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  1. 2 points
    Jorgen_CAB

    Beta 0.06 feedback

    I have played one battle of 0.6 and a few of 0.5 and I have similar experiences as you with one big difference and that is when the game ends. They only end in turn 3 if one of the sides are too aggressive and so far with a loss to the one that speed their ships into range of the opponent too fast. It is impossible to approach in a non staggered manner and will result in giving the opponent the ability to combine its firepower piece meal on the enemy. In the last battles fleets have usually deployed more carefully and almost never pointing directly forward or deployed too far forward. The reason is so we have the option to turn away and have the enemy give chase or maneuver to a better firing position. In one game a few frigates on a flank diverted two cruisers to turn on them and they in turn did not close and essentially pulled them of the fight for the entire game as a result, had the cruiser not don this they would have had the frigates firing torpedoes at them the entire game form their back while facing a battleship in front of them. We might be playing in slightly bigger playing areas though so maneuvering is a bit more interesting. I otherwise agree that buckets of dice make certain modifiers pointless... but only if both players speed into close range in turn two/three. I also think that small ships are too vulnerable against heavy guns at long range, these weapons should essentially be worthless at long range and weak at medium range. Secondary weapons should be the weapon of choice against them. Even torpedoes are too effective against small ships at long range. I certainly agree that re-rolling defense die is pointless above 3 turning limit, even 2 is perfectly OK most of the time. I think that you should get one re-roll for half the turning limit (rounded down). 1-2 give on dice, 3-4 give two dice... this is not really hard to calculate. I know they don't want to count stuff but the current model is not very good. I must say that I'm not to keen on the rules anyway but then again i never liked the old rules either, trading ships seem to be the common theme quite often and rubs me the wrong way.
  2. 2 points
    Brimstone

    Model availability

    This past April it was reported that that some model casts would come out this year. As it is now mid November, with no update on this, is this even a realistic expectation? Or will be next year sometime? It would be helpful if a periodic update was given on FA progress and model availability to keep interest alive.
  3. 1 point
    sleeping_squirrel

