Roleplayer #29, November 1992

Trouble at the High Tide Saloon

Brawling, Western Style

by Ann Dupuis

A staple of Western adventures, the saloon brawl can liven up any town. This mini-adventure provides a floor plan for the High Tide Saloon and stats for the bartender, the pretty saloon girls, and some NPC (or PC) customers. Also included is a Brawling Cribsheet to help the GM keep track of Advanced Combat between hordes of drunken, angry fistfighters. The cribsheet provides rules for Special Actions (such as sliding someone down the bar) and DR and hit point information for saloon furnishings.

The Saloon

The High Tide Saloon may be set in any town large enough to support a cowboy population. It's a two-story wooden building with a fancy facade.

The main room of the first floor is open to the second story. Half a dozen wooden tables are scattered around, along with appropriate chairs. (These aren't shown on the map, as the brawlers are sure to relocate them.) The long bar across from the door is made of polished oak, and is for standing drinkers only. The wall behind it sports a long fancy mirror and shelves for bottles and glasses. There's a piano to one side of the room, although the High Tide doesn't currently employ a piano player.

Guthry Fullwright, the saloon's owner, and one or two bartenders stand behind the bar, serving anyone who comes up to them, while the pretty saloon girls attend to the seated customers.

Carpeted stairways on either side of the room lead up to the second floor. Fancy kerosene chandeliers hang from the 20 foot ceiling to about 9 feet above the floor. Each may be raised or lowered by strong cords fastened to belaying pins in the walls.

The rear of the building houses two storage rooms and a short hallway to the back door. Beyond is the "privy," a small outhouse in the alley behind the saloon.

The second floor sports a balcony with a wooden banister. Its rooms may be used by the pretty saloon girls to entertain customers. They're furnished nicely, but not extravagantly. Each "guest room" has a wardrobe containing fresh linens for finicky customers.

The Customers

The High Tide is a favorite drinking spot for cowboys from nearby ranches. It also attracts a fair number of townspeople and many strangers who're "just passing through."

Two big cattle spreads in the area – the Lazy S and the Bar W – are known rivals. When ranch hands from both find themselves in the High Tide at the same time, trouble is inevitable.

Involving the Player Characters

Cowboy Factions

The easiest way to involve the player characters is to have them work for either the Lazy S or the Bar W ranch. (With six or more player characters, the brawl works well as a one-shot adventure with half the PCs being from the Lazy S Ranch and the other half from the Bar W.) A few rounds of insults from either side should be enough to start a grand fight. If a couple of cowboys from each faction happen to be upstairs while their buddies are having a few drinks downstairs, the action will quickly involve both levels of the saloon.

Stepping In for a Drink

If the player characters are strangers who have just stepped into the High Tide Saloon to wet their whistles, they can become embroiled in a brawl any number of ways.

The GM can let the PCs settle in with a round of drinks and introduce them to the girls. While the characters enjoy their whiskey, a group of cowboys walk in. Seeing their rivals already at their favorite table, they begin exchanging insults and innuendoes. The GM should get as many of the NPCs into action as possible – the bartenders will warn against any fighting; the girls will try to head off trouble; the cowboys will throw increasingly insulting comments at one another; a couple of customers will hurriedly leave the saloon. The PCs will probably stay out of the fight at first, content to watch as the scenario unfolds. But then someone crashes through the PCs' table . . .

Or, the PCs can walk into the saloon to find the fight already well under way. In the very first round, one of the brawlers dodges a punch, which of course carries through into the face of the nearest PC!

It's the Law

In a Lawman campaign, the players may take the roles of a sheriff or marshal and his deputies. In this case, they should obviously attempt to breakup the fight. One or more of them may be in the saloon before the fight breaks out, though this may make a short adventure unless the GM makes sure things get out of hand immediately. Once a lawman is injured, the PCs are certainly entitled to make forceful arrests.

Game-Mastering the Brawl

Getting the player characters into the High Tide Saloon should be easy. A hard day's ride on a dusty trail and the promise of a drink will draw anyone but a teetotaler to the saloon. As for the teetotaler, the saloon girls or an invitation to a game of cards may turn the trick.

Once the PCs are in the saloon, let them roleplay as long as they're having fun. Keep track of the drinks they toss back as you have the saloon girls fawn over them, the bartenders pour out whiskey and advice for them, and the other customers chat or gamble with them. You should have the player characters make occasional HT rolls to see if their IQ or DX is affected by the alcohol they've been drinking. Every failed roll results in a -1 penalty to one or the other (GM's choice). Critical failure results in a -3 penalty. Results are cumulative, and sobering back up takes time. Alternately, GMs who own Callahan's Crosstime Saloon can use the drinking rules presented on pp. 53-57.

