Manifest Destiny

Boston Season Finale: Sacrifice
"For anything worth having, one must pay the price..." ~ John Burroughs

Felicity has been arrested and Simon is sentenced to hang. Eli will be asked to make an impossible choice. Jeb holds the key to the Black Circle murders and much more, if only he can be found. Kai is ordered to deliver the boy to Kang. Cobb has the boy doesn’t plan to give him up. Meanwhile sinister forces move behind the scenes with an audacious scheme. The stakes are higher than anyone can imagine, and only The New Riders can stop it.

Join us soon for the epic, multi-part conclusion of the Boston story line!

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Betrayals
“One should rather die than be betrayed. There is no deceit in death. It delivers precisely what it has promised. Betrayal, though ... betrayal is the willful slaughter of hope.” - Steven Deitz

A lot of stuff happened last session, let me know if I missed or mis-remembered anything.

The Game

Eli & Angelina went to the North end with Mitch and gambled in the basement of the Ned’s butcher shop. The chatted and cavorted and generally had a good time. Eli even impressed the locals with his piano playing.

The Dream

Eli went to bed that night and had a dream where he was a priest and he was hearing confession from Felicity. The dream Felicity said that because of her lies he would have to make a choice with no right answer and then attempted to strangle him. He woke up from the dream disturbed, and Angelina started comforting him in her particular fashion. As they are have sex, Eli realizes that he covered in blood and when he looks down he realizes that he is actually have sex with Susan’s bloody corpse. She says “They die, they always die.” And that’s when he really woke up. Angelina is gone and his sister comes into his room because she hears his screaming.

Claudia makes him some food to comfort him. They talk a bit, and she tells Eli that she’s always admired his ability to see good in people, to embrace the Lord and forgive. She says that she wishes she could be more like him. She mentions to Eli that the big meeting between Iron Dragon and Union Blue is happening that day, and that it would be wonderful if a reporter from the Epitaph is there to cover such an important event. She mentions that she will also be onsite, as when she Mitch arrives with the delivery for the lunch she wants to personally inspect.

The Screaming

Kai is awoken by a woman’s muffled screaming in the night. He follows the sound to the Decapitator’s bedroom. He peek through the keyhole to see him abusing a young women. Kai decides not to interfere and goes back to bed.

The next morning Kai is summoned to breakfast with Kang. As he walks with the Decapitator, Kai insinuates that he know about what was going on last night. The Decapitator basically tells Kai to mind his own damn business. During breakfast, Kai notes that Su is unusually subdued and subservient. Kang tells Kai and the Decapitator that they are to be his bodyguards for the meeting that day. After Kang leaves, the Decapitator chuckles and tells Kai that he doesn’t even the plans that Kang has in store for him. It’s then that Kai finally gets the idea that Kang may just intend to have Kai marry Su

As Kai is digesting this information, he realizes that HouZi has snuck back into the building and is climbing through the ducts. They argue and Kai insists that the boy go back to the hotel and stay put. HouZi agrees, but he’s a little liar.

The Theft

Delilah was disturbed to find that she was robbed in the middle of the night. The only thing the thief took was a dress with light mauve trimming. She showed Cobb a very similar dress with pink trimming so he could get an idea of what he was looking for. Cobb tracked the thief to the building next door and determined that the thief tricked the people living in the apartment 1 story above Delilah’s balcony into letting her attempt to jump across. Mrs. Johnson swore that it was Delilah who asked to be let in.

The Examination

Alexander & Felicity went back to MIT to study the zombie some more. They noted the following difference between the Ashen and the typical Walking Dead:

  • Instead of having putrefied innereds, the Ashen seemed charred with many organs reduced to ash.
  • They do not regenerate if fed meat, so they eat only for recreational purposes.
  • If reduced to any temperature below room temperature they go completely inert.
    They were forced to leave early, however, due to preparation for their next assignment.

