Interlude : Gilbert heals up
Non-adventure item(s) acquisition & time passage

Monday, January 11, 1858

As Gilbert road back into Nevada City, Nurse Jane strongly insisted that Gilbert spend at least three weeks off of his feet. She had fixed the wounds but she said that his “internal organs” need time to heal proper on the inside and that complete rest is the only way this can happen. With considerable aches and pains after the long ride back to town; Gilbert knew what he must do.

First he made sure that Darley is stabled and setup at the American Livery Stables at 30 Broad Street. Knowing he’ll try and check in on Darley at least every other day. He then makes his way over to the Hotel d’Paris and gets himself room and board for the week. The first couple of days fly by as Gilbert naps the days away, getting the rest his body so greatly needs after the gun fight on the cliff. Nurse Jane is diligent about checking on him every afternoon and Gilbert is thankful for the company. Near the end of the first week, poor Gilbert is getting rather bored. His friend, Samuel Davis, stops by and Gilbert spirits are lifted when Samuel agrees to purchase paper, envelopes, paper, and a fountain pen for Gilbert so he can write his little sister Mary Jane. When Samuel returns the next day with the letter writing equipment; he informs Gilbert that he has taken a job as a freelance reporter for the Nevada Journal – on temporary assignment in Sacramento covering the statehouse beat. Gilbert is sad to see his friend leave, but understands that a man with such smarts as Samuel will be good at writing important reports for the paper. Gilbert wishes his farewell and promises to write Samuel while he is in Sacramento.

At the start of the second week of his interment, Gilbert is downstairs paying his bill and Nurse Jane walks in. She makes an awful ruckus about Gilbert being up on his feet and rushes him up to his room and back into bed. Gilbert only imagines what she would have done had she known that Gilbert had just returned from the American Livery Stables and paying Henry Clements for looking after Darley. After a few days, Gilbert once again grows tired of watching the snow fall outside his window. He’s happy that he can spend time having Nurse Jane buy him a nice vest, Gilbert fells a bit bad that he sent her out a couple times claiming he didn’t like the pattern of the first few, but really he was just trying to pass time and enjoyed her company. That week, he also spent some time talking to Jess, and she helped Gilbert by buying him a brand new Sharps Carbine, a couple boxes of ammo, a cartridge belt, and rifle scabbard. Jess certainly knew her weapons; she has bought him a carbine telling him how it would be better for him with his riding skills. Gilbert had always been better with a rifle back home and was glad that he could finally afford one now that he was out West. He was even happier when Jess pointed out the window to show him that she had setup 3 bottles in the empty space behind the National Gymnasium. She opened the window slightly and Gilbert took some target practice before anyone could figure out where the shooting was coming from.

As the days dragged on Gilbert convinced Jon Jost to buy a pair of chaps for Gilbert so he could get back to ranch work as soon as the snow melted. He had a promise of work at Van Young spread up in Grass Valley and Gilbert couldn’t wait to get out there. Finally, Nurse Jane examined Gilbert and declared him fit and ready to get off of his feet. Gilbert let out a yelp of excitement and got dressed as quick as he could. As Gilbert was eating lunch downstairs, Garrett walked in and Gilbert convinced him to join him for a night on the town to celebrate his release! Gilbert took Garrett to get a bath, shave and a haircut, with Gilbert paying for it all. They spent the night drinking and dancing with the saloon girls. Gilbert didn’t mind spending his reward money to finally celebrate. Gilbert wasn’t quite sure how Garret ended his night. But Gilbert ended up spending it with Hazel, a lovely women he met somewhere during the night. They became such good friends that night that Gilbert shared his Gold Eagle coin with her.

A couple of mornings later, Gilbert loaded up Darley, purchased some rations and headed out to the Van Young ranch…

Interlude : Planning for Spring 1858

Players – please add comments to this adventure log with any details on what has been happening.

Here is what works well for the plot – but is subject to change if you want to go a different way.

