December 21st-27th, 1879 (Saturday)
The posse hit upon the idea of buying various dry goods in Shannonsburg for sale in other parts of the maze where they might fetch a higher price. So $500 of clothing and mining equipment was purchased and stowed aboard before the Good Fortune sailed for Lost Angels. Rather then go there directly, a detour was made to visit the Groaning Man Cave nearby.
The cave was found much as expected, a hellishly inhospitable set of caves forming a skull in the rock face. Ghost rock fires burned and wailed within, filling the entries with choking smoke or searing flames. Prayers were offered and the Lord provided, rendering the posse immune to the hazards. Inside the cave was a pool of molten gold. A mess of methods were used in removing the gold, from a hat, to a knife, bottles and jugs, and a large bucket. All in all about $10,000 in gold was recovered, which has sent been deposited at a holding house in Shannonsburg (less a $200 fee).
Christmas Eve and Day were spent in the quickly budding town of Perdition, springing up in tents and shacks around the construction of a new Wasatch ore processing facility at the rail head. With the new found fortune, the posse decided to donate the bulk of their goods for sale to the needy, ending up breaking even on the mining tools they did sell. Otherwise time was spent enjoying a happy and festive atmosphere in one of the tent-saloons around the Wasatch encampment.
A job was offered to the posse, with Wasatch paying $500 for information on an old Collegium ore processing center which was abandoned over a year ago. The station was eerie and quiet, no animals, no insects, no bodies, just some rapidly decaying structures making up what was once an ultra-modern facility. A variety of supplies were left for the taking, along with a plethora of assorted parts. Eventually the posse made its way to the main facility. There they managed to patch up the steam engine which powered the elevator leading deep underground to the ore processing area. On the way down they saw tons of processed ghost rock, just there for the taking.
The silence was broken when the ore was approached, as dozens of mutated prairie ticks scurried from the ghost rock and nearby equipment, purple-glowing critters covered in black carapace. The posse immediately beat feet for the elevator, as freakish ticks lunged after them. Some clung to them, and a couple even managed to get down some throats, sucking blood at an astounding rate for prairie ticks. The posse escaped up the elevator, and as the mass of fiendish critters quickly scaled the elevator scaffolding in pursuit, the cavern was ignited, immolating virtually all of the foul beasts.
Meanwhile, the two suffering through the ticks’ blood drain from within their gullets frantically hunted down castor oil to down in hopes of forcing the creatures back out. Both suffered a messy outcome, one managing to force the critter out in a glut of blood and oil, while the other met a grisly end as the tick gorged itself to the point of bursting from her chest. Both ticks quickly met their end after that.
This session featured virtually no gun-fire or combat, which I kind of liked. It consisted of a lot of problem solving early on, with the problem having a fairly simple arcane solution, which was fine and well. There was a nice interlude, and playing up a little of the Christmas celebration was entertaining, though it could perhaps have been better handled.
The latter half of the session tried to cultivate a creepy air, which I feel was marginally successful, but could have been better. It’s something I’ll have to work on for the future.