Opportunity Knocks

Gunfight at the OK Corral

The sun rose over the ashes of the Elko warehouse. Through the acrid smoke, a rescue train from Tombstone arrived. A young journalist, Zachariah Hornsby, was the only passenger.

“Esmerelda!? Is that you? Why, you’ve changed… a lot.” he said. Embarrassed, Icie revealed that Zachariah was her second cousin. Zachariah was on assignment from the Tombstone Nugget to report on the fire. When the posse explained that there were vampires and zombies afoot, he scoffed. “That sounds like that horse shit that Lacy O’Malley writes for the Tombstone Epitaph.”

On the train ride into Tombstone, Zachariah couldn’t seem to shut up. He explained that the local law, Virgil Earp, had outlawed firearms in the town of Tombstone. Everyone would have to check their weapons in at a saloon or livery. The Earps, according the Zachariah, were crooked. The Earps were in the midst of a feud with Baron LeChetelier’s men. And while things hadn’t come to violence yet, that was mostly because of the actions of Texas Ranger Hank Ketchum. Hank Ketchum, by the way, hadn’t been seen for about a week. He was last seen riding out to the Stanton Ranch. Old man Stanton was a drunk who ranted about “Insect Men” on his property.

Zachariah was very excited to announce that his fiance, Elmira Duffey, was coming to town. Now that he was settled with a good job, and had purchased his 20 acres, he felt it was time for her to come West so they could be married.

The train arrived in Tombstone. It was spring time and the local cacti were in full bloom. The beauty of the land was contrasted by the near-constant thirst they all felt. As mentioned by Zachariah, there were signs posted at the depot warning passengers that firearms were forbidden within city limits. Clarice McDonald was busy unloading a large set of crates and working out the paperwork with the quartermaster.

The Posse made their way to the Oriental, a saloon they were told was “neutral territory” between the Earps and the Clantons and a well-known establishment for gambling. Doc Holiday was running the Faro tables, when a young man (later revealed to be Morgan Earp) rushed in.

“Doc! Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury are in town. They’re both heeled, I reckon. Virgil told me to come get you.”

Doc Holiday excused himself and left with Morgan.

A drunk cowpoke started ranting about the damnable Earps, and all the tinhorns in town taking away their jobs. A number of ranch hands at the bar agreed with him. The taunts became more personal, until someone threw a punch. Icie and Arthur both cleaned house, despite some interesting challenges. Zane was able to hold his own. Smokin’ Cho got whipped good. After the brawl, the Earps showed up and told the posse that they might have need of them soon.

Icie and Arthur went to the church to find Padre Ernesto de Diaz. They were told that he had left town on a mission just two days ago, but left a letter for Icie. The letter begged for forgiveness for leaving and that he would return in a weeks time.

Back at the Oriental, Lacy O’Malley made an appearance with his latest best selling dime novel: The Beast of Lake Bigler. In this novel, Percival is the hero, with his wise advisor Viktor, his faithful butler Cho, his comedic sidekick Zane, and his headstrong and beautiful damsel Icie. Zane’s manitou admitted to selling the rights to Lacy for $5.

The next morning, the Posse was told that Ike Clanton was drunk and walking the streets with a winchester. The Earps deputized the posse and asked them to help stop Ike before he hurt somebody. The only request was that they not kill Ike. The posse tracked him down, and tried to trick him. Ike was able to spot their weapons and drew first. His shot hit Cho hard, and Cho went down. Icie was able to beat Ike to a pulp. Viktor was pulled in to use his healing gun on Cho.

The gunfire brought the Earps, who arrested Ike and took him to the local courthouse. There they encountered Frank McLaury. Wyatt asked if he was carrying a weapon, and when Frank refused to respond, Wyatt drew his gun and pistol-whipped him twice. Frank was checked and found to have no weapons on him. Plenty of witnesses saw this happen, and Zachariah Hornsby was also there, writing down notes for tomorrows newspaper.

The Posse felt they needed to find Hank Ketchum. The returned to the Oriental to get their gear, when Lacy O’Malley walked in and told the Marshall that there was a sizable gang of armed men outside the OK Corral. Marshall Virgil Earp once again deputized the Posse and asked for their help in stopping things before they became violent.