The Arrest

According to their orders, Felicity & Alexander were supposed to retrieve Invisibility Serum from a warehouse on the docks and then await further instruction. However, when they checked the package, Alexander realized that the vials contained Greek Fire, not Invisibility Serum and would have been quite dangerous to ingest. They decide to pack up the potions and take them back to the hotel and attempt to get in contact with their agent in the North End. But when Felicity walks out the door she is confronted by several agents and Boston PD with their guns drawn. Judge Wilcox arrests them on the charges of espionage and suspected terrorism. As an Agent confirms that the package being held by Alexander is indeed Greek Fire, which ignites at at room temperature and burns unnaturally quickly. Wilcox demands to know where the Fire is to be used. Then Felicity sees smoke rising in the distance.

The Fire

Cobb is backing up the Agents and Delilah is helping Claudia at the building where the negotiations between the rails is being conducted by Higgins. Everything is rather boring until an explosion is felt at the ground floor. Cobb is flung through the air and is stunned but miraculously unhurt. Everyone attempts to evacuate the building, Kang and his crew make it out just fine, but Chamberlain breaks a leg jumping from the second story window. Higgins and Eli stay in the building and run upstairs to attempt to save Zach who was upstairs being watched by a nanny. Eli and Higgins get separated when I portion of the ceiling collapses. Eli is able to continue up the stair and Higgins says he’ll find his way around. When Eli gets upstairs he find the other Delilah (or Fauxlilah, thanks Vito) with Zach and the HouZi, who had snuck into the building. Fauxlilah insists that they head to the roof as she picks up Zach and HouZi runs behind. Eli kicks open the door to the roof where the unnatural fire has already spread. There is an explosion on the roof and Eli is nearly knocked off, but Fauxlilah grabs him and pulls him back up. She suggests going to the other side of the building, saying there is a better way to get down. When they get to the other side of the building, Fauxlilah turns to Eli and says to him, “You need to listen me, this is very important. When we look at the people we love, sometimes there is a very large gap between who they are and who we want them to be.” She then plants a foot in his chest and kicks him off the roof of the building “This is Sparta” style. He goes unconscious upon hitting the ground.

As the building went up in flames, Cobb worked on getting people evacuated from the buildings next door. Cobb also noticed that Kang seemed less upset by the situation than would be expected, in fact he seemed to be pondering something. HouZi ran out from behind the building running as fast as he can while holding little Zach’s hand. Kai was horrified to see HouZi there and became even more worried when Kang and the Decapitator seemed to take an interest in the boy. When they tried to leave, Cobb insisted that HouZi stay at the hotel and Kai badly bluffed that the boy worked for Cobb. Meanwhile HouZi keeps pointing at Delilah and insisted that she saved him & Zach, but she also kicked the “other man” off the roof.

The entire building goes up in smoke in less than an hour, and by the time the fire is quenched there is little left. Cobb and some of the Agents go picking through the remains. They turn over a section of collapsed wall and find the body of Bernard Higgins, untouched by fire. His heart has been ripped out of his chest and there is a circle of black ash drawn around the wound.

At the end of this, Cobb returns to the Patriot with HouZi, and Kai returns to Chinatown with Kang.

The Apartment

Eli wakes up in pain with a well wrapped, but fractured, clavicle bone. He find out that Angelina, also known as Enid Rosenbaum, found him in a pile of garbage near the building and spirited him away. Eli discovers that Angelina has a mother who was injured in a factory accident and that Angelina became a working girl in order to support them both. She consoled him on the loss of his brother in law and stated that if he wants to end his contract with her in light of circumstance. He countered with the notion of courting her. She laughed. They started chatting as they waited for the whiskey to kick in and dull Eli’s pain. She mentioned that he makes her ponder the different sorts of love. The Greeks, she claimed, found it so complicated that they had 4 different words for it: Storge – General affection for one’s fellow man, Philia – the love that exists between family and close friends, Eros – Romantic and carnal love, and Agape – “Unconditional Love” also known in Christian traditions as “the Christ Love” in that it is a love based a divine and inexplicable understanding of others. Eli fell asleep and remains at Angelina’s apartment at the end of the session.

The Interrogation

Felicity was restrained to a chair in an interrogation room. She can hear Simon’s screams coming from down the hall as he is “forcefully interrogated”. Eventually the door to her room opens and in walks Wilcox and Callahan. Wilcox walks over, feigns sympathy for her current condition and then punches her in the stomach and backhands her across the face. Wilcox makes it very clear that being a women will serve as no protection. He demands to know more about the ritual performed on Higgins. He tells her to think about it, and leaves the room. Callahan follows Wilcox out of the room, but it is clear that Callahan is disturbed by the whole thing.

