Saturday, June 19, 2021

Bulletproof Witch: Beginnings by F.J. Blair review

 
    BULLETPROOF WITCH: BEGINNINGS (Book 1-4) by Francis James Blair is a collection of the first four novels of the Bulletproof Witch series. I know, what a surprise. I really enjoyed this book collection, which is on the lighter side of reading with each book being just under two hundred pages and very easy to finish in a single day. As such, I encourage readers to just buy the collection and read it as a single volume rather than picking up each individual one.

    The premise is that in a Wild West fantasy setting, Temperance Whitecloak is a Pistol Witch. Pistol Warlocks are individuals similar to hexslingers from Deadlands. They use magically engraved bullets that allow them to produce a variety of mystical effects on their enemies. Unlike the hexslingers of Deadlands, all the Pistol Warlocks are supposed to use their hand-engraved bullets to hunt daemons. Temperance is quite appalled to discover that her orthodox way of living the life of a monster hunter is not practiced as universally or as devotedly as she, herself, does.

    In typical fantasy revenge story fashion, Temperance's hometown of Cold Valley is massacred by an army of daemons with her as the only survivor. Climbing on top of her talking horse, Astor, she sets out on a mission to hunt down and destroy the daemons' leader, Varconis, and avenge her family. It's just somewhat hurt because no one but a handful of demons have seemingly ever heard of Varconis and it's not like he's left a forwarding address.

    Each of the novels within the omnibus is a self-contained adventure with the premise of Temperance trying to inch closer to her goal of revenge. Most of the time, she's less concerned with progressing her quest than the ever-present issue of money. Hexbullets cost a lot of her job is either a feast or a famine in terms of how much she's paid for bringing in slain daemons. This adds a nice level of grounding to the story as her goals remain strictly pragmatic.

    I like the idea of doing a fantasy Western in a world divorced from our own and Francis James Blair does a good job of replicating the Wild West without strictly following Earthly history. There's some areas that I'm not 100% down with like the fact that there's no Native American equivalents and the continent was abandoned when the settlers arrived. Still, it is a pretty detailed but not obtrusive history that talks about the settlement of the world as well as its frontier-esque population.

    THE DELIVERY OF FLESH is a story about how Temperance gets recruited to guard a warlock prisoner as he's transported across country to a more secure jail. This has the most Western style feel and reminded me a bit of True Grit with Temperance playing the Mattie role as contrasted to a more greenhorn Ranger. It's a pretty basic story but nicely eases you into the universe as well as its conflicts.

    CURSE OF THE DAEMON BEAST is about Temperance visiting an outlaw squatter town that is being harassed by daemons but carries a bunch of secrets that prevent our heroine from investigating. I particularly liked this one because there's a lot of Twin Peaks-esque nastiness lying under the surface of small town life. It also calls into question some of what Temperance has been taught about daemons.

    ARKTON AT HIGH NOON is the least Western of the omnibus and is a fish out of water story. After getting herself in serious trouble with the law after a drunken fight at a casino, Temperance gets dragooned into investigating the death of a foreign ambassador in the big city. Part of the humor is that she has no idea what she's doing and is utterly terrible at espionage but it kind of makes you wonder why she was recruited for it in the first place. I also miss the Wild West motifs.

    DEATH RIDES AT SUNSET is the fourth book in the series that introduces vampires to the series. Temperance is doing her best to try to prevent a young man from becoming the victim of a vampire lord. There's a lot of build-up in this book for future events in the series but it comes across as very organic. We also get flashbacks to Temperance's training as a pistol witch and dealing with her early trauma/alcoholism.

    The books have good action, good world-building, and fun characters. They also include a lot of LGBT content even though Temperance, herself, is straight. One thing I liked that was only in the individual copies of the books is that they were illustrated like light novels with manga-style art. Sadly, this disappears in the omnibus for what I presume was probably cost-related issues. Do I have any complaints? I feel the books are a bit on the short side, though each successive book is longer than the previous, but that isn't a problem when you read them all as one big collection. So if you like fantasy and like Westerns, you'll probably enjoy this.

8/10

Available here

 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Dead Acre by Rhett Bruno, Jaime Castle, and Roger Clark review


    DEAD ACRE is an audiobook is written by Rhett Bruno (The Roach) and Jaime Castle (Sidekick) while narrated by Roger Clark (Arthur Morgan, Red Dead Redemption 2). It's an exceptional pedigree as I love the work of all three individuals. It's a short work of about only three hours long but it's also free with my Audible subscription so I'm hardly going to complain about its length vs. price.

