Captain John McCleod

By NathanFillionNathanFillion

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The Story

There I was, in a game…
Gurps rules for a long running setting. It was a fantasy world but it was going through a 1,000-year low magic cycle at the time. The game was supposed to start as a early western style game, colonial soldiers taming the border of Mexico.

My first character, a 'German' (Or the nearest analogue for that world, at least) Doctor working at the local Army Fort, was killed by poison, so the Gm had me make a new character.

The new character was allowed to be the first hint of supernatural in the game, since he wasn't there at the start. So I play a conman who is, at first, a guide for a regiment of British Colonial soldiers. He even gets the tattoo of the regiment on his right arm and takes a young rookie under his wing as a scout-in-training.

His adopted squad are killed in a brutal massacre by rabid native Americans. He is left for dead, unconscious in a ditch with the corpse of his adopted 'brother', while the 'savages' (who are actually brain-eating ghouls) dance and eat the dead troops.

Lying as still as I can, I draw my revolver very slowly. I spend ages aiming, just watching them eat my dead friends. Then I shoot.

Boom-splat.

One of the three ghoul's heads explodes. The other two ghouls turn to the ditch, scream with rage, and charge. Scrambling up, I blow a series of holes in another of the ghouls, just barely dropping him. The third reaches me just as I draw my Big Fathering Sword. I swing wildly and manage to drop him but only after he bites a chunk out of my arm.

In honour of my lost 'brother', I take his name 'John McCleod'. Then I take his jacket and seek the nearest town, pretending to be Lt. John McCleod, sole survivor of an attack by rabid natives.

Hence, this is the first part of my story. The origin that tells you how my mind snapped, to turn me into the evil goit that I become, and how I was infected with ghouldom.

Then, still in my first solo session, I am surprised to find that my bite wound has healed in a day. In fact, I feel much fitter, stronger and healthier. But I also feel hungry, and the only thing that looks appetising is the local people's heads.

Having to move on so as to not be discovered by someone who knew the real Lt. John, (Since he was supposed to be moving here and may have let people know that.) I find out that French colonials (actually a sort of french foreign legion) run a fort in a town by the border of Mexico. A captain is in charge, a real b@$t@rd, and the army is sending another captain as the night shift commander. He has two officers with him and is supposed to meet another officer who is already waiting in my town for his arrival.

Knowing that the coming captain doesn't know the looks of the officer he is supposed to be picking up, I sneak in to his tavern room at night and stab him, stealing his coat. The next day he is discovered, with his valuables missing and his brains eaten. (I was hungry, alright?) Since it fit the story that the trusted Lt. John told, of brain eating savages, sneaking around at night, so it was blamed on wandering natives.

Later that day, I hire a group of thugs (including another PC) to help me kill the captain and anyone else who might be with me on the coach, tomorrow, when the coach reaches a specific tree. They ride out that day. The next day, the captain comes and picks me up with his two other officers. We ride to the fort.

Along the way we see a prostitute hitchhiking. I stop to let her on but refuse her propostitions of sex in return for a ride to the fort. She sleeps with the captain for money, instead.

While the captain steers, I ride shotgun, one officer plays solitaire in the back of the coach and a third sleeps. Noticing the tree coming up in the distance, (I knew about it because, as a large tree that was used for hangings on occasion, it was a landmark for the map.) I excused myself. I told the captain that I was going to take a pi$$ over the end of the coach and would have the solitaire player take over for a while. When I stepped into the back carrying a shotgun, it didn't look suspicious because I was riding shotgun. I stood behind the card player (Who had his back to the sleeping man.) and gave advice on where to put the cards so as to cover up the sound of drawing my sabre.

I placed the tip of the sabre at the throat of the sleeping man. Kicking the prostitute out of the moving coach, I blow the brains out of the man playing cards, it waking the sleeping man, who sits up. Right onto my sword. Just as the captain stopped the horses, having heard my gunshot and either realising what I was doing or just assuming I had shot at a bandit from the rear of the coach, he was suddenly facing bandits. He drew guns and started firing back, doing quite well for one man against six. But then I drew my revolver and blew six holes in his back.

