Session Summary #4 -- "The Elephant Graveyard" Back to Campaign
The Elephant Graveyard
Deadlands Session Summary #4 (Group B): The Elephant Graveyard

Our heroes find themselves heading up the Congo River in search of the legendary Elephant Graveyard, using a copy of a map that is brought back by an explorer who is the sole survivor of his expedition, and who died shortly after crawling onto the grounds of a mission, and blathering about cannibals and a lost city. This time, the expedition consists of heroic pilot Dash Stone (providing transportation), his faithful assistant Eddie, German ex-officer Karl Faust, Indian tracker (and shaman) Windwalker, and the antiquarian and group photographer (and hexslinging huckster), Hiram Warcroft.

The oppressive heat and humidity and other hazards of the Congo take their toll on the group (save for Faust, who is well accustomed to the African jungle), to the point that Hiram is lying in the back, near delirious. Several natives appear along the bank, and Faust responds by shooting one who has a blowgun. The natives begin raining blowgun darts upon the boat. Dash heroically pulls Eddie down to the relative shelter afforded by the edge of the boat, and then returns fire, along with Faust and Windwalker.

A shaman amongst the natives makes an invocation of their "river god", and a huge crocodile surfaces to attack the boat. Dash pegs the crocodile in the head, then has Eddie steer the boat toward the bank, determining that their odds are better with the jungle and the remaining natives than with this monster. Hiram, having finally recover by this point, climbs out to moor the boat, and Faust gets out to continue firing at those natives that are still attacking the group with blowguns. Faust manages to kill the shaman, but the crocodile is still on the rampage, and charges the boat, smashing it and sending Dash and Eddie into the water. Dash, despite being unable to swim, is in shallow enough water that he manages to keep his gun dry, and proceeds to take advantage of the crocodile's exposed underbelly to put a rifle shot into its brain pan ... killing the beast!

The remaining natives flee, and the group tends to the business of salvaging their equipment from the ruined boat, and dragging the dead crocodile ashore. Hiram uses his "hexes" to determine that the "lost city" is actually fairly close by, and that it would not be necessary to use the circuitous path indicated by the map to get there. He then takes a photograph of the group standing triumphant in front of the dead giant crocodile. The group discovers fresh boot prints in the mud nearby, and leading off in the direction Hiram has indicated earlier. Faust takes the lead, sneaking ahead, while the others follow behind, watching for further dangers. Faust discovers a pitfall next to some heads on spikes, and uncovers the pit so that the others will find it. Hiram takes a photograph of the spiked heads, angling for maximum dramatic horror effect.

Eventually, Faust makes his way to a clearing, with a couple of buildings nearby ... and several nasty traps in the ground that consist of small pits just large enough to trap a leg, with downward sloping bone spikes ... such that pulling the leg back out would result in considerable damage. He also finds the entrance to the ruins of the so-called "lost city", and the large number of elephant tusks and bones verified that this might well be the legendary Elephant Graveyard. He spies a British hunter nearby, hiding in the bushes, but as the others approach, the hunter slips off into the underbrush. While the others investigate the buildings, Faust goes off into the "lost city".

While Windwalker (who keeps getting called "Windbreaker" by the others, not realizing that it might be an unflattering mistake) deals with the "call of nature", Hiram and Dash investigate the buildings and find a couple of the leg traps ... the hard way. Hiram miraculously finds a hand shovel in his coat (with a little help from a Trinkets hex), and digs himself out, then helps Dash out, with neither of them taking any damage from the ordeal. They then open up the door to the larger building and are greeted by dangling, headless, rancid human corpses, and a fetid stench. Hiram is unfazed, but Eddie and Dash both pass out at the overwhelming smell and the sheer horror of the scene. Hiram investigates the building, finding some figurines and other articles, and takes another photo for good measure, then heads out to meet with the others, as they recover from the ordeal.

Faust makes progress inside the ruins, managing to bypass a trap that fires poison blowguns by climbing over the "heads" that the darts shot out of. The others at last reach the ruins, but Faust is being deliberately sneaky, and avoids their notice - at first - which is fairly difficult, given the large number of bones scattered about the floor.

Dash posts Eddie as a guard, and the others go on in. Windwalker discovers the trap, and the group manages to plug the holes the darts are shooting out of, then to disable the trap entirely by pushing in some loose blocks that serve to disarm it. Faust by this time makes it past another trap, then up to a rickety-looking platform that has - in its center - a pedestal with a gold-covered skull on it. Faust surmises that this is a trap, and discerns the correct approach to reach it without falling to his doom. Rather than taking the skull and setting off another trap, he ties a rope through the eye holes, and then moves back to pull the skull off the pedestal from afar. Sure enough, the platform collapses, and blocks fall from above, but he escapes harm.

