“Homegrown alligator, see you later
Gotta hit the road, gotta hit the road
The sun it changed in the atmosphere
I can get used to this…!
Time flies by in the yellow and green
Stick around and you'll see what I mean
There's a mountaintop that I'm dreaming of
If you need me you know where I'll be
I'll be riding shotgun underneath the hot sun
Feeling like a someone…
The south of the equator, navigate it
Gotta hit the road, gotta hit the road
Deep-sea diving 'round the clock,
Bikini bottoms, lager tops
I could get used to this…!”
George Ezra, ‘Shotgun’
Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1899
It was the Autumn of 1897; Brimstone slept, unaware of the terrors that would befall it in two short years. In the late evening, under a starry sky, the county seat slept… Apart from the lights that burned in the Shooting Star Saloon, where a very special performance was taking place. The girl on the stage was young and pretty; a saucy smile painted her impish features – she was thoroughly enjoying making an exhibition of herself. She sauntered and spun, flirting with her audience – mostly but not entirely male, and in a state of inebriation. They shouted ribald encouragement and bawdy catcalls, cheering her on. She toyed with the old Union Blue longcoat she wore, teasing its removal until she discarded it entirely, revealing only her bra and panties beneath – though she still kept her cavalry boots and battered old hat on, of course.
At the bar, Roxie Scarlette smiled happily, taking the accolades from her very satisfied punters. This was quite the coup, getting the dour Marshall’s daughter here tonight. She knew Travis would have ‘words’ with them both, but it was worth it. Candy had begged for the chance for long enough, and Roxie liked making dreams come true.
Down at the edge of the stage, their resident pianist was having as much fun as the girl onstage. He was an odd, squirrelly young man, strangely feminine with soft hands and a slight build, his short hair slicked with brylcreem and his outlandishly large black mustache fleshly waxed. His white shirt was soaked with sweat as he played standing up, his small bowler hat worn at a raffish angle. Roxie chose her performers well, and if nothing else, ‘Pinkerton’ Peabody could most certainly play the honky-tonk piano. He sang his heart out too, rebellious words of a new world and a future that belonged to the young, to the bluesy twang of each key-stroke:
“Hey kids, let’s sing the blues together!
The spotlight's hitting something that's been known to change the weather
We'll kill the fatted calf tonight, so stick around…
You're gonna hear piany music - solid walls of sound -
Say, Kathryn and Roxie, have you seen them yet?
Oh, but they're so far-out
C-C-Candy and the Angels!
Oh, but they're weird and wonderful!
Oh man, they’re really keen
She's got magick boots
A Civil War suit
You know you see her in the magazines…!
Oh… C-C-Candy and the Angels!
Hey kids, watch them become famous
Their fathers were the best, but the Angels will be ageless
We shall survive, let us take ourselves along…
We’ll fight our parents out in the streets to find who's right and who's wrong…!”
At the bar, Cornelius Van Horn and his ex-wife Silver cheered and laughed, smoking and drinking the best liquor in the house. The tall, thin gunman just relished the eye-candy, while Silver looked genuinely supportive of her young friend. Roxie knew she was a den-mother to some of the younger girls… and Candy had wanted this for some time. Roxie also knew the couple still carried a flame for one another… and as much as she liked Ms Rush, she’d be glad when she moved on. Cornelius was her regular suitor these past years, and the saloon owner liked having him around. As the men cheered and shouted encouragement, Roxie noted that there was no sign of Crow Lightfoot tonight. That wasn’t especially unusual, she thought – the solemn tribal scout didn’t drink or gamble… and he certainly had no interest in dancing girls. She idly wondered when Travis would gate-crash the proceedings and bring an end to the nights festivities. Best enjoy it while they could…
High in the gantries, seen by nobody, Becky Youngerman watched the burlesque dance with wide-eyed fascination. She snuck in here unnoticed – not even Crow could find her when she wanted to be unseen. She tried to mimic the woman’s movements, striking a dancer’s pose. She wasn’t a kid anymore – she was thirteen, she could even get married in some states! She could be just as pretty as the saloon dancers if she wanted, she decided. One day she would show them all, show up everyone who thought she was just a skinny little kid…
Outside the Saloon, some of the more sober citizens had gathered. A grim-faced Reverend Hellerbrand stood holding a lantern, illuminating the rainy street. Sherriff Lafferty turned up his collar against the drizzle.
“Makin’ an exhibition of herself like this…!” the preacher cussed. “The Good Lord most certainly tests us both, with wild and wilful daughters…!”
“Ah, let the girl have her fun, Nate,” Lawson sighed. “Boys will be boys, and girls will be girls… They’ll grow up soon enough…”
He looked out into the night.
“It’s Travis I’m worried about. That thing with his eldest still rankles him. He’s not gonna like this, not one bit. Candy’s supposed to be the sensible one…!”
Another pair approached, the tall, lanky man carrying an umbrella parasol for his younger bride. Lawson was again struck at how strikingly beautiful the schoolmarm was. She reminded him of Kelly, his late wife.
“Alex,” he nodded at the tall blacksmith and his wife. “Mrs McBride…”
“They said that Candace was… performing here…!” The schoolmistress wrinkled her nose slightly. “She’s barely out of learning her lessons, and Miss Scarlette allows her to dance?”
“Candy… is dancing here?” her husband said, eyes wide. He reddened a little and coughed awkwardly. “Kate, Lawson, Reverend… maybe I’d best go in… keep an eye on her? See she doesn’t come to any harm…?”
Kathryn McBride frowned disapprovingly. “Darling, I think there are more than enough young men are willing to ‘keep an eye on her’…! Such a spectacle…!”
“Ah… yes…!” he admitted. “A spectacle…! Um, well, we’d… best stay here, then. Standing… out in the rain…!”
“Yes, we should,” she replied primly.
They looked up to see another tall, thin figure stalking with purpose towards the saloon.
“Uh oh,” the town blacksmith murmured. “Here comes trouble…!”
The Marshall stood in the rain, water dripping down his drooping mustaches.
“Lawson,” he growled. “You knew about this?”
“You’re only young once, Travis,” the Sheriff sighed. “Let it go.”
He shrugged. “Laverne’s in there too. She’s fine – nobody will dare to put a hand on her – “
“It’s your girl I’m worried about…!” the Marshall glowered, moving past his friend with grim purpose in his eyes…
Inside the Shooting Star, Candy had dispensed with her brassiere, revealing surprisingly full breasts considering her small, slight frame. Roxie admired the way she grinned and ate up the applause and attention. She definitely had style, she decided. If the lawman thing didn’t work out for her, she’d be welcomed as a dancer at any saloon in the state...
On stage, Candy had peeled off her panties with aplomb, and was whirling them about her head to deafening cries of encouragement. Nearby, the heavily-built form of her paramour, a woman who towered over most men, smirked in satisfaction like the cat who’d drank the cream. She put her feet up, crossed on the table, and tilted her hat over her eyes. They could look all they liked; only she got to touch. Let ‘em see the goods. This show would get Candy’s blood pumping for later tonight. The clients here knew better, but Laverne almost wished one of them would try something. It had been a while since she’d dished out a righteous beating.
And then, a loud, complaining noise resounded up from the piano, as a heavy gloved hand slammed the lid shut, the pianist a moment too late to whip his fingers back.
“Owwwww!!! My hands…!” wailed Pinky, rubbing his bruised fingers.
The tall figure of the Marshall ignored him, stalking up to the stage.
“Oh shit…!” Laverne muttered, almost falling out of her chair.
Candy faced her father wearing only her hat and boots, one arm covering her breasts, the other between her legs. An awkward, sheepish grin flitted across her face as the entire saloon fell silent. Eventually, she broke the utter quiet that had descended.
It was an hour later, ears burning, she returned to the dressing room, and looked up at the picture of her illustrious ancestor – erased from history for the crime of being born a girl.
