"Tall Tales" - Adventure for Deadlands
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A Deadlands: Hell on Earth Adventure by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock

PART IV: The Hall of Heroes

Part I: Zombie Problems
Part II: The Toxic Shaman
Part III: The Wild West Museum
Part IV: The Hall of Heroes
Part V: Cobalt Caves
Part VI: Epilogue and Resources

How the West Was Won Relics

Hall of Heroes

Hall of Heroes Floor Tile

This room is illuminated by windows set in the east wall, which are arranged to appear to be windows of small store-front facades lined up to make the walls appear to line the main street of some old western boom town, with wooden boardwalks and hitching posts. There are fake doors that don't open, leading to the Jail, Sheriff's Office, Bank, Saloon, Barber Shop, and other locations. Positioned here and there along the faux street front are wax statues of famous western personages ... some of whom have a very dubious claim to being "heroes": Wyatt Earp, Joaquin Murrietta, Bat Masterson, Calamity Jane, Annie Oakley, "Wild" Bill Hickok, "One-Eye" Hank Ketcham, "Doc" Holliday, Jesse James, and Billy the Kid. There are also some dummies of heroes that never were: Pecos Bill (represented as a normal-sized man, not the giant of legend) and Slue-Foot Sue, Paul Bunyan (minus Babe the Blue Ox, perhaps for lack of space) and John Henry. There's even a statue of a mysterious looking fellow known as the "Revenant", though he's easily missed in the corner. (Cognition check against TN of 7 to spot him, unless someone else has pointed him out first.)

Plaques near each dummy explain the name of the person, sometimes accompanied with painting prints or even copies of old photos, with blurbs about the who and where and what for about each personage.

The dummies are decked out in appropriate costumes, though the guns are obviously fakes. Fairly real-looking weapons (or occasionally replicas) can be seen in a glassed-in case at one end, with a wide spectrum of vintage weapons, and some examples of the progress of gunpowder weapons in the old west ... running from black powder weapons such as flintlocks and matchlocks, up to the cap and ball, and finally to more conventional bullets. Near each of the dummies are a few display cases that show some artifacts associated with them. Some of the weapons might be serviceable, but even what little ammunition is in the display is probably only simulated (for safety purposes), and the best of these weapons are single-action revolvers, not machine pistols ... and the worst are black powder weapons that would take excruciatingly long to reload. (On the flip side, some survivors do actually use black powder weapons these days, for hunting. A benefit is that it's not too terribly difficult to make your own ammunition, and you can save bullets for the monsters and road gangs.)

For example, near Hank Ketcham is a case that holds a gatling pistol "just like the kind that 'One-Eye' Hank Ketcham once used", and an eyepatch that "might have been" worn by Hank. A case near Calamity Jane includes a placard about a purported visit that she made to Montana, and an incident at an opera house where the performance was allegedly of poor quality. According to the story, Calamity Jane spit a wad of tobacco across the room and hit the star of the performance square on the forehead, then started shooting out lights and shot down a chandelier from the ceiling ... to the applause of the rest of the audience. Within the case is a lever-action rifle that the placard claims was confiscated from Calamity Jane after this particular incident.

Even the "tall tales" heroes get some artifacts. A plaque has some clippings from an old west newspaper known as the Tombstone Epitaph -- sort of the "National Inquirer" of the Weird West. The articles claim sightings of "tall tale" heroes come to life. In one story, there is an account of a remarkable woodsman that went by the name of Paul Bunyan, who performed several logging feats. When a fellow lumberjack picked a fight with him, he knocked the man's head clean off in a single punch, then left, never to be seen again. On display is an axe purportedly used by Bunyan before he stormed off. Similarly, there are two sledgehammers allegedly used by a real-life John Henry, one in each hand.

Lastly, there is a lariat that looks to have been made from the hide of a huge rattlesnake (twenty-five feet long, the placard claims), purportedly granted as a prize from "Pecos Bill" to a local (back in the 1880s) after a lasso contest in which "Pecos Bill" was bested by an amazingly talented 10-year old girl.

In terms of salvage, the dummies might be relieved of their costumes, yielding a few sets of very old and dusty clothing, some gunbelts, boots and bandoliers ... plus a few hats.

