The Midnight Riders:
Gutshot Summer Campaign

WANTED: Dead or Alive!

Chapter Four:

Buzzard Bait
at Buzzard Point!

GMs: Mike Mitchell
& Mike Murphy

Played 7:45- 9:45 p.m.,
June 24, 2003

Interested in joining the Midnight Riders? Contact us at: info@hawgleg.com

Posted:June 30, 2003

The law had upped the ante on the wanted posters, singling out some
of the bandits for higher rewards.
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CAST

The Midnight Riders:

  • Cord -- alias the Mystery Rider (played by Kyle Nearhood)
     Custom 2 - TN 8, Lucky, Tough As Nails, Sure-shot: Pistol
  • Heinrich "Hank" Heidelberg -- alias Hank the German, or Preacher Man (played by Matt Jeffers)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist, Spontaneous, Hard-to-hit
  • Thomas Irons (played by J.J. Shaw)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist, Lucky
  • Rico Suarez (played by Justin Nemeti)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Sure-Shot: Pistol, Two-Gun Shootist, Spontaneous
  • The Phoenix Kid (played by Rick Haufe)
    Custom 3 - TN 9, Hard to Hit, Spontaneous, Tough as Nails, Reliable, True Grit
  • Big Jack (played by Ian K.)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist
  • New Member Billy the Kid (played by Gary Ortiz)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Sure-shot: Rifle
  • New Member Slim (played by Kevin Ortiz)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist
  • New Member Bogart (played by Austin Byers)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Sure-shot: Rifle, Tough-as-nails

New Specialty purchased by Character

 

The Groundhog Gang (posing as lawmen)

  • Deputy Bill Fife (played by Trevor Johnson)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Bawler, Hard to Hit
  • Johnny Gunshot (played by Jonathan Burton)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Fanning the Gun, Quickload
  • Isabella (played by Laura Potter)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Speedy
  • Speedy Gonzalez (played by Matt Arra)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Speedy

 

The Honorable Citizens of Buzzard Point
(all NPCs played by Murphy)
:

  • Luke Stevens -- armed with two pistols
    Gunfighter - TN 6, Lucky, Sure-Shot: Derringer
  • Pete R. Parker -- Storekeeper, armed with Double-Barreled Shotgun
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Tommy Jackson, Jr. -- Townsfolk, armed with pistol
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Tommy Jackson, Sr.-- Townsfolk, armed with pistol
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Irish Mick.-- Townsfolk, armed with pistol
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Townsfolk in Bank, all are standard Townsfolk and have TN 9:
    Mr. Jerald Craighton (Bank President), Miss Emily LaMarque (Bank assistant), Geoffrey Foster (Bank clerk), Tommy Washington (Bank security -- has a loaded pistol)

 

BUZZARD POINT AWASH
IN BULLETS AND BLOOD!!!

Bloody Shootout In The Streets!!!

Only Son of Local Cattle Baron Brutally Murdered!!!
Father Swears Revenge!!!

Two Wounded Ruffians Captured!!!

“The tide has turned. The Midnight Riders lost their first gang members tonight -- Big Jack and Rico Suarez were captured by a famous Texas Ranger. It'll be interesting to see what happens next," said Gutshot co-creator Mike Mitchell.


Shoulder to shoulder
-- Midnight Comics was a busy place as 13 players crowded around the table as two rival gangs sought to rob the bank in Buzzard Point during

June 24, 2003
Houston, Texas -- The dice were flying hot and heavy as lead filled the air of the small of the town of Buzzard Point last night as the Fourth Game in the Gutshot Campaign quickly erupted into a wild and vicious battle in the streets of the small town.

"This was the largest game we have run so far," co-creator Mike Mitchell said as more than a dozen people were crowded around the table. New folks, old hands, and walk-ins jostled for a position to be able to get into the furious action that was unfolding.

Gutshot co-creator, Mike Murphy, did a body count and agreed with Mitchell. "If this group keeps getting any bigger, we are going to have to break it down into TWO separate games to get all the action in in one evening!"

Last night's game found the infamous Midnight Riders making tracks to the small town of Buzzard Point. Word had gotten out that a US Army Payroll was being held in the bank, and to the Midnight Riders it seemed that it would just be another easy job to line their pockets with ill-gotten gains.

"What they didn't think about or realize was that this time they would have some competition," Murphy said with a wicked grin.

Indeed, for at first when they moved into town, on the opposite end was another group of players, whom the Midnight Riders at first assumed to be lawmen. However their assumptions were soon proved wrong as they discovered it was another rival gang trying to rob the same bank at the same time!

