Saturday Seed ~ 57 (Aces&Eights)

A confluence of calamity

This week’s seed is for Aces&Eights. It can be used with any group of characters, connected or not, but presumes that they are making a lengthy trip by rail, through desolate territory.

The seed

Characters from all walks of life find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere on a train with no engineer and threats within and without.

 Planting the seed

Many options are available for bringing this scenario to life in your campaign. Two of the more common could be as an introductory session, or while characters are on the run from (or to) something else.

The details

All is going smoothly during the trip until the train seems to slow. Seasonal conditions appropriate to your campaign are making people uncomfortable, and people are beginning to show signs of travel weariness and stress. Not a few have begun to smell in familiar, but still not pleasant ways.

A strange trio of passengers, three twin brothers married to three twin sisters, has been the source of much quiet gossip during the trip,not the least because the wives are all pregnant and look to be quite far along. The trio of couples’ obvious devout but decidedly uncommon religion is also a cause for much speculation.

The trip has been long enough that the usual diversions of travel have lost their shine. If the train is slowing down, or worse stopping,there could be trouble.

As the train eases very slowly around a bend, forward looking passengers catch sight of the engineer hanging limply from his window in a way that does not suggest life remains.

One way or another, the train will come to a stop, either by running out of steam (literally) or by player intervention.

Problems to be faced include the onset of a storm of dangerous proportions, the near-simultaneous arrival of the twins’ babies,sending someone for help, or if the skills are present, relighting the boiler and getting the train underway again.

Also of interest might be, “Who killed the engineer?!” as close inspection of the man reveals that he was stabbed from behind.


 What’s going on

Does someone want this train to be stuck out here in the middle of nowhere?

Why?  Could it be the sealed and locked boxcar that the gamblers on board are certain is full of government gold and cash money?

If that is not enough peril for your crew, a warlike band of disgruntled indigenous people might ‘visit’ to return some extra violence that theyaren’t using, and a band of thieves hoping to beat the above implied gold thieves to the punch could very well show up uninvited.

Through it all, the storm grows and threatens everyone equally.

Where it goes from here, is anyone’s guess, but that is sort of the fun of a frontier, now isn’t it?

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