“You understand, don’t you?” Candy sighed, addressing the portrait. “You probably did the same when you ran away from your family, right…?”
A slim figure stepped out of the shadows. When she pulled down her scarlet bandana, she revealed a face very similar to Candy’s own.
“I see you’re still fetishizing Bobbie-Jo,” the older woman said.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Candy snapped. “Are you out of your mind, coming into Brimstone with a price on your head…!”
Clarabelle Kane shrugged, and tossed Candy’s discarded panties at her.
“Stop whining and put some clothes on,” she chided. “I’m not talking to my own sister when she’s naked…”
Candy pulled her dressing gown about her and scowled back. “He’s here, tonight…!” she hissed. “You need to keep a very low profile…!”
"Oh, relax,” Belle smirked, lighting a cigarette. “Did he put you over his knee for making a public exhibition of yourself?”
“I’m a bit old for that,” Candy sneered. “My ears are still burning, though,” she admitted.
“Him getting mad won’t stop you,” Belle smiled. “Pretend to be the ’good girl’ all you like, Candy. You’re the same as me.”
“I’m nothing like you!” Candy scowled.
“Well, it’s true; I have better tits,” the outlaw said casually. Her younger sister just scowled at her.
“Pout all you like,” Belle said airily. “I know it’s true. At least I respect your… lifestyle choices…! Where is the Big Blonde Beast, by the way? I heard a rumour those handcuffs of hers are for you, not the criminals…! Apparently she says you bite…!”
“Screw you,” Candy snapped. “As for LJ… she’s probably getting chewed out by Dad,” Candy admitted. “I sure hope he doesn’t push her too far… That girl’s got quite the temper on her…”
"Serve him right,” Belle shrugged. “The way he gets off, telling us what we can and can’t do… I respect your right to be ‘different’. Wish you’d respect mine – “
“Holding up trains and robbing banks is NOT a lifestyle choice, Clara!” Candy snapped. “This isn’t a game anymore! You and your thugs have done some serious shit! Dad’s done his best to stick up for you and protect you, but you could hang for armed robbery!”
“They can’t hang what they can’t catch,” Belle smirked.
“This isn’t some fucking game,” Candy reiterated, angrily. “You’re my sister. You know I’d do anything to keep you safe. We both would, though you don’t seem to give a damn – “
“I keep wondering,” Belle smiled unpleasantly at her sister. “You being a penny-licker and all… You ever harboured any… amorous thoughts about me? We’ve swum naked in the river together often enough…!”
“I’ve changed my mind about keeping you safe,” Candy said through gritted teeth. “I’m taking you into custody right now. In fact, I think I’ll just hang you myself…!”
“I love it when you talk dirty,” Belle chuckled. She held up her fist. “Sister-fist?”
Candy rolled her eyes and lightly tapped her knuckles against Belle's.
“Sister-fist…!” she sighed. “One of these days, Clara, I swear I’ll ‘sister-fist’ you in the fucking face…!”
“Promises, promises,” Belle laughed lasciviously.
The Kane Gang
Travis Kane did not remember arriving in the New World in 1859, when he was six years old. He and his father and uncle survived the perilous crossing from Europe, but many of his family did not. During the Great Hunger that followed the potato famine in Ireland, a million poor Irish perished, and a million more emigrated to seek a new life away from the desperation of their homeland. The O’Kane family was only one of many who sought that new life in America, settling with other rural poor in West Virginia. But like so many, they found their new country unwelcoming – life was hard as a penniless sharecropper, but almost everywhere they looked in the cities of the East they found themselves barred from employment – ‘NINA’ was the word used – ‘No Irish Need Apply’. While Travis worked on their tiny strip of sharecrop land with his uncle Casey, his father Malachi went looking for work with some of his friends. Finding no honest work, and frustrated with the lack of welcome and opportunity having buried wives and brothers, several of the men started stealing cattle and rustling, and Malachi O’Kane soon rose to prominence among them. He was quite the outlaw in his short but eventful career, and was seen by many of the Irish expatriates as a ‘Robin Hood’ figure, stealing from the Yankees to provide for the immigrants. But with success came infamy and notoriety, and the long arm of the law soon caught up with O’Kane and his gang. Heroically injured in a shootout with a posse of lawmen, Malachi went to the gallows for murder and rustling, making an orphan of the young Travis. His brother Casey bitterly disagreed with Malachi’s life of crime, and lamented the choices that led him to the hangman’s noose. He decided to change the family name to simply ‘Kane’, and did what he could to drive the Irish accent out of his nephew, telling him that he would have to forget his roots if he wished to be successful in their new world.
When Travis was eight years old, the Civil War tore their new nation apart, and raged for four years, leaving bitter scars in their adopted country. When he was fifteen, Casey and his wife died of fever in an epidemic, and Travis had to make his own way in the world. Fortunately for him, he was tall and rangy, a skilled outdoorsman and fighter even at a young age, and he had few problems finding work in the post-war era. The death of his father had a profound effect on the young Travis – while he felt anger at his death, he also understood that Malachi’s choices had led him to prey on his own fellow man, to murder and steal, and that fate took him to the gallows. As he grew to manhood, the brooding young man had to square the loss of his father and the plight of the Irish immigrants against need for law and order in the troubled postwar times.
This came to a head when he was twenty, inspired by the growing legend of a Union cavalryman named Lawson Lafferty, who was cleaning up the frontier as a lawman. Lafferty took jobs as a sheriff in wild towns where the life expectancy of a lawman was usually measured in days… and he cleaned each of them up, with a strong force of will, personal magnetism, a fast draw and an unshakable belief in justice. He drew likeminded men to his side, becoming a banner under which the righteous could fight back against lawlessness and the criminal gangs. Inspired by his example, Travis applied for a job as a deputy, and soon proved his worth. His lanky frame belied a steely strength and incredible toughness, and he was smart and quick-witted, if unschooled. These qualities gave him considerable success in his new career, and he was part of several posses that took down the worst felons in Virginia and Ohio. He used the money he earned to educate himself, and signed up as an army scout to polish his wilderness skills.
Travis was soon sought out to join the US Marshalls – travelling lawmen who could seek threats to the townships across state lines. His quick wits, fighting skills, tracking abilities and strong belief in justice made him a natural for the job – above all, he was almost fearless, happy to risk his own skin to protect others. Although Travis was a gruff, private young fellow, many young women sought out the bold lawman, and he soon ended up courting the attractive Beaulah McAllister, a very eligible prospective bride from a good Union family. Though she was beautiful and elegant, Beaulah wanted great things from Travis, and expected him to keep her in the style she was accustomed. Generous bounties were offered for the worst outlaws and even monsters, which would supplement his modest stipend as a Marshall. Thus, Travis spent much of his time on the trails, hunting down terrible enemies while his wife stayed at home in their spacious ranch. Although he had long dropped the name and the accent, the McAllisters remained rather disdainful of him, feeling that their daughter was marrying far below herself.
Somewhat to his surprise, Travis found he loved the life. He was well-suited to being a traveling hunter – long days alone on the road, with only his thoughts for company, punctuated by moments of sudden, extreme violence when he finally ran down his prey. He was calm, methodical, and absolutely relentless in his quarry, and came back with gory trophies to prove his skills and claim the bounties. He became a fairly wealthy man, although he cared little for money or glory, and allowed his wife to spend his earnings as she saw fit. In 1874, and again in 1876, his wife gave birth to daughters – Clarabelle and Candace – in both cases, while he was away hunting his quarry. Now with a young family, Beaulah wanted Travis to settle down and take a job as a Sheriff in somewhere relatively safe – her family had many connections, and he could have his choice of location.
