Opportunity Knocks

$700 Reward for the Murderer of John Engle

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March 16th, 1873
Notes from Sinjin Jackson's journal

I gathered with my friends Mei Ju Shen, Ben Redwood and Alberto Santios to hear what the sheriff had to say at a town gathering. The Grizzled Devil has been all about the region eating up sheep and Farmer John Engle. The Sheriff offered up an enormous reward of $700 for bringing in whoever or whatever killed Engle.

The Gribs McNalley farm is adjacent to the Engle farm. Gribs mentioned that the sheep and farmer Engle had their hearts surgically removed. Further investigation revealed that it appeared Engle encountered someone killing his sheep and had a fight. We found tracks heading south towards Grizzly Bluff, so we followed. After following into the bluff region for a bit we made camp and settled in for the night. Not long after bedding down for the night Mei Ju Shen woke us all to alert us that wolves had surrounded camp. The hungry wolves attacked but were handily beaten down. They were fearsome but they walked on four legs, not two, so the outcome was never in doubt.
The next morning we continued following the tracks and which eventually led us to the Gulley of Storms area. There was a dark crack in the rock at the bottom of the gully where the tracks ended.

We investigated the ravine and found that it lead to an underground tunnel of worked stone. We heard voices speaking in an unknown tongue ahead and upon investigating we found an enormous underground chamber. The circular chamber featured a ziggurat in the middle with a large golden skull atop it. Around the outside of the room there were six mummies in alcoves while a large double door was on the far side.

Deacon Santos called out to see the occupants of the room. An emaciated, cadaverous man with desiccated skin stepped out, identified itself as Joshiah Gregg, and began to babble that we needed to understand and that he had to deal with Southard. He quickly worked himself into a frenzy and called out to one of the mummies and the corpse responded! The both of them closed on us and we were forced to fight for our lives. I quickly deduced that the only attacks of note were the overcharged Accelitronic Photon backlash from overloading my flash unit. As is obvious, the accelerated photon barrage ignited the linens and flesh of the creatures whilst the rather mundane gunfire and fisticuffs of my friends did little or nothing. Soon the creatures were smoldering wrecks. At that point were heard a plaintive voice from behind the doors that identified itself as Southard himself! How odd. With little in the way of critical thought (or thought at all) Mei followed it’s instructions, opened the door and caused the skull to drop into the ziggurat. Suddenly the doors opened and a horrid monstrosity of entrails and madness lurched forward only to smash into an invisible barrier. It howled in anguish and anger when it was halted, the vigor of its protests causing a cave-in that forced us to flee, taking only Gregg’s journal.

We made our way back to town and developed my photo. Thankfully my patented equipment provided an excellent photo to document the veracity of our story so we took it to the sheriff the following morning.

The Sheriff was meeting with Pearlman, a local Pinkerton man when we arrived. Curiously, the Sheriff was only excited about Gregg’s journal while the Pinkerton couldn’t take his eyes off of my (admittedly excellent) photo of Gregg and his mummy trying to kill us. A quick plan was formulated to apprehend Southard as a result. Unfortunately the Pinkerton couldn’t manage even rudimentary caution when handling a glass slide and he managed to smudge Gregg’s face. Curse the man!

The Sheriff deputized us (with a deputies wage I might add!) and we went to Southard’s brewery. Things quickly went south and a gunfight erupted. I was nearly killed by a bullet from one of Southard’s boys right at the start. The bullet only grazed my head but it left a crease that fear will be permanent and managed to addle my mind to the point that I couldn’t even get my flash to trigger. Fortunately Ben, Mei and the deacon were more than up to handling the miscreants and Southard was taken captive and his men either killed or chased off. What a day and what a week. I’m beginning to think that I might not need to work for an existing news paper, out here in the west I might just be able to create my own. It is truly the land of Opportunity!

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Prequel Epilogue

Lightning flashes through the air, and a deafening thunderclap immediately follows it. A lone rider travels through a forest of twisted and malformed trees. He approaches a tiny hut just as the hard rain begins to fall. Without knocking he enters the hut. His crisp and clean uniform stands in contrast to the filthy room. Three women with hideous deformities sit in a circle of mystic runes.

