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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Memories of an Old French Sea Dog - When the Fog Lifts

Memories of an Old French Sea Dog (Souvenirs d'un vieux chien de mer fran├žais)

We had been sailing hard for four days and nights, beating against contrary winds from the Straights of Messina to The Balearic Islands via the very windy Straight of Bonifacio between Corsica and Sardinia. We nearly lost our foremast there due to a misunderstood order on the fore deck. Five of the foredeck crew were put in irons for that but everyone on the ship knew it was the Captains fault. He’d been drinking more than ever and the situation on the ship was getting worse, I believed at the time that he would fall (or be pushed) over the side before too long.

We sit here in this cosy bar, in front of a roaring log fire and you see an old man, but back then I was Jean Vagabond 1st Lt on the French Navy’s ship Hermione, a beautiful Concorde Class Frigate and should the Captain fall (or be pushed) overboard or just drink himself to death, I would have to take command and try to get the officers and crew to operate as one, if not we would all perish in our next action against the enemy.

We were chasing a British Navy ship, HMS Unite, she was the same class as us, one of our ships taken by the British in ‘93 I think it was and we might as well have been sailing in convoy, we sailed at the same speed and as close to the wind as each other, neither of us could break the invisible chain that joined the two ships.

HMS Unite was carrying a passenger who had vital information for the British and we needed to stop him reaching the port of Mahon, on the island of Menorca, how we would achieve that I did not know, until the night of the 18th June.

I can remember it like it was only yesterday, thick fog has enveloped us, the wind has died and we are making slow progress, the Captain is in his cabin, drinking. I came on watch at 04:00 and 2 hours later the fog was lifting and daylight was lighting up the eastern sky, when there was a shout from the Main Top Lookout, “ship on the starboard bow”. Call the Captain I shouted at the nearest crewman, it must be Unite, and I ran up the ratlines, yes I could run up the ratlines in those days, when I was a young man. Don’t think I’ve always been this fellow with grey whiskers that you see today, propping up the bar in this old tavern.

We were closer to the island than the Captain had calculated, and in the distance I could see the north cape of Menorca, I can’t remember its name now, but I do remember thinking that the Unite had missed her landing, Mahon was south of us.
Cap de Cavalleria that was it, you see my memory is not so bad, there was Fornells to the south, I could see the entrance to the Cala off our larboard quarter. Unite had made landfall 15 miles further north than she should have, but so had we, this was a good thing or we would have run straight into the east coast of Menorca before we even saw it and my life would have been very different as a ship wrecked mariner.

With the wind from the North this meant she would have to circumnavigate Menorca, or put in at one of the other harbours but I think Ciutadella on the west coast was the only deep water harbour and almost as difficult to get into as Mahon.

Any way enough of that, you bar flies don’t understand a word I’m saying so I’ll just concentrate on my story. Yes another brandy would be nice, it’s cold outside and this winter of ’32 has been damnably hard for an old man, even if I have the blood of a young sea dog flowing in my veins, it’s just flowing a little slower these days.

I saw the Unite as soon as I reached the top, she was close on our starboard bow, in irons having come up into the wind and I could see we had the advantage if we could take it, raking her stern would cause devastation.
For you lubbers here who don't understand these things, the wind was blowing towards the land and when a square rigged ship faces the wind she stops moving forward, the trick is to sail at an angle to the wind and turn through it, using the ships momentum to make the change, if you don't make it the ship stops and eventually goes backwards. Don't look so glassy eyed, it's a simple enough concept, have another swig of your brandy, that always helps the brain cells.

I slid down the main mast back stay but before I could issue any orders the Captain staggered on deck, ordering the helm over and we slowly turned into the wind and lost way. I looked on in amazement as the Unite put her helm to larboard and slowly came round onto a starboard tack. She was never going to clear the small sandy island in front of her.

With the wind on her starboard bow she can only pay off to larboard and there just isn’t enough sea room. What do you mean you don’t understand “larboard” you dumkoff, a ship has 2 sides, looking forward, that’s the pointy end to you from the stern, that’s the blunt end. On your left is larboard and on your right is starboard, no more questions if you please, just listen to my tale.