Travis argued that they needed the money his hunting expeditions brought in, not wanting to rely on the generosity of her disapproving parents. But in truth, he knew he was unsuited to a life keeping law in a township, having to settle disputes and deal with politics. He loved the open plains and praeries, the thrill of the hunt, matching his wits and skills against a deadly foe. He was most at peace when alone in the wilds, kept company by his own thoughts. And in doing so, he could provide for his family while doing a job he loved and felt he was born for.
And so Travis spent more and more time away, and his wife grew ever more frustrated. Left alone with her daughters, she had affairs and took lovers – at first discreetly, and then less so. Her family finally encouraged her to leave him, and Travis returned home one day to find she had left for her family estates, leaving her lawyer to deal with divorce papers. Travis was saddened, but in truth he couldn’t blame her. He accepted he was never cut out for domestic bliss; his one true love was Virginia’s fertile valleys and beautiful wilds, and hunting his prey there. He continued as he had always done – he had few expenses and led an austere life, sending his money home to his ex-wife so she could provide for his daughters. She allowed him access when he returned, but each visit made him uncomfortable, knowing he would soon leave again. The girls grew up on tales of his legend, the skill and boldness of the famous monster-hunter who staked vampires in their lairs and felled marauding werewolves with silver buckshot.
During this time, Travis realised one of his ambitions when he met Lawson Lafferty in the flesh in Texas. Though getting on in years now, the legendary Sherriff was still taming the wild frontier, and the two men became fast friends immediately, the older man seeing much of himself in Travis. While he sought the Marshal’s knowledge about hunting monsters that had started threatening Shannedam County, he also asked for his help in fighting more prosaic foes, like the Sloane Gang in Brimstone. Travis became Lawson’s Deputy and right-hand man, and together, they tamed the county with blood, sweat and tears.
Texas had no shortage of feral creatures to hunt, from the five clans of vampires from south of the border, to itinerant horrors like the foul Chupacabra, which feasted on herds and ranchers alike. Shortly after, he received news that Beulah had died of a sudden illness. His youngest daughter, Candace, now sixteen, disliked her new stepfather, and had little interest in staying with the McAllister family, who still looked down upon the descendents of ‘poor immigrant trash’. Although he felt she was best served by continuing her education in the East, he eventually gave into her constant begging and cajoling, and agreed to bring her out to Texas with him. He had another issue to contend with also – her older sister Clarabelle had become increasingly wayward and rebellious in recent years (a family trait Candace shared!) and had fallen in with a bad crowd. She had graduated from breaking curfews and hanging around with ‘bad boys’ to riding with actual outlaws, now calling herself ‘Tennessee Belle’ and developing an infamous persona as a thrill-seeking bandit. Travis agreed to look after his younger daughter, now calling herself ‘Candy’, and to find Clarabelle before she met a bad end in pursuit of her rebellious adventures.
A year later, having moved to Shannedam County, they finally caught up with ‘Belle’, attempting to set her straight and perhaps knock some sense into her. Travis felt that a short spell in the county jail might teach her the error of her ways, show her that the outlaw life was grim and ugly, not the romantic adventure she sought. However, her friends – members of the infamous ’Hole in the Wall Gang’ – snuck into town and broke her out of jail before her father could bring her to the county seat in Brimstone. They holed up in West Witold, on the edge of the Badlands – one of the most infamous ‘dens of scum and villainy’ in the Old West – one of the last hold-outs of outlaws in the state, this late in the era.
Although they tried many times, Travis and Candy never managed to capture Belle again. Other matters started to take up Marshall Kane’s attention - a series of escalating rancher disputes broke out in Shannedam County, and there were troubling reports of foul monsters abroad. Vile creatures seemed to be growing bolder, attacking the towns in greater numbers, even displaying a human-like sense of organisation. They began to test the township‘s defences, even by day, and Travis was kept busy just defending Brimstone and the towns. Even as the exploits of ‘Tennessee Belle’ grew more infamous, he was unable to pin her down again. She was her father’s girl after all – cunning and clever, and unafraid of the wilds. Although Travis frequently tried to drum up support to clean out West Witold, such a major undertaking was impossible with so few able lawmen, and they were stretched thin in these troubled times. Unbeknownst to him, Candy kept up a secret correspondence with her sister – although the younger girl greatly disapproved of her life choices, Belle was still her sister, and she did not wish her to come to harm.
At eighteen, the vivacious young Candy Kane fell in love with Texas. For the first time in her young life, she felt truly free. Growing up, she railed against her mother’s upbringing, and her antics with her lovers while her father risked his life in dark places. She hated the idea of growing up a lady with ribbons and bows, to be married young for some family alliance. She dreamed of being on the trails with her father, fighting horrible monsters and braving the wilds. She watched her sister grow more and more restless and wilful, engaging in petty crimes around town and hanging out with young men of low character. There was a certain wildness in the younger daughter, true – but that was tempered with her father’s sense of justice. Candy wanted to defend her fellow man, not steal from him or harass him.
She did not get on with Beaulah’s family - but there was one element of the McAllister’s with which she found a connection. Among the family’s Civil War veterans was the legend of ‘Captain Bohanna’, responsible for many brave sorties and clever victories in the War, a person who had won several medals for valour. What didn’t make the tales, however, was the fact that the good Captain was Roberta Johanna McAllister, Beaulah’s mother. Nobody was quite sure how she managed to get a military commission (though most of the tales were quite ribald…) but she proved so successful that they dared not decommission her during the war. Only when the Union finally claimed victory was Bobbie-Jo finally brought to heel, returned to her family and her exploits quietly hushed up -when she was mentioned at all, it was as ‘Captain BoHanna’, and all references to her gender removed. Only a few veterans even remembered the boyish young commander, and she had died young in childbirth after being married off soon after the war ended. One picture of her remained, gathering dust in the attic, and Candy instantly fell in love with it. The crop-haired boyish young woman, in her coat of union blue, her legendary pistol in her hand. Here was where she fitted in. This is what she wanted to be. When her father came to collect her after her mother died, Candy took the painting, the pistol, and what Twelfth Cavalry memorabilia remained, and did not look back.
Although he was resistant at first, Travis eventually gave in to his daughter’s endless pestering to teach her how to hunt and track and fight. He had imagined a more ladylike life for her, but he admired her spirit and determination – and secretly, he jumped at the chance to raise a daughter as his son. Although unlike him in looks and bearing – she was short where Travis was tall, cheerful and outgoing where he was private and gruff – she was her father’s child in every other way. Even as a girl, she could outrun any boy in town, she could ride and swim and climb trees and would run away for days to live out of a backpack and bedroll on the edge of civilisation. Travis was pleased with how swiftly she learned his lessons – he taught her to track various foes, to hunt enemies in the wild, to keep a clear head and a sharp mind. He taught her how to fight, how to use a shotgun, rifle or pistol, and she threw herself wholeheartedly into his lessons. By the time she was nineteen, he signed her up to his posse as his son, ‘Cody Kane’, and she soon started sharing his bounties and collecting rewards of her own. She was delighted at how things had turned out, finally getting to emulate her hero, Bobbie-Jo. Travis was quietly proud of her; he had always wanted to pass on his knowledge to a son, and now he had the chance.
Candy discovered she loved both the wild beauty of Shannedam County, and the exciting night-life of the frontier towns. This was nothing like the genteel cities back East – life in Brimstone and Larberg’s Landing was wild and rough, and she could rub shoulders with all manner of colourful characters like Cornelius Van Horn, and his wife, Sylvia Rush. The latter started to become a mentor of sorts, teaching her how to thrive as a woman in a man’s world. She loved the saloons – the Shooting Star in particular, striking up a friendship with Roxie Scarlette, the saloon owner who wasn’t far off her own age. Sometimes – when her father was out of town - she would even let Candy perform on-stage, dancing with the regular girls at burlesque nights.
Most importantly of all, however, she met Laverne Lafferty.
