Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Deadlands, Part X

You might want to watch or listen to this first.  To get you in the mood.

Ahem.  When last we left our heroes, they arrived in San Francisco, did a little opium, and met with Little Pete.

Little Pete's a very bad man.

So, David Hood, Father Seward, and Jeb are still under the influence of opium.  Jake and Ruby O'Flahertie were not.  There's a bloody woman in the corner, and a few goons around.

Little Pete makes the group an offer.  He wants the moon jar (you know, the one the Gentleman said can be used to cheat your way into Heaven?), because it holds secrets; specifically, anyone who touches the jar can access any secret within, but anybody who touches the jar also has his secrets added to the pool.  If we help him get it, he'll keep it, but we can access it whenever we want.  To sweeten the deal, he has a little ritual that will ensure nobody in the agreement betrays anyone else in the agreement.

We agree.  Little Pete speaks with the chained woman in the corner and they come to some sort of agreement.  He smokes a bunch of opium and an old Chinese woman hacks his left arm off (we guess he'll be at the game, too).  She then prepares this little ritual.  He eats a burning coal, drinks a fluid, and Father Seward, Jake, and Ruby all similarly drink.

To facilitate the search for playing cards so we can enter the game, Little Pete gives us a list of people, and where they're staying.  Knowing about Sonny, we decide to go there first.

We leave.  A figure with a rifle is standing on the roof, and a couple of people notice him as he takes a pot-shot at David Hood.  Father Seward draws and fires; the figure drops out of sight.  Tong gangsters and a few others go running, and find the figure to be a small boy.  Jeb takes his rather sad-looking rifle.

The group splits before the police arrive.

We travel to our new female companion's shop in Chinatown — she is evidently a butcher, and despite being Caucasian, she's a Chinese-style butcher.  People get cleaned up, and we solidify our plans.  Particularly since Sonny isn't supposed to be at the hotel, we presume this won't be easy, but at least it'll be predictable.  (Plus, maybe everyone's asleep and we can do this quickly.)

This hotel is in a rough part of town.  When we get there, though, it's not right.  The hotel is neither completely dark nor well-lit — a single, red light flickers in the background of the main windows.  We dither a while.  David and Ruby look inside and are shaken by what they see.  David is about to walk inside when he is restrained, but Father Seward takes the opportunity to glance inside.

It's a horrorshow.  Several people sit around a table, each with cards in hand like a poker tableau.  They are dead (or at least unmoving), but their bodies have been unnaturally twisted and deformed.  A woman — a prostitute by her mode of dress — lies on the table, spread-eagle.  A note is attached to the table with a knife.  We see it has Jake's name is on it.

Jake is reasonably confident that this is the handiwork of his old mentor, Cornelius.  We know this is bad news.  We leave.

The other hotel is in the ritzy part of town.  There is a fence and a gate around it.  Jeb keeps watch by looking homeless, while Father Seward makes a circuit around the block so as to look inconspicuous.  David, Jake, Ruby, and our new companion contemplate breaking in.  After some bickering, they decide to go around the back (if only to evade the police officer they hear walking this block).  Ruby sees a strange sight — a few rooms are lit and occupied.  Men occupy these rooms, but Ruby can tell that two of them are wooden dummies, and their pacing is regular, as if they are on a track.  The other man holds a six-barreled gun.  When he realizes he's been spotted, he ducks down.

After discussion, the group reconvenes.  Given the choice between the horrible, unnatural scenario and the super-science-and-possibly-getting-arrested scenario, we go for the supernatural one.

Yes, we all know what that says about our characters.

Anyway, we return to the horrorshow hotel.  We go inside, expecting a trap.

We enter, noticing a house of cards we could not see before.  Jeb goes upstairs and encounters an unseen force touching his cheek; he returns downstairs in a hurry.  The rest of us go about searching the bar and main floor.  Jake's note is definitely from Cornelius, as it indicates he "knows what to do."

We dither before Jake notes that Cornelius probably put something in the woman.  Our new companion — being a woman and a butcher — checks first.  She examines her orifices (nothing there), and then starts to cut her open.

By this point, Ruby is overcome.  Father Seward accompanies Ruby outside.  Jeb faints.

The examination continues.  The woman's uterus looks like it's bulging, so it gets checked.  There is both a box and an unborn child inside, along with a rush of black water.  The box contains a set of seven playing cards, each of which has the distinctive back marking them as entry cards for the poker tournament.

As everyone has gathered themselves again, Jake starts smashing bottles of liquor.  He notes that the house of cards has caught fire, so he just leaves, allowing the fire and the liquor to do its work.

We return to the butcher shop of our new female companion, (hopefully) ready for tomorrow's poker tournament.

2 comments:

  1. Yeah, it says if trouble is going to start, and it will ALWAYS start, then we'd rather do it in the place where the cops are afraid to go.

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  2. "Jeb keeps watch by looking homeless..." BLESS. This is pretty much the best thing ever written about this game. Literally laughed out loud, as the kids say.

    Also, I had somehow never seen the video for Chinatown Hustler. That's great.

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