Each player was then given one of the Earps as an allied-extra to play. There was indeed a sizable gang at the OK Corral. Ike and Bllly Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury had at least twenty men with them, all armed with revolvers and rifles. Virgil Earp demanded that everyone hand over their weapons. Guns were drawn, and a lengthy and bloody battle broke out. In the end, Cho managed to capture a prisoner. Icie was not interested in taking prisoners. She pushed Cho out of the way and killed the man.

Virgil Earp witnessed the act and stripped Icie of her deputy badge. She was left off with a warning, but it was clear that the next time something happened like that she would be arrested.

In the aftermath, the Earps were coming to terms with what had just happened. This meant war with the Baron.

The Posse rode out with hopes of finding Hank Ketchum. Zane was able to follow his tracks into a box canyon near the Dragoon mountains. Past a rockslide, they saw circling buzzards and a cloud of flies. Lying against the canyon wall was the body of Hank Ketchum. Shot twice, once in his good eye and another through his badge. The badge was torn from his shirt and missing.

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The Long and Winding Road

Icie woke from a dream where here beloved Johnny told her the tale of how he came to acquire his unique gun. He was a member of the 13th Alabama in the Civil War. His commander was the meanest son of a bitch to ever live, a man named Jasper Stone. Jasper liked killing more than anything else in this world. In the meat grinder that was Gettysburg, he commanded his men on a suicide mission. He lead the charge, and his own men shot him in the back. Johnny took Jasper’s gun. They thought Stone was dead, but even 13 bullets in his back wasn’t enough to keep him down. Stone had been hunting him down ever since.

The posse collected themselves and traveled to Fort Lincoln, where they were remembered as heroes. Percival acquired a line of credit and began earning some travelling money from a card game. Zane spread the word of the Lord with his new found faith. And Icie met one of the angels from the Asylum. He introduced himself as Jediah. Jediah was simple. He said that something felt wrong about what Douma and Simiel were doing. He said that they were going to kill everyone that Icie had shown the gun to, and begged her to protect these people.

The first name that popped into Icie’s head was Ernesto De Diaz. Ernesto was a priest, who studied forbidden knowledge of the church. Icie sent word to Ernesto via telegraph, and got a response to meet Ernesto in the town of Tombstone Arizona.

The posse hopped a train heading south. In Shannonsburg, CA they were approached by Albert “Honest Al” Callahan, a sales representative of the Smith & Robards company. He needed an engineer to help him fix a problem with his latest sale: a submersible warship for the Union. The posse traveled into the inky depths by way of a diving bell. On board the flooded ship they encountered a number of dangers including the ghost rock infected crew. Viktor was impressed with the design, because he felt it was his own. A very impressive “talking box” bore the fingerprint of his design – but it was beyond anything he had made. Whomever had made this had not only stolen work from Viktor, but was an incredible genius. In the end, the posse was not able to recover the ship before it’s captain set off an explosive in the bow. They were just able to escape via the diving bell before drowning.

At the end of the Union Blue rail, they had a choice whether to go to Dead End and travel the Dixie Rails line to Tombstone or the much shorter route to Railsend and travel the Bayou Vermillion line. Arthur, having knowledge of both companies, suggested that Dixie Rails was much safer, even though it meant travelling across the Mojave Desert. The posse opted for the shorter, faster path to Railsend and travel on Bayou Vermillion.

The train broke down in spectacular fashion, just outside of a rail spur called Elko. The boiler exploded, killing the engineer and two others. A train conductor named J. B. Halstead directed the survivors to the nearby rail spur to notify Bayou Vermillion about the accident, and to request a pick up.

Elko was something of an urban legend. A warehouse full of unclaimed property and lost deliveries. The survivors mulled ideas of sneaking in to see if they could find any of these lost treasures. Viktor and Percival followed them, and observed them open a crate and then get attacked by four people. When Viktor and Percival approached, everyone was gone. In the box was a steel canister that contained four beating hearts.

Convinced that these were the actions of vampires, the posse constructed a device to burn the warehouse to the ground using a mixture of greek fire and ghost rock. The plan succeeded, and also offered a distraction for the vampires to strike and for J.B. Halstead to escape with the hearts. With the assistance of a mysterious woman named Clarice McDonald, the posse was able to stop the vampires using garlic soaked bullets and knives. They were also able to wound the escaping J.B. Halstead.

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I'm not crazy...