  • Gilbert R. Warfield (John) Working a ranch hand for room & board at Van Young’s place in Grass Valley. Racing Darley whenever the opportunity presents itself – for a little coin, and the opportunity to stud in the spring.
  • John Jost Althaus (Greg) Trapping beaver in the Sierra Nevada, and just about to head back to Nevada City for a hot meal, soft bed and a bath.
  • Garrett Mathews (Kevin) Working for the Sacramento Valley Railroad clearing the tracks between Sacramento and Folsom. Angling to get a job as foreman when they start expanding the line to Placer County.
  • Jess Connor (Dave) Express messenger (later called “riding shotgun”) for the Pioneer Stage Line, making the run from Placerville to Folsom to Sacramento to Stockton and connecting to the Butterfield Express at San Jose. On the road between San Jose & Stockton on the return leg when the session starts.
  • Nurse Jane Wilson (Judi) Struggling to stay afloat in Nevada City with business turning sour.
  • Samuel Davis (Daniel) Freelance reporter for the Nevada Journal – on temporary assignment in Sacramento covering the statehouse beat
Chapter 3 - Treasure of the Sierra Nevada


Tuesday December 1, 1857

Sunrise – 7:00 am
Sunset – 4:45 pm
New moon today

Winter starts to set in in North California. People are settling in for a long winter in Nevada City, while others are counting their dollars to make sure they can see it through. Mines are getting their gold to San Francisco before the big snows come in. A group of “upstanding citizens” get pressed into action.

Samuel's young protege

Recollections from September 1857

Nevada City was a rough place for Samuel Davis. The lure of a profitable and promising position was dashed when Joseph Clark casually told him – “Well sorry ’bout that. You want a job at the diggings? I have a position opened up that could use a man with some education”. Davis had been working to string together enough private tutoring and teaching jobs to make ends meet, but it wasn’t going so well.

One of his few students was a bright boy of about seven named Willie D’Arcy. Willie comes from educated Philadelphia family and lived in a small hour just outside Nevada City on Rigby Hill.

His father (W.A. D’Arcy) caught gold fever and moved out in 1851. W.A.initial worked as an engineer to expand the hydraulic diggings at Sutter’s Mill and saw a string of successes. Willie and his mother Costance came out in the spring of 1853, and they have moved around several times going where his father found work.

In February ’56, W.A. got a job as engineer a big mining operation in Placer County – and he finally built the family house they wanted up on Rigby Hill. Life is looking great!

But it all came crashing down in June. The father took some poison gas and almost died, and still has health problems. He took to tonics and then whiskey to help dull the pain. Then in July the mule train got robbed with a month’s worth of gold – and the father took the fall.

Samuel ran into the D’Arcys back in September, about two weeks after coming to town. He met the kid, and was excited that this might be a real job. The house was so nice looking on the outside, that surely there was a family here that could pay cash money.

But the truth was different – W.A. hasn’t been able to get a job cause “he’s not trustworthy” and Constance has started taking in washing and mending work just to get money for bills. They don’t have the land to farm – so they are thinking about moving out to make a homestead along the Sacramento come the spring and trying to set aside as much as they can.

Samuel wanted to say he couldn’t help – but Willie is a bright boy, so he relented. So Constance darns his socks and washes his shirts – and Samuel spends one afternoon a week teaching the boy geography and history, and usually takes dinner with the family

Gilbert repays a debt
Non-adventure item acquisition

Friday, November 13, 1857

Gilbert was flush with cash as he walked the streets of Nevada City. And every dollar burned a hole in his pockets. First things first, Gilbert made arrangements to purchase the best saddle and bridle set the city had to offer, he also had a pair of special riding spurs made. Darley deserved the best and Gilbert intended to that he had it. The spurs were blunted on the ends so as to not damage Darley’s pristine coat. The saddle was made and remade to Gilberts demands and to fit Darley perfectly. While he was working on the saddle with the leatherworker, Gilbert started to fill bad and purchased an expensive holster. After all, Gilbert had made him remake the saddle twice now, but finally he had got it just right. The holster fit so that it was on his left hip with the grip (handle) facing towards the belt buckle. It wasn’t the way most people wore their pistols, but Gilbert knew it would make him stand out and more importantly, the cross body draw worked for him. Appaloosa-1.jpg

Next Gilbert went and purchased a fine Stetson with was a dirty grey in color. As he walked out of the store with his new hat and recently cleaned clothes. Gilbert felt like an important man about town. Gilbert knew he wasn’t yet the biggest horse breeder in California, but he was well on his way.