“You’d better have a good reason to call for me in this storm.” says the soldier.

“Indeed we do Colonel,” replies the witch.
“The viper has been released.” says another.
“Energies flow through the ley lines.” says the last.

“I don’t have time for your Shakespearean games. Have you found it or not.”, says the man.

“The reckoning will be stopped” says the first witch.
“The power to rule all the nations will be yours” says the second.
“But first we need to light the fires of Tezcatilpoca”

“And what does that require?” asks the man, sounding frustrated.

“Souls. Souls of the sinned!” the three witches reply in unison.

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Assumption of Mary
August 15th, 1878

The Game Marshall (Alec) asked intro questions for each character.
-———————————————————————
Cho was asked about the time he missed a shot. The first time he did miss was the very first gun duel he engaged in. In Silver City he came across a man thrashing a woman in an alley near a bordello. Never one to allow such a thing to pass, Cho grabbed the man’s arm to make him stop. The woman beater challenged Cho to a duel then and there. Cho happily accepted, looking forward to putting the man in his place. The other man called himself Franklin Granger and told Cho his was the last face he would ever see. The set up for the duel in a nearby street while the beaten woman crawled into the bordello to alert the customers and proprietor of what was about to happen. Cho thought himself ready to duel but he was not. Granger drew first and faster, firing a shot that hit Cho in the leg and caused his shot to go far off target. Granger was forced to retreat as the Sheriff and deputies arrived on the scene. but Cho vowed to have his revenge one day.
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Zane went to the Slippery Eel tavern to deliver a box given to him by a member of the Shan Fan Triad to someone named Jorge. Jorge was out at the event and not immediately available. Zane then turned to plying Junjie Hung for a taste of opium.

The Slippery Eel has an obsidian knife over the door that is indicated to be the knife of the horrible serial killer Jarvis Schrute.

The ceremony features the church wrapped in a large red ribbon. A fat man (Mayor Seabring) has some comically large scissors to cut the ribbon was on the stage with the Sheriff and other functionaries.

Zane went to the cookoff and delivered his package to Jorge who was compenting in the event. He opened the package and poured 5 golden slivers into his rice mixture declaring he would finally win and beat “the witch” this year. Presumably he was referring to Mei.

Percival was able to determine that the famous artifact of the local church wasn’t Mesoamerican in nature.

Viktor went to observe the goat races and failed miserably to coerce a goat to win his race.

Cho went to the Slippery Eel and managed to win the challenge to both drink and keep down a full mug of the Eel’s tank water. The “water” was more of a slimy suspension of foulness that proved challenging to consume and even more so to keep down. He succeeded and won the $28 prize. He immediately bought drinks for everyone in town, or until his $28 prize plus his own $25 ran out.

Percival went to Dadilaro’s wagon to check out his snake oil products, buying a bottle to save as a souvenir

The cooking contest was won by a paella dish made by Jorge from the Slippery Eel.

As the fireworks were launched to start the dance, a small horde of savage Wiyot warriors attacked and started indiscriminately started slaughtering everyone and trying to burn buildings. Cho gunned down two faster than a man can blink, then Viktor put a .45 round through the head of another. Zane dropped two more at long range as Cho finished two others. Icie Mizell lifted the tipped wagon off of Dadilaro So he could escape before fire from the burning stable caused it to ignite (his spirits are very flammable).

Cho asked the Sheriff if the native warriors had ever done this before. The answer was no. Before finishing the conversation Cho noted that the Sheriff appeared to be of the same tribe as the attacking native warriors.

(2 xp)

In the morning Shreiff Redwood deputized the party with approval from Mayor Seabring. The wage is $20/week. The Sheriff then took us on tour of the town. Reggie Jefferson approached us to say that someone had broken into Father Ezra’s tomb and there were noises coming from inside. Percival saw that there was a diseased dog within and Cho quickly shot it.

Zane noted that there were tracks from many moccasined feet along with one pair of booted feet. The boots were assesses to be new and high end by Zane.