Icie had a recurring dream of the last day she saw Johnny Hunter. This time he had a warning to keep the gun safe. The frightening visage of Johnny Hunter’s eyes forced Icie awake. She was tied to a bed, wearing only a simple white gown. The albino woman, Natalie Ezrah, was sitting astride her looking down. Natalie said, “Daddy always told me that people who talk in their sleep are crazy.”

The familiar sound of Zane Sharkey screaming floated through the air like a swarm of bees. Smokin’ Cho and Percival could see Zane from their room. He was naked, gagged and tied to a dolly-like device. They could clearly see his open gut wound from Weaverville which still hadn’t healed. They could also see that he had been recently circumcised.

Two doctors were standing on either side of Zane, discussing how their hypothesis of the operation had failed. They ordered Zane be sent to “The Basement”.

Everyone was tied to a bed and wearing a hospital gown. One-by-one they were taken to meet Dr. Douma. Dr. Douma explained that they were all sharing a psychosis caused by Icie. The Posse was being kept here because of the violent massacre at Weaverville. Dr. Douma believed that Posse had killed everyone in the town of Weaverville.

Smokin’ Cho told a series of effective lies, convincing Dr. Douma that the weapon was either in Weaverville, or in the possession the Shan Fan Triads. Each time, when the lie was eventually uncovered, Dr. Douma was violent with his punishment. First he proposed a form of lobotomy by sticking a rusted spike past Cho’s eyeball. The second threat became a reality when Cho was held down and Dr. Douma circumcised him. Then Dr. Douma and Dr. Simiel donned protective gear and forced Smokin’ Cho to inhale Ghost Rock dust.

The floor beneath the Posse held other patients. These other patients would become enraged whenever a loud noise was heard. They did not appreciate the playing of a harpsichord which happened every night after sundown.

Frustrated with Icie’s unwillingness to discuss her gun, Dr. Douma placed her under hypnosis. She admitted that she didn’t know where her gun was, but also admitted that she had shown the gun to four people. She gave Dr. Douma their names.

Eventually the posse was taken downstairs for Sunday Services. They were given a box of their personal effects. Weapons were missing with two exceptions: Viktors devices were in his box, but all of the Ghost Rock had been removed. And Icie’s gun was in her box. It was later revealed that the runes carved in the gun prevented Dr. Douma from seeing it.

After services, Percival summoned a gun using his new huckster abilities. He tossed the gun to Cho who quickly killed two of the orderlies. Dr. Douma fled to another room and began chanting. Dr. Simiel used powers to try and get Cho to sleep. Thundering sounds of activity started on the floor above them as the fight continued. Dr. Douma revealed his true form, two wings covering his body, another two wings raised behind him, and four faces. The visage was blinding to all who saw it, but they were able to resist it enough to prevent permanent blindness.

The two doctors and the remaining orderlies fled. The occupants of the second floor fled as well. The posse was able to find Zane Sharkey downstairs.

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Timeline between Season Two and Season Three

This large image is the flowchart of events from the moment Season Two ended in a tunnel beneath El Dorado, to the end of our gaming session last night. Try opening the image in a new tab so that you can see it in full resolution.

Horizontal cards at the top represent major events, flowing from left-to-right. Vertical cards are minor events that occurred either as a result of the major event, or around the time of the major event.

The cards are just a representation of history. They neither infer a link nor a causality between themselves, although in some cases there may be.

Opportunity_Knocks_Timeline.png

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El Dorado

The Posse found a way to get ahead of the Union Blue train. Along a straight-away after a bend, the Posse had laid feed along the rail lines to get Cattle to block the line. Then they waited behind a blind for the train to slow down. The Union Blue train arrived, and blew it’s horn. Gunnery teams on top of the train fired at the cattle, and cleared the rails.

Zane, Viktor and Percival rode out behind the caboose, using it as cover so the gunnery teams wouldn’t see them. Zane was able to move to the train cleanly, but Viktor and Percival were not. Their horses stumbled, and the noises alerted the gunnery crews. Car-by-car the Posse advanced on the train. Icie and Cho were able to catch up and help take out Union Soldiers. Zane took a position on the caboose roof. Union Soldiers advanced and detached the caboose. With a running start, Zane jumped from the Caboose to the Freight car and landed on top of a Union Soldier.

