A Deadlands: Hell on Earth Adventure by Genesis Whitmore
edited and illustrated by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock
The following are some non-player characters to flesh out this scenario, which might need tweaking based on how you want to steer the adventure.
"Colonel" Andrew T. Christopher
His motivation is to get the PCs to his establishment and encourage them to deal with his "problem", but while he's reasonably generous with room and board while they're there, he has no intention of paying them whatever he promised to get them there, angling for any excuse he can find to back out of it. What he gets from the "demon" (food, liquor, comforts), he is free to give away while he can, but bullets and material valuables, he'll hoard.
If the Posse leaves early, they didn't fulfil the full week of performances outlined in his deal. If they fight the monsters, then whatever damage they do will be calculated generously and taken out of their pay. If they don't fight the monsters ... well, then there won't be anything left to pay them with anyway. In any case, the Colonel might even somehow hint that he suspects the heroes brought this trouble with them, as everything was just fine before they came. If he takes this route, he'll probably try to single out someone in the group who seems to have a knack for bad luck, especially if that person is at all secretive and if it seems like it wouldn't be that hard to turn one or more PCs into looking at that "suspicious" comrade of theirs as a possible trouble magnet. If anyone in the group has the Grim Servant o' Death Hindrance, or if the character has a mysterious past that he is being a little too obvious about concealing from his fellows, that PC would be a perfect contender.
If it looks like the demon is going to trash the whole joint, the Colonel won't be willing to leave without grabbing as many valuables as he can out of his lock box in his office, quite possibly spelling his own doom.
The Phantom / Damien Gates
Can take on a form of a man in his thirties, dressed in a perfectly-pressed business suit, but with a plain white mask over his face. When it's time to fight, though, he spends an action to drop the mask, revealing his glowing green skull underneath, and explodes into a demonic apparition that flings bolts o' doom at his enemies. He seems a bit of a cross between an entity of Hell, and some sort of radioactive horror. The truth is that he's an Abomination -- actually, a Servitor of Pestilence (thanks to his work spreading toxic sludge) -- and that the Opryhouse site has an even older history as a toxic landfill.
Damien is aware of the layout of the whole of Hickory Bend, and can find his way through the tunnels with ease. It is conceivable that, while he still wears his mask and hasn't dropped the charade yet, he may try to talk with the Posse (if they oppose him) and even to present some bogus story about how he is just a man who was marred by the horrors of the Apocalypse, who hides his scarred face under a mask, and pines after the beautiful Ariella. He is not very patient, however, and can't maintain his smooth, cool facade for very long if someone is in his way. He can show his face in hopes of inspiring terror, and then use his powers of Malfunction to harass the Posse, but in order to transform into full-blown "demon" form, he must return to the caverns with the "life-giving" pools of radioactive sludge.
(Note: If any of the Posse have any powers or special items that can to purify radioactive sludge in large quantities, they could weaken or even destroy the Phantom in this way. The Blessed miracle of "Wellspring" would send Damien into fits if performed down in his lair, for instance. It would take something truly potent, however, to destroy him outright. Some flexibility is recommended on the part of the Marshal -- If the heroes are just totally outclassed and unable to do so much as to harm Damien, then if a Blessed in the group thinks to try something crazy like Wellspring ... then, by all means, let that be the dramatic finish for Damien, or at the very least make it cost him his immunity to mundane weaponry!)
In life, Damien Gates was a top executive at Enerco, a pioneer in the manufacture of what would later come to be known as "spook juice". Thanks to his frequent touring of badly shielded facilities, he managed to pick up a case of "the glows" before the dropping of the bombs made that term well known. He himself suffered no real effects from it, but those around him would grow ill and die from extended exposure. He eventually caught on, but hid his secret, unwilling that it should jeopardize his condition. Indeed, he even used it to advance his own progress in the company. Eventually, though, too many deaths around him led others to get suspicious, and he was quietly bumped off, his body dumped (appropriately enough) into a toxic landfill where the Opryhouse now stands.
Drawn by dark fate, some self-styled witches who had obtained copies of "How to Serve Your Man" started a coven on this very site, and sought to contact the spirit realm. They came into contact with the "spirit" of Damien Gates. They were eager to find a demon to compel, and he played along. As he had benefited passively from the deaths of others in life, he drew sustenance from murders committed by the witches for his benefit. Now, he's repeating that same old routine, except that he's been a little more creative in the use of his powers, compelling lesser Manitous to power objects of technology that have been specially modified to his ends.