    Beta 0.06 feedback

    This is what I submited upon playing 750 point and 1300 point games in 0.06. It would be nice have your feeback as well.: General notes Games were played on 750 points and then on 1300 points. We did not use rules for reserves nor customised weapons except generators, to be precise only the Shield generator was used. Version played 0.06. In general we have positive feeling about the game, below are my notes which I would like you to consider. Cards + initiative Cards are too situational and hit or miss – you must be lucky to have a card on hand the moment you can use it. We played them only few times and most of the rounds in all games we just discarded cards at the end of the turn to draw new ones in hope of getting more useful hand. For example conditions like “killing the ship by ramming” are way to situational. Bonuses like rerolling one dice (“reroll any dice”) are very weak when you look at the sheer number of dice you are usually rolling, one dice does not matter most of the time. Or conditions like “killing a unit of small ships” or “cripple a unit of mediums” take time to fulfil so if those cards are drawn at the beginning of the game then it is better to discard them. Or at least that was our obvious strategy. That leads me to the fact that we did not study which “types” of cards have high numbers because … initiative is still very crucial from round two on so cards with high numbers were kept just for the purpose of winning the initiative. It happened to me that I draw only cards with low numbers the whole game so my opponent won initiative every, not happy moments at all. To recap – with limited usage and initiative too important the whole card game was only about having the card with highest number possible to win the initiative, all other aspects were secondary. Question: if you have two or more cards with the same victory condition – can you play all of them when the condition is fulfilled. For example after killing a unit of smalls can I play 2x card which gives me victory points for that and on top of that card which gives me a victory point for killing “any” unit? Markers Critical hits adding condition markers – it’s clumsy. Not only you have to keep in mind that some critical effects do that and some do not but, at least until you know the game well, you have to study the rules every time and flip pages to remind yourself what that particular condition means. And what is more – you just add two markers instead of one and only outcome is that the playing area is more cluttered. At one point we felt that there is the same amount of markers like in 2.0 edition. There should be a marker or something to mark crippled models. With a lot medium models in 1300 point game you have two options: a) to stack all the damage next to the model and remember from what amount of damage the model is crippled = playing area is cluttered with more and more damage markers; b) make notes separately = bookkeeping and if you have all models painted in the same scheme than you have think about how to differentiate individual models in the squadron so you know which is which. Boarding For attacker it’s an uphill struggle with risks involved while effects of boarding are nothing special. In general Attacker is using FRAY against CITADEL+DEFENSE. Every additional model in the unit except the first one does not add its FRAY but +2 dice to the pool. CITADEL stat is usually much higher than FRAY and you add defence dice as well. +1 dice for SRS is a joke and defender can have this bonus as well. So, attacker starts with LESS dice and needs to score at least 4 more successes than defender to do at least something useful. As his dice explode, he can of course hope for excellent rolls but where is strategy in that? The most problematic part about the boarding is that CITADEL stat does not degenerate with damage; it stays the same high number through the whole game. In 2.0 boarding was (too) strong but its main beauty was that you could weaken the ship before you committed your men to the assault. Other game mechanics LOS – I think more examples are needed in this section but in general everything was clear. However, blocking something is not easy; you basically can see and shoot everything in range, with obscured condition weight in only here or there. Turn limit and torpedo interaction – from Turn limit (3) on this MAR is useless. Sure, you can roll more than 3 ones in one roll but what chances you have for that? In our opinion this MAR is to complicated for the effect it can bring to the game. Usability during the game is poor. Penalties like -1 to FRAY (or minus one dice in general) are worthless – usually you roll so many dice that having the rule of adding/subtracting one dice does not have an effect at all. Generators – powering them up is not a good rule at all. First, generators are weak as due to linking mechanic more turrets is more dakka and that is what is handy every time, generators have limits. Second, you have cards and other means how to power them up so you can always have them up if you like. Third, if you have more generators in the fleet than it’s easy to lost track of which generators are up and which are not so one need to take notes = additional bookeping. What was obvious is that all weapons are basically the same, there is no paper-stone-scissor mechanic in this part of the rules - more dakka is more dakka. For example firing with gunnery weaponry felt the same like firing with broadsides – differences were minor. I like consistency in rules so I definitely do not like the fact that “heavy hit” is one success but “heavy counter” is two successes. Terminology should be consistent. Then you factor in “double-obscured” rule with exploding dice giving only one “heavy hit” – is it necessary? I like the rule but when already in the rulebook it should be used more and not only in this one particular situation. Other notes Unit balance – it needs to be worked on, some units felt under costed or over costed but I do not have any evidence as we did not play enough games to back up our feeling with some data. In general smalls felt too fragile. Flying models, as they do not get any cover, were targets from the turn one on 4x4’ table, especially flying smalls and mediums were taken down very quickly, immediately after someone focused on them. Large models are fine, in close range they can deliver huge amount of dice so basically no matter what their target is, they always scored hits. I like their speed, however, smalls lost another important unique aspect of being much faster that large models. We definitely did not feel that flotilla of smalls can outmanoeuvre fleet consisting of large ships only. This one little bit tricky – we kind of missed “WOW” situations which were in 2.0: the moments where lucky dice rolls completely change dynamic of the game. It is difficult to say why that is – probably it is because all ships have more HP in general but on the other hand you deal more damage as well. Most of the time you just add damage markers "without any immediate impact" or ship dies too quickly. Length of the game – games took us to play similar amount of time like 2.0 edition. Small points game – 750 points – were nice and fluent but with only handful of ships. With 1300 points per side we played 3+ hours and the game was decided in turn 3, which exactly matches usual length of 2.0 games.
  4. 1 point
    Charistoph