The roof of the freight car opened up, and a Zeppelin lifted away. More cars were cut loose from the train, and General Custer taunted the Posse with threats that their rebellious acts would be in vain. That he would make it to El Dorado and bring an end to this Civil War and unify the United States of America.

A week later, the Posse arrived at the Devils Postpiles, the area that Barnabus Quint had identified as the location of the lost city of gold, El Dorado. The nearer they got to the Devils Postpiles, the worse the weather became. Thunder, lightning, rain and hail pelted them. They followed a pillar of ghost-smoke, and found the wreckage of Custers Zeppelin. Two bodies were found, one a Union Soldier and the other a hispanic man with a feathered headdress. The Posse recognized him as the man who was trapped in the ruins near Grizzly Bluff – Ququmatz, the God of Storms. No longer in his winged serpent form. The Posse correctly deduced that he had brought down Custers Zepplin, but why?

Muddy footprints led the Posse into the Sierra Nevadas. Above the storms, the weather was calm and beautiful. The trail became a road, going past terraced farms and eventually to a Pyramid made of Gold. The Posse waited for nightfall to approach. Signs of a battle between Union Soldiers and Aztec warriors lined the area outside the pyramid. Aztec warriors pounced from dug out holes and attacked. But the spear-wielding warriors were little match for hot lead.

A door at the top of the pyramid lead to a tunnel deep below. The posse entered a large chamber. A pool of molten gold in the center, surrounded a small island with an enormous crystal lens. Spiritual energies flowed through the lens and into the body of General Custer. His skin painted black, and dressed in feathers. The three witches surrounded him, casting a ritual. Six golden statues lined the walls.

The posse advanced and fired, trying to disrupt the ritual. Whenever they were aggressive near one of the statues, it came alive. Zane blasted one with his rifle, and the cavity revealed human bones. These weren’t statues, they were humans who were encased in molten gold! Two of the witches broke from the ritual, leaving their little sister to complete it. The snake witch shot snakes out which constricted our heroes and tried to pull them into the molten gold. The bat witch took flight and used her powerful sonic blasts to wear the heroes down.

Viktor teleported near Custer and attacked with the Sword of Laban, but the ritual was completed just before it. Custers body burned, and only his blackened bones remained. The God of Greed, Tetzocatipulca walked the earth again. Blue fire shot out of his skull and attacked Viktor. With one last rally, the Posse was able to clear a path for Viktor to strike a final blow on the God of Greed with the Sword of Laban. The souls of a thousand sinners poured out of Tetzocatilpoca. The golden statues fell into the molten gold. The crystal lens fell and crushed the snake witch. Stones falling from the ceiling knocked the bat witch into the molten metal. The earth shook, cracked and fell. Our heroes falling with it.

Lighting a lamp, the posse found a small crack which lead away. Their only way out was forward, deeper into the mountain. Through another crack they entered a larger chamber, with machined walls and train tracks laid down. At that moment a loud train whistle was heard, and the light of a train blinded our heroes…

To Be Continued

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The Sword of Laban

In the aftermath of the Battle of New Opportunity, our Posse split up. Cho and Zane ran to the schoolhouse to see what the Unions Flying 51st had taken. Viktor and Percival rushed to help the wounded.

The schoolhouse was a mess. Papers and books were strewn all over. In a mirror behind the schoolmasters desk, Zane and Cho saw the image of Icie pounding on the mirror. Cho reached in and pulled her out. Icie, who had been in the mirror when the 51st attacked, had seen the schoolmaster, Barnabus Quint, try to fend the Union soldiers off before they shot him. Our heroes found him, but he was too far gone. Quint was coughing up blood, muttering about how they stole his discovery. Cho asked if it was the location of El Dorado, and what little life in Quints form was shocked. Quint demanded a map, and his dying act was to smear a bloody finger on a location in Southern California called the Devils Postpiles.

Viktor and Percival attended to the wounded in the City Hall. It was a horrible scene as the citizens of New Opportunity that they had come to love and protect were triaged. Some of them would not survive, others would surely lose limbs. Doc Podicker was doing his best to deal with the lack of opium when treating amputees.

It was in that chaos that Viktor saw the pale woman from his past again, the same ghostly woman who he had seen on the bridge of the Grand Majestic. She was also helping the wounded, bringing peace to some of those who were surely not going to survive. Others were not comforted, and began asking for Father Santos – who was nowhere to be seen, having been sent to the town of Harmony before the battle began.

