Friday, April 24, 2009


Ok, so it's obvious I haven't updated in a while (again.) This site will probably be inactive for a while until my friends and I play some more Gutshot.
If I make another post, I'll let folks know at Hawgleg (probably where most of my viewers come from (( all two of you :) )).

Folks are certainly welcome to submit material for this blog -- battle reports, background fiction, even of other towns and settings not in Hades County; there's plenty of Old West land to share! :) Just shoot me (Carmen) a note over at Hawgleg.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First day of spring

Yep, Been a long winter here in Hades County. When them snows come, there's not a word that leaves these borders. But the spring is come. The mining camps are coming out of frozen hiatus to dig their tunnels and hoard their riches, however meager that wealth may be. The saloons are opening their doors to let the fresh air purify the humanity that has hibernated in the hotel rooms. The first pioneers of the year have broke winter camp and are passing through the county, in long trains of wagons and oxen and horses, on their way to the other side of the mountains, across the desert, to better places.
The food has already been better with the return of foul and game and the thawing of the lakes and rivers. No more canned peas, canned corn, and no more damned canned beans!
The Triple Rock indians will soon be making their first raids against the ranches in the south of the county, looking to steal livestock and count coup.
And the first shipment of bottled beer from Arch City will be coming! Who'd a thunk it, beer in bottles shipped across the country. What times we live in.
And, with the first warming days will return the bad times. Thieves, bandits, robbers, highwaymen, murderers and politicians -- all who have been hidden away and are preparing for a wonderous array of misdeeds, like Dracula in his coffin arising for the new night of bloodletting and horror.
Yep, spring is here. A time of rebirth and a fresh start for all places of the world, except Hades County. Here, it's a time to clean out the guns, reload the shells and get ready to live or die.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

"I Shot Him: James Tooler, ruffian"

By Deacon Davidson
Editor, Infernal Herald

James Tooler had quarrel with me over letters I had published about his murderous cousin, Samuel "Blaze" Elliott, three months prior to the display of flying lead betwixt Tooler and me.

Tooler stood inebriated on the boardwalk outside of Slaughter’s Saloon facing the office of our good editor’s newspaper, The Infernal Herald. He called out five times, and every time the same sentence: "Editor! I got words to give you on the account you made of my cousin out’n Agartha!" A full minute had passed between each repetition, enough time for him to take another long draw of rotgut and to fill up on it’s immediate and temporary effect- that effect of being given a sense of (false) courage. And each round of transitionary courage was accompanied by his challenge of "words."

I, being that "editor," was given ample time to prepare myself because of the young ruffian’s lack to action. His courage, no matter how strong by whatever drink, could not survive a walk across the street at me. A stronger man would simply walk across the street, unsheath his Colt and get to work; no words would have been required. But "Jittery" James Tooler was scared. And his fear gave me pause; a man who shoots scared is a dangerous man.

After bridling myself with gun belt and holster, I opened the door of the Infernal office and stood fully visible to Tooler, 10 yards distance from toe to toe. Street traffic had already stopped after Tooler’s second or third repetition of "words," moments earlier.

"I’m here, sir," I said. "What are your words, man?"

Of course, known to the reader and to this writer, Tooler had no words not meant to be delivered by bullet. He stood there as steady as his whiskey-lined belly would allow him. Then came his draw.

He fumbled a bit at the dusty handle of his Colt but soon placed firm grip and jerked the weapon from its resting place. It hung limp in his hand as if the pistol weighed 100 pounds, while he pulled the hammer back with his thumb. A quick shot flew from the barrel and into the mud in the middle of the street, Tooler’s pistol having not been properly leveled before firing.

He cupped the pistol in both hands, more firmly, cocking the hammer with one thumb assisted by the other. Both his hands, this time, brought the gun to bear; Tooler’s aim had the proper latitude, but whiskey made the longitude a more unpredictable affair. The report of his second shot was followed by the shattering of glass of The Infernal’s front window, which many a reader may have noticed to be boarded up these last four days.

Having given a drunk man a fair chance, I drew my Schofield from my belly holster, careful not to rub the front sight against the inside of the holster (a skill I practice for faster draws so as to cut down on time by eliminating any unnecessary friction.) In one motion, I leveled the weapon, pulled back the hammer and took my aim.

In that time, Tooler, took aim for a third shot. Holding his aim, he gained courage enough to take a step toward me so as to better his chances by shortening the distance between us. It was only a pace, though his false courage may have told him he was standing face-to-face with me. Whiskey may be warm in the belly, but it will always lie to a man.