    The premise is a outlaw gunslinger is gunned down after turning on his gang due to what's implied to be their habit of being a bunch of murderous rapists. A better reason than most betrayals in Westerns, I suppose. Raised by God as a undead bounty hunter, James Crowley goes from town to town to kill the supernatural while working off his debt. If he's successful, he won't go to Hell but he probably won't be allowed into Heaven, which is a really bad deal from a religious perspective.

    This is the kind of premise that would be at home in a Deadlands game and even has some similarities with Crowley being somewhat similar to a Harrowed. It's more likely both were inspired by Clint Eastwood films Pale Rider and High Plains Drifter, though. Two very different movies that deal with cowboys sent by supernatural forces to unleash the wrath of God (or the Devil). Given I'm a fan of both movies as well as Red Dead Redemption, this is something I found quite interesting and would be interested in a whole series from the man's perspective.

    Crowley has the biggest benefit of a 1st person urban fantasy (albeit Weird West 19th century) protagonist in that he is immensely likeable. He's not laden down by a desire to do pop culture quips nor is he aping the overused film noir detective. Instead, the adjustment of a classic Western plotline, "hero rides into town to solve the problem" to supernatural forces is one that breathes life into a tired genre. I also appreciated that Crowley is, uh, incapable of returning affection as a revenant so that precludes any sort of sexual tension.

    The actual storyline is simple and to the point: our hero has been drawn to the town of Dead Acres where there's been some evil afoot and a man has gone missing. There's also been some bodies that have been disturbed. Our hero eventually figures out the mystery and does some business with the big iron on his hip (thank you, Fallout: New Vegas). Telling you anymore would probably spoil the story and the investigation is entertaining throughout. The final confrontation with the baddie is lacking something, sadly, because their personality does a complete 180 but that's a small flaw in an otherwise excellent book.

    Roger Clark is someone that any fans of the aforementioned RD2 will know is a fantastic voice actor. Crowley has a lot of Arthur Morgan-esque qualities and a cynical detachment from life as well as fatalism due to, you know, being a damned soul given only a quasi-reprieve. I'd say his acting is leagues above most among narrators and what really brings the book to life. Still, it feels a bit like a taste rather than full-course meal and I hope they do more of these. It's not trying to reinvent the wheel and is more like a pilot for an hour-long episodic television show. It's just a show I would have watched.

8.5/10

Available here

Sunday, June 6, 2021

6/6/2021 Writing Update

Hey folks,

It's time again for an update about what exactly I'm currently working on and thought you guys would appreciate an update. We've got plenty going on and quite a lot of it good. So, here's what I have been up to! 

Recently Released 

A Nightmare on Elk Street (Bright Falls Mysteries #3)


The final Jane Doe novel is now available! Jane has been hired by Lucien to serve as security on his latest money laundering scheme: horror movies starring real monsters. Most of which whom have attractive human forms. Unfortunately, someone wants to shut it down and is willing to kill to do it. Oh and its Halloween with the Lord of the Fae wanting to screw with oh deerlightful heroine. 

Available here

Tales of Yog-Sothoth (Tales of Cthulhu #2) 

Tales of Yog-Sothoth is the second anthology I've written with Crossroad Press that deals with the Cthulhu Mythos. Tales of Yog-Sothoth contains stories by David Hambling (Harry Stubbs), David J. West (Let Sleeping Gods Lie), David Niall Wilson (Call of Distant Shores), and my own work. It's a great book and fans of Cthulhu Armageddon will be happy to have another John Henry Booth adventure.

Available here

Predestiny: Dark Fate (Audio Book)


Thomas Machin was kind enough to do the narration for the story of Robbie Stone, a young man living in the beginnings of a cyberpunk future. The corporations are coming close to taking over but they haven't suceeded yet and he works as a student activist inbetween his studies. Unfortunately, assassins from the future believe he's going to be much worse and have come to nip that in the bud. Saved by a mysterious white haired girl, Robbie now must wager how much his life is against the horrors he's going to unleash.