Before things get slow (i.e., boring), introduce the catalyst – insults, bad tempers, or an Odious Personal Habit that can't be ignored – to get someone swinging at someone else. Depending on the PCs' relationship to the principals, this may mean hounding one of the player characters with an obnoxious NPC until he finally breaks down and tries to flatten the irritant, or simply letting an non-player character let fly at a PC or another NPC.

Once the fighting starts, the brawl will pick up momentum as more characters get drawn into it. Encourage imaginative tactics (swinging on chandeliers, breaking bottles over skulls, throwing insults as well as punches) and innovative use of the saloon's furniture.

Try to discourage lethal attacks. If a player character goes for a gun, remind him that shooting first is murder, and murder's a hanging offense. (Guthry Fullwright will do his best to discourage any gunplay – with his shotgun, if necessary – although this may bring a rollicking good brawl to a premature close.) Keeping most of the characters involved in close combat will help, too. If you're dead set against a potentially lethal brawl, have the boys check their guns at the door. On the other hand, a brawl that breaks into a shootout can be a lot of fun, too!

After a while, the brawl will likely die down of its own accord. (If guns came into play, it may be because everyone's dead.) Otherwise, it could be due to the "good guys" talking sense into the bad-tempered participants, or to one side having a definite victory over the other. The best brawls are free-for-alls, with no real winners – just a lot of broken furniture and bruised drunkards inordinately pleased with themselves.

If the players always try a verbal approach before a physical one, the brawl may not really get underway. If the players are having a good time roleplaying, this isn't a problem. If they really want action, you may have to nudge it along a bit. Make one of the bullying NPCs too drunk to listen to talk of any kind, and you'll be well on your way to a fight.

At the other end of the spectrum are player characters with itchy trigger fingers, or who simply don't know when to quit. With any luck, their comrades will talk some sense into them. Failing that, increasingly dire warnings from Guthry Fullwright, or intervention by one or more of the innocent bystanders (see below) may be necessary.

Whenever you (or the players) tire of the brawl, you may have the law step in to cool things down. The marshal and his friends may take a talk-some-sense-into-the-boys approach, or apply brute force. In dire circumstances, the GM can call in as many brawny townsmen (the blacksmith, etc.) as are needed to forcibly subdue the brawlers and lock them in the town jail until they've come to their senses.

Campaign Crossovers

Hot tempers and lots of things to smash and throw are all a good brawl needs. This scenario can work in almost any setting – just keep the action going, encourage imaginative brawling tactics, and try to keep lethal weapons out of the picture.

For a fantasy or swashbuckling brawl, the High Tide saloon becomes a tavern; the marshal and his friends become the city watch; rival adventurers (or the King's Musketeers and the Cardinal's Guards) replace the Lazy S and Bar W ranch hands. See GURPS Swashbucklers, p. 31, for descriptions of 17th-century taverns and their clientele.

A Cliffhangers version may center around rival gangs in a speak-easy, with flappers instead of saloon girls and Tommy guns instead of Colt Peacemakers. Fear of the coppers (or simply not wanting to start a street war) should be enough to keep the gunplay to a minimum.

Out in space, a confrontation between the Space Marines and some hot-shot starfighter pilots could launch an old-fashioned brawl. In a gritty cyberpunk world, trouble-shooters from rival companies may find themselves standing too close to one another – so could street samurai and corporate security. Even a Supers campaign can benefit from a knock-down, drag-out fistfight now and then, though it wouldn't be easily confined to a single building.

High Tide Folks

The following section lists NPCs and possible PCs to populate the High Tide Saloon. There are ranch hands from the two nearby ranches, saloon employees, innocent bystanders and lawmen.

"Tennessee" Waters, Lazy S Foreman

Early 40s, 5'10", 155 lbs. Well-tanned skin, black hair, black eyes.

ST 11, DX 12, IQ 13, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Absolute Direction; Absolute Timing; Alertness (+2); High Pain Threshold.

Disadvantages: Addiction (Chewing tobacco); Code of Honor (Cowboy); Lecherousness; Odious Personal Habit (Spits constantly); Stubbornness.

Quirks: Loyal to his friends; Feels responsible for "Lucky" (see below); Bowlegged (-1 to Jumping skill); Always wears red bandanna around his neck.

Skills: Animal Handling-13; Area Knowledge (Cow towns)-13; Brawling-12; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-13; Fast-Talk-13; Guns (Pistol)-17; Guns (Rifle)-15; Heraldry (Brands)-13; Knife-12; Lasso-13; Leadership-14; Naturalist-14; Riding (Horse)-14.

