The Midnight Riders:
Gutshot Summer Campaign

Chapter Three:

Bad Day
at Beaver Creek!

GMs: Mike Mitchell
& Mike Murphy

Played 8:15 - 11:45 p.m.,
June 17, 2003

Interested in joining the Midnight Riders? Contact us at:

Posted:June 21, 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, Spontaneous
  • 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
  • The Phoenix Kid (played by Rick Haufe)
    Custom 3 - TN 9, Hard to Hit, Spontaneous, Tough as Nails, Reliable
  • Big Jack (played by Ian K.)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist

New Specialty purchased by Character

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

  • Richard Austin -- Gambler in town for the big game, starts in the Saloon
    Gambler - TN 8, Lucky, Sure-Shot: Derringer
  • Miss Louise -- Bookkeeper at the Longhorn, starts in the Saloon
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Sam the Bartender -- starts in the Saloon
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy
  • Miss Sally -- Saloon gal, starts in the Saloon, has a derringer in her garter
    Townsfolk - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Speedy


  • John McLawson -- Texas Ranger in town... with a handful of Wanted Posters for the Midnight Riders
    Texas Ranger - TN 6, Spontaneous
  • Hank Billings -- Cowboy, starts in Sheriff's Office
    Cowboy - TN 8, Reliable, Sure-Shot: Pistol
  • Oskar Meyer -- Town Butcher, starts in Sheriff's Office
    Eastern Tenderfoot- TN 11, Hard-to-Hit, Lucky, Speedy, Spontaneous
  • Irvin -- , starts in Sheriff's Office
    Sodbuster - TN 9, Hard-to-Hit, Tough-as-Nails
  • Bert -- , starts in Sheriff's Office
    Thug - TN 9, Brawler, Tough-as-Nails
  • Buck -- , starts in Sheriff's Office
    Cowboy - TN 8, Reliable, Sure-Shot: Pistol
  • Cprl. Leroy Washington -- Livery stable worker, former Buffalo Soldier, starts in Sheriff's Office
    Cowboy - TN 8, Reliable, Sure-Shot: Rifle


Desperate Desperados Rob Gold From Saloon!!!

Ruffians Ruthlessly Butcher
Honest Citizens of Beaver Creek!!!

Texas Ranger Killed Defending Town!!!

Mayor Telegraphs Governor demanding help!!!

“Man this one got real bloody, real quick. It was very touch and go there.” Gutshot creator Mike Murphy said after the end of the third game in the Summer Campaign Playtest. “I thought that maybe the Midnight Riders weren't gonna pull this one off.”

-- Rick Haufe [The Phoenix Kid] demonstrates how he draws and "wastes" an NPC in "Bad Day at Beaver Creek." (Left to right) Matt Jeffers, Justin Nemeti, J.J. Shaw, and Haufe.

June 17, 2003
Houston, Texas -- The streets of the peaceful town of Beaver Creek ran with blood as the Midnight Riders made yet another daring robbery. Guns blazed and bodies fell as the band of outlaws known as “The Midnight Riders” made their presence known and felt in a dastardly robbery that erupted into a gun battle between the ruffians and the townsfolk.

The table was once again crowded with players on yet another rainy Tuesday night at Midnight Comics & Games as Gutshot co-creator Mike Mitchell ran his infamous scenario, Bad Day at Beaver Creek.

"This is the very first adventure I ran at OwlCon in 2000,” Mitchell said. “I've played this more than any other Gutshot Adventure, and tonight the players once again demonstrated their capacity to do the unexpected. That's the great thing about gaming, though – you can play the game five times with five different groups and get five different outcomes.”

This adventure was slightly inspired by the movie, Maverick. A big poker tournament is being held in Beaver Creek, and all the gamblers' money must be safely stored in the re-enforced safe in the back room of the Longhorn Saloon. In order to get a jump on the security, and dodge the crowds that will be attending, the outlaws rob it a few days before it starts. They might miss out on a few thousand dollars, but it should be a much easier job, Mitchell explained.

"At least that's the theory, he he heh," he chuckled wickedly.

Mitchell added that he tweaked the adventure to accommodate the size of the gang, brought back the Texas Ranger from the previous game, and planned a few surprises to test out some of the rules, including Cover Fire, Morale, and NPC mobs.

“Playing this scenario on this scale also gave us a chance to try some new rules that we wanted to see how they stacked up and played in a game setting. We found some good things and some bad things that we are going to have to come back and take a look at to fix.” Said Gutshot creator Mike Murphy. “I played a couple of characters to purposely see if I could ‘fudge' some of these rules to throw the game off balance. I came close a couple of times, but the main system is pretty solid in what you can and cannot do. That is what pleases me.”