Available here

Book Sales

Cthulhu Armageddon is on sale for 99c on Kindle

Agent G: Infiltrator is on sale for 99c on Kindle 

The Rules of Supervillainy is on sale for 99c on Kindle

Current Projects

Vampiraz4Life (Straight Outta Fangton #3) (55K done)

Cindy's Seven (Supervillainy Saga #7.5) (50K done)

Brighteyes (Morgan Detective Agency #2) (50K done)

Daughter of the Cyber Dragons (Runners series #1) (Done, Editing)

The Treee of Azathoth (Cthulhu Armageddon #3) (15K done)

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Worldbuilding #5: Cthulhu Armageddon

Worldbuilding Posts

1. The Supervillainy Verse
2. The Lucifer's Star Universe
3. The United States of Monsters  
4. The Rules of Vampires
5. Cthulhu Armageddon Verse

How Cthulhu Armageddon came to be

Cthulhu Armageddon is a special case of world-building because it's not completely my world. Instead, it is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's cosmology created in the 1920s until his death in 1937. H.P. Lovecraft was an early believer in "open source" writing and often cross-pollinated with other others as well as encouraged them to use his concepts as well as ideals. Some of his fellow writers in the so-called Lovecraft Circle included Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Robert Bloch (Psycho).

For those unfamiliar with HPL's writings, essentially the concept is that the world is sitting on top of a bunch of incredibly powerful aliens that have been sleeping since ancient times. These Great Old Ones are the size of Godzilla and possess vast reality-altering powers. There are also numerous offshoot races of humanity that worship them that are each more horrifying than the last, living among humanity in secret or in the dark forgotten corners of the Earth.

Above both are the Other Gods who are the lords of the Dreamlands where everything is possible and they are, at best, casually indifferent, and, at worst, amused with humanity the same way a child might torment an insect. Magic is real but eventually drives users insane and is tied to the terrible forces above. Eventually, the Great Old Ones will awake "when the stars are right" and destroy humanity.

Lovecraft's work was very imaginative and influential despite not giving him financial success in his time. In simple terms, it was just too darn weird. Many writers from Brian Lumley, J. Michael Straczynski, and Stephen King have found it to be inspirational. Others have found Lovecraft to be troublesome or even offensive due to the fact, in simple terms, dude did not like minorities.

Some writers like myself, Matt Ruff, Ruthanna Emyrs, and Victor Lavalle have even addressed that as we've adapted his works. Nevertheless, his works helped inspire everything from movies to television to music to video games. I was introduced to it by the Call of Cthulhu tabletop roleplaying game.

The ideal for the Cthulhu Armageddon world came from a combination of factors that have competed for attention ever since. The first was the idea as a logical endpoint for Lovecraft's writings. Eventually, the stars would be right and the world would be destroyed. However, humanity is remarkably good at surviving mass-extinction events and it occured to me there was potential in stories about the remnants of our once proud race struggling to survive in the shadow of literal giants. Sort of Call of Cthulhu meets Fallout: New Vegas if you will.

Even more so, as I wrote out the world, I started to get a sense of a Wild West feel to the place. Perhaps it was the Mad Max and New Vegas influences but hundreds of tiny little communities, lawlessness, tribal communities, and an eternal frontier invoked the idea for me. Thus, Cthulhu Armageddon became the Weirdest Western of them all. Even if it takes place in the Esoteric East.

Themes and Mood

Cthulhu Armageddon is a somewhat existentialist work that follows the fact there is no judgement or morality beyond the principles the protagonists choose to follow themselves. The gods are real but they are amoral and uncaring to the works of man. Life is cheap and arguably pointless since humanity's civilization has been washed away and extinction is a very real possibility. It is a stark and uncompromising world where the definition of "human" is also changing and what that means. The protagonists must define what provides their life meaning in the very probably few decades that humanity has left and whether it is better to live eternally as a monster or to experience merciful death as a man.

Timeline

Pre-Earth History


Human history is similar but different. Long before Earth, the universe was created by Azathoth the Blind Idiot God, who was there alongside Yog-Sothoth, and the Other Gods. Incarnations of physics and the universe's laws, they transcended human understanding or even alien. Mutation and capriciousness created many races across space that evolved, lived, and died. Consciousness, however, created the Dreamlands that spawned ideas of gods.

These gods, called the Elder Gods or Small Gods, were more akin to the races that existed. They were less powerful but less inscrutable than the Other Gods. One of the Other Gods, Nyarlathotep, developed a fascination with these beings and became both their guardian as well as minder. It assumed countless visages across time and space, inspiring many gods and taking their forms.