    An example of Vector Movement

    It REALLY depends on the system. Some can be quite predictable and easy to use, some are very clunky and can take time to organize the movement, and that applies to vector or cinematic. Speed and ranges scale the game. Most of Warmachine infantry moves as fast as 40K infantry, but the ranges on most 40K infantry are considerably longer than most ranged Warmachine Infantry (heck, average 40K pistol has better range than the average WMH rifle), and Warmachine actually cares about how far melee can hit where everyone has the same melee range in 40K. To say nothing of how they deal with special movement like Running and Charging.
  5. 1 point
    Actually, that has zero bearing on whether you use vector movement or not. The actual speed scales the game, not whether the movement is vector or cinematic. Really, try it and see for yourself. Vector movement is predictable and reduces tactical maneuvering viability - you can always be nose on target. It changes how ships get designed because you no longer need turrets because the ship IS a turret.
  6. 1 point
    "You'd better watch out, you'd better be tough... or the Krampus will carry you off" Children all along the Frontier are used to hearing about Krampus from their parents - and their elder siblings too, of course! Let’s hope Krampus Rex isn’t visiting YOU this year… Available only during December, you can take comfort that you aren't in the iron pot he carries on his back - which is just about large enough to hold one small naughty child, ready to be whisked off to who knows where... Krampus Rex is a special edition miniature from Warcradle Studios, for this festive period, and can be used as an alternative sculpt of Carcosa Rex in games of Wild West Exodus. The Krampus Rex kit builds one multi-part resin miniature; 1 x Krampus Rex 1 x Base. Who’s this coming down the chimney? Last year’s seasonal miniature, of course! Kyle the Red & White and 'Max' (a particularly quirky K9 Attack Dog) are resin miniatures and come complete with a large plinth base to display them on. For those that wish to use them in a game of Wild West Exodus, they could be taken as an alternate miniature for Kyle the Black and a K9 Attack Dog. We're including the additional bases needed for them to be fielded separately just in case players want to do just that! This product contains: 1 x Kyle The Red & White Miniature 1 x "Max" The Attack Dog Miniature 3 x Bases. View the full article
  7. 1 point
    draco84oz

    An example of Vector Movement

    Also, it depends on the scale of the game itself - not the model scale or the size of the battle, but the scale of the battlefield. Even in Battlefleet Gothic, it was acknowledged that the ships only made up a couple of fractions of a mm on the stand's stem, rather than the ships being to scale to each other and the battlefield - and BFG was a game where you could fly between a planet and its orbiting moon (for example, Luna is 250,000 miles from Terra). So, if you're doing a "close" action of several dozens of thouands of miles range, with what would be very low amounts of terrain (if any at all), vector movement might be a viable option, as the ships would be vectoring about trying to get shots at that range. But at larger scales, where full planets and asteroid fields come into it, vector movement wouldn't be a viable choice. Instead, the physical and temporal scale of the game would allow ships to accelerate, decelerate etc. over the space of a turn, making standard movement a more representative option.
  8. 1 point
    Spenetrator

    An example of Vector Movement

    Yeah, I can see Vector movement being great for hyper realistic space battles - but I'd rather stick to a simple format for fleet based games - I like Full-thrust's turn system - but it's a bit more involved than Firestorm 2.0 - And there seems no appetite for more complexity.
  9. 1 point
    Bad Idea Comics

    An example of Vector Movement

    Both of which are boring. Vector movement is extremely predictable. It makes for a slow circle of death as you fly in at high speed and then start turning in to face your opponent and they do the same - then you spiral towards each other. It's meh at best and downright annoying at worst. Cinematic movement is actually fun.
  10. 1 point
    varnos

    The Beta Lives!

    Even then, I'd be very hesitant to make that a cornerstone of my game: In a game where a lucky crit can remove a critical model like a battleship off the table, you can end up in turn one or two without the ability to significantly threaten a large portion of the opposing player's army. That doesn't make for fun games!
  11. 1 point
    Overread

    The Beta Lives!

    @Jorgen_CAB however tabletop wargames have to be careful with invulnerable models. Warhammer 40K has experimented with this with things like Titans and Air units where their original versions were very hard to impossible to kill unless the opposing player took very specific counter units. Now in a warship game shifting it so that one class cannot threaten another class is fine, but it can backfire. Esp if you have factions with high diversity. For example there might be a faction that focuses on the use of smaller ships only and has no or only very few battleship class vessels; similarly another faction could be the total opposite. Furthermore players will build fleets to be the best they can and if battleships are near untouchable by anything that isn't a battleship then players are going to try to always take as many of them as they can, above and beyond other classes. Now army structure enforcement (eg must take 1 battleship per 4 frigates) can counter that somewhat; and larger counts of models on the table counters it. But it can be a rule that might make much smaller games harder to play and balance. That's important because its small games that get new players in the door. Small games that get them tempted to play and get them started. Of course you can split rules so that you've large and small scale battle rules (much like 40K has with regular and killteam rules) however as Dystopian is getting a fresh start with a new company after a dwindling period and a period of total market absence, I figure that its better the rules are weighted toward the smaller end at launch. Much like Warmachine; its better to start for the skirmish and then as the community grows build toward larger army rules as your market builds up bigger collections
  12. 1 point
    Leave it with us!
  13. 1 point
    Jorgen_CAB

    The Beta Lives!