Weapons: Colt Peacemaker (see the Weapon Table) in a Slim Jim holster high on his belt on his right side (no modifier to Fast-Draw skill); Winchester WD, .44-40 rifle in scabbard on horse tethered to the hitching post outside.

Tennessee Waters is well-liked by his men. While at first he'll try to defuse any tense situation, if the other side starts a brawl, Tennessee won't hold back.

"Lucky" Rogers, Lazy S Hand

Age 16, 5'8", 140 lbs. Freckles, red hair, green eyes.

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

Advantages: Extraordinary Luck.

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Cowboy); Youth.

Quirks: Likes to try risky things.

Skills: Acrobatics-12; Animal Handling-12; Axe/Mace-11; Dancing-11; Guns (Pistol)-16; Guns (Rifle)-15; Lasso-14; Leatherworking-11; Riding (Horse)-14; Sleight of Hand-11; Teamster (Horse)-12; Throwing-12; Veterinary-9.

Weapons: Smith & Wesson Model 2 revolver, in a Slim Jim holster high on his belt on his right side (no Fast-Draw modifier); Bowie knife tucked into his belt on his left side (default skill of Knife-9, or Throwing-12).

Lucky is Tennessee Waters' nephew. His extraordinary luck (usable every half hour) contributes to his cocky attitude and risk-taking. Lucky hasn't been a cowboy long, but he takes his honor seriously.

Herm Sanders, Lazy S Hand

Age 24, 6'1", 185 lbs. Ruddy complexion, dark brown hair, brown eyes.

ST 14, DX 12, IQ 9, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Animal Empathy; Combat Reflexes; High Pain Threshold; Toughness (DR 1).

Disadvantages: Addiction (Cigarettes); Code of Honor (Cowboy); Compulsive Carousing; Impulsiveness.
Quirks: Eats his cigarette butts.
Skills: Animal Handling-13; Brawling-12; Carousing-10; Gambling-9; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-12; Heraldry (Brands)-10; Lasso-13; Riding (Horses)-15; Singing-12; Throwing-11.

Weapons: Colt Peacemaker in Slim Jim holster at his right side (no Fast-Draw modifier); new Winchester '73 in a scabbard on his horse.

Herm tends to be the strong, silent type. (The Bar W ranch hands think he's dumb.) Although Herm's not bad-tempered, his impulsiveness may make him quick to respond to insults. He'll use his fists before he uses his guns.

"Tex" Rollins, Bar W Foreman

Age 38, 5'11", 150 lbs. Slightly pockmarked face, dirty blond hair, brown eyes.

ST 10, DX 13, IQ 13, HT 12.
Basic Speed 6.25; Move 6.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Toughness (DR 2).
Disadvantages: Addiction (Cigars); Alcoholism; Im-pulsiveness; Overconfidence.
Quirks: Talks to his horse; Carries his sweetheart's locket around his neck; Loves to yell, "Let's ride!"; Spits cigar ends at people he doesn't like.
Skills: Animal Handling-12; Blacksmith-13; Brawling-14; Equestrian Acrobatics-13; Guns (Pistol)-17; Guns (Rifle)-1 5; Lasso-14; Riding (Horses)-14; Survival (Plains)-13.
Weapons: Colt Peacemaker (in a flap holster high on his belt at his right side; -2 to Fast-Draw).

Tex's boss doesn't like the Lazy S Ranch, so Tex doesn't like the Lazy S ranch hands. While he's not likely to start a fight himself, he won't discourage his men from doing so.

Jake Trumbull, Bar W Hand

Age 33, 5'11", 160 lbs. Deeply-tanned, leathery skin, greasy black hair, black eyes.

ST 12, DX 12, IQ 11, HT 12.
Basic Speed 6; Move 6.

Advantages: High Pain Threshold; Toughness (DR 1).

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Bad Temper; Bully.

Quirks: Kicks stray dogs; Favorite insult is to hawk and spit; Rolls cigarettes but doesn't light them.

Skills: Area Knowledge (Cow towns)-11; Blacksmith-12; Brawling-13; Carousing-12; Carpentry-10; Dancing-11; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-12; Gambling-11; Guns (Pistol)-15; Guns (Rifle)-15; Knife-15; Knife Throwing-14; Lasso-13; Riding (Horses)-13; Speed-Load (Rifle)-12.

Weapons: Smith & Wesson Model 2 revolver in his right coat pocket (-4 to Fast-Draw); Arkansas toothpick (a straight-bladed knife with a point and a double edge; use stats for the Bowie knife) in a sheath on his right boot; Winchester WD rifle, left at home.

Jake is an unpleasant person. He looks rough, smells bad and likes to bully people. Although he can rope and ride well, he spends more time blacksmithing and being a handyman than working the cattle. The Bar W keeps him around for rodeo contests and range wars.

