman in the window but missed. The Gunman blasted back firing both barrels at Sam. The shot was close, too close shooting the cigarillo straight out of his mouth. It was the pint-sized sawbones that drew his weapon and shot the concealed gun dropping him in a single shot.

Things seemed in the clear and the alert former lawman watched for further dangers. The Rus Brown, the backwoods mad scientist thought one of the buffalo hunter might be readying his Sharp’s Big Fifty, but was quickly stopped by the ex-Sheriff. Only the creepy tree put the Posse on edge as four empty nooses swayed gently as if to beckon each of the men.

As the black wagon reached the top of the hill and neared the grave yard, the posse saw six men all armed waiting for them. Most looked like buffalo hunters and ghost rock prospectors. Sam stopped the horses as one of the men stepped forward.

“We ain’t goin’ ta allow ya to bury that redskin here. So why don’t ya boys just turn that fancy black wagon around and down the fifty Indian out on the plains so the buzzards can pick at ’em.” The dirty prospector who approach said.

“Say friend, you’re a man of business, yes. Why don’t we give you and your buddies here a little spendin’ coin for the saloon and brothel while we take of this.” The former sheriff said with a friendly smile. Unfortunately, these men were adamantly against the idea of Sioux being put to rest along with the their fellow scoundrels many killed for trespassing into their nation.

“I’ll say it one last time before ya regret it, boy. Head back down the hill or there’s gonna be trouble.” The prospector said with a toothless wicked grin as he looked back at his other men who laughed. The law dog took this chance to spring off the hearse and aimed his rifle straight at the prospector’s head.

“I’m done being nice here. You and these men step aside or I swear to God I’ll turn your head into a canoe!” the Winchester’s barrel mere feet from the prospector’s head. One of the other men yelled, “He’s bluffin’.” While the prospectors cried back, “He ain’t bluffin’” convinced the law dog mean to kill this man over a dead Indian.

“You skin that smoke wagon, and let’s see what happens.” shouted Samuel as quick as lightning he drew his single-action peace maker. The buffalo hunter reached for his hogleg as Sam Mars fanned down on the hammer of his pistol volcano which erupted his a shower of lead into the man killing him times before he hit the ground.

The law man yelled to other men to leave their weapons and high tail it out of Calvera if they wanted to keep their miserable lives. The remained bigots dropped their weapons got on their horses and fled with their tails between their legs. When the Posse got back to town one of the gamblers gave them each a gold eagle telling them he won great deal of money betting on them. At the saloon, the Posse found their money was not good and were never for want of a drink that night.

The ex-sheriff decided this would be the best time to ask around for any information about the gang that destroyed his town. He learned that men matching the description of who he was looking for had been through the area in the last couple of weeks and some one over heard they were on their way to Denver.

The ex-Sheriff learned that the Gunslinger was just drifting west, the Mad Scientist just wanted to test his inventions, and the saw bones just drifted trying to help the sick and injured. The each decided to stick together at least for a little while. . .

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