Mitchell agreed that the rules took a beating that night, which is exactly what he wanted.

“No amount of theory or thinking can replace a solid playtest,” Mitchell said. “Tonight's game exposed some flaws with the Cover Fire rules, and with the way we adjudicate Morale for NPCs. Both these issue will be addressed in the next draft revision.”

The players started under rules draft 4e, then quickly moved to 5a and, currently, 5b. The numbers represent major revisions, the letters represent minor additions or clarifications. Mitchell said he had hoped that a version 5 would reach the presses at the end of the year, but now admits that it might be version 6 or 7 that actually hits the streets.

Click for larger image

The price keeps going up.

"Is this for each of us, or the whole gang?" Matt asked as he examined the newest Wanted Poster.

"It's for each of you," Mitchell said.

"Hmmm. Rats. We're still wanted alive," Matt added.

"Give it time," Mitchell said with a smile. "Give it time."

Despite the hard work that happens between games, Mitchell said he's very happy with the way the players are getting involved in the game.

"The Campaign System that we have built is quickly coming into its own, and these playtest games are allowing us to see that happening. It's good to see the players have fun while they're helping us ," he said.

That night, the players' “fun” amounted to the Midnight Riders robbing the local saloon of bags of gold and getting involved in a massive gunfight with a band of citizens led by a Texas Ranger.

Guns blazed and bullets flew as the townsfolk put up a determined but unsuccessful struggle to prevent the Midnight Riders from committing their criminal act. The Riders, caught by surprise put up a stiff resistance and shot their way out of the saloon, high-tailed it to their horses, and rode away into the badlands leaving behind the bodies of many slain townsfolk… and the Texas Ranger.

“They killed the Texas Ranger, and that is NOT going to go over well,” Mitchell said reviewing the play notes. Murphy quickly agreed that after the Ranger was killed, the townsfolk's chances for success were quickly whittled down.

"They are townsfolk trying to make an honest living, and they don't stand a chance against the Midnight Riders one-on-one. So they rely on 'safety in numbers.' Unfortunately that doesn't always mean success." he quickly added as it became evident that the dice were just not going the townsfolk's way that evening.

“One of the townsfolk, Hank, in particular, only hit one out of the seven or eight times he shot,” Mitchell said. “On the other hand, a few of the other townsfolk got their licks in. Thomas Irons – played by J.J. Shaw – was killed on the balcony of the Grand Hotel before he could even fire a single shot.”
The others suffered minor wounds and managed to retrieve Irons' body, and make off with $5,000 in gold, while another decided to shoot wounded NPCs as they bled behind the bar.

"Ill-gotten gains that may not serve them well," Mitchell noted.

"Tonight was a GREAT chapter in building the legend of the Midnight Riders. They seem determined to write their names in Gutshot History of the Old West… in blood." Murphy said shaking his head as the desperados rode off into the sunset.

Mitchell agreed smiling. "Now all we have to see is WHO the governor sends to help track them down, when he gets the telegraph. Next week should be VERY interesting."


There were 6 primary Characters and 11 NPCs.
The game lasted five Turns, taking almost four hours to play.

Our Story Thus Far: The Midnight Riders were treated as heroes when they returned the land deeds to Rico's Aunt and the other people who had been swindled by Mr. Merriweather. After a week of celebrating, the Riders heard of another opportunity...

It's time for the Longhorn Saloon's fourth annual Poker Tournament. The top Card Sharks and Gamblers from 10 counties will be converging on the sleepy little town of Beaver Creek to test their wits against the best and shrewdest the West has to offer. Minimum entry fee: $1,000… in gold! Before you sit yer butt at a table, that amount must be stored in the Saloon's safe in the back room. When this gets into full swing, security will be tighter than a Scotsman's wallet. However, if someone were to strike now, before everyone has signed in, they'd still make off with a very tidy sum, and not have to fret about the famous bounty hunters that will be on hand to provide security.

Itching to make an easy score, the boys planned to hit hard and ride fast, before anyone figured out what was going on.

Character Placement:
Richard Austin, Miss Louise, Sam the Bartender, Miss Sally start in the saloon. Sam should be behind the bar, the others scattered about the interior.

John McLawson, the Texas Ranger, is in the Sheriff's Office, holding a meeting of the Town Vigilance Committee (all remaining NPCs). Everyone is armed and ready to face the Riders at a moment's notice.

The Players may put their Characters anywhere on the town (but not inside the Sheriff's Office or the Longhorn Saloon). Keep in mind, that anyone who is wanted from previous games will be recognized if they stand in plain sight on Main Street.