The Abduction

No one knows where Jeb is…even he’s not quite sure at the moment.

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General Updates

Since I have been lackadaisical in my session by session updates, I’m going to use this post to get to a “here are some things that characters have done and here’s where we are now” post. As always we start with:

Cobb

Cobb and Delilah’s relationship continues with a few more dates. He is concerned about the appearance of the second Delilah and talked with Callahan about it. He was at the theater when the opera singer fell from the rafters. He notices that Delilah seems to be a little run down and declines an invitation to join Eli and Angelina up in North End. He is currently at The Patriot Hotel.

Jeb

Jeb finally wrangled himself an Ashen! Turned out that the Ashen are some form of walking dead. He, Felicity and Alexander took the Ashen over to MIT where Alexander did a preliminary analysis of the creature. Jeb and Felicity went to get some books from the library. Jeb decided he’d continue to push Felicity’s buttons by finding another one of her mother’s other romance novels, but while he was searching for the “women’s literature” section, he came across Callahan talking with Delilah, a black coated, confederate sword strapped Delilah. He followed them down a hallway and was eventually caught by Delilah. Turns out she and Callahan had need of a man with his particular talents to help them bind the manitou of a Harrowed named Cassie. In exchange for his services, Delilah mentioned that she will answer 1 yes or no question, within reason.

He gained access to the Star Chamber’s library where he familiarized himself with the technique used to bind the manitou, basically an extended version of the Test of Wills he does as part of his spell casting. He spent significant time with a book called “Rituals of the Black Circle.” He manages to bind Cassie’s manitou, and it turns out the girl is flipping insane, though in her ramblings she did same some important things about the future. Jeb finished up his time at the Star Chamber by doing some more research into the black gem he read about previously. He found a few mentions of it in Egypt and the Middle East, eventually making its way to Europe. It’s last known whereabouts were in Spain, where is was referred to as “The Heart of Darkness.” Jeb is currently still in the Star Chamber.

Felicity

When Jeb didn’t some back, Felicity lugged all the books over to the Ashen’s examination room. Of course Alexander had already packed up and planned to leave.
The mission was a success. Felicity talked her way past the guard and managed to find the papers that they were looking for. They were nearly caught by a different guard, but as he walked in Alexander kissed Felicity (leaving him nauseous and her slightly flustered) and they played it off as though they were trying to act out a scene from “Prates of Gibraltar.”
They managed to get the papers to Mitch, who is supposed to deliver them to Ned MacRael, their contact in the North End. They are currently at The Patriot hotel awaiting further instructions.

Eli
Eli investigated a dead body to the best of his ability. Now he’s going to go gamble in the North End. Then he’ll probably have some sex. Then he’s going to have a Very Bad and Prophetic Dream. But right now we’re at the “going to gamble” part.

Kai

Somewhere between acquiring a small orphan boy, getting his sword back and sleeping nekkid in Jeb’s bed, Kai has found his way back to Chinatown and seems to be in Kang’s good graces. Now if only track down the little boy’s missing sister. And if only the boy wouldn’t try to climb buildings in the rain, and not crawl through air ducts and nearly get caught the very embodiment of Yellow Peril. Kai is currently at Kang’s apartments.

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Unreasonable Reason
"Well you can't do that with a pegleg, you'll get an infection." - Alexander Smoot

8/11 I will be posting a general update of tonight session and last session

Eli

As the party finished at the Higgins estate, Eli ran into an old friend, Mitch from Hooperville! Mitch revealed that he decided to get as far away as possible from Hooperville after the instance of the zombie cows. So he moved up to Boston and got a job with an Irish butcher by the name of Ned McCray up on the North side seeing as how “them Irish got funny accents too.”

