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1001 Plots / Places / NPCs / etc. for western adventures...
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What is your favorite?
Plot
50%
 50%  [ 44 ]
Place
9%
 9%  [ 8 ]
NPC
4%
 4%  [ 4 ]
Clint adding a poll to keep the thread around
36%
 36%  [ 32 ]
Total Votes : 88

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MountZionRyan
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or maybe even archived in the DL Archive.
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Lord Skudley
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll just keep bumping it until it gets a sticky...
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Lord Skudley
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one might should go in the Deadlands thread? Also it should be stickied.
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Savage Mommy
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lord Skudley wrote:
Turanil wrote:
So, back on this thread after a long absence...

One thing difficult for me, is to find names for NPCs.


I posted an Excel name generator on Shark Bytes that creates random names for several nationalities {both Male & Female}, including Western & American Indian.


Any chance this is still available? I tried the link and it no longer works. I would love to see this.

Beldar
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SupremeFizzy
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:01 pm    Post subject: Feel free to help make better or give better ideas Reply with quote

The posse meets up at a place called Bunkhouse Saloon(same as any other tavern dirty, bad food over priced beer and whickey, ugly woman but the only one miles from another) After ordering a drink the posse over hears the bar keep (Gavin Whitman: mid 60s chubby gray hair bald with glasses: Use town folk) Talking about how his son(Dale Whitman) has went south east towards Death Valley for supplies and its been a couple weeks since he’s been back( I know anything could happen in the weird west). What makes it interesting is a bar fellow says he just came from that direction and hears that there has been rumor of people disappearing from that area. (if ask his name is Hugh Jass or whatever: Use Gunman) Concerned for his son the old man proposes a reward of $150 to anyone who brings back his son. If pressed by the posse he will max out at $200 if need be he will threaten to go out alone and close the bar down till further notice. They can leave at any time but Mr. Whitman will press them to leave ASAP Saying “what’s my money paying for” or “Please hurry and help my son” etc.

The ride is about 2-4 days depending on the marshal (if you want anything to happen on the way) Upon entering Squabble Town(Fear Level:3) the posse notices the town does looks deserted and hanging from the town sign is a body The body
is showing early signs of decomposition. With a successful Healing roll, a cowpoke reckons it’s maybe a week old. The corpse is clothed. When the get in the town try to get the posse to get to talk to the sheriff first before anything could or should happen. If the go to the sheriff office it is closed. If they ask anyone they say “ he should be at the cemetery or wait at the office he should be back ”. If the choose to go to the cemetery they see a man(doesn’t look to be a law man) kneeled over a grave. He doesn’t even a notice they approach for he looks to be saying a prayer. (Deputy Clive Groves, Tall Lanky fellow seems he hasn’t shaved in weeks properly dress though*with a successful notice check you see the ground above the graves looks messed with, and no gun in the holster*: Use veteran gunman). After he gets up he says “Howdy folks what can I do you for? And I hope you can walk and talk I got some business to tend to back at the office”. If asked about the grave It belongs to his son (Danny Groves who was murder about a month ago and he was just visiting it. If asked about the body

“That body is some no good outlaw who began plaguing this town a month or so back. He’d ride into town and take our women and goods like they were his own. We’re simple folk, mister, not gunslingers, so we tolerated it as long as we could. Well, he went too far one day and murdered someone. I finally had no choice but to bring him to justice. He was found guilty and strung up as a warning to others a week back.” *That someone was his son* BUT “Ever since that outlaw was strung up there’s been a murder each night. Grisly murders. Horrible, just horrible! We’ve stopped going out after dark now. I reckons he has compadres who are taking a slow revenge. Call me crazy, but I think it’s something more evil than outlaws. Something unnatural.”

If asked about Dale Whitman the Deputy just shrugs his shoulder and says he knows no one of that name( With a success role it seems he telling the truth) “well you best be going I got a lot of work” if asked any other question he gets irritated an just ask them to leave. But right before the walk out “feel free to look all you want we can use the help but ive already tried”. The posse is free to roam and if asked about the body all people say. “ deputy groves showed him what he deserves” or are to scared to talk about it due to the murders. If they go to the town tavern (The Outhouse) and talk to the bar keep Ms. Iwana Chaser she well tell about missing people since the hanging and if asked about the sons death she will responed “ It was a sad thing that happen that young man he was just trying to help some town folk, deputy Groves was out trying to help old man Clint Sturgess gather some heard and no one was there to stop those men so Danny did what he can but that made it worse the drug him in the middle of the town and shot him dead in front of us.” *if asked about Clint Sturgess he was the first one murder, this might deserve a fate chip* “ Since then murders are happening all the time everyone in the town is scared” EDITORS NOTE: FEEL FREE TO MAKE WORK FOR SOME OF THIS INFO.