If someone takes the time to try to ransack this place for salvage, here is some of what they might find:

  • Weapons display:
    flintlock pistol, springfield musket, cap-and-ball revolver, Colt Army Revolver (single action), gatling pistol
  • Tall Tales displays (Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, John Henry, Slue-Foot Sue):
    two sledgehammers ("big clubs"), hatchet (axe), rattlesnake lariat, three sets of clothes for very large men, one set of woman's clothes, three pairs of large boots (AV -2 to feet), one cowboy hat, one holster.
  • "Revenant" figure:
    black cowboy outfit, black cowboy hat, black boots (AV -2 to feet), black gloves, gun belt, two quickdraw holsters (+2 to quickdraw), two replica cap-and-ball revolvers
  • Western Hero displays:
  • Joaquim Murrietta:
    Mexican-style men's clothes, boots, sombrero, sash, replica cap-and-ball revolver (no holster)
  • Annie Oakley:
    woman's clothes, boots, hat, replica lever-action rifle
  • Bat Masterson:
    man's clothes, badge, boots, gunbelt and double holster, twin replica single-action revolvers
  • Billy the Kid:
    man's clothes, boots, gunbelt and quick-draw holster, replica single-action revolver
  • Doc Holliday:
    man's clothes (fancy), hat, cane, boots, deck of playing cards (purportedly actually used by Doc Holliday himself), gunbelt, holster, replica single-action revolver, long coat
  • Jesse James:
    man's clothes, cowboy hat, boots, chaps, gunbelt, double holster, twin replica single-action revolvers
  • "One-Eye" Hank Ketcham:
    man's clothes, Texas Ranger badge, cowboy hat, boots, gunbelt, oversize holster, replica gatling pistol, eyepatch, second eyepatch (from display case -- purportedly worn by Ketcham)
  • "Wild" Bill Hickok:
    man's clothes (frilly), pancake hat, boots, gunbelt with double holster, twin replica revolvers, deck of cards (purportedly the same cards "Wild" Bill Hickok had when he was slain, but the cards don't look old enough).
  • Wyatt Earp:
    man's clothes, cowboy hat, long coat, badge, gunbelt with holster, replica revolver, boots
  • Calamity Jane:
    man's clothes (yes, on Jane, even), boots, hat, replica rifle, lever-action rifle (in display case -- purportedly used by Jane to shoot up an opera house in Montana)
  • paintings or photos of each personage, with history placards

  • Hall of Heroes Player Handouts


    Of the items in the Hall of Heroes, a few have a little more to them than meets the eye. Most of them have no special ability, despite hints that they might have historical significance, but a few have some genuine potential as relics.

  • Rattlesnake Lariat:
    The story about the lariat is true. Pecos Bill may have never existed as a living, breathing man before the Reckoning, but he was given life by all the tall tales told in his name. If this lariat is used by a cowboy or cowgirl who is "pure of heart" (Marshal's call) and in some way exemplifies the spirit of the West, it behaves as a normal lariat, except that it's nigh-indestructible (only destroyed at Marshal's discretion), the user gets a +2 to hit with it (or perform stunts), and the user's Strength is treated as being four die types greater when acting upon something that has been caught by it. The lariat is supernaturally endowed to be able to lasso even insubstantial, spirit beings, and it counts as a "Ghost Weapon", able to be taken into the Hunting Grounds, since it ultimately is a creation of magic, not of the material world.

    The Taint on this relic is that if the user fails to live up to the idea of a "cowboy" or a "cowgirl", in some way embodying the "spirit of the West", then the lariat will eventually dissipate entirely. It's not just a toy to be used by the average Posse member.

  • Calamity Jane's Rifle:
    This is only one of the several weapons that has been used by Calamity Jane, but its use at the opera house has infused it with a certain legendary quality. The rifle is treated as a normal lever-action rifle, except that the user gets +4 to hit inanimate objects with it, and to do trick shots (such as shooting a gun out of someone's hand, shooting down a chandelier, et cetera). On the flip side, the Taint on this relic is that it's not of much use in trying to get in a fatal shot on an enemy. The user cannot make called shots against the head or gizzards of an enemy (even if it's an undead nasty or a monster), and any head shots or gizzard shots that roll up don't get any bonus dice for damage.
  • Revenant's Revolvers & Holsters:
    These are not genuine holsters or revolvers used by the Revenant. However, this statue of the Revenant has picked up a bit of a "dark aura" over the years. After all, the actual "Revenant" was never the ghost of a single dead criminal, but rather the collected spirit of hatred of authority generated by several dead outlaws. If someone swipes the Revenant statue's pistols or the quick-draw holsters, he will be plagued by Night Terrors -- repeatedly dreaming of being in an old west town at high noon, facing off against the Revenant, then getting shot through the heart.