    One thing that I think would balance the game a bit from huge dice pools which can become a bit silly is that no attack can have more dice than twice the main weapon dice pool. It is a bit silly when 5 frigates can combine their fire power and heavily damage a battle ship with their main guns. The reason is that dice don't scale linear in effectiveness due to how the mechanic works. I also think that main heavy guns are way to efficient when fired against small ships. The main guns of battleships in WWI & II was not terribly good against small ships but their secondary armament was pretty devastating against anything that managed to get close and was small. A small ship that manage to stay at long to medium range should be pretty safe from those big guns but not the secondary guns at medium to close range.
  14. 1 point
    Xystophoroi

    Too Easy to Sink Ships.....

    Just as a note from Firestorm, the Foldspace Escape to get your damaged ships off the table to reduce the amount of points given up to the opponent if they destroy them is mostly a waste of time. The main use is as bait to force your opponent to follow up and focus fire to kill the escaping ship. The issue with the Foldspace Escape is that to do it you must sacrifice all of your offensive capability the turn you activate it AND spend at least one full turn unable to move or attack, potentially 2 full turns depending on when you activate the squadron trying to escape. If you're in a position to have picked up enough damage to want to escape then coming to a full stop and losing all offensive capability for 1 and a bit turns just guarantees you'll die (excepting dice randomness). You end up in a position where a Battleship (8hp normally) needs to start charging the fold space drives to escape once it has taken 2hp damage otherwise it wont have the hp to actually survive the time needed to charge the drives to escape. --- Conversely I've been playing some Victory at Sea (ww2 naval combat, not a rivet counting sim, focus is instead on having you make similar choices to a 'real captain' even if the reason you make those choices is game mechanics and not realistic simulation. E.g.: when on the offense crossing the T should be your aim but if you're in pursuit you want to be in line ahead formation) and that has the big ships (even some of the medium ships) with a lot of hp and it's more difficult to remove critical hit effects. E.g.: a single hit from a 16 inch gun deal between 0 and 3 hp damage (unless a crit effect does bonus damage). The King George V class battleship has 39hp (and is crippled when it has 13 hp left). Actually sinking that thing is a monumental task that really only combined fire from multiple ships with multiple big guns (really looking at at least 10 inch plus) stands a chance of doing it over an extended number of turns. Instead it tends to pick up crit effects that reduce it's effectiveness and as these kinds of gunnery duels are essentially races a crit that prevents you turning to bring the rear turrets into arc a few times can be all it takes to make it impossible to realistically win that race so the only sensible choice is to withdraw the ship, doing what it can while it does so.
  15. 1 point
    Warcradle Stuart

    Notes from Stuart, part 2

    A couple of things: The Firestorm Universe is not going to be a Cold War. If you have an entire galaxy to wage war across, with vast distances of time and space separating the various combatants you can have multiple belligerents actively battling each other in full-scale war while still having the breathing room to explore, exploit and expand. Let's not get too hung up on notions of 'The Directorate are going to be turned into X or Y.' We haven't announced any factions yet or even if there will be a Directorate at all (just kidding... maybe). Just lots of lovely speculation from the community. I'm certainly in the camp of being excited about the possibilities rather than worried about what might get thrown out with the bath water.
  16. 1 point
    VladTepes

