The Midnight Riders:
Gutshot Summer Campaign

Chapter Two:

Bushwhacked in Beaver Creek!

GMs: Mike Mitchell
& Mike Murphy

Played 8:30 - 11:30 p.m.,
June 10, 2003

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Posted:June 11, 2003

The Texas Ranger showed up in town with a stack of wanted posters.
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The Midnight Riders:

  • Cord -- alias the Mystery Rider (played by Kyle Nearhood)
     Custom 2 - TN 8, Lucky, Tough As Nails
  • Heinrich "Hank" Heidelberg -- alias Hank the German, or Preacher Man (played by Matt Jeffers)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist
  • Thomas Irons (played by J.J. Shaw)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist
  • Rico Suarez (played by Justin Nemeti)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Sure-Shot: Pistol, Two-Gun Shootist
  • New Member The Phoenix Kid (played by Rick Haufe)
    Custom 3 - TN 9, Hard to Hit, Spontaneous, Tough as Nails
  • New Member Big Jack (played by Ian K.)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist
  • New Member Nelly (played by Shaun James)
    Owlhoot - TN 8, Brawler, Tough-as-nails
  • New Member 50 Cent (played Michael Johnson)
    Owlhoot - TN 8, Brawler, Tough-as-nails

The Honorable Citizens of Beaver Creek
(all NPCs played by Murphy & Mitchell)

  • Mr. Merriweather -- Crooked Land Agent
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to hit, Lucky
  • Joe -- Merriweather's burly bodyguard
    Owlhoot - TN 8, Brawler, Tough-as-nails (during this game, prior to combat, Joe moves whenever Mr. Merriweather moves, and vice versa; the two Characters are always side-by-side)
  • John McLawson -- Texas Ranger in town... with a handful of Wanted Posters for the Midnight Riders
    Texas Ranger - TN 6, Spontaneous
  • Hank, Louise, Buck, Irvin, Richard Austin, 3 guys at Livery Stable -- Misc. Townsfolk, Cowboys, and a Gambler who were on hand to follow the Texas Ranger into battle


Bandits Attack Texas Ranger!

Prominent Citizen Butchered In Alleyway!

Deeds, Money Stolen As Blood Puddles In the Dirt!

"When I wrote the title for the night's adventure, I was just referring to the outlaws bushwhacking the crooked Land Agent in the alley" Gutshot co-creator Mike Mitchell said after the dice had stopped rolling at the conclusion of the second campaign game at Midnight Comics. "I never imagined it would refer to treacherous gang members turning on their own men!"

The players get ready for a night of action
-- (left to right) Mike Murphy (back to camera), Justin Nemeti, Rick Haufe, Kyle Nearhood, Matt Jeffers, Ian K., Michael Johnson, and Shaun James.

June 10, 2003
Houston, Texas – The second game of the Summer Campaign was another success. The players were enthusiastic, and we recruited four new members to ride on the Outlaw Trail.

Two members had been planning to attend for a while, the other two just walked up and joined the game," said Gutshot creator Mike Murphy. The two planned players were Ian K. and Rick Haufe (who has played the "Love and Bullets" adventure at OwlCon 2003 and the Midnight Comics Mini-Con during Memorial Day Weekend). Ian chose to play Big Jack, a two-gun shootist who quickly fit in with the gang. Rick chose to play someone a little faster and who has a better chance of surviving the night.

"Rick has the most experience of all the players," Mitchell said. "So I'm not surprised that he chose an interesting combination of Specialties. It will be very exciting to watch what he does with the Phoenix Kid in the games to come."

The other two members of the gang just walked up, saw the buildings and miniatures, and joined the fun: Shaun James played Outlaws Nelly and Michael Johnson played 50 Cent.

"The new players definitely brought some chaos to the table, Murphy said, a wicked grin slowly painting his face. "It was great. It brought some unexpected turns to the game."

The game got off to a slow start because the new players had to be brought up to speed. But things began to move faster as they mastered the simple game mechanics that drive the Gutshot rule system.

"I was particularly proud of Ian," Murphy said of the game's youngest player. "He designed his own Character and very quickly grasped the basics of game play. And what's more, he stayed on track with the plan better than some of the older players did."