After a bit of Brandy, Claudia mentions to Eli that some of the guest rooms have been switched since Master Kang will not be staying in the estate and that we will now be staying in the room intended for Senator Braxton from New Hampshire. Slightly tipsy, Eli makes his way to his room to find a lovely lady in fancy red dress waiting for him. She introduced herself as Angelina and quickly figured out that Eli was NOT Senator Braxton. She seemed to be unperturbed by this and merely stated that she had been contracted to accompany the gentleman occupying this room for a week. A flustered Eli suggested going about town. They went to the Orpheus Hall to listen to the famous opera singer (running into Cobb and Delilah, who made it abundantly clear they did not wish to be disturbed). Eli then took Angelina out to a bar for a drink, and he proceeded to get a bit sloshed. Angelina took him home and tried to get him ready for bed by taking off his clothes and he protested on his religious grounds. After a bit of back and forth, it was agreed that they would sleep in the bed together, and that she would not attempt to “violate his personage” unless he wished it. Well apparently while thrashing about in his sleep due his night terrors, he touched something that made Angelina think it was time to violate his personage. And he just kind of went with it. Jesus will understand.

He then had a very awkward conversation with Claudia the next morning. Apparently it was a little loud.

Felicity

It’s Felicity’s birthday! She wakes up to find a book from Simon on her nightstand. He tells her that it is a book of all his formulations (except one) encoded in Ancient Greek so that the average layperson would be unable to decipher them. Felicity decided to head out to a bookstore and see if she can find anything to help her translate. She ran into Delilah, who accompanied her to the store. At the bookstore, Felicity came across a “woman’s fiction” shelf that had a book titled “The Pirates of Gibraltar” by Victoria Smoot.

Jeb
Got his way into the Capital by telling them he is a member of the Audubon Society. He managed to gain after hours access by talking to Bernard. He continues to investigate the fire zone.

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Honor
"No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor. " -Thomas Carlyle

Day 1 in Boston

Felicity
She was chatting with Claudia when Alexander told her that he was leaving for a bit and to meet him at the hotel later. Claudia invited her to stroll around the neighborhood. Claudia asked Felicity many questions about living in England. She eventually left to return to the hotel to find Alexander writing in his notebook again and nursing bruised knuckles. He cheerfully told her he went to the library and punched an Irishman…though not necessarily in that order.
He also informed her that he successfully managed to make contact with a fellow British agent while wandering the North End under the guise needing to find the boxing match. Normally a posh Brit dandying about the North End would draw undue attention, fortunately everyone was too busy wondering what a Celestial was doing there.
(GM Note to Kelsey, let me know if there is anything in particular you want to add to this downtime. You cannot, however, interact with any of the PCs.)

Eli
Had several…interesting encounters in the Higgins estate. To be updated.

Jeb
Jeb left the party to see if he could find some gambling. He discovered he might be able to find some illegal though respectable games in the downtown area after dark. If he wanted anything daytime he’d have to head to the North End and deal with the immigrants. Or he could try his luck at Mah Jong in Chinatown. He decided to forego that for now and chatted up some people about Higgins (the person he talked to this time had a very pro-Higgins position) and the Fire Zone. He found out that the folks over at MIT were studying the Fire Zone to discover why everything combusts in the area. He decided that going to MIT might be interesting, but went back to the hotel to pick up Alexander, in case he needed a science or academic type. At the hotel he ran into Agent Callahan, who was waiting for Cobb, and won a dollar from Delilah playing poker.
Research
After picking up Alexander, he went over to MIT. It seems that “new science” has quite a hold on the institution as evidenced by a young man he found in one of the courtyards (YEAH!). The men were directed to office of Professor Crosby, head of Paranormal Research. Crosby was surprisingly sensible and sane and they had an informative talk about the Fire Zone. Crosby reiterated that the prevailing thought on the Zone is that it sit upon a ghost rock despsit and that the fumes accumulate and ignite. Alexander confirmed that the instances of spontaneous human combustion in the Zone are in line with what he knows of the end stages of severe ghost rock fever. Both scientist theorized the people living in the zone may have built up some sort of tolerance. Jeb suggesting trying to catch one of the inhabitants, and Crosby indicated this might be worthy of “hazard pay.” Crosby granted Jeb & Alexander access to MIT’s library to help them prepare. The results of their research is forthcoming.