Since he is a Servitor, he ultimately serves the ends of the Reckoners, and has a knack for attracting unholy individuals to aid him, so Hucksters, Witches and such of the particularly crooked persuasion tend to flock to his call, even if they don't realize just what draws them here. If any members of the Posse are of a particularly wicked bent, Damien might well try making overtures toward one of them, to try to make a new recruit ... or, if he realizes that the Posse poses trouble, to create dissent in the ranks.
The Phantom is immune to mundane attacks made by any items of technology (especially items made by Mad Scientists or Junkers), for he has power over such things, and he is also immune to offensive Huckster spells, Witch spells, and most offensive Doomsayer/Doombringer powers. Any sort of manufactured, machine-tooled weapon won't harm him. This would include energy weapons, guns, explosives, swords, hammers, and most improvised bludgeons, among other things.
He is not, however, immune to unarmed attacks by bare fists, claws and fangs, thrown stones, wooden arrows, and "natural" bludgeons, such as a hand-carved hickory walking stick. He is also harmed normally by weapons that are enchanted, or that have been consecrated by one of the Blessed. Holy water and holy symbols don't do any actual damage to Damien, per se, but he is evil enough and has been playing the "demon schtick" long enough that he is caused discomfort by such means, and he will Vamoose if given the opportunity to avoid such attacks.
Vivian Crowley (Cook/Witch)
Vivian is one of the cooks, and fairly representative of the Witches present at the Opryhouse, except that she's the least subtle of the bunch. She's likely to single out a member of the Posse that is the single best representative of all she hates about the male gender. For example, if there's a redneck in the group, he's probably the best contender for the "honor" of earning her ire, thus ensuring that his next meal has a few extra little "additives" that will give him a bit of stomach trouble. (For example, she uses some not-so-fresh meat, and the victim has to make a Vigor roll against a TN of 9, or he'll get a nasty case of the squirts.)
She keeps a copy of "How to Serve Your Man" in the kitchen, and her work area has lots of spherical objects all around: wooden balls, glass balls, etc. (These work as material components for Eldritch Fire.) In her private quarters, she keeps more potent ammunition: human skulls. She occasionally adds to her collection from visitors who get on her bad side.
Vivian doesn't care much for the Colonel, but she's here anyway because she feels somehow drawn to this place, and it seems to her as if she is receiving greater power by being here. However, if she is befriended by a female member of the Posse, she could be turned into at least a temporary ally of sorts.
In the unlikely event that the Posse happens to include, say, a smart animal as a PC, she might take a liking to the critter, using her spells to be able to talk with it -- and perhaps even offer it a position as her Familiar if the critter makes a good impression.
She doesn't know about the Phantom and about his desire for "sweeter meat". If her hatred for the concept of men (dead or alive, mortal or otherwise) preying upon women can be exploited, she could be turned against Damien. Nonetheless, she's a pretty nasty person, and quite likely the sort to turn on the Posse once Damien is dealt with, if she's given an opening.
Ashley Hand (Huckster)
Ashley is a huckster operating in the game area. Her standard mode of operation is to find a good mark, lose in a couple of "friendly" games of cards, then try to get the stakes up really high and use her skills to boost her chances of winning. Like so many others, she has felt drawn here for reasons she can't quite explain, though she reasons that this is a good place to make some money off of gullible customers, and the Colonel seems to be pleased enough to let her stay on as a long-term guest so long as she keeps entertaining patrons.
Ashley knows something of the occult, and could conceivably become an ally to the Posse as they try to piece together the mystery of the Phantom. She has actually read some of the books in the rooms, and has done some reading up on her own. She knows about the existence of the "Phantom", though she doesn't necessarily assume that the Phantom is some sort of abomination -- She just thinks that this fellow is the Colonel's secret benefactor, and that this joint is a cover for some sort of shady operation. She wouldn't mind getting a piece of the action. If there's any danger, depending on how the Posse comes out as friend or foe to Ashley (depends on how good sports they are if she manages to rip them off in a few games), Ashley could conceivably help out the group as they try to figure out what's really going on ... but Ashley's motivations are to get greater personal power for herself. She won't be quick to reveal that she's actually a Huckster unless there's someone in the group who's likely to figure it out anyway, as that might make her motives suspect.