The pale woman asked to speak with the posse in private, so they retired to the Sheriff’s office. The pale woman again called Viktor by the name “Ga’ul”, but when Viktor corrected her she changed into a younger woman who said the name Viktor was appropriate for what he had to do now. Then the woman changed again into a middle-aged woman. She explained that Viktor bore the mark of Cain. That he was himself Cain. That he had created the Fourth Nail almost two thousand years ago to kill Christ and have revenge upon God. But that he traded it away to protect the Gypsies. The nail was reforged into a sword: The Sword of Laban. It is a weapon, forged from the blood of Cain and capable of killing a God. Custer is now a God, fueled by the greedy sins of a thousand mortals, and the Sword of Laban is the only thing which can kill him. The three women, also known as the Three Nephites, urged Viktor to find the sword and kill Custer, and thus finding peace and God’s forgiveness.

The Posse rode out as soon as they could cross the surging waters of the Eel River. Along the way they encountered wounded Union soldiers who Cho was able to intimidate into telling them where Custer was going. All they knew was that Custer was headed South to Fort Lincoln.

When they reached the next town of Harmony, they saw a torn banner across the cities red gate which read, “Welcome Union Heroes”. With a bit of investigation they found that Father Santos had been arrested and met him in the jail. Santos told the Posse that he was arrested for treason. The city and church leaders want the Union to take over Northern California, so they did nothing to help New Opportunity when attacked. The Union army, however, did not stay long when they passed through town. They only stopped to send a telegraph and didn’t even greet the city leaders.

With a bit of persuasion Viktor was able to convince Father Santos that they needed the Cross of Ezrah, which was secretly the Sword of Laban, in order to defeat Custer. Santos revealed that the Cross of Ezrah was in the bank vault. But that it was a fake. The real Cross of Ezrah was concealed in a second vault under the main vault. It was secured with four keys, one held by each of the Church leaders, and the fourth by the Bank Manager.

Santos’ key was held right there in the jail, along with his other personal belongings. Father Chu’an kept his key on a pocket watch chain, which he did not wear during religious services. Chu’an was a prideful man who wanted to adopt Western Culture. Father Whitetail also kept his key with him at all times. Whitetail was a puritanical type, often speaking of sin, fire and brimstone. Rumor had it that he was actually a frequent visitor to the local brothel. Santos did not know where the Bank Manager kept his key, but that he was a gluttonous man who enjoyed only the finest food and wine.

Cho, Percival and Zane were able to distract the bored deputy long enough to steal Santos key from the evidence locker, while Icie and Viktor went to the telegraph office to find out what message was sent by the Union army. A loosely coded message was sent to Fort Lincoln asking for transportation, apparently a train, to be waiting for them when they arrived.

Viktor began constructing a device to duplicate keys while the rest of the Posse went about investigating the three other keys. Icie found that the local brothel was closed for a special VIP guest with unique tastes. She persuaded her way in and found that Father Whitetail was the VIP, and that he enjoyed the feeling of danger. Cho staked out the church and found the room where Father Chu’an likely changed into his robes. Percival found that the Bank Manager had a personal chef and only dined at home.

Sunday services were the next day. The Posse came up with a plan where three members would attend services, while another was a lookout. Viktor would use his weird science devices to teleport into the changing room once he was given the signal that Father Chu’an was out. What he didn’t know was that there was a woman in the room he was teleporting into. Her scream drew some attention from the congregation, but not nearly as much as the distraction Cho made when he accused Father Chu’an of abandoning his Chinese heritage. Cho was removed from the Church, and Viktor knocked the girl unconscious. He was able to locate the key and make a copy using his device. But the device broke as it finished, and he’d need a day to repair it.

The following night, Icie and her “manager” Cho went to the local brothel for their appointment with Father Whitetail. Icie impressed Father Whitetail with her knife throwing skills and enticed him to be blindfolded as the knives were thrown at him. Icie was able to locate his key, but was unable to get the window open in order to toss the key to Viktor who was waiting outside. Cho burst in with his normal accusations, and snuck the key outside. It was never revealed what happened to Father Whitetail, or if he was happy with his treatment or not.

Viktor and Percival made an appointment with the Bank Manager to open a new account. They were impressed that the bank had electric lights and that the teller could signal the managers office with an electric bell. Percival was able to impress the Manager with his knowledge of fine cognac enough to gain an invitation to the Managers dinner table that evening for Christmas Eve. Before they left they were able to ascertain that the Bank Manager kept his key on his keychain.