Cobb
That sly dog finally put the moves of Delilah. They set a date to go to a fancy French restaurant and then to the Orpheus Music Hall to hear Sophia Bernadi sing. Before they left for the evening, Cobb ran into Agent Callahan in the lobby of the Patriot. Callahan indicated that he would like to meet for a drink with Cobb and chat. They agreed to meet the next day in the evening at Huzzah’s up near the North End.
Cobb and Delilah then set out on a very pleasant evening with only 2 minor hiccups. During dinner, Cobb noticed that they were being tailed by an Agent. He confronted the Agent at the bar, who indicated he was there too look out for for Cobb. After dinner, slightly before 9PM Delilah developed a nosebleed. Cobb was concerned but Delilah insisted that it was nothing and promised to let Dr. Smoot take a look at her later. They continued to the Music Hall and had a grand time. The evening ended with Cobb & Delilah sleeping together, though of course Cobb is ever the proper gentleman the next morning.

Kai
After Kang & his entourage left the party Kai got progressively more uncomfortable at the stares from the surrounding guests. He saw Alexander writing furiously in his notebook in the corner so he went to sit next to the doctor. Alexander eventually realized that social protocol requires him to interact with Kai so they chatted for a moment where, of course, Alexander managed to inadvertently insult Kai’s intelligence. Then, Alexander got all excited and suggested that they head to the North End and find “proper boxing match.” They left the party and went to the North End where Alexander seemed to wander about aimlessly while Kai got more and more frustrated. Alexander revealed that he spent some time in the Orient in the past and actually liked the Chinese, he even speaks a few words of Manderian. They eventually found the boxing match, had a friendly few rounds where they bunch each other in the chest in a few times as McWaldorf & McSatler apparently heckled them from the stands. Eventually they punched McWaldorf in the face and made a run for it in the chaos.
In the evening, Kai changed he clothes and went to the Golden Dragon for his meeting with Kang. When he arrived on the rooftop he was greeting by Red Petal Su. She accused him of being an honorless deserter and challenged him to a fight. The two martial artists battled, with Su having a slight edge. Eventually she managed to score a wound to his abdomen with a narcotic laced knife, causing Kai to fall to the ground as the drug worked its way through his system. Kang appeared at this point. Su tried to play off the wound as being more severe, but Kang saw through the ruse. He slapped his daughter and accused her of being weak and sentimental. He then declared that Kai was to be left to “The Mercy of the Ancestors,” a normally lethal punishment that involved flogging someone until the flesh on their back it torn away and often the vertebrae are exposed. It is said that only those who are blessed by the ancestors will survive. Kang took great relish in the punishment, taking nearly 15 minutes to complete the whipping. In his drugged state, Kai did not immediately die from shock but after they left him on the rooftop there was no doubt he was going to die soon. In his delirium, he realized that there was someone on the roof with him, a women. She said:
“Look at you. A man so marked by violence. But can you be something more? I hope she was right about you.”
He then felt a hand on his back and soothing warmth as he went unconscious. The only thing about the women he can identify are her black boots.
He then spent the next several hours going in and out of a delirious consciousness where he was certain that a monkey was taking care of him. He fully came to his sense just before dawn to find his back bandaged and treated and a small lanky boy, about 10 or 11 years old, watching over him. He tried to engage the boy in conversation, only to discover that the boy has no tongue. Kai tried to leave but the boys kept following and trying to get Kai to sit dawn. Eventually Kai just told the boy to come with him.

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Consider the Past
"Consdier the past, and you shall know the future" ~ Chinese Proverb

The posse arrive in Boston and began to get their baring.

Eli
Eli immediately went to the Back Bay district to meet with his sister. He experienced a little trouble getting through the checkpoint, but was eventually escorted through without incident though he had to leave his gun behind. The reunion was joyous and he plans to stay at the estate for the foreseeable future.

Jeb
Jeb seems to have gone into an exploratory mode and found out a bit about the city (covered below). He found out where to buy a new suit, get some mighty fine sarsaparilla. Tried to find himself a high class lady friend but was unsuccessful…this time.

Cobb
Cobb is walking around in his Western finery and with guns in tow, authorities be damned. Agent Callahan cleared him to carry his guns to the lunch party, but warned that others might not overlook the fact that Cobb’s armed. he got bored with the fine lunch party and he and Delilah ran off to have some fun on their own.

Felicity
She made acquaintances with Claudia and is maintaining her cover as Alexander’s wife as he seems to be doing…something?

