The Midnight Riders:
Gutshot Summer Campaign

Chapter Six:

Escape from
Rattlesnake Bend!
(part one)

GM: Mike Mitchell
Assisted by: Mike Murphy

Played 7:30 - 9:45 p.m.,
July 8, 2003

Posted:Aug. 22, 2003

THEY FOUGHT THE LAW, AND THE LAW WON -- So far, that is...
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The Midnight Riders:

Outside the Prison:

  • Heinrich "Hank" Heidelberg -- alias Hank the German, or Preacher Man (played by Matt Jeffers)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Brawler, Hard to Hit, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist, Spontaneous,
  • Cord -- alias the Mystery Rider (played by Kyle Nearhood)
     Custom 2 - TN 8, Lucky, Tough As Nails, Sure-shot: Pistol
  • Thomas Irons (played by J.J. Shaw)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Tough As Nails, Two-Gun Shootist, Lucky
  • Bogart (played by Austin Byers)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Sure-shot: Rifle, Tough-as-nails
  • Isabella (played by Laura Potter)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Speedy
  • Billy "the Kid" (played by Gary Ortiz)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Sure-shot: Rifle
  • Slim (played by Kevin Ortiz)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist

In the Prison

  • Big Jack (played by Ian K.)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Hard to Hit, Two-Gun Shootist
  • Rico Suarez (played by Justin Nemeti)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Sure-Shot: Pistol, Two-Gun Shootist, Spontaneous
  • The Phoenix Kid (played by Rick Haufe)
    Custom 3 - TN 9, Fanning the Gun, Hard to Hit, Reliable, Spontaneous, Tough as Nails, True Grit
  • Deputy Bill Fife (played by Trevor Johnson)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Bawler, Hard to Hit
  • Johnny Gunshot (played by Jonathan Burton)
    Custom 2 - TN 8, Fanning the Gun, Quickload
  • NPC - Hop Sing (played by Justin Nemeti)
    Custom 3 - TN 8,
    Hard to Hit, Sure-shot: Rifle, Spontaneous, True Grit
  • NPC - The Old Coot (played by the GM)
    Custom 3 - TN 8,
    Hard to Hit, Sure-shot: Rifle, Spontaneous, True Grit

Specialties in Blue represent new Specialty purchased by Character


Prison Guards and Officers:
(all NPCs played by Mike Murphy)

  • The Colonel -- armed with two pistols
    Custom 1- TN 7, Spontaneous
  • The Major -- armed with Double-Barreled Shotgun
    Custom 2 -- TN 8, Spontaneous, Sure-Shot: Pistol
  • Ground Guards -- six men armed with rifles
    Guard - TN 8, no specialties, only two Actions per Turn
  • Catwalk Guards -- six men armed with rifles
    Guard - TN 8, no specialties, only two Actions per Turn
  • Tower Guards -- two men armed with rifles
    Guard - TN 8, no specialties, only two Actions per Turn



There were 14 primary Characters
and 16NPCs.

The GM had to get up VERY early the next morning, so the game ended at exactly 9:45 p.m. Careful notes were made about the placement of each Character, and the game was resumed the next week..

Our Story Thus Far (flavor text -- to be read aloud):
Almost half the Midnight Riders had been captured during the previous two games. They had all been carted off to the territorial prison in Rattlesnake Bend. That made it a lot easier for the other Riders to get in and bust 'em out! Just how ya'll do that is up to you!

GM Notes: The Riders have ample opportunity to examine the prison and develop their strategy, so leave it to the Players to decide how to bust out their buddies. Unless the outlaws do something stupid, they should have time to find out how many guards there are, how many are on shift (for simplicity's sake, treat it as though all 14 guards are on duty at any given time). A wagon of supplies are delivered once a week (it would be easy to bushwhack the drivers and take their place). It's just as easy to send a telegram to let the Colonel know that new prisoners are arriving. Of course, when they get there, he'll want to see the transfer papers... if the Players thought to forge some. In short, let them decide how they want to do it.