As he walked through the town, he couldn’t help but feel that he something was just not right. This pain was eating at him. That pain was right above that brand new holster on his left hip. That pain was caused by the wound that (Former) Sheriff Henry Plummer has created when he caught Gilbert with a shot from his pistol at the old abandoned mine. No matter how he tried to carry himself or ride Darley, that wound always caused a twinge of pain.

Gilbert knew it was only because of the doctoring skills on Nurse Jane that he was still even alive to be able to walk down the streets of Nevada City.

Without knowing it, Gilbert had stopped walking down the street and was actually staring into the window of the finest women’s clothing store that Nevada City had to offer. Gilbert walked right in and purchased the fine women’s jacket he had been staring at in the window. He had the shop keeper wrap the jacket up and Gilbert started to walk straight to the Hotel d’Paris where he knew Nurse Jane would be eating dinner.

9f207133ac844ca28cd2b8cd9cd5d448.jpg Gilbert stepped right up to Nurse Jane who was eating dinner with Samuel Davis as they most always did on weekday evenings. “Nurse Jane,” Gilbert said with a broad smile on his face, “I owe you for what you did for me. You know patching me up and all. And ma’am if it weren’t for you…well…I might not…well, you know…I might be in a most horrible way. And to say thank you, well…I wanted you to have this!” With that Gilbert handed Nurse Jane a wrapped package. As Nurse Jane opened it, inside she saw a beautiful and detailed Zouave Jacket (which were all the fashion these days).

Nurse Jane Wilson is now an owner of a “Fine Women’s Wrap” couresty of Gilbert R. Warfield

Garrett earns a Masterwork Sharps Rifle
Non-adventure item acquisition

Thursday, October 22, 1857

Well another night drinking alone watching others stare and whisper. I guess they know me now, but not necessarily in the best way.
I’m gonna pound Rory for taking that dive!
Guess I’ll finish one more and head back to my room. Sure is nice to be able afford something more than a straw bed and …

Garrett Mathews!”…
“Garrett Mathews!”

Great! What does this one want? Probably to tell me how much of a thief I am. Isn’t there something else to talk about in this town?

“I see you boy! Yeah, you!”
“You don’t look like a County champion to me and certainly don’t deserve that Double Eagle you’re walking around with!”

What does a pompous, well-dressed townie care about me for?

‘What do you want? I ain’t fightin nobody in this town anymore. I done spent time in jail and don’t intend to repeat the experience.’

“Just what I thought, you aren’t in the mood to fight unless you know it’s fixed.”

‘Mister, I don’t mind fighting when there’s something at stake, but taken you on isn’t enough challenge and you ain’t sporting anything I want’

“Me?!? You misunderstand boy. It’s my son, Jonathon, that wants his shot at that Double Eagle.”
“Jonathon wasn’t feeling well the night you won that coin, otherwise you’d have taken a dirt nap.”

Hmmm, Jonathon is sizeable enough, but doesn’t look like a seasoned fighter…should be easy enough

‘I see. And exactly what are you offering?’

“Jonathon, fetch our ‘offering’ from the carriage.”

For the Motherland! I ain’t one to consider guns a form of art, but that rifle is right nice! And sure beats my ol’ musket. Hell, I might even try to get good with a gun if I owned that.

“You smart enough to know where <tbd> street is in town?”

‘Yeah, I know that area’

“I own the <tbd> and it has plenty of room. How about we settle this matter now?”

‘Mister, it’ll be a pleasure to relieve you of that gun and teach your boy that daddy can’t help him when he’s getting a lickin.’

Garrett and saloon patrons mosey to the fight location.

As Garrett and Jonathon prepare, Hendrickson saunters up to Garrett…

“By the way boy, this ain’t no ‘bout’ with a fixed number of rounds. The fighting isn’t done until you are lying face down in the dirt, so that you learn your proper place.”

The combat goes like most of the other combats, neither Garrett nor Jonathon can score the massive blow needed to end the fight. However, Jonathon has come close several times and Garrett is feeling the brunt of taking those hits. At one point, both men exhausted, Garrett manages to score a hard punch to Jonathon’s solar plexus taking the last of Jonathon’s wind and laying him out in the dirt. Too exhausted to lift himself, Jonathon lays there even as his father screams for his continued participation. Garrett climbs onto Jonathon’s back, pinning him, and delivers a Knockout Punch.

