Battle to Seattle – Skirmish at Lake Tahoe

Last weeks battle was a fun setup and game, although it did bring up the issue of rifles and their relative power level. Part of the problem is the relative flatness of the terrain, as you can see from the pictures.

But anyway the players had heard a rumor of old maps and information booklets in an abandoned camper trailer near Lake Tahoe. When they arrived they found the lake totally empty however, and a few other gangs wandering around the area (since watering holes are popular stopping spots). However in the middle of the night a boat drifted to the surface, probably from wreckage loosening under water. Everyone assumed the information was aboard the ship, so a fight ensued. Some crates had been offloaded in the middle of the night so they became a focus as well.

The tributary rivers were Strong Current which pushed towards the lake itself. The lake was Deep and Populated, which was tough for people to cross. The boat was Pit Fight only, meaning no guns could be used (on it, off it, into it) for fear of damaging the goods.

The deploy was Quadrant, but in an 8″ square instead of “deep” to the middle of the table.

The objective was Capture, with a 7 turn limit with a possible 8th turn (roll of 7+ at the end of turn 7). Both the boat and crates could be captured.

This was our first simultaneous 2x1vs1 game, and that aspect was really fun. If posses from different tables reached the boat they would just ignore each other basically, since they would be on different turns and activations and so on.

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The boat itself was made by me long, long ago. I think I was maybe 17 or 18 years old at the time? It was made for a D&D campaign and was originally an airship (there was a clear plastic cup glued to the bottom to raise the boat up) that was hopping the planes, as in a planar campaign, like the video game Planescape Torment. The sails were a bit dark for Dinosaur Cowboys, but otherwise the scale and details were perfect.

This was also the debut game of some new figures. The players all bought various resin minis from the Black Scorpion “Tombstone” line. They look great and have some nice poses and weapons. We’re going to try to do a painting night soon so hopefully you’ll see less gray.

After the game we had one posse go to the Redwoods, and one go to Lassen Volcanic Park. We had to talk a bit “out of character” to end up with this, since so far everyone has pretty much gone to the same places, haha. Should be a good set of fights this week. We also have the first guest player so I’ll be interested to see how that goes.

Battle to Seattle – Bonus Game – Race track at Pahrump

We had a great bonus game of Dinosaur Cowboys on Saturday, in the Battle to Seattle campaign. I told the players I was more than happy to run extra games outside our usual “games night”, and the response was good enough that we could get a fun “defend the resort!” mission going.
Unlike the last science station battle in Death Valley, this game was skewed very strongly towards the strengths of the player posses. Plus the fact that they did well at target priority and keeping their cool as 10 Savages and 3 Dinosaurs rushed towards them helps too! Fights like this always remind me of the V for Vendetta quote: “What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people *with* guns”. But that’s exactly how the game is intended to work, and I wanted a fight that was a bit more upbeat than charging a fortified structure like the science station.

Table Setup
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Background and Setup
The fluff/background is basically Hadley’s Hope and Dustin Tails left Death Valley out the east side and tried to find shelter to heal their wounds, dust themselves off, and recover for the rest of the trip north. Meanwhile Dustbowl Dusters, who had made a leisurely trip north from the radio tower, heard about a ruined resort at the old Pahrump race track. So they descended on the villa to rest and relax.
Which meant all three posses were together at the resort. But the first two had baggage from their last battle, in the form of angry Savages from the Neotechnoist field team. The Savages gathered their clan mates and local hired guns and set forth to raid the race track.
The posses found a few bottles of whiskey in the resort, which they were intent to defend. They also found enough leftover, well stored, racing fuel to jury rig a Flamethrower.

The setup was pretty simple, and after the complex Feature usage of Death Valley I whittled down the number to the basics:

Deployment: #4 Delayed, from long edges (to represent some of you hanging out in the resort, and not being quick to the front line. On their end it represents the faster elements eagerly coming to grips).
Objective: #8 Defend. You will be the defenders. The objective will be the cask of Whiskey (a single objective).
Turn Limit: 5 (one less because of the long edge deploy)
Features: Weapon Emplacement (Jury Rigged Flamethrower, 8A-0D, 1-8 distance, Fireline). Road (the ruined track). Night (at the start of Turn 4).
Enemies: Bluescar Savages (original field team from science station), Death Valley Ravagers (their allies), Fire Column Bandits (some hired guns).

