Cowboys From Hell was a campaign I ran in roll20 for some internet strangers. My goal was simply to learn roll20 and see how it worked for potential future games at home. I’ll post my campaign info here in case someone would like to run it themselves. This will be a two part post, the second one will contain a lot more specific detail about the town.
This is a very un-guided campaign. There isn’t a strict order of events or a strict path for the PCs to follow. Looking back, I probably should have sped up the timeline of events that governed things, and included more to get them out of the city. This game is on a timeline, which is nice for planning around IRL. You should be able to gauge how many sessions it will be, and frankly, there is an end point if the players ignore the plot, or go off on goose chases.
Essentially, the concepts of the game was to take a classic cowboy tale, switch it to DND, and add in pathfinder guns and eberron elemental trains. Very liberally borrowing from the campaign seed “Law of the West” from the Tome of Fiends.
You are awakened/press ganged into service in Hell. Rich evil guy somehow got your soul after you died. He’s using it to reanimate you and give you a new run of it. He also inherited a town on the outskirts of bumfuck. The town has a ruby mine and no sheriff. He is sending you to bring law, and protect the town. But really, what matters is he wants you to get the rubies flowing again.
Backstory: You awaken suddenly. You have vague memories of dying, and as you think on it, you struggle to get the specifics. As you think more, you realize you can’t recall much. Your name, some professional skills, and some broad strokes about your life. It seems like a lot of the details are missing though. That was all so long ago. You remember paradise, and then darkness. As you dwell on it more and more, its details too fade. Very quickly, all you remember was it sucked and you don’t want to go back. You awaken from your reminiscence to a quick harumph, and are greeted by a well dressed, portly, devil whose face is almost entirely made of sharp teeth. You look around to see x (the number of players) other nude beings looking about as confused as you. The man motions briskly to the row of satchels along the wall, each labeled with a name. If you wouldn’t mind dressing yourselves, we can be on our way. He turns around and faces out into an extravagant hallway of red and white swirled marble surrounded by a worn, ancient, black, wood. The satchel contains a collection of items which bring back memories of your adventuring days. This gear would have been perfect for you, and its condition is like new. You quickly put it on, and follow down the hall….
DM Plot Info
Grand Admiral Fazri Ilaqi, an ifrit, won land in a game of cards with a devil,. It was a total buy out of all of his holdings (strongly implying the death of the devil). His goal was to get rubies, but it came with a town and the 50 mile radius around it. Thornrock stopped mining during transition. Ilaqi also got the devil’s collection of souls. Unfortunately for him, he received a summons to devil court, and if he can’t prove he is doing the best care of land he will lose it. Specifically, he needs the rubies flowing again within 2 months.
PCs are some of said souls. He has awoken them and asked them to go sheriff the town. 1 – Make sure its not rioting, 2 – keep bandits out. 3 – Get ruby mines rolling again. Will give 10% mines profits.
The PCs are the third group he has sent to do this.
- Group 1 – Paladins, he thought they would be into slaying devils. They were, but would not work with him and just slaughtered the town as well as the problem.
- Group 2 – Hired devils, they immediately tried to take over town, and made the situation worse.
- Group 3 – You
- Group 4 – Ilaqi thinks “Ill just hire salamanders to do it, but will be expensive”. They will show up with 3 weeks to do the job if the PCs have not yet.
Timeline of Events
- Weeks 1-2 – Travel to Phantomreach
- Week 3 – Arrive in Thornrock (probably)
- Week 4 –
- Week 5 – Yeqon kidnapped – by Lauron Shop closed.
- End of Week 6 – Salamanders Arrive – push for all out war. Partial success only.
- Week 7- Gnoll invasion
- Week 8 – Rubies need to be in Phantomreach
As you can see, the meat of the campaign mostly takes place during weeks 3 and 4.
As they approach town the first time, read “As you see a town on the horizon, you also make out that the ground has started to become packed denser into a sort of makeshift road leading towards it. Coming closer, you see your first sign, that maybe this won’t be so easy. 6 humanoid practitioners staked outside of town on crucifixes dead, with buzzards picking at their remains. As you approach, one shouts and is apparently still living. It demands you free it (named kokabiel) or it will have your hides. A quick examination shows these 6 are all wearing badges of office. Sheriff.
Encourage the PCs to introduce themselves to the mayor. While doing so. Blackthorn sends men to greet these “new shurrifs”. ~10 imps (pistols) and 2 chain devils. They should have a shootout in town square.
- Rofocale the noxious – old owner of the town.
- Grand Admiral Fazri Ilaqi – Efreeti Brazen Deceiver PF Bard 6 – Prim/proper merchant.
- Murmur – Ifrit’s manservant – Amnizu who came with property.
- Salamander – brute British chavs. Hired muscle.
- BlackHorn – rich plantation owning Bone Devil (Beauregard BlackHorn) nearby. Disagrees with new ownership and thinks it should be his.
- BlackHorn’s Gang – currently running town. Need to be driven out. Most of his gang are chain devils and imps.
- Bojack – Orthon brute – Brute and muscle for BlackHorn.
- William – Pale Stranger – slick undead gunslinger and muscle for BlackHorn.
- Mayor Leonard Flint (Erinyes) – Coward and in charge, but not really. More of a pretty boy than anything else. Basically holds court in the brothel, and is happy for the perks of mayor, but way over his head.
- Most NPCs were straight from the book monsters, but were given pathfinder pistols and rifles. 10 or so imps with rifles can really cause a party to rethink tactics.
- Leader: that’s the point. Mayor Leonard Flint (Erinyes)
- Members: various devils and townsfolk
- Methods: none. The PCs?
- Wants: law and order
- Does Not Want: BlackHorn, or “the new guy”
- Leader: Mayor Puloman (Horned Devil)
- Members: Ice Devil Paladin 2 Sheriff, 2 Ice Devil Deputy, townsfolk.
- Methods: Law, Physical Threats, Prestige.
- Wants: Stability, order.
- Does Not Want: trouble
- Leader: The Honorable, General Beauregard BlackHorn.
- Members: Bojack the Orthon brute, William the pale stranger, a collection of 50 imps, and 15 chain Devils.
- Methods: Legal Claims, Handshake Agreements, Scare Tactics, Strongarm, was once a deputy of Rofocale’s and has a badge.
- Wants: Ownership of the town, and the mines.
- Does Not Want: to cooperate.
- Leader: Chief Ordog (female gnoll cleric 10)
- Members: Band of Gnolls, 2 Cleric 7s, 10 Barb 5s, and 40 Ranger 2s, along with 50 or so noncombatant gnolls, and as many Hyena.
- Methods: ambush, sabotage, slaughter
- Wants: actual war
- Does Not Want: Nearby towns to exist
- Leader: Fire Giant Barbarian 5
- Members: 30 hill giants
- Methods: brute force
- Wants: money (they are mercenaries)
- Does Not Want: not a whole lot they won’t do.