Depending on the time the roll in it should be dark and time for bed. The inn allows them to stay for 1d12 a night. Whether on patrol or catching some shut-eye, the heroes hear a scream during the night. A Notice roll pinpoints the origin of the cry. On arrival, the cowpokes spot a man lying near an outhouse, his throat freshly cut. He’s dead, but only just. A gunslinger making a successful Tracking roll spots two sets of boot prints—one obviously belonging to the deceased and another set, which heads off into cemetery. Another murder has the townsfolk well and truly scared, so much so that they refuse to leave their houses except for the direst emergencies. This won’t stop the murderer, though. Outside of scouting the land for miles around, which reveals nothing of interest except for some wolf prints and wastes an entire day, there is little the posse can do except set a trap. Traps need bait—in this case a human being. None of the townsfolk are willing to sacrifice themselves, so it’s down to the cowpokes. The killer isn’t stupid and if he spots an armed man, alone or otherwise, he isn’t going to risk attacking. Should the heroes fail to realize this, allow them a Common Knowledge roll to work it out. Carrying a concealed weapon should be fine, of course, The deputy might be asked to join but he refuse since he says he’s been down that road. *Draw up a quick plan of the town. Assume there are around 20 buildings in the center, which is where most of the attacks have occurred. Let the posse mark down where the bait is standing or walking and where the others are hiding.*

Unless the posse is well-concealed (on roofs, inside buildings peeking out through windows, or otherwise out of general sight), the murderer won’t take the bait. However,
if he can’t detect any obvious lurkers and spies a lone individual, he sneaks in for the attack. He uses Stealth to get as close as possible before making his move. If he gains
Surprise on his victim, he also gets the Drop. Should the murderer pass a lurker’s line of sight, allow them a Notice roll opposed by his Stealth (d10 plus Wild Die). It’s dark, so the killer gets a +2 bonus to his roll. Success allows the gunslinger to spot a figure moving through the shadows. It’s up to the cowpoke who spied him to decide how to react. Unless he’s hiding with his amigos, he can’t communicate with his comrades short of shouting, nor can they act on the information he’s been told. A raise on the Notice roll over the killer’s Stealth allows the hombre to catch a glimpse of the man’s face—its Deputy Groves he tries to make his way to the cemetery.

When this starts you can hear some noise making its way from the church and cemetery looks to be zombie(Use Walking Dead) heading the posse way. the reckoners will not allow the posse to ruin their plans. If they haven’t figured it out Deputy Clive Groves was possessed and over his anger for the murders of his son he killed the first traveler that came to town. The reckoners took over his body and continued to kill to keep the fear level up. After all the lead has stop flying it the killing wont stop until the innocent man has a proper burial or if the posse already did that the gun that killed him is disposed its kept in the top drawer of his office.

Groves death ends the killing spree. the townsfolk aren’t happy with the outcome (indeed, they’re downright shocked to their core), but at least the killer has met some sort of justice. As a token of appreciation the town gathers 2d8x10 gold. Also the offer the new deputy job to the posse but I doubt the posse want to end their life that way.

FYI THE BARTENDERS SON MAKES IT BACK IN TOWN A COUPLE DAYS AFTER THE POSSE LEAVE SO ITS NOT THE SON HANGING BODY HANGING IN THE FRONT OF TOWN MAYBE THAT’S THE NEXT MISSION FOR THE POSSE TO FIGURE OUT AND ALSO THE BARTENDER WONT PAY UP SAYIN YOU DIDN’T BRING BACK HIS SON THANKS
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VonDan
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A School Marm needs saving from the evil something in a top hat


she gains an addiction to any player with a smarts of 10 or more in a suit
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Lord Skudley
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beldar1215 wrote:
Lord Skudley wrote:
I posted an Excel name generator on Shark Bytes that creates random names for several nationalities {both Male & Female}, including Western & American Indian.


