This is the 18th session log of our Deadlands Reloaded campaign "The Great Northwest" (on January 3rd 2014).
As the session started Tyler (the ex-Agent) was locked away in the town jail and the others were gathering in their boarding house, when suddenly dog howls and gun shots erupted in the streets. When everybody rushed out, they saw Racing Cloud's and Chris's tent going up in flames and the two Klickitat being attacked by half a dozen mad dogs. Hunter (the bounty hunter) was the first on the scene and witnessed Chris being hit by a gunshot. When he rushed to help, the unseen sniper got a shot in - and hit Hunter bad [5 wounds, reduced by 2 through the Soak roll]. A very close call.
As the others arrived, Gus called on the Lord to help his wounded friend and got bitten by one of the dogs for his trouble. Fortunately his strong voice seemed then to have a calming effect on the animals [the Animal Friend power]. Matt (the huckster) tried to flush the sniper out. He didn't get to face him, but the unknown map vanished into the dark when Matt came too close. The sheriff arrived on the scene and slowly everything calmed down again. Chris wasn't too badly hurt, and the others were taken into the boarding house to take care of.
Meanwhile, Tyler unfortunately learned that the whole affair had only been a distraction. Captain Danby and some of his cronies showed up at the jail, shot the deputy and took Tyler away with them into the night. Toni (the muckraker) and the sheriff found the dead deputy when she wanted to check on Tyler. While Sheriff Freeman alerted mayor Hart and the judge, Gus came up with the idea to use the pacified hounds to track Tyler. That worked out perfectly and they tracked the soldiers and their prisoner to a little sortie gate in the palisade where they apparently had met up with the escaped sniper and left the town.
While the sheriff and judge declared it too unsafe to follow the kidnappers into the night and wanted to wait for sunrise, the posse was determined to lose not time. With Danby and gang probably being cannibals, they greatly feared for their companion. Luckily, some other townspeople proved very stout hearted: Mrs. Boon and others who had missing relatives gathered to help [Angry Mob adventure card]. Soon after the rescue party headed out into the woods, led by hunter and the helpful hound.
Tyler had been taken to an abandoned farmhouse in the woods, apparently the lair the cannibal gang had been using for a while. A fire had been prepared and the sergeant threatened to grill something of Tyler's, but the captain told him to make do with the human corpse that was already present - Fred Boone. So Tyler was "stored" for the moment, hanging from a hook in the rafters.
The posse was struggling through cold and darkness, both Hunter, Chris and Matt still wounded. It was especially hard on Matt, who stumbled in the dark and badly sprained his ankle [critical failure on the fatigue roll]. Had it not been for Gus' miraculous powers, they might have had to leave the old Huckster behind.
They managed to stay on the track and finally reached the farmhouse too. When Hunter scouted the area, he was spotted by the sergeant, alarming the soldiers. An attack on the building defended by professional soldiers seemed a desperate measure. But Hunter came up with a battle plan quickly. While the townspeople would surround the house, the posse would use an abandoned wagon to approach the bar door with at least a little cover. At first it looked like the wagon would be hard to move in the snow, but then Bu, the Chinese ogre, showed his strength and together with Gus easily shoved the wagon towards the house, actually crashing it through the barn door and opening the way inside.
Tyler had been working on his bonds in the meantime and managed to free himself, just as the fighting broke out. Lacking a gun, he tackled the sergeant and the two fought fiercely. Tyler, Toni and Matt faced Captain Danby and two of his soldiers. But when Danby was wounded, he suddenly became to change. The pain and the hatred completed the transformation that had been coming for some time: He became a Wendigo.
The horrific change happened right in front of Hunter, and it was more than his heart could take. It simply stopped beating [Guts check failed, rolled a 20 on the fright table, with the +1 modifier from the Wendigo that was a heart attack]. Luckily the bounty hunter was vigorous enough to survive the heart attack. Still the Wendigo seemed to get the upper hand. It jumped Racing Cloud and the Klickitat warrior woman went down in a spray of blood, to Gus' personal horror.
But then Matt, who had just felt a surge of power [Power Surge adventure card], flicked a card from his deck and flick it at the back of the Wendigo's head. Glowing bright green, in entered its skull at the base of the neck and came out through an eye, taking a good chunk of the brain with it. The Wendigo stood frozen for a second, the collapsed and changed back into the now dead form of Captain Paul Danby [3d6 bold hit with raise, for 4d6 damage doubled with "Bullseye" adventure card]. The sergeant fought on for a moment, but then Tyler managed to kill him too. The other soldiers tried to flee, but were either killed or captured.
During the aftermath the posse tried to shield the townspeople from the worst horrors of the cannibal lair, but allowed Mrs Boon to see the body of her husband. he was heartbroken, but overall Gus managed to calm everybody and instill a feeling of hope - the monsters could be killed. The deeds of the soldiers who were meant to protect the citizens was a shock, but didn't fully undermine their new-found confidence [a Persuasion roll to keep the Fear level from getting worse was successful, but not good enough to actually reduce it].
The posse burned down the farmhouse to clear it of the corruption and took three prisoners back to Walla Walla. There the mayor wanted to turn them over to Colonel Jones for a court-martial, but Hunter wanted to see them hang on the spot or at least tried by a jury. Some arguments ensued, but eventually Hunter prevailed and the townspeople formed an impromptu jury, tried the soldiers in the saloon and hanged them the same night. Justice was done, but neither mayor Hart nor Colonel Jones seemed overly pleased with the fashion it was done.
As they were in no shape to stick to their plan to head east to Hell's Canon the next day, the posse decided to stay in Walla Walla to recuperate.