29 June, 2010

Smith & Wesson Model 5900 Series

Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 14rds
Cost: $480, 14rd magazine $18
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

Introduced in 1989, the S&W 5900 series was the flagship of Smith & Wesson’s third generation pistol lines. The design traces its lineage back to the Model 39 pistol of 1955. It is a double action pistol, firing from a staggered column 14rd magazine. Construction of the 5906 is all stainless steel. The S&W 5903 is nearly identical, slightly lighter due to an aluminum alloy frame. Also available is the S&W 5904, featuring a blued carbon steel slide and matching alloy frame.
Users of the S&W 5906 include the Japanese Coast Guard, RCMP, NYPD and Honolulu PD among others.

25 June, 2010

Envy: Redux

From: Mr. Zebulon Pike, Eastwood Ridge, Dakota
To: Mrs. Hannelore West, Kingsport, Mass.
August 1877
Dearest Sister,
The plans of my comrades have finally become clear. They have, with their collected funds and the Confederate gold filed into flakes to disguise its origins, purchased the neighboring structure. They have commissioned me to construct a machine as the centerpiece of their hotel and restaurant, a task I enthusiastically embarked upon even knowing that the business they planed to open would not be either a hotel or a restaurant. I am somewhat embarrassed to tell you that I shall be part owner and operator of a frontier brothel.
Gender population inequities, an overabundance of ready cash and a lack of higher culture have lead to a combination of drinking, gambling and debauchery throughout the march of civilization, and Deadwood is no exception. I know we have previously discussed these topics at length so I will not detail the complex social dynamics of this harsh frontier town except to say it is even more stark and disturbing than the historical and theoretical models our thought experiments built. Even so, my comrades seem of slightly different stock and seem intent on bringing some sort of respectability and culture to the enterprise. Most progressively, their intent is to build and own the establishment but to leave the daily management and operation to the ladies.
I’m not sure how my emotions and reasoning will reconcile all the conflict so for now I have focused on what is being called “The Machine.” It is a sizable construction built on a firebox and boiler used to drive a series of mechanisms. A central rotating structure with a clockwork mechanism precesses multiple stations, each with its own rotation.
It is, simply stated, a fully automated pancake production machine. Once complete, patrons will be able to select from a number of flavors and the machine will pneumatically inject the batter into steam-heated cooking chambers. The rotating chambers will rotate to ensure even cooking and, when complete, will deposit the pancakes onto a plate.
The machine works well enough but I am still working on the proper batter formula.
Oh, yes. I was actually leading up to describing an incident of a few days ago. I believe I’ve mentioned my habit of riding every few days to keep myself from becoming insular. On one such excursion, the smell of smoke led me and Mr. Bongiovi, who had elected to join me that evening, to a fire at the Jennings farmstead. When we arrived, the fire seemed well underway and the Jennings boy was on the porch crying over his prone father. Talking a moment to determine that the father was merely unconscious, overcome by the fumes, perhaps, I heedlessly rushed into the house to search for Mrs. Jenkins. It was not quite to conflagration of the Boston fire of ’72, but quite as exciting. I found Mrs. Jenkins unconscious form upstairs and, my escape back down the stairs now cut off by fire, I kicked through a window and dropped her to the ground as gently as could be managed under the circumstances.
It was as I jumped from the window myself that I came under pistol fire from the nearby scrub. I’ll admit that I became somewhat irritated at having been shot at while attempting to do my civic duty, that I knocked over a rain barrel and, using it as a rolling shield, used it to advance swiftly upon my concealed opponents, firing my own pistol.
My counterattack and the support of Mr. Bongiovi’s own pistol brought down one of our opponents and sent the rest to flight. The killed assailant was reminiscent of those we had encountered in Eastwood Ridge in that he was dead long before a bullet through the brainpan had ended his motion. Some preternatural force had made this man one of the walking dead and, by the smell, a significant consumption of alcohol had kept the body embalmed enough not to decay. I wondered momentarily what forces or process might reanimate or other restore a semblance of life to the dead but put aside my scientific curiosity for the moment to turn my attention back to the Jennings family.
Returning the the house in town, we were able to revive Mrs. Jennings who indicated that the attackers likely included Mr. Jenning’s brother, with which there had been something of a falling out. For the sake of delicacy, I did not pry into the particulars.
The next morning, we awoke to find Mr. Jennings had gone under conditions we thought unlikely to be of his own choosing. With clues provided by Mrs. Jennings were rode swiftly to the North to an abandoned drift mine wherein we found Mr. Jennings bound to a chair and being physically menaced by who we assumed to be his brother and several others. The smell of the place was of death and we swiftly dispatched the walking corpses as swiftly as we could. I’ll admit that even with my previous experience, I wasted a number of rounds firing at the largest target, the chest, with little effect. Indeed, these beings seem only to be finally and decisively ended by removing the head or destroying the brain.
On returning to the house and reuniting the Jennings family, we discovered that the boy had been able to get into several rooms and had gone through a number of personal belongings. In that, we discovered a number of Mr. Tobin’s possessions taken from the satchel beneath his bed. We did not want Mr. Tobin’s expected ire to be directed at the boy so we returned them to their place as best we could and, in so doing, could not help but learn that he was a former cavalry soldier and that his real name was Sullivan. I recall a news missive some time back concerning a soldier named Sullivan who was killed attempting to stop a massacre of Indians by Union soldiers.
Please talk to your abolitionist friends to find more information because, If I recall correctly, the Trooper Sullivan was a staunch abolitionist. And a Canadian, by nationality, volunteering to join the Union Army in the Great War. I’m sure you can understand my keen interest in knowing more.
I shall leave you with that and look forward to your letters with rapt anticipation.
Your most affectionate brother,
Zebulon
This was the sixth session of our Deadlands campaign.  It was the second adventure to be loosely based on the one-sheet adventure Envy from Pinnacle Entertainment.  The adventure was run in the spring of 2008.  This letter was written by Zebulon’s player.