We returned to the Lucky Dragon for lunch where Sadie Wilson approached to ask for help hunting rats under her father’s business, the General Store. She seemed overly flirtatious and talked directly to Percival. Percival agreed to investigate the rats despite the fact that she seemed more interested in him than any rats. Once in the basement things went the way one would expect with a horny young girl and a single man. However coitous interruptus soon followed when Mr. Wilson entered the basement calling out for his daughter. Thinking quickly, Percival contrived a story about seeking archaeological relics in the “lowest points in town”. Somehow Mr Wilson fell for the story, an indication of his gullible nature.

The next morning Shay Anderson, a local Pinkerton mentioned that the Wiyot tribe a had recently split and a portion of the tribe had relocated in the vicinity of Grizzly Gulch. Sheriff Redwood and Anderson shared a “look” of some sort at the mention of the Grizzly Gulch. Sheriff Redwood departed to assist with repairing the Telegraph line down towards Harmony.

That evening Icie challenged Mei Ju Shen to a knife throwing contest and won, angering the Chinese gal.

Soon after Emily Barrett came in carrying her child. She reported that her husband had gone into the basement and soon after she heard screaming and the sounds of conflict. She fled to find the deputies with her son. We returned to her home to find her husband lying dead in the basement. As Cho moved in a Wiyot warrior ambushed him with a tomahawk. Cho shot him down but Viktor was able to save him with his miraculous healing gun. We questioned him and he said the Wiyot chief was going to burn the town to ashes. We confirmed that the warlike Wiyot were operating out of the Grizzly Bluff area in a place called the Gully of Storms.. We spent the next day investigating the town to make sure that there were no more hidden warriors in town. That night Long Ju Shen came into the Lucky Dragon and insisted his whoring daughter join him to leave town. She disagreed and he declared that he disowned her “You are as dead to me as your mother!” A large man objected to Shen’s tone and started to move at him when Mei smacked him with a full soup ladle, telling him to leave her father alone. Soup splashed on others in the room and a brawl quickly erupted. After we brawled , the tavern was cleared.

(2 XP, 4XP total)

The next night Dadilaro accused Jiujie of biking him for a deal to sell a sword. The party brokered a conversation between the two and after Jiujie accused Dadilaro of being an impoverished huckster, Dadilaro left, obviously mortified by the accusation.

The next night one of the Lucky Dragon prostitutes (rated 9 out of 10 by Cho!) named Bethany said that Mei had been missing since the night of the brawl. She said there was a note (written in Chinese) that was the only indication of why she would be missing. Following the info in the note we went to the Paper Mill to investigate where Mei was supposed to meet someone claiming to be her sister “Zang” (tranlates to tainted or defiled in Chinese).

We broke down a door into the mill and started searching. The first gruesome find was a sleeping room filled with slaughtered Chinese workers who had their throats slit while sleeping. Further on we found Long Ju Shen being tortured and crushed in the papermill by someone we assumed to be Zang and four Wiyot warriors. Zane unleashed a fiery barrage and emptied his revolver into the braves, killing most of them. Cho fired at Zang but the crafty devil avoided harm and fled to the basement. Down below we found Mei tied up. She claimed her brother had gone mad, then joined with us. to pursue. We found another room that showed signs of two people being dragged from the room. Further in the basement joined up with a worked stone passageway covered with strange unknown glyphs. Zane and Cho started following two men who were visible ahead until one of them threw a lit stick of Dynamite. Cho jumped for cover but Zane calmly drew a bead and shot the fuse off the dynamite.

We ended there. (3xp, 7 XP total)

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A note found in Mei's room by Bethany

Dear Sister,

I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, becasue we’ve got a problem. It has to do with Father. Seems he had something to do with New Opportunity’s recent troubles with the natives. I don’t want to involve the authorities becasue we both know that father would just weasel his way out of it again. You’ve got some influence with Sheriff Redwood though. Meet me at the Paper Mill at Midnight tonight. Maybe we can figure a way to make sure he faces punishment. Knock five times at the delivery door and I’ll let you in.

I don’t have to tell you how important it is that you keep this to yourself. If local fools got word of this they’d assume that you and I were in on it too. They have no honor. I don’t understand how you can stay here. Come alone because there are other complications I’ll explain once you’re here.