Ashley will be particularly interested in any supernatural artifacts in the possession of the group, and won't be above trying to relieve the Posse of such items if she can manage it. Barring that, if the Posse goes exploring underground and finds their way to Damien's lair, the Huckster may want to try to convince the group to head back and plan things out, while she goes privately to try to perform a ritual to contact the "spirit" with the overconfident purpose of trying to bind it to her will. Or, in a big showdown with Damien, if she's on the Posse's side, and it looks like Damien is losing, Damien, sensing a kindred spirit (or at least a corrupt one) in Ashley, may pledge favors to her if she will turn on the Posse, resulting in a surprise change of allegiance if there's any hope Ashley would have of turning the tide of the battle. (If Damien is doing that badly and the Posse isn't even breaking a sweat, Ashley's not anxious to commit suicide, so she'll turn down the offer. But otherwise, Ashley should be pretty impressed with Damien's ability to render her usual powers useless ... or significantly boost her effectiveness.)
In any case, even if the Posse plays all its cards right, Ashley's not the type to become a long-term ally. Once the adventure's over with, she's a loner at heart, and destined to head off her own way.
Ariella Bowman (Singer)
Ariella Bowman has a pretty face and a pretty voice, and so far it's helped her survive, as someone or another has been eager to protect her on account of it. She's more or less trusting and naive, even with all the horrors that have happened during and since the Last War. If anyone suspects she is in danger, she'll listen, but if someone suggests that the Colonel has any ill will toward her, she'll deny it, and whoever suggests such a thing will lose credibility in her eyes. As far as she's concerned, the Colonel is a perfect gentleman who has treated her well. Unlike many of the singers and dancers here, she doesn't do any "favors", and the Colonel doesn't ask for any. She brings him money, and he's content to keep her happy in turn.
Amazingly enough, Ariella is a "Doubting Thomas", having no belief in ghosts and curses and magic. If she sees the supernatural right in front of her, she's bound to explain it off as a "trick", and if she can't come up with a theory, she'll just side-step it, claiming that she's "no rocket scientist" and can't be expected to figure something like that out. If she's presented with something so in-her-face obviously supernatural that she can't wave it off (such as, say, being faced with some Toxic Zombies, or being kidnapped by the Phantom himself), she's bound to just faint ... and then, if given the opportunity later, explain it all away as a delusion.
Mary Lou (Showgirl)
Mary Lou is fairly representative of the average showgirl at the Saloon and Opryhouse. She's about 19 years of age, which would mean she was just a kid when the Earth got nuked, and has pretty much been raised in the Wasted West. For her, this is the way it's always been, and the way it always will be. Like so many survivors, she looks out for herself first and foremost, and isn't inclined to any heroics -- Heroes die, after all. If a fight breaks out, she'll run for cover -- Every woman for herself. She knows that people have been disappearing, but just accepts this as part of the Wasted West. As long as she's the one gone -- and she doesn't even give serious thought to the notion that, some day, it just might be her -- then she doesn't give it serious thought. She's shallow, judging the members of the Posse by outward appearances, and she thinks guns and swords and "guy stuff" is "ugly" and boring. However, she still can appreciate the aura of a hero, and is likely to be drawn to the most Purty male member of the Posse, though the one who dresses nicest (nice clothes, that is, not some guy who dresses all in black and looks tough) is going to get her attention, even if the fellow looks like a fop.
If anyone goes to the trouble of trying to strike up an intelligent conversation with Mary Lou, they aren't going to get far. What she knows about is mostly centered on herself and what she likes, and what fellows in town her "girlfriends" have a liking for. However, if someone presses her with questions about the supernatural, she actually knows a few things. The trouble is that she has little patience, and if the Posse subjects her to a long string of questions, without occasionally flattering her and trying to bring up things that interest her, she's going to lose interest and find an excuse to leave or stop cooperating. General Mien rolls or Persuasion rolls (whichever is highest) are recommended to see if a PC might have an easier time of it. If a member of the Posse tries to be entertaining (cracking a joke here or there), and so forth, then she should be far more cooperative.
Among the more useful things that Mary Lou knows:
Doctor Spencer (Physician)
Doctor Spencer seems a kindly enough old soul, old enough to remember the time back before the Last War. His dark past is a little different than the standard Sawbones Archetype, however. He served as a military surgeon, and in the madness shortly after the Last War, was subjected to all sorts of horrors, as supplies ran out, the wounded piled up, and tales came in of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse themselves adding to the body count. He had to resort to much more primitive means of dealing with badly mangled limbs.
The thing is ... something snapped inside of him. His mind tried to adjust to the horror, but something died inside of him, and he became part of the horror in the process. To others, he seemed to undergo a miraculous change in attitude, becoming an almost angelic servant of good. The truth is far from that. He enjoys his work ... so much so that he finds problems where they don't exist, and then "cures" them.