If I may be allowed to continue. She only just had enough way on to move forward very slowly and so although the collision did quite a lot of damage as she slid into the shallow water if there had been rocks rather than sand she would certainly have been sunk there and then.

Our Captain finally managed to stutter out some orders to the helmsman, if I’d heard them I would have risked my career to countermand them, but we turned slowly to larboard and both ships fire a partial broadside. We should have turned to starboard and raked the enemy as they lay at our mercy, but it was too late, our course was set.

I can tell you now sat here in the warmth of this bar, it was not as warm as it was that day. Our fool of a Captain ordered another change of course and we turned back into the wind, tight in front of the full broadside from Unite.

We were lucky that the violence of the collision had shaken the gun crews on the Unite or we would have suffered terribly, but you can see that our new course was going to lead to another collision.

No – you don’t understand, well let me use these bottles of beer to show how the two ships stood. Don’t worry the bottles are empty. Ohh, well almost empty.

There was a loud grinding noise as we ran straight along the side of the British ship, we were not going fast and glanced off, but there was a lot of damage to the paintwork although nothing significant to the structure of our ship.

Our Captain was blaspheming at the Helmsman, threatening him with the lash, but it was all he could do to stay on his feet he was staggering so much, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so drunk before and not fall over.

As we bounced off the British ship, they let go a blast from their quarter battery but they were in much disarray, finally our gallant captain fell to his knees and slowly toppled forward onto his face and lay still, snoring like a pig.

Get him below I shouted, with such anger that the crew jumped quickly enough.

With the wind behind us we were able to get some sea room and bring the full larboard guns to bear, causing tremendous damage to the Unite, it was hard to see a good French ship take so much damage even if being sailed by the British, but this is war after all.

The British Captain finally managed to get a boat over the side with a kedge anchor to try and kedge the ship off the shore.

What do you mean, you don’t know what a kedge is for, good grief I can see why France is in the state it’s in with citizens like you who know nothing of the sea. You take an anchor from the ship, row it out in a small boat, drop it in the water and then pull on the anchor warp, then that pulls your ship towards the anchor, do you understand now. Oh pass me those beer bottles again and I’ll show you what I mean.

They were successful pulling Unite off the shore and then putting the helm over they quickly got underway, heading west. They were in a good position and ahead of us, so there was still a strong possibility they would get away.

I got Hermione as close as I could and we were able to fire another salvo into Unite, how much more of this terrible punishment they could take I didn't know. We would just have to pound them and pound them again until they struck their colours and surrendered.

More punishment than we had given them so far, that’s for sure, they got as many sails up as possible and started to pull away from us but I wasn’t done yet.

Turning Hermione to larboard (well done young man, you are correct, we turned left) we were able to get a final shot at the Unite and at that they lowered their colours and surrendered the ship to us.

It was a famous victory, I was feted in Paris and even met the great man himself, Napoleon did ask me what happened to the Captain and I told him he was lost, a hero’s death, buried at sea, I’m not sure that satisfied him but Josephine entered the room and he seemed to lose interest in me. Probably just as well.

Come on young man put another log on the fire and if you bring me another brandy I’ll tell you more stories of Jean Vagabond and my exploits fighting for France during the great Napoleonic Wars.

For those who know about these things here are the ships cards at the end of the game.

The Hermione was sailed and mostly Captained by the French hero Lt Jean Vagabond a proud, bold and handsome sailor in the French Navy.

HMS Unite was sailed by Captain Horatio Snapcase, this was his first independent command and at the Court Martial to investigate HMS Unite running aground it was agreed that the aged seaman Scrotum was to blame, his Ear Trumpet was full of freshly peeled prawns and he did not hear the command to go to Starboard, turning to Larboard instead.

It's rumoured that this action was the main reason that 30 years later the Admiralty changed the name of the left hand side of ships from Larboard to Port, it was too easy to confuse Starboard and Larboard in the heat of battle, of course with a Scrotum on the helm many things could go wrong.

This was one of the games we played when Wild Dougal Emfore and Captain Bertram Snapcase came to the north for a few days, Dougal arrived a day later than the Captain and missed this entertaining game, it's main entertainment was the incompetence of the two Captains, but in our defence it's only the 4th time I've played the game and the first for the Captain.