Any chance this is still available? I tried the link and it no longer works. I would love to see this.

Beldar


Yep it's under "Tools" on the "Gaming Aids" page as "Nationality Name Generator.xls" on Savagepedia.

Sorry it took so long to notice this one...
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VonDan
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The School Marm's Villain looks like Lord Skudley's Avatar with a top hat
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Lord Skudley
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

VonDan wrote:
The School Marm's Villain looks like Lord Skudley's Avatar with a top hat



"Mwa, Ha, Ha, Haaaaaaa!!!"
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VonDan
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There he is Silas Skudley the evil land baron

He don't do the normal thing and make the widows daughter marry him if she don't pay the rent. He wants the School Marm to marry him or he will feed all the kids in the school/orphanage to the manatu
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Tog
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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2011 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have started reading this thread and I love it. Thank you.
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This can be scaled to fit any group I guess. The posse is waiting for a stagecoach. A large one comes in that is very, very ornate (gothic if you will). It has 6 wheels and can carry several occupants. Waiting for the coach is also a charming school marm and 4 orphans. Once on board, the posse and npc's settle in for a long ride. A storm starts to rage, making the occupants have to pull the shades/shutters of the beastly coach. After the storm, the group finds itself in a ghost town of questionably European order. The driver and shotgun assistant are no where to be found. There is a ruined church nearby. As the party starts to wonder about, ghouls start to appear, very hungry ghouls! The horses are scared and carry the coach away. The group might be able to run, but the charming school marm and orphans can't outrun the ghouls. Head for the church and tough it out? Eventually the stage coach is pulled back into the main square, on the other side of a graveyard. Oh and "The Master" needs to make an appearance (use suitable monstrosity, horror, otherworldly critter). Just straight up shoot'em fun.
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The town of Longevity, Population: 18 and dwindling fast. Seems that the town has been losing several of its population and the nearby Indians are blamed. Sheriff believes that if some able bodied men/women were off and capture the Indian's Shaman, curse would be lifted. The Shaman, while no friend of the town (cause his tongue was cut out when he was a boy by drunken pioneers/bandits) is not responsible. The person who is responsible is a monster/horror/beast that can shape shift into a pregnant woman. The monster eats people and stores them in its belly. A few days later, the "bump" goes away as the last bit of it's prior meal is digested and it needs to feed again. It has a "hankerin" for white meat, so never bothers any Indians. The posse may uncover the truth, they may not, but if they don't "she" might show up in a future town, still preggers. Twisted Evil
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. Albus Constantine Napoleon Rutherford Throckmorton III is a man of science (also an amateur astronomer). He has been charting the course of a comet and to his surprise (because if his mathematical calculations were correct and they always are) the comet hit the planet, which it shouldn't have. So while this steam powered wheelchair of a man is unable to go hunt the comet himself, he knows of someone who does, the fearsome Indian Chief Dancing Turtle and his tribe's shaman, Ring-Like-A-Bell. Unfortunately the tribe of Indians are known to be cannibals so walking in there to get info is not really an option. However, the good Dr. Albus Constantine Napoleon Rutherford Throckmorton III has a plan. The group can go deliver a morbid wood and metal totem of a man (imagine a huge ventriloquism dummy that sometimes speaks eerily) that the good Dr. has fashioned for the Chief/Shaman. Now the totem is supposed to point to the 8 nearest clean water holes, which would be convenient for the tribe. Yes, the totem man has 8 arms, and there's a red faced clock that cackles on the hour, every hour) Now while this isn't creepy enough, the totem has been possessed by a malicious spirit who will transform the totem into a large spider and try to kill of the Indians (cause it has a grudge for some past wrong or perceived sleight). The good Dr. has no idea, he's probably trying out his new kangaroo legs with disastrous results at this point.

