While the session succeeded in tying up some plot threads, a number of back story issues for one of the detectives were thrown up which may bear a deeper look in the future. I'm currently still recovering from a long day on Saturday, when I attended the Salute wargames convention in London, which is the largest miniatures wargames event on the UK wargaming calendar. More of that in a future post. Now, on to the action...
New Orleans, early hours, 16th August, 1935
The detectives arrived at Doctor LeBoeuf's apartment to find the door broken in, and Lee DeVille looming over the comatose body of Mrs LeBoeuf, gun in hand. Rightly assuming that the Harrowed was about to execute Mrs LeBoeuf, the detectives reacted in a range of characteristic ways. LeBoeuf distracted DeVille (successful Intimidate roll) causing the detective to shoot both the good doctor and the patent scientist, Ramsey Gordon. Luckily no lasting damage was done (Shaken results).
DeVille then ended up in a brawl with Le Ralf and an animated sofa (!) conjured by Gordon's patent science. He was eventually overpowered and knocked out.
Gordon used another patent device to scan the minds of DeVille and Mrs LeBoeuf. Although not successful in discovering whether the Manitou inside DeVille was still in control, Gordon did find that Mrs LeBoeuf seemingly thought she was paddling a canoe in a large swamp of some kind. Eventually DeVille came to, and claimed no knowledge of the previous night's events. The detectives declined to release him, although he seemed genuinely shocked that DuChamps had been killed.IIRC, after debating whether to dump the Harrowed in chains in the canal, they finally concealed him in the basement of the block. DeVille is currently at +0 Dominion with the Manitou.
The police eventually arrived on news of the shooting. LeBoeuf explained what had happened and they departed satisfied, particularly after the group's links with homicide detective Townsend were outlined.
After some much-needed rest, the PCs moved Mrs LeBoeuf to Gordon's flat, and LeBoeuf himself went back to the detectives' office in the Central Business District (CBD) where he called the police again, this time to the scene of Miss DuChamps' murder. Detective Townsend appeared in person this time to take charge of the crime scene, and the Doc pointed the finger of accusation at the dead hitman, Jazzman James (however, James was already dead by the time DuChamps was killed, so it remains to be seen whether NOPD forensics are sufficiently accurate to rule him out...)
The detectives then headed down to the Yellow Sign occult book store where they encountered the attractive Hetty Sanderson, sister of murdered owner William Sanderson. Hetty said she had recently moved to New Orleans from Atlanta after she heard of her brother's death and was planning to take over the running of the book store. She said she knew a bit about demonology, but not as much as her brother or his friends, Father Joseph McBride and Bon Bon Lescartier. Hetty said she would help the detectives to banish the demon they believed her brother had helped to summon (Hetty has Knowledge - Occult and Spellcasting at d10).
The detectives duly headed back over to the dilapidated town house in Bayou St John, formerly owned by Red Sect bokkor Bon Bon Lescartier. Here they encountered a Hellhound, which LeRalf killed with his sacrificial voodoo dagger. A search of the house discovered a secret panel in the hall which led the detectives to a basement room where a seven pointed star had been inlaid in the floor. A small child - or something that looked like a small child - in a sailor suit sat in the centre of the star. At each point was a wooden throne with candles on it. On only one throne were the candles still burning.
Hetty proceeded to begin her Banish spell, with Gordon and LeBoeuf assisting. Another Hellhound chose this point to try to break into the basement, smashing its way through the door despite LeRalf's best efforts to prevent it. This time, the voodoo houngan stepped back and emptied his SMG into the beast, using a magazine of .45 ammo with Smite cast on it. This killed it immediately.
|I wonder what's in the basement?|
Eventually, the child in the circle, having failed to persuade the detectives to release it, transformed into a tall man in a white suit and trilby hat. LeBoeuf rebuked the creature further, distracting it while Hetty finished her spell, finally banishing it. The last pair of candles went out.
The detectives piled back into their car, driving back to Gordon's house, where they found Mrs LeBoeuf has awoken. Although very frail, she explained that she had been persuaded to help to summon the demon by Father McBride, who said it could assist her in finding her missing sister, Tammy Portunate.
Tammy had been meeting regularly with New Orleans spiritualist Laurelie 'Mammy' Martine, in an effort to contact her fiancée, a Confederate soldier killed in France in 1918. She vanished without trace in 1933, but LeBoeuf's wife blames Mammy Martine. The demon told her Tammy was in the spirit realm called the Hunting Grounds by the Native Americans and home to the manitou, and sent her there to find her sister...
Here ends the second plot arc in my Deadlands Noir campaign. I've got some seeds boiling away in the pot for the third arc, and you can probably get a whiff from the above of what some of these might be. Of the detectives, one is now Veteran rank, and two more are Seasoned. We could probably bring the others up to Seasoned but the power gap in Savage Worlds between Novice and Seasoned is not massive.
I will comment in another post on my thoughts about running an urban sandbox and how this campaign has evolved. I was quite tired when I ran this session, and hope it lived up to expectations, particularly as the original brandy shipment had already been recovered. The detectives could easily have prioritised the demon rather than the brandy, but following LeRalf's run-in with Mike the Stick, they had a time limit on their assignment from the Black Hand.
This story arc was longer, due to the parallel plot involving the demon and the cabal, and also because I managed to get LeBoeuf's comatose wife into the plot as a major hook.