Something Wicked This Way Comes...

Death from Above!
July 1879

Returning to Salt Lake City, the posse were asked to act as bodyguards for Dr. Pillman, a representative of Hellstrome Industries responsible for overseeing a joint project with the Collegium. Arriving in Gomorra, they quickly learned that the project, a massive bomb called Project: Ghostfire, had been stolen together with Fineas Von Landingham’s zeppelin. Unable to follow the culprits directly, the posse followed several clues to Shan Fan where they learned that their enemies, disguised as Union soldiers, planned to explode the bomb over Sacramento. The posse tracked the fake soldiers to a nearby farm and managed to board the zeppelin just as it was taking off. With minutes to spare, the posse defeated the remaining enemies and defused the bomb.

Locations Visited
Salt Lake City, Deseret
Gamorra, California
Shan Fan, California
Sacramento, California
Roseville, California

Important NPC’s
Dr. Hector Pillman
Fineas Von Landingham
Magnus Greel

Important Events
• Dr. Pillman was captured by the thieves and taken aboard the zeppelin. It appeared that Pillman was asked some questions before being shot and falling to his death but he was too far away for the posse to hear.
• While it at first appeared that the people responsible for the theft were from Shan Fan, further evidence pointed blame towards the Church of Lost Angels. The creator of the bomb, Magnus Greel, attacked the posse aboard the zeppelin, and it is believed that he was working with the Church in their plans.
• With the target of the bomb being Sacramento, it was speculated that the Church wished to disrupt the referendum taking place to determine California’s status. As the posse was successful in disarming the bomb, the referendum went ahead with the end result being that California would remain independent of both the Union and Confederacy.

Based on ‘Rain O’ Terror’ published by Pinnacle Entertainment.

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An archaeological find of the magnitude of the Cardiff Giant!
May 1879

At the request of Rutherford Ellington Dillenger, the posse joined Dr. Edgar Haskin’s expedition to discover the fate of Major John Wesley Powell who had disappeared within the Grand Canyon in 1873. The posse eventually reached the bottom of the Grand Canyon and learned that the necklace could guide them through the subterranean realms they found there. After several dangerous encounters with the local flora and fauna, the posse met with Jordrava, a Native American shaman who helped them find Powell’s final resting place.

Locations Visited

Salt Lake City, Deseret
Cedar City, Nevada
New Harmony, Arizona
Cliffside, Arizona
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The House of the Old One, Arizona

Important NPC’s

Jordrava
Rutherford Ellington Dillenger
Dr. Edgar Haskins
Sophie Miller
John “The Cat” Robey
Sgt. Amos
Father Wilkes
“Dakota” Jack Edmunds
Bob Edmunds
Lyle Edmunds
“Chuckles” Ryan
Torak

Important Events
• On the leg of the journey between Salt Lake City and Cedar City an attempt to steal the necklace was made by notorious thief John “The Cat” Robey. This culminated in Robey’s death during a fire fight on the roof of the train.
• Between Cedar City and Cliffside, the posse encountered Sgt. Amos and his jet-pack wearing Union soldiers fighting a gigantic devil bat. To prevent the creature preying on any locals, the posse entered its cave and were able kill it despite its fearsome attacks.
• Further along the trail, the posse came across the town of New Harmony, which appeared to have been abandoned. The only sign that anyone had lived there was the long dead body of the local preacher who had shot himself but a note left implied that something had taken the rest of the townsfolk.
• A second attempt to steal the necklace was made in Cliffslide. Members of the Church of Lost Angels ambushed the posse while they sheltered from a sickle beetle attack but were unaware that the necklace was still with Haskins.
• Within the Grand Canyon itself, the posse were ambushed by “Chuckles” Ryan and his bandit gang, known as “The Laughing Men”. Ryan’s gang were attacked before they could kill the posse by unknown assailants and, based on the speed and ferocity of the attacks, the posse didn’t hang around to find out what was responsible
• The posse eventually met Torak, a representative of the local Havasupai tribe, who explained that the necklace originally belonged to him and had been stolen by a member of Powell’s expedition and that it would help them in the tunnels below.
• Avoiding a subterranean city of undead creatures, the posse were able to locate the body of Jordrava, an ancient shaman whose heart had been removed and placed in a medicine bag. The posse replaced the shrivelled heart in Jordrava’s chest returning him to life. He transported the posse back to the surface and told them where to find the final resting place of Powell, a short distance further into the canyon. He also requested to speak with Colt alone before seemingly transforming into an eagle and flying away.