Quick Report
In general the battle went well for everyone but the Savages. The Savages were almost completely a melee posse, and charging a bunch of good guns with better RTN was suicidal.
In addition a gamble I made didn’t really pay off. Since we were using the Delayed deploy we had to put one entity from each posse “in reserve” to come on later. I decided to risk putting ALL my dinosaurs. My hope was they would come on in turn 2 (or 3, at the worst) on a flank, instead of the back edge, and rush in and distract everyone long enough for the surviving Savages to get to the whiskey objective.
Instead the dinosaurs showed up on turn 4, haha. When they DID turn up the T-Rex one shot killed a Dustin Tails shooter. But it was too little too late.

Pictures During the Game
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In the end the three player posses got a TON of IP and ND, which is great for giving them more options to play with. All the kills were shared, and I think they got something like 8 in total.
After the battle Dustbowl Dusters have 150 IP and $1560, Hadley’s Hope has 160 IP and $1630, and Dustin Tails have 170 IP and $1730. Quite a nice progression actually. No real Wounds to talk about.

Next Game
In terms of the next game, everyone chose to go to Lake Tahoe. But this time we’ll be doing two side-by-side simultaneous 1vs1 battles, with a random roll to see who fights the “NPC posse”. Should be a neat setup. I envision them fighting on opposite sides of the main lake.

Campaign Going Forward
Three important items to talk about for the Battle to Seattle campaign going forward.

First of all the posse Hadley’s Hope has been renamed to “New Haven Vigilantes”, so be aware of that.

Second I’ve sent out an invite email to various friends to see if they’d want to drop in and play the NPC posse (instead of me doing it). So maybe we’ll get some guest players.

And finally we’ll be moving to the new weapons from the upcoming v2.5. I know I waffled on this, and maybe even said “We won’t move during the campaign” in earlier posts. But the variety and balance of the new weapons won me over. So the posses will be slightly tweaked to use the new weapons. Once that is done, which will be in two weeks (no game next week), then I’ll probably pot v2.5 and update The Saloon. Expect a v2.6 after the campaign though with any other changes and fixes we encountered.

Battle to Seattle – Death Valley science station

This was an exciting but brutal match for the two posses involved (the third player is away on business).

First of all, the setting: The players had heard rumors of a Neotechnoist science station deep in Death Valley who were studying weather patterns. They found the station, and spied on the crew for a while. They learned that a field team was elsewhere, and the Neotechnoists were testing some kind of “Thunderclap Gun” (which was actually a Sonic Gun, basically 4A-0D with the “Terrify” special, meaning 2+ damage = force Bravery Test on target).

Objective: “Smash and Grab” to get two prototype guns and escape off the board.
Deployment: “Center”, with the Neotechnoist lab team in their science station in the middle, and both players deploying opposite each other on the short table edges.
Turn Limit: 6, but we decided to bump this up to 7 during the game.
Features: The idea here was to simulate a growing dust storm and increasingly bad weather. Which meant:
Turn 1-6: Blinding Sun
Turn 1-3: Extreme Temperatures
Turn 2: Light Duststorm
Turn 3: Heavy Duststorm
Turn 4: Light Fog
Turn 5: Heavy Fog
Turn 6: Forest Fire

For some bonus spice the players could choose to team up, which they did. But this meant the Neotechnoists, seeing the large attack force, called their field team for backup.

The “NPC” posses involved were Sandoro’s Lab Rats (the Neotechnoist lab team) and the Field Team Alpha Tango (field team).

The Field Team showed up at the start of Turn 2 from a random long table edge, to keep with the “Center” deployment style. They showed up all mounted on their dinosaur, to represent them rushing to the base with all haste.