His third shot made a better account of itself splintering the wood not six inches from my left foot. His courage, better, his aim improving, I took no more chances and let loose my shot.
There was no dramatic death as portrayed on the stage or in operetta. There was no clutching of the wound, no slow festering, no final wishes, no eloquent cry of "mother!" Poor Tooler simply fell straight down, crumpled into a pile like an army tent struck, quickly and without ceremony.

This editor, as he always has, paid the fees for coffin and burial.

The window is replaced. The blood is scrubbed. And the people walk that street where another soul has been added to the grim tally.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Have not forgotten my few loyal readers. I've been busy with other projects. In the meantime, enjoy my painting/project blog at: You'll find all my Old West painting and construction articles along the right rail of that site.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Deacon "Deadline" Davidson, editor-in-chief, publisher, writer of The Infernal

There's good reason The Infernal (Hades County's only newspaper) is able to publish its inflammatory rhetoric week after week; It's backed up by Deacon "Deadline" Davidson and his pearl-handled, .45 caliber Schofield pistol. Deadline isn't considered the fastest draw, but he is certainly a crack shot and won't hesitate in a fight with his "critics." Even more insulting to those who have fallen to his words and his bullets, is that Deadline is an easterner. He's only been in Hades County for a year, though, anyone who has survived one year in the county has certainly learned enough to survive in most other places of ill-repute.

Deadline doesn't do a lot of talking, instead writing what he wants folks to hear. He does indeed report the news of the county as he can best report it (with limited communication), but readers' favorite section of the Infernal is Deadline's "I shot him" column. Whenever a critic comes to shoot down Deadline for some "Damned lie printed in that Infernal paper," Deadline is sure to win the fight. But Deadline has an excellent memory for details, and he writes about each of his gunfights listing every detail about his enemy, the weather, who any bystanders were and what they were doing, the sounds, the smells, and his own personal musings at the moment of the draw. All of the details are spelled out with the eloquence of Shakespeare and the wit of Twain, and readers can't get enough. Problem is, Deadline only writes those columns after a fight.
Sometimes, when Deadline goes a while without shooting someone, there's no column, and folks get bored with the newspaper. They'll get some poor upstart, small-time criminal and tell him Deadline done gone printed an article about the criminal's mother or sister's "reputation." Hot-headed pistoliers are in constant supply to in Hades County, and so are Deadline's columns as of late.

In Gutshot terms

Deacon "Deadline" Davidson is simply dangerous. He may not get the first shot off, but he is sure to hit once he does shoot.

If you have a newspaper office, Deadline will simply do all his shooting from the front step as long as there is someone in range to shoot at. Inside the newspaper office is kept a rifle, two shotguns and a couple pistols.

Deadline keeps his Schofield on his belt at all times. TN: 6 Specialties: Hard to hit, Reputation, Sure shot (pistol), Quickload, Fanning the gun (he only fan a pistol kept in the office but NOT with his Schofield.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stan O'Tucker

No one knows where Stan O'Tucker came from nor what his previous profession was. His current profession is town drunk in whatever town he happens to stumble into. He hates the sound of gunfire; the reports of the guns aggravate his hangover headaches (when he gives his body time enough to reach a hangover.) When a fight breaks out, he will quietly mosey over to the nearest gunfighter and proceed to lay down a whuppin'.

In Gutshot terms: O'Tucker is simply a random element you can add to your games for a little fun. Try him out and see what happens. He'll probably be just an annoyance. If you have a game marshal, have the marshal unleash O'Tucker on the side that is currently winning the game. You could also have him move randomly about the street during the gunfight, only fighting when he comes within one inch of a character.

O'Tucker is armed with a bottle. TN: 8 Specialties: Brawler, Dodge, Tough as nails
Special weapon: Bad Breath. Each time O'Tucker engages a new enemy in melee, he may breathe his horrid drunken breath on his opponent. TN: 4 Defensive TN: 8 Pain: 1D6+2

Note: Inebriation has slowed O'Tucker down. Count each movement step as the next one higher, so, a crawl counts as moving at a walk, a walk as a trot and a trot as a run- O'Tucker cannot move any faster than a trot. AND when he does move at a trot, he must spend his next action either standing still or moving at a crawl as he rests after having moved at such a brisk pace.
Until he attacks someone, no one may target O'Tucker.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Update and flood waters for Gutshot

Glad to see a few of you are still taking the daily gander here (as per my counter stats.) Sorry I haven't brought anything new to the blog in a while. I've been busy with my other 3 genres (D&D, sci-fi, prehistoric and lost worlds.)

