Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Screen – Part 5: The Result

Edit:  For sake of completeness, this is the first adventure of the Colt Apollo or, rather, The Adventures Of The Colt Apollo:  Warning Shot.  When I read this, it didn’t have the article-style that I was after in Behind The Screen, which prompted me to keep further adventures separate, referring to them in furture articles.

My first game in two or so years, with a group I had never ran an adventure with, and exactly five minutes of planning to put a story together. Yep, this would be the slow and gradual way I would immerse myself back into the cold waters of Games-Mastering.

As you’ll recall, I had three weapon ideas, three bad guys and “A town” as a backdrop. Fortunately, first game is really about the players more so than the story and if it isn’t, it really should be. This is not only a first of the guy running the tale, it’s a first for the players running their characters and a shakedown adventure is not the time you want to start laying down heavy amounts of plot. So, here’s how it went.

Hmm, before I do, a list of cast members.

Ness: Lightning Jack (Jacqueline). Gunslinger with Lightning guns as a preference. High stats in dexterity, firearms, intimidation, reputation and other such skills.

Adam: Wendell Kane: Mountain Man with a somewhat narrow family tree. Focused on strength, damage and stamina. Bareknuckled fighter though a mean shot with a hunting rifle. Stopped me dead in my tracks when he looked up and asked how many points he’d have to spend in the Menagarie Background to get a bear. So he has a bear.

Rhys: Octavius Wilhem. German born but American raised scientist/inventor/lawman. Reliant on his inventions, more so than any hard combat abilities, this did not stop Rhys from equipping a flame thrower, heavy machine gun and a mortar, along with a heavily modified deep sea diving suit/armour. Once again, in Rhys’s hands, the mad scientist concept ends up being a Space Marine. Oh, and he has a backpack of four arms for additional work. Adam, when Rhys was brainstorming names, stated that it’s law if the character has more than two arms, that he be named ‘Octavius’.

The backstory was that each of the characters were Marshals who, as a posse, had been tasked with bringing in, or down, the notorious Bronson Gang. The last ten members of the thirty strong gang have been riding hard to stay ahead of the long arm of the law. Lead by the notorious Chuck Bronson (At the 11th hour, I can get shameless), the chase comes to a head in the humble town/waystation of Springfield, New York State.

Springfield was chosen, not just because The Simpsons is genetically encoded into the human race, but also cause springs are integral to the steampunk way. I’m thinking it may end up being a recurring theme to name towns after parts.

The town was a supply station for those pioneers looking to seek their fortune in the wilds of America, as well as a waystation for horse and rail. It was behind the times though as it didn’t have an Sky Port for airships. The streets were empty, though there action could be heard from the bar. As the players rode into town – Lightning Jack on her mechincally enhanced horse, Thunder, Octavius Wilhem on a track/tread iron horse and Wendell Kane on his bear, Smokey – the fair hand of a schoolmarm hurridly beckoned them into a hardware store.

The hardware store was littered with nuts, bolts, cogs and any other spare part needed to effect field repairs on machinery. It was also littered with thirteen or so children, the girls hiding behind the sturdy shelves of iron parts; the boys fighting each other to get a peek out the window. The schoolmarm quickly explained a band of outlaws had rode in, shot up the place and were holed up in the bar, threatening to shoot anyone they saw out on the street. The Sheriff was out of town chasing Redskins and the Deputy hadn’t been seen since the arrival of the new visitors. Lightning Jack spoke to the Schoolmarm and it wasn’t long before the impressive reputation and soothing manner of her voice calmed the woman. It did excite the kids however as the feats of Lightning Jack, Lawman (her father was also a gunman named Jack) promised a spectacular end to this situation.

Octavius and Kane scoped out the bar and, when reunited with Jack, decided that the direct approach worked for them. Standing out in broad daylight, Jack called for the Bronson Gang to give themselves up on the count of three. They got to ‘Two’ before an erruption from the bar sent a length of iron railroad sailing out to crash into the building behind them. Fortunately the players were not easily taken by such a ruse.

‘Three’ called Jack and with one quick dash, the Lightning Gunslinger burst foward, leapt up the horse post and landed on the second floor balcony of the tavern where the rooms and whores were kept. At the moment it was occupied by three gunmen who hadn’t yet got the chance to fire. Jack didn’t pause and hurled herself into the first window, tackling one of the local women held hostage by the Bronson Gang, seconds after Octavius readied his machine gun and strafed all three floors, destroying the outlaws inside.