Many of these races went extinct without issue but a small number developed science and magic to the point that they transcended normal existence to become immortal godlike beings. Nyarlathotep cultivated these quests no matter the morality and a handful of beings became the Great Old Ones. Some were gestalt hive-minds of their entire race and others were powerful individuals in their own right. Cthulhu was allegedly the first of their beings or, at least, among the first and led many to settle on the primordial Earth.

Pre-Human History


Earth was unimportant except for the home of several of these beings but attracted a fair number of alien colonists long before the primordial soup cooled. The Elder Things were the first of these races, dwelling on Earth for a billion years as scientist-kings. They created the protoplasmic shoggoths to serve as their slaves and would, in the twilight of their reign, help "uplift" humanity to replace them when the shoggoths rebelled. Eventually, the Elder Things would retreat under the continent of Antarctica's surface before leaving the Earth altogether.

Another race that came to inhabit the Earth were the Great Race of Yith that lived during the time of the dinosaurs with vast cities as well as psychic powers. Destroyed by a ravenous infestation called the Flying Polyps, because their name is untranslatable, they psychically projected themselves into the future to escape extinction. It was their intent to possess a nonhuman race after the extinction of humanity, who they learned of via time travel, but this proved impossible given the events of the Rising.

Early Human History

The humans altered by the Elder Things escaped their captivity and interbred with mortals, some of them learning the secrets of Elder Thing technology. Knowledge is corrupting and a source of madness, though, as early humanity would soon learn. Early humans sought out the resting places of the Great Old Ones and attempted to make contact with them using primitive misunderstood magical rites or their Elder Thing bestowed psychic powers.

These poor fools were inevitably mutated, driven mad, or enlightened. From their brief psychic contact, they learned the Great Old Ones were almost omnipotent in power and would eventually emerge from their slumber to reshape the world in their image: an action that would result in humanity's extinction. This time would be known as "when the stars were right" and created the earliest doomsday cults of the Great Old Ones. Nyarlathotep sent several of his avatars among them to help uplift the resulting doomed race in order to see if they would amount to anything.

Contact with the Great Old Ones resulted in the offshoots of humanity known as the Deep Ones (worshipers of Cthulhu), the Faceless Ones (worshipers of the Other Gods), Serpent Men (worships of Yig-Seth), and ghouls (worshipers of Shub-Nigguarath and Tsathoggua). These offshoots maintained the ability to breed with humans even as they eventually moved to different portions of the Earth or disguised themselves.

Much of the early human history with these offshoots passed into myth and legend with the fall of Atlantis, Acheron, Hyborian Age, and Stygia. Simply put, modern scholars or cultists obfuscated the true history of Earth as legend or mythology. The cultists of the Great Old Ones believing that the end of the world would make them gods beneath the gods rather than exterminate them like any other vermin.

The End of the World ("The Rising")

Much of human history would be secretly defined by the conflict between cults fighting conflicts over which Great Old One or Outer God was the greatest (as if they would notice or care about such efforts). Much of human religion and science would be defined by half-understood glimpses into the greater universe by psychics or fragments of knowledge.

Perhaps the most complete and authentic book on the subject of the world's true history would be authored by Abdul Al-Hazred, called the Necronomicon. It would describe the Old Ones, Other Gods, branches of humanity, the End of the World, and many rituals to channel the power of the sleeping beings.

By the 1920s, it was understood by many governments and academic institutions there were secret forces in the world. The greatest center of learning about this subject would be Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts. Humanity believed after several small occult wars in the shadow of "normal" history that it could survive the coming apocalypse or perhaps outlast it.

Humanity was wrong.

When the Great Old Ones rose, humanity was slaughtered en masse by the massive psychic powers of their kind. It not even war as attempts to use weapons of mass destruction were barely noticed by the beings. Worse, the laws of physics and time were broken. The Dreamlands swallowed the universe and not only was the Earth consumed but every galaxy as well as every star. What followed was not the end of humanity but the beginning of a new universe hostile to life as it once was. Humanity has survived 100 years in the shadow of the Great Old Ones. It may not survive much longer.

Setting

The Esoteric East ("The New England Wasteland")


The Esoteric East consists of the North East of the former United States and parts of Southern Canada. It is a vast desert that is crisscrossed with small towns, villages, and the occasional city that has managed to emerge in the Rising's wake. Most of humanity has been rendered extinct but the survivors are hardy as well as benefiting from the fact that few creatures of the New World actually care about their existence. While the universe is immensely hostile, indifferent, and uncaring to mankind--that applies to other species too.