    Unit stat card tool

    Hey guys. With the new beta around, I needed a tool to be able to easily create some unit cards I could easily update and reprint. Quite some time ago I discovered a very handy tool called RPG Cards by crobi, I have used quite a bit for Dungeon and Dragons 5th edition. It can create some very nice Item card handouts, monster reference sheets, spell cards, pretty much whatever you want. Since the project is open source in available on GitHub, I took on myself to adapt it for creating various cards Dystopian Wars. This tool allows you to create cards with a whole bunch of customization options, save and load them them as easily editable json configuration files, and then print them on standard printer sheets either as single sided or double sided cards with a customizable background. I added the ability to create landscape oriented cards and sheets, to add some stats blocks card elements for DW ships and weapons, and did a few specific tweaks to help with the kind of card I was generating. The live demo can be found on this GitHub page: DW-Cards Just press "Load sample" to load up some sample data for various card type, then press "Generate" to create the result in a new window.The various example should get you started and provide some template for the various types of cards (Unit card, Outfitting, Reference Sheet). The manual listing the various available card elements and their parameters is on the Project page.Many style options can not be customized, but since you can download the project on github and run the generator page from your disk after changing the font style or size in the cards css file. I do not plan on releasing premade card sheets (at least not until the stats are a bit more final). The idea is to make something easy enough to use so people can use the provided samples as a base to make their own unit or outfitting cards.
  17. 1 point
    He’d grown to young manhood in the sultry swamps of Louisiana but, like so many others of his generation, had headed out West to find his fortune. The gold boom had, over the course of time, given way to the love of silver. Both of those commodities, however, required expenditure of effort and he was inherently lazy. Not for him endless days of toil; of wandering the hills hoping to stake a claim on a seam of something that may or turn out to be valuable. No – he had discovered something far more appealing. Something that held a thrill greater than the simple, honest pursuit of precious metals. Those things paled in comparison to the many other opportunities that the Arizona Territories had to offer. Opportunities that a resourceful young man who discovered he had a remarkable and deadly skill with a gun could exploit to the full. And he had exploited them with great aplomb. Of course, many of those opportunities were not necessarily considered to fall within the confines of the law, but Julien Lavolier was young enough, arrogant enough and – as it now transpired – fool enough to have believed that so long as he applied sense and caution to his misdeeds, he would evade capture. It transpired that he was wrong in that assumption. Painfully wrong. He had completely underestimated the full might of the law when it finally turned its attention to the young Cajun. Very wrong. The prison cell was, as one might expect, not a pleasant place to have spent upwards of a week. A six by six foot brick cube that slowly cooked him during the day but left him shivering into the night, with only a thin, prison-issued blanket to wrap his body in. The heat wasn’t like the humidity of the swamps back home. This was a cruel, relentless heat that burned with endless fury, only relinquishing its hold when the chill of night set in. He had been given little more than the requisite bread and water for six days and his stomach was clenching painfully. He had started dreaming about his mama’s jambalaya. It hadn’t helped. Once he’d starting thinking about his mother, dead these last five years, he could hear her voice in his head. I ain’t angry, chere petit. I am jus’ disappointed. Lavolier sighed miserably, curling up into a foetal position. He lay on the rock-hard bunk that was his bed, staring at the opposite wall. There was a stain there that looked precisely like a bear and during his confinement, he had grown rather fond of it. He’d yet to reach the point of despair that saw him hold conversations with it, but it was not far off. “Julien