Friday, 25 October 2019

An Introduction to the new Characters in the Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War

My Little Whiskey western  games have been a bit of a coherent story, well as coherent as anything I do. I started with the thought that the town would grow and the inhabitants would grow with it. This piece of fancy is like a lot of my ideas - a bit half baked.
I was expecting friendships and animosities to develop as games played out snd that would influence the way future games played. However I have a limited number of figures and hadn't thought through what happens when someone is killed, especially a character I like. I don't favour the identical twin routine and so I stopped killing them, one or two had miraculous recoveries so we are all going to have to suspend disbelief a bit, but as we play with toy soldiers that shouldn't be too hard.

My last game was a part of the backstory for the town as a whole and so to some extent leads to the next game I'm running, which is for for my two southern friends in a couple of weeks time. The previous posts 6 or 7 of them and are over a year old also set a part of the backstory but moving forward I would like to introduce some of the figures I've been painting over the last 10 days.

There were 20 of them and I took the fancy to name some of them after guys who have commented on the blog. This might not be a good idea and I don't want to upset anyone, especially as I've given some of them nicknames. If you want me to change anything, please shout out, it's intended in my usual lighthearted way and should be a bit of fun. The nicknames are not intended as a reflection on anyone but more to align them with my existing characters and of course I like to give my characters back stories.

Ok enough of me apologising and on with the introduction. A final thought, I am doing this on my tablet so hopefully it will be Ok but please forgive any rubbish formatting, I know you already forgive the rubbish content.

Pa and Ma have made it through the Bad Lands and the even worse lands to arrive in a hot and dusty hell called Little Whiskey – New Mexico.
They are riding a newly painted, souped up waggon, covered - you guessed it, with pieces of old boxer shorts.

Ma says to Pa “Well I’ve seen worse places than this – they even have a bank, it can’t be all bad if there’s a bank”. Pa just looks sour, he doesn’t mention the crash and how the Government used his money to support the Wanker, Bankers. At least they have the Law here he thought, there’s some hope at least. Humm, next to the bank, who's  in who's pocket, maybe nothing has changed.

They carried on down, what was politely termed Main Street in this one horse town, well to be accurate it’s about a 24 horse town now, not that I'm bragging  - well not a lot.

One of my other newly covered waggons is parked around the back of the Gunsmiths. The Blacksmith and coral are in the distance.

The Stage comes into town which is important from a game perspective but this shot is really to show off my new long horn cattle, you might see a few more shots of them. Sorry.

A moody shot of the Saloon with a couple of horses, packing heavy. This usually presages trouble.

Dynamite Dan the archetypical prospector walks into town hauling on the reigns of Bob his pack pony. He likes no one and nothing, and apart from spitting chewing backy, he’s my kind of man.

Should you be the odd person with a retentive memory you might recall Big Jim Smith the Smith who seems to have a certain degree of magnetism for handsome young women, here, he’s chatting to Shawnee Mary and Rose, or maybe it’s the other way around.

More horses packing heavy!

Mollie and her daughter are walking into town, she's making sure that her man doesn’t fall out of the Buckboard. It’s 9:00 am and he doesn’t look so sober, a slight lean forward, a bit of a sideways wobble.

Yep, he's not glued down and doesn't quite fit into the buckboard.

This is the same waggon but hitched up to a newly painted horse. I was just quite pleased with it so took a few pictures.

Fecadermis – yes you know who you are, the lad in the picture doesn’t have a set personality yet, if you’re as mad as I think, would you like to name him for your son?

The Texas longhorns in the coral – again.

The Stage driven by Brummie Quinton is flying into town and Shotgun Dew is hanging on for dear life.

In the distance is Texas Red with some old bloke, they are making their way to the grocery store.

If you read my last post you might remember Charlie Foster usually called Lefty and Mississippi Sam Shaw but you won’t have heard of Hard Nosed Dave Stone.

There are many rumours of how Dave got his nickname but the truth is that in a bar back east Dave said to some drunk, they call me Hard Nose, the drunk said, well, we’ll see about that and hit him hard on the nose. When Dave’s eyes stopped watering he drew his guns, both of them and shot the drunk between the eyes, three times just to be sure and then left town. That maybe explains why he is out here in Little Whiskey, - or maybe not, it might also explain the nickname - or maybe not.

