Sunday, February 28, 2010

Assumption, Oklahoma: The Final Chapter

For the past six months or so, all had been well in Assumption. In fact, the town had been prospering and expanding with new entrepreneurs and tradesmen coming into the area to lay down roots. As a mid-sized stopover town in Oklahoma, Assumption had drawn the interest of the well-established Great West Railway Company. The company owners had to move a fair-sized shipment of cash out west in order to pay their growing multitude of rail workers. Sheriff Tom Gunne was approached by a high-ranking magnate of Great West who requested the use of the bank for a one-night stop-over.

A week before the planned arrival of the cash shipment, Tom Gunne filled in Deputy Chafe on all of the details.

Unbeknownst to the lawmen, listening ears prowled nearby, waiting to take the tantalizing news back to their gangs.

As the sun rose on the day of the loot's planned departure from the town, the Philadelphia Kid and some of the Black Cole Elgin gang were seen sauntering into town.

At the other end of the street, the southern boys under the command of Eustace Pilesforth skulked towards the bank. The streets seemed strangely empty, even for this early morning hour.

Zebulon Jackson and Enos Cartwright decided to scale the jail and to set themselves up on the roof to keep the bank covered. Just as they cleared the roof, a gruff voice mumbled through chewin' tobacco, "We've been expectin' you boys." With that, Archie mills blasted Enos off the roof and close range and prepared to engage Zeb.

Deuteronomy McCrae ran to the jail and was just starting to scale the wall when two figures leapt out of the sheriff's window. Tom Gunne and Sam Blake took aim with their sixguns and the morning was filled with the chorus of gunfire.

As the gunshots resounded, Abraham Stubbs was surprised to see Bill Chafe charge out of the Gunsmith's wielding a wooden club.

The Black Cole Elgin gang took advantage of the chaos and gunned it towards the bank. Merle Gibbs and Caesar Acosta, equipped with heavy mauls, starting slamming the stone wall trying desperately to force an opening.

"Hurry Up!" were Tom White's last words. A rifle shot from the Sheriff Gunne blasted through his forehead and brought the infamous outlaw's career to a fitting end. Caesar and Merle kept whacking with hammers double-time. The wall was starting to give way.

Suddenly, new voices were heard as a foreign projectile flew through the air and embedded itself in Merle's shooting hand. As the outlaw yelped in pain, he saw Jeb Hunter and the Chinaman Xiao Lou rushing out from their hiding place in the livery stable.

Meanwhile, the southern rifles had finished off Archie Mills with a knife to the gullet. After rolling his body off of the roof, they prepared their position. The Major had noticed that Black Cole's men had breached the bank wall and shouted, "shoot em down boys" to his men on the roof.

Fisticuffs was the order of the day. Under the eaves of the livery stable the outlaws brawled desperately as they tried to drag the loot out of town.

Caesar Acosta found himself no match for the oriental fighting style of Lou. With a swift kick to the Mexican's head, Lou napped Acosta's neck, and another outlaw legend died in the streets of Assumption.

Meanwhile, back on the other end of town, Bill Chafe found himself seriously outnumbered by the Major's men. Although he was beating them back, he was alone and outgunned.

Main street was filled with desperate men; desperate men with guns.

Merle was seriously bogged down by the lawmen and the Kid was bogged down by the loot. Two-Penny ran in shotgun blazing, not particularly concerned with the welfare of Merle. Lou ducked inside the stable, wounded.

As the brawl broke up, the southern boys moved in, desperately trying to make a grab for the cash.

The outlaws finally had it together and were making it into the corral with the cash. Jeb put another round into Merle. The tough hombre was miraculously still standing

Sam Blake and Sheriff Gunne ran after the outlaws with guns blazing.

Jeb prepared to make a surprise attack.

The outlaws realized that the lawman was laying in wait...

Two Penny ran in put a shell right in Jeb's chest, blowing his straight out of the corral. Another man dead on the street. The boys made a final run with the loot, and just as they thought they were in the clear, one of the Major's men shot Black Cole in the back. He lay on the ground screaming, but his three surviving companions all looked at each other, and Merle quickly drew and aimed at his Cole's forehead.

"I'll save ya from a hangin' boss." Cole began to shout in protest, but Merle unloaded his hogleg and kept running.

The remaining Assumption Defenders had managed to regroup and to fortify themselves near the bank. The Major, realizing that the loot was gone, shouted, "retreat," and with that, his men filed in and sped out of town. Neither the major nor his men were ever heard of in Assumption or the county again.


