Chapter 12 - Nothing is Harder than Easy Money


The “concerned citizens” heal after a four-sided battle at the docks of San Francisco which left two of their own with wounds to heal. Several loose ends need investigation and some people has some explaining to do.

With everyone else fleeing, left for dead, or actually dead, the PCs gain possession of both the chest and the payment – which turns out to be a 400oz bar of gold minted right in San Francisco!!

Pre Chapter 12 - Notes

Research check (DC20)

You can “take 10” if you want, but then you won’t get any answers until after the morning — and trust me, you don’t want to wait that long. Once you pass that, there are four other pieces of information

Sam crushed this roll, and learned a few things.

  1. The journal is not a diary with clear language, it is dense groups of short notes and codes.
  2. The most confusing part is that the journal is not chronological order – pages are skipped and then seem to be filled back in later.
  3. At least three, maybe four, pages are missing.
  4. The journal is written in two different hands.
  5. There are two other (nick)names in the journal – but not sure if they are partners, servants or mules.

Item A – Knowledge (life & earth science) @ DC15 (Untrained roll allowed, but no Aid Another)

You can make roll as untrained, but cannot aid other.

Sam succeeded on this roll – he was able to identify the tagged samples in the trunk and find their notations in the journal. Even more important, the quartz has inclusions of gold, silver, copper and lead and could be worth $20,000 per ton. This would make this find the biggest discovery in the past three years – and maybe one of the top twenty since the rush of 49.

Item B – Automatic if you have Background (prospector) or 5 ranks of Profession in a “gold country” profession


Item C – DC25 check with Navigate (Aid Other only from trained characters)

Jost deciphered the notations, and believes this find is in a mountain range southeast of Nevada – probably on the right-hand (western) bank of the Colorado River.

Item D – DC20 check with Decipher Script

Group managed to squeak out this skill as well. The doodles in the margins form part of a map which suggests dry streams leading up from the river into several different canyons.

Shame that important parts are on the missing pages. Oh well … how many dry creekbeds could there be on the 100 miles of river, and how many canyons to search in? With the right prospecting crew you could probably find the strike after looking for a year or two.

Chapter 11 - No matter how fast you run, the past catches up to you


California is seeing the Forty-Niner Gold Miners stream east to the Rocky Mountains for what’s being called the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. An new town has popped up around this, named Denver.

The Democratic Party back east is struggling.

MInnesota is now the 32nd state in the Union. Oregon’s petition for statehood is debated by Congress.

The Marais des Cygnes massacre was perpetrated by pro-slavery forces in Bleeding Kansas.

A young Republican Party candidate from Illinois made a speech that most are labeling a “House Divided” at the State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois when he accepted the Republican Party nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Later this young candidate, holds a series of rousing debates with the incumbent senator, democrat Stephen Douglas.

The Paulist Fathers, a Roman Catholic society of apostolic life for men, is founded in New York City by Isaac Hecker.

Fordyce Beals patents his six shooter revolver which will be produced by E. Remington & Sons of Ilion, New York as the Remington Model 1858.

Is America starting to boil?

Interlude : Fallout from the Mountain Meadows

Please read the email for details

Thoughts on what really Happened

First off, the players should feel very proud. In the real world, there were about a dozen children reunited by 1859 – but no one was arrested until 1874, and only one person was ever convicted. Your efforts accelerated the process, and the (first) convictions and executions happened within two years of the incident.

IRL the first published report is made by Major Carleton in spring 1859. The territorial government conducts follow-up interviews of several dozen militiamen (mostly anonymously). A federal judge publishes summaries of the interviews in late 1859 and names seven people as the “most guilty”. But the territory government and Buchanan’s administration are unsteady and weak, and nothing is done about it.

The incident lies dormant for over 10 years. Media attention and newspaper interest in the case picks back up in 1872. The incident is included in several popular books of western history, including ones by Mark Twain and T.B.H. Steinhouse.

The Utah state government reopens the case in 1874. Indictments are put out for nine people – five are arrested. $500 rewards are put out for the other four, but they are never arrested.

