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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Order of Magnitude III: The Birth of the Tumbler



click to enlarge
This is the papercraft miniature I use for the party's vehicle, the Tumbler. Yes that is the skull of a T-rex mounted on the front. How did they get that you might ask? Well, by blowing up an undead fossil of course!

Rewinding things a bit to tell you about how the party got a hold of the Tumbler. 

Essentially the players come across a decent sized town out west being plagued by a crew of ghosts: sheet-white phantasms atop pale horses in tattered confederate uniforms. They seem to completely ignore bullets but their guns will kill a man as dead as anything. Two of the town's three banks had already been completely cleared out by these bizarre ghostly robbers. The truth was that these men were simply minions of a mad scientist who had set up shop in a nearby abandoned fort. The scientist cooks up a special brew that makes his minions nearly bulletproof but has the side-effect of chalky white skin. Taking advantage of it the "ghosts" frighten the townspeople and make off with their gold.

Well, my PCs aren't about to let an obvious plot-hook like "Undead Bank Robbers" pass them by so they wait around the bank on the night they're expecting more larcenous spirits and when they show up they open fire with everything they've got. The average cowpoke's six-shooter or shotgun doesn't have much chance of penetrating the super-science protection these ghosts have but the mixture was not nearly up to the player's enhanced firepower, Max's Hexes and Miss Hart's Galvanic Umbrella. So, in a few short round a few of the "ghosts" are dead for real and the rest are running off. Following their trail the PCs find the fort but decide to wait a bit to ensure they're in tip-top condition.

*Biscuit Interlude*
This event is a little fuzzy in my memory, so it may or may not have happened during this adventure but Killian's player would kill me if I didn't share what he considers to be a crowning moment of his character. Killian's the closest character to the classic gunslinger (profession as a lawyer aside) in the party and so I took an opportunity to try out the "High Noon" dueling rules in Deadlands. A cocky young gunslinger challenges Killian to a duel (I believe he was a trifle upset over some relative getting a well-deserved lead injection) while he's at breakfast. Killian's player makes sure to let me know that he pockets a couple of biscuits before heading out to center of town.

One thing to keep in mind is that part of the idea behind the Deadlands dueling rules is that players first make a taunt/intimidate roll in order to try and force his opponent to draw first, which actually gives them a bonus. The idea being that not only do you shake their morale but you also make sure that it's clear that you weren't the one to draw your weapon first, making it self-defense. So, when it comes time to "taunt" his opponent Killian says nothing but whips his hand towards his gun belt...and draws a biscuit. A few rolls, and some card draws back up his strategy. So, Killian whips out a biscuit, causing his opponent to draw his gun and hesitate, then killian pulls out his and shoots the fella between the eyes...then finishes his biscuit.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled story. So, since the posse is hanging around town the fleeing "ghosts" get back to their boss and tell him all about what happened. Deciding that he really wants that cash in the last bank the mad scientist gears himself and his remaining men up, loads them into their steam powered wagon and heads to town. Armed with gatling weapons and ghost-rock-super-science this crew charges into the bank while the posse is in the hotel across the street. The posse head out and reach the bank just as the bad guys bust in and yell "We are robbing this bank!" They charge in right behind and respond "And we are UNrobbing this bank!"

A firefight ensues that leaves all the bad guys on the floor. The rest of the session mostly consists of Miss Hart gluing herself to the steam-wagon, tinkering madly.

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