Like I said the battle was pretty brutal. The lab team hid well in their bunker, only popping out to take potshots at the Hadley’s Hope posse. The field team, seeing no dinosaur for the Dustin Tails, decided to commit their melee based group to push back that gang. In the end they did so, at a heavy cost (losing all but one member).
Neither player was close to capturing the objective, since the close quarters fighting inside the building was not their forte, and from the pressure of the field team. However they did a lot of damage to the defenders, but ended up retreating into the deepening dust storm.

Next up they will head to the race track at Pahrump, which will be played out this weekend. Should be a fun time!

Pictures of the table setup before the Death Valley game started:
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Left to Right: The full table, with the side tray for the building interior. Look at the “four quadrant” hill style of the table. The building interior, with the 3D table being a “Medical Station” providing 1D12 healing per Action Phase using it. Up close of the science station, which is an old cardboard bunker I made when I was a kid. Half game, half game room. A close look at the campaign map, where you can see the splitting route.

Battle to Seattle – Radio Tower in the Mojave Desert

Well we got in the second game of the Battle to Seattle campaign. I’m not going to link back to the introduction post each time, since I’m sure you can find it by this point.
The first game was a “demo game” with basic posses I designed, and was unrelated to the main storyline. Then my three friends designed their owns posses, and we pitted them against each other in a 3 player free-for-all. The setting for the encounter was the Mojave Desert. Each posse had heard about the rumored re-emergence of Seattle on the coast, so they all went to the local radio station tower to confirm the details. Unfortunately they ran into each other and ended up fighting over the tower.
There was an NPC character at the tower, basically a crazy woman who was said to control snakes and dinosaurs. She was quickly butchered by the combined posses as they considered her a significant threat.

The table itself had a few Features in play, specifically: Gusting Winds (2″ Pushed to all weapons), Hidden Tunnel (a series of them, marked with green doors), and a Road opposite one of the deployment zones. In addition the crates at the base of the tower were Fortified and Ammo, which hopefully would give anyone rushing to the base a better chance at defending.

The objective was to Capture the radio tower, with a hidden turn limit (in this case 4, which was one shorter than everyone expected :) ). Besides the usual bonus for winning an encounter, the player would receive some hidden information from what they heard on the radio tower.

The posses involved, which I’ll post eventually in their own entry, were Hadleys Hope, Dustin Tails, and Dustbowl Dusters. So…lots of dust in their names. Hadleys Hope consists of a two brother sniper team with a Stegosaurus. Dustin Tails is a three person, mostly Neotechnoist gang, with plenty of good weapons. And Dustbowl Dusters has three people and a Thickskull dinosaur, and generally has harder to kill members due to them being Dusters with boosted Hitpoints.

Anyway there was plenty of good shooting all around. Dustbowl Dusters took the initiative on charging the tower, and came under a LOT of fire as a result. Dustin Tails tried to cut through the Hidden Tunnels to get closer to the objective, and ended up disturbing some NPC lizards! These were related to the crazy woman, and basically emerged from each tunnel entrance and attacked the nearest target.

In the end Dustbowl Dusters were able to capture the radio tower, but at a heavy cost. They suffered two losses, one being the Leader, and BOTH of the people took Wounds! To make matters worse the Leader took a “Stunned Head” (which is pretty rare to roll), meaning they have a small chance at the start of each Activation to be Stunned. Ouch. The other out of action member took a Bruised Head Wound, so lots of brain damage all around!

The pictures are a bit shaky, but that’s life :)
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Pictured: The table setup and early moves, with the road visible. Then the main radio tower from both sides. You can see the Thickskull aggressively capturing the objective.

So far all the minis are proxied from Warhammer 40,000. But orders are in from each player for some wild west figures. I’m looking forward to seeing them all arrayed against each other. Also notice the Stegosaurus is a non-Papo toy for once!

As for the post-encounter decisions, the route split from the radio tower to Las Vegas (now mostly ruined and mostly run by gangs) or Death Valley (super hot, with a rumored Neotechnoist science base). EVERYONE decided to go to Death Valley, which was a surprise to me!

