The story so far…..
After the events in the Ojos de Gato mine the posse settled in Boonville for a week picking up a few skills and going on with life as usual. Upon taking Toothless Pete’s old tent in Miner’s Row and earning himself a week’s wages Rufus is preparing to head back to the Palace Hotel to bring his wife, Pawleene to their new home in Boonville.
(A small-time Tong, The Huà Lóng, were harassing a courier in a saloon in the Red Lantern Town district of Shan Fan and exchanged words with him. After a heated debate, the men drew weapons and went at it like hungry coyotes. The courier got in his licks but caught a bad roundhouse that snapped his neck. The men of the Tong rifled through the man’s belongings, finding the Last Will and Testament of Thaddeus F. Rankine and the deed to Rankine Labs; complete with signature signing it over to Rufus Rankine. Figuring that the courier was looking for Rufus Rankine, the Tong began using its local resources to locate the man so they could hold the property for ransom. A sister of a Tong member currently working at the Palace Hotel let her sibling know that a Rufus Rankine was registered at the hotel.)
On the road again
Having only one day left on his wife’s hotel stay Rufus meets with his employer, Beatrice, at the CelesTEAl Gardens to discuss his leave of absence. In a rather crude fashion Ms. Gregorson scoffs, “I hope you don’t expect to get paid.” Feeling grateful for Rufus’ assistance with the strange creatures in the mine though she agrees to accompany him with her bounty hunter Mr. Everlocke. Leaving from Father Shen’s Jesus sees the old monster slaying team together and approaches, overhearing talk of a trip to Shan Fan.
Welcome to the hotel, California
The posse rides the lifting room to the top floor without incident along with the Chinese operator. Beatrice tips the man a quarter for his troubles when they reach the top floor of the posh hotel. Leading the group to the room Rufus takes point in the hallway and is the first to notice that the room’s door is ajar.
Upon entering the room registered to the Rankines the posse sees obvious signs of struggle. The main room has been tossed, every drawer from the desk in the room is on the ground, papers are scattered about, and the chair that is kept at it is busted to pieces. The lavish bedroom is a wreck, the art on the wall has been destroyed and lies in ruin on the ground. Characters making search rolls in the room begin to uncover the following clues.
- TN 7: A butterfly knife with the characters 畫 龍 (translates to ‘Painted Dragon’) inlaid on the handle in gold filigree.
- TN 9: A book of matches with the name “The Whiskey Trough” written on the inside.
- TN 11: A human finger under the bed, it appears to have been ripped off its previous owner. A foolproof Medicine check reveals that it was bit off.
- The party can also track down any employee to try and overawe them and learn that the maid, Chin Daiyu, has a brother in The Huà Lóng. Using a Streetwise roll (TN 9) they can also learn that the Hua Long recently kidnaped a woman from the hotel to hold for ransom from her rich, land-owning husband.
Sittin’ at a bar
After finding a butterfly knife and book of matches with the name The Whiskey Trough written on the inside of it the posse decides to find this bar and ask a few questions. Deciding they would try their luck with Red Lantern Town first they head that way and find the first person on the street to ask for directions. Not wanting to wait for the man to speak Jesus stares him down and intimidates him into leading the group to the bar.
The man on the street leads our team down a side alley in this grimy part of town and to a canvas tent with a poorly painted sign reading “The Whiskey Trough” hanging above an open flap that serves as the doorway to the establishment. Behind the dirty bar the owner, Scooter greets his new customers and asks what he can do for them. Ever the gentleman Mr. Everlocke buys a round of shots for his traveling compatriots before he moves off to the corner to begin chatting with one of the working girls. Sitting at a table in the corner of the large tent four tattooed Chinese men slowly sip drinks, a quick glance around reveals that another two men with similar tattoos are also in the bar.
Jesus asks Scooter for a light for his stogie and is provided with a book of matches from behind the bar. Before handing the matches to his customer though Scooter flips it open and scrawls the name of his bar on the inside flap.
