Husbit's reminded me it's been a while since I wrote up any Deadlands, which is true: nothing since March, and that was way later than it should have been. It's here if you wanna remind yourself. Time to rectify the delay.
Dillinger told us Pennington-Smythe had taken the Amulet of Rahashimir out of town to hide it, but he didn't know where. He suspected Big Ears Tam was behind Pennington-Smythe's disappearance, and warned us we wouldn't be able to just walk up to the compound and ask, and definitely wouldn't be able to break in. He suggested we ask around on the streets, see if we could find out from rumour if he's there. All the same, he drew us a map of Tam's estate and told us his lieutenants are Ratskinner Hou and Thin Noodles Ma. He sorted us rooms at the hotel, and we headed to the docks to see if Pennington-Smythe had hired a boat, which could be why he wasn't back yet.
We didn't learn anything about Pennington-Smythe at the docks, but as we asked around we learnt more about the lieutenants. Professionally, they're rivals, which is how Tam's meant to keep them under control, but actually they seem to be friends. Despite his name, Thin Noodles Ma is a huge man who runs the brothels, looking after his employees. Ratskinner Hou runs the opium trade and gets his name from his hat, made form the skin of an informant. There's a lot of politics - officially, Big Ears Tam's the "Dailo" and the other two are "Big Brothers". There's no open warfare between the gangs, more like a game. Tam's men - Tong - wear red, Thin Noodles Ma's men are in blue, and Ratskinner Hou's in green.
There's a fourth gang in town, which has a few people on edge because they're only ever seen with the Big Brothers and there's concern it could be a sign of warfare to come. Suspicion is they're from Warlord Kwan.
Noone has seen Pennington-Smythe, but we eventually hear a rumour of someone frogmarched to the Skids by blue Tongs (Thin Noodles Ma, then). It's the best we have to go on, so we head over. Dark by the time we get there, making the 4 Tongs stood outside the door more obvious. Steve and I approach to give Tesla and Carson cover so they can get into position. Carson's first bullet misses its target by fractions of an inch. The guy leaps to the roof and I scramble up to help him: he's great at range, but even worse in hand to hand than me. He falls as I get there, bleeding from the ear. Don't think that was the Tong... I manage to shove our opponent to the ground, jump down to land on him and scream for Tesla. It's a tough fight, but we prevail and free Pennington-Smythe. Between him and Tesla, Carson's back on his feet.
Pennington-Smythe hid the Amulet before he was captured, but they managed to find out where using telepathy. He and Carson explain they couldn't just lift information out of anyone as they walk past - there's a contest of wills needed, and they'd tied P-S down and stared into his eyes for minutes. He needs us to come with him to get it back before Noodle's men take it.
He leads us out of town. As we get closer to his hiding place, we can hear this pitching screaming that he insists is just the wind. There's about 12 people's worth of tracks, one larger and heavier than the others. Makes me think of the large blue man we fought on the Good Intentions. P-S hasn't heard of anything like that, dismisses it as fancy and says the footprints are more likely someone carrying something heavy.
He chucked the amulet down a hole, and that hole has been dynamited with the footprints leading in. As the smallest, I offer to go first. There's what looks to be a steep, deep drop but is only about 6ft, so the others jump where I scrambled. Steve spots the amulet on the floor, right where it landed after P-S threw it down, which is when P-S pointed out the dozen or so very fresh, very bloody corpses. Tesla collapses with a heart attack in shock; P-S saves him while Steve and I puke.
And the very earth rises into a man-shaped, screaming thing. It attacks, and nothing anyone does makes it slow. P-S points out a tiny gem in its forehead, telling us to make that the target; he's the one to finally make the shot [OOC aside: I know this sounds like 'GMPC saves the day', but I was running Pennington-Smythe. If we have an NPC on our side in a combat, they're shared between us. I most often get control if there's only one because Solomon is a pacifist]. The gem shatters. Dust flies. A giant man rises from the bodies and flees the room. We give chase. Bullets ping, but he seems unconcerned, then punches Tesla and I in our throats, winding us both and leaving me choking. The others eventually takes him down and he melts into the ground, like the blue guy we saw before. The amulet rests where he had been.
Before we leave, Carson spots a strange glowing lightning shape on the west wall. Closer inspection shows it to be made of some kind of glowing lichen. It doesn't mean anything to any of use, so we gather up the amulet and return to Sunrise House.
I feel like the smell of bodies will never leave me.