A short time later, the three surviving outlaws made their way down the back road to where the horses were tethered, dragging the loot as they went. Just before they reached the horses, Two Penny and Merle noticed that the Kid was lagging behind. When they turned, they saw him standing, bags on the ground by his feet, with both pistols drawn.

Realizing what was happening, Two-Penny went for his shotgun, but it was too late - the Kid blasted wildly and filled the city slicker with lead. Merle had rolled out of the way, and in spite of his injuries, drew his sixgun.

"Is this how you wanna go down, Kid." He yelled.

"Way I see it," said the kid in a gloating tone,"I don't need you fellers anymore. That thar money's mine, Merle. Nothing personal."

The Kid dodged Merle's shots and put two in his gullet. Merle hit the ground. The Kid began slowly dragging the loot towards the horses. As he reached the edge of the road, he heard a click. He turned, knowing what to expect.

"You'll never spend a brass tack of that loot," said Merle, who was propped up on wounded arm while aiming a shaking pistol at the Kid. The Kid went for his gun and shots rang out. Merle took one between the eyes, and the Kid looked down surprised, feeling the hot burn of a gut wound.

"No, no ,no ,no...!" he yelled in frustration. The young gunslinger fell to the ground in pain, knowing that he was going to die. As he lid on the road, gasping for his last breath, he looked towards one of the loot sacks. The bills that had spilled out onto the ground weren't green, but black and white. As one blew by, he snatched it out of the air and squinted at the black print. Even with his limited education, the Philadelphia Kid mumbled the words he saw.

"The... A... summp... ten... ga... zette. Those damned sons a bitches." With that, the Philadelphia Kid fell back, took his last breath, and brought about the end of the bloodiest chapter in Assumption history."

* * * * *

Tom Gunne sat on the steps his office talking with Sam Blake, while Lou sat nearby, his arm in a sling. They had just come from the funeral of Bill Chafe and Jeb Hunter. The men were silent, sitting together, but each alone with his thoughts. Finally, Sam turned towards Tom and spoke.

"Tom, when did ya get the idear of puttin' the real money in the JP's root cellar. How did ya know them boys would be comin' after it."

The Sheriff puffed on his cigarette as he prepared to answer.

"Well Sam, I didn't rightly know that they knew, if ya foller me. But Assumption has grown. Word gets around now, ya know. Only a year ago I knew every face and everyone's business in this town, but now we're growin', and I reckon that's a good thing. But I guess we hafta be more careful these days, no matta what we're doin'."

As the two men spoke, Old Gabe and Doug Chafe, Bill's oldest, drove a wagon down main street and stopped in front of the sheriff. The wagon's load was covered in a tarp, but the stink gave it away.

"What'll we do with 'em?" Gabe asked.

Tom thought for a moment, and then answered.

"We'll bury 'em out in the graveyard."

The gathered men looked shocked, and Bill's boy seemed about to protest, but the Sheriff continued,

"Them boys went against the law. They killed men, defiled women, and committed many crimes. But in the end, they all got what they deserved. We'll put 'em in the holy ground, and in the end, the good Lord can sort out what he's doin' with 'em. For that matter, whatever the hell he's gonna do with all of us when the day comes."

"Amen" muttered Gabe. "Amen."

So, is this really the final chapter?

Believe it or not, as I routinely track my blog traffic, I've noticed that the ongoing story of Assumption, Oklahoma has become one of the most popular reads here at Geektactica. However, all good things must come to an end eventually, and the Assumption story is no different.

To be fair to players and readers alike, I think it would be more accurate to think of this post as the final chapter of THIS installment of the Assumption story. Sometime in the future, it's likely that we'll be starting a new Old West campaign with some new players. I envision a game that takes place in Assumption a couple of years after the events above have transpired. Whichever way it unfolds, one thing is for sure. Although the Assumption story is shelved for the present, there is a dog-eared page, and beyond, there are many blank pages waiting to be filled.

Thanks for reading Our story,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Old Graveyard

A half day's march on the South Road from Dertflinghan will lead a brave traveller to the abandoned hills which house the Old Graveyard. Throughout the medieval and renaissance periods the nobility, as well as most upstanding merchants and artisans, buried their dead in this sacred place.

Although many of the graves and monuments have been over-taken by weeds and brambles over the centuries, some still protrude from the mist-covered undergrowth. The locals avoid this place at all costs, and if they must travel on the South Road, they always leave at first light to be sure they make it well-past the Old Graveyard by nightfall.

Entering the Graveyard:

The road from Dertflinghan eventually runs parallel along a rustic fence. It was, no doubt, constructed by a later generation in order to discourage the curious from disturbing the occupants within.