Battle to Seattle – Demo Game

Battle-to-Seattle-Demo-0002Battle to Seattle Start!
Remember my wordily titled Search for the Sunken Space Needle in Seattle campaign (shortened to “Battle to Seattle”)? Well, it officially started last week! I’m very excited to host this campaign for three friends as they battle north from the desert to the fabled sunken city of Seattle.

I can’t post the schedule of cities/events here, in case any of the involved players read it, but I can do recaps of previous sessions.

In the case of week 1 we started with a simple demo game, unrelated to the main campaign. The purpose of this game was to introduce everyone to the rules, show them various strengths/weaknesses of posse styles, and have a fun time. After the demo game everyone semi-secretly built their own custom posse, which I will detail in future posts.
Sufficient to say there are now three custom posses just chomping at the bit to start killing each other. Which will happen this week! We will have an “official” kick off game involving all three posses, then a chance to revise the posses (in case someone really regrets their build choice), and then the posses will be locked in and the rest of the campaign will continue.

Anyway for this first week demo game I created two posses that had identical members and slightly different dinosaurs (Ripper and Ducky). These resulted in the Thunder Valley Gang (Ripper version) and (Ducky version).

The game itself went off without a hitch. We played the simplest objective (Shoot Out) on the simplest deployment (Edge, in this case on the long table edges), with a turn limit of 5, and no Features (how rare!). Every game after this will be more complex and involved, but again I wanted to start with the basics to get everyone familiar with the rules. Since I am aiming to have two simultaneous 1vs1 games going at the same time it’s imperative that each player knows the rules well enough to play on their own, without me overseeing the game.
The posses can look forward to lots of decisions, various scenarios and situations, and (hopefully) plenty of fun over the next month or two.

Anyway we used one of my new 4’x3′ boards. The first picture (above) is of the setup before everyone showed up, and then an action shot a few turns in to the chaos:
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The Search for the Sunken Space Needle in Seattle

 Poster by Harry BonathA New Campaign
In other words, “The Battle to Seattle”. But what am I talking about? The next Dinosaur Cowboys campaign! This won’t be a test campaign run solo, this will be an actual campaign with 3 of my friends. We’re aiming to start at the beginning of February, and run 9 game nights playing through a broad story arc.

History and Fluff
As you may remember, part of the history of Dinosaur Cowboys involves greenhouse gases being released when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted, which melted a bunch of the ice caps and raised the ocean water level. That means coastal cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle were under water.

But now in the year 2294 (ie: 9 years after the rulebook history leaves off at 2285) there are rumors of a strange tower emerging from the ocean. Scraps of pamphlets and waterlogged tourism books identify this tower as the Seattle Space Needle.
As with any old world technology, there is a lot of mystery around the contents of the tower. Perhaps scientists stored away desperate experiments, or maybe historians packed the tower with books and manuals from the past.
Regardless, word of the receding ocean tides (whether they are temporary or permanent is up for debate) has spread like wildfire, and a new gold rush to be the first posse to Seattle has begun.

Rules of the Campaign
early-tableIn terms of rules we will play 1 introductory session, unrelated to the campaign, wherein everyone is refreshed on the basics of the game and shown various posse strategies. Then each friend will design their own Posse using the standard rules, with my help that first game session.
Week 2 would be the official start to the campaign, with each new Posse involved. The plan is to have TWO simultaneous 1vs1 games going, on a 4’x3′ chunk of a split 6’x4′ table (see right for the early version).
Who fights who and over what terrain will be decided by the campaign route each player chooses. Initially they all start somewhere in the Mojave Desert, but after that two branching decisions will be presented at the end of each week as to where the posse goes next.
For example Player One and Player Two choose to go to Las Vegas after the Mojave Desert, and Player Three decides to go through Death Valley. That means Player One and Two will fight it out in Las Vegas. Player Three will fight a generic NPC posse that I design and play, in this case across Death Valley. So the matchups will change as the gang fights their way north to Seattle. This should allow lots of variety, choice, and fun.
The usual campaign rules will be used, although I’ll be tweaking the Wounds slightly (mainly for Dinosaurs, since some don’t make sense, like “Broken Tail” which involves Difficult Terrain). If someone cannot make a battle that week they’d miss out on the IP/ND gained from combat. So expect a v2.1 rule update with some minor touchups (as usual!).

