Badlands: An Adventure for GURPS Old West

by Stephen Dedman

Art by ArtToday

For this adventure, the GM will need the GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Compendium I and II, and GURPS Old West 2nd Edition; GURPS Voodoo and GURPS Undead may also be useful. The adventure is designed for 100-point Old West characters, but can easily be adapted for a cinematic campaign or for GURPS Deadlands.

The adventure is set in the 1870s, when there was a thriving black market in nitroglycerine, and can be part of an episodic or picaresque campaign. PCs may be any combination of character types that can reasonably travel and work together and are motivated by a desire for wealth and/or excitement. It is designed for a campaign where ritual magic works; GMs who prefer a realistic no-magic campaign may ignore the effects of magic or explain them away with natural causes, and a choice of supernatural or realistic endings is provided.

Fair Game

Badlands: An Adventure for GURPS Old West

The adventure begins when the PCs encounter a small band of proud but non-hostile Comanches with food and hides to trade. The PCs may be townspeople, cowboys on a drive, hunters, 'rust-eaters,' explorers, settlers en route to farmland or prospectors headed for a boomtown, even soldiers at a fort . . . the important thing is that they should have something the Comanches want, and be hungry for fresh food and/or the money that can be made from furs.

Only one of the Comanches, Bigger Bear, speaks any English, and if none of the PCs speak Comanche, Bigger Bear will act as interpreter. After a little haggling over prices, Bigger Bear will suggest gambling for some items instead.

The competitions proposed by the Comanches are:

  1. A foot race, for up to four competitors from each side. After some haggling, a distance of 400 yards is agreed upon. (Broken Lance, the fastest runner in the Comanches, has a running speed of 8.25 without a sprint bonus.) The start of the race is a Contest of Running skill (+2 for characters with Combat Reflexes); each point by which the winner wins gives him a 6" lead.
  2. Rifle-shooting. The target is a piece of paper the size of a playing card, at 100 yards (-17 to hit). Each competitor is permitted one shot after bets are placed; those who hit it can compete in the next round, when the target is moved to 200 yards away (-19), and so on, as the target is moved back 100 yards each time until only one competitor remains.
  3. Horse-racing. This is as much a test of nerve and skill as of speed. The racers (two at a time) hurtle towards a horizontal bar 100 yards away, high enough for the horse to pass underneath it, but low enough to knock a rider from his seat. The winner is the first to touch the bar. Competitors must first roll on Will not to stop too soon, then a contest of Riding skill to see who stops nearest the bar; a competitor who fails to make his Riding roll by 3 or more will crash into the bar and be knocked from his mount, taking 2d-8 cr. damage. The Comanches will ride their ponies bareback and naked, to reduce their encumbrance, and will try to persuade the whites to do the same. The Comanches' best rider, Bitten by Cats, has a pony with Move-14. The start of the race is a Contest of Riding skill (+2 for characters with Combat Reflexes); each point by which the winner wins gives him a 1' lead.
  4. Archery. More a competition of Fast-Draw (Arrow) than of accuracy; archers must fire as many arrows into the air as they can before the first one lands. Each competitor has ST turns to shoot with a short bow; if the first shot 'missed', subtract 1 turn for every point by which they missed. (The Comanches will not be expecting whites to compete at this, but will bet heavily on their own archers if any PC comes forth.)

The PCs are free to suggest other forms of competition, such as contests of ST, knife or tomahawk throwing, or even card games such as poker or monte (games which the Indians took to with enthusiasm, even making their own cards and learning how to cheat. Indians rarely cheated when playing against their own tribesmen -- but whites and unfriendly tribes were fair game.)

Let the contests and gambling continue as long as the players are interested, then . . .

Is this a dagger I see before me?

While the games are happening, one of the PCs or an NPC on their side will notice the Arkansas toothpick tucked into Broken Lance's breechclout. Carved into the hilt is the inscription 'Mark VIII 24.' A moment later, the character will remember why this is familiar; one of the most vicious killers to ever come west from New Orleans, Lucien Xavier Dimascio, had the trademark of inscribing Biblical quotations onto his weapons and some of his victims. (Identifying Biblical quotations requires either a Bible and the Literacy advantage, or a critical success on Theology. Bible quotations are given at the end of the adventure.)