"Kid" Cody Grange, Bar W Hand

Age 16, 5'7", 135 lbs. Fair-skinned, black hair, blue eyes.

ST 10, DX 14, IQ 11, HT 13.
Basic Speed 6.75; Move 6.

Advantages: Ambidexterity; Animal Empathy; Combat Reflexes; Musical Ability +3.

Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Impulsiveness; Overconfidence; Stubbornness; Youth.

Quirks: Dislikes being called "Kid" except by friends.

Skills: Animal Handling (Cattle)-15; Brawling-14; Carousing-is; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-16; Guns (Pistol)-17; Lasso-14; Musical Instrument (Harmonica)-14; Riding (Horses)-17; Survival (Plains)-11.

Weapons: A pair of Remington .44-40 revolvers, worn in Slim Jim holsters low on his hips (+1 to Fast-Draw standing; -2 sitting).

Kid Cody likes to think he's tough. He practices drawing and firing every chance he gets. He's never killed anyone, although he might try if riled enough. Cody doesn't love anything but "Ol' Bag-o-bones," his mustang pony, and himself. He'd rather be with animals than people – they don't try to boss him around.

Guthry Fullwright, Saloon Owner

Age 31, 6', 165 lbs. Fair skin, brown hair, brown eyes, balding.

ST 13, DX 11, IQ 12, HT 10.
Basic Speed 5.25; Move 5.

Advantages: Charisma + 1, Comfortable Wealth (2× starting wealth).

Disadvantages: Addiction (Cigars); Code of Honor (Code of the West); Lecherousness; Overweight.

Quirks: Refers to a busy night as "the tide's come in;" Gives lady customers their first drink free.

Skills: Area Knowledge (the town and area)-12; Brawling-11; Carousing-11; Fast-Talk-12; Gambling-12; Guns (Shotgun)-13; Merchant-14; Streetwise-12.

Weapons: Shotgun (behind the bar) – 20-gauge, hammerless, double-barreled: Dmg 3d-2, Rcl -3, ST 11. Firing both barrels simultaneously avoids the Rcl modifier, and increases ST by 25% and Rcl by 50%. The shotguns behind the bar are loaded with birdshot. ½D is 5 yards; ¼D is 6 yards. Most target materials (including human flesh) get a +1 to DR at ¼D range. Each die of damage is rolled separately for penetration against DR – the -2 modifier applies to the total damage that gets through.

Guthry owns the "High Tide Saloon." He works as bartender on busy nights, along with two employees. He knows he can get the Lazy S and Bar W ranch owners to pay for any damages (plus a bit extra), so he'll mostly stay out of the way. If the boys want to rough it up a bit, fine. Too much damage to the bar's furnishings (a broken piano, for instance) will make him mad, though, and Guthry has no aversion to wading in and knocking a few heads around himself. If guns come out, he'll send Harley, one of the bartenders, to fetch the marshal.

Richard Coleman, Bartender

Age 47, 5'8", 170 lbs. Reddish face, mouse-brown hair, brown eyes, balding.

ST 10, DX 12, IQ 13, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Alertness +2; Immunity to Disease.

Disadvantages: Compulsive Gambling.

Quirks: Forever giving up gambling; Always talks about his sister back east.

Skills: Area Knowledge (the town)-13; Fast-Talk-13; Gambling-15; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-13; Guns (Shotgun)-13; Knife-12; Merchant-13; Meteorology-11; Riding (Horses)-11; Streetwise-13; Throwing-12.

Weapons: Shotgun (behind the bar). See Guthry Fullwright's description for stats.

Richard is a nice sort of fellow, and a little overweight. He likes to talk to any customers leaning against the bar. He's always alert for trouble, though, and will try to forestall any fighting. If necessary, he'll fire the shotgun into the ceiling. (The underside of the balcony has more than a few pellets in it.)

Harley Morrison, Bartender

Age 45, 5'8", 140 lbs. Dark brown hair, tanned skin, slight scar above right cheek.

ST 9, DX 14, IQ 11, HT 11.
Basic Speed 6.25; Move 6.

Advantages: Ambidexterity.

Disadvantages: Cowardice; Poverty (Struggling); Vow (Minor – no more cheating or thieving).

Quirks: Mild kleptomania (Will rolls at +2); Flourishes bar utensils; Loves to gamble.

Skills: Acting-12; Carpentry-10; Climbing-13; Cooking-10; Fast-Talk-11; Gambling-13; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Shotgun)-14; Holdout-12; Lockpicking-12; Merchant-11; Pickpocket-14; Riding Horses-12; Savoir-Faire-11; Sleight of Hand-14; Stealth-14; Streetwise-11.