-Zang.

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Excerpts from the Journal of Zang Ju Shen

1872
I have a sister! I have a family! But why would my parents hide me away while my sister gets to stay at home? I don’t understand.

1873
Mother is dead. They say that a man in town killed her and then himself, but I suspect it was father. He won’t let me leave the temple to go to her funeral. Every time I see him he looks at me with disgust. I just found out who my mother was, and she’s gone again. At least Mei is able to visit me.

1875
Tomorrow I will be old enough to leave this temple and be on my own. Maybe I can join Mei on one of her adventures with the Maze Pirates.

1876
Mei doesn’t understand. The pirates have no honor and cannot be trusted. I met someone today who understands honor and pain. He is an Indian warrior who wants to see this city burn as much as I do. I have finally found the family I have always wanted.

1878
Kachewinach is a good leader, but he does not understand battle. And I think he is too distracted by White Doe. The attack on the town was a good diversion while we stole the bones of the old preacher. I left my dog behind to kill a few more. He had the dog madness, probably from those bats at Grizzly Bluff, and would have died soon anyway.

The guns the soldiers provided are no good, it takes too long to reload and they’re as loud as a thunderstorm. Next time we’ll attack at night from the old tunnel using arrows so no one hears. This town needs to burn.

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Return to Grizzly Bluff

After the fighting in the paper mill a crowd gathered outside. Mercy Jackson came after us like a miserable, savage chihuahua seeking to paint us in the worst possible light. Cho told her that her fixation on death wasn’t healthy and that the deputies could no more stop death than they could stop lightning or a landslide.

Percival went back and examined the glyphs down in the tunnel and wasn’t able to determine much other than they were Aztec in origin and referenced Ququmatz.

The following morning Sadie Wilson approached Percival and slapped him, declaring he was a dangerous man, one she could never trust and declared her love for Benny Harper. Benny then challenged Percival to a duel. Neither Cho or Madame X were able to dissuade Benny. they dueled and it was comically bad. Benny finally landed a near hit and the duel was ended.

Just then Sheriff Redwood returned and proceeded to berate the deputies for the state of the town. He was very angry to see the Wiyot prisoner in the cell and summarily executed him. Cho was not happy with that and told him that bad karma would be his reward. Redwood then berated Zane for using his real name in the deputization paperwork.

After that he told us that Shay Anderson had gone up to Grizzly Bluff to investigate the Wiyot. Cho mentioned that she was in grave danger as the Wiyot were currently up in arms and extremely violent. The deputies all agreed to proceed to the Bluff with all due haste to try and extract Anderson.

The deputies decided to proceed the back way through the forest to avoid being an obvious ambush target but still ran into an ambush from Wiyot, including a shaman and Zang. A battle ensued. We gunned them down. Dulawat the shaman declared that the circle of vengeance would not end well for anyone with his last breath.
-—————
After the fight Cho’s mind drifted back to a time when he was pursuing Franklin Granger along with some Union scouts. the scouts had cornered Granger when he took hostages from a wagon train traveling west. Rather than be captured Granger ignited one of the wagons with women and children inside, forcing the scouts to try and rescue them. Granger escaped in the ensuing chaos.
-—————

We continued on the Grizzly Bluff and found an Indian long house on one side of the bluff and an archaeology camp on the other. There was a wagon full of odd and expensive machinery next to the long house. the long house itself was empty except for 20 plus bunks. While we were investigating the house three Wiyot braves came up from the canyon. A quick gunfight ensued and the braves were gunned down.

The deputies ran to cross the bridge as quickly as possible but drew fire from a number of braves in the canyon. A brief exchange of gunfire put the savages down. The camp had two tents,a campfire pit, a wooden structure

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This is a special Bennie we can use at some point. “Just Crazy Enough To Work”. We can get one automatic success on an action in exchange for an automatic failure at the Marshall’s discretion at some later point.

Adolf Bandolier was hired by Preston Tanner to find information about a mythical city of gold. Preston Tanner sent telegraphs whenever something of value was found.

Redwood is shaken by the loss of his friend Shay Anderson.

$200/reward plus one weeks pay of $20.