Based on ‘Canyon O’ Doom’ published by Pinnacle Entertainment.

Historical note:

The ‘Cardiff Giant’ was the creation of a New York tobacconist named George Hull. Hull, an atheist, decided to create the giant after an argument at a Methodist revival meeting about the passage in Genesis 6:4 stating that there were giants (the Nephilim) who once lived on Earth.

Hull hired men to carve out a 10-foot (3.0 m) long, 4.5-inch block of gypsum in Fort Dodge, Iowa, telling them it was intended for a monument to Abraham Lincoln in New York. He shipped the block to Chicago, where he hired Edward Burghardt, a German stonecutter, to carve it into the likeness of a man and swore him to secrecy.

Various stains and acids were used to make the giant appear to be old and weathered, and the giant’s surface was beaten with steel knitting needles embedded in a board to simulate pores. In November 1868 Hull transported the giant by rail to the farm of William Newell, his cousin. By then, he had spent $2,600 on the hoax.

Nearly a year later, Newell hired Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols, ostensibly to dig a well, and on October 16, 1869 they found the giant. One of the men reportedly exclaimed, “I declare, some old Indian has been buried here!”

Newell set up a tent over the giant and charged 25 cents for people who wanted to see it. Two days later he increased the price to 50 cents. People came by the wagon load.

Archaeological scholars pronounced the giant a fake, and some geologists even noticed that there was no good reason to try to dig a well in the exact spot the giant had been found. Yale palaeontologist Othniel C. Marsh called it “a most decided humbug”. Some Christian fundamentalists and preachers, however, defended its authenticity.

On December 10, Hull confessed to the press.

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Murder at the Red Hill Hotel
April/May 1879

The posse arrived in Gomorra and met with the local Pinkertons, learning that they had suffered several losses in recent weeks. Of more pressing concern was the apparent abduction of the head of their Western Bureau, Andrew Lane, known as “The Ghost”. The prime suspect was a local resident, Nicodemus Whateley, who had killed two agents and wounded Cort Williams. The posse soon realised that Nicodemus had been framed for the crime and Lane had apparently left of his own accord. The posse followed Lane’s trail to Sacramento, Virginia City and finally to Salt Lake City where they confronted him. They eventually defeated him, learning in the process that he was being controlled by a crucifix made from a strange black stone given to him by Regina Coleport, a member of the Church of Lost Angels.

Locations Visited

Gomorra, California
Sacramento, California
Virginia City, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Deseret

Important NPC’s

Nevada Smith
Andrew Lane (Abraham Lincoln)
Bo Buchanan
Cort Williams
Nicodemus Whateley
Regina Coleport
Virgil Constance
Faisal Ibn Simkir Ibn Shaktar Muhammad
Joseph Strauss