Technology has roughly reverted to a early Industrial level with a focus on steam, easily repairable weapons, and domesticated creatures. Many of the animals and foods humanity lives on are changed in strange ways but they have been able to subsist on them regardless. Part of this may be that magic is much more powerful as well as prevalent. In a very real way, humanity continues to be able to live because they dream powerfully that they can and that has a tangible affect on the world even in a small way.

Humanity continues its bigotry in some forms, though, as while most humans have gotten past their previous racial bigotries, they now hold distaste toward mutants or those who bear inhuman ancestry. Ironically, the human offshoots are struggling to survive just like humanity and some have made peace with the race they formerly held in disdain. If mankind is to survive the next few generations, it will certainly have to change to become something else.

Religion has been strongly impacted by the cults that were prevalent in the region Pre-Rising and now mix openly with more traditional faiths that have become "weird" now that the apocalypse has occurred. Atheism and agnosticism mix with maltheism as well as polytheism as beings exist who are not gods but might as well be are everywhere. Many psychics and regular humans touch the Old Ones with their dreams now and go mad but it is impossible to tell as it is an insane world.

Sample Communities


New Arkham - A former US Air Force base turned city inhabited by the descendants of soldiers and "pure" humans of various races. They tend to be more technologically advanced than your typical Wastelander community but practice a nonsensical ideology about reclaiming the Earth for regular humans. They also bully and intimidate other communities for resources. They are one of the few places with any actual industrial manufacturing capacities, though.

Dunwych Nation - The descendants of a tourist group that took up residence in the ruins of Dunwich,MA. The Dunwych Nation is an alliance of tribes united by a shared culture and worship of the Other Gods as well as Great Old Ones. They have combined technology, survivalism, and magic to become a hardy but dangerous power in the region. New Arkham and the Dunwych maintain an uneasy rivalry.

Kingsport - One of the largest cities in the region and most prosperous. Kingsport caters to the Dunwych and other communities with trade and vice. It also possesses a still-functioning electrical plant of unknown energy sources. Sadly, Kingsport is also a place where slaves are marketed from by the Deep Ones.

Miskatonic - A community constructed around the libraries of the university that have since been moved to the building's old steam tunnels. Miskatonic has become, ironically, a cult itself as it works with the Great Race of Yith to seek some way of keeping both their races alive.

New Innsmouth - After Cthulhu failed to recognize the Deep Ones for their faith, a purge of hybrids commenced to rid their race of "impurities." The survivors included one band of refugees that headed in-land nearby a saltwater lake. They are a decent, albeit fishy, frontier people.

Scrapyard - A fairly typical settlement in the region that is built around an oasis. The locals practice an uncomfortable relationship with a nearby ghoul settlement that provides them resources in exchange for the bodies of their dead.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Another 52 Deadlands plot hooks


Deadlands Articles

1. 52 Adventure Hooks
2. Another 52 Adventure Hooks

The first one of these was so popular I decided to do a second one. Basically, 52 plot hooks for the Deadlands tabletop role-playing game. 

52 Deadlands Adventure Hooks

1. Locals find a plant that seems to cure any wound, or at least, make them survivable. They're convinced they've found the secret to immortality. Unfortunately, the plant only zombifies flesh exposed to it, leaving the applied area dead, but functional. Repeated exposure to the plant will eventually turn someone into a flesh-eating ghoul.

2. See #1. The guy who owns the land the plant grows on hires a gang to shoot up the town in hopes of being able to sell more miracle cures....

3. A preacher has begun a campaign against the Devil's Weed that is a popular recreational pastime in the area. His reasoning is extremely spotty with statements that it makes colored people think they're the equal to whites, workers lazy, and hallucinations from the Devil. He demands it be subject to fines and jail time. The preacher is being paid heavily by an opiate and cocaine drug company that wants to make their product more appealing.

4. Notably, Devil's Weed is cannabis grown in Ghost Rock slurry and does bestow an exaggerated sense of pot effects. It can also be used as a painkiller, fear reducer, and in mystical rituals. The money to be made is considerable. However, what sort of person would invest in such a thing? Can they be trusted?

5. The PCs receive the last will and testament of a brothel owner who leaves them his employees as well as facility. This would be humorous enough if not for the fact said man was murdered by a group of bandits who want to claim the place for himself and his will was a posthumous "f-u" to the people he knew would kill him.

6. A gunslinger challenges the Player Characters to a showdown at high noon in a nearby stable. The PCs have no idea who the hell this guy is or what his problem is.