Weapons: There are two shotguns behind the bar, but Guthry Fullwright and Richard Coleman are likely to grab them first That's just fine with Harley.

Harley is a retired thief and (cheating) gambler. He's been on the straight and narrow for nearly a year now, and is having a tough time of it. Tending bar in the evenings supplements his earnings as a carpenter's assistant. He likes to show off his sleight-of-hand when serving customers. At the first sign of a fight, Harley will duck behind the bar and stay there. If Guthry sends him for the marshal, Harley does his best to keep himself covered as he runs for the door.

Jennie Blake, Saloon Girl

Age 22, 5'7", 135 lbs. Rosy complexion, auburn hair, green eyes.

ST 10, DX 12, IQ 12, HT 12.
Basic Speed 6; Move 6.

Advantages: Attractive (+1 reaction); Immunity to Disease; Musical Ability +5.

Disadvantages: Code of Honor (Never cheat a paying customer); Lecherousness; Poverty (Struggling); Reputation as a "Soiled Dove" (-1 reaction).

Quirks: Bends over while serving drinks; Fiddles with her hair when flirting.

Skills: Acting-12; Bard-12; Carousing-12; Dancing-12; Fast-Talk-1 2; First Aid-12; Gambling-1 2; Guns (Pistol)-13; Holdout-11; Merchant-12; Performance-11; Pickpocket-11; Savoir-Faire-13; Sex Appeal-14; Singing-12.

Weapons: Knuckleduster, .32 (in garter).

Jennie is a "spirited" girl, well able to take care of herself. She'll try to keep any fight from breaking out by distracting the most belligerent customer. Once fists start to fly, she'll gladly help the "good guys" (the handsome or honorable ones) by knocking any available "bad guy" over the head with a whiskey bottle.

Sally Mae Ryan, Saloon Girl

Age 21, 5'6", 135 lbs. Fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes.

ST 9, DX 12, IQ 11, HT 10.
Basic Speed 5.5; Move 5.

Advantages: Beautiful (+2/+4 by opposite sex).

Disadvantages: Reputation as a "Soiled Dove" (-1 reaction).

Quirk: Looking for "Mr. Right."

Skills: Area Knowledge (General, many Western towns)-10; Dancing-13; Guns (Pistol)-12; Sex Appeal-10; Singing-12.

Weapons: Colt one-shot, .41 (in garter).

With her good looks and talent, Sally Mae has worked in several saloons in a number of towns. She may "entertain" good-looking customers (or reasonably clean ones) in an upstairs "parlor" for additional money. (She'll ask for $10 – double that for anyone she doesn't like the looks of.) She'll try to distract the ranch hands before the fight breaks out, hoping to avoid any trouble. Failing that, she'll try to stay out of the way.

Scully Westwood, Ex-Gunslinger

Age 42, 5'11", 160 lbs. Tanned skin, salt-and-pepper hair and beard.

ST 12, DX 13, IQ 12, HT 10.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; High Pain Threshold; Luck; Reputation (Fast gun, +2).

Disadvantages: Delusion (Minor: Thinks the unarmed man he killed is following him); Enemies (young guns looking for a name); One Eye (Lost one in a gunfight: -1 to DX in combat, -3 to throwing and ranged weapons); Stubbornness; Reputation (Killed an unarmed man, -2).

Quirks: Dresses like a riverboat gambler; Likes to sound educated and cultured.

Skills: Fast-Draw (Pistol)-16; Fast-Talk-12; First Aid-12; Gambling-12; Guns (Pistol)-15; Guns (Rifle)-12; Knife-14; Riding (Horses)-12; Sleight of Hand-12; Speed Load (Pistol)-12; Speed Load (Rifle)-12.

Remington .44-40, worn in a Slim Jim holster high on the belt on his left side (+2 to Fast-Draw standing; +1 sitting).

Scully's just passing through town on his way to nowhere. He hasn't heard that Robert Winder, another gun-slinger, is already in town. If they meet, there may be trouble . . .

Major Edward Latham, Army Post Commander

Age 32, 5'9", 155 lbs. Black hair, green eyes, clean-shaven.

ST 11, DX 12, IQ 11, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.5; Move 5.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Military Rank 4

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Code of Honor (Officer's); Duty (Army)

Quirks: Dislikes being interrupted while drinking.

Skills: Administration-11; Animal Handling (Horses)-10; Area Knowledge (Post and its territory)-13; Diplomacy-12; Fishing-11; Gambling-9; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-14; Heraldry (Military)-11; Intelligence Analysis-11; Interrogation-10; Law-10; Leadership-12; Riding (Horse)-13; Savoir-Faire-10; Sign Language-10; Strategy-11; Tactics-12.