Someone can come into his office about a toothache, and the kindly Doctor will discover that there's a parasite burrowing into the bone of his jaw, and that he'll have to amputate ... and, of course, wonders can be done with prosthetics. Well, not wonders, but it's better than being dead, now isn't it?
Eventually, his bloody ways have been such that folks have gotten mighty suspicious, and he's had to move on, but he's shrewd enough to carefully pick his victims. This place is perfect for him, because he can faithfully provide honest-to-goodness care for the "regulars" who are likely to stay around ... and show his more sinister side to vagrants and traveling nobodies who are here one day and gone the next. And, of course, if the patient isn't happy, he can always euthanize out of mercy.
The doctor is available to do medical work for the Posse, and he'll do so for very modest trades; he'll be especially interested in any medical supplies the Posse might have. If the Posse stops by for medical treatment, he'll patch up wounds nicely ... but he may secretly inject a contaminant into his patient's bloodstream, and then later on, as strange lumps form on a limb, insist that amputation will be necessary. If the Posse has no need for his services, then he might pose a problem in the form of jealously seeking out any healer in the party and trying to poison or contaminate that party member.
In addition to performing medical services for the community, the doctor is also the "undertaker", after a fashion. There is no graveyard -- Even those who don't believe in the Walkin' Dead can come up with excuses against keeping bodies around (disease, attracting scavengers, etc.), and the preferred method is to burn any corpses. The doctor takes care of this ... though he often takes souvenirs first.
If anyone is suspicious of the doctor and investigates his office while he's out, the back room has a grisly collection of body parts (including a few heads he's amputated) in jars of preservative fluid, and wicked-looking implements that look more like instruments of torture than healing. (That's because they are.)
If the Posse should get the "good doctor" to drop his kindly facade, and then subsequently subdue him, he'll make it very clear that he's a bit over the edge, with his ranting and raving and general babble. However, he's actually been down in the caverns, and may know a few things. He knows of a cave entrance outside of town, and he knows just enough of the tunnels to realize that one of the branches goes up to a secret trap door in the general store, and that there is lots of glowing green goo that one shouldn't mess with. But then, the doctor is deranged enough that he might claim that the green goo has regenerative properties -- or some other lie designed to cause the Posse trouble if they put too much faith in his "confession."
John Colt (Shopkeeper)
John Colt is one of the few "regulars" who isn't psychotic and twisted in some way, though he still has a dubious past if the Posse goes prying. Being a storekeeper isn't his true calling, but he had a "sister" by the name of Rosalin that had gotten a job out here as a showgirl, and ended up "falling and breaking her neck" in the shower. (She's not his real sister, but they were both kids at the time of the Last War, and were raised together. With things the way they are, and so many blood families wiped out by the destruction, families get redefined sometimes.)
John made his way here to Hickory Bend, (rightly) suspecting foul play. He got a job as a shop assistant to the previous store owner, Hank Mallory. He found that the previous store owner was more than a bit deranged, clubbing vagrants (or anyone else he could get alone at night), dragging them off, then butchering them and turning them into "fresh meat" and jerky. Colt dealt with his employer, and was able to pass it off as an accident with little trouble, due to the high number of "accidents" that happen in this town on a regular basis anyway. He didn't think he'd actually gotten Rosalin's killer, as he has reason to believe there are plenty of other miscreants in town. He has seen plenty of weirdness, and he has his suspicions about the various shady types around town ... though he doesn't freely share his suspicions, lest he wear out his "welcome" before he can pin the killer.
If the Posse voices its suspicions in the presence of Colt, or if things start to get weird at the Saloon and Opryhouse, he could serve as an added gun to help out the party (or die trying). He's shown a lot of patience and care in setting himself up here in town so far, but if things start getting ugly and lots of innocents start dying, that's going to change. Pressed to that point, he's the sort to charge in, guns a'blazin', rather than carefully plotting things out. (If the Posse goes down into the tunnels and faces off against the Phantom, he's likely to charge in, screaming, "This is for Rosalin!" as he unloads with his guns ... and then gets toasted by the Phantom's Bolts o' Doom. At the very least, he can serve as a warning to the Posse when his guns have no discernable effect on the Phantom.)
Colt keeps a map of Hickory Bend and the surrounding area in his store, made from a topographical map. He has discovered the caverns that go under the town, because there's a trap door under the store that Hank used. (Hank would go down into a tunnel that led into part of the caverns, where he would temporarily keep his victims' bodies until he got a chance to deal with them "properly".) Colt hasn't found his way to the Phantom's lair, however, since exploring the caves is dangerous.