7. See #6. It is in fact a sense of mistaken identity and their challengers are decent folks about to get themselves killed against what is almost assuredly a group of hardened killers. The PCs will also find themselves in serious trouble.

8. See #6. The challengers are Mad Scientist "moving picture" makers who are trying to drill up publicity for their prototype film. Unfortunately, their antics have pissed off several real life killers and monsters.

9. See #6. The gunslinger is a ghost caught in an eternal loop of his death and can only be set free by WINNING a gunfight. Which is not something the PCs can easily do without getting killed.

10. The PCs are buried alive in what is thankfully a set of shallow graves in what is still a pretty damn traumatizing experience. Whoever drugged them and did so apparently has fled town and the PCs are likely to chase them. Was this a prank? Some sort of weird initiation? A mystical rite of some kind? Or is the guy who did it just nuts?

11. A treasure of Lost Confederate gold keeps falling into the hands of thieves who end up killing each other for it. This is because the gold is actually a manifestation of the demon Mammon. The only way to end its curse is to dump it in the gravesite of the original betrayer who murdered his partners for it. All all the way the PCs will be under attack by greedy yokels. Mammon will also promise the PCs their every wish as long as he's fed.

12. A Hanging Judge is actually after a Harrowed that he hung but did not destroy in life. Both beings are utterly evil but have decided to arbitrate things in a unique way--by having a new trial. If the PCs can decide the trial fairly for a corrupt judge and a rugged outlaw, they might banish both back to Hell.

13. A young Native was kidnapped from his tribe and re-educated against his will until he escaped. He wants to rejoin his tribe but has gotten himself hopelessly lost and taken advantage of in the process. He may not find a warm welcome even if he is able to discover his former home since he has been changed severely by his experience.

14. A oil rig-sized Ghost Rock powered mecha has been constructed by a mad Confederate Lost Causer who intends to use it to blow up towns until the United States surrenders. This plan is moronic, and the US government is sending the PCs with rocket packs to blow the damn thing up as well as kill its commander: an undead Nathaniel Bedford Forrest.

15. Several bankers and land speculators have had their livers eaten after terminating the deed to Native American land after Ghost Rock was discovered there. The Natives involved would normally not care about the deaths of some horrible swindlers but they're the obvious suspects and Liver Eaters are considered to be violent evil monsters (because they are). Someone summoned one and the Natives would like both it and its summoner put down before they're subject to white "justice" by the rich men's families.

16. See #15, the Liver Eater is the illusion-covered wife of one of the men killed and plans to inherit all the stolen land due to them forming a company where its stock goes among the survivors. The killing of local Native tribesmen is just a bonus to getting rich.

17. A sex cult led by Satan is reported in the area and people are ready to storm the compound to liberate the poor women that have been led astray by the Devil.

18. See #17, it is led by a satyr of all things. The Happy Hunting Grounds spirit looking very much like the Devil and possessing absurd sexual prowess (but not necessarily attractiveness--that's all on him). He offers to lend them some of his magic if they help him escape this.

19. See #17, it is a cult led by a demon, but the false religion of free love, unconventional pairings (gay or interracial), polyamory, and mild drugs is harmless if not progressive for a century later. It is meant to be offensive to others to drive them to murder. The demon is an ex-disciple of Brother Grimme who wishes to make “his” followers into an offering to the Reckoners.

20. See #17. It's a perfectly "normal" apocalyptic fundamentalist cult led by a disgusting pervert and con mam. Saving his victims is tougher than it looks since they will commit mass suicide if he dies without being disgraced.

21. The PCs wake up in their undergarments and missing their equipment as well as horses. Tracing back their steps has them deal with a series of bizarre adventures and royally ticked off locals. It turns out they met with Mina Devlin and her Wichita Witches who decided to curse them with a night of debauchery. Except the spell has backfired and they are also missing their possessions.

22. A young expectant mother begs the PCs to protect her from their monstrous father who plans to kill her and take their child to raise as part of his evil cult. The father claims that she's been impregnated by a demon and that it will burst from her, Alien style, and become an adult within days as a permanent host for said demon. Is either telling the truth?

23. An order of Spanish monks are supposedly protecting the Holy Grail when the Cackler decides to surround their monastery with mindless feral vampires to get it. The PCs are inside and must hold them off until dawn or they can prove the artifact the monks guard is not the holy relic.