Weapons: Colt Peacemaker (also known as the Army Colt), worn in a flap holster high on his belt on his left side (-1 [to Fast-Draw) sitting).

Major Latham is in town enjoying a quiet drink before going on leave to visit his mother. He'll ignore any trouble for as long as he can.

Merriwether "Hawk" Kingsbury, Scout

Age 38, 5'10", 160 lbs. Weather worn skin, black hair, black eyes, (a touch of Indian ancestry).

[Stats are missing in the Roleplayer. Not my fault. –]

Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5 (+1 for Running skill).

Advantages: Absolute Direction; Absolute Timing; Eidetic Memory (level 1).

Disadvantages: Bad Temper; Compulsive Behavior (Carousing); Odious Personal Habit (Slugs anyone who calls him "Merriwether" or "Merry," except his mother.)

Quirks: Loves a good brawl; Hates cowardice.

Skills: Acrobatics-13; Animal Handling (Horses)-9; Area Knowledge (Plains)-12; Area Knowledge (New Mexico Territory)-12; Axe/Mace-10; Boating-10; Brawling-14; Camouflage-12; Carousing-14; Detect Lies-9; Equestrian Acrobatics-9; Fast-Talk-10; First Aid-11; Gambling-10; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-14; Heraldry (Military)-10; Heraldry (Tribes)-10; Intelligence Analysis-9; Interrogation-10; Knife-11; Naturalist-9; Packing-9; Riding (Horse)-11; Running-9; Scrounging-11; Sign Language-10; Stealth-11; Survival (Plains)-10; Survival (Woods)-10; Survival (Desert)-10; Throwing-10; Tracking-11.

Weapons: Colt Peacemaker worn in a flap holster high on is belt on his left side (-1 [to Fast-Draw] sitting); Winchester '73 in scabbard slung over his back; Bowie knife in scabbard on is belt at his right side.

"Hawk" has been an unsuccessful trapper, a slightly more successful buffalo hunter, and a scout for the Army. He's traveling with the Major for as long as their roads lead in the same direction. He knows Major Latham hates to have his drinking interrupted – once a brawl breaks out, Hawk will jump in and try to steer it away from the Major's table.

Ike Woods, Town Marshal

Age 31, 5'10", 155 lbs. Tanned and weathered skin, black hair, blue eyes.

ST 11, DX 13, IQ 12, HT 11.
Basic Speed 6; Move 6.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes, Legal Enforcement Powers (Township), Reputation among townsfolk as a good lawman +1, Status +1.

Disadvantages: Addiction (Chewing tobacco); Duty (to law-abiding citizens); Honesty; Odious Personal Habit (Mumbles around is tobacco chaw); Reputation -1 (with outlaws: too honest to bribe).

Quirks: Wears big, jangly spurs.

Skills: Administration-11; Area Knowledge (the town and area)-12; Brawling-13; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-15; Guns (Pistol)-16; Law-11; Leadership-12; Riding (Horses)-13.

Weapons: Smith & Wesson Model 2 (one high on each hip, in Slim Jim holsters – no Fast-Draw modifier).

Ike has served as the town marshal for almost a year now. He's up for reelection, and the opposing candidate is backed by the Bar W ranch. Ike suspects the Bar W of cattle rustling.

Lester Northrop, Assistant Marshal

Age 28, 5'11", 155 lbs. Tanned skin, blond hair, blue eyes.

ST 11, DX 12, IQ 10, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Acute Hearing +2; Attractive; Legal Enforcement Powers (Local).

Disadvantages: Alcoholism; Code of Honor (Lawman's).

Quirks: Likes to chew pine gum; Pats pretty saloon girls on the behind; Not married, despite numerous hopeful maids in the town.

Skills: Animal Handling-10; Area Knowledge (the Town)-10; Axe/Mace-12; Boating-11; Carousing-10; Climbing-13; Dancing-12; Fast-Talk-10; First Aid-10; Fishing-11; Gambling-11; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-14; Knife-13; Law-8; Naturalist-9; Packing-9; Prospecting-8; Riding (Horses)-13; Sign Language (Plains Indian)-8; Survival (Woods)-10; Teamster (Oxen)-9; Throwing-11; Tracking-10; Whip-12.

Weapons: Two Colt Peacemakers (one high on each hip, in Slim Jim holsters – no Fast-Draw modifier).

Lester has been assistant marshal for as long as Ike's been marshal, and hopes to keep his job through the election. It doesn't pay much, but the badge helps attract the ladies. He'd have more money if he didn't spend it all on rotgut whiskey.