Old Jake (Blacksmith/Mechanic)
Ol' Jake is a fairly simple fellow, although he's shrewd enough to keep himself out of trouble most of the time. He puts on an act of being more harmless than he really is, though he's not such a good actor that he can keep the act up when he's "seriously" threatened, or he thinks someone is trying to pull a fast one on him.
Jake is wrapped up enough in his "own little world" that he doesn't pay much attention to what happens elsewhere in the town. He just occasionally does work for people passing through. He has never been called upon to do any work for the Opryhouse or the Saloon, however, and if conversation underscores this fact, he'll freely admit that he thinks it's a mite bit suspicious.
If the Posse seems to be recruiting extra help to take on the Phantom or other nasties, it wouldn't be that difficult to get Jake to join temporarily, though he hasn't any big plans of moving on from Hickory Bend if he can help it. (Even if the Phantom ends up trashing the Saloon and the Opryhouse, odds are that Jake would see it as a scavenging opportunity, not a reason to seek greener pastures.) The only thing (besides patently obvious threat to life and limb) that would prompt Jake to move on would be if he somehow came across his very own rig that he could drive around in.
Wormy (Street Vendor)
Wormy, before the Last War, as a bum and a vagrant. After the Last War ... now he's a peddler. Wormy has a multitude of lumpy growths on his body, some of which affect his speech. (This gives an excuse to the Marshal to show off his ability to do strange voices for NPCs, if he's into that sort of thing.) Wormy has a small cart cobbled together from an old hot dog vendor's cart, with wheels made from garbage can lids, and other bits of scrap patched on here and there, and a ratty blanket in the bottom. He has about 30 milrats and some containers of water ... all highly radioactive. These do no harm to Wormy, but anyone bold enough to eat one of the milrats or drink a significant quantity of water must pass a Vigor test at a TN of 9, or take a Light Wound to the gut, and 1d6 Wind from radiation. Merely possessing the sealed milrat will have no discernable ill effect on whomever carries it. Carrying the water, however, will depend on what it is contained in. Any check with a geiger counter, "Geiger Vision" or similar methods will quickly show that the food and water is laden with unhealthy levels of radiation.
Wormy could be eating these milrats himself, but he's gotten so accustomed to living a scavenger lifestyle that he sees the milrats as things that can be sold, and not to be cut into unless he absolutely can't find something on his own to eat. His price per milrat or for water changes on a whim. It may be as low as one bullet, or as high as he pleases, based on his roller-coaster self-confidence in his ability to sell things. He has some manner of pride, and will not accept charity. If offered anything by the Posse, he'll insist on trading a milrat or some water for it.
If someone is kind or foolish enough to buy something from Wormy, he'll be considerably more amiable and willing to talk about things. For instance, he knows that there is no television station in Hope; the place has been wiped out, and if anything lives there, it's nothing that would think to erect a broadcasting tower. He knows that Vivian hates men to a murderous degree, but that she tolerates him, since in her mind he's no longer a "real man" -- and she'll occasionally give him some food scraps as "payment" for carrying off the trash. (If the Posse has reason to press him, he might confess that some of the garbage was a bit suspicious.)
Wormy is very observant, notices everyone who comes in, and remembers most anything said about them. He also notices who doesn't leave. He knows that Doc Spencer does an awful lot of amputations. He knows that there's no Junker that ever maintains the equipment at the Opryhouse or the Saloon. He also knows of the same entrance to the caverns that Doc Spencer does; this is where he gets his water, from one of the "clean" pools (i.e., one that's not glowing green). He also happens to have a jar full of the glowing green stuff in his cart. He uses it as a lantern, though occasionally he has to replenish his supply, as the "glow" wears off (though the substance is no less toxic).
Wormy is not the least bit brave, except by ignorance. He will gladly show the Posse to the caverns, and even lead them around a bit, but he'll flee at the first sign of danger.
Chase Bentley (Chaffeur)
Chase was a road scavenger with a rusted bucket on wheels and a gas gauge flirting with "empty" when he rolled into Hickory Bend. At the time, the Colonel had use for a driver, and Chase obviously had experience surviving on the roadways ... so the Colonel gave Chase a job, and he took it. Chase believes the Colonel to be a harmless old man for the most part, although he's seen and heard enough to know that the Colonel has a habit of stretching the truth -- even when he has no good cause to, in Chase's estimate. When the Colonel is on the road, Chase acts as his chaffeur and something of a bodyguard. Chase will do what he can to protect the Colonel -- This is his livelihood, after all -- but he's not some die-hard gung-ho fanatic.