Kai
Kai ran into some trouble trying to navigate the white neighborhoods of Boston. He had to pretend that he’s Jeb’s…servant? Bodyguard? As soon as he could he went to Chinatown to find someone who could repair his sword. He found a man willing to do it for $16, and was told to come back for it in 4 days. Upon arriving at the Higgins estate he discovered that Warlord Kang one of the guests of honor. Kang immediately demanded that Kai join his retinue. When the party was over, Kang had Zhǎnshǒu inform Kai to be on the roof of the Golden Dragon come nightfall.

Alexander
The Doctor has been writing furiously in his notebook as of late and seems to be even less willing socially engage than usual.

Delilah
Tried to lessen the tension between Kang and Kai and failed miserably. Ran off with Cobb before the party was over.

Misc Facts

  • Kang’s prescience seems to have something to do with the increasing concerns over Chinese immigration. There was also a lot of flowery talk about uniting the East and the West.
  • The Beacon Hill area is currently uninhabitable and is referred to as “The Fire Zone.” The neighborhood burned to the ground in 1872 and further attempt to build anything on the site as met with fiery results as well. Claudia mentioned that she heard something about ghost rock fumes, and that there are still people living in the zone.
  • And lots of other things that I hope you wrote down.
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Transitions
“The devil is in the details” - German Proverb

Following the advice of Wyatt Earp, the posse got on the first train out of Dodge heading towards Boston. The first 2 days are fairly uneventful. On the 3rd day the train was forced to a halt due to sabotage on the rail line. The posse opted to get off the train and go to the next town to wait and hear for word of when the train will resume it’s journey.

In town, Jeb decided to do some digging on the sabotage and find out if there had been any suspicious characters about town. He discovered there were 2 men and 1 women who had puttered about town and then headed off to the old (supposedly haunted Barlow residence). Jeb and Eli, being the curious sort, decide to go check it out.

One they get to the house, they discover the corpse of 2 men in the house. Right then, Felicity is possessed by a spirit known as a “Weeping Widow.” She designates Eli as her “beloved” and attempts to literally kiss him to death. When other posse members interfere, she calls them murderers and tries to kill them WITH ACID TEARS OF DOOM!! For some reason, Jeb and Kai decide that they are going to try to kill her without any further ado. Kai hits her with his sword and damages it on her acid tears (sword now has a reliability of 18)

Eli throws up a protection miracle and Felicity temporarily regains control and Jeb and Kai (sort of) decide to stop their attacks. They eventually decide to try an exorcism. Jeb and Alexander obtain materials and obtain the help of local priest, Father O’Mally. After 8 hours and a minor struggle, Eli, Jeb, Alexander, Delilah and the Father manage to complete the exorcism and banish the spirit.

They return into town and discover the train will resume at 6PM.

GM Notes

  • Though you don’t know it now, a number of very, very important things happened in this session. Just because you didn’t get to Boston doesn’t mean it’s a throwaway. In fact, from this point forward, it would be foolish indeed to treat any session as a throwaway.
  • I find it very interesting that the when Felicity got possessed that the go to reaction was: “Wow, this person who has been my friend/companion obviously has something wrong with them in a house I know to be haunted, I need to start attacking her soul with lethal spells /slicing her body up with a sword.” And Eli and Cobb don’t get a pass on this, it took the intervention of Delilah and Alexander to stop Jeb and Kai. Next time, no GM intervention and I let it play out to its natural conclusion. It’s not like the Reckoners make sure that these sort of Abominations exist in order to trick the Heroes into killing each other, right? And it’s not like I have an in game mechanic to track evil actions by your character that will ultimately turn them into an NPC tool of the Reckoners and that attempted murder of your possessed party member may count as little evil.
    I’m not telling you to be a saint. Reluctant, cranky, curmudgeonly, Anti-Heroes are all well and good. Moral ambiguity is great. I will intentionally put some of you in no-win situations that have no “good” answer. But if you seek out evil action your character will eventually turn into a Villain, which means they turn into an NPC.
    This is your one warning so you’re not surprised if you run around killing innocent people and I one day reach over and take your sheet and tell you to make a new character.
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Hiatus!
Tune in Next Time!