Dark sentinels watch over the entrance.

Graves & Monuments:

Although there are countless graves and markers strewn about this area, only the sturdiest and tallest still stand straight, proudly announcing the noble countenances that lie under their eternal watch.

Doubtless, once a great monument to some long-dead prince, only the bare outline of this festering pool still remains in the center of the mud-worn walk.


The richest and highest born citizens of once-mighty Dertflinghan would have never allowed their corpses to be thrown into the ground and covered in dirt like a handful of turnip seeds. Nay, the greatest men and their families would have wanted to make their mark on the land, even in death.

Always ready for the day of heavenly judgement, they believed that their piety would see them cast aside the heavy doors and walk with God incarnate during His second coming, no doubt assisting him to cast vengeful judgement on the godless sinners of the world.

The Restless Dead:

At night, the dead who refuse to quit this world often make their presence known, especially when there are mortals nearby on whom to exercise their torments. Locals claim that an angry spirit can send out dark thoughts like whispering mists that are capable of stopping a man's heart and imprisoning his spirit.

Regardless of the exact history of the Old Dertflinghan Graveyard or its occupants, one thing is sure. Only absolute desperation would bring travellers to this desolate place in daylight, and only sheer madness under the cover of the Carpathian night.

Modelled and Painted By:
Jason (aka JET)

Thoughts & Commentary:

Where to begin! This project has become very addictive and satisfying. As much as I love the Old West (and I do love it), the dark and sinister (and let's not forget fantastical) environment of eastern Europe during this period is completely inspiring for me.

Continuing on in my theme of making specific table layouts or "sets," I decided that a Graveyard would be the very next logical step in the Dertflinghan environment. I started with a blister pack of grave stones from Westwind, and as I experimented with making some graves, things got out of hand. The original plan was to make a dozen graves or so, throw a fence around it, and call it a cemetery. However, as I plotted the layout of the table, I decided that I wanted a graveyard that resembled the large sprawling, tree-infested affairs made famous in classic horror movies.

I should briefly explain the ghost model. Although Chaos in Carpathia doesn't have any actual "spirit" or "ghost" units, one of the random scenario events is called ghostly voices. When I first looked at the model I knew that I wanted to paint it as a ghost. It was only recently, however, that I had an idea of how to use it. Whenever we play a scenario with the ghostly voices event I will place this model on the table near any models that lose their nerve and succumb to the ghostly presence.

I think the table will be playable, and in addition to affording players many hiding places for their models, this set offers many possibilities for scenario objectives and will certainly help to inspire us as we move the story forward.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Workbench Update: Madness I Tell You!

What started as a passing idea at a dollar store has gotten completely out of hand. Grunberg's Asylum has turned out far nicer (and bigger) than I had originally planned. I figured before spraying this monstrosity I would take a few photos for those of you interested in the scratch-building aspect of the hobby.

Since my rough mock-up in the last post I made some fairly substantial additions to the asylum. Here it is from the front.

Here's a close-up of the door. Steps are made from cork tiles and the large pillars are obviously from the cake-decorating aisle. The ornate windows on the doors were made from some of the hardware that I pulled off of the wooden boxes. So for three dollars I got the main structure as well as some fancy doodads.

The back door. I assume that there's a kitchen in this wing. Even lunatics have to eat I suppose, and it's awful difficult to prepare gruel without a stove. The chimney is a bit from the GW tower set. The end was too short to fit, so I sawed off a piece of a round pencil to extend it.

The good doctor keeps his private apartments on the top floor. At the last minute I decided to toss a balcony on the back. I imagine that Dr. Grunberg reclines here on warm evenings with a week-old newspaper in one hand and a cup of chamomile tea in the other. Treating madmen must be taxing on the nerves.

Side profile.

A partially-painted Crazy Nell shown on the front steps for scale. As if she would ever be let out of the basement.

I thought I might try and make some quick and dirty walls to keep the crazies from escaping. I'm going to try and make a few lengths of "stone" wall out of some styrofoam I have lying around.

When I think about mental health institutions from this period, I often think of the sprawling back garden where patients roam during the day. I'm pondering making a few different stone or concrete planters like this one. The bench was inspired by the scene in Bram Stoker's Dracula where Mina Harker and Ms. Lucy sit in the garden and talk about their man problems.

Anyway, this more or less documents my productivity from this past weekend. Although I never took a photo, I also finished building and priming the third and final sarcophagus for the Old Graveyard. I'm hoping to do a photo shoot later this week. Stay tuned, and as always...

Thanks for reading,