Posts
Any details I post here will be written with the players in mind, so there won’t be spoilers in advance or any big reveals. But I will try to get a picture or two of each game, although certainly not to the detail level of my previous reports. Should be a grand ol’ time!

Search for the Antidote – Windy River Day 7

Well, it’s been a whiiiiile! The timestamp of the images for this battle report are from the middle of October! Then again I did have a grand total of 3 or 4 days free in all of December, so I’ve been a bit busy. Too much Mad Men, Robocraft, Simcity 4, family and friends, and gin. At least that’s the excuse I’m going to use :)

Anyway when we last left off the Drylands Expedition had helped defend Hyran Mine against Night Dagger raiders. During the fight Amparo was hit by a “Toxic Gun”, which infected him with a deadly poison. With barely a break to breathe, the posse immediately headed towards an outlying / forward post of the Night Dagger camp. Their intent was simple: get an antidote for Amp!
In addition a new member joined the posse, named Sarah Love, as talked about here. Since I last mentioned her I’ve painted 90% of the figure (mainly just need to finish the base and a few details), so hopefully I can wrap that up soon.

DC-Windy-River_Antidote-0006My notes for this battle are…sparse. As in not even a page. But the pictures speak volumes. I think the table looked really good this time, as I went for slightly lower hills, the black mat (to represent the dark hills around Hyran Mine), an old abandoned bus (which I always love), and best of all I got to use my new inexpensive roads! Brief sidenote, the roads are made by cutting out textured fabric from a local craft store. They look good (especially for the price) and the cobblestone really pops on them. I cut a few to be main roads and a few to be little side trails, so lots of variety. Now that I’ve (successfully) tested the roads I think I’ll try to get more fabric in the near future and make even more roads.

Table
I played on my usual gamesroom table, 4’x3′. I’m hoping to get two slabs of wood to make the table 6’x4′ at some point (so I can run two simultaneous Dinosaur Cowboys games) but for now it’s the classic size.
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Objective
The Night Daggers had to Destroy 4 casks of Anti-Toxins. If the Drylands Expedition could stop them from doing this, there would be enough antidote leftover to help Amp.

Deployment
The deployment used was “Quadrant”, although my rolls basically made it “Edge”, haha. Both halves of the Night Daggers deployed on the west side (with the bus) while the Drylands Expedition deployed opposite them. I was hoping for a true Quadrant battle, but like I said the deploy rolls didn’t end up that way.

Features
I had the Drylands Expedition start “Out of Supplies”, to represent their haste from running from Hyran Mine. That meant they would start with all weapons needing a Reload. So the first turn would be catching their breath and moving to better positions while reloading their weapons.
I also had the “Night” variant in effect, which would give some protection against Medium or Long range shots (basically a saving roll).
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Posses
Drylands Expedition – 1/179 IP, $2,000 – Posse PDF
Night Daggers Antidote Defense – 4/179 IP, $2,000 – Posse PDF
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Setup
The Drylands Expedition split Quidel with Rhodes and Sarah Love, and then Gibson, Amp, and Dwaal. The first half were in the south east quadrant, with the dino half were north of that (north east quadrant).
The Night Daggers split Lanecaster with Zeus to the south west quadrant, opposite Quidel and those fellows. Then Igel, Aletha, and Cobalt were in the north west quadrant opposite the Dryland’s dinosaur Dwaal.