Red faced, Hendrickson can only stand by as Garrett is handed the Double Eagle and the Masterwork Sharps Rifle.

Unfortunately, before Garrett can exit the building and revel in his ‘victory’, there is a pounding at the back door. Upon opening the door, Hendrickson discovers the Sheriff and several of his deputies.

“Rumor has it there’s a fight taken place…in this building…in MY town!”

Ah, sh**!

The sheriff scowls as his eyes land on Garrett.

“Either you don’t respect my authority in MY town or you’re slow. I see you are also unlawfully carrying a firearm in MY town… Seize his property and escort him to his ‘vacation’ home.”
“Mr. Hendrickson, I’ll need to speak with you back at my office. Don’t disappoint me.”

After a quick trip to the jail, Garrett has to endure the deputies handling his new rifle. Fortunately, they do it respectfully.

“I betcha Hendrickson is pissed he lost this! It took him forever to get it made and cost him a pretty penny, too.”

Later, the sheriff arrives and joins Garrett in his cell.

“Son, I don’t quite get what you don’t understand about the new rules in MY town, but I’m tired of your sorry a** taken up space in my jail. I have a right mind to impound that rifle of yours and turn it into county property for my use. However, I don’t care for Hendrickson or his spoiled son and the price for that gun will be better spent on other needs of my office. Therefore, I’m setting your fine at the price of that gun. It’s your choice, you can leave the gun with me or you can take it with you after paying your fine.”

‘I’ll take the gun, sheriff.’

“And Garrett…this is the last time you’ll spend a night in my jail. There are better facilities in San Francisco, for those that don’t have a decent respect for laws or the individuals that enforce them.”

Upon arriving at his room, it was all Garrett could do to flop into bed after leaning the Sharps against a chair. As he lay there, eyeing the rifle, a smile emerged.

That thing belongs in the hands of the Nevada County Champion.

Chapter 2 - The Sheriff and the Widow

Monday September 28, 1857

Scene 1 The Hotel de Paris at the breakfast table.

The group is sitting around a table eating a quick breakfast . Up walks a man looking a little “worse for the wear”. His suit is very dusty and has a couple of recent, small tears in it. And he has a good size bruise on high on left cheek under the eye. He is tall, thin, and has a wiry mustache. He introduces himself as Reginald T. Richardson and says that he is a travelling minstrel passing through town on his way to perform in San Francisco. Says that as he was riding into town late last evening, his horse was spooked and threw him off. The horse ran off and in doing so, tripped over a rock and came up with a broken leg. He had to shoot his horse and walk into town. He walked into town and decided to spend the evening with Pauline, a lovely lady from The Faded Rose. Pauline told him about Nurse Jane Wilson and that she was better than either of the doctors in town. He would like to catch the next stage coach out of town and would like for her to look after him “real fast like” so he can get on his way.

He will also over-pay for Nurse Wilson’s services.

Scene 2 As the group leaves town …

Corbett and three deputies meet the group about 10 minutes out of town. They are blocking the road so the party cannot get through. Corbett will lean over his pommel and say that he is concerned that “You all have created your own little ‘ill-legal’ posse and the punishment for that is a month in the county jail. And that’s if Judge Searls is feeling kind. I should take you all in and right now!” He will them go on to say, “Now I think you all just either need to go back into town and get about your own business. Or maybe Nevada City would be better off if you all just moved on somewhere. You know Jane … there are whores to look after in every town. And Gilbert every town has horse stables you can muck out. Jess, as pretty as you are you might … well now I think you might make a good wife.”

The party blusters through with their (real but valueless) gold claim – seeing no way to force them back, Corbett huffs and puffs and lets them pass.

Scene 3 On the road again …

An hour (or two) past where the group ran into Corbett, outside of town they run into a husband, wife, with two small children. Two horses lay shot dead that used to pull their wagon. The wife is sobbing and their wagon looks like it had a small fire on one of the wheels. The kids are trying to make momma stop crying and the husband looks beat up and dazed by a small camp fire.