Important Events
• The posse learned that Lane had sent telegrams to Pinkerton agents in both Sacramento and Virginia City seeking something he referred to as Grandpa’s Gift. Afterwards he cut the wires out of Gomorra to prevent word of what had happened there reaching these agents.
• The agent visited in Sacramento was Faisal Ibn Simkir Ibn Shaktar Muhammad. By the time the posse arrived, Lane and Coleport had already killed him, following the item they sought to Virginia City.
• The agent visited in Virginia City was Virgil Constance. Lane and Coleport had beaten the posse there as well, but Virgil had held onto life long enough to tell the posse what had happened. Virgil suggested that Lane may have headed to Salt Lake City to attack Nevada Smith and gave the posse a letter penned by Lane. The letter confirmed that Lane felt he was losing control and urged whoever was sent to get him to end his life.
• Arriving in Salt Lake City, the posse discovered that Lane had kidnapped Joseph Strauss, a member of the city’s ruling council. In exchange for Joseph’s release, Lane demanded that all of the Pinkerton agents meet him at the Steel Tree, a convergence of steam pipes within the city. The Posse were able to defeat Lane, despite him demonstrating a number of supernatural abilities including enhanced speed, claws and intangibility, and rescued Strauss.
• Upon meeting Lane for the first time, it was clear that he was actually Abraham Lincoln, who everyone believed had been assassinated several years earlier. It was later explained that Lincoln had returned from the grave and had retained his personality unlike the other walking dead the posse had encountered.
• No sign of Regina Coleport was found in Salt Lake City, so her motives for controlling Lane remain unknown.
• Neither the identity of “Grandpa’s Gift” nor Lane and Coleport interest in it were determined.
• While in Gomorra, Colt received a telegram from Senator Keeley relating to the other Colt McCoy in Chicago. No picture existed of him, and he had been missing since April 1878. He had been working in the Sioux Nations but was last seen heading towards California. The telegram mentioned that this Colt had unspecified augmentations and the highest kill ratio in the eastern districts. The meaning of these last two things is unknown.

Based on ‘Ghostbusters’ published by Pinnacle Entertainment.

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The Journey to Gomorra (Part III)
April 1879

Returning to Devil’s Gulch following the gun fight at the Watt’s ranch, the posse noticed that a travelling medicine show had arrived in town. The following morning the posse discovered that the family of Polly Garrett, a young girl, had been murderer during the night and evidence at the scene suggested something with sharp claws was responsible. Further deaths around town and the disappearance of Dr. Farnam’s show led the posse to follow their trail to a cave a few miles away. There they discovered that Farnam had been plotting revenge against the town for their past actions and had developed a potion that allowed the drinker to take on the form of an innocent. They also found Polly Garret chained to a wall and learned that Farnam had been using her form to cover for his murders. The posse returned to Devil’s Gulch and confronted Farnam, who turned into a beast of nightmarish proportions, forcing them to kill him to save the town.

Locations Visited
Devil’s Gulch, California

Important NPC’s
Dr. Gabriel Benjamin Farnam (Father Joshua Farnam)
Horus Brown
Lester Alton
Marshal Henry Bishop
Polly Garrett

Important Events
• The main attraction of Farnam’s show was a potion called Dr. Farnam’s Astounding Restoration Elixir that promised to heal all ailments. It was initially feared that the potion was turning townsfolk into murderous beasts, but this was quickly discounted.
• As well as the Garrett family, evidence of the creature’s attacks were found in two other locations: Lester Alton and his wife were found dead in bed, their faces ripped off. A bloody claw mark was found at the Empire Hotel and the room of Horus Brown had been broken into, but no sign of Horus could be found. Each of the locations had a strange symbol painted on the wall with grease paint. Adam Rothschild later confirmed that it was the alchemical symbol for mercury. Horus was later found hiding in the livery having run from the creature trying to kill him.
• After defeating Farnam’s followers, the posse found his journal and learned that Farnam used to be the preacher of Devil’s Gulch. The Garrett family had brought Polly to Farnam after she started having fits, hoping he could exorcise the “demon” within her. Farnam agreed and it seemed to work for a short time but, when the fits returned, the townsfolk declared he was a charlatan and tarred and feathered him. Chased out of town, Faram wandered for a while before meeting Lucien Cheval and joined his cult. Over the next few years, Farnam learned alchemy and began plotting his revenge against the town.

Based on ‘The Medicine Show’ from Devil’s Gulch published by Chaosium.