After discussion over at Hawgleg, however, I am working on (in my head -- that counts) rules for flood waters. For now, I will simply have rooves as the field of play, the water having risen to cover the walls of all the buildings. Anyone brave enough to venture into the waters will have to make some kind if "swimming" roll to avoid being drawn under or away to their doom. More swimming rolls would need to be made if a character is trying to swim a long distance.

Also, I'm trying to think of a basic table for buildings coming off their foundations and being swept along with or without any passengers (who would have to make checks to stay on their feet (perhaps.)

So keep visiting, hopefully you haven't read everything I've posted and have enough to hold you over. If not, don't forget to visit my other blog:

I'm pretty sure y'all haven't read all of that one just yet :)

I just need to find time and buy the supplies, but I have not written off building my Newspaper building. Once it is finished, it will have most of its exposure at my painting blog, but I will make stats for an editor, and I will add some fluff for it here.

I think I named the newspaper itself the Infernal. Everything that needs to go into the office (including 1oo printed copies of the paper) are finished; I just need to get crackin' on building the damned thing.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Slade's Myrmidons

Little is known about the man known simply as "Slade." Rumor says he killed a man back east, and another man in a wagon train to California. They say it was after this second killing, Slade slipped into hiding in the Titan Mountains.

Slade occasionally would come down from the mountains into town for gambling and drinking, and always under an assumed name. He also came down to commit crime of one form or another, and always masked. No one ever saw his face during his crimes, but folks knew it was Slade because he always wore the same hat, a fine silk, New Amsterdam-made top hat.

Slade also had a gang made up of out-of-luck miners, rogues, thieves, hot-headed young men, and the like. Slade called his men his Myrmidons, and he ruled them with fear and violence. Most were sweet-talked into a life of adventure by the smooth-talking Slade, only to learn later the consequence if they tried to leave the gang or otherwise cross Slade. The Myrmidons dared not go against Slade's orders, and followed him without question. In a fight, they spared no violent measure for fear of exposing any unwillingness to their ruthless boss.

In Gutshot terms: Slade is big and tough and a good shot with a pistol. His men will fight just as ruthlessly as Slade, but if they are not in view of Slade, they slack off a bit (as expressed in the special rule below.)

Special rule: When Slade cannot see a Myrmidon, that gang member not only loses his reputation bonus from Slade, the gang member also loses a further -1 modifier to all his rolls as he is simply unwilling to be as mean-spirited as Slade expects him to be. This is ONLY in effect when the myrmidon cannot be seen by Slade.

Slade knows his men slack off at a moment's chance, so he does his best to keep an eye on them" Slade cannot make a move if it puts him out of line of sight of more than half his gang. If more than half his gang are out of sight of Slade, he must use his next action to attempt to locate unseen gang members.

If Slade is killed, the Myrmidons all must roll their TN with a -2 modifier; those who fail will retreat from the area. Those remaining fight with a permanent -3 modifier to all their rolls.

Yep- It makes things difficult for any player playing Slade, but it's something different to try to play out.

Slade: Armed with two pistols and 4 reloads, sawed-off shotgun with 3 reloads, and one helluva big knife. TN: 6 Specialties: Lucky, Hard to hit, True grit, Brawler, Reputation, Sure shot (pistol).

Myrmidons (5-10 gang members adjusted as needed): Usually armed with a pistol or shotgun, and a knife. TN: 7-10 (random). Specialties: (one random from this list) Speedy, Brawler, Fanning the gun, Dodge, Tough as nails, Sure shot (with main weapon.)

Note: Slade and his Myrmidons ar inspired by the personality written about by Mark Twain.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Profile and plan of Saddlerock's Main Street

Saddlerock is the county seat of Hades County. Its main street, known as Onundaga Street, in the early days, was remarkable for having buildings on only one side of the street. The other side of Onundaga simply had open land bordered by a large forest. Later in the town's history, a new bank, new stores and a few more saloons would be built on the south side of Onundaga. The forest also would be cut into and a large sawmill operation constructed to help in the town's growth.
In the middle of that forest, a few miles from Onundaga is the Saddlerock mansion, home of the founder of Hades County, Col. James Saddlerock.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Agartha Volunteers

With so much rampant crime in the county, it didn't take long for honest folk to band together in solidarity against those immoral elements.

Town sheriff, James Kane Cinder, had formed a small posse one summer to pursue some men who had robbed a small group of miners. The posse had worked well together in the chase (which had proved successful.) With vengeful satisfaction still warm in their hearts, a few whispers were cast about, and the first meeting of the Agartha Volunteers was set. Sheriff Cinder was chosen as its secret leader.