Mollie still has her man in place on the seat of the buckboard, these western women are pretty strong characters, - but then I suppose they needed to be.

Did I mention the Texas Longhorn cattle I painted. I know they are not longhorns but they were the longest horns I could find, apart from the Dixon ones.

Ahh – well here is Dora Du Fran, she sort of brings down the tone of the post. However I’m hoping she will play a major roll in the game.

You will notice she moved her crib from Montana to New Mexico, you must have heard the line in the song that goes "I'm going where the climate suits my clothes " well she did.

Outside the gunsmiths Miss Virginia and Temperance Jenkins are deep in conversation with Mrs Tilney and some little urchin off the street. Probably about the morals of Little Whiskey and it’s inhabitants. I doubt they have anything good to say.

A rather ambivalent establishment in the town, downstairs is the Westmorland Grocery Store but above it is Blonde Edna's Home for Wayward Girls, the local Brothel and the place that makes the biggest return per square foot of floor (bed) space.

The men in black are left to right, Holy Joe, The Judge (Mr Bryan) and Fecadermis Mouse (the one with the mad look in his eye) behind them on the stoop is Sarah O’Riordan the proprietor of the Grocery side of the business.

Just a general overview of the town.

Fecadermis and Holy Joe have the slightly strange look of men who know their own mind, and are absolutly sure of it, you probably don’t want to disagree.

The yard by the Wells Fargo Office is packed with goods, coming, going and occassionally lost in the post.

Round back of the Grocery store. The Brothel has expanded with a bath house and an extra crib for the young girls who are looking for a detached residence.

Ok I know it’s only a tent, but it’s a step on the property ladder and they can hang the closed sign on the door flap when they want, although Pearl De Ville the owner of Blonde Ednas might serve them with an eviction notice if they do it before 4 in the morning.

Sheriff English Bob had told Whiskey Jack that he didn’t want to continue as the Sheriff of Little Whiskey, the pay was low and the prospects poor to none existent.
Jack had placed an advert in the Sheriffing Times and Tarot Freeman had applied. He had good references and so Jack had hired him, there was a slight problem that Jack didn’t know about until they met face to face.

10 years after the war and Tarot is determined to seek his fortune out west, this might not be the best job opportunity, we will have to see how he shapes up.

It’s not long since the war has finished. Men wearing grey are still common around the south west, this band of cut throats are led by Captain Bertram Snapcase of the 7th Carolina Cavalry, he runs with, left to right Banjo Greg, Bad Boy Roy Williamson, the Captain and Swede, sometimes known as Joakim Strom, mainly by his mother.

Little Whiskey is bursting with drifters and this group are led by a man with a beard as big as his belly, Colonel Nathaniel Ffwacett, with on the left Phil Coyote Curran, to his right Dusty T Motte and O’Donnell, sometimes known as Irish, sometimes as Panama and sometimes just as Big Frank.
Coyote Curan favours a standard 12 bore Shotgun but O'Donnell means to hit whatever he points his gun at, so has cut 24" off his shotgun.

That should do the trick.

Frank MacAulay’s gang has changed a little, they were always a bad lot, inept usually but maybe they are even worse now, but hopefully not as inept.

From left to right we have Poison Ivor Evans, Dangerous Dave Davis, Frank MacAulay is in the centre background, Skully and Stevie G to his right.
Ivor, Skulley and Stevie G are new members of the gang and have a lot to live up to, or is that down to, not sure which, but you probably get the drift.

Two of the most dangerous men in town, Wild Dougal Emfoure and his associate J.J.Tucker, they are here looking for the bounty on various outlaws, everyone steers clear of these guys.
Mind you that might be because of J.J's aftershave "Panther Piss" - Whiskey Jack sells the same stuff but it's his top brand whiskey.
It might be a little obvious but they have brought their own boxes for the outlaws who are wanted dead and not alive.

Finally on the left is Shotgun Dew in the centre is Brummie Quinton the stage coach driver and on the left the man who called himself The Undertaker. The man with a penchant for big hats and scary names has changed his name and decided he should be known as Gravedigger Awdry, no one wants to ask him why he made the change, life would be too short. Your life that is.