24. A Twilight Legion member claims that the seeds used to imprison Merlin under a magic tree can be used to imprison the Cackler. Is it true or is this some sort of bizarre scheme by a lunatic obsessed with Arthurian mythology?

25. The PCs are the subject of a series of Dime Novels and while initially flattering, the latest ones have gotten a decidedly raunchy tone to them as a new character they have never met before is someone they all fight over romantically for. There are other elements too that make them subject to someone's self-insert fanfic.

26. Someone is putting up fake Wanted Posters of the PCs for absurd amounts of money. Verifying this is not something most bounty hunters are worried about.

27. A group of failed half-insane dissident Mormon settlers have started worshiping a Rattler and offering it human sacrifices kidnapped from the trade routes of Deseret. The Rattler enjoys being worshiped as a god and is exulting in its power like it’s the Hyborean Age. The Deseret Church has thus posted a bounty on not only the heretic preacher in charge (who exemplifies the worst of their faith) but also a bounty to kill the massive worm that is being worshiped as a god.

28. A gunslinger protected a valley of farmers from a cattle baron and road off into the sunset, dying in the process. Unfortunately, he didn't stay dead and is now stalking the very people he used to protect with his Manitou almost completely in charge.

29. A Twilight Legion group has located a group of Native shapeshifters that they are planning to exterminate but there's something "off" about this particular group. Specifically, they’re harmless buffalo or deer shifters that are not corrupted by the Reckoners. The leader of the Twilight Legion sect wants to slaughter them out of a mix of racial hatred and loathing of all forms of magic.

30. A sixty-year-old cowboy killed the father of a young hombre and is now being hunted by said child. However, it's soon revealed that the kid has lost multiple older brothers in his revenge scheme. It is very likely that he will die at the hands of the old guy himself. The older cowboy actually would like the PCs to try to talk him out of it. If not, he'd like them to train him to at least make it a fair(er) fight. What is the angle here?

31. A young child living with a starving family goes to an old house to steal something. The family begs the PCs to go rescue him and when they arrive, they find the place is full of ghoulish horrors and has a family murderous subhumans with tunnels leading down to a maze-like dungeon crisscrossing the town. What the hell has this kid gotten himself into?

32. A group of grave robbers are on the loose and they have been selling their twisted wares in many cities.

33. See #32, they're resurrectionists of the mundane sort and the people they sell to are medical schools lacking cadavers.

34. See #32 and #33, not that they don't help themselves to wedding rings and other precious valuables.

35. See #32, they're also ghouls who are trying to eat without harming the living.

36. A local gunsmith wants the PCs to endorse their firearms. It's then noted that the gunsmith makes "special" weaponry that is designed to remove superhuman things. They're also not too discriminating about who they sell to.

37. A menagerie of monsters has been brought into town by a flamboyant carnie who promptly loses control over them. These include a unicorn, manticore, a griffon, and a dragon. All of them are actually real-life animals with illusions cast over them by a huckster. Well, except for the dragon. The dragon is real. Yes, this is an homage to a quest from Red Dead Redemption 2.

38. A man, possibly Robert Ford, possibly not, claims to have shot the outlaw Jesse James and killed him. He is hosting a fair to celebrate his achievement and signing autographs. This is proving less lucrative than he thought since James has many ex-Confederate sympathizers and people financially benefiting from his infamy. Jesse James is also an immortal Harrowed.

39. See #38. The irony is that said man shot Jesse in the back...of the head. Jesse James the Harrowed is, in fact, dead and a rotting undead is impersonating him in hopes of claiming the legend for himself. This is based on the fact he had multiple people impersonating him postmortem in real life like J. Frank Dalton. Ironically, Dalton is a good candidate for a Harrowed as he survived a hanging and 32 gunshot wounds over the years.

40. Abe Lincoln shows up with the PCs, carrying a lever-action revolver and a silver-edged ax. Abe wants the PCs help in murdering some zombie slavers and vampire Neo-Confederates. Possibly with the help of his son, Robert, and Edwin Booth, master actor!

41. See #40, Players may question how he's a Harrowed when Lincoln was shot in the head. Is Lincoln an imposter? An incarnation of human hope? An angel taking the form of the Great Emancipator? Note: while shot in the head, Lincoln died of complications to the head shot so he's the only Harrowed who shooting in the head wasn't enough.