Wanted: The Midnight Riders
Click for larger image

The players were excited to see that their exploits had not gone unnoticed. The Texas Ranger was in town handing out posters that featured the likenesses of three of the gang that had murdered the Sheriff in Coyote Gulch during the pervious game. During that adventure, the mysterious man known only as Cord had carefully kept his face hidden in his bandanna, preventing anyone from guessing his true identity.

Ian was visibly excited during the game, taking an active hand in overpowering the crooked Land Agent and his goon, and then having the presence of mind to loot his body while the others broke into the Land Office.

"It was great!" Ian exclaimed. "I got $75 cash, $10 silver dollars, a bag of gold dust, a flask of whiskey, and a silver watch. But I gave the watch to Hank so he wouldn't tell anyone how much I got."

Ian's sentiments were echoed by the other players, who agreed they had a good time. They were also echoed by the game's authors, who were satisfied with the night's results.

"The Adventure, 'Bushwhacked in Beaver Creek,' was designed to test one version of the hand-to-hand combat rules that we have been working with," Mitchell explained. "These rules played better tonight than they ever have, but we're still working on a slightly different version that we plan to test in two or three weeks."

The hand-to-hand rules cover wrestling and rough-and-tumble fistfights, as well as knives, swords, rocks, and clubs.

"These rules have been our focus for the last year," Murphy said. "We are working hard to create a system that works as well as our Firearms combat system I think we're close, and tonight went a long way to helping us complete this part of the game, and meet our publication goal at the end of the year."

In "Bushwhacked in Beaver Creek," the Midnight Riders had a simple goal: wait in the shadows of the night to jump the Land Agent in the alley, overpower him and his bodyguard, take his keys and sneak into his office to steal the deeds and the money -- all without firing a shot. One shot would draw the townsfolk into the streets... lead by a deadly Texas Ranger.

Of course, when you ride the Outlaw Trail, nothing is every quite that simple, especially when two of your own people turn against you...


There were 6 primary Characters, 5 NPCs
(the other NPCs never really came into play).
The game lasted five Turns, taking about three hours to play.

Our Story Thus Far: Hank The German was shot up pretty bad during the Bank Robbery at Coyote Gulch, so the boys decided to hide out with Rico's aunt Maria for the three months it took him to completely mend. While there, the boys spent their money, worked on her ranch, and tried to woo Rico's many beautiful cousins, especially the raven-haired Consuela. Tia Maria had a problem, though. It seems that the crooked Land Agent -- Mr. Merriweather -- in Beaver Creek had tricked her and several of her neighbors (almost all of them related to Rico) into giving him their original Spanish Land Grants in exchange for bogus land grants. This would allow him to claim their land as his own. If this happens, the kindly aunt (and her beautiful daughter) will be kicked off their hacienda, and the boys won't have any place to hide out in the future.

After snooping around, the boys found out that Mr. Merriweather keeps the original deeds in a big strongbox locked in his re-enforced office (a building that is too sturdy to break into)-- along with a huge stack of cash (which they could keep for themselves). Unfortunately, a Texas Ranger has arrived in town, with a stack of wanted posters featuring the the faces of three of the four Riders who robbed the Coyote Gulch Bank. This means the boys cannot just ride into town and rob Mr. Merriweather. After a few more days of observing their prey, the boys come up with a plan...

Mr. Merriweather likes his whiskey. Every night, around 8 o'clock, the crooked Land Agent goes to the bath house with his bodyguard, Joe. He spends about an hour soaking in the hot water and drinking his hooch. Then, accompanied by Joe, he stumbles through the alley to the back door of his office, unlocks the door, enters, relocks it, and spends an hour or so counting his money and laughing wickedly as he plots to evict the local widows and orphans. During this time, the Texas Ranger will be in the Grand Hotel across the street from the Land Agent's Office. Friday night at the hotel is in full swing, with cowboys and townsfolk drinking, laughing, and flirting with saloon gals. There's even a gambler in there. If any shots are fired, the Marshal will immediately lead some of the locals to investigate -- armed and ready for trouble.