If Broken Lance can be persuaded to tell where he got the knife, he will say that the knife's owner had killed and scalped a Comanche woman while she'd been gathering food and firewood. The woman's daughter had escaped, and the warriors hunted the man down; Broken Lance had killed and scalped him, then kept his weapons. He'd also taken two books the man had been carrying, and used them for making a shield.

A successful roll against Criminology or Literature (Dime Novels) will enable the PCs to remember more of Dimascio's story.

Roll succeeds by 0-4:

Dimascio came west from New Orleans about ten years ago, and is thought to be guilty of at least twelve murders, all done with knives or axes and adorned with his trademark Biblical quotation, plus an unknown number of scalpings of anyone dark-haired and dark-skinned enough to pass as Apache, and a few shootings in self-defense.

Roll succeeds by 5-9:

Dimascio was a former altar boy and a gifted student of music, languages and theology, whose taste for gambling and women led him to New Orleans's vice districts. After he was accused of murdering two gamblers -- one with a knife, the other with an axe -- he hid for a while, then headed west about ten years ago. There were many sightings of him in that time -- working as a logger, a carpenter, a trapper, a buffalo skinner, a butcher, a saddler and bootmaker, a prospector, a gambler and pianist on riverboats and in saloons, a school-teacher, an actor, even an itinerant preacher. He usually worked alone, because even the West's worst badmen were nervous around him, but is suspected of having masterminded some elaborate confidence tricks and robberies, although none of his loot has ever turned up. It's rumored that Dimascio was the first to give the Apache the idea of making playing cards out of white men's hides. The price on his head is $1,000, dead or alive.

Dimascio's last victim, a con man suspected of stealing a jewel worth thousands, was found two years ago, an unfired derringer in his hand, knife-wounds to his face, and a note pinned to his embroidered vest.

Critical success:

The con man was named 'Doc' George Fletcher, and he was found dead in a town called Rosary. He and Dimascio were suspected of stealing a star sapphire worth $3000, but the stone was never found. If asked, Broken Lance will say, truthfully, that no jewels were found on Dimascio's body, which was stripped then left for the buzzards to eat.

If it doesn't occur to the PCs that the papers in Broken Lance's shield might reveal the secret of Dimascio's hidden loot, an NPC who overhears the story should be inspired to suggest this -- preferably one too lazy, honest or disabled to undertake such a quest himself.

With Your Shield, or On It

The games with the Comanches should finish without bloodshed, unless a PC is caught cheating or accuses one of the Comanches. If the PCs want the knife, Broken Lance considers it worth a good rifle, but any attempts to persuade him to part with his shield will be unsuccessful. The shield, he says, is enchanted, and anyway, he doesn't have it with him. If Broken Lance has a good or better reaction to a PC, he may (if asked the appropriate question) reveal that the shield has to be kept half a mile from camp for fear that menstruating women will contaminate it, but neither he nor his fellow braves will say any more.

If the PCs decide to search the area around the Comanches' camp for the shield, they will need to do so by stealth. The search, though difficult, should be successful . . . but almost as soon as they've taken the shield, Bigger Bear and Bitten by Cats ride past. If the PCs can't hide from them, or fast-talk their way out of the situation, they'll need to fight -- preferably without gunshots alerting the camp.

If the PCs decide against looking for Broken Lance's shield, then they will have a chance to take it a few days later, when cholera breaks out in the Comanches' camp. The band's medicine man convinces them that the whites have cursed them, and the braves attack the PCs' camp (fort, town, wagon train, Hell on Wheels, etc.) in retaliation. Broken Lance will be killed in the raid, and his damaged shield will be discovered by a PC. Other details of the attack and its aftermath, and the course of the epidemic, are left up to the GM.

Books of Blood

The pages used to stuff Broken Lance's shield come from two sources -- a Catholic Bible, and a diary, both written in Latin. If none of the PCs can read Latin, they should be able to find a translator with a visit to any established town, army fort, or wagon train, and a good or better Reaction Roll (most Catholic priests, lawyers, biologists and doctors will have at least half a point in the language, as would most men taught in an English public school).