"The dynamics of each gang were completely different," Mitchell explained. "The Midnight Riders was comprised of experienced players that outnumbered the smaller, unnamed gang. This was a disadvantage for them, but they were completely unknown, which meant that the law and townsfolk ignored them until they started to fire their weapons. This was a luxury that the Riders did not have. They are infamous and the townsfolk started gunning for them almost immediately."

Once the action started, though, things got very bloody very fast.

"It was interesting to watch how quickly these two gangs decided to try to wipe each other out in order to rob the bank," Mitchell added while writing down game progression notes.

But the other gang was not all that the Midnight Riders had to worry about.

"I've tossed in a couple of surprises for them." Murphy said smiling.

A small group of townsfolk quickly rallied to defend their homes, while over at the saloon sharing a couple of beers was the infamous gunslinger Luke Stevens, and the well-known Bounty Hunter "Irish Mick" McGee.

Within the first turn, shots had been fired, and during the game both Stevens, and McGee were wounded in the wild battle that was occurring.

"Great," Murphy said. "Now they not only have the Texas Rangers on their trail, but they've tried to kill a gunslinger AND a bounty hunter. They just don't know when to quit do they?"

Outnumbered and outgunned, fighting for their lives on all sides, the Midnight Riders did something unexpected: they bribed members of the rival gang to switch sides.

"Matt Jeffers completely bushwhacked me on that one," Mitchell said.

Thomas Irons – played by J.J. Shaw – was lying almost dead in the street, so Hank the German (played by Matt) talked rival gang member Isabella (played by newcomer Laura Potter) into dragging Thomas' limp body out of town. Isabella had been badly wounded earlier in the game and knew she couldn't survive a single gunshot, so she took the money and the limp outlaw and methodically dragged him to safety.

"I love gaming because players always find a way to amaze me," Mitchell said with a satisfied grin. "I briefly consider the possibility of them declaring a truce so they could all split the gold, but I never imagined them paying off the other team like this. Matt really surprised me tonight… pleasantly, I might add."

The Midnight Riders robbery was not a full success, though.

Valiant townsfolk and the other gang gunned down two of their members Big Jack and Rico Suarez. To prove the old saying of "There is no honor among thieves." Members of the Midnight Riders left their own badly wounded compatriots to die in the dusty streets of the town, and the dirty wood floor of the bank. It seems that the lure of gold is stronger than the friendship of these outlaws.

Both Mitchell and Murphy had a lot to say about the players and the campaign game.

"The game keeps getting larger, which is always good because it shows that people are interest in Gutshot, which is what we want to see. The size of the game keeps getting larger which also helps us see how the system works with large groups of players." Mitchell said.

"I hadn't expected this many folks to be here, and I am very pleased at the support that they are giving us in this project." Murphy added. "The players seem to be enjoying themselves tremendously, and the more we work on this, and push these rules, the more that Mike and myself are convinced that we have a winning product here."

After moderating the largest game of his Gutshot career – counting himself and Murphy, there were 15 people around the table that night, and two more walked by, considered joining, and then balked when they realized how many were already there – Mitchell was tired but happy.

"The Midnight Riders playtest is everything I could hope for, and more," he said. "Having the same players come back week after week is helping us identify big problems with weapon balance (rifles and sawed-off shotguns need adjusting, for example), and small issues with timing, Free Actions, surprise, cover fire, and other areas of game play. As the Players get familiar with the rules, they learn how to exploit them, and that's when we see the areas that need tweaking. I could not have found a better team of Playtesters if I had hand-picked them.- these guys are the best."

GAME REPORT

There were 13 primary Characters and about 8 NPCs.
The game lasted slightly more than two Turns,
taking about two hours to play.
(A strict time limit had been imposed -- some of us needed to get to bed at a decent time)

Our Story Thus Far: The heat is on for the Midnight Riders. When Hank the German gunned down Texas Ranger John McLawson, he incurred the wrath of the Texas Rangers. Matters weren’t helped by the pile of dead bodies left in the Longhorn saloon, courtesy of bloodthirsty Big Jack. In the space of a single day, the Riders went from local heroes to wanted outcasts with big prices on their heads. Although Rico’s aunt (and his beautiful cousin Consuela) would never betray them, others in the village weren’t so noble. The reward money was just too danged tempting for the poor farmers of that area to resist for long… so the boys fled into the night.

They made way to New Mexico, where they heard that a large U.S. Army payroll was being kept in the bank in the small town of Buzzard Point. Drooling at the thought of all that cash just sitting there, the boys decided to help themselves, never suspecting that a rival gang had identical plans.