The mission is simple: they get in, rescue their people, and get out. How they do it is entirely up to the Players. Encourage them to be creative. This may call for a bit more role playing that you're used to seeing in a miniatures game, but go for it!

In this case, the Midnight Riders covered their horses with weapons (loaded shotguns, rifles, pistols, etc.). They then sent a telegram to the Warden (The Colonel) informing him that Texas Rangers would be delivering two prisoners that afternoon. They then rode right through the front gates, fully armed (with weapons dangling on their horses so their buddies could grab them) and fully ready to fight their way out again. Surprise was on their side... and it worked.

Game Type: Two teams. Midnight Riders are the Black Hats, the prison guards are the White Hats.

Character Placement: The Outlaws who are free may place themselves anywhere outside the prison at the start of the game. Keep in mind, if they do anything odd or attract attention to themselves, the guards will become suspicious and tell the Colonel and the Major and the prison will be on guard, ready for trouble.

Roll 1d6 to determine where the Prisoners start the game.

Prisoner Characters Placement

1 Locked up in the barracks closest to the wall.
2-3 In the interior barracks, with the door unlocked.
5-6 Under the Catwalk between the barracks and the supply building, working loading crates.

The territorial prison at Rattlesnake Bend is built like a fort. Each wall is 3-feet long (72 yards in game scale) and secured at the corners with duct tape. Three of the walls had small catwalks on them -- only one had a ladder. The guard tower had a rope ladder that the guards pulled up after them. The location was built to keep the guards out of reach so we could test the effectiveness of rifles. We used small, unpainted HO-scale plastic figures for the 14 guards. We used standard 25mm figures for the Colonel and the Major.

Victory Objectives: For the free outlaws: Bust out the the captured Riders and get away. For the Prisoners: To escape alive.

Victory Points Awarded: Those outside prison earn 60 VP for busting in and getting out alive. Those in the prison earn 50 VP if they escape alive. Award normal points for rescuing fallen companions, being clever, and for kills and surrenders.

Restrictions: None.

Colonel's Office:
$500 loot hidden under floorboards., $50 in desk.
Barracks: A thorough search of ALL the barracks will recover $500 in greenbacks.

JAIL, JAIL, THE GANG'S ALL HERE -- More than a dozen players crowded around the table in the upstairs gaming room at Midnight Comics & Games, ready to play a daring prison escape.


Pre-Game Preparation
The Midnight Riders who were not known by the law -- Cord, Isabella, Billy "the Kid," and "Slim" -- went into Rattlesnake Bend and scouted out the lay of the land. They returned to their outlaw camp nestled in the mesas of West Texas and, as the coyotes howled in the distance, hatched their plan.

On the morning of their planned raid, Hank the German was one town down the line from Rattlesnake bend. Wearing the badge that he had taken off the dead body of John McLawson (a man he had murdered), Hank sent a telegram to the prison, informing them that the Texas Rangers would be delivering two prisoners at noon. He then hopped the train and made it to Rattlesnake Bend, where the gang was assembled, ready to attack.

Inside the Prison: Johnny Gunshot, Hop Sing, Rico Suarez, and Big Jack were inside the Barracks. The Phoenix Kid and Deputy Bill were working at the crates, under the supervision of two armed guards.

As for the Prison Staff: The Colonel and Major were on the roof of the main office. There were six guards on the ground, two on each Catwalk, and two in the Guard Tower.

Outside the Prison: Isabella led a group of horses outside the edge of the prison and hid them behind a tall ridge of rocks, waiting for the signal to ride to the front gate and help the prisoners escape. Billy was riding around the edge of the compound to get a drop on the two Tower Guards (or at least keep them occupied). Thomas Irons and Bogart were pretending to be prisoners: hands "tied" behind their backs. Hank pretended to be a Texas Ranger, Cord and Slim were his Deputies. The "Texas Rangers" rode right up to the front gate of the prison, and informed the lone guard that they were delivering their "prisoners." He opened the gate, they entered, and closed the gate behind them.

The action was ready to begin.