Four of the arrested militiamen are quickly released. Klingsmen turns state’s evidence. The prosecution elects not to proceed against Colonel Dame, Eliott Wilden & George Adair due to insufficient evidence.

Only John Lee goes to trial. His first trial in 1875 leads to a hung jury, and a second trial starts a year later in September 1876. He goes against the advice of counsel and makes only minimal attempts to defend himself – including allowing prior statements into testimony, minimal cross-examination of the witnesses, and presenting no defense of his own. He is convicted and sentenced to death.

While waiting for his execution, he publishes a book “The Confessions of John Lee”. He acknowledges his role in the assault on the camp, but complains that he is being scapegoated and the real masterminds are escaping justice. Most provocatively, he claims that George Smith (one of the “twelve apostles”, the governing body of the church) was sent from Salt Lake to Iron County specifically to engineer and direct the massacre.
Lee is the only person punished for his part in the massacre. The others (including the fourteen so-called “Self-Confessed” who made public confessions of their crimes) live quiet lives, many into the 1880s and a few into the early 1900s.

Interlude : The Election of 1858


Garrett Matthews (Kevin)
• +1 Wealth Level & one Eagle
• Hastings – Attitude downgrade

Gilbert Warfield (John)
• +1 Wealth Level & one Eagle
• Hastings – Attitude downgrade

Jess Connor (Dave)
• +1 Wealth Level
• Edward Beale – Owed one Favor (Take 10)
• John Weller – Owed one Favor (Take 10)
• Allegiance – Person (Edward Beale)
• Hastings – Attitude upgrade
• J. Neely Johnson – Attitude downgrade

Jane Wilson (Judi)
• Allegiance – Group (Republican Party)

John Jost Althaus (Greg)
• None

Samuel Davis (Daniel)
• +1 Wealth Level & one Eagle
• Hastings – Attitude downgrade


Beale is supporting the candidacy of his friends in the Society of California Pioneers – a fraternal organization open to those living in California prior to statehood (October 18, 1850). Historically they are mostly Democrats, though that affiliation is fraying as the old political parties rip apart.

These are the Californio landowners who kept their land, the former Army who settled farms, and the first generation of pioneers. The closest thing California has to “old money”. They ran the state in the 40s and early half of the 50s – and still control the institutions of government especially the federal departments.

Beale pays each county representative a salary in advance and a written note to his Sacramento attorney (Lansford Hastings) authorizing the withdrawal of additional funds to pay for your electioneering activity in the agreed county.

He expects you make good use of those funds – but leaves you to decide how to go about it.


Statewide results:
- Charles Scott easily wins reelection to the U.S. House. He remains one of the few figures popular across the state – with strong showing in the gold country, the central valley, southern farmlands and the major cities of San Francisco, Sacramento and Stockton.
- Joseph McKibbin unexpectedly wins reelection. Burch’s supporters believe that poor turnout in Nevada and San Francisco counties made the difference.
- Baker’s supporters believe that his loss was entirely due to late-minute funding of smear campaigns across the state.
- The American Party has lost its statewide power base, and the re-election of Gov J. Neely Johnson and his fellow travelers next year seems impossible.

Local county politics:
- Nevada becomes the stronghold of Republicanism. The last Dems are voted out of office, with only a few straggling American Party incumbents in local office.
- San Francisco fails to consolidate its Democratic or Republican leadership. Local government is owned by the People’s Party with state representatives favoring the American Party agenda.
- Sacramento and Stockton return narrow Democratic victories. Jess Connor is credited with the win – with a strategy that successfully triangulates the Republican, American and People’s Party platforms.
- Democrats and Anti-Lecomptons consolidate control of Southern California. No one from any other party was elected to legislative office, and very few to any local position.