She was pleased to find that her father’s famous friend had a daughter of his own, and like her, had aspired to his legend and been essentially raised as his son. Laverne was a few years older, but they became friends immediately, finding that they had so much in common – both were daughters of famous lawmen, raised to shoot and ride and hunt and fight in the way they would have taught a son. Like Bobbie-Jo before them, they couldn’t be officially deputised, but served as their father’s right hand men in everything but name.
There was another thing they found they had in common, too. Growing up back home, Candy had never cared for boys or courting. She scared most of them off – she was a short-haired tomboy who climbed trees and had a mean left hook when they tried to get grabby. She had no interest in becoming someone’s wife, wanting nothing more than to run away and seek out her father, living a life on the trails hunting dangerous prey. But she watched how Laverne acted around the saloon girls, how they cooed and fussed over her like a man, how L.J. dressed and acted like a boy. Everything just clicked into place, and Candy finally realised who she was and what she’d been missing.
The young women spent plenty of time together, practising their marksmanship and hunting skills, swimming in creeks and lakes and streams, talking for long hours beneath the stars. There was plenty of time for confessions, for intimacy, for becoming more than simply close friends. By the time they were comfortable enough to hold hands and even kiss in town, they had become inseparable. They turned many heads, and were the subject of much gossip, but mostly the town folk accepted their courtship. They were well-liked and actively helped the town by assisting their fathers fight monsters and outlaws. Lawson and Travis were bewildered by it all, but eventually decided they would be delighted if either of them were a boy, and they were courting. They had to balance the fact they would never have grand-children with their daughter’s happiness, and eventually came to accept it. The saloon girls were unhappy to lose their best paying customer, but everyone else seemed pleased for them.
By the time of the ‘Night of Screams’, when monsters vomited up from the bowels of Hell, both young women were accomplished peacekeepers, and helped their fathers and the other townsfolk to defend the city on that terrible eve. That Brimstone remained standing even in part was largely due to the bravery and skill of the Kane and Lafferty families – Candy helped organise the defences and led several sorties to drive the foul creatures back. That night, Lawson gave them their badges and swore them in as protectors of the people. The world had come to an end, and the survivors no longer cared about the gender of their saviours. Heroines would be needed as much as Heroes, and the girls finally had the opportunity to make legends of their own. Inspired by the defiance of a young woman named Jess Cartwright, Laverne and Candy decided against remaining with their fathers, and formed their own all-female Posse – the Fallen Angels – to help the fight against the Darkness.
Now twenty-three, Candy Kane – who revels in her amusing name - is a confident, assured young woman, comfortable in her own skin and with her own identity. She wishes that it hadn’t taken the end of the world to get the opportunity to prove her worth, but now she is determined to make the best of it. Although she is somewhat wild and wilful, her spirited nature is balanced by a strong need to ‘protect and serve’. Both her idols – her father and grandmother – fought to protect their people, and she can do no less. She respects the past, but also looks to the future - she is inspired by her father and Bobbi-Jo, but she is not solely defined by them. One thing that binds the Angels together is their need to come out of their parent’s shadow, to make their own name in the world. It gives Candy a kinship with the others, something she readily understands. While committed to the Law, she also believes strongly in Justice… and understands the two are not always the same. To that end, the Angels have outlaw members as well as law-keepers, and Candy finds it surprisingly easy to get on with those of a more criminal mindset. She actually likes Camilla a good deal, and even sometimes lets her sister Belle join them on their missions. While she dislikes her sister’s notoriety, blood is still thicker than water, and she ultimately wants the best for her. Both herself and her father have reluctantly had to defend her against more zealous and dogmatic lawmen, and neither will let Belle come to harm.
She and Laverne have a very strong, deep bond, and their relationship is very stable and loving. Although outwardly very different, they are quite similar deep down, having strong commitment to others, a desire to prove themselves the equal of any man, and the need to do what is right. Outwardly however, they seem almost opposites in many ways – Laverne is stoic and serious, while Candy is cheerful and friendly - at times, irreverent and impudent like her older sister. Laverne likes denim and leather, but Candy is quite feminine in town. On the trail, she wears practical garb and her 12th Cavalry outfit – but in town she likes gingam dresses and wears her short hair in little plaits. Candy has a weakness for Coca-cola sodas, and carries bottles to drink even on the trail.
In a posse, Candy serves ably as her lover’s deputy, quick to lend a hand or help any of her friends. If Laverne isn’t around for any reason, she steps easily into the leadership role. She is always positive and active, at the heart of whatever ever is going on, in and out of battle. She’s always up for a dare, and looks for ways to cheer others up. Her cheery nature contrasts LJ’s tendency to brood, and she sometimes jokes that Laverne is a lot more like her father Travis, and she’s more like the personable Lawson. The pair have discussed getting married when this crisis is over, and Candy jests that their Void Canaries should get wed as well. It has been a long hard road to get Laverne to accept her little pet, but now she dotes on the little creatures as much as Candy does.
You'd beg if I was under your hood!
But it ain't doing us any good
Rolling through town and going too slow
What we need is an open road
Four-hundred horses need a little room to run…
Well if you ain't gonna do it, let me show you how it's done -
Drive it like it's stolen, park like it's rented!
What's the point of money if you ain't gonna spend it?
There's a reason roads go past the city limits
If you don’t wanna drive, then baby you can ride shotgun!
Traffic jam as I'm sitting by,
Old man holding that same old sign
Telling me that the end is near,
But they've been saying that a hundred years
But what if he's right, baby?
Maybe this time it's true...
And we got nothing to lose…”
Sheryl Crow, ‘Shotgun’
Another great piece of art by the ever-wonderful and reliable ! The next of the Brimstone gals, meet Candace ‘Candy’ Kane, Laverne Lafferty’s partner-in-crimefighting, in and out of the camp-blanket. A winning smile and cheery nature belie this little tomboy’s toughness and fighting skills.
(And I’m just catching up and getting things posted, so please be patient with me… I promise I will answer every post I get! Just back from London and from seeing the Rolling Stones in concert in my native Cardiff… if Mr Jagger and Mr Wyman can be that energetic at 74, I can do it at nearly fifty!)
As usual, newdz are comin’ shortly, so for now, let’s talk stats…
Candace ‘Candy’ Kane
U.S. Marshal (Keywords: Law, Traveller)
Agility 4 Level: 7 Defence 3+
Cunning 5 XP: 6010 Willpower 4+
Strength 2 Initiative 5
Lore 4 Health 21 (+1)
Luck 3 Sanity 20 (+1)
Combat 3 Ranged ‘to hit’ 4+
Max. Grit 5 Melee ‘to hit’ 4+
Double-Shot: Once per turn, when you kill an Enemy with a Shotgun, you gain +1 Shot with that Shotgun.
Cleaning Up The West: Any time you kill an Enemy you may Heal 1 Wound and 1 Sanity, and gain 10 XP.
Hardened Resolve: Use 1 Grit to Heal 3 Wounds or 3 Sanity from yourself or another Hero on your Map Tile
(gain 5 XP for every Wound/Sanity Healed from another hero in this way). You are +2 Sanity.
Rolling Thunder: Anytime you kill an Enemy, you may Recover a Grit on a d6 roll of 4, 5, or 6.
A Story To Tell: You gain extra Movement each turn equal to your Lore. +1 Lore
Focus: You no longer need to target adjacent Enemies first with Ranged Attacks. +1 Max Grit
Back Up Plan: You may now Recover a Grit on a Move roll of 6 as well as the normal 1.
Saddle Bags: You may now carry an extra 3 Tokens in your Side Bag
Been Around: Any time you would take 1 or more Sanity damage, take 1 fewer. +1 Lore.
Hunter: At the start of each Adventure, choose a specific Enemy Type. You are +1 Damage against that Enemy and gain $10 for each you kill.
