Saturday, March 31, 2012

Trying On Boot Hill

In a continuing effort to expand our (my McKinney group's) gaming horizons, I ran 2nd ed. Boot Hill.  To make things easier, I rolled up 20 characters with the idea that I'd use some of them as NPCs after the group picked their characters.  By game time, I had forgotten that was my plan.  Ooops...

So, the game opened with the stagecoach arriving in Salt Flats, Tx.  Getting off the coach was Jedidiah Sackett (Mike), JB Books (Pete), "Black Bart" Cassiday (Charlie), Buckshot George (Bob), and Drax Hummer (Sean).  The coach driver suggested everyone settle in at the saloon while the horses were taken to the stables and mail delivered.  The place was quiet for an evening with only the barkeep and two card players present.  Movement could be heard upstairs as the girls prepared for the evening's entertainment.  The group settled in for steak or chili for dinner.  As their meal was drawing to a close, three cowpokes came in and headed straight for the bar.  They were with the Circle T ranch and part of a group headed down to the railhead about 50 miles to the south.  They had lost 3 of their number to a stampede a few days earlier and were still a bit upset by it.  Black Bart began to make jokes about the deceased which upset one of the hands.  Words were exchanged, guns were drawn and each managed to shoot the other seriously enough that the "gunfight" essentially ended in a draw.  Black Bart excused himself to go see the doc while Jedidiah asked the other cowhands if their trail boss was hiring.  Leaving the next morning for the herd, the group was readily hired for "$30 or a horse" when they reached the railhead.  The group worked hard and on the third day, as the herd was crossing a river, a group of rustlers attacked and split off about 40 head.  The ensuing gun battle killed four of the rustlers outright while three tried to keep shooting to prevent any of the hands from following.  JB took off immediately after the rustlers, killing two more.  Black Bart followed shortly afterwards, after helping to kill the ones left behind.  Two rustlers managed to escape with about 2 dozen head.  After the other hands were patched up, Tim the Trail Boss sent Black Bart, Jedidiah, Buckshot, and Drax after the missing cattle.  Taking the dead rustlers hats and horses, they followed the trail until Buckshot recognized the country.  He figured they were headed toward an arroyo which allowed for easy access by cattle here and which could be used to move them with the fewer hands to someplace they could be sold.  Approaching the hiding place, the group was accosted by the two rustlers. Words were exchanged, shots were fired, and soon two rustlers were dead and the cattle were returned to the herd.  No further encounters occurred until they reached the rail head, a bustling boom town named Gillespie.

Visiting the sheriff with the bodies of the rustlers, the group earned $250 each for six them...the Douglas Gang.  Visiting one of the many saloons, the Circle T boys were having fun and trading tales with hands from the Rocking S ranch up near Salt Flats.  A poker game with JB, Black Bart, and a card sharp named Peters took part of the evening.  They learned that the Rocking S owner, Clay Allison, was buying up the land around Salt Flats as more people were moving down to Gillespie.  They also learned that the Douglas Gang was accused of robbing a stage coach of $5000 in gold a few weeks earlier which made the cattle rustling look odd.  Also, at least one of the robbers of the coach was left handed.  One of the Rocking S hands at that time suddenly left the saloon.  Jedidiah followed him and watched him enter another saloon and talk with an older hand who was playing poker.  After a few minutes, the first hand left, got on his horse and rode out of town.

Next game in a month.  The group really seemed to enjoy the game.  It's a pretty simple system with a lot of freedom for role play.  I need to watch more westerns though, I think.
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