Lavolier.” It was not a question, requiring his answer, but a statement of fact. He sat up at the voice and rubbed at sleep-deprived eyes to bring the speaker into clear focus. He was tall, this newcomer, and well-dressed in a dark grey suit with a crisp, white shirt. A long black coat hung from broad shoulders. To Lavolier’s untrained eye, the clothes seemed well cut and individually tailored. They also looked hot and stifling, made as they were from some expensive woollen based fabric. By Lavolier’s estimation, the man should have been cooking alive. It was mid-July and the outside temperatures were well in excess of one hundred degrees; the inside of the jail definitely more than that. But the man did not seem to be suffering any discomfort at all. Not so much as a bead of sweat broke his brow. He bore the burden of his woollen-based fabric load with a stoicism that had Lavolier but known it, he brought to everything. When Lavolier was sitting up fully, the man on what could best be described as the right side of the bars studied him closely. Lavolier attempted to return the scrutiny, observing a few important and several incidental ones at the same time. The first point was the star on the man’s lapel, denoting his status. He was perhaps in his mid to late forties, with sharp, pale blue eyes that did not miss a thing and a long and rather pointed nose. The expression on his finely chiselled features as he looked at the prisoner put Lavolier in mind of someone who had stepped into the street and discovered a freshly dropped pile of horse dung. He squirmed. “My name is Judge Kingsley Stern,” said the newcomer and the words were enough to turn the blood in Lavolier’s veins to ice. He knew the man by reputation. No outlaw was oblivious to the name of Judge Stern. The vaguest quirk of his lips drew the man’s mouth upwards into a semi-sneer. “You have heard of me, then.” “Oui, I have.” “Excellent. I do so dislike extended introductions. Well, then. Let’s have a little look, shall we? It would appear that your behaviour has been less than exemplary, Monsieur Lavolier,” said the lawman without a hint of sarcasm in his tone. His deference and politeness caught Lavolier off guard and he blinked. What little self-control he’d managed to maintain while in this firepit of misery slipped away from him and he heard the snivelling tone that crept, unbidden, into his voice. “I have reasons for doin’ them things what I done did, Mister Stern…” “Judge.” The cold eyes narrowed. “I will correct you once. Twice is an insult and anything more than that I will take to be a complete breach of decency. Judge. Henceforth, you will not address me by anything other than my given title again. Are we clear?” Every syllable was enunciated to perfection; not a consonant out of place and delivered in a tone devoid fully of emotion. “Crystal.” A pause. “Judge.” “Excellent.” Another expression that approximated a smile formed on the man’s mouth; thin-lipped and without humour. “I will be hearing your case later today and I very much look forward to these ‘reasons’ you have for…” He glanced down at the sheaf of papers in his hand. “Robbery, arson, two counts of murder, six counts of attempted murder and…” He looked up and clucked his tongue against the roof of his mouth as he shook his head. “Non-payment of a bar tab. Oh dear, Monsieur Lavolier. Oh dear indeed.” “I…” Kingsley Stern raised a finger to his lips and silently shushed Lavolier. Steel, unrelenting, unsympathetic eyes bored into the Cajun’s soul and the unfortunate prisoner shuddered. “Well, very soon you will have the opportunity to divulge these wonderful ‘reasons’. As I have been appointed as your case judge, I shall listen with great intent to all you have to say.” He smiled, again without humour, and Lavolier was reminded rather forcibly of a swamp gator coming out of the sludge to take down its kill. He groaned inwardly as Stern turned on his booted heel and strode away; a man whose body language screamed infinite purpose. It would seem that Lavolier’s run as an outlaw was clearly coming to an end. That end, he had no doubt at all, would now take the form of a hangman’s noose. Quick drop, sudden stop. As the outer door of the jailhouse slammed shut, Lavolier dropped back onto his bunk and cradled his head in his hands. Judge. Jury. Executioner. Kingsley Stern would be all three. It was, after all, what he did best. View the full article
  18. 1 point
    Broadcast