So once the party offers the totem to chief Dancing Turtle & Ring-Like-A-Bell, which seems friendly enough, the Indians** explain the location of the comet. Then the totem goes all clockwork crazy a$$ and turns into a big spider. The Indians are angry, the totem is angry and the posse is in the middle. Now if the posse makes it out and they might, they have to go to Hook Valley which is the home of a small tribe of inbred ogre's (stole this bit from Pathfinder Adventure Path by Paizo) and some peesed off giant Mexican beavers who have been displaced and are trying to make a dam. Now the Indians would never go there cause the inbred ogre's 1. eat people and 2. they are undead (which makes the inbreeding thing all the worse cause there's only one living female), oh and Momma Chamille (the only living female) is a magic using/cursing head of the tribe. Momma Chamille is more than happy to get rid of the rock (for a small delicious price of man flesh) because she knows the alligator-who-walks is coming for it (that's right, you guessed it, a "Predator"). If the party brings back the comet, oh did I mention that it's just the jettisoned escape pod for the Predator? Yeah, well once they bring that back, the good Dr. should give them some nifty/handy scientific stuff as a reward, some good stuff of your own imagination. And when it's all said and done, don't forget the peesed off giant Mexican Beavers are undoubtedly just waiting in the wild...

**Indians - the Indians aren't cannibals, they just spread that rumor so the white man will leave them alone. Also feel free to change the shaman's name to kick-like-a-mule, drinks-like-a-fish, Arnold, etc.
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The group is lost. They are wounded. They are hungry. As they roam the desert, they are assailed by hideous man-beast combinations. They see in the distance a very fertile valley that is shockingly lush. The mutants do not follow the group into the valley. They find a trail leading through some fields and up to a massive mansion. Welcome to the home of Dr. Angus Balfour-Ramirez (he's Black Irish, Google it). This noted fellow comes here to work on his experiments, of which "The Crown" frowned upon. If asked if the mutants were his experiments, he chuckles (in your best Sean Connery accent) "No my good man, those were failures. I need new blood to complete my experiments. It's not exactly science you know, ha-ha-ha-ha. After you stay the night as hospitality demands, my man Trebeck will coach you to the nearest train. It'll be nice to have guests again...." If the party chooses not to stay (yes, they've already been poisoned with a mild sedative) the good doctor will suggest they really should stay the night in doors, in his house, alone.** If the party still leaves, then they will have to worry about the raptorsaurs that prowl at night, keeping the mutants at bay and being that the mutants haven't come on the grounds in a long time, the raptors are very, very hungry. Hey, the good doctor warned them!

**Please note, all the good doctor needed was some fingernail clippings and maybe a very small vial of blood. He wouldn't hurt his civilized guests. He speaks like Sean Connery b/c while he is Black Irish (Google it), his mothers side was Scottish and had the greatest influence on him while he studied at the royal Academy of Science and Agriculture, Edinburgh campus off of route 2, exit 8. But being the good doctor is quite unbelievably insane, he may have hurt them too. It just really depends...
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is unfairly aimed at the huckster of the group. An Indian chief was wronged by a used snake oil salesman who claimed his Syrup of Extra-Speciality Constitutional Invigorment & Health would cure his tribes illness. Unfortunately the Syrup was tainted and poisonous, killing off or blinding the tribe. The Shaman who recently returned from trying to find a natural/spiritual cure was enraged and set about putting a curse on said huckster. He walks into town and finds the groups huckster (who looks shockingly like the villainous one, by sheer coincidence). Well the Indian decides that he will curse the groups huckster with Fire Water. There is a slow burning inside him that seems to build and can only be doused by lots of liquor or beer. If he doesn't drink, the character turns into a human torch, immolating anyone near him. Now this curse can be repressed by having to drink a bottle of whiskey every hour or 12 bottles of beer every hour. Doesn't sound like much, but a saloon only has so much to drink and when people start burning and buildings start to catch fire, well, someone is gonna have to put that poor huckster down. Once they find the true targeted huckster, he can be brought before the Indian shaman and have the curse placed on him instead. He probably won't be down for that and will hire a band of talented individuals to buy him some time to escape. Killing the shaman will not end the curse.

Fire Water Curse simply causes things nearby things to burn. There's no control. Paper burns, wood ignites, clothes smolder, rounds go off, TNT explodes, people melt, small animals pop and sizzle, it's ugly... Sad
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Real quick, I just want to apologize for posting so many at once. My muse clubbed me. Embarassed

