Dead Moon Saloon
A campaign set in the late 1800s New Mexico, in which a desperate town experiences horror...
- Ace Stonefield
- Delilah Carson
- Jacque Dubois
- Christopher Wiggins
- Buck Olsen
It's some time in the 1880s. Grave Lake, New Mexico was founded in a forested high country on the shores of a small and shallow lake some fifty years ago. A gold mine brought quick riches and the railroad was planning on coming through when the mine dried up 15 years ago. From its peak population of 2000, only around 300 continue hanging on, prospecting, farming, ranching. Most of the standing structures in town are vacant, unless you count the rodents and birds.
The Dead Moon Saloon (and brothel) is the longest running business in the county, and that's where you are today.
We might play this same scenario again, and again, and again....it's all a simulation, after all.
One hot and dusty afternoon at the Dead Moon Saloon, 10-year-old Agatha McGillicutty arrives on her little pony, blood spattered, feverish, and drifting into unconsciousness. A local shopkeeper drops his packages and carries her into the saloon.
Sheriff Buck Olsen directs the shopkeeper to place the girl on a table for examination. Madame Delilah Carson, who knows the girl, runs over to help, but it's too late. The girl has a seizure and stops breathing.
Gunslinger Ace Stonefield comes over and looks at her, and, after a moment, draws his weapon. The Sheriff knocks his hand aside, inquiring about his intentions.
But just then, she awakens, skin pale, eyes glowing green, and a blood-curdling howl on her lips. Ace faints from horror, and Delilah vomits.
Preacher Christopher Wiggins, tattered bible in hand, begins an exorcism ritual. She swipes at him, scratching his neck, and a cacophony of gunfire erupts. It is Big Jim Smith, the bartender, who ends the zombie horror.
Sheriff Olsen begins recruiting a posse, and minutes later, the party departs for Haven, the town 10 miles up into the trees where the McGillicutty clan resides.
An hour and a half up into the pines, the party hears a women in distress. Comely Betsy Thompson, wife of Thompson the woodcutter, is rushing out of their rural cabin to flag the party down.
The sheriff asks the preacher to stand by on the roadside, and mountain-man Jacques Dubois to ride a perimeter while he, Delilah, and Ace ride up the house to check things out.
Betsy says her husband is in the midst of a feverish seizure, to which the sheriff responds, "Get everyone out of there!"
The teenage shotgun-toting son, younger daughter, and grandma come out, and the sheriff dispatches the fresh zombie.
He then gives a hastily scrawled note to the devastated family, asking them to go back to Grave Lake, and give the note to proprietor Big Jim Smith. The note summons all available forces from the U.S. Marshals' office down in Santa Fe.
Upon return to the road, it's discovered the preacher is missing, and Dubois reports that he'd laid down in the bushes earlier, but now has apparently wandered off.
With that, the party carries on towards Haven.
On approach to the rope bridge shortcut to Haven, big wolves with green glowing eyes rush down out of the forest.
Dubois, 30 yards ahead, gallops towards the bridge.
The sheriff cuts loose the preacher's horse, and two wolves break off to devour it. But there are still too many, and the party accelerates towards the bridge, soon perceiving that a pair of hillbillies are on the far side trying to chop it down.
Ace the Gunslinger decides to tempt fate and turn to fight. But he is thrown from his horse and is quickly set upon by zombie wolves. He lasts 3 seconds, firing his weapon up into the trees in vain.
The dangerous speeds and uneven terrain result in the sheriff also being thrown. Wolves endure his first few bullets, and then he falls, and is devoured.
Delilah stays in the saddle and focuses on getting across the bridge, where Dubois has injured one of the hillbillies and intimidated the other.
As soon as she is across, wolves in pursuit, Dubois whacks the bridge supports three times, and the whole thing unravels, and the wolves and the bridge drop into the rocky chasm below.
Delilah and Dubois leave the hillbillies and decide to abort the Haven mission and just get back to town. But they're exhausted and the sun's going down, so they only get as far as the Thompson cabin.
Some time before dawn, they are awakened by a zombie preacher angling in for a bite of living flesh. A scuffle ensues in which the nude protagonists attempt to defend against the voracious preacher's bites. Delilah batters the creature with her parasol/baton while Dubois uses a coat rack and fists as he maneuvers towards his gear. He is bitten several times.
Eventually, Delilah gets to her .44 Derringer and Dubois to his enormous machete, and in an instant, the zombie preacher is annihilated.
Instinctively aware of what must happens next, Delilah tenderly embraces the mountain man's face to her bosom, and runs a long knife up into his neck.
As the sun rises, Delilah Carson rides back to Grave Lake alone, forever changed.
Agatha arrives on an exhausted horse and falls off in front of the saloon, unconscious. All but Ace rush out to see what's happened. The girl is carried in and Delilah sets to cleaning her up.
The oozing wound on her arm is discovered, and she animates, to everyone's horror. Jacques passes out. The Sheriff freezes up.
Ace blasts her repeatedly with his pistol, lowing holes in her little body as Delilah whacks her in the head with her parasol. The zombie-girl leaps at Ace and deals him a terrible wound, but his gun-arm is intact, and he blasts her brain to bits.
Afterwards, there is a greater appetite for whiskey than investigation, and the party devolves into alcoholic mayhem after torching the girl's remains.
In the morning, though, an old flame of the Sheriff prevails upon his sense of duty, and the group departs to inform young Agatha's family of her demise.