Manifest Destiny will be on a 2-3 week hiatus! Tune in late May for the next episode of The New Riders. In the meantime, check out our new trailer on the home page for what’s in store for the posse.

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In the Jailhouse Now
So what exactly happened here?

Jailhouse Intro

This was a session to just let the players have fun and tell their own story. They were given the above video as an intro and had to work from there. The man in the purple suit with the sheriff’s badge is Wyatt Earp during his time as sheriff of Dodge. Here is the story they told:

Jeb stayed in town while Cobb visited his old home. The posse went with Cobb. Nothing too exciting happened there. Cobb picked up some of his belongings and went back into town. When they got back to town Jeb had collected an IOU from gent who said that a baker in Dodge owed him money.

The party decided to ride to Dodge directly instead of heading north and taking the train. On the way they found a caravan that had been ravaged. Horses were gone and no bodies to be found, but there was tacky blood on the canvas. In the wreckage Felicity found an abandoned baby.

They took the baby with them to Dodge. At the town limits the posse had to turn in their guns in accordance with the gun law. Cobb got to keep his because he’s a lawman and friends with Earp. Kai got to keep his sword because there is no sword law.

The menfolk go searching for the thing that killed the caravan and find a jackalope and “scare it away.” The women go to find a wet nurse for the baby and find out that a creature known as a “two-face” is most likely responsible for killing the family.

It turns out the men didn’t actually scare the jackalope away and it followed Eli and cursed him with bad luck. Eli ended up eating an entire plate of bad mussels that eventually caused him to pass out.

The rest of the posse when looking for Jeb who had gone to collect his money from the baker. Turned out the man wasn’t really a baker, and he had a man-on for Confederate boys. Jeb came flying through a window and a fight ensued. Kai killed one of the men with his sword, which kind of exposed the flaw in the gun law. Earp showed up at that point and took everyone into custody.

Eventually, the posse killed the two-face in an epic (and glossed over) battle and reunited the baby with her family in Dodge. They were also advised to leave town post haste, since Earp could claim the stabbing was in self defense, but sticking around wouldn’t be wise.

As the posse was getting ready to pack up and go, a letter arrived for Eli, from his estranged sister in Boston.

And with that, The New Riders is going on a 3 week hiatus while the Marshal and her husband are out of the country. Tune in late May for the next episode!

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100 Ways to Do it Wrong
I didn't fail the test, I just found 100 ways to do it wrong - Benjamin Franklin

After the battle in Tombstone the posse decides to skedaddle before the Cowboys have a chance to regroup. The majority of the posse wishes to honor Mama Jolou’s last request and take her ashes to Canton, but Cobb is strangely resistant. He refuses to rell the party why he doesn’t want to go to Canton, causing bafflement and some called him cowardly. He insists that taking Mama Jolou to Canton is foolish, and says they should just bury her ashes in her bayou home when they get back to New Orleans. Now matter what the ultimate plan is, heading back East for the moment seems the best option.

The Train Ride

The posse hops on the rail and begins to travel. As the train reaches New Orleans Delilah begins to get sick. Alexander insists that he’s never heard of a disease that gets worse based on geographic location. As it gets worse, Jeb decides to take the opportunity to cast hunch on her, to see if he can get a glimpse of why she’s sick and what makes her so unusual. As he places his hands both he and Delilah start screaming and Jeb collapses into a seizure.

An Apocalyptic Vision
Jeb immediately knows that his vision is not working the way as expected. He feels himself lying on the ground, and when he looks at his hands he seems almost spectral. He pushes himself off the ground and surrounded by chaos. He’s in a place with impossibly tall buildings that seem to be fully electrified. He sees a sign that says “Broadway.” People are dressed extremely oddly, and many of the women are wearing spike heeled shoes with immodestly short skirts. A voice booms out of nowhere “We’re back with Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve 2099!” and a huge, strange, animated drawing of an overly tanned man appears on some sort of magic picture window. The crow begins the countdown to New Years 2100, and just as they are shouting “Happy New Years!” A strange an overly bight point of green light appears in the sky. The light expands into a skull shape. Everyone stares for a moment in complete silence. The silence is broken as the skull rushes toward the ground as it makes a noise that sounds like the screaming of the damned. Jeb watches as people begin to run and panic as the light seems to just dissolve the building as it rushes down. Just as it’s about to hit him he wakes up in the car.