The boys decide to jump Mr. Merriweather and Joe in the alley without a shot being fired (by them or their prey). If even one shot is fired, the Texas Ranger will be on them, leading a group of 4-10 armed men (3 + 1d6).


Character Placement:
John McLawson, the Texas Ranger, is in the Hotel (first or second floor, he moves around). 4-10 armed NPCs are also in the main room downstairs. Mr. Merriweather and Joe are in the bath house (the door is locked and the owner is ready with two loaded, sawed-off shotguns). All windows have curtains -- ya can't see it.

The Players may put their Characters anywhere on the town (but not the hotel). Keep in mind, that anyone who is wanted from previous games cannot be standing on Main Street, as they may be recognized (GM should make this call based on how infamous that Character is) by someone who will immediately fetch the Texas Ranger. Most of them should wait in the alley for Mr. Merriweather and Joe. Their horses, saddled and ready to go, are waiting at the Livery Stable (in this game, J.J. didn't show up, so his Character, Thomas Irons, was there keeping an eye on them) can be waiting there, tending them).

Victory Objectives: Get the deeds and cash out of Mr. Merriweather's strongbox and get out of town alive. (After the game, the deeds are returned to their rightful owners.)

Victory Points Awarded: If Victory Objectives are met without firing a shot or any NPC discovers that a robbery is taking place, each Character gets 75 VP. If they accomplish the Objective and even one shot has been fired, each Character gets 50 VP. Killing Merriweather is worth 25 VP, Joe is worth 20 VP (divide among those who participate in the killing). If the Texas Ranger dies, each Character loses 10 VP (they have now earned a sworn enemy who will hunt them down like dogs).

Restrictions: Merriweather's office is completely secure -- you cannot break into it (pick the lock, come in through the roof, or dig a tunnel up through the floor), you must enter through a door. Likewise, the strongbox is very secure and is bolted to the floor. You must get the keys off Merriweather to get into the office or the strongbox. Remember, if even one shot is fired, the Texas Ranger will be on 'em instantly.

Strongbox: $1,000 in gold, a stack of deeds.
Land Agent Office searching for one full Action will reveal $50 in greenbacks hidden in the bottom of a desk drawer
Mr. Merriweather: $75 greenbacks, $10 silver dollars, Bag of Gold Dust ($2), Flask of Whiskey, Silver Pocket Watch
Joe: 5 Cigars, $15 greenbacks, $10 gold, $5 silver dollars, $20 pesos
John McLawson:
NPCs: $1-6 (roll 1d6)
Gambler: $20-$120 (roll 2d6 x 10)


Turn One
The Midnight Riders place themselves throughout the town. Hank is by the Church, Cord by the Bakery, and most of the others in the Alley waiting for Mr. Merriweather and Joe. They quickly showed up, surprising everyone by moving together at the same time (Joe moved on Merriweather's Action, Merriweather on Joe's). Joe saw Nelly lying on the ground, pretending to be drunk: "What you doin' there, hombre?" Joe demanded, pulling out his gun. Nelly jumped Joe and a fistfight ensued -- Joe rolled Snake-eyes and broke his hand attacking 50 Cent. Merriweather pulled out his knife and, not as drunk as he seemed, ready for bear.

Every now and then, McLawson, the armed Texas Ranger, steps out on the balcony of the Grand Hotel to look around. It's almost like he knows something's up tonight...


Turn Two  

.The Phoenix Kid and Big Jack join their fellow Riders and the fight turns bloody as Big Jack bloodies up Joe and the Phoenix Kid stabs Merriweather (who passes his morale check). Each side gives as good as it gets.

Meanwhile, behind the bakery, Cord changes out of his fancy clothes and into his outlaw garb. Grabbing his shotgun, he creeps toward the Alley as Rico keeps a bead on the Ranger with his rifle.

Nelly & 50 Cent (on the left) mix it up with Joe and Mr. Merriweather (the two in the middle on the right).