If things get bad enough in the adventure that the Posse reaches Day 3 or 4 and everything's going to Hades in a handbasket, Chase is likely to just hop in the limo and drive off, unless the Colonel is right there to speed off with him. Trouble is, the limo is another one of the Phantom's creations, and if everything else is being murderous, the limo won't be any friendlier. So, unless the events of Day 3 and Day 4 never happen, or Chase is otherwise detained, he's likely to be doomed to meet his end by trying to drive off in a car that doesn't have to obey his commands. (In fact, the limousine could well become an Abomination all its own, as a haunted and murderous armored limo cruising down the highway ... running down pedestrians or, perhaps worse, stopping to let someone in, then venting something foul and poisonous through the "air conditioning".)
One positive thing about Chase is that it's not hard to strike up a conversation with him while he's out waxing the limo or doing other car-related chores. He is not privy to the Colonel's deepest and darkest secrets, but he still sees a lot, and might be able to tell the Posse a little more about the town. (He's one of the first NPCs the Posse will be running into, after all.)
If the Posse asked about the "brimstone" smell in the car in the first part of the adventure, Chase wouldn't be the sort of counter the Colonel while he's around, but if someone were to ask him again afterward, he'd admit that the Colonel doesn't even smoke, and that it's just a smell that the car has, which he can never get rid of. Chase is also aware that the car never needs refueling, but just waves it off as some sort of Junker techno-wizardry ... though he personally sees Junker "technology" as just that: technology, albeit advanced enough that "mere laymen" such as himself can't understand it. He doesn't venture any supernatural explanations for anything going on, and doesn't believe in such things. If the Posse seems to be the sort to postulate supernatural explanations in his presence, he will either try to offer more rational explanations (to his mind, at least), or just quietly continue on and not say a thing, depending on how "stable" the Posse seems. (No sense in getting a bunch of lunatics with big guns torqued off at you.)
Sheriff Ben Ravenwood
The "sheriff" is no Law Dog, though he wears a badge. He's just a hired gun that works for the Colonel, giving the "town" of Hickory Bend a little more air of respectability ... and taking care of folks who get a little too troublesome. A long time back, he was a security guard, and took some training in law enforcement, but he was never actually a police officer, despite his claims to have once been a real sheriff. It's not like anyone can check the public records to see if he's lying.
The sheriff's paycheck comes from the Colonel, so he's "on the take" where Opryhouse business is concerned. There are frequently "accidents" in town, and he routinely looks the other way, even if it's nothing that the Phantom had anything to do with. (After all, how can he tell?) He will, however, deal with any crimes in progress he happens upon, and does his best to keep folks from busting up the Colonel's property. And if any Toxic Zombies or other horrors lumber into town, he'll do his best to help fight them off. Unless events have somehow changed him for the better, though, if the Phantom starts throwing fits and everything goes haywire at the Saloon and Opryhouse, Ravenwood is the sort to take a horse and whatever he can grab, and get out of town. After all, he has his suspicions that the supernatural is behind the Colonel's fortune, and if everything comes burning down around the Colonel's ears, he doesn't want to stick around to burn, too.
The sheriff is pretty tight-lipped about any odd goings-on around town, and won't offer much to the Posse unless coerced. He's not likely to even show his face unless the peace gets seriously disturbed ... and not even another "bar room brawl" is necessarily enough to warrant his intervention. (After all, as long as lead doesn't start flying, the Colonel figures that a good brawl now and then is something his patrons look forward to ... and he can always slap them with costs for "repairs", even though the Phantom is the one that will somehow make sure that things are put back together again in record time.)
The sheriff hasn't been informed about what's really going on, but he has his orders. Prior to the Colonel heading out to pick up the Posse (or whatever other heroes he could find), he let the sheriff know that he'd be bringing back some "do-gooders", and strongly hinted that the sheriff shouldn't interfere with them. However, that won't apply if the so-called "do-gooders" start acting like hoodlums, or obviously turn against the Colonel. Still, the sheriff will give them a considerable leeway, and may even come down on their side of things if trouble breaks out (such as some rowdy customers of the Saloon throwing punches at the Posse). His allegiance is ultimately only to himself, and he could be a wild card for the Marshal to make things easier or harder for the Posse, or just to keep them on their toes.