Hansel Zarkoff, famed Czarist scientist, has made a time machine and it works, oh it works! Many credible witnesses from many European courts and various academies of Science have vouched for it. Various anarchistic groups have been trying to kidnap Dr. Zarkoff in hopes of gaining the secret to the time machine. Even Fu Man Chu has put a price on his head. So the good doctor came to North America to hide. Unfortunately he has been discovered in the town the posse is in! Mission: Escort Dr. Zarkoff and his time machine from Point A to Point B and hand him off to safe hands/friends. Problem: all kinds of people are in between Point A and Point B. The ugly fact is, the wondrous time machine is really just a Thyme machine. It's a simple blender that cuts the common culinary herb Thyme into a manner that helps in cooking. D'oh! #1eek13
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The town of Prosperity has a problem, people keep dying. As of late, Anna Merkov (the homely school marm from Poland), Simon Weissman (barber/dentist) and young Elizabeth Schumann (13 yr old farm girl) have shown up dead about every two weeks. Each victim has been found in the root cellar of the local church. Their deaths were a most gruesome and violent affair. A sign on the front doors of the closed church proclaims the church "Roont!"

The local pastor has been hanged stone cold, graveyard, dead, but the gruesome murders keep on happening. As all three of the previous victims were Jewish** or members of a Jewish family, there is concern that the local sawbones, Dr. Herschel Meyer and his family are next (cause they are Jewish). The local marshal has assembled the posse to help uncover who or what is doing the gruesome murders.

The issue is, the murder is actually Mary Meyer, the 14 yr old daughter of the local saw bones. About a month ago, the last belongings of her paternal grandfather showed up at her home. He was archaeologist who studied ruins in Columbia. He did mapping and mind numbing academic learning. He passed away and his assistant brought his belongings to his living family. Little Mary took instantly to her Papa's writings and maps. Along with maps, books, notes, more maps and such, there was a trinket that Mary Meyer now wears. The trinket is a powerful charm that has a supernatural spirit bound to it. When Mary dreams, the malicious spirit is released and kills whoever upset Mary. Mary is, of course, totally unaware of this for now.

The clues are that the school marm punished her last month for passing notes (she read the note in front of everyone about how she liked Will Bennet). Mary dreamed about the teacher, the teacher dies. Two weeks later, she wanted to dance with William Bennet at the ho down, but saw Elizabeth Schumann steal a kiss with young William. So angered that night (and crying) she dreamed about Elizabeth, so lil 13 yr old Elizabeth dies. A few days ago, she had a particularly painful toothache and the mildly drunk Barber/dentist Simon Weismann painfully extracted the tooth. You can see where this is going. So now it's up to the posse to uncover who is targeting the people.

Given that Mary still has a slightly swollen cheek, might help uncover the mystery. Random murders can carry on. Now if Mary becomes aware of what she can do, woe be to the towns people. She may even target members of the posse if she were to take a likin to one of them. The only way to end the murders is to break the trinket. Otherwise, the supernatural spirit simply returns to the trinket, like a vampire to the grave. The deaths have no witnesses. No sound was ever heard, but the town is also now dog and cat free (ahem). People are on edge and snoopin around at night might get youins a chest full of buckshot!

**I chose Jewish members only as an example to show how easy it would be to single a specific group out. You could easily chose a different religious faith, sect or ethnicity (Latino, Methodist, Irish, Presbyterian, Russian, Lutherian, etc.). No offense is meant in any way to anyone.
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Josey Wales
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matillda Ross, the ruthless and shockingly wealthy one armed Cattle Baroness of Jonesboro, AR has been kidnapped! The villains responsible for the kidnapping are two notorious outlaws; Clay Pigeon and his far eastern sidekick, The Hong Kong Kid. Clay Pigeon is a very charismatic duel gun wielding gunslinger. The Hong Kong Kid is deadly with his hands. The posse is tipped off that the duo have holed up in an old abandoned Silver mine, once used by the Ted Salt gang. The outlaws are asking for a kings ransom for the Cattle Baroness and since she has no heirs, her death would throw the counties in turmoil as every two bit scoundrel and distant relative would lay claim to her wealth (and the men whom she has backed politically will have none of that, so they definitely want to get her back safe and sound).

One ace up the sleeve the outlaws have is that the blonde haired, broken nosed, charismatic Clay Pigeon has an Indian wife, Bag-of-Snakes, who always follows in the shadows. Being a single Indian woman, she rarely draws attention of people, although she is a devastating shot and quite canny. It wouldn't be too far fetched that she would be a sniper...