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The Journey to Gomorra (Part II)
April 1879

Continuing their journey to Gomorra, the posse arrived in the town of Devil’s Gulch and decided to spend the evening in the local saloon, The Bull’s Head. The peace was soon shattered when Ephraim Watts, shot the faro dealer after a disagreement at the gaming table. The posse intervened to prevent the local miners from lynching Ephraim and handed him over to Marshal Bishop for incarceration until a circuit judge could arrive. That night, men in the employ of Watt’s father broke him out of the jail and the posse headed off for the Watt’s Ranch in pursuit. Watt’s men refused to hand over his son and a gunfight ensued, with the posse eventually gaining access to the ranch. The posse found Ephraim holding a maid hostage and, realising he would not listen to reason, Colt shot him in the head.

Locations Visited
Devil’s Gulch, California

Important NPC’s
Ephraim Watts
Marshal Henry Bishop
Mr. Farnsworth
Mr. Hubbard
Russ Hickey

Important Events
• Before Ephraim was broken out of jail, Doc. Smith was approached by Mr. Farnsworth and Mr Hubbard, the owners of the local hotel and bank respectively. They suggested that it would be best for the town if he was released as his father owned all the land in the area. This distraction was enough to draw the Doc’s attention away from the jail long enough for Watt’s men to blow the back wall off the building and escape.
• On the journey to the Watt’s ranch, the posse found an injured rancher named Russ Hickey. Russ explained that he had helped Ephraim escape but, when he teased him about his father not being able to get him out of this predicament, he shot him in the chest and left him for dead. After his wounds were treated he agreed to testify that Ephraim was responsible for the faro dealer’s death, but this testimony was unnecessary following his death during the gun fight.
• Annie told the posse about an event that occurred many years ago where she witnessed some sort of ritual murder. She had been plagued with nightmares of the event ever since but, since opening the encoded book she had found upon leaving “Hell”, the dream had changed. Now she could see a man standing outside the clearing watching the events holding the book.

Based on ‘Wealth and Privilege’ from Devil’s Gulch published by Chaosium.

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The Journey to Gomorra (Part I)
April 1879

Needing to get to Virginia City, the group boarded a train and met Rutherford Ellington Dillenger, an entrepreneur from New York who hoped to bring enlightenment to the Wild West. To help him in this goal, he had put together a large number of curios, pieces of art, fine plays and other such wonders. During the second day of the journey, the group became aware of shouting from the far end of the train and found it under attack from bandits wearing turbans and wielding scimitars. The posse were able to defeat the bandits, but not before their leader smashed open a cabinet to get to a necklace of Iranian make. Upon touching the necklace a green pulse seemed to emanate out for a moment and then stopped. That evening, a scream from the museum car alerted the posse, and they found that the bandits had returned as undead abominations, forcing the posse to put them down a second time.

Locations Visited
Virginia City, Nevada

Important NPC’s
Adam Rothschild
Rutherford Ellington Dillenger

Important Events
• Prior to reaching the necklace, the leader of the bandits had been chanting in a foreign language. It is unclear what he was saying or if it had some affect on the necklace that caused the green pulse.
• With the help of a Chinese passenger, Ben was able to determine that the papers from his puzzle box were sections of the Tao. Curious as to what these have to say, Ben began learning the Chinese language in the hopes of making a full translation.
• Upon arrival in Virginia City, the group decided to stay an extra day in case there were further attempts to steal the necklace. When it appeared that there were no further threats, the group continued on their way to Gomorra.

Based on ‘Abracadabra and an Arab Cadaver!’ from Hucksters and Hexes published by Pinnacle Entertainment.

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A History Lesson
April 1879

Leaving Coffin Rock behind, the posse and Adam Rothschild arrived in Denver and began attempts to piece together the events of the last 16 years. Adam introduced the posse to Jacob Keeley, a U.S. Senator, who was able to shed some light on the location of Gomorra. He explained that it was a town in California and, due to it being a “hotspot” for strange events, the Pinkertons had set up a field office there. The posse agreed to sign up with the Pinkertons on a rolling contract to help fund their way across the country.

Locations Visited
Denver, Colorado

Important NPC’s
Adam Rothschild
Senator Jacob Keeley

Following conversations with Detective Adam Rothschild and Senator Jacob Keeley, as well as reading back issues of the Denver Tribune, the group have pieced together some of the important events over the last 16 years.