The Bible should be easy to identify as such; the incomplete diary is essentially a written confession. If the PCs read the fragments (in the original or translation), they'll learn all of Dimascio's story, above, plus a few details no-one else knows.

Dimascio claims to have killed Fletcher in self-defense, throwing his knife as the con man reached for his pistol. He then gloats about hitting him in the eye, killing him instantly; the other mutilations were post-mortem. Unfortunately, Fletcher was the only one who knew how to find a buyer for the gem, so Dimascio writes, "I left it in his care, to enjoy until I return. Thought, too late, that Luke IV 23 would have been as apt a quotation, but alas, I can hardly kill him twice."

Sleeping Rough

Every night after the PCs open Broken Lance's shield, make a Will roll for each PC. Those who fail will suffer brief but intense nightmares of being attacked or tortured by Comanches (alive or dead), or pursued and eaten by wolves. PCs who already have the Nightmares disadvantage will automatically fail their Will rolls. The dreams require a Fright Check at -2, with a further -1 for every consecutive night.

As well as the nightmares, PCs will also be plagued by unseasonably bad weather -- lightning will hit nearby trees, rain will halve their travel speed (see sidebar, p. B187) -- and the faint but unmistakable sound of wolves howling in the distance at night.

After a few nights of this, a raiding party of Comanches will attempt to steal the PCs horses and weapons. At about 2 a.m., the shaman casts a Slumber spell over the PCs' camp and Obscurity over the raiding party. The Comanches will creep towards the camp, on foot, until they are within 100 yards. If any sentries are awake, the Comanches will try to kill him silently with their short bows. If the camp is alerted, they will retreat stealthily rather than attack.

If no-one is awake when the Comanches arrive, the raiders will steal every animal from the camp, every weapon that is not concealed, all food, and anything else that seems worth taking, but leave the sleeping PCs unharmed.

The PCs will then face the prospect of a 50-mile trek across average terrain to Morrow, or attempting to track the Comanches to recover their gear. After the first day, heavy rain (natural or summoned by the shaman) will slow travel and make the Comanches' tracks even harder to find. Whichever way they go, the PCs will encounter the Comanches again at an opportune moment to rescue Brother Lee and Lupita.

Fire Water

The PCs' introduction to Lee will be the sound of gunfire roughly 400 yards away (a Hearing roll will identify the guns and the approximate distance). The Comanches are circling Lee's jump-seat wagon, and have fired their muskets, wounding Lee in the right arm and torso. Lupita has emptied her shotgun without effect, and is trying to reload. Lee is firing his revolver with his left (off) hand; one Comanche lies dead on the ground. Just as things seem hopeless, Lupita throws a bottle from the back of the wagon; the bottle explodes as it hits the ground, and the Comanches flee.

Brother Lee's wagon is loaded with pint bottles of 'Glastonbury Water,' as well as his and Lupita's personal necessities. Most of the bottles have blue labels, and contain only water; 23 of the remaining bottles, however, contain nitroglycerine, which Lee has smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico and is taking to a mining site to sell.

Lee has a crippled arm and has taken 12 points of damage, plus any damage from bleeding, and will pass out before he can speak to the PCs. Lupita will insist on taking him to Morrow to be tended by the doctor there, and asks the PCs to accompany her, to protect her from any other attack. If her Sex-Appeal skill doesn't persuade them, she'll offer them a share of the profits from selling the nitroglycerine.

Transporting the nitroglycerine will require careful driving; the driver should roll on Teamster skill every four hours of travel. On a critical failure, a bottle will be jarred (see p. OW81), potentially setting off the other bottles. As each bottle does 7dx3 damage, PCs should be allowed some sort of saving throw (such as a DX roll to catch a bottle before it falls) if this happens. The trip should be nerve-racking but non-lethal . . . except for Brother Lee, who will hold out until the wagon reaches Morrow, but die a day later; unless one of the PCs rolls a critical success on Physician, he will never regain consciousness.

When Lee dies, Lupita will try to persuade the PCs to buy the wagon and its cargo or, if they can't or won't reach her minimum price of $5 a bottle (about half the legal price), to accompany her on the trip to Santa Dolores where Lee had arranged to sell it . . . and the shortest route from Salvation to Santa Dolores passes through Rosary.