42. A young fourteen-year-old girl wants to recruit the PCs to hunt down the man who murdered her daddy. The PCs will find out as they find themselves facing a lot of angry people that she's recruited others and her father was a bandit. The irony being that while true, he was a bandit, he was murdered for reasons unrelated to his crimes.

43.The PCs are snowed into a terrible blizzard that leaves them guarding a group of eight settlers who will not survive the night. However, one of them is an imposter and starts murdering as well as eating the locals. The PCs will find themselves turned on before they figure out the truth. Assuming that it is one of the eight at all and not an invisible evil hiding out in the wilderness.

44. The player characters are asked to eliminate a group of four famous gunfighters who have escaped justice for their crimes. One of them being a mad scientist with a spring-loaded holster, one of them being a beautiful prostitute who killed several mostly deserving men, one being a murderous undead bandit, and the fourth being a miserable drunk. If the PCs investigate, they will find out that they have been hired not by victims of their crimes (which range from the negligible to the justified to the monstrous) but a man who plans to print bogus newspaper articles claiming credit for their defeat.

45. A Tulpa (“Imagined into Reality Object”) of General Custer has been created powered by the ridiculous hero-worship propaganda printed by his wife. Literally, the Fake General Custer is empowered by all the stories being told by him with several artifacts binding him to reality. Fake Custer has already slaughtered an entire tribe with his magic and forms possess to carry out “heroics” designed to spread his legend and miraculous survival further. The PCs can destroy his avatar by suitably taunting or humiliating him but permanently destroying this Abomination will require destroying objects sacred to his myth or possibly printing a suitably successful take down novel. His wife, Libby, can also destroy the creature since despite her many-many failings—she knows this is not her husband. Crazy Horse would also be able to do it but good luck getting to him.

46. A disciple of Charles Darwin and early paleontologist is excavating a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the Wild West with his assistants. He is under attack by a bunch of rampaging Creationists and religious fanatics who he claims have murdered one of his men. In fact, he was the one who murdered said man because it was discovered he’s actually a Satanist necromancer who wants to animate the T-Rex to lead an army of the undead on a mission to destroy Christianity! Yep, even Richard Dawkins might balk at this fella.

47. The player characters are contacted by the Agency who have a list of four Confederate war criminals that they want brought in, dead or alive. Reconstruction is suffering a lot of problems and some people want to pardon these fellas in the interest of national (white) unity. The player characters can bring them in for trial or kill them and possibly avoid them getting let off the hook. Two are still murderous scumbags, one is trying to put the war behind him despite the atrocities he committed, and a fourth is working to fight Reconstruction via politics where he’s become a beloved local celebrity.

48. (1881 only) President Garfield has been assassinated! Murdered by a man who claimed that he was motivated by being politically snubbed by the President, the Agency suspect a Knights of the Golden Circle or Reckoner plot. This despite the fact Garfield was tepid in his suppression of white supremacist terrorists and opposed the KKK Act. Even so, the Agency wants the PCs to go undercover at a big Southern shindig in hopes of finding out the truth.

49. The US government is doing a test run in the PC’s locale to allow women the right to vote due to it having a decent track record in Wyoming (1869 onward). The ten-year Civil War caused a lot of changes as has the Weird West’s influence. This would not be a problem if not for the fact the female candidate is being threatened by a mysterious masked anarchist with dynamite. Whether it’s an incubus, a deranged misogynist, or a jilted lover (male or female) doesn’t matter. The election must not become an embarrassment to the movement!

50. The Wasapt Rail Company wants the PCs to investigate Darius Hellstromme’s new mistress. Can the genius inventor finally heal his broken heart? Almost certainly not given the Reckoners have a vested interest mooning over a dead woman to the point of breaking reality. Is she an automaton, an Agency asset, a con woman, succubus, or just a normal woman who would be horrified to discover she’s in love with a literal servant of Hell?

51. Ghost Rock is found under a Native reservation. Rather than simply wait for the government to take it, the Natives want the PCs to negotiate a deal for mining it. They plan to migrate to Sioux or Coyote Country but want to make a company that will feed them resources that can be used in future dealings with Whites. If the PCs DON’T try and screw their partners, this will be problematic as many will consider this colluding with a hostile foreign power.

52. An Incan mummy is tracking down a descendant of conquistadors that looted many sacred holy sites. The man is trying to recover them to be restored but it is a rather tough job given how much has been melted down or sold. He is also of native ancestry himself and the sole survivor of a bloodline that has been gradually winnowed down.

 I hope you enjoyed!