This group of vigilantes proved highly effective in reducing criminal activity in their small town. As rumor spread across the county, other towns formed their own groups of "volunteers." Curiously, the groups, colletively, became known as the Agartha Volunteers - be they frontiersmen from Triple City or businessmen from the county seat at Saddlerock. Even the little town and stage station of Shed, pop: 2, will go into the mountains to recruit miners for temporary forays against stagecoach robbers and horse thieves.

Crime still exists in Hades County. With the forming of the Agartha Volunteers, the bulk of crime has moved into the mountains, but it still overflows into the towns now and again. That's when the Agartha Volunteers, on moonless nights, slip into the dark with rope in hand, out to remind men of devious means who is the real master of Hades County.

In Gutshot terms: The Agartha Volunteers is always a rabble of mixed personalities and weapons. Since this is the case, you can either form volunteer groups with random character types and weapons, or you can choose the characters and randomize the wepaons, or any combination thereof. Or you can simple have your players make their own characters who band together for a one-off game.

Sheriff Cinder: A cool, collected man, Sheriff Cinder was a good choice as leader for the orginal Agartha Volunteers. His calm and powerful personality counterbalanced the vengeful passions of the volunteers. Cinder served in the War Out East and so had become an excellent marksman. Cinder is considered, if not the fastest, at least the best pistol shot in the county.

Cinder is armed with a modified pistol. The modification of the pistol extends it's range by 4 inches. Cinder is also a marksman (a new specialty I created for Cinder); Drop the pistol's range increments by one step; eg. Point blank range is now 1-3", Close range is 3-6" and so on. Far range (with the additional 4" of Cinder's pistol) is now 13-17".

TN: 6 Specialties: Sure shot (pistol), reputation, Marksman (as explained above), quickload, reliable.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blood Red Roses

Unable to sustain business follwing the start of the War Out East, the craggy crew of the merchantman (some say pirate ship) Pinniped were disbanded in 1860 at the port of Orleans. Seeking continued adventure, some joined the Southern war effort while most others fell in with the criminal army of John Murel.

Murel's "army" consisted of two main elements, the Council (about 400 men), those who formed the strategies and made the decisions; and the Strikers (about 700 men), the henchmen who went about as actual parties to the crimes of Murel.

The Pinniped's crew was kept together as a company of strikers. They dubbed themselves the "Blood Red Roses" after the long-haul chanty sung on their ship.

The Blood Red Roses performed many tasks for Murel and the Council over the coming years. The War Out East came to an end, and the Council looked to the future of its enterprise.

One day, Orlean's police, backed up by troops of the military garrison, raided the Roses' base of operations. Some Roses were killed, some taken prisoner (and later hanged), though most escaped.

In the next few weeks, the rogue Roses discovered that Murel's Council occasionally would betray some of their own strikers to the authorities to stave off discovery of the larger operation. The Council had decided the Roses were of no more use in any of Murel's future operations, so turned them in. Captured strikers who turned informant were left unheard; many of the authorities were part of Murel's army- and all of them, members of the Council.

The Blood Red Roses vowed revenge, but they were also on the run. The main group of the Roses, about 50 men under the command of John Pinks and Billy Posies, took the trail to Hades County to go into hiding until the time was right to strike back. Unfortunate for them, their whereabouts were soon betrayed back in Orleans to Murel's Council. The Council decided the remaining Roses numbered too many to be left alone. They also feared sending strikers after other strikers may bring dissention in Murel's army. So the Council hired a few gunslingers and sent a sizeable force of men to hades County to hunt down the Blood Red Roses.

The Council first found a few members of the Roses in a saloon in Triple City. The men were dragged from the saloon and gunned down in cold blood. Roses commander John Pinks witnessed the grim execution from across the street in a hotel. He slipped out of town and gathered the remaining Roses throughout the county and began a cat-and-mouse game of skirmishes, ambushes and retaliations. The battles still occur, mostly among the Titan Mountains, though small skirmishes will fire up a town now and then.

The numbers of men left in both the Blood Red Roses and the Council are unknown; Each side sends for and receives a few reinforcements every few weeks. Hades County is ill-equipped to deal with the small war happening within its borders and has called on the Federal Dragoons for help. But the Dragoons have been unable to do anything since the bases of operations for the enemies are situated deep in the Titan Mountain range. So the battles continue to rage throughout Hades and the surrounding counties. The random posse gets formed, and a few three-way battles have resulted, but the Roses and Council are there to stay until one side has annihilated the other.