For some unknown reason the wanted poster of Dr Gobbo refused to load, if you go back to the "Hold up at Skull Rock" he was the one who climbed out of the coffin on the top of the stagecoach and made Bryan's day. Also the one who saved Joe Turners life by slapping a branding iron to his leg and staunching the life blood flowing out of his scrawney body. Ever since then all the girls want to know what Joe's brand is,  Double D, Lazy Ace, but only the lucky few find out and they're not telling.

Well sorry I did try and restrain things but as usual got a bit carried away, there's plenty more to say about some of these characters and I hope I've not offended anyone in the telling of the tale, especially gender transference which might be the case in one instance.

Anyone who's read my stories knows that my men are tough but my women are usually tougher.

I hope to have the main event which is the "Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War of 1875" here in a few weeks time, but I intend to show how clever I am with the background to the game first. I'm aiming to have the 3 of us play out about 20 different groups of characters,each with individual objectives, as well as introduce 33 event cards into the game as well. It's probably going to be a hellish nightmare but I'll put a good spin on it;)

Well if you are still here reading, thanks but you must get out more.

Cheers for now.

Friday, 27 September 2019

The Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War of 1875 - Prequel

Mississippi Sam Shaw drew his pistol, pointed it lazily at Henry and drawled – “just you keep still old man”
Henry is as gutsy as a polecat but he looked down the double barrelled shotgun pistol, gulped and went very still, that was a mighty big bore for such a short pistol.
Sam was a bit intimidated by the old man, the only sign he could see of tension was that the knuckles of both Henrys hands had turned white where he gripped the broom handle, apart from that he appeared calm and collected, especially for an unarmed man.
“The stage is coming, the stage is coming” shouted Little Bob as he ran up the dirt track leading into the small way station and store.
“Cover him” hissed Charlie Foster as he moved to look out of the grimy window. “What the hell do you think I’m doing” grunted back Mississippi, his nerves starting to get the better of him. Henry just looked on impassively, biding his time, Esmeralda was propped up behind the counter.
Esmeralda is his shotgun by the way.
Henry is the man behind the counter looking after things but it isn’t his store, he only works there. No need to get killed over someone else’s money was going through his head, but he didn’t like being pushed around by this 2 bit punk. The kids of today eh.
You might think this has some similarities with my last table but you would be entirely wrong, the last one was completely imaginary, this scene is set in Montana 1870 and is in the history books as the event that led to the well known but little documented war in New Mexico, not the Lincoln County War, the other one.
Over on the far side of the clearing where they had been deep in conversation stood the owner of the store, a young looking Whiskey Jack. Attracted by Little Bob’s shouting they had left off talking and turned to see the Stagecoach clattering up to the Store.
Big Jim Smith stands with his normal taciturn expression, stroking his beard as usual, Pepper his faithful hound by his side. The stranger in the background is Joe Turner, just passing through, he’s moving a small herd of cattle down south, the cattle are resting in the coral with the change over horses for the Stage.
Little Bobs shouting had also attracted the attention of another of the inhabitants of Way Station, Dora Du Fran, she claims to hail from France, but when Frenchie Malone whispered in her ear “Ow Much” in French she pretended not to hear him.
Before anyone comments on her spelling of Clase – it’s a joke.
Dora opens the flap to her crib and steps out into the sunshine, yawns, scratches her rude parts and fixes her sexiest smile in place. She thinks wistfully of home back east, little Jimmy her son and of her mother who is looking after little Jimmy, then she thinks of the money she needs to raise so they can put food on the table, the smile slips a little but she does her best to look alluring.
The sharp eyed and astute reader will have already realized that there are 4 horses outside the store and only Charlie Foster and Mississippi Sam inside, you would have had to be very sharp eyed to have seen Apache George lurking behind the sign board to the left of Bertha, who looks like she needs a good wash or at least a dip in the horse trough.
Then there’s Chester, hiding behind the wood pile.
