more Jess

Ed, I didn’t see your most recent comments. I can adapt if you want, but I don’t think they are a great fit with the background I envision:

1. Jess is totally disconnected from her family in St. Louis (KC was too pudly in the mid-1850s to fit what I had in mind). She assumes her proud father would never attempt to contact her and she wouldn’t expect anything from him either.

2. I think I got a reasonable mining option. It appears that gold rush activities in CA died around 1855 and mines were only profitable for larger commercial operations. But smaller scale mining activities continued moving farther north, and I think the location I picked is historically valid.

3. I had random claim jumpers in mind as the folks who killed Jess’ husband, but I could negotiate that point. Jess did kill them, though, and I view her as smart enough to do a reasonable job removing traces of the incident.

Jess' western arrival revised

Came west on the California Trail, then ended up moving to Oregon for prospecting with husband. At list wiki history seems to suggest this is valid.

Jess' responses

Q1: I would have expected a route between the California Trail and the Gila Trail. If none existed, or you don’t want me to use them, the Gila Trail would be my choice. I made the trip west about 4 years ago.

Q2: New to Nevada City, not new to the High Sierras.

Q3: This one is technically NA, but I also don’t have a proper answer to it yet. One of the “need to think about this” items for me is my pre-game profession, and that will help me figure out the rest. The answer will be one of two things: (1) I abandoned my profession because it was a stupid choice made from desperation. Starting new careers tends to leave one destitute; or (2) I kept my profession but moving to Nevada City was a clean break with my past. Restarting careers in new places tends to leave one destitute.

Backstory on the PCs

There are a few questions that I would like everyone to think about – as they will place how/why you get involved in the adventure.

Q1. How did you get here? There are five basic answers and all of them are miserable awful journeys.

Three common routes for people who came from the east looking for gold, and two unusual answers.
  1. The northern overland route aka “The California Trail”. Across Kansas/Nebraska and Utah, then over one of the Sierra Nevada passes.
  2. Panama. Steamer/clipper ship to Panama/Nicaragua, then trail through the jungle, then another ship to San Francisco
  3. The Drake Passage. Clipper ship to Tierra del Fuego, around Cape Horn and up the Chilean and Mexican coasts to San Francisco.
  4. The southern overland route aka “The Gila Trail”. Either through Texas or Indian territory, through the southern Mexican Territory (New Mexico/Arizona) and then up the central valley.
  5. The Oregon Trail. There are a few weirdos who traveled to Oregon in the 1830s and 40s, and then got gold fever and headed south in ’49 to ’51.

Q2. How long have you been in Nevada City? Is this your first winter in the high Sierras?

Q3. If you have been here awhile, how did you end up broke and jobless? What enemies have you made in the town?

I have some specific hooks that I want to add, so I may followup with questions.

The campaign will start with a typical “PCs meet in a tavern” scene. The scene will open at the Hotel de Paris – a combination saloon and boarding house, and one of the nicer establishments of its kind.

Anyway … please take a few minutes and let me know your thoughts.

Welcome to Resolute

Friday September 25, 1857

The year is 1857, and the setting is Northern California. More immigrants arrive every year. Gold and silver still come out of the mountains, but the new strikes are smaller and some mines are starting to play out.

The story opens in Nevada, California (later called “Nevada City”) also known as Coyoteville or Dry Diggings. Nevada is a Gold Rush town, built on the Deer Creek tributary of the Sacramento River and nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. In 1851 she was the third largest town in the state, but five years later fire destroyed most of the buildings and now the mines are starting to play out.

This town ain’t been so good to you. You are out of a job and out of luck. Whether you have been in town a day or a decade, you have few friends and no prospects. To make matters worse, Nevada means “snow-covered” and the nights are already starting to get chilly. The last group of immigrants should be coming over the Donner Pass in the next week or two. After they pass through, everyone will likely tie down for the winter.

Maybe it is time to leave. The land is full of God’s own beauty, but the town is mean as sin.


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