When they reach the cabin of the woodcutter and his family, comely Betsy Thompson's calling for help and the party (eventually) obliges. Her two kids are standing on the porch and Betsy says her husband isn't well.
Two minutes later, the zombie woodcutter, grandma, and the teenage lad are dead. Betsy and her little daughter wander into the woods in the general direction of town, shattered.
As the sun sets and the group approaches the precarious rope bridge, a pack of twenty wolves with green glowing eyes rushes down the mountain toward them. The preacher and sheriff climb trees. Jacques starts picking them off with his rifle.
But Delilah and Ace attempt to gallop across the bridge. It does no go well for Delilah - her horse panics, she breaks her leg, and the horse plunges into the ravine to certain death.
Then Ace spots two knuckleheads hacking at the ropes on the far side -- a combination of his bullets, intimidation, and Delilah's assertive tone chases them off.
But meanwhile, the insane wolves chew at the trunks, and the math doesn't work out. Both the preacher and sheriff fire into the pack, killing many, but the trees fall, and the two men perish before Jacques can kill the remaining beasts.
Stranded mid-bridge with a broken leg, Delilah crawls along, but Ace limps his way across and up the hill to the village of Haven after dark.
Between the several dozen rudimentary buildings recently killed men, women and children have been dismembered an chewed on in the dusty road. A green glow emanates from one of the furthest structures.
Ace fires a shot into the air, and six zombies emerge and lurch towards him, moving unnaturally.
The fastest is a pregnant woman who hops like a cricket, ten yards at a time.
Ace flees and almost reaches the bridge before she's caught up. He turns and blows her brains out -- but her unborn child claws its way out suddenly, eyes glowing, and chomps his leg before he annihilates it as well.
Delilah meanwhile is crawling back towards Jacques who has begun chopping at the ropes, anticipating the zombies will soon cross. After tearing Ace down, they do.
Delilah makes it across just in time, the bridge falls, and all but one of the zombies fall with it.
The exception is a blond-headed boy who leaps upon the prone Delilah and sinks fangs into her breast. Jacques tries to save her -- and misses, instead slaying Delilah with his axe.
Then, the boy sets to chewing on Jacques....
Agatha arrives on an exhausted horse and falls off in front of the saloon, unconscious. The pastor carries the girl in begins examining her. The oozing wound on her arm is discovered, and she animates, to everyone's horror.
The ladies on the balcony start screaming, Big Jim freezes up, and Delilah gasps. The creature crouches as if to leap at Pastor Wiggins, and he backs up, praying.
It leaps at him, making several attempts to slash though the soft flesh of his belly as he retreats, praying, knocking over furniture.
Delilah approaches with her .44 single-shot pistol and blasts through the monster's skinny femur, felling it. But it keeps screeching and crawling towards the pastor.
He lifts a chair and smashes it down on the beast, breaking ribs, but it keeps on coming.
Big Jim regains his senses and fires his shotgun, nearly separating the monster at the waist. But it keeps coming. He approaches, and obliterates the skull with a second shot. Silence, gunsmoke, brains.
A debate ensues, resulting in the pastor committing to tell the poor child's parents up in Haven, and Delilah using her charms to recruit a drifter-gunslinger, Ace, as a bodyguard.
They borrow a wagon and a cask of whiskey, and head up the road into the mountains.
As the party approaches the woodcutter's cabin, the door flings open and the wife/mom rushes out asking for help. Her husband is having a terrible seizure.
The pastor and Ace check it out while Delilah tends to the wife's panic and worry, in the process noting a red scratch at the woman's jawline.
The pastor tells the kids to go outside and they comply; grandma is sleeping soundly.
Ace stays in the doorway while the pastor goes out to examine the wound on the wife's neck.
Suddenly, Ace collapses, unconscious. And then a new monster appears in the doorway -- the woodcutter-zombie, snarling and shrieking.
The pastor freezes in horror.
The son, shotgun in hand but pointed down, says, "Dad?"
The creature leaps at the lad, tearing open his guts.
Delilah rushes forward, wrests control of the shotgun, and fires each barrel -- the second shot hits, blowing a 4" hole straight through the woodcutter's chest. But it's not enough. Spine obliterated, the creature struggles to regain its feet, giving Delilah time to smash its skull with a melon-sized rock.
After dark, the pastor drags the bodies into the house, sets it ablaze, and begins a rousing sermon to chase the devils away as grandma screams from within the inferno.
The shocked and disturbed party collects the little girl and opts to head back down the hill towards town.
With a makeshift torch, the party trundles down the rocky road in the black of night, Ace driving the wagon and Delilah on her horse, holding the sleeping child.
An ominous wolf howl causes them to accelerate anxiously. In their haste, Delilah rides into a tree branch and sustains a devastating fall -- she lands face-first on a jagged rock, disfiguring her and knocking her out cold, her once-lovely face now a bloody pulp.
The pastor jumps down to collect her limp body and the blinking girl. Seconds later a zombie wolf takes Delilah's horse down in a violent shrieking wreck.
All aboard the wagon now, Ace whips the horses into a frenzy and the wagon bounces on down the road.
A second wolf, at a full run, leaps across the wagon and knocks Ace right off, wolf jaws lodged under his armpit, his lungs punctured and arteries tearing. He's gone.
Somehow, Pastor Wiggins manages to keep Delilah and the girl on board while also getting control of the horses, and continues the descent to town, intending to pass right through Grave Lake and on to Santa Fe for spiritual guidance.