They are heading west so the husband can strike a claim and his wife mind the children as they make their mark in California. They tell a story of a tall, thin well-dressed man they came up to at this point in the road and he was sitting next to this fire; late yesterday afternoon. They stopped to offer him a small bit of food they had and then proceed into town for the night. As soon as the wife offered him a plate, he grabbed her and put a knife to her throat and said he was taking all their cash. The husband was able to make a jump at him and a tussle broke out. The husband was able to land a good right hook, but the thin man was better and landed a mean uppercut that knocked the husband down and he hit his head on a rock and was out cold. The man then shot their horses, stole all their money (they actually had a decent amount as they had saved really good), tied up the wife and kids to a tree nearby and then threw a branch from the fire at the wheel of the wagon.

Up to the PC’s to take it from here…what do they do???

Scene 4 Da bears, da bears, da bears …


Group stops meal by a creek side. Two black bear cubs coming splashing down creek chasing a fish and finally catch it right in front of the group. After two rounds of the cubs catching their fish and playing with it, their mother bear comes out of the woods on the other side of the creek. She is the largest black bear anyone in the party has ever seen, standing taller than the PCs.

Her immediate action upon seeing the party is to let out a mighty roar and stand up on her hind feet.

Next round the cubs run behind their mother (medium cover +4) and the horses will spook.

Mama bear does not want trouble. She will move to light cover (2 to defense) in the underbrush the following round – then all bears move to higher cover each round (4, +7, +10 to defense). If the PCs have not started following at this point then the encounter is over.

In actuality, Jess gets a lucky shot (critical) and drops the mama. The little ones scamper off into the woods – to get picked up by coyotes.

Scene 5 Everybody gets wet

Skinning and preping mama bear delays the party several hours. Shortly after they finish, the cloudy skies start to open up in a light but constant rain. The closest ford to the Yuba River is already starting to flood and water is speeding up.

Gilbert and sure-footed Darley cross first – despite some difficulty, they manage across and declare the river … well not exactly safe … but they ain’t gonna find better unless they plan to wait a day or two.

Jost and his mule start across, and the water is visibly rising as they do so (GM: Riding rolls to cross, REF save if you miss to stay horsed, REF save and d4 grit as you are passed down the river. DC goes up for each character.) Sam manages to fall off his horse, and gets a little banged up. Jess gets the worst of anyone, getting swept downriver and thrown against the rocks until she drags herself exhausted up against the bank.

The cold, wet, exhausted party makes camp to dry out. They are far short of their goal – but still in good spirits.

Tuesday September 29, 1857

Scene 6 Plummer and Lucy @ the camp site.

There are a couple of fish hanging from a line on one side, a clothes line on the other, a small fire just outside the cave mouth. One horse tethered loosely.

If the group arrives in the AM, they will see Lucy & Lilly just walking around the campsite doing normal mother and young daughter things. If they watch for more than an hour, Plummer will return with a pail of water in one hand and a couple of logs under the other.

They will go about the rest of the day doing things a family would do. Plummer will bounce Lilly on his knee, play peek a boo with her, and will basically entertain the two until Lilly gets hungry, or fussy, or needs to be changed. He will promptly turn Lilly back over to Lucy for her to “mother her”.

What do the PC’s do…

Key Motivations – Plummer

  • Infatuated with Lucy, but not willing to hang for her
  • Upset that she freaked out (convinced he could have covered it up otherwise)
  • Wants to stick to the original plan (3 of them run away to Idaho)
  • Waiting around, so Corbett can get his money to start a dry goods store in Fort Hall

Key Motivations – Lucy

  • Loves her husband, even though he got mean when he was drinking
  • Terribly guilty, never even really hurt anyone before
  • Thinks Vedder Sr isn’t much better
  • Loves Lilly more than life itself, and doesn’t want her to think bad about her father

NOTE: would love to get a recap of the combat

Scene 7 Meeting Corbett in the woods

Corbett was waiting to ambush the party – but they outsmarted him and took the long way around back to town.

They reach Nevada City two days later, but no deputy in town to deal with.

Scene 8 Crime & Punishment

Not vigilantes, we are concerned citizens. Nurse Jane Wilson

Now we introduce three new NPCs. The doctor (Hunt), the prosecutor (MacFarland) and the judge (Searls).