While the bandits are looting the cart, I take the captains jacket and wander over to the prostitute who is now unconscious. Feeling the odd urge of hunger again, I take the prostitute behind a distant rock, telling the bandits that they can have what they want but the girl is mine and mine alone. They laugh and keep looting. I kill the girl and eat her brains. I dump the body there.

Walking into town, I see the current captain and his first officer waiting on horseback for an impressive looking man on an impressive looking horse. Since I am not and have not, I decide to impress them with skill, instead. I sneak around them to the fort, then walk from the fort to their horse, asking who we're waiting for and shocking the captain.

end of Chapter two

There's more!

When my character shocks the (other) captain of the fort, he makes a bad enemy. The captain asks me to prove that I'm a captain by showing him the captain's ring. I didn't know that I needed one, so I just tell him about the bandits and how they looted my coach. (Which is true.) He has his first officer (another PC) shoot me. I try to dodge but it hits my arm. If I wasn't a ghoul, it would have blown my arm off. As it is, it breaks it for six months worth of game time. I stand back up and bark out a demand for a duel. It is so captainly that the other captain decides to wait long enough for me to heal and fight a duel with me and 'prove' that I am nowhere near good enough to run a fort. Unfortunately, he is a master swordsman.

Since I was incapacitated, we skipped a six month period in between sessions. Since I had such a coup (going from low paid civilian to high ranking, high paid officer with ghoul powers) the party was given fifty character points. (It was supposed to be a gritty game, so we started with 25 points, which is the level of an incompetent npc. 75pnts is still just shy of an average pc in a heroic campaign.) I spent the time sneaking a peek at the captain's journal and setting up myself as a very sympathetic captain, who the civilians and troops all like.

The captain's journal reveals that he is the sort of person who tortures puppies for fun. (It's an appointment in the journal. 9am-10am: Torture small, furry puppy. He also has entries about sending the prostitute that I ate on the way to the fort, to steal the new captain's ring so that he cannot take command of the fort away from the evil b@$t@rd (him, not me).

I arrange for his honourable second, the fellow pc, to find this. Then when he does and he comes to me, I 'decide' that 'he's right', and we should go to find the woman. When we do find a headless body, he blames it on the other captain. I tell him about the evil natives that attacked my regiment and he decides that it must be the captain leading them from behind the scenes.

The day comes when I must duel the captain. The whole town comes to root for me. As expected, I am nowhere near as good. But then, when it seems like my character is dead (he's 'just' unconscious and bleeding) a mexican peasant, (The PC who was a bandit that I hired at the start of the game and let loot the caravan, who was the one who took the captain's ring, as it turns out.) who had learned some battlefield first aid in the six months that we had skipped, and gained a reputation as a Doctor for rich and poor alike, threw an axe into the other captain's head. Being surrounded by mexicans who liked me, no one would admit to having seen who it was. So he entered the ring as a medic, checked my pulse (weak but steady), then checked the other captain. (He wasn't quite dead, but the mexican said he was, wiggling the axe a little to finish him off, as he pulled it out. Since the evil captain was dead and I wasn't, the mexican was allowed to treat me and save my life, while leaving the other captain to be thrown in an unmarked ditch in unconsecrated ground because 'he was a cannibal'.

So in about four sessions I had gone from lowpaid, under powered civilian to ghoul in charge of a town/fort/silvermine/army with a loyal populace.

Since we were finishing the campaign then, I told the GM that my next plan was opening licensed casinos and cathouses with military guard as bouncers, and free healthcare for the ladies-of-the-night, and alcoholic drinks at just above cost, and careful guidelines to stop our staff allowing someone to spend all their months wage in one night, so that our customers leave happy and have enough money and incentive to come back. Essentially like Las Vegas meets Disneyland but with hookers. The GM said he was fairly certain that if we bothered continuing the campaign, I would succeed and that it was actually better than the plot he'd originally had in mind. (Which obviously wasn't 'have the ghoul take over the town, frame and personally kill the combat-monster Captain and be beloved by the entire population as he turns their town into a tourist trap for the sole reason of drawing more brains to his kitchen table.)

So, yeah. Good game.

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