By this time, Hiram catches up with Faust and notices him. In the next chamber, there are many more bones, with a throne in the center, upon which is resting a withered, bony corpse clutching what appears to be a sceptre. Hiram observes that the arm of the corpse couldn't possibly be strong enough to hold such a sceptre, and surmises that the "sceptre" is actually a lever mechanism serving an unknown purpose. As Windwalker walkes across the room, he discovers this purpose, as a large bony projectile launched from the base of the throne, knocking him back across the stone bridge leading in there.

Faust, meanwhile, sneaks up toward a side chamber that holds a stone chest with a jade stone set on its front. He manages to disarm a couple more "skull dart" traps. Hiram makes his way up to the throne, but when he steps in front of it, a pit open up under his feet. Windwalker and Dash rush to try to aid him, but set off more spear traps, and both of them get knocked out of the chamber by the resultant force. Hiram manages to clamber out before the pit door can close again. As Windwalker and Dash pick themselves up, Hiram and Faust discuss the matter of how to safely open the chest, and whether a light that is shining on the stone serves any functional purpose. Hiram hears a creak from behind him, and reflexively turns to attack the corpse by running it through the heart. This maneuver, however, brings him right over the pit again ... and it opens again ... and he has to climb back out again before it closes. While everyone is distracted, Faust opens up the chest, and finds a golden elephant idol inside. He exchanges the skull for it, tucking the idol away.

Hiram is so frustrated that, when he climbs back out, he tosses the corpse from the throne into the pit. However, something unnatural is happening ... and the skeletons about the chamber start to rise ... and after a bit, there is an ominous banging from beneath the pit trap door. A fierce battle breaks out, with everyone trying to plow their way through skeletons and make a rush for the exits. Faust takes advantage of an opening to rush for the waterfall, and to start climbing up the slope on one side, toward sunlight above. Hiram fights his way through the skeletons and makes another rush for the waterfall. Windwalker and Dash, however, rush for the entrance, though they are taking quite a beating from the skeletons.

Eddie comes in to help Dash, taking out several skeletons with his double-barreled shotgun, but at last he gets knocked out, and the skeletons close in. Windwalker is on a collapsing bridge section, but swims to one side, and climbs out. Windwalker then calls upon his Guardian Spirit, and turns into a bear, then proceeds to smash skeletons with greater effectiveness. Dash, though getting knocked off the bridge and into the water at one point, gets back out and comes to Eddie's rescue, smashing through skeletons with amazing strength. The bear, however, comes up and pretty much finishes off the rest of the animated corpses.

Hiram, using his hexes, manages to teleport himself out of the area, once he gets within sight of the exit. Faust, realizing that there are several skeletons below him, and no Hiram, drops a grenade, taking many of them out. Then, the undead queen bashes her way out of the pit, lets out an inhuman shriek, and proceeds to animate a bundle of broken bone shards to fling into Hiram, knocking him unconscious. Faust tosses another grenade to her, doing little damage to her directly, but taking out several more skeletons. As she begins to gloat, however, the pit trap door beneath her - damaged by her exit and now by the explosion - collapses ... and she falls several yards, to be crushed at the bottom. So, once again, our heroes are victorious! The one remaining skeleton collapses.

All seems well at this point. Hiram regains consciousness and attempts to use his powers of levitation to grab a jade gem lying amongst the bones, but the Manitou he contacts decides to be ornery, and "creatively" interprets his instructions in such a way as to fling the gem to the bottom of a well. Faust gets back down, finding no further opposition present, and goes back to fetch the gilded skull he had used as a "decoy" earlier. No sense in letting that much gold go to waste!

The "bear" wanders outside ... and is promptly hit by a shot from an elephant gun! The wounded "bear" retreats back indoors, and secretly changes back into Windwalker (though greatly needing the services of a seamstress, what with the damage that accompanies a pair of trousers suddenly being filled by the bulk of a grizzly bear). Dash Stone, Eddie and Windwalker try to sneak out to deal with their new adversary, but a well-placed shot takes out Eddie's midsection in a single blast. It turns out to be the hunter Faust had spotted earlier, who now cackles maniacally that the "Lost City" and its gold is all his and nobody will take it from him - as he rushes to reload his rifle for another shot. Windwalker and Dash won't give him that opportunity, however. A short while later, the deranged hunter is dead, and Windwalker has himself a new elephant gun.

A bit later, the group meets up together again, and they spend some time bandaging wounds (with a little surreptitious supernatural healing on the side, too) and gathering what loot there is to be found, then heads off to retrieve their belongings. Fortunately, though the boat is smashed, the other hunter has one of his own.

So, after taking considerable time to skin the giant crocodile and rest up, our heroes gather up their surviving gear and trophies, and head back down the Congo toward civilization, armed with proof of the true location of the legendary Elephant Graveyard, and a lost city of the ancients.

Thus ends another exciting adventure for our heroes, but there's more yet to come! Don't miss a single exciting episode of ... Deadlands: 1936!

Session #5

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