The Road to Salvation

Badlands: An Adventure for GURPS Old West

Morrow is a small town near the Mexican border, built to cater to the farmers and ranchers in the area. Though small with only one street (Front Street), it boasts a newspaper, a well-stocked general store, a doctor, a blacksmith, a livery stable, a photographic studio, a telegraph office, a one-cell jail, two churches (one Catholic, one Baptist), three saloons, and a daily stagecoach service to Salvation, the nearest town to Rosary. A day's research at the newspaper office will reveal that there is a $500 reward offered for the return of the gem that Dimascio stole, which has never been recovered. They will also learn the basic facts about Rosary, 210 miles away.

Rosary was founded after silver was discovered in the surrounding hills five years ago, and the population quickly grew to about 3,000. Because the surrounding land is so rough (bad terrain for 3d+20 miles in any direction, with a few very bad roads) and the town's population has been declining since it failed in its bid to become the county seat, there is no railway or stage route to Rosary; the nearest stagecoach stop is at Salvation, 33 miles south-south-west.

If the PCs travel from Morrow to Salvation by stagecoach (2 days), the coach will overturn on a bad road a few hours out of Salvation. This requires a Fright Check at -2; damage is 1d-2 for anyone inside the coach, but those seated outside will have to jump free to avoid being crushed under the coach. A successful DX roll will reduce damage to 3d-9 (use Hit Location from a Fall, p. B131); a success on Acrobatics (or default) will reduce damage to zero. A failed DX roll means the character takes 9d crushing damage; a critical failure means that the character is also pinned under the coach, and must be freed before he bleeds to death. The coach is too badly damaged to continue; survivors will have to decide whether to wait 24 hours for the next, or to walk 3d miles along a very bad road in the rain, with wolves howling in the distance. If they wait, Lupita's wagon will pass them 2d+2 hours later.

If the PCs ride horses, walk, or accompany Lupita to Rosary, the main problem will be the slow journey and the nightmares (see Sleeping Rough, above), but they may also be bothered by minor mishaps -- flash floods, scorpions in their boots and snakes in their bedrolls, beaver traps and leeches when they cross suddenly swollen rivers, etc.


If the PCs pass through Salvation, they will be required to hand their guns over to the sheriff while in town. They will also encounter Old Tom, a grizzled cantankerous ex-prospector.

Old Tom isn't the town drunk, but he's a contender. He will offer to carry the PCs' bags from the stage stop or station to a hotel for the price of a whiskey, he will be mucking out the livery stables if they try to rent some horses, and he will be cadging drinks in any saloon they walk into. When he learns that they're going to Rosary, he'll cackle and mutter, "You'll have a long way to go, stranger, less'n you can ride into last year." He won't say anything more on the subject unless plied with whisky, and as he refuses to drink alone, at least one of the PCs will have to match him whisky for whisky (or fake it somehow) until either Tom or the last PC passes out. Each shot has an Alcohol Rating of 24 (see p. CII162). Don't try this at home.

A successful roll on Interrogation with any drink will get twice as much information out of Tom.

Drinks  Information

Most of Rosary was burnt down two winters (about eighteen months) ago.


Thirteen people died in the fire, the last to be buried in the cemetery on a hill overlooking the town.


A few of the more permanent buildings at one end of town survived, but most folks decided to leave anyway. Most of the silver was gone, and winter was coming. Tom himself had almost given up working his claim by this time, and was making a living as the town's gravedigger.


Things had been turning bad in the town since Doc Fletcher was murdered. Tom remembers the incident well; shootings were common in town, and most men there died with their boots on, but he'd never seen a man before who'd been killed with a knife while reaching for his gun. Fletcher was the last person killed in town before the fire, a few weeks later.


The locals wanted to string up the man who they thought had killed Fletcher, a gambler named Luce, but he'd disappeared by the time they found the body.


Luce was an olive-skinned man with black curly hair, a moustache, and dark deep-set eyes. About six feet tall, dressed in black like a preacher, carried a silver-headed cane, didn't drink hardly at all. (This matches most descriptions of Dimascio.)


The fire didn't reach the cemetery -- just as well, too, since all the gravestones were just boards, carved and painted.