22 June, 2010

Smith & Wesson Model 4000 Series

Caliber: .40 S&W
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6+1
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 11rds
Cost: $470, 11rd magazine $16
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

Introduced in 1990, the S&W Model 4006 was the first pistol chambered in the new .40 S&W round, it was however beaten to market by Glock’s G22. The 4006 is of stainless construction, similar in design to the 9mm S&W 5906. There is a slide mounted decocking/safety lever and the weapon cannot be fired without a magazine in place. The Model 4006 is popular with law enforcement and corrections officers, including the California Highway Patrol and Colorado State Patrol. The Atlanta PD issued the slightly lighter, aluminum framed, S&W 4003 until 2008

18 June, 2010

The Confligationator

A man’s walking cane built on a recycled 20 ga. shotgun barrel.  The contents consist of a highly flammable binary concoction that, when mixed in a reaction chamber and ignited, combusts with an intense heat, its expansion causing the flame to erupt from from the nozzle at the head of the cane with significant force and range.  The chambers within the cane hold sufficient volume for half a dozen seconds of pyrotechnics.  This has been patented by the United States Patent Office, 1877.

15 June, 2010

Glock G23

Caliber: .40 S&W
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6+1
RoF: 1
Weight: 1lbs
Shots: 13rds, (15rd availabile)
Cost: $490, 13rd magazine $18, 15rd magazine $20
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

Introduced in 1991, the Glock 23 is essentially a G19 chambered in .40 S&W. As a Glock design, the G23 relies on extensive internal safeties but lacks any kind of manual safety or decocking lever. The G23 fires from a 13rd magazine, but can also use the G22′s standard 15rd magazine.
In 1998, the G23 and G22 replaced the SIG-Sauer P226/228 as the FBI’s issue weapons.