Dead or Alive: Use 2 Grit to cancel a Darkness or Growing Dread card. +1 Max Grit
+1 Lore. Also gain +d6 Health/Sanity (any mix, +3/+3)
+1 Agility. Also gain +d6 Health/Sanity (any mix, +3/+2)
+1 Cunning. Also gain +d6 Health/Sanity (any mix, +2/+3)
+1 Max Grit
+1 Side Bag Token Capacity. Also gain +d6 Health/Sanity (any mix, +2/+1)
Equipment (weight 7/7)
Weathered Hat (Personal, Clothing – Hat) Once per turn, may Re-roll a single Defence roll.
Void Canary (Artefact, Void, Creature) $350. Once per Adventure, cancel a Darkness or Growing Dread card on the d6 roll of 3+. On the roll of 1 however, the Void Canary succumbs to the Void energy and bursts (discard)
Captain Bohanna’s Pistol (Artefact, Canyon, Gun – Pistol, 12th) $750, Weight 1, Hands 1. Range 8, Shots 3
Once per turn, you may ignore an Enemy’s Tough or Endurance ability for a single Hit with this Gun.
Shotgun (Gear, Gun - Shotgun) Range 5, Shots 1, 2 Hands, Weight 1, Upgrades 1 (0), $300
Uses the d8 To Hit and for Damage (6, 7 or 8 count as a Critical Hit)
(with Dark Stone inlay, DS 1. Once per Attack with this Weapon, you may Re-roll a single To Hit roll.)
Marshal Badge (Gear, Law, Icon; Law only)
Once per Adventure, give all Heroes +2 Shots with a Gun or +2 Combat (they choose) during their next Activation.
12th Cavalry Boots (Artefact, Canyon, 12th, Clothing – Boots) $350, Weight 1
+1 Move. Once per Adventure, gain +3 Initiative until the end of the turn.
12th Cavalry Jacket (Artefact, Canyon, 12th, Clothing – Coat) $550, Weight 1, Upgrades 1
Once per Adventure, Recover 1 Grit. +2 Move, Armour 6+
12th Cavalry Bandana (Gear, Clothing – Face, 12th) $50, Weight 1. You gain +1 to all Escape tests.
Once per turn, you may force a single Enemy To Hit roll against you to be Re-rolled.
12th Cavalry Carbine (Artefact, Gun - Rifle, Canyon, Light, 12th) $450, Weight 1, Upgrades 1, Hands 2
Range 8, Shots 1. Gains +1 Shot (max +3) for every 2 full spaces you moved this turn (does not count entering the same space more than once)
Cavalry Sabre (Gear, Hand Weapon, Blade) $600, Weight 1, Upgrades 2, Hands 1
You may make a Melee Attack as well as a Ranged Attack during your Activation.
Old Map (Gear, Map) $25. Once per turn, you may cancel and Re-draw an Encounter or Map Card just drawn. After each use, discard Old Map on the d6 roll of 1 or 2.
Candy here is a US Marshall, a core class of any Brimstone posse. Like many of the Fallen Angels, she’s the daughter of a famous father, torn between wanting to follow in his footsteps and also be her own woman in a lawless frontier. While a Sheriff protects a township and the citizenry, a Marshall is proactive in law-keeping – they are not limited to one area but are tasked with crossing federal lines in pursuit of their lawless prey. While a Sheriff may be a badass, a Marshall has to be one by default really, as they must seek out danger in its lair and bring it to justice, even if that involves filling it with buckshot ‘til it’s twitching on the floor. Real-life Marshalls were men such as Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock and Bat Masterton, famed in their own day as living legends of the West. One of the most accomplished, yet barely known outside of Western aficianodos, was Bass Reeves, a former slave who was credited with the arrest of over three thousand felons in his long career. He was so good at ‘bringing them back alive’ that he only had to kill fourteen men in all that time. He even tracked down and apprehended his own son for murdering his wife (the son, Bennie, apparently did his time as a model prisoner and came out a reformed man). Reeves was still a lawman at 68, and lived a decade into the twentieth century. A movie about this guy is long overdue; how about Idris Elba for the role?
In the world of Brimstone, US Marshalls are monster-hunters; they travel out into the wild lands to hunt outlaws, hostile tribals and all kinds of demons, void horrors or undead in their dark lairs. Monsters were once quite rare in Shannedam County, and it was a big deal when one actually menaced a township. All that changed after the ‘Night of Screams’ just before the turn of the century, and the skills of Travis Kane and his daughter are now more in need than ever.
Marshalls have skills much like a bounty hunter in many ways, and are partly paid on commission, but they are still lawmen with a wide range of civic powers. It takes a certain type of person to seek out danger in its lair, and the Marshalls are some of the toughest people in the Weird West.
A Marshall usually forms the core of a Posse, having excellent all-round fighting skills and almost supernatural toughness, able to ‘no-sell’ most attacks and shrug off even the worst of blows from the biggest monsters. They frequently take a leadership role too, being able to buff and heal their team with encouraging words and inspiring badassery. A Marshall is usually at his best in the front ranks, acting as a ‘tank’ and protecting the more fragile characters from harm. Their signature weapon is the shotgun; a devastating implement at close range, and some of their special skills involve the use of this weapon class. Their Marshall Badge allows them to help the Posse by inspiring a flurry of extra actions, a real-life-saver in the worst battles.
While her father relies on absorbing Corruption and general badassery, Candy here has a very different build that focuses mostly on her movement and general all-purpose skills. She lacks her father’s strength and bodyguard abilities, but is an incredibly versatile fighter, able to help out in any area of the game. Marshalls are strong and capable in all areas and don’t have any complex rules or ‘moving parts’, so they are ideal for new players or those who just want to be effective and get stuck in.
In terms of base stats, Candy’s high Agility, Lore and Cunning serve her well, and even her lowest stats of Strength and Spirit are average at worst. She has decent close combat and plenty of Grit for re-rolls. She can use Grit to heal her friends or even control the Darkness deck, and between her ‘Rolling Thunder’ and ‘Back-up Plan’ talents, she will always have a regular supply of Grit. The Marshall’s baseline abilities include no less than three ‘kill-skills’, so every time she dispatches a foe, she gains more XP, can Heal herself a little and has a 50% to recover a Grit. If she’s using a Shotgun, she even gets a free shot once per round.
She has balanced Health and Sanity, but she’s MUCH harder to hurt than she looks. Her high Defence lets her shrug off most physical attacks, and her ‘Been Around’ talent means she takes much less Sanity damage, even ignoring a single point completely.
While she’s not quite as maneuverable as a Saloon Girl or Frontier Doc, she has excellent movement abilities and is the fastest of any Hero in terms of flat-out speed (a huge 11 points with her Gear, faster than most dogs!). While she can’t move through friends or enemies, she can always skirt around them and can almost always be right where she wants to be – whether that’s getting into or out of trouble, holding the front line or supporting a beleaguered friend. She’s one of the few characters who can actually outrun the fastest monsters, in case she ever needs to put some distance between herself and her foes. Her ‘Hunter’ skill lets her target a specific type of foes, so she can tailor her assault to her current Mission (if she knows she’ll be fighting Void or Undead foes, for example). She has a whopping nine Side Bag spaces, so she can stock up on disposable tokens, whether to heal or buff herself or friends or refresh her Grit - or even provide a nasty surprise for her foes in the form of a hatchet or dynamite!
Candy is one of the few Heroes to make use of all four weapon types – she can happily fight up close with her pistol and saber, or hang back and snipe with her rifle at a distance (and her high Move score means she’ll almost always get four shots a round with the latter). While these don’t dish out a lot of damage, she still has her father’s old modded shotgun, so she can lay down some hurt against the toughest of boss monsters if she needs to, or clear a room of lesser foes with the sheer volume of attacks from the other weapons. Candy’s versatility is perhaps her greatest asset – she has no weaknesses or flaws, and her weapons and abilities mean she can help out anywhere at any time. Unlike some specialist characters, she’ll always have plenty to do and the confidence to succeed or help others do so. Having a Marshall in the Posse just makes everyone else stronger -while her dad makes a good choice for solo missions, Candy is best in a larger posse, which also ties in with her gregarious and friendly nature.
