The Investigation Begins
RE: Missing: Fancy Man
This telegram is from back East, and from the looks of the return address's neighborhood in the telegraph office's atlas, it's from a family with some money in the bank!
TO WHAT PASSES FOR AUTHORITY IN WEST STOP WE HAVE NOT HEARD FROM OUR SON JEFF IN SEVERAL WEEKS STOP HE SET OUT A FEW MONTHS AGO IN PURSUIT OF A RIDICULOUS FANTASY ABOUT STRIKING IT RICH MINING FOR MEAT ON THE FRONTIER STOP LAST FORWARDING ADDRESS WAS ROOM 6, THE ROUGH DIAMOND SALOON STOP ASK AFTER "JEFF THE FANCY DUDE" STOP THAT IS THE RIDICULOUS NAME HE IS APPARENTLY GOING BY NOW STOP
Yeah, with a telegram that long they definitely have some money. It's probably worth rescuing their son -- maybe there's a reward!
|Head to the Rough Diamond|
Wow, they weren't kidding when they said this place was rough. A fancy dude from back east wouldn't last a single night here. You approach one of the patrons to ask about Jeff, but instead of an answer you get a punch in the mouth. I guess that's how it's gonna be.
RE: Help! Desperados!
The telegram is return-addressed from a little one-horse town up north called Spitback. The message reads:
URGENT HELP NEEDED STOP BANDITS RUNNING AMOK IN TOWN STOP SHERIFF PEED AND RAN AWAY STOP PLEASE HELP SIGNED MAYOR QUALK
What kind of a name is 'Qualk'? Well anyway, you jump on your horse (that horse you've got, remember?) and giddyup north, arriving in Spitback in a couple of hours -- now it's a two-horse town.
As advertised, the place is full of desperados, thugs, and bandits, and they're raisin' a devil -- hootin' and hollerin', smashing windows, shooting holes in signposts, looting the shops and houses and pushing little old ladies in the mud, that sort of thing.
Looks like it's time to take matters into hand. Also a gun.
|Lay down the law|
You fire a shot into the air to get the bandits' attention, but since there's so much shooting going on already, they don't notice. So you fire a shot into a bandit, and they notice that, yessir.
RE: Missing: Pioneer Daughter
This telegram is from a mother desperate to get in touch with her daughter.
TO ANYONE WHO CAN HELP STOP PLEASE FIND OUR DAISY STOP SHE IS A SWEET GIRL AND DEFINITELY NOT A DANGER TO HERSELF OR ANYONE ELSE STOP
Hmm. Not a lot to go on.
|Do some digging|
You go to the county clerk's office and dig through the public records for the area. Remarkably, only one person named Daisy has ever been anywhere near here in the entirety of recorded history. You're guessing that's probably her. You set out toward her homestead.
RE: Big Gambling Tournament Announced
The telegram reads:
HEARD YOU'RE GOOD WITH CARDS STOP HOLDING GRAND POKER TOURNAMENT IN DOGE CITY STOP YOURE INVITED TO TRY YOUR LUCK STOP RSVP BY RETURN RECEIPT SIGNED SNAKE-EYES GLENN
Well! You do consider yourself a keen hand with a pack of cards, but you wouldn't've thought word of you would've spread as far as a high-stakes roller like Snake-Eyes Glenn. You tell the telegraph operator to send back a confirmation, and you pack your slickest duds and fanciest bolo-tie for the ride to Doge City.
When you arrive at the Great Western Hotel & Saloon where the tournament is being held, you surprised to discover a massive hand-to-hand brawl going on in an empty lot out back -- and you recognize Snake-Eyes Glenn watching from the hotel balcony and laughing. A nearby man in a suit, with a "Tournament Official" ribbon, is watching the brawl with a serious look on his face, so you ask him what's going on. "You here for the tournament?" he asks. "We had more entrants show up than what we were prepared for. Not enough seats, y'see. So Snake-Eyes decided the best way to settle the matter would be with a good old-fashioned punch-up. Last sixty-four men standing get in."
"Punch-up?" you ask. "There's an awful lot of fellas in there with knives. And I hear some pistols as well..."
The official shrugs. "You want to be the one to go in there and confiscate 'em, be my guest. You here to play?"
You watch the brawl for a moment, then nod. "Yeah, I think I can work with these odds." The official writes down your name as you roll up your sleeves and wade into the brawl.
RE: Haunted Boneyard
You open the telegram, which says:
HELP NEEDED STOP PARISHIONERS REFUSE TO ENTER GRAVEYARD STOP CANT CARRY COFFINS MYSELF STOP COFFINS PILING UP NEXT TO CHURCH WOODPILE STOP SEND EXORCIST OR SOMETHING SIGNED FATHER BARLOW
The return address is given as The Church, Horsebag -- which is a couple hours ride east of here. You mount up and ride out that way, and when you arrive at the church the frantic-looking padre runs out to greet you with relief.