    Vignette #9 - Apology

    Author’s note: Whilst this vignette is set very firmly in the fictional world of Wild West Exodus, it is nonetheless loosely based on a real local Tombstone story. You’d do yourselves a favour if you go read up on Nellie Cashman and just what she accomplished in her lifetime, too. Doc Holliday has a secret addiction. A problem, even. Now, that seems very likely, given how quickly he has worked his way down the bottle of bourbon sitting on the table in front of him. Although you’d be forgiven for guessing alcohol as your answer, you’ll not hit the mark on this occasion. Try again. Maybe it’s tobacco, you might think. Well, again, close. But – and you’ll forgive, I’m sure, the pun – no cigar. Gambling. Gambling is his big weakness. It’s obvious now that you think of it. This irascible man is often at the tables until the small hours, staking everything he owns on the turn of a card. Yes. That’s it. Poker, Faro, Blackjack – there it is. Doc Holliday’s vice is gambling. Alright. Doc Holliday has a number of vices, but let me draw your attention to one of the more unlikely ones. There it is, right there his hands. A slightly dogeared book, tatty at the corners and obviously much-loved. A slim volume, with an artist’s rendition of a man in a long, black overcoat on its cover. Look more closely at the way the hat is tipped over the eyes, the way the artist has captured the curling of smoke from the ends of the pistols. The title of the book was once bright yellow, but time has faded it to a more subtle shade. From this angle, it’s impossible to make out the full title, but “Adventures”, “Stormin’” and “Lawman” are definitely in there. And this is one of two unfathomable truths. Doc Holliday is addicted to dime store novels. The trashier the better. A bizarre anomaly in such an educated man, but it is what it is. (You are, of course, correct about the alcohol, the tobacco and the gambling, but nigh on everyone in Tombstone has those issues. You get no prizes for those guesses). The final addiction isn’t even something he can ever hope to control. No, that is something intangible, but is still very evident. Wherever John Henry Holliday goes, trouble rides in a step or two behind him. Today, the deputy is having one of his better, more peaceable days. Lately, things have been uncomfortable in the more popular establishments in town. The taxidermy that is on display in Hafford’s has started to give him nightmares, the presence of the cowboys at the Grand Hotel have made that a no-go zone (but only because Wyatt said so – Doc is more than up for facing them down if they make trouble). And then, of course, the ongoing disagreements he has with the bartenders at both the Oriental and Crystal Palace Saloons mean that even what is widely acknowledged as the most dangerous corner in Tombstone isn’t an option. Just once. I tried to shoot him once and he won’t let me forget it. A flicker of guilt at his appalling behaviour when he was drunk and out of control right before… well, about eight months ago. When he lost his temper and lashed out in rage. Doc’s temper ebbs and flows as predictably as the tides. These days, he has a better handle on it, but there is still the air of a hunted animal about him. A man ready to spring into action at the click of a pistol hammer. But since his illness all but killed him… Since he has been forced to wear that curious face mask just to give his tortured lungs a rest… Well, much of his former affability has been replaced by a cynicism that is hard to reconcile with a man so young. He is still pleasant, still friendly, but there is an edge to him now. He has always chosen to sit facing the door – as so many gambling men often do – but now he always takes a corner seat as well. Not for Doc Holliday the sneaky knife between the shoulder blades. If he died, why, Wyatt Earp would never shut up about it. His choice of restaurant today is something far simpler than the grandiose places touting their wares on Allen Street. He has retreated to Nellie Cashman’s place. Russ House, out on South Street is a homely sort of eatery, but right now, that is just what the man needs. He is tired after a sleepless night and he is a little irritable to boot. Nellie’s good, solid cooking is a tiny taste of home. And more than anything, he adores that she always, always keeps a can of tinned peaches for him. If there is anything more Georgian than peaches, well, he’d thank you to tell him what it is. As far as Doc Holliday is concerned, Nellie is an angel. Yes, Nellie is a good girl; one of the best. More strength in her spine than most men he knows, more than capable of standing up for herself and well-liked by all who know her. She is the kind of woman who could quite easily lead a revolution if given half the chance. Doc is extraordinarily fond of her, but she never stands for his flirtations. Doc has been well-behaved for days, now. Not one altercation, not one argument, hell, not even raising his voice more than half a decibel above normal. This is not a natural state of affairs for the tempestuous deputy. Something has got to give and it’s got to give soon. In about four minutes, in fact. He is scooping up what remains of his peaches and cream and experiencing the pleasant buzz that comes with finishing the better part of half a bottle of good bourbon when he overhears the Texan at the table next to him. “That weren’t no beef stew. Ain’t got no idea what the hell meat that was meant to be, but damn if it weren’t an insult to whatever animal it came from.” In order to appreciate what ensues in the wake of this ill-considered review of Nellie Cashman’s cooking, it is important to consider the following factors. Doc Holliday has lived in this town long enough to consider it home. He holds Nellie very dear to his heart, because she is nice to him. He is more than a little drunk right now, he considers the Texan an intruder on his territory, he has a hair-trigger temper and he is, with very good reason, considered one of the fastest draws in the West. Like a stretched thread, his self-control is pulled too hard. Finally, the tension cannot cope. The thread snaps. There is the distinct hum of a Juiced pistol as it begins its power cycle. The Texan hears it very clearly because he has gone, in the blink of an eye, from being an ungrateful, vociferous complainant to being a man with a ridiculously powerful weapon held right up against his temple. He swallows. He looks up into the steel trap stare of Doc Holliday’s thin face which is pinched in an expression of extreme dissatisfaction. “What did you say, sir? I did not quite catch that. Louder, if you would be so kind.” The Texan considers his immediate life choices. “Why, that’s the best cookin’ I ever had?” There is an anxious pause as the deputy considers the unfortunate and bad-mannered diner. The rise in his voice at the end, the inflection that turned a statement into a question, almost results in the permanent estrangement of the Texan’s head and body, but it’s good enough. Doc backs down and the pistol is back in its holster before the Texan has even blinked. He never even saw the reed-thin figure move. Doc turns away, picking up his book and the remainder of his bottle of bourbon. He fixes his respirator back in place and tosses his money down on the table, Tipping his hat courteously to Miss Nellie, he departs with the self-satisfied air of a man who feels that he has achieved something good today. View the full article
  19. 1 point
    Huckleberry