    If the character returns whatever items he took from the Revenant statue, the dreams end, and he can go on along his business. If the character is not a Law Dog, the holsters will give him a +4 bonus to quickdraw when drawing against a lawman, and the pistols allow him to shoot for a lawman's heart without the usual -10 penalty for a called shot. (Now, maybe he wants to aim for the head, especially if the lawman is a Harrowed ... but that's not how this legend works. It has to be the heart.)

    Actually making use of these bonuses, however, set the character up for treading down the path to corruption, as fate will bring him across the paths of other lawmen, and somehow word will get out that he was responsible for the death of any lawmen he shot -- even if there were no witnesses. If he's killed in the process of gunning down lawmen, he'll come back from the dead as a new Revenant. (Sorry, that's a Marshal-controlled character.) If he goes on a lawman killing spree, he'll eventually transform into a Revenant, too. Hopefully, though, you've got a character who has enough sense to realize that he's got trouble on his hands.

    However, if it looks like you've got a character who is open to temptation, the Reckoners may see fit to plant a few seeds of corruption ... by bestowing a few more powers upon the character, provided he continues along the path of criminal activity. For instance, the guns might develop the mystical ability to reload their bullets by spending 1-4 actions spinning the chamber, just like the Revenant of old. Or, the guns might develop an ability to fire AP bullets, or a bonus to hit, etc., making them more on par with more modern weapons the character might be better inclined to use.

    If, however, this would just darken your campaign more than it's worth, just leave it at the level of giving a Posse member bad dreams for defiling the statue of the Revenant.

  • Faux Relics:
    Similar to the pistols of the Revenant, there are a number of items here that "might" be relics, but actually aren't. The "Dead Man's Hand" of Wild Bill Hickok, John Henry's hammers, and other such relics are too legendary to all be cooped up here in one little off-the-beaten-path Wild West Museum. However, if some member of your Posse in some way carries on the "tradition" of one of these heroes, or idolizes them, then one of these antiques might take on a life of its own in the hands of this character, so long as he lives up to the ideals of his hero. An example would be a lawman who highly regards Wyatt Earp, or a gunslinger who thinks Doc Holliday was the greatest gunfighter of all time ... or, a self-styled "Robin Hood" type who buys all those legends about Jesse James.

    In the hands of a character who properly appreciates the item, it might give a +2 bonus when performing a particular feat. (Pistols that give +2 to hit a criminal when wielded by a lawman, for instance.) The exact details should be tailored to fit your particular Posse. It wouldn't quite fit the flavor to just treat these as "generic magic items" to be possibly passed over or even sold by the Posse as curiosities rather than legends.

  • Relics Camping Out

    Player Handouts

    In case the Posse wants more details about the information they find on the displays in the Hall of Heroes, here are some links to some player handout information, spelling out in greater detail the exploits of the heroes on display. Only some of these may have any relevant information that could give clues on which items on display might have any special value, but it would have the effect of underscoring those particular items if only more detailed information were available on the "important" displays, and not the rest. Therefore, some extra information is provided for "fluff" and red herrings.

  • Pecos Bill
  • Joaquin Murrietta
  • Bat Masterson
  • Billy the Kid
  • Doc Holliday
  • Annie Oakley
  • Wild Bill Hickok
  • Jesse James

  • On to Part V: Cobalt Caves

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    Deadlands, Deadlands: Hell on Earth and Deadlands: The Weird West and characters and features thereof are trademarks of Pinnacle Games, and their use here does not constitute a challenge of trademark status. This site is by no means official, and should not be considered representative of the quality of the products of Pinnacle Games. With the exception of the "Deadlands" logo, and except where otherwise noted, all artwork and all articles on this page are (c) by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock, and may not be reproduced without permission.