"Thank goodness you're here!" he exclaims. "Just look at this!" He points you toward a tremendous pile of buzzards, which turns out to actually be a tremendous pile of coffins with a lot of buzzards perching on them.
|Better go and shoo them away, I reckon.|
Just as you're stepping forward to shoo away the birds, you hear a loud groaning and creaking sound, and then all the coffins burst open, spilling corpses everywhere! The buzzards are first startled, then delighted, then startled again when the corpses start to fight back, and you soon find yourself caught up in a massive buzzard vs. zombie brawl.
RE: Sheriff Wanted
This is a telegram from the Merchants Association of Breadwood. Breadwood is a mining camp in the Brown Hills territory, renowned for its lawlessness. The telegram reads:
SHERIFF NEEDED URGENTLY STOP PREVIOUS SHERIFF DAN DRISCOLL FLED TOWN STOP CRIME RUNNING RAMPANT STOP TELEGRAPH OFFICE ONLY SAFE PLACE LEFT IN OH NO WHO ARE YOU PUT THAT GUN AWAY OH PLEASE GOD
Huh. It stops pretty abruptly.
|Try your hand at sheriffing|
You ride to the Breadwood camp and look around. In every direction, there is a crime. To the south, a robbery. To the north, an assault. To the west, a crooked game of Faro. To the east, somebody fishing without a license. Somebody needs to put a stop to this! You should make your way to the sheriff's office, but man are there a lot of criminals between you and it.
RE: Madness at the Mine
The sender listing on the telegram says "Cruddledank Mine", and the message reads:
URGENT HELP NEEDED STOP MINERS GOING CRAZY AND RIOTING STOP HEARING WEIRD VOICES STOP REQUEST IMMEDIATE AID STOP HE IS WAITING HE IS WAITING HE IS WAITING HE IS WAITING
"That last bit just keeps repeating," says the telegraph operator.
Well now! This sounds... unusual.
|Investigate the mine|
You ride out to Cruddledank Mine, and find the camp deserted -- at least the bits that are not the actual underground mine bits, like the bunkhouses and offices. Everything is a jumbled mess, though. It doesn't look like the place was ransacked, because there's too much of value still laying around. But most of the shelves and desks have had their contents swept to the floor and scattered, and those that haven't have had their contents instead arranged in very precise geometric patterns, or in teetering but carefully-balanced stacks. And there's not a sound to be heard anywhere.
It looks like power is still connected to the mineshaft elevator though, so after a moment's hesitation (or a few moments, and who would blame you) you grab some candles and head down into the darkness.
RE: Missing: Many Children
You read the telegram:
CHILDREN GONE STOP ALL HOPE LOST STOP NO POINT STOP
Wow. That is bleak.
|Check the return address|
Do telegrams even have a return address? Let's say they do. The return address on the telegram is in a coastal town you haven't heard of, which is weird, because the coast isn't that big.
You hire a stagecoach to take you there. It drops you off in front of the town's only hotel, but it's too late for you to check in, and anyway there's a sign in the window that says "CLOSED DUE TO FOG." You turn up your collar and shudder in the cold sea wind. Might as well look around and see if you can figure out what's going on.
RE: Wagon Train Escort Wanted
The return address on the telegram says "Ethel Hackleton, Dirtwater". It reads:
HEARD YOU'RE THE HANDY TYPE GOT A JOB FOR YOU STOP MOVING WEST WITH FAMILY NEED GUARD FOR WAGON TRAIN STOP CONFIRM VIA RETURN RECEIPT SIGNED E H
Well, a town named "Dirtwater", you can well imagine someone might want to move out of it. Most of the West is still untamed, but you imagine you've got enough to handle anything likely to cause trouble for a wagon train. So sure, why not. You wire back confirmation and pack your saddlebags for the trip to Dirtwater.
The ride to Dirtwater is uneventful, and and you meet up with the Hackletons the next morning. The matriarch, Edith -- though everyone calls her 'Granny' -- looks as tough as her wrought-iron wheelchair, and she introduces you around the rest of the clan. It's a passel of sons and daughters and in-laws and cousins and grandkids large enough for a fairly serious wagon train; gonna be a lot of vacant houses in Dirtwater soon. Not that you'd mind seeing the backs of them if you lived here, as they're a scruffy and sketchy-looking lot, but whatever -- so long as their money spends.
The wagons are loaded and ready to go, and after you negotiate your fee with Granny (she offers you two large, which seems more than reasonable) they head out with you riding at the front, keeping an eye out for bandits and wild animals.
Occurs from using a plaintive telegram.
For all of the above, the Last Adventure location becomes Investigating a Plaintive Telegram.