Topline things that happened

  • Wilson and Gilbert meet with the newspaperman and tell an almost complete story – unfortunately the Hearst name gets dragged into it.
  • Each PC is interviewed by both Waite and MacFarland – and they consistently refuse to implicate either Lucy or Plummer beyond “speculating”.
  • Van Young puts extreme pressure on all parties to get Lilly in Vedder Sr’s custody – including “bribing” Gilbert with thoughts of breeding Darley in the spring.
  • Mrs. Sargent asks Nurse Wilson and “The Other German” to evaluate Lucy. She is an hysterical mess, and the two PCs tell Mrs. Sargent that “Lucy is an unfit mother”.
  • Mrs. Sargent gives Van Young the Girl.
  • Lucy is arrested – and promptly hangs herself that night.

Scene 9 Aftermath

  • Plummer & Corbett “disappear” a couple of days later – rumor has it they are paid off by the “townies”
  • Hunt declares the death an “accident under suspicious circumstances” which satisfies no one.
  • The town council appoints Thompkins as “interim sheriff” pending a special election over the winter.
  • The Downie Boys hold their boxing competition a few weeks later. Garrett Mathews becomes the “Champon of Nevada County” – but secretly knows that Rory Downie threw the match.
Chapter 1 - Shot in the Dark

Friday September 25, 1857

6:30 pm – John Vedder shows up at HdP and orders dinner.

  • He is actually there to “find his daughter” and check up on his wife.
  • He is “acting strange” looking around for something

7:30 pm – Alfred Jackson (HdP owner) asks Vedder to leave.

  • He threatens to make a scene but eventually leaves quietly
  • Sam overhears : “… that bitch ain’t leaving with my girl …”
  • Wasn’t Jackson talking with that deputy (Corbett) right before hand?

8:00 pm – John Perry starts the piano playing and singing. It gets louder as the night goes on.

8:30 pm – Alan Downie & cousin Rory show up. They grab a seat with Garrett and order the special – black bear brisket with apple & pepper, fried onion & potato, and Indian (corn) pudding. If asked, they will say Jacob is over in Grass Valley scouting “talent” – which is true.

8:45 pm – Plummer comes in, he’s wearing his badge and pistol. He and Corbett have a quiet
talk then Corbett leaves.

9:00 pm – Lucy comes downstairs carrying Lilly in one arm, and carrying her dinner plate. She sits near the fire away from the raucous piano. Claudette Jackson comes over (doll in hand) and plays with Lilly. Marie Jackson brings over a slice of pie, mug of coffee and a small glass of milk. They chat for a few minutes.

9:10 pm – Chair opens up near Lucy and Plummer grabs it.

9:30 pm – Marie comes back, clears the plates and takes the kids upstairs.

10:00 pm – The show at the theatre next door closes, the place gets more crowded. PCs are going to have to give up extra seats or start a brawl/tussle. Drinks are now required (if they weren’t before).

10:30 pm – The Chapmans show up at HdP. William heads to the faro table with Caroline behind him. She will get noticed and pressured to perform. Eventually she obliges and joins in at the piano

10:55 pm – Plummer leaves. Five min later Lucy leaves out the back. They head to the theatre.

11:10 pm – Alan suggests they do a quick little “brawl” to advertise. Garrett & Rory go outside – along with a crowd of PCs and interested bystanders.

11:20 pm – Vedder walks up even drunker than before and carrying his pistol. He spies Lucy & Plummer in the theatre.


Most everyone outside scatters immediately, but it’s so loud in HdP that no one seems to notice.

The party pulls weapons and advances slowly around the corner. No one’s there – but there seems to be something in the window of the theater. The figure doesn’t move – and Nurse Wilson steps in to check him out.

John Vedder has bled out right next to the far window, pistol lying limp in his hand. No one else is there.

Folks go looking for the sheriff – but he can’t be found. Garrett looks for a back exit to the alleyway and outhouse. He sees a woman leaving HdP carrying a bundle, but she’s gone before he can stop her.

A few minutes later, the deputies arrive and Corbett shoos the party out of the theater, then takes down everyone’s name and a quick statement.