Ambush springs to mind, but who is going to be ambushed, at this point I’ve no idea. I made a list of some potential characters and when the stage arrives and they disembark I will roll some dice against the list and see who steps off the stage, that will give me some idea of where the story is going. I know what I’m hoping to happen by the end of the story but if it doesn’t I’ll have to come up with another plan.
The stage is being driven by Shawnee Mary with Rose Dunn riding shotgun, they don’t see Chester hiding behind the wood pile and drive past the store and pull up by the pole fence.
I know Rose doesn't have a moustache but these are the only figures I have driving a stage.
As they’re turning the corner, Dora is moving to greet them, $ signs in her eyes, she’s thinking good oh, some quick and easy money has just arrived. Whiskey Jack is thinking the same as Dora.
Joe is just curious, he’s not had much company lately apart from the cows and the cows don’t have much conversation, well not all the time anyway.
Jim remains behind, he knows who is driving the coach and he’s a little bashful.
I would just like to interrupt the flow of the story yet again to point out my new builds, Dora’s Crib on the left, in the centre a wooden shack that will be someone else’s crib and on the right the new Bath House. The Bath house has a strange mottled look to it, because I covered it with kitchen roll which has an irregular bobbled surface this is showing through the cloth that I eventually covered it with. The cloth you will be pleased to know is the left overs from my old boxers used on the tarpaulin covered stacks I made about this time last year for DevLAM 18.
Shotgun Rose climbs down from the hard wooden seat and stretches her back, slings the shotgun over her left shoulder and opens the door so that Miss Virginia and Ebenezer Douglas can step to the ground.
I’m not sure what this means for the story line, just have to wait and see, are they a couple, it seems unlikely but he does have money and she is a classy looking lady, they have been known to be swayed by a mans money rather than his intellect or good looks. Come to think about it, both the later fade sooner or later so maybe money is the better bet.
Round the far side of the Stage, Shawnee Mary has done the same thing for the other passengers, Marshall McAlister steps out followed by Irene Adler. She is shackled to his right wrist, he’s escorting a prisoner, either to trial or jail. This explains why 5 years later in Little Whiskey she locked him in his own jail. You’ll have to read the story The Law Comes to Little Whiskey if you want to find out more.
Dora’s feigned smile turns to one of delight when she sees it’s Mac getting off the stage, they go back a long way and he’s always been a good customer, she even gives him a bonus, although neither of them will say what the bonus is.
Little Bob has run over to Whiskey Jack and thrown his arms around him, what’s going on here, does Jack have a son, I didn’t know that!
Ebenezer and Miss Virginia start to move towards the way station and some hot food.
In the mean time Mary has renewed her acquaintance with Jim, she looks demurely down at he ground as he strokes his beard sagely.
Good grief this is getting more like a Milnes and Boon novel as it goes on, what’s happening to my hard bitten men and women of the west, I’m going to give them a good talking to if this continues.
And another thing - the more I look at this tent the less I like it. The covered stacks in front of George is how it should look with some nice cottony texture, not like some mottled thing that I can’t think of words harsh enough to describe. Mind you I do like the sign board for the Bath House so that’s something I suppose.
Rose has joined the conga line for the food and I resolved what the ambush was all about, and who was to be the target.
It could have been Ebenezer, for his money, it could have been to rescue Irene and prevent her going to jail, but it turned out it was because Marshall Mac had shot and killed one of the gang members, this was Charlie Fosters twin brother, ‘Righty’ Foster.
Chester has gotten tired of hiding behind the wood shed and moved round the building to be closer to the action when it starts.
So at this point Charlie Foster, other wise known as Lefty walks swiftly out of the store and tells Ebenezer and the rest to hold up, he mumbles something about water and they all fail their brains test and accept what he says and stay put.
He moves swiftly towards Marshal Mac who is unaware of any danger until Lefty says “I’ve been looking for you” That’s when things went south as they say.
Just to place everyone before the dance begins, Jim with some strange 6th sense pulls Mary to one side down on the left of the picture, Chester has moved up to the Stage and has Joe and Rose behind him, that surely can’t be a good place to be! George has moved from behind the very nice sign and is now in front of the not so nice tent but behind the OK table. Both he and Chester are ready to support Lefty when he makes his play. You can just see Lefty’s hat at the far corner of the Stagecoach.