1) The Civil War is still being fought. Despite numerous battles taking place over the last 16 years, none have proved conclusive. The Battle of Gettysburg ended in a stalemate, with both sides withdrawing from the field.

2) The nation that was once split into two, is now six separate nations. The United States of America is ruled by President Ulysses S. Grant, since he won the ‘72 election. The Confederate States of America was and is ruled by President Jefferson Davies. The Sioux Nation is ruled by Sitting Bull. The Coyote Confederation, a coalition of Cherokee, Comanche, Creek, Seminole, Kiowa, Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians, is led by a man named Coyote. The Republic of Deseret is a Mormon state, in what was previously Utah. And finally, the City of Lost Angels led by Reverend Grimme lays claim to most of California. There was a massive earthquake in California in ’68 which destroyed much of the west coast, but revealed large amounts of a new super-fuel dubbed ’ghost rock’.

3) There is a trans-continental railroad race underway, known as ‘The Great Rail Wars’, both the US and the Confederate Governments have offered a monopoly lasting a full year for the first company to join the east coast with the west. There are seven companies, each led by a so-called Rail Baron. Bayou Vermillion is a New Orleans based company, whereas Black River is run from Memphis, Tennessee. Denver Pacific is run by Smith and Robards. Dixie Rails and Union Blue have close links with the Confederate and US governments, respectively. Iron Dragon have the most northerly route and is run by a Chinese warlord known as Kang. Finally, the Wasatch railroad is run by Dr. Darius Hellstromme, one of the leading lights of the New Science.

4) The Republic of Deseret capital is Salt Lake City, also known as ‘The City of Gloom’, as it is the location of Dr. Hellstrommes factories and a huge cloud of smog hangs over the place.

5) Gomorra is a town in California, north of the City of Lost Angels. The Pinkertons have a field office there.

Important Events
• Ben Cooke was able to open his puzzle box and found a set of prayer beads together with a collection of paper strips with Chinese writing on them. Ben recognised that they were written in his hand writing but could not recall having written them himself, although they did seem familiar.
• With Ben’s help, Annie was able to open her book but found it was written in some sort of cipher. Unable to decipher it herself she gave it to Adam to try.
• The posse asked Jacob to locate who the Marshal’s badge belonged to. When he came back with an answer, the posse was shocked to hear that it belonged to a U.S. Marshal called Colt McCoy who was based out of the Chicago office.

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Out of the Frying Pan and into the Coffin
April 1879

The posse found themselves in another cave and, travelling a short while north, the posse came to the town of Coffin Rock. Jeb encountered a man seemingly made from blood who had been attacking Shelly Daly, the rightful owner of the town’s mine. She explained that her uncle had killed her father and had taken control of the town. Following visions seen in reflective surfaces, the group headed into the hills where they met Laughs at Darkness, a local shaman. He recruited the posse to help free Tacheene, the spirit of the local land, from the evil townsfolk who had imprisoned him. Arriving at the mine, the posse encountered more blood men together with the local preacher, Lucien Cheval. Cheval used the power he had stolen from Tacheene to open a portal to the town’s church so he could begin a ritual. The posse followed and were able to defeat him and the demonic creatures he had summoned. With Cheval dead, the other townsfolk broke free of his control and Shelly’s uncle, Tom Daily, handed over the deeds to the town before fleeing his niece’s retribution.

Locations Visited
Coffin Rock, Colorado

Important NPC’s

Adam Rothschild
Deputy Davis
Laughs at Darkness
Lucien Cheval
Marshal Tom Daly
Shelly Daly
Tacheene