Victory Objectives: Get the cash out of the safe if the back room of the Longhorn Saloon and get out of town alive.

Victory Points Awarded: If Victory Objectives are met each Character earns 75VP. If the Texas Ranger dies, each Character loses 10 VP (the Texas Rangers are now a sworn enemy who will hunt them down like dogs). Award 5 VP to each Character for each bag of Gold he gets away with. Standard points awarded for kills and cash.

Restrictions: The safe and back room of the Longhorn Saloon are 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 the interior door. The only people with the combination are Sam the Bartender and Miss Louise. The White Hats may not kill either of them to prevent them from opening the safe. The gold is very heavy. It is already in bags. Each Character may carry one bag and move at normal speed. If a Character carries two bags, he moves at 50% speed. If he carries three bags, he moves at 33% speed. No one can carry more four or more bags.

GM Instructions: Start the game with only the name slips for the Midnight Riders in the hat. In secret, the GM rolls 2d6. That's how many Actions the Midnight Riders get before someone bolts out of the bath house straight for the Sheriff's Office, shouting, "Sheriff, they're robbing the Saloon!" At that point, put all names back into the hat. The first Turn is over and the second Turn starts.

Put four slips marked "Townsfolk" in the hat. This slip is for all the NPCs in the Sheriff's Office. They are ready to fight the gang. When this slip is pulled, move all of them into position. Put one slip inside marked "Surprise!" When this slip is pulled, the NPCs in the Saloon will attempt to jump the Gang member nearest them (if the Character has a gun, he or she will shoot someone).

Pay particular attention to Morale in this game. The NPCs are brave, but not stupid. They will break when overpowered. Use this to determine when Sam will break down and unlock the safe (once broken, he will open the safe and surrender -- since he doesn't have any Action slips of his own, make him move simultaneously with both the Townsfolk and whoever is forcing him to open the safe).

Longhorn Saloon Safe: $2,000 - $12,000 in Gold. Roll 2d6 to find out how much is there..
Longhorn Saloon Till: $50, sawed-off shotgun behind bar, 1 box of 20 shells
John McLawson:
NPCs: $1-6 (roll 1d6)
Gambler, Richard Austin: $150 greenbacks, $30 gold


Turn One
Their horses are safely secured at the Livery Stable, being watched over by their trusty hired hand, Hop Sing. Most of the gang start right in front of the door to the Longhorn Saloon. Thomas Irons took up a post on the balcony of the Grand Hotel, rifle out, waiting for danger. He wouldn't have long to wait.

Inside the Saloon, Cord (in yet another disguise) just strolled up and whacked Sam the Bartender across the face with his rifle. "This is a stick up!" Suddenly (after 6 Actions), someone burst out of the bath house next to the Saloon and ran to the Sheriff's Office, shouting a warning that someone was robbing the Saloon. Big Jack too up a position inside the Saloon, watching one of the windows.


Turn Two  

In the Longhorn Saloon, the Phoenix Kid pulled his gun and ordered everyone to, "Get Down!" The Gambler and two women hit the floor and Rico took Sam the Bartender to the back room and ordered him to open the safe.  

Thomas Irons never knew what hit him: Bert and Buck shot him down while he was laying cover fire from the balcony of the Grand Hotel.

Meanwhile, back at the Grand Hotel, things got ugly and luck seemed against the Riders as the Texas Ranger got the first Action of the second Turn. He rallied the men and charged across the street into the buildings next to the Saloon.

Corporal Washington took his trusty rifle and climbed the bell tower of the church, ready to cover the Riders if they were foolish enough to cross main street (and his line of fire). From inside the Saloon, Cord fired at the Texas Ranger and missed. Big Jack also got into a nasty firefight with some of the NPCs, but it was Hank the German ("The Unholy Preacher," as Big Jack called him) who made his mark on the town... in blood!

Cord and Bert shot it out, but Bert couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. And in his tower, Corporal Washington waiting for a target...

Hank (The Preacherman) lets the Texas Ranger have it right in the belly with a sawed-off, double-barreled shotgun! All that's left of the lawman is a fine red mist and a few meaty chunks in the alleyway.

The Ranger considered taking a few pot shots through the window of the Saloon, but couldn't get a clear shot. Hank the German closed in on the Marshall and let him have it with a double-barreled shotgun -- and rolled Boxcars!

With the extra damage, he dished out 22 points of lead death. The Ranger was just a wet spot in the dirt (the largest amount of damage inflicted during the campaign, thus far).

Meanwhile, the Phoenix kid relieved the patrons of the bar of all their cash and weapons: he got $150 in greenbacks and $30 in gold. Rico tried to bully Sam the Bartender into opening the safe, but Sam got a 9 on his Morale check and uttered, "I ain't scared of you!"