General Report
In general the Night Daggers surged forward, trying to destroy as many antidote casks as they could. By the end of Turn 2 the newcomer Sarah Love was down, and both objectives near the Night Daggers side of the table had been destroyed. One of these was torn to shreds by their mighty dinosaur Zeus.
There was a great fight around the bus (as usual…that bus is awesome as a focal point), with plenty of moving and position for the best shot. Dwaal had rushed forward to try to slow the cask damage, so he proved to be a useful distraction.
On the south part of the table Quidel and Zeus duked it out around the third cask, with Quidel barely slaying the mighty dinosaur before the T-Rex could tear apart the cask.
Amp spent most of the game sniping from a building, but eventually no targets were in range so he advanced and had a bit of a long range duel with Igel.
Dwaal and Gibson eventually teamed up to do an aggressive flank and further draw the focus away from the fourth cask by Amp’s building. With Quidel and Amp closing from the other side the Night Daggers were in trouble.
However everyone was pretty beat up by this point so both sides had heavy losses in each of these late game turns.
Finally Amp engaged the Night Dagger leader Lanecaster, who had slightly hung back earlier due to her short range, and she was able to take Amp out before help arrived. But Quidel showed up soon after to finish off the enemy leader.
In the end the Drylands expedition were able to offensive defend the last two casks by pushing back the Night Daggers.

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End of Encounter Process
Drylands Expedition had everyone except Quidel taken out of action. Ouch! In total they had 5 kills for a total of +15 IP and $150 (plus the usual $30 for winning) and the IP boost gave them another Trait. Luckily 2 casks were undamaged enough that Amp could be healed of his toxic infection.

Like I said, light notes compared to the usual blow-by-blow account!

The Wound and Injuries results weren’t that great for the Drylands Expedition. Amp and Dwaal managed to avoid a Wound, and Quidel’s old “Broken Knee” Wound healed up. But Gibson, Rhodes, and Love all took a Wound, as rolled below.

Wounds:
Gibson Crawford – Cut Feet (W)
“Crazy” Rhodes – Broken Hip (W)
Sarah Love – Shaky Hand (W)

New Resources: 16/194 IP, 180/2180 ND, 5/6 Traits

Flush with cash I decided to rework the Armor setup of the posse a bit. Quidel handed down his Cloth Armor to Sarah Love (no cost), and then bought himself shiny new Bone Armor for $150, leaving the posse with $30. I decided to hold on to the leftover cash for now.
In terms of IP the characters are getting to the point where upgrades are pretty expensive. For example to go from RTN 6 to 5 is 22 IP (but also really awesome and tempting). Instead I gave Quidel another boost, and finally got his Speed up to 4 (from 3) for 10 IP. That left 6 IP, a convenient number considering that is the cost of +1 HP. So Crazy Rhodes got +1 HP, boosting him from 11 to 12 HP.
Traits were a bit tougher, mainly because there are so many I want to get, but I had to narrow it down to a single choice. I considered giving another Trait to Dwaal, perhaps even more HP or some Speed. I considered going for a second tier (II) Trait for someone, maybe Amp with “Inspiring Shot II”. Maybe “Eagle Eye” for Rhodes to push his range out a bit further. An Active Trait was the most appealing, maybe “Retreat!” for someone who normally is near Dwaal, so that the dinosaur could get Speed 14 for a turn! The flat damage Traits are always nice too, and come in handy in pretty much any situation (like Quidel’s “Knee Shot”). “Quick Hands” or “Rally”, “Speed Reload”, the list of things I want is endless. But time to decide (I’m literally sitting here with The Saloon open as I type this, trying to figure out a choice). And that decision is “Rapid Fire II” for Sarah Love, giving her the possibility of 6A-6D, which just might be enough for a one shot kill. Actually it’d be 7A-6D with the Dual Wield variant in play (which it is for this campaign).
I’ll need to boost up Gibson next time, I think, as he’s falling a bit behind.

Final Resources: 0/194 IP, 30/2180 ND, 0/6 Traits

Posse after updates: Saloon link or PDF link.

Next Up
After counter-raiding the outer Night Dagger camp and stealing the antidote the Drylands Expedition have their eyes set directly on the main Night Dagger camp. So the next campaign game will focus on a big attack through the layered defenses of the Night Daggers. I expect a lot of casualties and chaos.