Important Events
• Following their trip through Hell, the following changes had occurred: Benjamin Cooke appeared younger and more vigorous. Colt McCoy appeared older than before. Jeb Guthrie appeared well groomed and wearing fancier clothes. Sonny Morricone was wearing a fancy suit in contrast to the poor quality clothes he normally wore. Doc. Smith appeared grizzled and tanned. Owain Lewis was revealed to actually by a woman named Annie Carlisle who had faked a male identity to gain respect in her profession.
• As well as improved guns, the following items had appeared in the posse’s possession: Ben had a puzzle box. Jeb had a copy of the bible. Sonny had a copy of Hoyle’s Book of Games. The Doc had a copy of a magazine called The New Science. Annie had a book locked with a clasp. Rather than having anything new, Colt still had his old Colt pistol which had not been changed by the trip through Hell.
• Outside the cave, the posse discovered a human skeleton that was missing both of its legs. Pinned to the remains of a tattered duster was a U.S. Marshal’s badge, numbered 238. In the skeleton’s hand was a note saying “Nicodemus has the answer. Seek him in Gomorra.”
• During an encounter with Deputy Davis, Colt noticed that a Marshal’s badge had appeared on his shirt, disappearing shortly afterwards. It is unclear if this is related to the badge found outside the cave.
• Upon freeing the town of Cheval’s control, the posse found a man suffering from hyperthermia in the town’s jail cell. With the Doc’s help, the man, Adam Rothschild, made a full recovery and explained that he was part of a Pinkerton Detective team sent to recover Cheval who was an escaped lunatic from New York. The posse mentioned their recent trip through Hell and Adam explained that strange things have been happening for years.

Note:
Based on ‘Coffin Rock’ published by Pinnacle Entertainment.

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Day of Days, the Battle of Gettysburg
1st-3rd July 1863

In a bid to bring about a successful conclusion to the war, General Robert E. Lee leads the Army of Northern Virginia to the town of Gettysburg. With the 13th Alabama Rifles ordered to take up a defensive position on Cemetery Ridge. The group arrives on the second day of the battle (the 2nd).

With a nervousness spreading through the group with the prospect of a huge battle in the morning, each soldier returns to familiar territory to ease their nerves. Dr. Smith heads to the hospital tents to render any aid he can, before returning to the more destructive side of his nature on the following day. Screams attract his attention to one particular tent. Rushing in, he is stopped in his tracks by a scene of bloody carnage. The figure that will become known as ‘The Butcher’ stands over two figures, scalpel in hand, both are strapped to beds, one is a nurse, the other a Union soldier. The soldiers right leg is heavily bandaged, he has obviously been wounded on the first day of the battle, the nurse is unharmed. Both are clearly terrified. Numerous other wounded soldiers lie strewn around the tent, all are lacking body parts, limbs, eyes, organs etc. The Butcher indicates the nurse and the soldier before speaking, his voice little more than a raspy whisper, “My master demands one more soul this night. Choose.” Dr. Smith refuses and The Butcher quickly, and with surgical precision, slits the throats of both.
He then turns his scalpel on the Smith, a drop of blood drips from the blade and time seems to slow as it descends at an achingly slow rate to the floor. The Butcher then whispers “Die”. Primeval terror rises up in Smith and threatens to overwhelm him, before he manages to fight it off and draw his pistol. To his credit he manages to put a slug in the abomination’s chest before The Butcher is on him, slashing with the scalpel. Smith then flees for his life, a wound in his arm pouring blood. He reports his encounter to Corporal Cooke, but The Butcher has fled, leaving scores of dead and mutilated in his wake.

After a fitful nights sleep, the posse awake before dawn and march to Cemetery Ridge, taking up a position in the grave diggers house. The enevitable Union assault is terrifying and the defenders are hard pressed.

The group managed to repel the first wave, with some Union soldiers getting as far as climbing through the windows. As things become increasingly desperate and the tempo of the incoming fire becomes almost constant, Captain Anderson smiles and orders " Fix bayonets! Sergeant prepare the men for a glorious charge." Patently the order is suicidal, Tully simply stands there, mouth gaping with disbelief. “Cowardice in the face of the enemy, sergeant?” says Anderson, coolly rises his pistol and shooting Tully in the head. “Corporal Cooke, kindly relay the order to fix bayonets.”