Nearest ranking officers in the region are at Fort Lincoln south of Goodwill. Tanner would send messages to Fort Lincoln via telegram.

Tunnel under papermill has mention of god of greed, city that is a monument to greed and records mention of god of wrath.

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Excerpts from the Diary of Natalie Ezrah

1868: The night of my 11th birthday the earth shook and split apart. My family is missing, and everyone says they’re dead. No one would help me. They just looked at me like I’m a monster. I think they blame me for what happened. A nice man fed me today, his name is Tobias. He says he will take care of me.

1869: Father said he was working on my birthday cake so he let me end my studies early today. I went outside and there were some boys from the school, they threw rocks at me and one hit me. I have a huge gash that bled. They called me a freak and laughed at me. Father says that my pink eyes and white hair are a blessing from God. He says I’m his angel.

1870: Father took me to Harmony today. I hate how he uses me as a prop. The new church looks beautiful. I like it when everyone leaves and I can be there alone and by myself.

1870: The boys at school are always staring at me. They say disgusting things about me. They think I can’t hear them, but I can. Benny Harper said I did things with him that I never did. Father wanted to know why I was crying over dinner, I just told him I wanted to be alone.

1871: I forgot to cover up when Father took me to the market today. My skin burned and turned bright red. Some children pointed and laughed at me. An old Indian woman grabbed me and cut off part of my hair. As she walked off, she said that my white hair would bring her luck. I told Father but he just said I should spend more time praying.

1872: I was walking down to the river to do laundry when a group of Chinese surrounded me. They started asking me to cure them of their rashes and boils. I tried to be nice, but when I said I couldn’t cure them a man grabbed my hair and pulled me down. He started yelling at me in Chinese. I screamed. The new boy at school, Gavin Dorsey, ran up and pushed the man away. He took me back home. At dinner time he brought round the laundry I dropped. It was freshly washed.

1873: Gavin took me out to the sea today. He brought a picnic basket with delicious treats and a soft blanket to lie on. He said he loves me and wants to marry me when I’m old enough.

1873: Father was furious when I told him I was pregnant. I haven’t told Gavin yet, but I know he’ll do the right thing. Father called me a harlot, and told me to pray for forgiveness.

1873: I don’t understand my dreams. I don’t know why I’m so angry all the time.

1873: Gavin just laughed when I told him I was pregnant. He accused me of being a slut and that it probably wasn’t his child. He left town and I don’t think he’ll be coming back. Father won’t let me out after dark. He says it’s because of the Scalper, but I think it’s because he’s ashamed of me.

1873: I finally snuck out last night. I ran into Mr. Schrute. He had dropped one of his carved fairies and it had broken. I helped him clean up, and he told me that I was still beautiful to him and that it wasn’t safe to be out after dark.

1873: They killed poor Mr. Schrute. They say he was the Scalper and had killed Mr. Jackson and Mr. Truesdale. I can see his cabin burning from the top window of the church. Mr. Schrute would have never hurt anyone, he was always so nice to me. My dreams are getting more violent. I don’t feel well at all. I think the baby knows I’m upset.

1873: Every night father drinks too much and then beats me. He kicked me in the stomach, I think he wanted to hurt my baby. He said he was going to throw me out. Tonight I fought back. I grabbed the candlestick and threw it at his head. He fell, and the blood covered the floor. I set fire to the church and tried to make it look like an accident. I don’t know where I’ll go now.

1874: I’ve lost my home, my father and now my child. I have sinned, and God is punishing me.

1875: An Indian boy found me today. He says that it was prophesied that he would find me. He calls me White Doe.

1876: The medicine woman is a good friend to me. She told me that I have an important purpose for Kachewinach and the tribe. She told me that I could help him find an ancient temple.

1877: After two seasons of looking, I think we found what the medicine woman was talking about. She said we’d find the magic inside to get revenge on the people of New Opportunity. Today she introduced us to an army officer. He says he can supply us with guns if we can show him where the temple is.

1878: The voice spoke to me again last night. He promised me power to destroy. I made a deal with him. I will give him what he needs, and then I will have my revenge. My father killed my child, and now I will destroy everything he created.

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