Rufus shows Scooter the butterfly knife they found back in the hotel room. With a panicked look on his face, Scooter quickly tosses a bar rag over the knife and slides it back over to Rufus. Leaning in he whispers “You need to go, now.”
One of the tattooed men at the table notices the commotion at the bar and moves over to Rufus. As Mr. Rankine turns around the tattooed man asks, “What’s that?” and motions toward the rag in his hand. Rufus shows the knife to the man who then attempts to punch him. Being no stranger to a Huà Lóng bar fight Scooter ducks under the bar.
- If the party found the finger in the room they should make a Cognition check (TN 7) to notice a tattooed Chinese man at the bar with a bloody bandage on his hand covering the stub where his finger used to be.
(After following the clues from the Palace Hotel the party arrives at The Whiskey Trough. From speaking with Scooter or other patrons they are able to learn of a recent fight in the saloon that lead the death of a white man nobody had seen before at the hands of The Huà Lóng. After the brawl, the tong went through the man’s belongin’s taking his boots and an envelope from his jacket and then left the body to be dealt with accordingly.)
Those kicks were fast as lightin’
The posse engages in a fight with the members of the tong that were drinking at The Whiskey Trough. During the fight their leader, Chin Feng jumps on the bar and runs across it kicking Jesus in the face, breaking his nose. Beatrice catches a nasty spin kick to her ribs that almost knocks the wind out of her as another gang member gives Ryan Everlocke a close shave with his signature butterfly knife. In retaliation Everlocke pulls his flashy pistol and begins slappin’ iron, winging the man that had kicked his employer in the gut. The man yowls in pain as he collapses on the ground.
After the posse began using deadly force with the tong they switch to dealing lethal damage with their advanced martial arts training. Chin Feng calls on his evil powers to harden his skin causing it to become as hard as a crab shell offering him some protection. Upon witnessing this act Ms. Gergorson draws her pistol and opens fire at him where he stands on the bar top. With lighting quick reflexes Feng snatches the bullet before it connects with him. The rest of the party opens fire on him and he catches all but one bullet fired from Jesus which goes through his hand. Rufus then levels off his signature shovel gun and lets loose both barrels into Feng’s chest.
As his men drop around him Feng makes one last kick at Jesus before fleeing the bar tent with a chestful of buckshot. Jesus chases after him shooting and missing, hitting an innocent bystander in the next tent over. As Feng pulls further away Ryan begins taking chase as well although he is warded off when the tattooed vipers on Feng’s forearms leap to life and snap at him. Jesus stops to begin calling on God’s favor to heal the gunshot wound he accidentally inflicted on the innocent wretch while Feng makes his getaway. As this action unfolds Rufus disembowels one of the remaining Tong members with the head of shovel gun as Beatrice moves towards the front door of the tent seeing a lynch mob coming down the street.
Sunday bloody Sunday
After the firefight the posse takes one of the still living tong members prisoner; the ever-intimidating Jesus “convinces” the man to give up Chin Feng’s hideout. Fearing for his life at the hands of Jesus the man divulges the whereabouts of a warehouse in The Skids where Pawleene is being held captive for ransom.
At the warehouse, the posse engages in a firefight with Feng and his men who have Pawleen hostage in the upper floor. As the tide turns against the Tong two members speed out of the warehouse in a steam wagon, one driving, the other manning the swivel-mounted gatling gun in the bed. As the wagon races passed them Rufus shoves Feng into its path, causing the driver to momentarily lose control.
In the confusion, Rufus drives his shovelhead into Feng’s chest, rending his body in twain. Steadying her hand Beatrice takes aim at the wagon’s driver, squeezing off a shot into his upper shoulder. The force of the blow stuns him and he slumps over the wheel, turning it to careen towards a wall. Unable to recover in time the wagon collides with the wooden wall, throwing both driver and gunner into the wooden shards of the building, impaling them both.