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January 28, 2006, 6:11 pm

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The Cache of Elihu Short:

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When the Damnbroke Boys kill a grizzled hermit to find his treasure, it is up to the men of the Sheriff of Dorado to bring them to justice.

Plot Description
The year is 1870, the place is the American West. In the roaring boomtown of Dorado, the Sheriff keeps order among the rowdy cowboys, miners, and outlaws with a small group of hired gunslingers, mercenary men of the West, with checkered pasts; some have been robbers and outlaws in the past, or members of the rebel Confederacy; others are paladins of the frontier (though even the best men of the West can have blood on their hands). There is even a Chinaman.
The heroes are these men.

(To expand… How should the heroes be dispatched to Elihu’s home? How should the news come? Originally, I was going to have a companion of Elihu’s stumble into town, but I don’t know if that really fits my conception of the hermit…)

Basic outline-

1. Shootout at Elihu Short’s house- The deputies (heroes) are sent to investigate the situation at Elihu Long’s home, south of town on Busted Flat. There they discover Elihu wounded, firing at 4 armed attackers from behind a small cart. As they arrive, Elihu kills one of the attackers. The other attackers take Elihu down and attack the deputies.
After the shootout, one of the assailants escapes south. With his dying breath, Elihu tells the deputies that the attackers were part of the Damnbroke Boys gang, and that they were after his secret cache. He tells the deputies that the Damnbroke Boys will go after the only other person who knows where the cache is, Bart Heller, who lives on Castle Peak, a three day’s ride to the south.

2. Showdown on Missouri Cliff- The deputies chase the escaped Damnbroke Boy southward, to Missouri Cliff, where there is a gunfight.

3. Ambush at Boulder Cut- The deputies head north out of Busted Flat and then down into Boulder Cut, leading into Petersen Canyon (the way south to Deadhorse Ferry and then Castle Peak). At the Canyon, a man dressed in gentleman’s clothing tells them that aid is urgently needed in the Cut. It is a trick; once the deputies are in the Cut, they are ambushed by several armed Damnbroke Boys. A gunfight ensues.

4. Deadhorse Ferry- the deputies head south through Petersen Canyon and arrive at the Deadhorse River. At the Deadhorse Ferry, the deputies encounter a crazed Mexican who jabbers wildly in Spanish before attacking them with his fists. When subdued or wounded, the Mexican babbles about Big Nose Luke, the leader of the Damnbroke Boys, and about a golden necklace.

5. Cochise and Indians- the deputies cross the river on the ferry, and head down across the prairie, where the buffalo roam. At the foothills below Castle Peak, they encounter a band of Indians who draw arms. Their chieftan, Cochise (“koh-chee-say”), approaches and explains that a group of white men (described as dressing in a manner not unlike the Damnbroke Boys) stole two of their women. Some braves may attack later in the night, disobeying Cochise’s instructions.

6. Bart Heller is dead at the desk in his cabin, with a hand clutched against a stomach wound. He has managed to scrawl out a message:
“Too lat for mee- dambrok boys got to the cash. bewar- the neckliss is cursd- git thoz dammed basterdz- sined, Bartholomew Remington Heller”
The message seems to indicate that some necklace in Long and Heller’s cache was cursed, and that the Damnbroke Boys have already gotten to the gold. The deputies must bring the Damnbroke Boys to justice!

7. The deputies ride north, across the grasslands, taking the Deadhorse Ferry, back up through Petersen Canyon and Boulder Cut, and eastward, into the meadows below the old Pembroke Mine. The abandoned Pembroke Mine is called Damnbroke Mine by the people of Dorado, because it struck empty too early. It is the home of the Damnbroke Boys.

8. Battle with the Damnbroke Boys in the ghost town below the mine entrance. The boys not only fight the deputies, but squabble amongst themselves; some are fleeing the town, and surrender. Some seem violently insane. A wounded Damnbroke Boy warns the deputies that Big Nose Luke went crazy and started killing gang members in the mine after putting on a “savage’s trinket” from the cache.

9. Showdown with the crazed Big Nose Luke, covered in blood and wearing an ancient, cursed Aztec necklace, in the Pembroke Mine.

(Now I’ve got to pretty it up)



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Comments ( 9 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Barbarian Horde
January 17, 2006, 23:09
0xp
Plenty of gunfights in this plot.
Ria Hawk
January 17, 2006, 23:13
0xp
As to getting the PCs to Elihu's place - Well, if Elihu is a hermit, presumably he's not married. Unless he's a mean, mysoginistic, penny-pinching bastard, he'd probably have some one come in periodically, do the cooking and such. Or other possibilities: is his place near the road/mine/railroad/telegraph station/whatever else supports this town? Also, if the accoustics are right, the sounds of trouble could carry quite a ways; maybe someone heard the commotion, resulting in a quick check on any places it could be? Then there's always the gratuitous small boys going out to do some fishing/squirrel hunting/running errands for Mama.
manfred
January 19, 2006, 5:23
0xp
I guess this is what a western adventure should be like - a western movie, with plenty gunfights of course.

Aside, it is clear the hermit had also a past to hide... searching his stuff may lead to more plot hooks.


As for getting them there... the hermit could have met a tradesman just the day before, asked for something, and promised to come into town at a set time. Then comes the little boy running that he heard shooting somewhere. (Or one of the PCs could hear the shooting.) The clue is clear.

