It should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with my GM style that I love Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, and enjoy the unpredictable outcomes of the zero level funnel. I have been running it and a few variations of the rules set for a few years now, but have never had a chance to run Black Powder, Black Magic (BPBM) until now.
I haven't really dabbled much in the western genre since Boot Hill (2e), and never with the mash-up that is the six-guns & sorcery, but the style and rules looked to be fun. I really wanted to see how the exploding dice damage on gunfire worked in making the game more lethal in shoot-outs.
So, I gave it my first run last night at my FLGS (Villainous Lair).
I chose to do a little reskinning of the funnel adventure "The Devil's Cauldron", and set their destination to be in the fictional and exotic "San Bernadino" in the Republic of California, nestled amongst the "mineral rich" Montanas de Bandini. (Bonus points to those of you old and native Californian enough to get that one!)
If you wish to check out the BPBM rules go to: stormlordpublishing.com/
As of this posting, there is a 20% off bundle deal on the first three vols.
!!!!!!!WARNING!!!!!! EVERYTHING BEYOND THIS POINT MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM BPBM VOL. 1 & THE ADVENTURE CONTAINED THEREIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IF YOU ARE NOT A DCC RPG JUDGE DO NOT CONTINUE OR I SHALL CALL UPON THE DARK MASTER TO ETERNALLY DAMN YOUR DICE SO THAT THEY SHALL ALWAYS ROLL ONES!
SERIOUSLY, IT IS NOT FAIR TO THE OTHER PLAYERS, AND TAKES THE FUN OUT OF THE GAME!
ALRIGHT, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!!
Act I Sc. 1
Our party consisted of three players, running four players each. There are plenty of passengers on the train to replenish the party at any time. So, I made sure to use the Purple Sorcerer zero level party generator, using the Black Powder, Black Magic setting, to generate plenty of characters. (Note: the generator does not generate the PCs "token of the past" or "reason for heading west". a couple of quick rolls on those tables in BPBM vol. 1 will take care of that.)
The party all noticed a commotion at the entrance to the first class passenger car. A very pompous and loud Englishman was yelling at both Ezrah (the train conductor) and a dark skinned man wearing black priests robes and a black broad rimmed hat.
One of the party was able to make out part of the conversation. Listening they overheard,"I will not share a car with an Islander! And especially not with a dirty Frog!" The Englishman then shoved some coins in Ezrah's hand and stormed off into the first class car. Ezrah then looked sheepishly at the priest, and offered him the coins. The Priest then gave a strange smile, looked up into the first class cabin, and motioned for Ezrah to keep the coins. He headed back to the coach car.
Arthur "Slick Mick" Harris was the only one of the party that spoke french tried talking with the priest "Pere Warri". Pere Warri informed him that he was being sent by his order to replace the Father at the mission in San Bernadino, who had died recently. Arthur did notice that the priest was wearing a high collared robe, and thought it unusual that the priest was not wearing his crucifix. Pere Warri replied that when traveling in such dangerous and lawless lands, it is sometimes more practical to keep your valuables well hidden amongst such tight quarters. "Not all men are as trustworthy as you and myself"
The train pulled off into the late afternoon sun...
Act. I Sc. 2
The sun went down as the train pulled out into the open desert, and most of the party slept peacefully until the early dawn. The train was losing speed as they began to work their way into the mountains. At that point, Lola (the veterinary doctor) noticed a riderless horse by the side of the tracks.
A few seconds later, the passengers heard a long whistle blow from the engine area, quickly followed by four gunshots. The doors to the front and rear of the coach opened to reveal four masked gunmen who proceeded to rob all the passengers in the car.
Attempting to hide a precious land grant Logan Calvin (former cavalryman) was pistol-whipped, died, and his body was being looted. Jordan Holmes (also a former cavalryman) had enough and drew his pistol on the bandit, shot and killed him.
The coach broke out into complete chaos as a gunfight ensued. The party managed to take out the gunmen, and grab their weapons but at a cost. Three of the party lay dead. The fight carried over into the dining car, where they met up with Brigadier General Robert Bellows, ret., and Agent James Jasper as they were finishing of the gunmen in the dining car.
Next there was a loud explosion from somewhere in the rear of the train (the armored transport car). The party climbed up onto the top of the car in time to see the outlaws loading a strongbox from the armored car onto a wagon. They headed for the engine only to find Edgar the Engineer dead (four gunshots to the chest), and Rufus the fireman unconscious on the engine floor.
After reviving Rufus, the party tried to get Ezrah, the conductor, to get the train going again.
Ezrah said, "I'm just the conductor! You have to get Gideon the trains back-up engineer. He's sleeping back in the caboose." At which point the party exited the train just in time to see rest of the Levi / Dillon Gang loading a tied up and badly beaten Gideon onto the wagon and pulling out.
Act I Sc. 3
James Jasper reveals himself to be a railroad agent and rounds up a posse (the party refreshed from the pool of pregens and now armed with pistols and shotguns) to seek out the outlaws Stan Levi, Sean Dillon, and their gang, bring back the stolen strongbox and rescue Gideon the engineer.
After following the trail for most of the day, the party found themselves heading down into a scrub covered gulch. they could see smoke from a campfire up ahead. Some of the party tried to sneak ahead only to walk right into a few of the outlaws on lookout. A brief skirmish occurred resulting in three dead outlaws, with one getting away to warn the camp. One of the party died in the encounter.
At Sunset the party arrived at the camp, and managed to take up positions surrounding the camp without being spotted. They observed two of the outlaws torturing Gideon by leaning him against the fire. When the party felt in position they attacked. They rapidly attempted to take out the lookouts, only to have one of them get out a warning.
A wild gun battle followed. One of the party cut the line of horses free, in attempting to stop the horses, one of the bandits was dragged to his death.
In the wild nine of the party were killed, all of the gang except Stan and Sean were dead. Stan and Sean, being badly injured, surrendered.
The party tied them up, and began debating what to do with them and all their new found wealth.
They decided to take everything back and return them to their rightful owners, and were debating what to do with Stan & Sean.
Lorelei Words (the bookkeeper) quickly settled the matter by walking up behind Stan & Sean and blowing their heads off with her pistol. "It says 'DEAD or alive'", said Lorelei.
The party loaded up the wagon with their dead, the bodies of Stan & Sean, the strongbox... etc. and worked their way back to the train by sunrise. They now have eight horses, a wagon, $200.00 in Gold, and will be collecting the bounty on the Levi / Dillon Gang when they arrive in San Bernadino!
Our list of chumps, oops I mean, er... honored dead for this session:
Arthur "Slick Mick" Harris (plumber), Jordan Holmes (cavalryman), Logan "the Snake" Calvin (cavalryman), Bobby Joe (cowpuncher), Landon "Muggy" Miller (cowpuncher), Ashley Collins (gardener), Gawain Greenlegs (cavalryman), Johnathon Tayler Thomas (musician), Lisa "Lola" Gentletouch (veterinarian), Marrick "Stinky Feet" (barkeep), and Noah Collins (artilleryman).