The last burials were buried near the north end of the graveyard.


The only undertaker in Rosary was a coffin-maker and cartwright named Rogan. He told Tom that he couldn't disguise the wounds on Fletcher's face, and gave him a closed casket funeral. The man who pronounced him dead was a horse doctor and blacksmith named Boetsch.


Rogan and Boetsch came to Salvation after Rosary was burned down; Rogan works as a carpenter, and has a house next to the Boetsch's smithy.

If Tom tells the PCs everything he knows before passing out, begin the obligatory bar brawl. A cowboy playing poker at the next table turns the table over to reveal a holdout device underneath, containing several cards and a stingy pistol. Being unarmed, the cowboy and his friends grab brawling weapons, as do the townspeople. A billiard ball hurled at one cowboy by a soiled dove hits Old Tom instead, instantly knocking him unconscious. PCs may hide, try to sneak out, or join in.

If the PCs speak to Rogan or Boetsch, and they have a Neutral or better reaction to the PCs, they will confirm what Old Tom has said. On a Good or better reaction, they will also add that apart from the clothes he was buried in, Fletcher's belongings were divided between the saloonkeeper, the town marshal, and Rogan and Boetsch. Rogan kept a few dollars; Boetsch kept his watch and surgical tools; neither saw anything else of value, and neither knows where the marshal or the saloonkeeper went after Rosary burnt down. Boetsch will sell the watch for $5, the black bag for $25; neither contains the gem, nor any useful clues.


What the PCs find in Rosary will depend on the nature of the campaign. Only four buildings remain standing: two saloons, a general store (also the bank and post office), and a jail (two cells and an office for the marshal). All have been looted of any valuables, but they may provide useful hiding places for the PCs or their opponents. The cells have 6" stone walls, 1/2" iron bars, and a 2" wooden slab roof; other buildings are of 1" wooden slab.

In a realistic campaign, the PCs will find Rosary's cemetery occupied by miners, engineers and guards. A mining baron has learned that the hill beneath the cemetery contains enough copper ore to be worth mining. He's hired 40 convict laborers to dig up the graves, dumping headstones and bodies into a nearby abandoned mineshaft. The PCs can wait until the graveyard is cleared and search for Fletcher's body in the dangerously unstable shaft, or try sneaking into the cemetery that night before Fletcher's grave marker is removed. The convicts are too heavily chained to be a menace to the PCs (unless an escape is organized), but there are at least ten guards (use 'Hired Guns', below). To complicate matters, one of the guards may be an enemy of one of the PCs -- or one of the convicts may be a friend, dependent or a member of an ally group. Alternatively, the convicts may manage to overpower their guard and grab some weapons, forcing the PCs to choose sides. The guards are billeted in the marshal's office and the saloon next door; the convicts sleep at night, in chains and under guard, in the store.

In a weird campaign, Rosary is almost literally a ghost town; instead of convict labor, the digging is being done by 40 zombis, and intruders are even less welcome. The houngan controlling the zombis, Pierre Legrand, has taken over the marshal's office, and sleeps on the bare bunk in one of the cells, on which he's performed a makeshift consecration. In a cinematic (high powered) weird campaign, Legrand may be a skin-changer; he may also be Dimascio under another name, returned to collect the sapphire.

If the PCs have come to Rosary without Brother Lee's nitroglycerine and need extra firepower, have Lupita arrive with the wagon and an accomplice (use stats for Hired Gun) in time to rescue them. Of course, her help won't come cheap . . .

Resurrection Men

If the PCs go looking for Fletcher's grave, they will find the marker badly weathered; Vision -5 to read the inscription, "Dr George Fletcher, murdered 18--.". Fletcher is buried 4' down, in a thin wooden coffin, fully dressed, with his boots under his head as a pillow and a red bandana covering his mutilated face. The markers on the graves surrounding him read "Joe Wells, Died With His Boots On 18--", and "Ella Garcia, 18--. Duerme bien." (Sleep well).

A search of Fletcher's clothes, however thorough, will not uncover the sapphire. Dissecting the body won't help, either, but that's no reason to prevent the PCs from trying. The stone is actually hidden in the hollow heel of Fletcher's left boot (the right is also hollow, but empty). If the players don't think of searching the boots, it should occur to Lupita or any character who makes a roll on Holdout at -5.