Wendell Kane, bear-back, charged through the swinging doors and into the bar itself where four Bronson’s were waiting. Amongst them was Irving Bronson, the big man of the gang who was readying his Railroad Spiker for a second shot, and Stabbity Bronson, who was drawing a pistol that shot knives.

‘Fetch!’ was all Kane said and the bear teared up the stairs to the first floor. Meanwhile the Mountain Man squared off against Irving Bronson and violence ensued. Stabbity Bronson and his less notorious siblings elected to fire at the approaching Octavius Wilhem, but were no match for the sturdily crafted iron armour. Meanwhile, Kane had detained the larger Bronson by shoving the outlaw’s head straight into the barrel of his Railroad Spiker.

Meanwhile upstairs, untroubled by the bullet-ridden bodies of the Bronson Gang, Lightning Jack tipped her hat at the women she had saved and burst into the rooms across the halls. An open window and a cloud of dust were all the clues she needed to know that Chuck Bronson had been caught unawares and the longjohn-sporting outlaw and two free brothers were on horseback and making trails. Jack gave a whistle.

Octavius Wilhem deployed his trusty flamethrower against the ineffectual knife slinging ammunition of Stabbity Bronson. Doused in fire, the outlaw was well done before he hit the floor. Unfortunately the alcohol soaked timbers of the bar caught alight and it was only due to this happening many times before that Octavius deployed a fire extinguisher of his own design to remedy the problem. The bar was spared though Stabbity was not. Wendell Kane brought out his hunting rifle and brought down another Bronson and the last one in the bar allowed himself to be spotwelded to the fixtures for later arrest. It was at that point that Thunder burst through the tavern.

Leaping out the window of the hotel, Lightning Jack landed in the saddle mid-gallop as Thunder tore across the plains to catch the escaping Chuck Bronson and his diminished family. The bandits had some lead but Lightning Jack didn’t have a reputation for nothing. Drawing her lightning guns, a gift from her father before he died, the Marshal aimed and fired, sending a bolt straight into the horseshoe and propelling the bandit into the air before he landed bodily on the ground and the horse landed bodily on him.

Kane, astride his trusty bear while Wilhem raced back to his vehicle, had taken less difficult shots during his many hunting trips and the rifle was put to good use at even more impressive range as the second Bronson was picked off. Jack shocked the remaining horse which pitched Chuck Bronson onto the dusty ground though the bandit was back on his feet before the Lawman closed distance. His stance was wide and his hand hovered near the butt of his gun. Jack recognized the challenge and was not the kind of woman who could resist.

Both gunfighters squared off against each other, Jack armed with her lightning guns, Chuck armed with who knew what. With continual advancement in the field of technology, a gun’s dread purpose could be delivered in a myriad of ways. Jack didn’t get to learn how this one worked though as she was first of the draw and first to fire. Amps coursed through the Bronson before he could clear his gun and he twitched spasmodically in the dirt.

With the Bronsons dead or in the local hoosgow, the Marshals sent word by way of telegram of a job well done and were almost instantly replied with another duty. Get to New York to stop a kidnapping!

Seemed to go alright. Proper adventure is tonight.



    • Yeah, it kind of did lose the article structure and went into story. I’m going to have to look at that for the next write-up.

      Second game seemed to go really well. More on that, hopefully tomorrow.

      We’re using the Adventure! rules system, which is a lesser known work of White Wolf. It’s typical D10 dice pools only with a standard target of 7 to get a success and difficulty staged by requiring more successes to accomplish the task. It also has a lot of abilities that are in keeping with a Wild West game (though it was designed for 1930’s pulp action). With the exception of some, I’ve basically translated the powers into steampunk devices which is hastily crafted but a serviceable tool.

      Glad to see you respond. I imagine you’ve had your hands full over the last month or two.

      • Ah, I’ve heard of Adventure! before, never played with it but I am a fan of dice pools in any form (as you can probably tell from my own design work). Love the ability to reflect the scope of a task as well as what the character can (or are willing to) stake to accomplish it with a tactile method of abstraction rather than a purely numerical approach.

        So the game reports are becoming their own column?

      • I think of any system I’ve played, White Wolf has won me in terms of simplicity, versatility and the right amount of dice able to held in hand. Still play Shadowrun, which calls for many more D6’s but fortunately they are smaller and more wieldy, though the rules get into the horribly complex. Feng Shui cuts the meat right down to the bone with its boiled down approach of 2D6 but can get iffy if you want something complex. White Wolf is the happy medium.

        Yeah, given that I’ve found a wordcount limit in the phone’s blog software and already meandering state of my writing, I think it best for all concerned (which would probably be you =) ) to separate the two and reference them.

        Besides I don’t often get a chance to write a story.

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