So Rico shot him in the foot.

Suddenly, in the main room of the saloon, the SURPRISE slip was pulled from the hat. Miss Sally rolled over and quick-drew her Derringer from her garter, fired and barely missed Big Jack (who was at the window covering the street). Louise jumped behind the bar and grabbed the sawed-off shotgun, and Richard Austin -- the Gambler -- made a daring slam on Cord (he rolled Boxcars!) and succeeded in stunning the hapless outlaw. Terrified with the thought of being on the receiving end of Louise's shotgun, the Phoenix Kid walked right over to her and blasted her for 9 points. She was down as, a mere few feet away, Hank the German looted the Texas Ranger's body ($20 in gold) even as Irvin ran up and shot Hank for 3 points.

Turn Three
Sam quickly opened the safe as Cord was having more trouble with Austin. When he recovered from being stunned, he shot at the Gambler and heard the snake let loose an evil hisssss -- SNAKE-EYES! Kyle froze at the thought of what could happen if his Character's gun blew up in his hand, then smiled as he remembered that Cord is Lucky. He re-rolled the attack, and though he missed again, he was able to dismiss the Snake-eyes. The Phoenix Kid decided that Louise was still a threat, so he let her have it again. Another four points of Damage (-1 for Hard-to-hit) left her teetering on the brink of death.She fell back and surrendered.

Meanwhile, out in the street, Irving failed his Morale check and ran off, Bert positioned himself inside the Hotel, firing out through the window, and Crpl. Washington waited in the church tower for a likely target to cross his path. On the side of the Saloon, Oskar closed in on Hank the G., so he blasted the Oskar with his shotgun: 17 points left him a mere wet spot in the street.

In the saloon, Big Jack was ticked off at Miss Sally, so he dropped his rifle and let her have it with both of his pistols, doing 6 points of Damage to the saucy bar wench. Richard Austin made a break for it as Big Jack spun about and blasted Hank Billings (an NPC) for another 6 points. Miss Sally ran to safety,Hank Billings surrendered in the Saloon (bad idea!), and Rico tried to keep everyone focused on the task at hand: "Get the gold and get out of town alive." He made Sam the Bartender unlock the back door, he grabbed two bags of gold, and began his slow trek back to the horses. He was soon followed by the Phoenix Kid who grabbed a bag and headed for the back door. The others took this opportunity to reload.

Big Jack took this opportunity to point a pistol at both Hank Billings and Louise, as they lay there in their own blood. "You've seen my face," he said with a sick grin, and he killed them both.

In the back room with the gold and Sam the Bartender, the Phoenix Kid was stunned at the bloodthirsty action of his fellow gang member. ""Get out of here," he ordered Sam, who was only too happy to limp away, blood spilling from the foot where Rico had shot him.

Bert and Cord continued to fire at each other, to no avail, as Crpl. Washington bolted from Church Tower and made a beeline to the Livery Stable.


Turn Four

The battle rages over the dead Ranger's body! Irvin (in the blue hat) lets Hank the German (alias The Preacherman) have it as Buck moves up to help.

Meanwhile, Hank the German had returned to the Texas Ranger's Body and had removed the gold star that had once served as a symbol of John McLawson's life. Irvin and Buck closed in on the unholy Preacherman...but their lead failed to hit him. Hank returns fire and scores a deadly hit: 10 points on Irvin. Startled by the blood, Buck fires and misses. One gun blazing in each hand, Hank the German lets one bullet fly at each man -- Irvin falls dead and Buck takes 8 points in the belly.

Elsewhere, the Phoenix Kid made a mad dash to the hotel, braving a hail of lead from Bert, as he rushed to retrieve his fallen comrade, Thomas Irons. In the Saloon, Big Jack and Cord grabbed the last sacks of gold and ran for their horses at the stables.

Turn Five
Using his Pistol, Hank killed Bert, then reloaded his shotgun and headed to the stables.Cord exchanged a few shots with Bert, who failed morale and made a mad dash to safety. The Phoenix Kid hauled Thomas Irons' limp body back to the Livery Stable as Hank and Big Jack made short work of Crpl. Washington. Rico, laden with two bags of gold, finally makes it back and the gang rode off into the badlands, back to Rico's aunt's hacienda... leaving bloody carnage behind them in Beaver Creek.


Victory Points Awarded
Per bag of Gold carried
Rico Suarez
Thomas Irons
Hank the German
Big Jack
Phoenix Kid
78 (+ 20)*

* The Phoenix Kid received 20 points for putting himself at risk to retrieve Thomas Iron's Body.

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