Sensing something is going on, Gilbert and Jost decide to follow tracks out back (as that is almost certainly where the shooter left). They lead to the stables – where Gilbert discovers that Darley is gone !!

The trail heads into the “good part” of town – and seems to lead past the sheriff’s station. They report Darley’s theft to the deputy on duty – who does not seem to care (“there has been a shooting, you know”) and has no idea where the sheriff is, or so he says.

Deciding there is only one real reason to steal Darley (he’s the best horse in the stable) – the party decides they must be heading east to Soda Springs and the pass. But its the middle of the night and too dark to follow so Gilbert along with Jost, Jess and Garrett head out before dawn the next day.

Saturday September 26, 1857
Group #1 : The “action four” head east out of town. They find a rest area and confirm there are two fugitives and two horses. The trail heads north off the road around early afternoon – with the party only a couple of hours behind.

Next they find a hard-scrabble area with slide marks. One of the horses has fallen and is probably injured!

An hour later they find a 40-foot deep ravine and on the other side is a limping Darley. Having retrieved their quarry, the Fab Four rest up and then head back to town arriving around sundown.

Group #2 : Wilson & Davis start asking questions – and the situation gets curiouser and curiouser.

By the end of the day, they have discovered

  • The Vedders had an unusually difficult relationship. They were constantly fighting, breaking up and making up – both were violent, and both loved their little girl. More than one person said “don’t know why those two stay together – ok, well maybe I do”.
  • John Vedder was seriously down on his luck. His temper lost him a job at the Van Young ranch, then he got in an accident with some fireworks at the 4th of July festival. He had a job dealing faro but lost it because “don’t nobody need a half-blind faro dealer”.
  • They were supposed to be planning on a divorce – and Lucy had moved out. Though she was still doing his washing.

The two also discover (accidentally heard at the sheriff’s office) that a robbery had been reported at a local dry goods store. But their store owner denies anything actually was stolen saying “one of my stockboys reported it, and he was mistaken”. Jane spies a half-hidden scrap of paper saying “… covers everything -HP” but the owner sticks by the story.

But the biggest discovery is a locket. Jane takes advantage of Marie Jackson’s momentary inattention and sneaks into Lucy’s room (which has yet to be cleaned out). She finds a locket which contains a daguerreotype of the sheriff ! She drops it into her pocket and sneaks out of the room – none the wiser.

Jane & Samuel visit all five photographers in town. No one claims to have taken the sheriff’s picture recently. Two of them sell display lockets – and one of them is nervous. He’s surely lying ! But they have no leverage to force him to change his story.

Reunited the party swaps stories and decides to go and find Plummer.

Sunday September 27, 1857

Jane is summoned to meet Mrs. Ellen Sargent – wife of the district attorney and state senator, Aaron Sargent. They have a brief conversation with Mrs. Sargent particularly worried about “poor Lucy” and “what about their little daughter Lilly”. She then takes Jane to meet “my husband’s good friend” Edwin Waite at the offices of the Nevada Journal. He commissions the group to “find out the truth of these circumstances” which “the readers of the Nevada Journal will most certainly want to know” – and advances her a significant sum against the “what may be the important exclusive of the year”.

The group is convinced Plummer and Vedder must be holed up somewhere in the hills – but where? The “old timers” remember that Plummer had several claims in Nevada County – and that would certainly be where he headed.

They concoct a plan to “stake a claim” at the gully where Darley was found – and use that as pretext for searching the claim maps to find any strikes Plummer might have that would be suitable. Jane procures some dust that would be suitable for assay (from a “professional girl” who owes her a favor).

Samuel, Gilbert and Jost head to the claims office. They talk their way past the clerks and get a couple of hours alone with the records. They find three claims in the right general direction – including one that was found by Plummer & Corbett together, sold to the Hearst family, and then was actively worked for a couple of years but is now abandoned. They have a target – but it is a long ride north and across the Yuba River.

Later that afternoon, Samuel is rounded up and brought to the sheriff’s office. Corbett intimidates him saying “he’s been poking around” and “we have a law in this town and it ain’t you” and “there is no need, and no tolerance of vigilantes in Nevada County”. He physically threatens him if he “stirs up trouble” but lets him go.

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

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.