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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Wild West Campaign Update: East Las Vegas

In mid-1879, most of the PCs decided Dodge City was getting a bit too stale, and they decided to try their luck elsewhere.  Drawn by the promise (sent to them by Dirty Dave Rudabaugh and Mysterious Dave Mather) of a town they could control, where no law or Establishment politics could get in the way, they made their way to East Las Vegas.

The town was a brand-new ramshackle affair, with the only real buildings being the courthouse, jailhouse, and railroad station; and everything else being under different degrees of construction. The place, in the middle of the desert, was immediately described by players as a "hive of scum and villainy", and indeed it was.

They were received by the Boss of East Vegas, Hoodoo Brown. Hoodoo was a mysterious and ominous character; the PCs would later learn that he'd been a buffalo hunter with the two Daves (in Dodge City, before their time) and then spent the last few years running an Opera Company that wandered around Mexico, acting as a cover for a variety of criminal enterprises. He'd made enough money there to bribe his way into a position as the local Justice.

So "Justice Brown" is a trained showman, using that talent to intimidate and terrify any potential rivals. Now he was going to control the entire town with an iron grip, with his "Dodge City Gang".  Kid Taylor will be his Sheriff, but will only arrest people he thinks should be arrested (either to teach them a lesson, or to help protect them from arrest elsewhere). Taylor finds himself recommended with a black man named Jim Jackson (a new PC) as his deputy.

And Crazy Miller, with his fortune, is going to be building a bank in town, which will be used mainly as a safe space for all the regional criminal element to store their ill-gotten gains. Other Miller originally planned to try his luck as a saddler, but quickly gets convinced to work at Judge Hoodoo Brown's Stagecoach-robbery business.

The PCs start to settle in, and they also meet with Doctor Thomas Melancon (another new PC), a young, portly, but charming young medical man from New Orleans who went west after being disowned by his family, he has fled from the rumors of his homosexuality.  "Doc Thomas" ends up working mainly in taking care of the sexual health of the ever growing battalion of prostitutes being shipped into the town; he also checks out Doc Holliday (at Big Nose Kate's request), giving Holliday six months to live. Trying to be optimistic, or possibly worried about Doc's reaction, Thomas tells Holliday that he's got maybe a year. Doc's response is "See? I'm improving. Four years ago they told me I had six months. In another four years they'll say I have two years to go".

Not everyone is happy with the Dodge City Gang. Handsome Pete, another brothel-owner, is livid about Crazy Miller being given first pick of incoming prostitutes by Hoodoo Brown. He makes the mistake of threatening Miller in public. When Judge Brown finds out, he sends his sheriff and deputies after him.  What follows is a tense standoff and shoot-out in Pete's brothel, where two PCs end up facing down a shotgun-wielding Pete. They end up taking him alive, mainly thanks to Kid Taylor's swift reflexes and hip-shooting skills, and the only harm on their end is Jim Jackson taking a couple of shotgun pellets to the left shoulder.  Hoodoo later has him dismembered and his corpse left at the crossroads of Railway & Main for everyone to see what happens to anyone who crosses him.

Other Miller and Dirty Dave go off to rob Miller's first stagecoach. The driver and shotgunner are in on the whole scam, and although Miller was nervous, he finds that in fact he didn't have to worry much as it all went off without a hitch. It's only on the way back that they run into a problem. Namely, 20 or so Comancheros, who start riding after them. These deadly outlaws are easy to identify, even from a distance, based on their fanciful style of dress:

It's only their keen observation (spotting them at a distance) and good riding skills that lets them escape and get back safely to East Vegas.  When they mention their encounter to Hoodoo Brown, he tells them that next time, they should tell the Comancheros that Brown would like to have a parley with them.

Doc Holliday and John Joshua Webb have purchased a saloon together, which they've called "Kate's Saloon". An ex-soldier named Gordon has been frequenting the place, hooking up repeatedly with one of Kate's prostitutes. When he tries to get her to run away with him, and she rejects him, Big Nose Kate has to threaten Gordon with a knife to get him to leave.
Incredibly, Gordon decides that his next move will be to come back to a bar owned by two of the West's infamous killers and start shooting wild into the establishment. Crazy Miller and Doctor Thomas are in there too, the doctor dives under the bar, deciding he's not really up for a shootout, while Doc Holliday calmly starts walking to the door, with Crazy Miller walking right behind him. Gordon tries to take a shot at Crazy Miller but misses, and Doc Holliday shoots him twice, killing Gordon stone dead.

The players noted that East Las Vegas was definitely a case of the inmates running the asylum. Dodge City, the "Gomorrah of the west", looks like Walnut Grove in comparison to East Vegas; in Dodge the players could sometimes go two or three sessions without a single shootout, while in their first session in East Vegas they were caught up in three life-threatening situations!

They also realize that this level of lawlessness, and the criminality of what the Dodge City Gang is up to, is just too crazy to last. Sooner or later, it will not end well. More than one of the players figured that by the end of the first day there, their character was thinking "I've made a huge mistake".

We'll see how it all pans out for them.


Currently Smoking: Dunhill Classic Series Rhodesian + C&D's Bayou Evening

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