Sunday, October 16, 2011

Deadlands, Part IV

Session four of our Deadlands game.  We faced a Rattler.  Nobody died.

When last we left our heroes, they had faced a cave of bandits who appeared to be somehow holding and rearing Rattlers.  Rattlers are large, burrowing worms with several pulpy tentacles around their mouths — think chthonians or graboids and you have the right idea.  Rattlers are about as frightening as shoggoths, and tend to inspire similar amounts of panic (and acquisition of heavy weaponry).

At any rate, the bandits were slain, but the worms awoke.  The juveniles ran from the cave, but the adult (dramatic irony: the adult is blinded, but can still sense our tremors; we don't know enough to notice this fact) exits the cave.  Father Seward (and his mule), Jake, and Ruby O'Flahertie all faint.  David Hood, the spindly, nervous journalist, is still up.  He's facing down a Rattler.

In other words, this session looks bad.

David makes a quick assessment and decides to go for Ruby, heft her up, and book.  Oddly, this tactic works — his zigzagging pattern keeps the worm moving after him, and he has enough adrenaline to lift Ruby and make a run for it.

In this time, Father Alexander awakens.  Assessing the situation, he pulls his gun and starts shooting at the Rattler to get its attention.  He also starts shouting to get its attention, figuring that it might give David enough time to run.  The Rattler initially goes for David, but after taking a bullet in its side, it switches to Father Alexander.  It grasps him in its tentacles and lifts him in the air.

David grabs Ruby's gun and starts firing at the thing (he actually hits Father Alexander more than the Rattler).  The Father, despite his current predicament, has an excellent view of the thing's mouth — despite the pain in his leg where a tentacle is squeezing, his gun hand is free enough to fire.  He shoots four shots down its gullet and tries to reload before it decides he's too much trouble and sets him free, dropping him as it retreats underground.

For the record, I'm pretty sure it was one wound away from death; if I had hit it one more time, I would have killed a Rattler in my third session of Deadlands.

Around this time, Jake and Ruby awaken.

We organize ourselves.  Most people have minor injuries, except for Sergeant O'Malley.  I see to him and lay on hands.  I give him my "fleshwound" story, even though everyone else saw me put my hands on him and heal his wounds.  We're about to go back to town when the rest of the police arrive.

We say some cryptic things to them, aware of how crazy we'll sound if we fully explain what just happened.  As they enter the caves, we follow with Sergeant O'Malley's blessing.  We find a huge cavern with a deep chasm.  The police lower a lantern into it, and David, Father Seward, and Ruby all look.  It's filled with corpses, some of which appear to be incubating baby worms.  David and Ruby vomit and start freaking out; Father Seward and Jake start dragging them away, and the Father tells Jake what lies over the edge.  A police officer throws a lantern into it, and a fire starts amidst the corpses in the pit.  We leave.

We start the long trek back to St. Louis with only one mule.  Eventually, the police arrive from their expedition to the caves and give us a ride.  They don't talk about what they saw.

We return to St. Louis.  Over the next few days, Sergeant O'Malley takes us to dinner and gets promoted to detective.  He gives each of us $15 for our assistance with the disappearances in town.  Father Seward buys a new suit of clothes, and David Hood is kind enough to repair his old, tattered clothes.  He also gets Ruby O'Flahertie a new dress — one that is lighter and less fancy ("a worm huntin' dress," I believe is the out-of-game remark).  Jake uses his $15 to go whorin'.

After a few days, the track is repaired and we are to return to our journey to San Francisco by way of Denver.  A porter invites Father Seward to go first, as he is old and presumably requires special attention.

When he arrives at his car, he finds the dandy who gave him the letter and playing card there.  The man explains about potential energy, saying how this energy is building.  He then admonishes Father Seward to protect his investment — being Father Seward and the others — and to not go chasing off after worms and such again.  He heals Seward's still-injured leg — burning the Father's new pants, and leaving a black scar and the stench of sulfur in the process — before taking his leave.

David enters with a porter, and is full of questions about the burned pant leg and the stench of sulfur.  Father Seward brushes him off, waiting for the porter to leave and the others to arrive.  He does change his pants, which lets him see the new suits in his bags — a mourning suit that matches the mysterious stranger's clothes, and a white suit.

When the others arrive, he explains the man's appearance, prompting the others to notice the man standing on the platform.  Only David recognizes him, as he is the man who sold him his train tickets.  Father Seward continues his story, also explaining his trip to San Francisco — years ago when he lived in Texas, he lost his daughter.  She may be alive or dead, but he hopes to find out for certain, and the man indicated that he could find the answer in San Francisco.  He finally explains that, yes, his faith has manifested itself literally, and he is able to heal the sick.  He does not know the source of this.

The train trip to Denver is uneventful.  When they arrive, a black porter (who looks suspiciously bug-eyed) who seems slow-witted and simply strange has suggested that the railway man wishes to dine with them.  She proceeds to take the four to his house by carriage.

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