Saturday Seeds – 7 (Aces & Eights)

This week’s seed is being planted for Aces & Eights

This is a short and sweet set-up. The group  has gone to the lone bank in town with an employer to get paid for work done. Unless you are building on a previous set-up, this can just be payment for something simple, with nothing untoward going on in the background. All routine – everyone content.

With the employer waiting in the small line, and the characters waiting inside, outside, or some combination of the two, nothing could seem more normal. It is just a sunny day and they are getting paid for honest labour.

The Seed: Robbery.

Who can say what the outcome will be when the characters get involved with what happens next?Play it out – no need to climb on the infamous railroad of railroading, or the more popular, but no less forceful and choice-limiting bandwagon of  ‘in media res.’

  • A group of hard and dirty frontiersmen approach. There are 5. They are planning to have 3 enter the bank and 2 to stand guard outside. They probably do not seem out of place even after they start to enact their containment plan for the bank.
  • They ride up, dust themselves off, complain about the trail, make small talk about the businesses in town, make note of the bank, decide to split up some tasks (laundry, hotel, a table at the saloon, the bank, etc.)  Three head into the bank, and the other two secure the group’s horses outside the bank, and seem to be going through the saddle bags looking for things. Normal stuff.
  • In the bank, one goes to read the wanted notices, another seems to want to finish off and dispose of his chewing tobacco, so goes over to the other side of the room with the cuspidor, and the third gets in line – behind the employer.
  • Yes, there is a sixth man waiting some distance away behind the bank… with a rifle. It is more than likely he does not get involved in anything at the bank which does not involve the rear of the bank, or things that look obviously wrong to him playing out in front of a bank window.
  • The man in line will club the employer hard over the head with a truncheon. They are all wearing well-worn gunbelts and carrying heavy revolvers with fancy handles, but they have positioned themselves to intimidate and bully the crowd as quietly as possible.
  • The lone bank guard is courageous enough, but cannot cover three men by himself, and has innocents between him and two of the thugs. He hesitates, and lacks the experience to deal with the situation.
  • For the banker, this is a nightmare come true. No one in the town will trust his bank again.
  • For the employer, it is bad news. He has been struck very hard, and needs a skilled doctor to deal with the head wound.
  • For our players… give them all the information you can and let them choose freely what they wish to do:  Fight now, Wait then fight, Wait then pursue, Wait and tend to the employer, Wait and do nothing.

The villains should be comparable to the characters in terms of overall experience, but geared more toward social interactions, fist fights, and horsemanship than gunplay. They can rule the roost with their mouths, and rarely need to draw their guns.

If the characters fight and die, make sure it is fun.

If they fight and win, make sure it is fun, but don’t forget the injured employer and the precious seconds of his life ending faster and faster.

If they pursue – keep it fair, but this is where the villains excel. If they cannot elude (and they are very good at eluding) they will eventually turn and fight. The sixth man will join in – from behind our heroes, and at long-range using his rifle. Ugly. Escape will likely be necessary.

If the villains escape, and our heroes live, allow time to pass.

In a new town, they overhear an altered version of the encounter being told by a handsome frontiersman in a bar to entertain a working girl. He has a loud voice and most of the bar is enjoying the story. If the characters did not fight or pursue, make them out to be cowards of the worst sort – regardless of the real reasons. If they did fight and/or pursue, make them out to be ineffective in the face of the villains’ incredible ability.

Just before whatever happens as a result, happens as a result, let a few of the characters have a chance to recognize that the bar girl is not really just a bar girl: she is the daughter of the employer….  Maybe there is more to all of this than just a simple bank robbery….?

Have fun!

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