Sonny raises his pistol and shoots Anderson in the back. Absolute chaos erupts, before McCoy finishes the Captain off with his Colt. As the dust began to settle, a clearly dead Union soldier that was impaled on the remnant of a window abruptly lurches to life and begins to drag himself into the room. More panic erupts before the blue belly is basically torn apart by sustained fire.

As the tempo of the Union fire increased again, an eerie red light was spotted from between the floorboards. Dr Smith lifted a rug to find a trapdoor, which everyone piled through to escape the richoceting bullets. The red light was coming from a thin groove in one of the walls. The groove formed a circle roughly 8 feet in diameter and some of the blood from one the numerous bodies above had run down between the floorboards and into the groove. When the blood joined at the base of the circle, a ‘portal’ opened. As the door to the house was smashed in by forces unknown, the group jumped into the portal.

They arrived in a cave, with the portal now behind them, still open. A path formed of hexagonal stones, three stones wide, exited the cave. The stone was black in colour, with thin red veins. The posse followed the path for a short distance before it crossed a large chasm on a single arched bridge, below which was a lake of blood with a stepped pyramid rising from its centre. A large silver bowl with a flame burning above it was located at the apex of the pyramid. On closer inspection it became apparent that millions of people were present in the lake, writhing and fighting each other in an effort to climb onto the lowest tier of the pyramid. Each time someone did, he was rapidly pulled back into the writhing throng by a host of hands.

Fleeing over the bridge, the path ended in small cave, with a similar circular groove in the wall. Cooke pricked his finger and smeared the blood into the groove. A large amount of blood flowed unnaturally from the tiny wound and filled the groove. A second portal opened and they quickly jumped through.

Note:
Cemetery Ridge was, in reality, held by Union forces during the Battle of Gettysburg, but the name was too good not to use.

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It's a Hard Road to Travel when The Hills Rise Wild
April 1863

With news that the one year conscription is to be extended to a compulsory four year term, the number of deserters increases dramatically, with most returning to farms that are slowly dying. The posse has no such concerns, and with Cooke promoted to the rank of Corporal, they are given an area to search for those that have chosen to run. The orders are to arrest them and return them for trial.

The group head towards Blue Mountain Valley, searching several abandoned farms on the way, but with little success. As they close in on the valley, they find a dropped, military-issue canteen. Guthrie quickly finds the trail of the owner and leads the group to a mutilated corpse of a Confederate soldier, possibly a deserter, but far too gone for anyone to care.

They push on into the wooded valley, with Guthrie following a stream that leads him to a secluded log cabin. Corporal Cooke approaches and is met by the owner, one Levi Stone, his wife Hannah and their three sons. They seem friendly, and are certainly not deserters, although they have seen new tracks in the valley that could belong to soldiers. After a pleasant supper and a quiet night sleeping in a barn filled with furs, the group splits up to investigate the tracks. Each group runs the gauntlet of various death traps, before the woodsmen show their true colours and turn on the group. Two of the sons are relatively easily dealt with, although McCoy has to hack Levi apart before the juggernaut of dead meat eventually shudders and lies still. Sonny has a more difficult time, as he stayed at the cabin with the third son, Gideon, who overpowers him using some strange chanting and odd finger movements, before knocking him out.

The group return to the cabin to find Hannah, who confesses all. Her husband and sons changed dramatically when they discovered a ‘church’ in a part of the valley she has never been to. Ever since then they have become vile hunters, sacrificing any travellers they find at the ‘church’. Heading to the indicated location, the posse fan out and converge, not on a building at all, but on a strange wooden ‘post’, dark with blood and surrounded by the bones of its victims. Sonny is rescued, Gideon killed and the post burnt to the ground. McCoy swore it was no totem pole, despite the obvious stylised face gazing malevolently from the dark wood. They then fled the valley, finding no deserters, but happy to be returning to the protection of the army.

Note:
Based on ‘A Hard Road to Travel’ from Strange Aeons II and ‘The Hills Rise Wild’ from Arkham Unveiled (both published by Chaosium). With an unhealthy dose of ‘Ravenous’.

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