Earlier in the day, Percival had used his knowledge of local mycology to find a poisonous mushroom which would cause intestinal distress. Zane and Icie spread rumors of how tasty these local mushrooms were at the market where the Managers chef shopped. And Percival had made sure to buy out all other mushrooms so that the chef had no choice but to use them. The meal was a success, and the Manager excused himself for a while. Viktor and Percival were able to overcome obstacles, including seeing that the maid of the house was the same woman who Viktor had knocked out in the Church earlier in the week.

Now that the Posse had four keys they began their heist on Christmas night. Viktor and Icie teleported into the bank vault and began moving the gold bars which hid the secret stairwell going down. Noticing the electric lights and fearing some kind of alarm, Viktor shorted out all of the electricity in the building. They went down the stairs, unlocked the vault door and were jumped by two, apparently completely inept, guards. Icie and Viktor knocked out the guards and stole the Sword of Laban, replacing it with the replica copy from New Opportunity.

Not wanting to draw too much suspicion, the Posse waited until morning to leave town and follow the Union Army to Fort Lincoln.

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The Invasion of New Opportunity

The waters of Lake Bigler didn’t even begin to calm down before another tragedy befell the Grand Majestic. The ship had lost a paddle wheel and was beginning to take on water. The reflections in the mirrors, which had shown people to be confident and happy, turned angry. Icie’s reflection reached out of the mirror, and pulled her in. And then Icie, and her reflection, were gone.

Zane Sharkey awoke from his delirium in the town of Lake Bigler with a ringing in his head. But it wasn’t in his head, it was the church bell. It was ringing like a fire alarm, and people in the streets were screaming. As with Icie, images of people were reaching out of any reflective surface and pulling in their victims. Zane took aim at one reflective window and shattered it with a shot from his rifle. The reflection faded away. Zane tried to tell the townsfolk to break the windows, but his pleas were lost in the noise.

Meanwhile on the Grand Majestic, Smokin’ Cho made a raft out of a door and began paddling for the shore to get rescue boats. Viktor went to the engine room to try and assess the damage, and Percival battled it out with three of his own reflections.

Viktor went to the wheelhouse to try and signal the shore. Reaching his hands through a maze of reflective gauges and instruments, he saw his own reflection and that of a woman standing behind him. He recognized it as the face of a woman he saw when he was a small child. He turned, and she smiled. She said, “It’s time for you to wake up Ga’ul.” and she walked out into the darkness.

Cho and Zane managed to get the boats to return to the Grand Majestic, but it became clear that there wouldn’t be enough time to get everyone off the floating casino before it sank. Viktor made some modifications to the engine to give it one last burst of power. It would destroy the engine, but it would do the trick. The Grand Majestic roared to life, and sped to the shore faster than it had ever moved. The speed rocketed the Grand Majestic into the air, and it crashed in the middle of main street. The Church bells ceased their ringing, and for a moment everything was quiet.

Percival found Madame Legato was still alive, but barely. He questioned her about their plans. She told him that Tezcatilpoca would return, that the Ixiptatli had found the map to Tezcatilpoca’s City of Gold in New Opportunity. Then her body turned into a pile of snakes, and they slithered away.

The Posse tried to settle up with Marshall Bryce, but found him to be stubborn and greedy. Cho decided to retaliate by telling the miners in town that the mine was safe to use. Marshall Bryce and two of his deputies attempted to arrest the Posse. A gunfight broke out, and the Marshall and one of his deputies were left dead. The Posse did their best to appoint a new Marshall before running out of town.

Viktor unlocked some new mysteries of his book. One is that the family tree did not appear to be a family tree at all. There were no parents listed, no siblings, just a trail of man to man starting with Cain and ending with Viktor. The other revelation was that the Fourth Nail had been reforged into the Sword of Laban, the mother of all swords. The Sword of Laban was sent across a large sea to a new colony shortly after the resurrection of Christ. A drawing of the Sword of Laban resembled the holy artifact that Tobias Ezrah found in New Opportunity decades earlier.

