Monday, September 03, 2012

In Which The Warlock Goes Swimming...

End of the line for Reverend Grimme!
It's time for a flood!
(For those of you Deadlands fans out there, this post contains MASSIVE spoilers for the end of The Flood plot-point campaign.  If you're not prepared to know how the Right Reverend Grimme gets what's coming to him, don't read any further!)

Finally, after nearly a year and a half of near-weekly session, my Friday night posse managed to finish their epic campaign to take down the Cult of Lost Angels and its master, the Reverend Ezekiah Grimme.

For those of you playing along at home, who might have forgotten our cast, let me give you a brief refresher:

  • Jayne Cobb--a gunslinger from Maine who had fled to the Great Maze after some unfortunate deaths.  In addition to being the posse's de-facto wheelman, Jayne found himself possessed by the spirit of a long-dead pastor devoured by Grimme's ghouls.  This spirit caused Jayne to pursue the ancestral daisho of Warlord Kwan:  a relic set of swords enchanted by the spirits of Kwan's ancestors.
  • Paqua--a Hopi shamaness who joined the group upon their arrival in Shan Fan. Paqua served as the party's "native liason" as well as a healer.  After escorting the undead-raising Amulet of Rahashimir to Virginia City (the first eventually ended up back in Shan Fan, in the hands of Emperor Norton!) Paqua garnered the attention of a certain Servitor of Death...
  • Dr. Albert Noble--a Confederate veteran mad scientist, Noble's devices served the group well as he maintained their steam wagon and provided well-timed explosions when necessary.  Noble's liasons with the Confederates at Shannonsburg netted him a swanky position at the secret Confederate labs at Roswell, New Mexico!
  • Angus Cole--the hideously disfigured gunslinger (and hexcaster!) supposedly hailed from the Confederacy, but rather a Union agent in disguise!  Angus's continued attempts to contact his higher-ups in the Agency were good-intentioned, though his telegraphs had a distinct tendency to be intercepted by everyone from the Confederates to Warlord Kwan to Grimme himself!
  • Tara Jenkins--a rodeo gal from North Texas, the most notable thing about Tara was her death!  Squished into the ground by a Mojave rattler, Tara rose up as a Harrowed.  But, little did she know that her demon-rider had complete control over her, and was just biding its time to betray the party.  With the party entrusting the Amulet of Rashashimir to her on their way to Fort 51 (the second time!), they were in for a rude awakening!
  • Eddie Van Horn--a bare-knuckles boxer from Boston, the posse found Eddie in Rock Island Prison, trapped with Samuel Q. Hellman.  However, none knew much about Eddie's true nature--he was a werewolf!  The posse managed to cure Eddie, with the help of Mr. Eddington and Mr. Andrew Lane at Fort 51, but he still provided a ready right cross whenever they needed him.
  • Mary Ellen Hardigan--nominally the star of our show, Mary Ellen grew up in Lost Angels.  In their early adventures, the posse saved Mary Ellen from one of Grimme's corpse carts and she was given a steam-powered arm by none other than Dr. Darius Hellstromme himself!  Mary Ellen's opium-fueled vendetta against Grimme led her to ally with Big Ears Tam, the Confederates at Shannonsburg, and numerous others...

Now, our version of The Flood has taken several left turns of the base plot point campaign.  First off, we did very little with Santa Ana's invasion of California, saving it for a "montage" style series of attacks provoking the one-legged Mexican to send his army against Grimme.

However, much of our action centered around a theme of possession and control--with three of the posse members (Eddie, Tara, and Jayne) all having some "rider" in their brain, we focused on what the repercussions of their state of mind would be.  Eddie was quick to take up any possible cure, believing his lycanthropy to be a curse.  Jayne, though, worked towards an equilibrium with the spirit inhabiting his brain, working together towards a greater good.

This theme worked well in tandem with the other major theme of the campaign--addiction.  Mary Ellen's major hindrance was her addiction to morphine and opium, which she later managed to spread to Dr. Noble and very nearly to Paqua, who resisted her addiction vociferously.  While the others had a "literal" rider in their brain, Noble and Hardigan had a more figurative "monkey on their back", which brought huge amounts of trouble, particularly in a region beset by Famine and Pestilence.

It's in our last few sessions that things really started hitting the fan, so to speak.  After recovering the Amulet of Rahashimir for a second time, the posse decided to personally escort the relic to Fort 51 and turn it over to the Agency, via their liaisons Angus Cole and Marcus Black.  However, while there, Tara's manitou took over, stealing the Amulet and ghosting through the floors in an attempt to escape!  Unfortunately for her, Jayne lost control of his own spiritual rider, who responded to Tara's betrayal with a katana to the skull.

After a side trip to New Jerusalem and a few months aggravating Santa Ana in Mexicali, the stage was set for our heroes to return to Lost Angels.  Sneaking into Perdition, Paqua was shocked to see a familiar face--that of the cybernetically augmented Charley Bill Buckner, the Wasatch Rail Foreman at Ore Collection Station #37.  Buckner curtly told the group that their old friend--Ronnie Clum, the photographer for the Tombstone Epitaph--was captured by Guardian Angels in Ghost Town, the flaming remains of the LA suburbs.

Inspiration, perhaps?
Quickly, the posse managed to contact their allies in the area--a small group of Texas Rangers conscripted by Admiral Birminghamton, after the posse handed over Fort Jackson (or, Fort Formerly-Known-as-Norton), and a handful of ninjas, courtesy of Big Ears Tam.  Formulating a plan, they prepared to sneak into the city, but not before activating the final Apache petroglyph and saving Ronnie Clum, who had a surprise for them.  You see, following up on some leads from Tombstone, Clum managed to find something of real worth:  Ezekiah Grimme's walking stick, long thought lost within the Great Maze!

With walking stick, katana, and tomahawk in hand, our posse snuck into the Grand Cathedral of Lost Angels at dawn on August 23rd, 1880.  With a storm swirling overhead, the group dripped their blood onto the stones of the cathedral as a peal of thunder let loose.  Grimme, his Angel of Death Garrett Black, and his Immortal Thirteen clawed their way out from the depths of the cathedral's crypt and sacristy, spattered with the blood of their unholy feast.

And, with that, the battle was joined.  After an epic struggle, the Thirteen lay dead on the floor of the cathedral while Jayne Cobb stood over the crumpled, broken form of Grimme.  Lightning crashed through the massive stained glass window of the cathedral, shattering Grimme's unholy altar, as a massive wave of water rose up before the wickedness and debauched city below.

So, as you might imagine from the title, Lost Angels vanished beneath a massive tsunami, summoned by the ancient magics of the Apache.  While our heroes somehow--miraculously, perhaps?--managed to survive, the Servitor of Famine and his followers have been eradicated, and the Weird West is a safer place.

But what's next?  That, friends and neighbors, comes next entry...

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