This is a play between Mac the Marshall and Lefty but will any of the other characters support the Marshall once the lead starts flying.
Lefty goes for his gun, but Apache George, behind the table to the left is faster and fires first, Lefty is still going for his gun when another shot rings out in the cool mountain air of Montana.
George is a deadly shot and his bullet hits Mac square in the guts and he drops to the ground, breathing hard, Dora is aghast but Irene’s agile brain is whirling at fast speed.
Lefty is down, hit in the head with a bullet from Shawnee Mary’s Colt Navy revolver. She has 2 guns, one in either hand, she missed with one but hit him in the head with the other, her left hand. She had a fraction of a second to react when Jim pulled her to one side, but even though it wasn’t her business she waded in to help Mac, it might be too late, gut shot is gut shot as they say in Montana.
Chester hears a sound behind him as Rose cocks the shotgun, they are both as fast as rattlers but Chester is the faster rattler, he turns and fires in one fluid movement, Rose drops down, blood pouring from a head wound. Joe is slow, and also not a very good shot, he pulls his pistol and fires at point blank range and misses (a 1 and a 2 will do that). He would have been better hitting Chester with the damn gun.
The gun fire has a startling effect on most of the characters around the Way Station. These two are hiding behind the horses. Bertha has left the front porch and is legging it through the forest as fast as her long shirts will let her.
Jim has decided it’s not his fight, he’s unarmed and a slow thinker, he failed to activate. Joe Turner is dumfounded by the callous shooting down of Rose and also doesn’t activate.
Dora wants so hard to help Marshal McAlister, he’s on the ground bleeding bad but she just can’t make the throws and ducks back behind the well.
The door of the wooden crib is flung back and Drunken Donna appears in the sunlight. Her customary bottle in one hand and a rifle in the other. Well out west a girl has to be prepared to fight or drink, I think that’s the saying. She blinks in the strong sun light and surveys the scene. The thought – what the hell is going on, flashes through her mind, well it’s a bit slower than a flash but that’s the general gist of it.
Chester seeing Lefty in the dust runs to take cover by Apache George, Mississippi is still in the store, he’s been inactive for a while now and Henry has been still as a still person turned to stone would be.
Irene is the only one acting coherently and she drops to her knees and starts feeling around in Marshall Mac’s pants.
For the key to the handcuffs of course.
She gets a lucky roll and finds them 1st turn of looking, deep in the right hand pocket of his pants, don’t know why she started there.
Whiskey Jack did a surprising thing – well it surprised me anyway, he picked up Little Bob and literally threw him behind Dora’s crib, the kid is so young and flexible that he rolled on landing and didn’t break any bones, he was winded though and didn’t get up for a little while.
Shawnee Mary’s line of sight was interrupted by Jack so she calmly stepped to one side and fired again.
 Both guns as before and Apache George was hit in the leg, he’s rolling around on the floor making a hell of a noise. There was a dry click from one gun and she missed with one shot, luckily for Irene who was on her knees with her hands in Mac’s pants at the time so the stray bullet missed her.
With one gun empty Mary fires at Chester but misses, then she realizes she’s out of ammo for both guns.
Good grief Mary has 2 Colt Navy Cap and Ball Pistols, they take ages to reload and it doesn’t look as if she has any pockets in that outfit she’s wearing to be carrying cap’s, ball’s or anything else for that matter.
Whiskey Jack fails his brains test big time and does something really stupid, he steps forward and fires both barrels of his scatter gun at Chester. Any miss and there is a good chance he will hit either Irene or Mac, he’s not a good shot either.
He rolls a 5 and 6, two hits, Chester is hit in the head and right arm, dropping his revolver which hits the ground just before he does.
Irene unlocks the cuffs and reaches for Macs wallet and then his shotgun. This was a mistake she should have gone for the shotgun first.
 Donna staggers over to Irene, mumbling something about her man and keep your hands out of his pants and hits her with the butt of the rifle. I was going to shout “cat fight” but it was all over in that 1 blow and anyway it would have been in very bad taste.
Finally Mississippi activated, he ran out of the store and went for his horse. That’s when he saw Joe Turner. Mississippi fired first but must have tripped on the step because he missed from very close range.
 Joe was flustered, buck shot flying all around will have that effect on a man but when he fired back Mississippi was hit bad, in the right leg, and he fell to the floor, not to get up again.