Turn Three  

Ian lets loose a cheer as the crooked Land Agent dies in the street as Shaun gets ready to take another stab at Joe.
Badly wounded, Joe failed his morale check and made a mad dash for the safety of the Grand Hotel. "Looks like he's heading for the Texas Ranger," yelled Big Jake just as the Phoenix Kid stabbed Merriweather to death. 50 Cent pulled the corpse into the shadows, got the keys, and they quickly got into the office. For some reason Nelly decided to pick a fight with 50 Cent, but his attempted Slam was unsuccessful. Hank tried to restore order and get them to stay focused on the mission: get the deeds and the money.

Meanwhile, McLawson had stepped out on the balcony to see what was going on: Joe was running into the Hotel, calling for help. Rico decided to take a shot at the Ranger and managed to wing him. No one's fool, Big Jack took this opportunity to rob Merriweather's dead body -- and made off with a nice pile of loot (only Hank saw him, and Jack later bought the Preacher's silence by giving him the silver watch). The Phoenix Kid also spun about and took a shot at the Ranger, but missed. Showing there is little honor among thieves, the Kid actually stepped behind Big Jack for cover as he took a shot at the angry Ranger on the balcony. But Lady Luck doesn't like sneaks and cowards, and the Kid rolled Snake-Eyes! The serpent let loose a wicked hiss as the Kid shot himself in the foot with his rifle, doing point-blank Damage (about 7 points, I believe), and could not Run for the rest of the game (fastest he could move was a Trot). As the Kid fell to the dirt screaming (and trying to figure out if he had any toes left), the Ranger shot Big Jack for 6 points. Big Jack decided to run for the horses even as McLawson ran back into the Hotel yelling, "Muster up men, let's move!"

Keeping his head, Hank grabbed the loot and even searched for hidden cash (he found the $50 in greenbacks at the bottom of the desk drawer).

Cord moved up beside the hotel and peaked in the window, and decided that discretion was the better part of valor -- he didn't go for a cheap shot through through the glass.

Turn Four
McLawson burst through the hotel doors and ran to the left, putting the corner of the building as cover. 50 Cent decided he was ticked off at Hank for some darned reason... so he shot the Preacherman in the back! It only did 1 point of Damage, but it was the thought that counts.The others decided to get the heck out of there: Rico and Hank (who had the deeds and cash) made a run for the horses with the Phoenix Kid trotting after them, blood pouring out of his boot as they all made a dash for the Livery Stables.

Brave with bloodlust, 50 Cent went looking for the nearest target, and found the Texas Ranger. He took a close range shot -- and missed!

Proving that, indeed, there is no honor among thieves, Nelly turned on the Phoenix Kid. Nelly, Severely wounded himself, shot at -- and missed -- the Kid. The Kid wanted to just run away (knowing that the Ranger could easily catch him in his injured state), but fearing death from this traitor, he fired back, wounding Nelly for 5 points. Nelly only had one point left, which was to continue posing a threat...

Meanwhile, the reputation of the Texas Rangers proved to be well founded -- McLawson dropped him with a single shot.

In fact, every bullet he fired had found its mark, a fact not lost on the others who were running for their lives from the Ranger, and one of their own turncoat gang members.

Turn Five
The Midnight Riders were running for their horses (where Thomas Irons had them saddle and ready for a quick getaway).

"He's going down!" Shaun swore -- just as he rolled Boxcars! (Murph and Ian in the background)

Nelly was still gunning for Hank. His first shot missed. Wounded himself, he needed an 11 to hit -- and then he rolled Boxcars! Hank almost went down. One more shot would finish him off.

In the nick of time, hobbling up behind the traitor, the Phoenix Kid let out a single shot... and Nelly fell dead in the streets.

They all beat a hasty retreat as McLawson led a posse of armed men out of the Hotel in hot pursuit.

"Yehaw! Stampede the horses!" Hank yelled as he pulled his wounded hide up on his pony.

In a mad, desperate dash, the Midnight Riders got on their horses, drove the others off (taking one or two with 'em) leaving the Texas Ranger and his men in the dust. They had achieved Victory, even though two of their own had turned against them.

"Maybe we ought to be more careful about who we let into our gang," the Phoenix Kid mused as they rode into the night.

Victory Points Awarded
Rico Suarez
Thomas Irons
Hank the German
68 (+ 5)*
Big Jack
Phoenix Kid

* Hank received 5 points for for finding the hidden cash in Mr. Merriweather's office.

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