Back On the Train

Jeb wakes up and Delilah is passed out. Eli sticks his head in and says he heard 2 girls screaming. Jeb asks if anyone know a guy by the name of “Dick Clark.” There are some bad dick jokes made.

Getting Cobb to Canton

Once they get off the train in New Orleans, Cobb once again tries to resist going to Canton while the rest of the posse tries to force him. As he tries to hand off the box of Mama’s ashes to someone else, he finds himself mystically paralyzed. The party takes to opportunity to chloroform him and get him on a river boat heading north. Cobb comes too just as they are arriving in Canton and he is pissed.

It’s Werewolf Day!

Cobb finds himself unbelievably tired after his drugged out trip and lies down to get some real sleep, doing his best to avoid everyone in town. He wakes up at around 6:30 in the evening, to the sound of god awful music coming from downstairs. It turns out that Jeb lost a bet to some townsfolk and had to sing a song…only Jeb can’t sing. Felicity and Alexander just stand their in horror, Eli ends up having to do-si-do and Kai eventually knocks Jeb out. Cobb tries to leave the hotel, but he is recognized by George Sharpe. George tells him that he thinks the wolves are back, they’ve been savaging wagons but no one’s been hurt yet. Cobb wanders the streets and gets ambushed by the wolves. He is easily defeated and passes out from bloodloss…

And he wakes up back in his bed at 6:30PM as horrible music plays from downstairs. And it happens again…and again…and again. Sometimes he’s killed, sometimes one of the women he is with are killed and at least one time Eli managed to blow all them up.

He finally decides to scatter Mama Jolou’s ashes and fights the wolves on consecrated ground and finally beat them. Only to feel himself passing out again.

This time when he “woke up” he was in Mama Jolou’s hut in the swamp, only Mama Jolou was looking considerably younger. Mama Jolou admits that she is responsible for what is happening to him. But not in the way he thinks. She mentions that she is being “tested” for what she is to become and made an error by using her powers to subvert his free will. She tells him that he must choose whether to face Canton or turn away for good, knowing that turning away will mark him. She tells him that he is as full of rage as any of the wolves, and asks what is more important, the man or the beast? It also mentioned that Peregrine has great faith in him, though Mama is evasive on the details. She then sent him back even further in time. To the train just after Jeb has his vision.

Cobb’s Journey

This time around Cobb decides to go to Canton. He prepares for fighting the werewolves if needed and sort of explains his situation to the rest of the posse. He arrives in Canton early in the day and discovers that there is an Injun living in the hills near where wolf caves are. He heads off into the hills with the posse where he meets with the Injun. He is referred to as Alpha, and reveals that Canton is built on lands that once belonged to his people. He also seems to know Delilah, and calls her Wolf Tamer though she does not recognize him. The rest of Alpha’s pack shows up. One of the members, the Greater Wolf is revealed to be Walt, Cobb’s brother in law who got infected by during the initial raid on the town. Walt is enraged that the wolves are not attacking Cobb and transforms on the spot, as he does, the area around him becomes darker, tainted. Walt’s wolf form grows even larger and starts foaming at the mouth as he lashes out at both the posse and his own pack. They manage to take Walt down, and Eli heals Alpha’s infected wounds. Cobb chooses to end the killing, and allows Alpha and his remaining pack to go free. He then looks for a way to get Walt’s body back to town respectfully and sees that he is buried next to Rebecca. Thus ended the 1st arc of Cobb’s personal story.

Effects on Cobb

Thanks to Cobb’s decidedly non-vengeful actions towards the man/wolf who caused him all this grief to begin with, Cobb has lost his vengeful hinderence. Instead he now has his personal edge/hinderence:

Show Me a Hero…

For the moment, this functions are the heroic hinderence. It represents how Cobb is heavily inclined to help people right wrongs and fight injustice, regardless of his own personal well being. He can be as ornery as he wants about it, act like he’s taking care of a bunch of idiots, or if he really wants to he can choose not to help. However the more dangerous the situation is, the bigger the rewards will be. If you want to get an idea of how this will likely turn out for him in the end, find the other half of the quote.

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