Turn One
Hank's name came out of the hat first, and he promptly dismounted and trotted over to the Major to inform him that the prisoners had arrived. The Colonel was cleaning his pistol on the roof of his office, and seemed to ignore the arrival of the Texas Rangers. Things seemed a bit awkward when the Major asked for the transfer papers and Hank didn't have them. The disguised Preacher tried to bluff his way through the situation, claiming they were on his horse, as the Midnight Riders in the barracks realized that their fellow gang members had, at last, arrived to liberate them.

Meanwhile, outside the prison walls, Isabella rode out a short way from behind the mesa, just close enough to put the catwalk guards in rifle range. On the other side of the prison, Billy rode out by the rocks and waited for the sound of gunfire. He eyed the two tower guards with eager anticipation.

As Hank harangued the Major and the Colonel, on the ground Cord (in yet another disguise), rode around to face the prisoners who were working moving crates beneath the catwalk between the Supply Building and the Barracks. Spying the Phoenix Kid, dressed in the traditional white and black stripes of a prison uniform, he spurred his horse right up to them and mocked the prisoner. "You gonna hang, boy! You killed my brother, and there ain't no way you're ever gonna make it out of here alive. If these guards weren't here, I'd bust you up myself!"

Rick measures to fire on the guards on the catwalk
THE MEASURE OF A MAN -- Rick Haufe measures the distance between the Phoenix Kid and his target as Trevor Johnson tries to figure out how to take out a prison guard with his bare hands.

The ground troops on hand smirked and seemed quite willing to turn their heads and let the "Texas Ranger" work a little person justice on their prisoner.

"Bout damn time," the Phoenix Kid mumbled under his breath. He eyed Cord's horse and all the weapons that were dangling there, waiting to be snatched off.

"Let's get this party started," he said, grabbing a pistol, spinning, and Fanning it right at the nearest, startled guard. He let loose five shots, and in that hail of lead, one bullet struck its mark for 8 points of Damage.

Incredibly, the Phoenix Kid's name came out of the hat again, and he snatched another pistol off Cord's equine arsenal and, amazingly, let fly another five rounds as he Fanned the Gun again. Again, only one shot hit, but it was enough to finish the guard. First blood had been drawn, and the first kill of a bloody fight lay dead on the ground.

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE -- The Players (and even the poster behind Ian K.) grin with excitement as "it" hits the fan and the lead begins to fly.

Thomas Irons and "Deputy" Bill jumped into the fray, the latter grabbing the pistol that the Phoenix Kid had dropped. He knew it only had one bullet left and he sent it past the nearest standing guard -- it missed. The Old Coot he had met in prison took a dive for cover between the barracks as Bill, standing there with an empty gun in his hand, tried to club the guard with it, then tried to slam him, and only managed to drive him between the barracks as they scuffled.

The Phoenix Kid fired up at a guard who was doing his little turn on the Catwalk. The Kid missed and and quickly dove for cover.. The guards on the catwalks opened fire then. The guard nearest Isabella rolled Snake-Eyes and wound up with a jammed gun. The others missed their marks, but two drew a successful bead on Thomas Irons and scored 13 points of Damage against him. Once again Thomas seemed slated for another visit by the Grim Reaper.

Meanwhile, outside the walls that did a prison make, Bill "the Kid" drew his rifle and took a shot at one of the Tower Guards... and missed by one point. He had, as he would soon regret, accomplished his mission: he had drawn the attention of the two tower guards upon himself.

Nearer the gate, Hop Sing grabbed a rifle off Hank's horse, but couldn't hit either of the two times he fired. Rico, likewise, missed with a rifle plucked from Slim's horse. Slim, on the other hand, proved more effective with a pair of pistols, dishing out 9 points of Damage to a guard at Point Blank range (the guard's retaliation shot failed to find its mark on Slim).

Back at the catwalk battle, Cord closed to point blank on one of the remaining ground troops and, and scored 7 points of Damage.