Well as we found out the gang were after revenge on Marshall McAlister for killing Righty, Charlie Foster’s (Lefty) twin brother, they weren’t identical twins. Irene Adler was just taking advantage of the situation and if it hadn’t been for Donna she might have escaped justice. As it was she served 3 years for her particular crime and has been out of prison for a couple of years now, long enough to have the little brush with the law I mentioned earlier.
Mississippi, Charlie, Chester and Apache George all recovered from their wounds and served a 5 year prison sentence without parole. They were discharged from prison yesterday and have information that Marshall McAllister is based in some small town down in New Mexico. If they ride hard they could be there by early November.
The town is called Little Whiskey and they may be there in time to partake of what will go down in history as the Little Whiskey Bath House and Brothel War of 1876.
It’s coming up to November and the Three Musketeers are meeting up again, for our annual 3 to 4 day wargaming event that has until now been called DevLAM, this year instead of heading down south to sunny Devon, 2 of the Musketeers will be heading to the grim north (I hope they don’t get nose bleeds) and we are having the event at my house in my newish Wargames Room.
I expect it will come as no surprise that my game is going to be set in the old west of Little Whiskey, New Mexico.
As usual I have a bunch of ideas to incorporate into the game, some will work and some won’t, but once my compatriots have enough to drink they don’t seem to mind.
I’m going to try and keep it much more simple than the Scoop, my main game last year because that was so complex I still haven’t even attempted to write it up, which is a pity because it looked gorgeous, almost none of my terrain, so no credit to me but I thought it was great.
Anyway, I might post on my progress with the Bath House and Brothel Wars, I have quite a bit still to do and I might even paint some figures and if there’s time I will re-do the Bath House but don’t hold your breath.
I’m intending designing the game for 3 people to play but with multiple groups of characters all with different agendas. So for example Big Jim Smith seems to have a thing going with Shawnee Mary, but he’s also been seen in Little Whiskey with Mary Ann Conklin, there may be some rivalry there, with one player taking Jim, one Mary and one the other Mary. One Mary might want to shoot the other Mary and Jim might have to step in and prevent this, possibly becoming the target himself, or just sit back and watch.
There’s bound to be a robbery or hold up so again, one person takes the bandits, one the law or maybe the bandits are split into two groups, both intent on the robbery but maybe one faction wants to take it all, or maybe there’s local law and Territorial law both with different agendas but will cooperate on some specific thing. I’d like to get 3 or 4 groups per player so that as one group gets eliminated we still have other interests in the game. Three players is an difficult number, a couple of years ago we had 2 sets of bandits and 1 set of lawmen, predictably the bandits joined forces to shoot the lawmen and then turned on each other, but it meant the lawman player was eliminated early on, it was still a fun game though.
The other thing I want to do is an event deck, I have some ideas of things that might work and throw a spanner in everyone’s way, such as at a certain point a drunk might come out of the bar, walk in a random direction for a random distance and then pick a fight with the nearest character. I want to play as a player not as a GM so it’s going to be similar to my usual style of solo game where stuff is as much a surprise to me as to everyone else.
Some of the things I have in mind are “Stampede” “Goodtime Girls Interaction” “Drunk” “Aggrieved Husband” “Temperance Society” “Lady with a baby in a pram” “Dancing Bear going out of control”. These all need fleshing out to provide detail of the effect they will have. For example the Temperance Society might move in a fixed direction and stop all shooting within a 9” radius, or the effect might only be on certain groups or maybe roll against a badness rating, if you’re bad enough you can shoot anybody, but maybe your mates will not like it and shoot you.
I doubt I will make or buy anything new so it needs to be a bit generic in terms of figures I already have and everything will be on clear bases to give a uniform look so that restricts it even more. I'm also going to stay in period so I don't think there'll be vampires or werewolves (sorry Brian)
Any and all suggestions for these sorts of events are more than welcome and very much encouraged, I’d like about a dozen which should provide variety as well as interest and so far am short on that target.
Well if there’s anybody out there, please say hello and stay safe.