The adventure is pretty straightforward, but with one catch. The cries and plea's for her release and her tortured screams (they locked her in a chamber with some rattlesnakes of which she is deathly afraid of) have carried across the boundaries of time and space. One of her old childhood friends has awoken, a drunkard, one-eyed marshal named Henley Fangfreeze. This one time, questionably law abiding marshal, once saved Matillda from the Ted Salt gang and had fallen in love with her, though the mutual feelings never came to any fruition. He has risen from the grave and will ceaselessly search for her. If the party is successful, they will face an angry undead Marshal who believes they are responsible for kidnapping her or perhaps, now that she has matured, he will want to impress his once lost feelings on her once again (yuck!).

Any similarities between the characters in the movies Shanghai Noon and True Grit are shockingly intended. Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a shotgun blast of gunmen for when you need the rudiments of a gunman's identity suddenly. I'm using them as hired guns for a railroad's Denver office.

Mormon Jake, kicked out of the Deseret army for adultery. Clean-shaven, simple dresser. Wholesome except for violence and women. Smiles a lot.

Nacho, a big Mexican cowboy with a magnificent mustache. He has many talents: guitar, singing, lasso tricks, pistol tricks, carving. He has a sweetheart, Lucy, and he keeps a bundle of her letters in his shirt.

Nachito, a small, nervous Mexican deserter. He prays often with beads, usually to the virgin Maria.

Edith Hargrove, freckle-faced and mannish. She cusses constantly. She likes fire a little too much and has a habit of cutting open shotgun shells to light the powder on fire.

Dagwood Bethesda, a retired Union officer. He wears a saber and has one wooden foot. He likes to gamble and always tries to bet his foot (nobody's accepted the stake yet).

Herman Rockefeller (no relation), a filthy redneck Nebraskan who likes to push everyone's buttons. When they get angry he always plays it off as a joke and says they're overreacting.

Colton Simpson, an ex-cavalry scout who one-ups every story or situation he comes across with a story of his own or a guy he knew. He's a good tracker and an avid gambler.

Devil Tom Adams, a street-fighting bully from Ohio, quick with a knife, cock of the walk. He likes to make other men say "Uncle," but he doesn't pick fights with real hard cases. If the fight comes to him, though, he won't be shamed in front of his boys.

Whitmore, tall and quiet, one of Devil Tom's goons. Afraid of snakes.

Frostbite John Talbot, one of Devil Tom's boys. He lost his ears and two fingers in a Nebraska winter. He can read and he chooses to read smutty dime novels and tell the lurid details to whoever's around. "You know what ladies in France like to do?"

Fergus Finn is a 14 year old draft dodger from Ireland through New York. He's one of Devil Tom's droogs. He fancies the Chinese girls.

Joe Klinger, a fatalistic ex-soldier who drinks a lot and talks morbid. "You know what canister shot is, boy? You know what it does to a bright-faced young man like you?"

Jonas Freeman, an ex-slave. Honest and hardworking. Loathe to take big risks. He talks about homesteading in California.

Big Mel is a dark-skinned ex-slave. He's fat and strong and likes gambling. He fences small items he gets from "friends" to the other fighters. His friends are looters small-time thieves, but he loves them like family.

Jabez Cohen, a 15 year old Jewish kid from Philadelphia. Eager and fearless. First to volunteer for everything. Responds with fists to any little slight.

Injun Louie, a young half-Cherokee with no real connection to his mother's people. Self-deprecating sense of humor, makes jokes about his heritage. He'll press his ear to a table when he sees the waitress coming and say, "Shh. Beer, headed this way. Heap big beer. Six or seven cups."

Guillermo de Luca, an older Spanish Tejano who fought in Bloody Kansas as an abolitionist in the 1850s. Fair and gentlemanly when he's not high, but he's taken up opium of late and it makes him dissolute and slow.

Paul Steadman is the grizzled head of the Steadman family. He's preoccupied with the bible and the time of Judgment and will question holy men endlessly. He can read, but he can't read silently.

Rooster Steadman, elder Steadman brother, capable and trustworthy. He did a turn in the infantry. He dotes on Phil, gives him the best portion of anything that comes his way and celebrates Phil's victories as his own. He doesn't think much of himself - thinks himself illiterate and brutish.

Phil Steadman, the younger Steadman brother, the hope of the family. He's not a gunfighter at all, though he's frequently found with them, spending time with his father and brother. He's literate, tutored, a budding journalist. He wants to make his father and brother proud.
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