11 June, 2010

Buffalo Soldiers Part II

From: Mr. Zebulon Pike, Deadwood, Sioux Nation
To: Mrs. Hannelore West, Kingsport, Mass.
July 1877
Dearest Sister,
Several days without drama have allowed me to complete my project! From the drawings I’ve included, you should see that I began with the foundation of a shotgun barrel that, with some hardwood accents and brass fittings, appears to be little more than an elaborate gentleman’s cane. Inside, however, I have concealed a cartridge with a chemical concoction which is ejected through a high-pressure nozzle by means of a coiled spring acting on a piston. The release mechanism also activates a firing pin against a standard percussion cap, igniting the semi-fluid on expulsion. It should generate a ten to fifteen foot cone of flame, persisting for several seconds.
In theory.
I am terribly excited to try it out but have not yet had the opportunity to test it. The chemical formula is absolutely sound and mostly stable. I am pleased with the physical design, even though my mastery of the intricacies of mechanical design lag somewhat behind yours. I hope our family’s natural proclivity overcome this deficiency. The need to have a larger aperture for the expulsion of the flammable fluid does increase the risk of the ignition reaching back into the reservoir, thus causing a catastrophic explosion, but there should be sufficient pressure to keep that from occurring.
What to name it? Linear Expulsive Conflagrationator is appropriately descriptive but I’m not sure I like it. Conflagrator? Conflagrationizer? You are so much better at this than I am, what do you think?
Just a moment, there seems to be some sort of commotion occurring outside.
. . . . . .
Well then, that was an interesting few days. It began with several riders coming into town. They were two of the soldiers that had set out last week to address the issue of Indians burning stagecoach waystations. One of the soldiers was dead in his saddle, pierced by several arrows, and the other, also grievously wounded, died soon afterwards. Uttering his dying breath to me; “Gold.”
It was clear that it was no Indian attack that had lead to the death of the soldiers as there was the distinctly modern construction methods utilized in the construction of the arrows embedded in the returning soldiers. This is not to say that arrows of Indian manufacture are primitive or substandard in any way, but these arrows bore signs of industrial manufacture.
Mr. Tobin, Mr. Pace, Mr. Bongiovi and I immediately joined the military expedition formed to determine the fate of the previous force. We, however, had very different expectations and objectives. Firstly, while we didn’t announce our conclusions, we knew that we were not looking for a band of Indians but were, in fact, looking for individuals pretending to be Indians. Secondly, and I was unsure if the others were aware, I made the connection between this incident, the burned waystations and the Confederate gold found by Marshal Kane at Eastwood Ridge. I had little doubt that there was gold, or at least someone thought there was gold, at the waystations. Thirdly, we did not pass on the dying words of the soldier to his comrades on the highly likely suspicion that the soldiers had raced off earlier, not to deal with a perceived Indian threat, but to secure the gold. While I suspected the military was involved it was important to have them think that we were ignorant of the true reasons.
The first day of our expedition was uneventful. The waystation at Silver City was burned to the ground, as was expected. (Silver City is not directly on the trail to Deadwood but is a “spur trail” several miles East of the main where, as the name implies, there was once a silver mine. We had not taken the spur on our way North and had only assumed its condition.)
That night, many of my suspicions were confirmed when during the night I observed the Sergeant uncharacteristically make a wide, patrolling arc around the burned out shell of the waystation. Feigning biology’s call, I surreptitiously watched him investigating behind the building in a way that had me conclude that there was a hole behind this building as well. It was not something he might have stumbled upon and apparently he found nothing contained within.
The next day and the next waystation was as the others. We followed the soldier’s tracks up a valley into the dread scene of an ambush. Soldiers were strewn about in various inadequate cover apparently having been set upon from all sides. While there were Indian implements of war to be found, all the soldiers had been clearly brought down by modern firearms.
Our expectation was that we would follow the tracks into an ambush of our own so we divided our column to proceed up each bank of the stream. There is a strange sense of confidence one has walking into a known trap. A sense that was not wasted for, when the ambush came, our divided staging allowed us to disrupt their plan and out flank them. When the first shots rang out, I took what cover I could but with Mr. Tobin firing from across the stream, I was able to advance quickly and confidently, holding my fire until I was close upon our attackers.
Their tactical plan circumvented, they fled before I could inflict any direct harm. With their killing of the soldiers and realizing that these types of miscreants are those likely to hold a lengthy grudge, I vowed not to let them escape and rushed back to my horse to give chase. Mr. Pace and I set off after a trio of villains. One was killed instantly by a rifle shot from Mr. Pace’s rifle. A second fell wounded from his horse with a sickening sound that indicated his neck had broken in the fall. The last I chased for more than a mile before I was able to land a bullet into his kidney.
A search of our attackers found no gold, at which point I confronted the Sergeant concerning his suspicious activities of the night before. Even with some creative persuasions, he admitted nothing directly but his obfuscations made it clear that he and, in fact, all the other soldiers, knew at least part of what was going on. There were now at least four parties involved. Those associated with Marshal Kane and the Bowden family who were attempting to recover the gold. Competitors who were dressing up as Indians in an attempt to recover the gold. The soldiers who also knew of the gold. And, lastly, our own intrepid band that providence had dropped into the middle of this bloody feud. And while I cannot deny that the recovery of the gold would be a welcome windfall, our primary concern is one of survival.
The soldiers had been fairly devastated but, as it was the military, there was no telling how many others might be involved. Our interference had probably eliminated the faux-Indians as competitors. With additional prodding of the Sergeant, we were lead to a small mine at the head of the run. The miners there were ignorant dupes, tricked into digging a worthless hole as a cover for gold found elsewhere. Not a bad plan for I was considering a similar ruse to explain the gold that we had found.
After having been ambushed, it was our turn to set up such a trap and the miners told us that their “sponsor” Mr. Kane was coming. Yes, another Kane involved in this convolution. I realize now that I have gone on at quite a length and the hour is getting late so I will summarize; there was a gunfight. By our combined efforts the evil-doers were vanquished and I emerged unscathed. We hid the bodies in the mine and dynamited the entrance. More soldiers arrived and we lied to them thoroughly. The Captain of the unit was a gentleman of Virginia so we suspected him immediately of some collusion in the hiding of the Confederate gold. We returned to Deadwood.
This is a quite lengthy letter, isn’t it. Had I taken writing accouterments with me on our expedition, I would have written more regularly and this limited the length of these narratives to more manageable fragments. Even though I know you love to read, I fear the realities of frontier life will not measure up to the scientific romances you enjoy so much. Even with the gunfights and preternatural occurrence that I fear reduce my real-life adventures to the level of dime novels.
As I now have something of a permanent address, I look forward eagerly to your return letters.
With unsuppressed fondness,
your brother, Zebulon
This adventure is one of several based loosely on the Pinnacle Entertainment one-sheet, Buffalo Soldiers. The adventure, the fifth of our campaign, was run in early 2008. This write up was the product of Zebulon”s player, with minor editing by yours truly.