Faith to Faith

The PCs should continue to suffer nightmares intermittently until the first to touch Broken Lance's shield has a vision, in which he sees a wolf telling him to destroy the papers taken from the shield. The nightmares will continue until he does this; after that, Broken Lance will appear to the PC in a dream, armed with Dimascio's knife. The PC's hit points will be equivalent to his Will, not HT or ST. If the PC is 'killed' in the dream, he must make a HT roll (+/- Will bonuses) or die; if he survives, the PCs' nightmares will stop. If he defeats Broken Lance in the dream, he will acquire Wolf as a Guardian Spirit, though this will only be apparent to Herbalists, Dreamers or Shamans, who will react to him at +1 after this, and the PCs' nightmares will stop. If he surrenders, he will acquire -10 points of disadvantages that must be bought off (Nightmares and Post-Combat Shakes would be appropriate, as would Unluckiness or Aichomophobia).


Bigger Bear, Comanche Warrior

Early 20s; bronzed skin, black hair, dark eyes; 5'9", 150 lbs.

ST 11; DX 11; IQ 11; HT 11.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Appearance (Attractive); Charisma +1; Guardian Spirit (Thunder); High Pain Threshold; Language Talent +1; Semi-Literate
Disadvantages: Compulsive Gambling; Curious; Overconfidence
Quirks: Tends to exaggerate.
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-11; Axe/Mace-12; Bard-14; Bow-13; Gambling-13; Guns (Rifle)-13; Languages (Comanche)-12, (English)-10, (Spanish)-10; Merchant-11; Riding (Horse)-12; Sign Language (Plains)-10; Stealth-13; Tracking-13; Wrestling-11.
Equipment: Indian Musket; Short Bow and 30 arrows; Coup Stick; Bowie Knife; Shield (PD 3; DR 6; Damage 10/40); Pony.

Bigger Bear is named for a story he tells of a bear he encountered when a young man; when an older warrior dryly commented that the bear grew larger every time the story was told, the young brave became known as Bigger Bear.

Bitten by Cats, Comanche Warrior

Late teens; bronzed skin, scarred face, black hair, dark eyes; 5'8", 100 lbs.

ST 11; DX 12; IQ 10; HT 11.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Animal Empathy; Combat Reflexes; Fit; Guardian Spirit (Thunder); High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: Overconfidence; Skinny.
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-13; Axe/Mace-12; Bow-13; Fast-Draw (Arrow)-13, (Rifle)-13; Gambling-12; Guns (Rifle)-13; Language (Comanche)-10; Riding (Horse)-16; Running-12; Stealth-12; Tracking-14.
Equipment: Indian Musket; Short Bow and 30 arrows; Coup Stick; Metal Tomahawk; Shield (PD 3; DR 6; Damage 10/40); Pony (Move 14).

Broken Lance, Comanche Warrior

Early 20s; bronzed skin, black hair, dark eyes; 5'11", 160 lbs.

ST 13; DX 13; IQ 10; HT 13.
   Move 6.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Fearlessness/3; Guardian Spirit (Wolf); High Pain Threshold; Rapid Healing; Toughness (DR 1); Very Fit.
Disadvantages: Berserk; Great Vows (Never Retreat in Battle, -15; Wolf Dreamer vows, -11); Overconfidence.
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-12; Axe/Mace-14; Axe Throwing-13; Bow-14; Fast-Draw (Arrow)-14; Gambling-9; Guns (Rifle)-14; Knife-13; Knife Throwing-12; Lance-14; Riding (Horse)-13; Running-14; Tracking-11; Stealth-13; Wrestling-13.
Equipment: Indian Musket; Compound Short Bow and 30 arrows; Coup Stick; Lance; Arkansas Toothpick; Tomahawk; Shield (PD 4; DR 6; Damage 10/40); Pony.

Broken Lance is named for a battle he had with an Apache warrior; the Apache's lance penetrated his shield before breaking, leaving the head stuck in Broken Lance's arm. Broken Lance grabbed the shaft of the lance and dragged the Apache from his horse, returning to camp with the horse, the broken lance, and the Apache's scalp. Wolf appeared to him that night, giving him a vision of a tougher shield -- including the books that would be needed to construct it.