Candy’s gear mostly revolves around the 12th Cavalry items – her grandmother (on her mother’s side) was a Civil War hero who was mostly written out of contemporary tales, and Candy idolises her legend. The longcoat she wears originally belonged to Bobbie-Jo, cut for her small side and slim frame. Not only does it provide armour, it boosts her movement and even helps her recover grit. Her other 12th Cavalry items have been picked up mostly from the Canyons area, her preferred hunting ground. Her light carbine lets her fire a volley of shots from a distance, helped considerably by her high Move. Her boots boost her Move too, and give her a burst of Initiative when she needs it. The bandana helps her escape enemies and works well with her high Defence and Weathered Hat to make her especially hard to hurt. Her cavalry saber lets her fight with a pistol in melee, so she’s perfectly happy taking the fight to the front lines. Her favourite weapon was also her grandmother’s – it’s a unique pistol with high rate of fire and the ability to let her hurt a really hardy enemy once per round, ideal for boss monsters.
Finally, she has her Void Canary, an otherworldly octopoid creature that can detect the coming of the Darkness. Too much Darkness energy can be fatal for the poor little thing, however, so she’s very careful to only use it when she has a spare Grit for a reroll. (Her ‘Dead or Alive’ talent gives her some Darkness control too, so she’s not too reliant on taxing the poor creature). Candy dotes on the weird little thing like a beloved pet, and has even convinced her lover Laverne to show affection to it despite her initial distaste for the creature.
Her keywords of Traveller and Frontier make her an expert in the outdoors when she’s not on Missions. Her Law keyword allows her to have lots of fun when in towns – she has access to Law-only items, as well as interesting options between adventures. She might choose to go hunting outlaws known to be nearby, or escort an important prisoner to a nearby fort – or even interrogate a felon to get better insights into her enemy’s plans!
All in all, she’s a fun, versatile character who always gets a lot to do and she’s easy and straightforward to play; she’s an asset to any Posse and easily fills in as leader when her lover’s not around.
“You could say this was an independent love song
It’s nothing like for us what love meant to them
But that’s not to say the love we have isn’t big or that strong
I’m doing it a different way
I’m doing it a different way
You might say this is another boring love song
To be together and forever be true
And so today is much the same as it was then
I’m doing it a different way
I’m doing it a different way
I’m gonna show you how to take me!
Go down, go down, go down!
And I´ll show you how to love me
Right on, right on, right on!
And I´ll show you how to touch me
Right on, right on, right on…
Now I find that many men will look my way
And I’ll take them home and let them show me the way
And sure I like a few but I leave the rest to play
I´m doing it a different way
I´m doing it a different way…”
Scarlet, ‘Independent Love Song’
Everyone knows this charming young woman across Shannedam County – she’s been around over a decade and many people forget she’s not yet thirty. Yet very little real information is known about her – nobody knows if she uses her real name, or if she truly is from North Carolina as she claims. The accent certainly sounds authentic, but she’s a good actress, and admits the ‘Southern Belle’ routine adds to her charm and mystique.
What seems certain is that she grew up in a travelling company, among 'carnies' such as bearded ladies, midgets, strongmen, magicians and freak-show barkers. She was a performer at a very early age; she was an acrobat and high-wire performer, and has been doing a burlesque routine since her early teens. These early experiences gave the young Roxie an appreciation of the thrill of performance – and a love of danger, risking her life every show on the high-wire without a net to catch her if she fell and broke her pretty neck.
When the circus blew into Brimstone about 12 years ago, Roxie fell in love with the wild frontier life, and decided to leave the troupe and settle down for a time. In those days, Brimstone was on the cusp of becoming a small city – important enough enough to be the county seat, yet retaining a certain wild frontier edge that thrilled her. The legendary Lawson Lafferty was still Sherriff, now well into his fifties, and the town was a magnet for the most colourful and enigmatic characters in the Old West, a place of excitement and adventure. At the time, the Shooting Star Saloon was the best drinking and gambling house around – presided over by the infamous Hollie-Ann Mercy, a hard-drinking, straight-shooting actress turned madame and performer, renowned for the ferocious way she protected her girls at the saloon. Miss Mercy was impressed by the young trapeze artiste, and took her in at the saloon as a dancer, and a waitress at the bar and gambling tables. The teenage Roxie made an immediate impression – she had flashing eyes, tumbling red locks and a vivacious Southern charm. She was also perfection in motion when she danced, able to tease or inspire as she wished, and was a passable singer, able to belt out Old West standards to the punters until the early hours of the morning.
Roxie did not sell her charms, although she befriended many who did, but she had all the men competing to be her paramour, and took many lovers as her fancy struck her. She was savvy and smart, and it wasn’t long before she was helping Miss Mercy run the business side of things too. She had a keen head for business and a winning way with people, a natural caregiver who stood up for her fellow working girls. When Hollie-Ann finally retired, heading out east to marry her landowner beau, she left the Shooting Star in Roxie’s capable hands. As owner of the finest saloon in Shannedam County, Roxie carried on where her mentor left off – cultivating beneficial friendships with powerful figures in town, and providing a safe environment for her employees. She expanded the attractions at the saloon, hiring both former slaves, Asian railworkers and even mutants as waiters, performers or prostitutes. All her employees chose in what capacity they chose to work, and nobody was forced to do anything they did not wish to. The Shooting Star was soon the main attraction in town, offering food, liquor, gambling and entertainment of various kinds, all under one roof.
To safeguard her establishment, Roxie used her charm and cunning to befriend many of the most powerful men in the county – judges, business magnates, lawmen and the shakers and movers of Texan society. The Shooting Star was at the heart of Brimstone life, right there on the main drag – this was no seedy back-alley whorehouse, but a place where the high-rollers and locals alike could come and play as long as they behaved themselves. She hired wandering troupes and all manner of exotic acts, and her workers were the prettiest or most talented in the state. The lawmen appreciated that she kept a safe and stable house, and ensured her protection, coming down very hard on anyone who outstayed his welcome or got rough with the girls. Men like Sherriff Lafferty and Marshall Kane had little interest in harlots, but they appreciated a place they could come to play a few hands of cards, smoke some decent cigars and drink some top-shelf liquor. Among the most celebrated patrons were the fabled gunslinger Cornelius Van Horn, perhaps the deadliest gunman in the Old West, and the Sherriff’s daughter, Laverne, who was a special favourite of the saloon’s ‘soiled doves’ for many years, until she started courting Candy Kane. Roxie and Cornelius began a courtship based on a warm friendship and mutual appreciation, and the mere knowledge that the easy-going but deadly gunslinger stayed over at the place was enough to encourage many bravos not to push their luck.
Roxie herself was celebrated, even respected, turning up at church each sabbath in her best Sunday black. She was admired as a performer and a businesswoman, a sane and stable element in the town, not some doxy from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’. This was Brimstone’s boom-time, and Roxie was the growing city’s favourite adopted daughter, it’s doyenne and main attraction.
While she was never a whore, Roxie began to leverage her fame and sex appeal into something tangible. She allowed the men who took her fancy to court her, and become her ‘suitors’ – in return for compliments and expensive gifts, they had access to her, socially and sexually, and many discounts at her establishment. The wealthy and powerful competed for a place on her ‘guest list’, to be seen with and share the many delights of her private quarters. They remained suitors for as long as both desired the arrangement, and even men who eventually married or moved away to Lestina or the Landing remembered her fondly and ensured their protection and support. Roxie usually kept her list of suitors to three or four at once, as they had to share her private time, and she needed some space to herself too. Cornelius Van Horn was a regular fixture however, and his reputation alone ensured that emotions never got out of hand with rejected suitors or spurned admirers. Roxie was never mercenary enough to cultivate such relationships with men she didn’t like – she rejected the advances of some powerful men like the ‘Hanging Judge’, Octavian Bishop, because something about them put her off - and her choosy nature made some enemies in the process. Looks or age weren’t important to her, but a suitor needed to pay his respects and shower her with compliments and gifts, and to make an effort in his manners and dress. Roxie frequently hankered for a female ‘suitor’, and would lower her usual standards when an eligible actress or widow passed through town.