As the Posse returned to New Opportunity they encountered J Merryweather. He told them that New Opportunity was under siege by the Union Army. The Posse remembered the old tunnel that lead out of the papermill and tried to use that to bypass the Union blockade. However with the snow, they were unable to find it. Instead they went up the dry riverbed of the Eel River into town.

Sheriff Redwood brought the Posse up to speed on current events in the town. The town was under siege and running out of food. The Union army had dammed the river, cut the telegraph lines, and completely isolated the town. Union reinforcements were arriving daily, and it was only a matter of time before they attacked.

The Posse took action to help out the town. They tried to steal food from the Union army, and provide weapons for the surviving Wiyot. They sent Reverend Santos south to Harmony to find help. Viktor and Doc Podicker whipped up some explosive defenses. The Union Army received it’s reinforcements and the battle began near dawn.

First the Wiyot Warriors attacked the southern front. Union cannons on the north side attacked the Church first. The Posse took actions leading defenses and sniping canon crews. These actions helped Percival Fords leadership to overcome the greater odds of the Union Army. Just when the defenders of New Opportunity thought they were gaining the upper hand, the drumming sound of the winged Flying 51st came over the northern ridge and attacked the school house. But cunning strategies from the defenders routed them, and the Flying 51st fled with books and papers. The Union Army was being defeated, and in their final act they broke the dam holding back the Eel river, and used it as cover to retreat.

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Attack on the Grand Majestic

I wish I had remembered to take a picture of our final battle on the Grand Majestic. This re-creation will have to do.Grand_Majestic_Battle_sm.png

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The Creature of Lake Bigler

Our adventure opened with Icie telling the posse the tale of how she ended up at Lake Bigler ahead of them. She had been shanghai’d by one of Judge Iroh’s boys right before Lin Zexu ambushed the posse. She awoke atop the clock tower at St. Mary’s Cathedral in time to see a giant bat beat up her friends. She blacked out again and next found herself above a large body of water being carried by the bat. She drew her gun and fired, falling into the lake. She then had a vision of her former lover, Johnny. Johnny spoke of something the Chinese gangs wanted, something she didn’t have. Then he handed her his pocket watch. Icie awoke again, being pulled into a rowboat. In her hand was Johnny’s pocket watch.

Icie finally awoke again inside a doctors office. She was told that a local boy, Clay Nagle, had rescued her from the waters of Lake Bigler. The locals assumed she had tried to swim home from the floating casino. She left the doctor’s office and walked straight into her friends.

As she was wrapping up her story, an explosion of flash powder introduced Lacy O’Malley, reporter for The Epitaph. He took some time to explain the current happenings in the town of Lake Bigler, formerly known as Green Rock. He told them that the local hotel, the Crystal River, was full-up, but that some locals have been renting out rooms and posting notices up at the Marshal’s Office.

Zane Sharkey came down with an awful case of dysentery and went off to suffer in an alleyway somewhere.

The posse made their way to the Marshal’s office. Some of the posse saw disturbing reflections in the windows, what looked like red welts along their necks. More disturbing were the wanted posters. Not only was their one for Zane Sharkey, but the “or Alive” part of “Wanted Dead or Alive” had been scratched out. Both Cho and Icie thought they saw wanted posters for themselves, for the murder of Frank Granger and Johnny respectively. But upon closer inspection, it was for someone else.

A Christian woman, Mrs. Conway, posted a room for rent and the posse took her up on the offer. She was initially concerned about the motley crew, but Percival managed to convince her that they were God-fearing people. The posse escorted her back to her house so they could stow their horses. They met her son, Jamie, and were told the rules of the house. The posse was welcome to stay in the barn. Some things were broken, and Jamie assured them that his Pa would fix them when he got back. Any discussion of Mr. Conway made Mrs. Conway uncomfortable.

The posse went back into town and were assaulted by frightening reflections everywhere. They bought new supplies and began their investigations into the poker tournament. Firstly they found that they needed about $1,000 to enter. Secondly the casino was a steam paddleboat located in the middle of the lake, a good mile or more off shore. Thirdly, the casino was owned by a mysterious woman named Madame Legato.

The town itself was full of gamblers from all of the USA and CSA. Most of them were punchy, complaining about the entrance fee, the lack of rooms, the worn out doves, or just each other. More than a few duels occurred. The local law, Marshal Bryce, didn’t seem overly concerned.