08 June, 2010

Glock G18

Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6
RoF: 3
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 17rds, (19 & 33 availabile)
Cost: $690, 17rd magazine $21, 19rd magazine $23, 33rd magazine $24
Notes: AP1, Auto

This is a machine pistol version of the Glock 17. It features similar construction and safety features. Located on the left rear of the slide is a fire selector switch: up for single shot fire; down for automatic fire. Early models did not feature the accessory rail, had a solid slide with a compensated barrel that protruded from the muzzle. The later G18C (pictured) had a standard length compensated barrel/slide combo and railed frame.
The G18 fires from a 33rd magazine, but will operate with G17standard 17rd, and “+2″ magazine (holding 19rds) that features a slightly longer floorplate.

04 June, 2010

Buffalo Soldiers Part I

From: Mr. Zebulon Pike, Deadwood, Sioux Nation
To: Mrs. Hannelore West, Kingsport, Mass.
July 1877
Dearest Sister,
My daring escape from marauding savages was distinctly less daring that I expected. In fact, it consisted of little more than a hard day of riding into the town of Deadwood. Which is not to say that there was no excitement for the day. On arriving in Deadwood, we immediately found some authorities, in this case a calvary soldier, and relayed our new of the burned wayposts. He seemed appropriately concerned and sped off to inform his superiors. We then went to the saloon that Mr. Tobin’s note had indicated and found him there, drinking, of course. Miss Bowden thankfully took her leave to find her brother and we were glad to be no longer in her company. Though a reasonable enough woman, she continuously tasked us with her interrogations.
We ordered drinks for ourselves and were discussing how further to proceed when a disheveled man approached the table to speak with Mr. Tobin. He informed Mr. Tobin that someone was waiting to meet him over at the livery and then drew and fired his pistol at nearly point-blank range. His hasty shot missed by scant inches and Mr. Tobin drew his pistol and returned fire faster than the eye could follow. I barely had time to be startled by the close-quarters report before it was all over.
Even more surprising was the lack of concern by the other patrons that a lethal gunfight had just occurred in their midst. I fear such occurrences are frequent enough to be considered commonplace.
Mr. Tobin brought us to the back side of Deadwood to an area known as “Chinese Alley,” an ethnic enclave where he had purchased a building. And while there has been no formal agreement, we all seem to have entered into a business arrangement. I have yet to quite figure out what that business will be. Mr. Tobin seems to make his living as a bounty hunter, Mr. Bonjiovi earns his living as a wandering minstrel, Mr. Pace is a gambler of some skill and my own technical and scientific skills seem to round a very eclectic skillset. It will be fascinating to see what sort of business plan comes of that but, for the meantime, I am pleased to have a bed, a roof over my head and a place into which I can gather equipment for my natural studies.
The respite was short lived, however, as the soldiers arrived to invite us to set out immediately in pursuit of the native miscreants. Under different circumstances we might have stepped forward to do our civic duty but, having spent days on the trail with little sleep for fear of attack, we declined. The soldiers seemed well armed and prepared for any untoward encounter.
As we also needed to stable our horses, Mr. Bonjiovi and I accompanied Mr. Tobin to his meeting at the livery. There was no one there to meet him but on the return we saw Miss Bowden and a man we assumed to be her brother. Mr. Tobin’s loosening of his pistols in their holsters indicated his suspicion of impending action. I thought that perhaps this was the meeting that he had intended to have, perhaps as far back as Eastwood Ridge, and stepped out of the line of fire.
The second gunfight of the day took little longer than the first. Miss Bowden seemed somewhat less that traumatized to have witnessed the murder of her brother before her very eyes so that I began to doubt her relationship. Mr. Tobin seemed prepared to kill her as well but stated that the bounty was on her brother and she was free to go.
We finally obtained an explanation in that the brothers Bowden were deserters and Mr. Tobin was on something of a quest to collect up an entire unit.
I apologize for the abrupt conclusion of this letter but it has been a long day and I have only now just realized how late it is. I shall assuredly expound on the matter later.
With unwavering fondness,
Zebulon
This adventure, our fourth,  is one of several based loosely on the Pinnacle Entertainment one-sheet, Buffalo Soldiers. The adventure was run in early 2008. This write up was the product of Zebulon”s player, with minor editing by yours truly.