Interlude : The Long Road Home to San Francisco

– added responses from John, Dave, Kevin, & Daniel


From James Carleton

Upgraded Opinion

  • Garrett Matthews (Kevin) : FRIENDLY
  • Gilbert Warfield (John) : INDIFFERENT
  • Jess Connor (Dave) : INDIFFERENT
  • Jane Wilson (Judi) : INDIFFERENT
  • Samuel Davis (Daniel) : FRIENDLY
    NOTE: Samuel & Garrett – You may “trade” your opinion upgrade for a written letter of recommendation from Carleton with official U.S. government seal. If you wish to do so, you must make this decision before the start of next session.

New Opinion

  • Gilbert Warfield (John) : INDIFFERENT

Saving your gear from the SS California

  • Sam Davis pays a Eagle to get the stevedores to unload your gear.

From Ned Beale

New Opinion

  • Gilbert Warfield (John) : INDIFFERENT

Attending the Democratic Fundraiser

  • NOTE: you must explicitly tell me that you attend the party before the next writeup is released, or you are not eligible for any rewards
  • Pick one of the ten “Rally Attendees” listed below. (default is Ned Beale). If you have no opinion with them, then you may now be INDIFFERENT or UNFRIENDLY (your choice). If you already have an opinion, then you can raise (or lower) that opinion one level.
  • Garrett Matthews (Kevin) : unknown
  • Gilbert Warfield (John) : unknown
  • Jess Connor (Dave) : unknown
  • Jane Wilson (Judi) : unknown
  • Samuel Davis (Daniel) : Raise J.J. Warner to FRIENDLY

“Better California, Better America” super-PAC county chairman

  • Let Ed know ASAP if you want to take up the offer to round-up votes for the 1858 Democratic ticket. Choice of county is first-come, first-served – it will be good money (at least one WL) if you take the work seriously.

- Nevada County : Gilbert Warfield
- Sacramento County : Jess Connor
- Placer County : Garrett Matthews
- San Francisco County : Samuel Davis

Chapter 10 - Chickens and Curses
They both come home to roost

roostingchickens.jpgAfter a difficult encounter with the Paiute war chiefs, the party is deep in unfriendly territory in the Red Cliffs. Now the path forward lies through fighting through enemies on all sides, resurrecting Mormon ghosts, and a final frightful confrontation.

The US Army is coming to Utah – but will the cavalry arrive in time to save our “concerned citizens”?

And even if they do – will they emerge any wiser about who is pulling their strings and why?

Chapter 9 - The Poisoned Well

The party survives two weeks in the deep desert, avoiding bandits and marauders.

Utah is definitely different from California. The Paiutes of Vegas and Moapa valleys are nervous, armed and adopting European ways – and the multiple tribes looking to be building a tenuous alliance, for unknown purposes. In St George, the Mormons are still reeling from the “invasion”.

And worst of all is Mountain Meadows. A massacre, with men, women and children all around – burned wagons and gear – and many broken arrows and the occasional bullet.

But only the vaguest clues can be found – including a few diaries and a strangely out of place young teenager.

Chapter 8 - The Devil Wind

September 1858

The mission started out as a civilian observer to the official investigation of Mountain Meadows. Now the Army has been draw off to respond to the Mojave attacks at the Colorado River – and the PCs are left outside of San Bernardino with limited supplies and facing a month long journey across the Mojave Desert and into the Utah Territory.

The third Indian uprising in as many years has settlers across three territories skiddish.

The PCs are stepping into a grisly murder.

What will happen next ??

Chapter 7 - The Blood of Arkansas

September 1858

Because of the troubles from “Buchanan’s Folly” (a/k/a the Mormon Rebellion) the federal government have not had access to southern Utah for almost a year – this has meant that Mormon Trail (Salt Lake City to Los Angeles) has become dangerous and deadly.

The most significant event happened in September 1857 when over 100 settlers from Arkansas were brutally murdered with no survivors by a war band of Paiute Indians. Now that there is a political resolution in place between Governor Young and the McCullough/Powell commission, the responsible tribes can be identified, disarmed and relocated. Thus making the trail safe for settlers again and continuing on our journey of California Progress.

Both old friends and new want the PCs involved – each with their own motivations and agendas.

The safety of Southern California is at risk …. 100 souls cry for justice … what will the PCs do?