The posse checked out the casino, the Grand Majestic. They found that hiring a rowboat required getting a hand stamp. The stamp was the familiar Aztec symbol for gold that they had seen used by the cult in Weaverville and the Scalper. Wisely the Posse decided to deface the symbol when put on their own hands. While rowing out to the casino, some of the Posse thought they saw something moving in the water.

The casino was indeed Majestic. Free food and drink for all patrons. Unlike in town, reflections on the Grand Majestic made the posse feel confident and happy with themselves. The primary game being played was Faro. Percival tried out his new eye in an attempt to raise some of the $1,000 needed to enter the contest.

That night, the posse heard Jamie Conway speaking to someone in the workshop adjoining the barn. The posse tried to investigate but could find no one. In the morning a group of bounty hunters showed up looking for property stolen from the Wasatch Railroad. They had a warrant and demanded the return of the property. The standoff went awry and guns were fired. Mrs. Conway screamed, and a mechanical beast burst out of the workshop. The three legged machine attacked the bounty hunters. Smokin’ Cho grabbed Mrs. Conway and pulled her into the house. The machine thought Cho was going to harm her, so he gave chase. Percival Ford rightly deduced that this machine was actually Mr. Conway and began soothing the man in the machine.

Drawn by the firefight, Marshal Bryce showed up. He took a look at the warrant and when he couldn’t find any missing machinery, told the Posse to bury the bodies and go into town to make a statement at the Marshals Office.

Viktor tried to see what he could do to repair Mr. Conway, but it became clear that Mr. Conway wanted to end his misery. Viktor shut down the machine and told Mrs. Conway that there was nothing he could do.

The Posse then headed out to investigate the local mine which they had heard about in their investigations. The town itself had very few miners. The mine had encountered problems a few months back when gas filled the mine. Everyone talked about how the gas stank, which confused Viktor. Normally underground gasses didn’t stink, which is why miners carried canaries. Not having a canary, Viktor came up with the idea to use one of the Conway chickens. He also whipped up a phosphorous device which would give light but not ignite gas.

Following their noses the Posse found the mine. Cho and Icie led the way trying to sneak in. The stink was pretty bad, but the chicken didn’t seem affected. Unfortunately Cho took a bad step and dropped the chicken. The chicken, with a glowing rod attached, ran off down the mine shaft. Out of the darkness appeared a man wearing a diving helmet. He looked for a second, and then disappeared into the darkness. The posse ran out of the mine. Cho stayed behind while the rest returned to the Conway farm to get another chicken. Meanwhile Cho nearly got attacked by shambling men in torn rags. He found a hiding spot on a nearby ridge and waited.

Cho saw two men leave the mine, Marshal Bryce and his Deputy. They walked their horses out of the mine and hung up their diving bell helmets. They road off and Cho followed. Coming up the road were the rest of the Posse with a new chicken in a sack. Some awkward conversations followed, and the Posse made some amazingly convincing arguments to justify why they were on that road with a chicken. Marshal Bryce was somehow satisfied with their answers and took them back to his office to give their statements.

Percival got the feeling that the Marshall might have the cash to bankroll their entrance fee. Working out a deal to split the winnings, and giving up the Shan Fan property as collateral, the posse had enough money to enter the Poker tournament.

Percival advanced easily through the first rounds of the tournament and advanced to the final table. The posse saw, and managed to avoid, Lin Chi Ling wandering through the casino with Madame Legato. The boat was rocked by a rogue wave, and the posse took that as an opportunity to bust open a locked door leading to Madame Legato’s office. The boat continued to rock while Percival remained at the poker table playing.

Cho, Icie and Viktor interrupted a ritual being performed by Madame Legato and Lin Chi Ling. Lin Chi Ling transformed into a Bat, and Madame Legato transformed into a snake woman. Four giant tentacles emerged from the lake and began attacking the boat. Walls smashed open, and people screamed. Meanwhile, Percival Ford remained at the poker table intent on completing the tournament.

Both of the witches fell quickly to the onslaught of firepower. Cho, Icie and Viktor began attacking the tentacles, when a monstrous eye emerged behind the boat. Viktor engaged the engine on the boat and tried to get away, but the monster lashed on. Cho took aim at the eye and got off an amazing shot which sent the creature down to the murky depths of Lake Bigler. But the damage had been done, and the Grand Majestic was beginning to sink.

Meanwhile, back at the poker table, Percival Ford lost the tournament on the final hand.

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