OR, the hermit has recieved a letter/message from someone (for instance Bart Heller), warning that the secret is out and he may be in danger. (Very easy to reveal particularly if it comes through telegraph.)
CaptainPenguin
January 19, 2006, 18:16
0xp
Why didn't I think of any of those?
Ria Hawk
January 20, 2006, 22:59
0xp
We watch more Westerns?
CaptainPenguin
January 21, 2006, 1:25
0xp
Doubtful.
Strolen
January 21, 2006, 7:07
0xp
It would be typical if Elihu was a retired lawman himself. Perhaps he took down the "popular big nasty" TM and all the "smaller big nasties" TM promised to get revenge. So he was given a rather large commission and took to solitude.

So this gang that went after him, perhaps all they know is that there is a hermit who never lacks money to purchase anything he wants. Bart may be a known friend of his and in the Cowboy days to a group of roughs him knowing the hermit well could be enough to get them going over there.

So, Elihu probably knew that he was getting into trouble with this gang, he was a prior lawman and can read the signs, so he sent a coded dispatch to his friends that he knows he can trust. Perhaps they are governors or sheriffs by now. And it is these people who read that Elihu was having trouble so sent the group to check up on him.

I think it is too convenient for a posse to be just roaming around aimlessly when all this ruckass starts up. I like the deeper background that the PCs might figure out as they continue.
MoonHunter
January 21, 2006, 10:59
0xp
Okay a couple of things I see...

1) , mercenary men of the West, with checkered pasts; some have been robbers and outlaws in the past, or members of the rebel Confederacy; others are paladins of the frontier (though even the best men of the West can have blood on their hands). There is even a Chinaman.
The heroes are these men.

That is like, The lord hired a rag tagged band of waunders and adventurers, with no thought to their past, to be his city guard. These are our party, the heroes.

How about: , his deputies. Now like many who wear a badge, they have checkered pasts: gamblers, gunslingers, rebels, outlaws, indians, and even those of color. The Sheriff does not care as long as the men now travel the path of the straight and narrow (or least heading in the right direction away from damnation).

These are the Heroes of our Story.

I mean why require the PCs to be very specific things when they are not needed.


After a man with a wanted poster was seen in town (but not apprehended), a posse of deputies could be called up to "ride out" and check the direction said varmit was riding out to. He could lead them to rest of the Damnbroke Boys. That way they can stumble over the old mining hermit. (Concept of Foreshadowing. Or if they decide to go amother way, they could at least know what they are riding for. Then they could stumble over the other guy. )

You also need to leave clues there, that if the PCs muck up, they will still have leads as to where to go... so they don't have to depend on tracking die rolls.

2. Showdown on Missouri Cliff-
What is interesting about Missouri Cliff? Why have a shoot out there? Is it an Ambush? and if it is, how did the PC's survive. Remember, combat with 6 shooters is pretty darn lethal. If people were actually good shots, more people would die. Also remember that in the real world, people used rifles, rather than handguns... except in town.

I would actually cut this one out... unless one guy was left behind to bushwack the PCs... that way they they have something to continue to chase. If the PCs were good, the gang won't survive the second gunfight.

3) This is worth doing.

4 or 5. (or delete 3). I would go with 4 of the two. Remember, There are no redshirts in Western Games. You can't ensure that minor NPCs will bite it in these combat. Too much fantasy in your gaming. There is not enough healing for these people to survive this much combat. Too many combat scenes will ensure too many dead or injured PCs that will either a) have the posse ride back to town or b) be down to a smaller number that will be squashed by the gang.

If you don't believe me, run some combats in similar situations in your average western game. Check the Wounded and Dead rates. It ain't gonna happen boyo.

6. How about the necklace makes you crazy. Why would he think it is cursed? Did he wear it? Too many questions. Just go with it makes you crazy and move the original possessor to the hermit. Now the money, it is here.

If they search they will find an aztec knife. (Gives them a magic weapon to hit the necklace wearer, or at least a clue as to the whole Aztec thing).

8) If people know the name and relationship between it and the mine, why has nobody actually thought the gang would be in the mine? Nope. Cute element needs to be cut.

8 and 9 don't clean track. You need to forshadow the whole Aztec aspect sooner. Sure the Indians scene does imply that, but not by much. They could just be rapists and crazy guys. There is nothing odd about any of it other than they are "evil". You have to hammer that aspect home. Make it more visceral.

More showy supernatural powers early on. Make sure that mexican's are flayed alive and their hearts sacrificed. (Have some of them join their reborn goed). Indians would know of Aztecs but not follow them... attack them unmercilessly. Then make the wearer practically shrug off bullets. (that way you can make him die at an appropriately dramatic time).

Remember plant it early, make it pay off often.

If this tracking is overnight, maybe someone (with indian aztec blood will dream of the necklace). Perhaps someone has encountered the necklace before.

The other thing, why shouldn't the hermit have the necklace? He can be crazy and calling himself a god and things. The reason he still is a hermit. That will lead into the whole mystic aztec thing. When the posse gets to him, they can realize the necklace he used to wear was gone. The blood writing on the table can mention the money and the necklace is dammed.

So... as an adventure... too many encounters in too short of a time. The supernatural aspects need to be hinted at earlier on. (Crazy Hermit would do that better than just appending a magic item in the middle of the damm run).

Or you could just cut out the whole cursed neclace thing and run it as a straight adventure. That would still be a good run.



Some ideas...
Expand out the travel time (allows for some minor wound recovery).
Show more supernatural or imply stuff about Aztec God reborn in the encounters and hammer the point home.
MoonHunter
February 26, 2006, 14:12
0xp
One last thing, include a scene that can be inserted if they ride back to town to tend their wounded. That way the scenario does not derail completely.

Freetext



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