Brother Lee, Confidence Man and smuggler

Late 40s; 5'9, 160 lbs; tanned skin, blue eyes, mane of silver hair with full beard.

ST 11; DX 11; IQ 12; HT 8.
   Move 4.

Advantages: Charisma +2; Voice.
Disadvantages: Greed; Overconfidence.
Skills: Acting-12; Animal Handling (Mule, Horse)-11; Bard-15; Boxing-12; Disguise-12; Fast-Talk-14; Gambling-13; Guns/TL5 (Pistol)-14, (Shotgun)-13, (Rifle)-11; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-11; Hold-out-12; Mechanic/TL5 (Wagon)-10; Merchant-13; Musical Instrument (Banjo)-11; Occultism-10; Pickpocket-11; Psychology-11; Riding (Horse)-10; Running-9; Stealth-11; Teamster-11; Theology-10; Whip-10.
Equipment: S&W Model 2; Bullwhip. Wears black suit, Stetson, and cowboy boots.

Comanche Warrior

ST 11; DX 11; IQ 10; HT 10.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Fearlessness/2; Fit; High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: Warrior's Code of Honor.
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-11; Axe/Mace-12; Bow-13; Fast-Draw (Arrow)-11; Gambling-11; Guns (Rifle)-13; Knife-11; Languages (Comanche)-10; Riding (Horse)-12; Running-10; Stealth-13; Tracking-13.
Equipment: Indian Musket or Spencer Carbine; Short Bow and 30 arrows; Coup Stick; War Club, Tomahawk or Large Knife; Shield (PD 3; DR 6; Damage 10/40); Pony.

Convict Laborer

ST 13; DX 10; IQ 9; HT 10.
   Move 5.

Advantages: High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: At least one of the following: Bad Temper; Bully; Greed; Impulsiveness; Outlaw's Code of Honor; Overconfidence.
Skills: Brawling-12; Guns/TL5 (Pistol)-14, (other)-10; Holdout-11; Intimidation-13; Knife-11; Riding (Horse)-10; Stealth-10; other Thief skills-12.
Equipment: Pick or shovel.

Hired Gun

ST 12; DX 13; IQ 10; HT 11.
   Move 6.

Advantages: Alertness +1; Combat Reflexes; Reputation (Fast Gun, +1)
Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Bloodlust; Enemies (Gunslinger's Enemies)
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-11; Brawling-13; Carousing-12; Fanning-12; Fast-Draw (Revolver)-14; Gambling-12; Guns/TL5 (Pistol)-16, (Shotgun)-14, (Rifle)-13; Holdout-11; Intimidation-13; Knife-11; Knife Throwing-11; Riding (Horse)-12; Sap-12; Speed-Load (Revolver)-11; Stealth-11; Tactics-11.
Equipment: Colt Peacemaker; Double barrel Shotgun or Magazine Carbine; Arkansas Toothpick; Cartridge belt; Suit, Overcoat, Stetson, Cowboy Boots; Saddle Horse; Bedroll.


20 years old; 5'6", 115 lbs; olive skin, waist-length black hair, dark eyes. Quirks: Usually wears black and red.

ST 9; DX 11; IQ 11; HT 12.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Appearance (Attractive); Charisma +1; Language Talent +1.
Disadvantages: Greed; Overconfidence; Post-combat shakes.
Skills: Acting-12; Animal Handling (Mule)-9; Cooking-10; Dancing-13; Disguise-13; Fast-Talk-13; First Aid/TL5-10; Gambling-12; Guns (Pistol)-11, (Shotgun)-11; Holdout-12; Knife-11; Language (Spanish)-12, (Comanche, English, French)-10; Pickpocket-13; Psychology-10; Sex-Appeal-14; Scrounging-12; Singing-11; Stealth-10; Streetwise-13; Teamster-10; Throwing-11.
Equipment: Double barrel 20g shotgun; small knife concealed in hair. Wears shirt, boots and trousers while traveling, and a dress while in town. Spare clothes, rations, ammo, gun cleaning kit, etc., in travel trunk in wagon.

