Thursday, October 20, 2011

Notes on a Deadlands Character

     I didn't play a lot of Deadlandsand I haven't played any in the last decade – but I did used to care an insane amount about investing in my characters.  Well, not just my characters.  Back when I was running a Vampire: The Masquerade chronicle, I used to mock-up newspapers as player handouts (and this was without any kind of software that allowed this to be done properly or easily).  It required formatting the thing with blocks for the "photos" I would have to tape to the page, and then photocopy the thing to hand to players.  Yes, children, there was a time when not everyone had a high resolution scanner in the house. 
     Still, for not getting to play a lot of Deadlands, I do think I read about ten of the books for the RPG cover-to-cover.  I liked the idea behind the game much more than the execution of it – including what I still think of as a nightmare of game mechanics that strive to interrupt the roleplaying.  I don't need to play poker chips or be moving paper clips about on the measures of sand and grit in order to have a good time; I want to be able to play a character in a setting.  Don't make me use every single die available just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
     I found these notes – oddly detailed in my estimation – of the background for my character "Black Lachlan" MacLaren.  The Marshall (GM) who was supposed to know this, for there were some elements in the background which were supposed to come back and haunt the character.  If my memory is accurate, the character only got to play in three sessions before the game went away and he was never seen again.  I still remember the concept, even without finding these notes.  What I will admit is that there is clearly a lot more at play in my concept of the character than just these brief notes on the events of his adult life.
     (I should acknowledge at some point that I am searching through a lot of old notebooks for a couple of short stories that I'm sure would thoroughly embarrass me, and I'd like to transcribe those for the blog.  I have little shame and would like to add something different to the mix.)
     At any rate, the history of Lachlan MacLaren, Blessed Law Dog.

Black Lachlan's Background Info.
Deadland's set in 1876 (-34)
Born in 1842, Battle Creek, MI

Important Events ∙
September        1859   Starts Harvard

July             1861   Leaves Harvard to attempt to join the Army, but eventually returns to school in the fall

May              1863   Graduates Harvard, moves to Washington, D.C.

June             1863   Made part of the War Department, assigned to Boston, MA

July             1863   The Lost Sons call forth the Reckoning.  Lachlan is a junior member on New England team investigating odd events.

December         1863   Lachlan moves back to Washington, D.C. after group fails to find any concrete evidence behind the mysterious events in New England

August           1864   Lachlan joins the Treasury Department as a lawyer.  Rumors of the Confederacy counterfeiting U.S. currency to devalue the dollar lead to attempts to infiltrate the C.S.A.  Attempts fail.

June             1865   Lachlan is moved to Chicago branch of the Secret Service.  Further mysterious events prompt him to study the occult to find an answer.

October          1865   Lachlan is allowed to join U.S. Cavalry expedition into central Missouri searching for counterfeiters.  Ambushed six miles south of Moberly, only Lachlan makes it back to the Union lines alive.  The 74th Illinois Infatry, out of Quincy attacks and finds evidence of counterfeiting.  Secret Service increases vigilance about C.S.A. agents' attempts  to devalue U.S. currency.

January          1866   Meets Caitlin Forbes at Governor's Ball.

June             1866   Lachlan journeys to Portsmouth, OH to help investigate strange events.  Run-ins with Pinkertons leads to confiscation of Lachlan's weapon.  Confederate raid catches town unprepared.  Lachlan leads several families to the safety of a church.  All government buildings in the town are destroyed.

Late July        1866   Presumed dead after the raid in Ohio, Lachlan follows the leader of the raid back to Virginia.  Lachlan abducts the colonel and returns to the U.S.  The colonel is tried for treason and murder, and is hanged the same day.

February         1867   Settled in Washington, D.C. as a Secret Service Agent.  Lachlan sends for his younger brother, two cousins, his assistant from Chicago, and Caitlin Forbes.

March            1869   Lachlan is part of U.S. raid on gold reserves held in London, Ontario.  Six thousand troy ounces of gold is seized for the U.S.  Canadian officials suspect Native Americans.

May              1869   Lachlan gains prestige as he successfully lobbies the Treasury Department to declare Ghost Rock as the domain of said department.  Several agents are dispatched to the Maze, but Lachlan stays in Washington, D.C.

Early March      1871   The Battle of Washington claims Lachlan's younger brother and maims his assistant.  Treasury Department relocates (temporarily) to Patterson, NJ.  Lachlan plans to leave the Secret Service and purchases land in the Idaho territory along the Snake River.

March            1871   Lachlan proposes to Caitlin but the two agree to postpone the marriage until they are out west.

July             1871   Treasury Department moves back to Washington, D.C.  Caitlin Forbes and Lachlan's cousins (Kyle and Moira Archer) leave for Chicago.  Lachlan comes across the Pinkertons from Portsmouth, OH.

August           1871   Lachlan leaves for Chicago.  Caitlin and the others start to head west for Idaho.

Late August      1871   Lachlan is delayed in leaving Chicago as he and two Presbyterian ministers put down some undead Catholic priests at a place called Bachelor's Grove.

Mid-September    1871   Caitlin & others disappear after leaving Fort Dodge, IA.  No unusual activity surrounds the event.

October 1871-May 1872   Lachlan searches Iowa for any trace of Caitlin and his cousins.

June             1872   Heartbroken, Lachlan rejoins the Secret Service and heads for California.

August           1872   Lachlan tracks Ghost Rock thieves to Needles, CA (on the south border of Death Valley).  Texas Rangers arrive near the same time.  Bandits are attacked by a C.S.A. cavalry detachment, but kill every last one.  Lachlan and the Rangers attacked soon afterward, but were greeted only by the walking dead.

Early September  1872   Lachlan and the surviving Ranger track the Bandits to Prescott, AZ.  Despite being wounded in the shoot-out, Lachlan makes off with a wagon full of Ghost Rock.  He is forced to abandon it a day later when he was attacked by a Mojave Rattler.  He is found by a Union patrol and taken to Ft. 51.

March            1873   Lachlan is assigned to the Denver Mint, though no currency seems to be made there.  Union troops are present in Denver.

July             1873   Rumors of Caitlin take Lachlan to Deadwood.  On the third day there he is attacked by four men.  Lachlan hops the Iron Dragon east to survive and ends up back in Chicago.

November         1873   Lachlan returns to Deadwood but finds no evidence that Caitlin was there.  The Secret Service assigns him to patrol from Cripple Creek to Fort Collins.

August           1874   Huge amounts of revenue going through Salt Lake prompts Secret Service investigation.  Team is decimated by Salt Flat Rattler, leaving only three survivors.  All are vary of Salt Lake City.

June             1874   Lachlan finally travels to his property along the Snake River and finds an elderly Nez Perce living alone on it.  Lachlan asks that the man tell any woman resembling Caitlin to go to Denver.

December         1875   Lachlan is issued his automatic pistol.  Travels to Tombstone to find counterfeiters last thought to be operating out of Kansas.  Lachlan suspects that they are part of the gang he faced in Needles.

January          1876   Lachlan loses trail of bandit-counterfeiters in the Maze.  Journeys north to Sacramento.  Lachlan is part of Secret Service team that spoils assassination attempt on a Senator.  Plot was started by the bandit-gang.

March            1876   Lachlan returns to Denver. Rumors of Caitlin reappear.

No comments:

Post a Comment