At the base of the stairs to the Colonel's office, Hank attempted to slam the Major with his body. Failing to stun the Major, he muttered "What the hell," and drew both his pistols. Hot lead flew from each hand, killing the Major before he even knew what was going on. Bogart, still fuming about the lashes he had received from the sadistic warden, the Colonel, grabbed a shotgun and an ammo belt off Hank's horse and bolted up the stairs to face the Colonel, once and for all.

Cord went again, dealing another 7 points of Damage, leaving the trooper hanging on by one point as the Turn drew to a close.

THE COLONEL'S GONNA PAY! -- Austin Byers moves his Bogart up the stairs to face the sadistic warden, the Colonel. Justin Nemetti, Matt Jeffers, and Rick Haufe look on, waiting for the next Turn.


Turn Two  

A VIEW TO A MISS -- Gutshot co-creator Mike Murphy measures the distance between a catwalk guard and Rico Suarez. Justin, Matt, and Rick look on.

The guards on the Catwalk opened the second Turn with a volley of lead that was completely ineffective -- the four remaining guards missed their targets. Most of their targets were huddled around the front gate, even as a drama unfolded inside the barracks.

"I'm gonna kill you, Johnny Gunshot," Big Jack said with a snarl.

"Look, we're on the same team now," Johnny G. said, trying to talk sense into the angry outlaw. "We should escape and then settle our differences outside."

"You shot me, left me for dead, and put me in here," Big Jack said. "You're gonna die in here!"


As the battle ebbed and flowed within the prison walls, outside the tide had turned into a wave of blood against Billy "the Kid."

One of the Tower Guards turned his gun on the lone outlaw... and rolled Boxcars! Billy went down with a wet thud, even as the other guard turned his attention on the melee inside the prison walls.

Gary Ortiz (who plays Billy) sat slack-jawed as he watched his man fall.

"Somebody has to come get me!" Gary shouted, trying to convince his fellow Riders not to abandon his body to the buzzards.

"NO!" the other players shouted as one.

"You can't just leave me here," he implored.

"Yes, we can," they said, again, with one loud voice and wicked grins. Of course, they didn't really mean it. Besides, Billy's brother was in the gang, and he could count on his sibling (played by his -real-life brother, Kevin) to fetch his corpse so he could make an attempt to recover from the wounds.

Billy "the Kid" is felled by a lucky shot!
BILLY TRIED TO BE A HERO -- And went down in a mess of blood. He probably should have kept his pretty head down.


The action back at the Colonel's office was fast and furious. The Colonel's name came out of the hat, and quickly turned his pistol on Bogart, blasting him for 8 points. Hank closed to Point Blank on the Colonel and let him have it with both pistols -- two hits 12 points. The Colonel's retaliation shot gave almost as good as he got, scoring 8 points against the German. This small piece of the battle hinged on whose name was pulled next -- either the Colonel or one of the Riders was going down... and fate smiled as Bogart's name came out of the hat. He promptly emptied one barrel of his shotgun into the warden, who went down with 11 points of Damage (about 8 more than he needed to kill him). But, as he fell, the Colonel managed to squeeze the trigger one last time, and the Pistol that had served him at Gettysburg fired again, blasting Bogart for 4 points.

A SLIM CHANCE -- Slim sums up the Riders' best hope for victory. The Phoenix Kid, Thomas Irons, and Rico Suarez make a break for the gate, where Hop Sing was already at work trying to lift the bar. Note that we were using a piece of duct tape to show where the double doors were. Mitchell had built the fort the night before, and hadn't had time to add details like working doors.

In the prison grounds near the gate, Hop Sing blasted a guard for 4 points before deciding that getting the gates open was his top priority. He left the killing in the capable hands of Bogart, who felled two more of the ground troops with his trusty shotgun. Fanning his gun, the Phoenix Kid took out another guard with 8 points (Cord had injured him last Turn).

Outside the prison walls, Isabella could see that the guards on the catwalk were focused on the fighting within, so she took a backshot and hit one of the guards for 3 points. The guards on the Catwalk near the Colonel's office were now facing a two-front battle.

The game ended for the night. The Action slips were carefully sorted into two stacks so we could resume the game next week.


Victory Points: Points were awarded at the completion of part two of the adventure.


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