Pierre Legrand, voodoo houngan

Early 40s; 5'11", 107 lbs; brown skin, bald, dark brown eyes. Wears a Confederate Officer's gray coat, a battered top hat, and cavalry boots.

ST 10; DX 11; IQ 14; HT 10.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Autotrance; Charm (Ghost Shirt); Initiation (Third Level); Mystic Symbol (necklace, +2); Metabolism Control/1; Night Vision.
Disadvantages: Appearance (Unattractive); Bully; Sadist; Skinny; Social Stigma (Mulatto, -2 on all reaction rolls).
Paths and Rituals: Path of the Spirit-14; Raise Zombi-14; Path of Protection-13; Ghost Shirt-13; Obscurity-13; Path of Dreams-10; Path of Health-10; Path of Luck-10.
Skills: Brawling-11; Detect Lies-13; Fast-Talk-14; Fencing-12; Gambling-13; Guns/TL5 (Pistol)-14; Language (Creole)-14, (English, French, Spanish)-12; Occultism-14; Riding (Horse)-10; Ritual Magic-16; Scrounging-13; Stealth-10; Streetwise-13.
Equipment: S&W Model 2 in leather-lined pocket; Saber; pocket knife; bed roll; week's rations; bottle of whiskey; saddle horse; $42 in gold coins.

Old Tom, Prospector

Late 60s; balding, with some gray hair and scraggly gray beard, hazel eyes; 5'6", 130 lbs. Wears ragged buckskins, sombrero, and boots.

ST 10; DX 10; IQ 10; HT 9.
   Move 4.

Advantages: Alcohol Tolerance.
Disadvantages: Age; Alcoholism; Appearance (Unattractive); Miserliness; Odious Personal Habits (Rarely washes, -2 to reaction rolls); Poverty (Struggling).
Skills: Animal Handling (Donkey)-11; Brawling-10; Carousing-11; Gambling-11; Guns/TL5 (Shotgun)-12, (Rifle)-10; Packing-10; Prospecting-12; Scrounging-13; Survival (Mountains)-11.
Equipment: Shotgun, mining tools, and burro at shack.

Smells Water, Comanche Warrior

Late teens; bronzed skin, black hair, dark eyes; 5'8", 140 lbs.

ST 12; DX 13; IQ 10; HT 10.
   Move 5.

Advantages: Alertness +3; Fit; Guardian Spirit (Eagle); High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Minor Vows (Eagle warrior).
Skills: Animal Handling (Horse)-10; Axe/Mace-13; Bow-14; Gambling-11; Guns (Rifle)-16; Language (Comanche)-10; Riding (Horse)-13; Stealth-13; Tracking-11.
Equipment: Kentucky Rifle; Short Bow and 30 arrows; Coup Stick; War Club; Metal Tomahawk; Shield (PD 3; DR 6; Damage 10/40); Pony.


ST 13; DX 10; IQ 7; HT 10/15.
   Move 4.

Advantages: Doesn't Breathe; Doesn't Eat or Drink; Doesn't Sleep; Extra Hit Points +5; High Pain Threshold; Immunity to Disease; Immunity to Poison; Injury Tolerance (No Blood); Invulnerability (Mind Control); Night Vision; Single-Minded; Temperature Tolerance; Unaging; Unfazeable.
Disadvantages: Bad Smell; Cannot Learn; Monstrous Appearance; No Sense of Humor; No Sense of Smell/Taste; Obdurate; Reduced Move; Reprogrammable Duty; Slave Mentality; Social Stigma (Dead); Unhealing; Unliving; Vulnerability (4d from salt).
Skills: Brawling-12; Knife-11.
Equipment: Pick or shovel.

Should a zombi be crippled, or even lose a limb, it will continue to fight. A zombi with a missing foot moves at 4. With a missing leg, it hops along at 2; legless but with at least one arm, it drags itself along at 1.

Only a little salt is needed to kill a zombi, but it must be poured into the zombi's mouth to be effective.

Biblical Quotations

Proverbs XXVII 17 reads "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."; Luke IV 23 is "Physician, heal thyself."; Mark VIII 24 is "I see men as trees, walking."

Article publication date: November 24, 2000

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