Steve Clayborne, Deputy Sheriff

Age 31, 6', 180 lbs. Light brown hair, golden brown eyes, freckled skin.

ST 12, DX 12, IQ 11, HT 11.
Basic Speed 5.75; Move 5.

Advantages: Alertness +1; High Pain Threshold; Legal Enforcement Powers (Local); Toughness (DR 1).

Disadvantages: Addiction (Tobacco); Code of Honor (Lawman's); Color Blindness; Honesty.

Quirks: Loves riding posse; Bowlegged (-1 to Jumping).

Skills: Animal Handling-9; Area Knowledge (County)-11; Brawling-14; Detect Lies-8; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-11; Fast-Draw (Rifle)-12; Guns (Pistol)-14; Guns (Rifle)-15; Holdout-9; Interrogation-10; Lasso-11; Law-9; Politics-9; Riding Horses-12; Speed-Load (Rifle)-12; Teamster-10.

Weapons: Colt Peacemaker, worn in Slim Jim holster high on his belt at his right side (no Fast-Draw modifier); Winchester '73 in a scabbard on his horse outside the Marshal's office.

Steve Clayborne's in town delivering a package from the county sheriff to Marshal Woods. He'll help break up the brawl if Ike's called in to the High Tide Saloon.

Weapon Table

Magazine Rifles
Winchester WD, .44-40crit42d+11362501,9007.1217+1Win10-1186618HO-5
Winchester '73, .44-40crit43d1373002,2007.12Var.Win10-2187320HO-5
Break-Open Shotguncrit2var135251508var1 or 2BLvarvar186315HO-5
S&W, Model 2, .32crit41d+11021201,200216SW10-1186110HO, F
Colt Peacemaker, .45crit42d+11121501,7002.516CR11-2187310HO, F
Remington, .44-40crit42d1121601,8002.516CR11-2187515HO, F
Stingy Pistols
Colt One-shot, .41crit21d9115400.251/L1BL10-118563HO+3
Knuckleduster, .32crit41d-19115250.51/25SW10-118667HO+3, sap
Knife (DX-4)
Bowie Knifecut


For numbered notes, see p. OW90.

HO: Holdout modifier for any attempt to conceal the weapon. Weapons with no HO modifier cannot normally be concealed.

Sap: Knuckledusters are useful in close combat, adding +2 to damage done with a fist.

F: The weapon can be fired by Fanning or Slipping the Hammer. See sidebar, p. OW80.

Crib Sheet

Brawling Attacks and Close Combat

Kicking. (p. B101) Roll vs. DX-2, Brawling-2, or Karate. Thr/crush damage (+1 with boots). Roll vs. DX or skill to maintain feet if missed.

Punching. (p. B101) Roll vs. DX, Brawling, or Karate. Thr-2 damage. Brass knuckles or medium object: +2. Small, heavy object: +1. Haymakers, roundhouses, other hard swings: -2 to hit, damage Sw-2. Breakable stuff (bottles, etc.) take same amount of damage as they give.

Slam Attack. (pp. B112-113, 106) Quick Contest of DX; defender at -2 if not standing or if attacker entered from side. Automatic win from behind. If attacker loses, must move 2 more hexes (or rest of Move). If attacker wins or ties: quick contest of ST, +2 if foe moved more than 1 hex toward attacker, or if attacker ran last turn and moved at least one hex this turn. +2 with medium or large shield; -2 if foe has shield. +2 from behind. Loser falls down; may be knocked backwards (Quick Contest of ST; if fallen fighter loses, knocked back 1 hex per 2 points he lost by, round down. If knocked back into someone, that character must roll vs. ST+3 or DX+3 to avoid falling). Damage from knockback into something is as if he were thrown (see p. B90). Normal slam attack does no damage to either fighter. Critical failure of ST roll results in Stunned character. See p. B113 for Flying Tackle.

Throwing Objects. (p. B90) Throwing skill or DX-3. 1 lb or less can be thrown 3.5 yards times ST. Thrown characters go .05 yards times ST and take damage as per p. B90 (grapple first).

Wild Swings. (p. B105) Blow thrown at foe to side or rear: -5 to hit, max 9. No +4 all-out attack bonus.

Special Actions

Balconies. See p. B89 for climbing modifiers. With a successful Acrobatics roll, allow generous modifiers to climbing skill or time. Jumping from balcony to chandelier requires Acrobatics; a good roll lets PC swing to any reasonable spot. Player can get handhold on high balcony with Jumping skill roll. ST roll to pull himself up quickly; Acrobatics roll to vault over railing in 1 second instead of climbing in 2-3. Failure requires extra seconds to accomplish; critical failure means disaster.