The Groundhog Gang was smaller and less experiences, but they had one advantage that the Riders did not have: nobody knew them from Adam. They could mosey into town and nobody would look twice at them. The Riders, on the other hand, were wanted and their faces were known (except for the mysterious Cord, of course). The Riders would be recognized in a matter of minutes. Which was just fine with the Groundhog Gang, who planned to let the Riders and townsfolk shoot it out, and then take the gold for themselves.

Of course, that’s not exactly how it happened…

Character Placement:
All Characters were on foot; their horses were stashed off the board on the side where the Character entered. The Midnight Riders could enter on the side of the board with the Hotel and Saloon. The Groundhog Gang could enter on the opposite side, near the Livery Stable and the Church.

The town of Buzzard Point

Victory Objectives: Get the cash out of the bank and get out of town alive.

Game Type: Two teams of Black Hats, and NPC townsfolk controlled by the GM (in this case, Murphy controlled all NPCs).

Victory Points Awarded: If Victory Objectives are met, each Character on the winning team earns 50VP. Award 5 VP to each Character for each bag of Gold he gets away with. Standard points awarded for kills and cash.

Restrictions: The safe and structure of the Bank are completely secure -- you cannot break into it (pick the lock, come in through the roof, or dig a tunnel up through the floor); you must enter through the front door. The only people with the combination to the safe are the bank president and the bank clerk. The townsfolk (the White Hats) may not kill either of them to prevent them from opening the safe. The gold is heavy. It is already in bags. Each Character may carry one bag and move at normal speed - they may only use one-hand for weapons. If a Character carries two bags, he moves at 50% speed and cannot have a weapon ready. If he carries three bags, he moves at 33% speed. No one can carry more than three bags.

GM Instructions: Don’t tell the Outlaws that there is a rival gang. Tell them that the other team members are agents of the law. The main gang should have no idea that there is a rival gang out to steal their gold.

If the outlaws are wanted (and by now they should be), they will be recognized in 1d6 Actions. When that happens, the alarm will be raised and the townsfolk will begin to fire at them instantly. If a single shot is fired before that time runs out, they will be recognized instantly and the townsfolk will begin to fire at them instantly.

Put three slips marked "Townsfolk" in the hat. When these slips are pulled, move all townsfolk to attack. Many may require one Action to get a weapon.

Pay particular attention to Morale in this game. The NPCs are brave, but not stupid. They will break when overpowered. Use this to determine when the bank personnel will break down and unlock the safe (once broken, he will open the safe and surrender -- since he doesn't have any Action slips of his own, make him move simultaneously with both the Townsfolk and whoever is forcing him to open the safe).

Loot
Bank Safe: $3,000 - $12,000 in Gold. Roll 3d6 to find out how much is there..
Longhorn Saloon Till: $50, sawed-off shotgun behind bar, 1 box of 20 shells
Luke Stevens(Gunfighter):
$100 in gold
NPCs: $1 - $6 (roll 1d6)


Turn One
One by one, the Riders ran into town on the far side of the board near the Hotel and the Saloon. Hank the German was the first to encounter an innocent bystander. Tommy Jackson (Townsfolk) was working in his garden, so Hank killed him with a double-barreled shotgun blast at point blank range (18 points)

Rico and the Phoenix Kid made it into the bank and informed the patrons that it was a stick up.

Shortly thereafter, the Riders started exchanging shots with the rival gang who they mistook for lawmen (because the GM lied and told them they were lawmen). Bogart tagged Isabella for 3 points. Johnny Gunshot revealed how he earned that name by fanning the gun at Big Jack, who swore to get him. Luke Stevens, the gunfighter stepped out of the Saloon to see what was going on and promptly exchanged fire with Bogart. Bogart failed to tag the famous gunfighter, but wasn’t at all lucky when the cold-blooded killer fanned the gun on him, delivering 3 shots that did 15 points of Damage: Bogart fell dead into the street… the first of many casualties to come.

Big Jack joined his cronies in the Bank, and promptly filled Bert with a belly full of lead, courtesy of rolling Boxcars! He did 26 points of Damage to the hapless Townie. 


Smoke still wafting from Big Jack's shotgun, the Bank personnel suddenly became very helpful...

 


Kevin (center) looks on as Kyle (far right) helps Ian calculate all the modifiers for the Damage he's about to dish out.

 


He did HOW much Damage?-- Rick, Laura, Murphy, and Jonathan look in shock as they realize that Ian's Character, Big Jack, has just dished out 26 points of Damage (it only takes 15 to kill a man)..


Ian's bloodthirsty grin gets even bigger after he's told that -- in the history of the game so far -- this is the most Damage ever made with a single attack.

