Saturday Seed – 11 (Aces & Eights)

This is another small, small seed for Aces & Eights. There is something magical about westerns, isn’t there? It could also work very well with Serenity, or perhaps even a fantasy game, but I see six-guns when I think of it…  The choice, as always, is yours.

Today’s seed is a bit different than the ones I have posted before for Aces & Eights. This one is more in the way of a mystery.

I think the story would work best, and most predictably, if you use it when the characters enter a new town, and intend to stay for a few days, or perhaps permanently. It is important that they be strangers to the townsfolk. If your group is settled in an established town, you will have to fiddle with this a fair bit… perhaps the easiest way being to have the group that I will detail as the PCs in this write-up be distant friends or associates of the player characters.

There are two requirements for this scenario to function:

  • The PCs must have had a hand in killing someone at some point in the group’s past, whose back story they do not know. A random stranger in a gunfight, a mook in a showdown with known bad men, or an accidental shooting in a crowd… it matters not. Whatever the case, they must have killed a stranger, the facts of whose life were never revealed.
  • The PCs must think of themselves as basically good people.

The Seed: Within a day or two of the PCs’ arrival, a charismatic snake-oil salesman with fine lookin’ duds, and a well-kept wagon from which to run his eye-poppin’ travelling show rolls into town , as does a group of nuns passing through, but looking to linger in town for a little while.

Not long after, this sleepy burg is rocked by the theft of an heirloom brooch of gold, ivory, and ebony, from a sleeping baby-girl with apple cheeks and a lovely grin whose mother just passed away of tuberculosis. (cue violins)

The townsfolk, who have learned to be suspicious of passers-through, suspect… our set of three passers-through.

The Details: Your job will be hard as you will have to simultaneously make people look both guilty and innocent, as well as allowing for layers of mystery to be peeled back.

The Tremendous Travelling Tantalizations of Dr. Tantalus (or some such crazy, alliterative name) is an easy target, and you will need to lay his greasy, overly charming, falsely genteel ways on thick while he is trying to sell his miracle cure-all and secretly set-up liaisons with his lovely assistant (a professional horizontal entertainer). Once the players suspect poor Dr. Tantalus, you need to shift the focus away from him and toward another group. Dr. Tantalus is innocent of the theft, but this should not be conclusively proven until the end of the scenario.

The Blessed Sisters of Consideration (Consternation?) seem above reproach until it is noticed that they are actually men, and some of them are wanted men… mainly for barely successful bank robberies and one attempted train robbery. Bad men for sure… and once attention goes their way you can have lots of drama with the sheriff, tarring and feathering, and so on. They are innocent of the theft, but this should not be conclusively proven until the end of the scenario.

The player characters are… the player characters. They will fall under general suspicion at least, or specific suspicion if the players have been up to no good when all this is starting to break. They also are innocent of the theft, but this should not be conclusively proven until the end of the scenario.

This will be hard for them to do, because they have the brooch.

What?!?: You read that right. The three suspicious groups are all innocent, but the one group that knows it is innocent because they didn’t do it, and know that they didn’t do it (the PCs) are actually in possession of the stolen item. No one is likely to believe their tired and cliché cries of “We don’t know how that got there!”


What is going on?: A relative or former lover of the person the PCs killed (and may not even remember or be able to identify from a description) has heard all about the PCs and their murderous ways. Not believing in justice, the sheriff, or their ability to get revenge on their own, they have decided to frame the evil men responsible for so-and-so’s cold-blooded murder, but stealing and then planting the brooch. They are counting on frontier justice and town mentality to take care of the rest.

The real criminal is not a killer nor a bad person, just twisted by grief and loss, and deluded by a chance for ‘revenge.’

Pace: This scenario needs to play out fast, and the PCs should constantly be surprised by accusations, proof and disproof, lies and more lies, and some truth, flying all about them.

Set-up: You will need to create the criminal, and the dead man, and make them believable. This is a crime of passion, from a place of hopelessness and loss.  If things go well, you will have a high-spirited chance to put the characters on the spot and play with crowd psychology and mob rule.

If things go very well, you will be able to cast a slightly different light on the violence of the Old West, who it affects, and how it affects them.

Have fun~

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