In Gutshot terms: The Blood Red Roses are like any other band of ruffians; they are natural brawlers, competent pistoliers, and almost always drunk. Their commanders, John Pinks and Billy Posies, prefer sobriety until their vengeance has been finally visited upon John Murel.

Pinks is armed with pistol and cutlass (treat as a saber). TN: 7 Specialties: Brawler, Contemplative, Hard to hit.

Posies is armed with a pistol, (single barrel) sawed-off shotgun and cutlass. TN: 7 Specialties: Brawler, Quick load, True grit.

Crewmen are randomly armed (determine before each battle). TN is randomly determined from 8 to 10. They also will randomly have one of the following specialties: Lucky, Brawler, Speedy, Hard to hit.

The People of hades County

On July 4th, 1865, many of the citizens of Saddlerock gathered for a grand photo taken by travelling photographer, Martin Brandy.

Most of these folks have since been killed, shot, stabbed, hanged, mangled, exploded or succumbed to sickness; So goes life in Hades County.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

El Torro aka The Bull aka Alastair Baine

Alastair Baine, born 1830 in London, decided early in life to make his fortune across the pond in the Federal States. He had read accounts of indians and gold and adventure in the wilds of America and decided this was for him. He ran away from home and made his voyage over in 1845 at the age of 15.

On the New Amsterdam docks, Alastair was accosted by ruffians, robbed, beaten and left with nothing but his pants and shirt; the muggers even took his boots which Alastairhad bought for this trip.
Having nothing to his name, Alastair wandered the streets of New Amsterdam, working when the work could be found, and stealing when the work could not be found. But he knew this life could not be sustained and sought a new solution which he found in the military recruiting office.

With events heating up along the Monterrey Border, Alastair joined up and was quickly transferred to the border with the 12th New Amsterdam Dragoons (under Colonel James Saddlerock, the founder of Hades County.) Alastair remained with the dragoons for 9 years, serving with distinction in the Monterrey wars and the Indian Rebellions of '50 and '53.

Throughout his military years, Alastair was noted for being somewhat bloodthirsty. He had lost many friends in the early months of vicious fighting in the Monterrey war, and was unable to cope with their losses. As his anger for the enemy grew, so did his cruelty.
Across the battle lines, the Monterrey forces took notice of this man from London and gave him the nickname, John Bull, soon shortened to just The Bull or El Torro. El Torro quickly grew out of the shell of the 15-year-old adventure seeker he once was, and into that of a lonesome and cruel man who thought nothing of cutting down women and children. There was no turning back for him.

El Torro continued his cruelty through the Indian Rebellions and as a bushwacker during the War Out East. El Torro had chosen the losing side during the War and was discharged at war's end.

Alastair Baine had known only battle and war for almost 20 years, and now his bloodlust had no outlet. It was a simple decision for him to travel the frontier, stealing, killing, to satisfy his anger toward the world that took his friends, that took his innocence, and that took his boots.

He is well-known in and around Hades County, and everyone stands clear as best they can. Local law, and even large posses are afraid to try to take down El Torro. Only one man had ever dared to take on El Torro and that was Col. Saddlerock, Alastair's former commander.

In one of Hades County's most storied duels, Saddlerock and El Torro had met face to face on the main street of Triple City. The fight started off close in and with knives, but guns were quickly drawn and lead flung. Both men received multiple wounds. The duel ended quickly when the Triple City was attacked by indians (that town being on the border with tribal lands) and every available gun was needed in defense of the town. El Torro slipped away during the fighting.

Though Saddlerock and El Torro recovered from their wounds received during their duel, El Torro was left with a pronounced limp in his left leg having been shot in the thigh. His hatred for Saddlerock simmers and boils, but El Torro knows Saddlerock is his match. So, instead, he takes out his anger on Saddlerock's legacy, that of the land and people of Hades County.

In Gutshot terms: El Torro is as bad as they get in Hades County. He is an excellent shot with pistol and rifle. He is a born rider having ridden in 20 years of warfare. And he is a vicious and strong brawler and knife fighter having fought members of just about every indian tribe this side of the Muddy River.
El Torro is armed with two pistols (two reloads each), a repeater rifle, and a large bowie knife (some have swore it was a shortsword.)
TN: 4 Specialties: Sureshot rifle, brawler, tough as nails, true grit, reputation and horsemanship. Note: Having gained a limp from the duel with Col. Saddlerock, El Torro's speeds are all reduced by one increment (so a crawl is considered a walk, a walk a trot, and a trot as a run) for purposes of deciding modifiers. El Torro may not move faster than 8 inches.