Deputy Bill blasted Pete Parker for 7 points, Cord (who had dyed his hair bright red as part of another daring disguise) skulked about, as the Bank President opened the safe. The Phoenix Kid let loose a huge grin as he grabbed on bag of gold from the safe (Rick rolled 3d6 and got a 10, which meant there was $10,000 in the safe!).

Both Rico and the Phoenix Kid grabbed a bag of gold and Cord blasted Irish Mick (Townsfolk) with a shotgun for 13 points.

 

Turn Two

 

Hank the German (alias the Preacherman) makes Isabella an offer she can't refuse.

Isabella blew Thomas Irons away -- for the third game in a row, J.J. saw his Character fall to the ground in a pool of his own blood. With a viscous gleam in his eye, Hank the German let Isabella have it with one barrel of his shotgun, doing 10 points of Damage. She now only had 2 points left, and that’s when Hank realized that she wasn’t a law man… or law woman.

Hank thought fast and offered her $300 if she would pull Thomas Irons’ limp body to safety. He swore that none of the Riders would attack her, and that this was her one chance to make it out here alive. Isabella decided it was an offer she couldn’t refuse, so she grabbed Thomas’ body and began to drag him across the board (severely wounded, pulling his body, she could only manage 3 inches per Action).

Johnny Gunshot was sneaking up on the Bank as the lead flew around the Saloon. Shots were exchanged as Billy the Kid fought it out with Luke Stevens, the famous. Billy finally did 6 points to him, which made Luke jump back in the Saloon for cover.
Johnny Gunshot sneaks toward the bank...

Meanwhile, back at the Bank, the Phoenix Kid and Rico had each grabbed a bag of gold and were making a break for it when Dept. Bill barged in and let Big Jack have it for 8 points. Suddenly, Johnny Gunshot showed up and started fanning the gun through the window.


Kevin readies to measure the distance between Slim and his next target.

Speedy and Rico exchanged gunfire, each missing the other. Hank showed up and let Speedy have it with both pistols, doing 14 points of Damage. Having only one point left, Speedy switched to his shotgun and let Rico have it: 17 points brought the Rider down in a pool of blood. Elsewhere, Dept. Bill blasted Slim for 4 points. The Phoenix Kid ran out of the bank with a bag of gold in one hand and a pistol in the other. “If you run, I’ll let you live!” he told Speedy, who had only one Damage point left. Speedy decided to take the advice.

 

Meanwhile, back at the bank, things had gotten VERY ugly. Johnny Gunshot made good use of his Quick Reload Specialty and was, once again, fanning the gun through the window. This time he got off four shots, of which only one connected with Big Jack. But one was all it took: he did 7 points of Damage, and Big Jack went down in a pool of his own blood. The second Midnight Rider was down…

 


Johnny Gunshot lets Big Jack have it through the window of the bank.

Everyone's plans in tatters, the Midnight Riders were routed. They made a mad dash for safety as Billy the Kid and the Gunfighter fought it out, the Townsfolk were rallying to attack on their next Action, the Phoenix Kid was making a dash for it, gold in hand. Slim grabbed the bag of gold that Rico had been carrying, and slowly, but steadily, Isabella dragged Thomas' body away, 3 inches per Action.

Cord and Bert shot it out, but Bert couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. And in his tower, Corporal Washington waiting for a target...

Turn Three

 

Having driven off the Gunfighter, Gary moves Billy the Kid to help his fellow outlaws.
Left to right: Matt Arras (far left), Gary, Ian, and Kyle.

The fat lady was singing. It was all but over as the Riders made their getaway. The townsfolk were rallying and about to come after them, so they left Big Jack for dead.


Cord grabbed a sack of gold and Hank grabbed Rico’s limp body. Hank and Isabella retrieved Bogart’s body from outside the Saloon, and in all they got away with 4 bags of gold. Dept. Bill also got one bag of gold.

Believing Rico to be dead, the gang left him behind. But, such was not the case! Both Rico and Big Jack had survived, but had been captured. If they were going to save them, it would have to wait for another day…

 

Victory Points Awarded
Player
Completing
Adventure
Kills
Bodies
Recovered
Cash
Per bag of Gold carried
Total
Rico Suarez
50
3
53
Thomas Irons
50
10
60
Hank the German
50
4
20
10
3
87 (+ 10)*
Cord
50
10
5
65
Big Jack
50
16
66
Phoenix Kid
50
10
60
Billy the Kid
50
5
55
Slim
50
5
5
60
 
Speedy Gonzalez
50
8
58
Johnny Gunshot
50
5
55
Isabella
50
8
20
3
81
Dept. Bill
50
10
5
65

* Hank the German was awarded 10 VP for the clever idea of bribing Isabella to save Thomas Irons' body, right after she had shot him.

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