Jumping Through Windows. Acrobatics roll, plus Jumping roll if more than 2 hexes away. Character must have at least 1 movement point left when contacting window. Acrobatics made by 5 or more means character is in the hex on opposite side of window, on feet & unhurt. Otherwise 1d-3 cutting damage (not on face). Failed roll causes 1d-3 damage; character falls down, occupying 2 hexes on other side. Going through a window ends a character's turn.

Shoving and Throwing Furniture. Use Throwing rules (p. B90); anything that weighs 5 × ST or more needs 2 hands to shove. Use Throwing Distance Table (p. B90) for how far you can shove; Extra Effort (p. B89) for ST rolls. A character that has a table shoved into him may retreat if aware and able; Acrobatics-4 gets him on top in a crouch or underneath lying down. Otherwise, roll vs. DX to avoid falling, HT to avoid stunning. Critical failure on either does 1 point of damage. Flipping a table over takes both hands and ST-2 roll; 1d crushing damage if it hits.

Sliding Down Banister. Can travel at Move 5 down banister, or less if braking. Each turn character must make DX-6 or Acrobatics-6 roll. Failure means character stops sliding. Miss by up to 4 means character ends his move on the steps, on his feet. Missing by more than 4 results in falling down the stairs. Use falling damage (p. B131); Acrobatics skill does not reduce damage. Critical failure means the PC falls off the wrong side of the banister!

Characters may attack 1 opponent in passing; this is a Wild Swing. Anyone using the Wait maneuver may attack as character goes by. +1 to impaling damage if moving 4-5 hexes/turn. If the character doesn't remove the finial on the banister, hitting it does 2d damage to the groin.

Sliding Someone Down the Bar. As for throwing a character, but no damage unless character falls or hits a solid object. Throwing or DX-3 failure means character falls off bar unless DX-2 or Acrobatics roll.

Swinging on Chandeliers. Chandeliers higher than 7' are best reached from table or chair. Character must make a Jumping roll if the chandelier is more than 2 hexes away. Farther distances need Jumping followed by Acrobatics to grab (-2 for each hex over 2 in jump). May swing and land a distance equal to distance jumped +2; must swing at least as far as you jumped. Distance you may kick an enemy is equal to distance jumped +1. Roll against Acrobatics skill or DX-6 to swing. Roll once to swing & land; DX or Brawling roll needed to kick a character. Character may make an IQ roll to judge the chandelier's sturdiness before attempting a swing.

Throwing Character Through Window. See Throwing Objects (p. B90, & above) for rolls, distance and damage. Window takes as much damage as whoever is thrown through it. If it breaks, the character continues through remainder of distance thrown -1 hex, taking 1d-3 cutting damage. If landing on broken window or on immediate hex opposite, he takes additional 1d-3 cutting damage from glass. Getting tossed into a mirror has same effects, but character stops in hex and takes cutting damage if mirror breaks.

Throwing Stuff into Faces. (Drinks, hats, etc.) Requires an action to ready item. DX-3 or Throwing skill to hit with modifiers for unaimed, -5 to face, etc. Assume SS 10, Acc 1, Max range 3. Will not do damage. May be dodged or blocked (with cloak or jacket). If object hits, Will roll to avoid flinching. Failure gives -2 to further defenses that turn; -2 to DX or awareness rolls next turn. Critical failure hits eyes; blinded for 1d seconds.

Stats for Saloon Stuff

Banister: DR 2. 5 hit points. Pieces thereof have DR 4, 12 hit points. (Furniture breaks easily at its joints – it's more difficult to break the wood itself.)

Bed: 200 lbs. DR 3. 12 hit points.

Beer Mug: Does cutting damage instead of crushing if breaks. DR 2. 1 hit point.

Bottle: As above; DR 1. Empty: 1 lb. Full: 3 lbs.

Ceiling (or floor): DR 6. 30 hit points.

Chair: 15 lbs. DR 1. 3 hit points. Individual pieces have DR 2, 5 hit points.

Chandelier: 50 lbs. DR 2, 10 hit points. Rope DR 3, 6 hit points. GM rolls vs. 18-(Character's weight/20); rope gives way on a failed roll.

Mirror: DR 2. 1 hit points.

Piano: 800 lbs. DR 4. 20 hit points (10 points or more of damage will ruin it for playing).

Shot Glass: Can be thrown like a small rock. DR 1, 2 hit points.

Table (large): 100 lbs. DR 2. 10 hit points. Pieces have DR 3, 8 hit points.

Table (small): 60 lbs. DR 2. 5 hit points. Pieces have DR 2, 8 hit points.

Wall: DR 6. 30 hit points.

Window: DR 1. 1 hit points.

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