She was also a friendly and caring person, who could soothe any troubled brow and always had time to help her many friends. The lawmen liked and encouraged her, and she was even on good terms with Reverend Nathaniel Hellerbrand, who disliked dancing, smoking and gambling, but was a good customer when it came to buying liquor for his religious services, from her best imported whisky to communion wine (this notably wasn't hypocrisy – Nathaniel’s religion greatly encouraged the drinking of alcohol as sacred sacrament, to clear the mind and fortify the spirit). She was a den-mother to her employees and a sponsor of many of the young Heroes that came through Brimstone, such as Willard Bonnean and Candy Kane, who were regulars at the saloon (the latter even performed a few times on stage, much to her father’s chagrin…)
Roxie usually kept bar and chatted to her friends, but she sometimes sang or danced, and once a month, she led a more risqué performance like a burlesque show. Once every year or so, when she was in the mood, she did something more erotic, like full striptease or a live sex-show, and usually brought in talent from outside the county to draw customers from miles around.
These halcyon days came to an abrupt end when Brimstone blew, and the accumulated ‘darkstone’ brought from the mines exploded, levelling half the city and drawing all kinds of horrific monsters from the deep, dark pits of the land. On the ‘Night of Screams’, Roxie reacted with calmness and bravery, arming her girls and customers alike, coordinating a spirited resistance until help arrived come the morn. Sherriff Lafferty and Marshall Kane were surprised to find the Saloon was still standing, the girls working to put out the flames with water buckets, and Roxie herself tending to the injured with bandages and whisky. The main street was littered with the corpses of monsters, a testament to the determination of the saloon’s defenders.
Eventually, the Sheriff made the difficult decision to leave Brimstone in the hands of his most capable deputies, and set off to hunt the Darkness at its source. The Elder Evils remembered the ones who defied them on the Night of Screams, the ones who were capable of putting an end to the Darkness. Lawson understood that they could never stay and defend the townships from an endless horde of monsters, and in fact, their very presence even drew the eye of the Darkness, endangering the very people they were sworn to protect. Thus were the Posses formed – bands of Heroes who could move swiftly and silently, and could strike at the Darkness in its lairs. Roxie was among the first to be invited, and she has been a stalwart member of Lawson’s own posse ever since.
Although Roxie understands the need to leave the townships – and some part of her actually enjoys returning to her wandering roots – it hurts to leave the life she made for herself, to leave the people she fought all her life to protect. She hopes only that they are safer without her, and that her wanderings draw the attention of the Elder Evils away from the innocent and vulnerable. She is fully committed to assisting the war effort, and is surprisingly capable as a fighter. Her small, deadly blades can find the weak spot in any armoured horror, and she can easily evade their grasping tentacles and sharp claws and hit them where it hurts. Equally, she is a mother-figure and big sister to her team-mates, always ready to sooth them with a gentle hand or saucy comment to lift their spirits. She is a decent enough nurse too, able to patch up the injured with bandages and medicine when a loving touch isn’t quite enough.
Easy-going and cheerful, Roxie is an asset to any company, and tries her best to get on with anyone she adventures with. She can easily find common cause with different folks, like the staid, pious Kate McBride or the quiet, stoic Crow Lightfoot. She especially enjoys working with her lover Cornelius or the flamboyant bandit-king, Santiago Rodriguez. Lawson is impressed by her maturity and easy-going personality, the way she thinks of others and plays well in a team. She can always be relied upon to soothe fractured minds, troubled egos and to lift everyone’s spirits. Roxie herself is committed to this fight, and the Darkness itself will learn to fear her subtlety and cunning ways…
You wanted her, you got her…
Sorry I’ve been away; this month’s been dreadful even by my standards. I will make it up to you, I promise. Things are beginning to calm down here at home and work.
This is the clothed, vaguely Safe For Work version. So we’ll talk a little about how Roxie plays in the Shadows of Brimstone game…
“Life springs eternal, on a gaudy neon street
Not that I care at all
I spent the best part of my losing streak in an armoured Jeep
For what I can't recall
Oh, I'm banging on my TV set
And I check the odds, and I place my bet
I pour a drink and I pull the blinds
And I wonder what I'll find…
I'm leaving Las Vegas
The lights so bright –
Palms sweat, blackjack on a Saturday night
Leaving Las Vegas
I'm leaving for good…
I'm standing in the middle of the desert
Waiting for my ship to come in
But now no joker, no jack, no king
Can take this loser hand, and make it win…
Quit my job as a dancer
At the ‘Lido des Girls’
And we're dealing blackjack until one or two…
Such a muddy line between the things you want
And the things you have to do…”
Sheryl Crow, ‘Leaving Las Vegas’
Saloon Girl (Keywords: Performer)
Agility 7 Level: 7 Defence 3+
Cunning 5 XP: 6725 Willpower 4+
Strength 1 (2) Initiative 7
Lore 2 (3) Health 16 (+2)
Luck 4 Sanity 21 (25)
Combat 3 Ranged ‘to hit’ 4+
Max. Grit 4 Melee ‘to hit’ 3+
Comforting Presence: At the end of the Hero Turn may Heal 1 Wound or 1 Sanity from every other adjacent Hero (gain 5 XP for each Wound/Sanity Healed this way)
Lightweight: May only use Guns that have the Keyword Light.
Fast: +1 Move (+2 with Light On Your Feet)
Acrobatic Dodge: You may move through other models during your movement.
Once per turn you may Re-roll one failed Defence roll.
Dirty Fightin’: All of your Attacks are +1 Damage.
Knockout Punch: Use 1 Grit to double the amount just rolled on one of your Damage rolls (limit once per Hit)
Gentle Manner: You now gain an extra +5 XP per Wound/Sanity that you Heal from another Hero
Sleight of Hand: Use 1 Grit to Ready a ‘Once per Fight’ Item you are carrying. You may also roll an extra die for Scavenging.
Light On Your Feet: +1 Initiative, +1 Agility, +1 Move
Slip By: You automatically succeed at all Escape tests. +1 Agility
Witty Retort: Once per turn, when you kill an Enemy you may Heal 2 Wounds. +1 Max Grit
Hidden Pouch: You may carry up to 3 extra Tokens in your Side Bag. +1 Cunning
What You Least Expect: Melee To Hit 3+
+1 Luck. Also, gain +d6 (6) Sanity
+1 Agility. Also gain +d6 Health/Sanity (any mix; +1/+1)
+1 Max Grit
Dark Stone Resistance: You can hold 2 more Corruption Points before getting a Mutation.
+1 Cunning. Also gain +d6 (5) Health
Starting Items, Gear and Artefacts (Weight 7/7)
Hand Mirror (Personal, Glass) +4 Sanity. ‘Voices in the Dark’ now only does d3 hits to you instead of d6
Hold-Out Pistol (Gear, Gun, Pistol, Light) Weight 1, Upgrades 1 (0), $200, Performer only
Free Attack (once per Fight) Range 3, Shots 1, Critical Hit on 5 or 6
Rune of Protection (Upgrade, Rune) DS1, Requires 1 Upgrade. Once per Adventure, you may automatically pass a single Defence roll, even if you have already rolled the dice and failed.
Straight Razor (Gear, Hand Weapon, Blade) Weight 1, Upgrades 1, Hands 1, $250, Outlaw or Performer only
Once per turn, you may take 1 Corruption Hit on yourself to ignore a target’s Defence for one of your Combat Hits
Jewelled Blade (Artefact, Hand Weapon, Blade) Weight 1, Hands 1, $450, +1 Combat
Once per Fight, you may ignore an Enemy’s Tough and Endurance abilities for your Combat Hits until the end of the turn.
Light Pistols (2) (Gear, Gun, Pistol, Light) Weight 1, Upgrades 1, Hands 1, $250
Range 6, Shots 2, Cannot get Critical Hits
Tiny Hat (Gear, Clothing - Hat) Upgrades 1 (0), $2450, Saloon Girl Heroes only
Once per Adventure, you may remove 1 Corruption Point.
Crisp Rose (Upgrade, Plant) Requires 1 upgrade. $325, Performer or Showman only
Any time you roll a 6 for move, you may also Recover one Grit.
Boned Corset (Gear, Clothing – Torso) Weight 1, Upgrades 1, $1200, Armour 6+ Saloon Girl Heroes only
12th Cavalry Carbine (Artefact, Gun - Rifle, Canyon, Light, 12th) $450, Weight 1, Upgrades 1, Hands 2
Range 8, Shots 1. Gains +1 Shot (max +3) for every 2 full spaces you moved this turn (does not count entering the same space more than once)
Ring of Zu (Artefact, Ring, Ancient, Magik) +1 Lore, +1 Strength. While carrying this Item, take d3 Corruption Hits at the start of each Adventure. ‘It’s a little tight, but hey… Ring of Zu!’
As a Saloon Girl class character, Roxie is somewhat lopsided in her strengths and weaknesses, even at a high level. She’s certainly a ‘glass cannon’ – a Hero who can hit very hard but is also fragile and easy to hurt. On the good side, she has an inbuilt ability to heal Wounds or Sanity loss every round, and the ability to dish out the pain. She is capable in a gun-fight and absolutely vicious in melee. Perhaps best of all, she’s astonishingly manoeuvrable – Brimstone plays out on a grid map, and the ability to move around and position oneself is absolutely vital to winning a Mission. Roxie can move through friends and foes alike, to keep herself out of harm’s way and strike when the enemy’s attention is focused on tougher Heroes. With her ability to move fast and high Initiative, Roxy is never caught off-guard and can get into or out of trouble easily. Her high Defence means she dodges most attacks, and her high Melee means she’s deadly accurate with her little knives.
On the down side, her Health is fairly fragile, and she is limited only to Light firearms – she has to play to her strengths as party healer and damage-dealer, and is at her best when she has a big strong tank like a US Marshall protecting her.
Her baseline stats are likewise lop-sided. Her superhuman Agility means she will almost always pass even the most difficult tests, and her high Cunning and Luck also play to her strengths. Her Spirit is decent, but her base Lore is only average. At worst, her low Strength can be crippling; she can’t carry much in the way of stuff, and so has to be very choosy what she keeps. The Ring of Zu helps in a small way in that regard, but she’ll never be dragging sacks of loot out of the Missions, or passing many Strength checks.
Perversely, her high Combat and Melee abilities mean she does her best work close up – both her dagger and razor tear through even armoured foes quickly and hit where it really hurts. Of course, she won’t stand up to many counter-attacks, so she’d better finish off a foe swiftly or have someone else to take the hits for her. She’s a reasonable shot, and her little girly pistols can’t critically hit anyway, so she may as well dual-wield with them. The Blasted Wastes expansion introduces the Canyons area, and the 12th Cavalry Rifle, which counts as a Light weapon, finally allowing her to stay back and snipe if she prefers – with her high Move this weapon can fire a huge volley of shots every round if she has the space to move about. Her Derringer gives her two free attacks every battle, and her ‘boned corset’ even gives her some armour, something that’s pretty rare in the Old West. As long as she doesn’t stand around or make herself a target, Roxie is equipped to lay down some serious hurt on the monsters. Dirty Fighting and Knockout Punch can be brutal, even to dangerous opponents. Her items also help her avoid Corruption and let her get a steady supply of Grit for rerolls. As a party healer, she can help multiple Heroes every round and gains quite a bit of Experience for this, so she’s at her best in a large posse of 5 or 6 characters, keeping them in good health. Unfortunately, she’s toast if she tries to solo a Mission – Roxy is most definitely meant to be a team player. Although her Strength limits what gear she can carry, she can cart around more than the usual amount of Side Bag tokens, so she can assist with potions, healing items or all kinds of useful temporary bonuses for the whole team.
Lastly, she can have lots of fun when in town between missions. With Keyword: Performer, she can earn a fair bit of money singing and dancing at a Saloon, and has a whole bunch of ‘Saloon Girl only’ options, including special gear only she can use, special buffs and even the chance to pickpocket from some inebriated punter without fear of reprisal! Her high Cunning and Luck make her pretty good at the game tables if she’s inclined to gamble, too.
“I prefer the river,
The ocean is too big a body to understand
Go to where it narrows
Bring your bow and arrows
Meet me out on the land…!
White-water flowing on the rocks in the sunshine
Drinking red wine, in the summer-time
Night swimming, skinny-dipping
Love in the moonlight
And it’s all mine…!
I don’t want a boyfriend
I don’t want a house built out of sand
I don’t want a lover
I come in from the heartland
Living in my heart and
Come in from my heart-land…
Under the covers of treetops, and each other!
Woken by a gentle breeze
All we hear is silence
The birds, and smells of lilacs
Going out from the city…
Dreams in the sunshine
Drinking red wine, in the summertime
Sun-tan and Steely Dan and sounds on the radio
And it’s all mine…!"
Lissie Maurus, ‘Boyfriend’
(Glorious country summer song from the talented Fleetwood Mac soundalike… Had the privilege of seeing her play Cardiff last year!)
Here, Laverne Jane Lafferty (and her little Void Canary pet!), daughter of the famous lawman Sherriff Lawson, shows off her Union City Blue swimsuit while she frolics off the coast of the canyons of Shannedam County. The hills and gullies of the Canyons can be treacherous, a wild place where giant sand-crabs and hostile natives of the Ghost Warrior tribe dwell, and the 12th Cavalry keeps an uneasy peace. But the streams, creeks, lakes and beach-front make for the best swimming in the state for those who can brave the dangers.
When Laverne returned to Texas from university in Boston, she was twenty-two, and that was the year her father’s friend Marshall Travis Kane came to Shannedam County with his eighteen-year-old daughter, Candace. L.J. and Candy struck up an immediate friendship, having so much in common – both were well-educated, smarter than most folks, raised to hunt and ride and shoot by their fathers, legendary lawmen both. Both girls loved the wild beauty of their new home, and that summer was idyllic, camping out beneath the stars, swimming in crystal-clear waters, living off the land, relishing their freedom and the beauty of the wilderness. They had something else in common too - Laverne had been Roxie’s best customer at the Shooting Star for a few years, but Candy had never loved before, and their camping trips changed all of that. Inseparable from that year onwards, the pair helped their fathers keeping the peace in Brimstone and beyond, enjoying every moment. The dainty Candy’s personality - cheerful, irreverent and girly - contrasted nicely with Laverne’s, as the big, cornfed blonde was stoic and serious – but never solemn.
When Brimstone blew, and it seemed the end of the world had come, LJ and Candy decided to form their own posse, rather than follow their father’s lead. They knew this battle could not be won by one brave band of Heroes, and that they had to rally others to their banner to fight the coming Darkness and the Elder Evils. Inspired by a defiant young woman named Jessie Cartwright, they formed the ‘Fallen Angels’, an all-female posse, mostly comprised of young women who wanted to make their own legends out of the shadows of their famous fathers. The membership of the Angels crosses the law/outlaw divide, and unlikely friendships have formed as they try to bring succour to a land overrun by nightmarish horrors… and have some wild, hell-raising fun in the process!