    Seeking Guidance

    [seeking Guidance](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/6/17/vignette-5-seeking-guidance "Seeking Guidance")
  20. 1 point
    David

    Sunday Morning in Jasper City

    I wrote this short story, I hope you like it. Comments and criticisms are welcome, thanks! Also, if anyone could tell me how to indent an entire paragraph in a forum post, that would be great. Post formatting is not my forte The preacher wasn’t smiling as he stepped up to the pulpit of the dusty little church house that Sunday mornin’. In fact, it seemed like it hadn’t been since before they could remember that the congregation had seen their shepherd smile. Instead, he wore an ever present and rather serious expression, a countenance he shared with the few members of his flock who still came and sat in the pews every week. A look that said too many thoughts were runnin’ around inside their heads. Maybe the preacher was sombered by memory of his past deeds. Before he became a man of the cloth, he had been a shotgun messenger on a stagecoach. While it had been savage natives he had felled with his gun, and far from innocents, a man of conscience might still demure over lives taken. Still haunted by the faces of widows and fatherless children rising up in judgement before him every time he sought to do a good deed. Or maybe the good shepherd was mournin’ with his people problems not only spiritual, but physical too. Like the growing portion of his congregation that was missing from the weekly meeting. First there were the young men who went away to throw in their lot with the confederates, James, the dentist’s oldest, and Andrew, son of the innkeeper. Then there were the Hendersons, the whole lot of them ‘scripted by the Union. Both sets of boys off to a fight that they couldn’t both come back from. The Union soldiers eventually did come back to town, but not the boys the preacher had known, not the young members of the shepherd’s flock. After the war it had been claims of utopia that had culled the sheep next. It had started with labourers from town being hired to go help build up the next town over, one as had been earmarked to become a “Promethean Complex”. Some of the men from the church had returned from their work there, only to take their families back with them, enticed away by promises of better living through “Enlightened” technology. Thomas Smith and his family would make visits back in to the church on occasion at first, but of late, no one for miles had seen a soul out of that big, smoke-belching monster of a city. Perhaps it was more immediate concerns that soured his face. Such as the growing fear in town, about how brother Ned’s cattle were turnin’ up mutilated, and with increasing frequency, too. Or how some folks had simply vanished from their beds in the night, only to turn up wanderin’ the waste days later with strange scars, and no memories of what had happened to them, or in some cases no memories of who they had even been. Maybe it was the thought of how Earl and Mary Hicks’ boy had made up his mind two weeks ago to run off with the Wilson gang. How, when confronted about it, he had shot his father with his six-gun before robbing his own mother and makin’ off for what his new “friends” promised was easier living. And how Ned’s brother, the sheriff, had taken off with his deputies in pursuit of the outlaw posse that same day, with no word of either since. It’s possible the serious look was due to how, just yesterday, the Mastersons’ boy woke up from a dream in which he claimed an angel had talked to him. At behest of his vision, the youth had begun to inscribe strange markings into a sabre that had been passed down in the blacksmith’s family for generations. As confused as his parents had been that morning, the more so was everyone horrified when their boy took the finished sabre up in the middle of the night, and went and plunged it into the heart of old MacIntyre, the seedy drunk who lived on the edge of town. In the end, it could have been any of those things, or even all of them, that was weighing on the preacher’s mind that morning. At last setting his Bible down on the pulpit, and opening to a page near the back, the preacher began to read, breaking the heavy silence. “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” As the preacher read, and the congregation murmured its agreement, the door at the back of the room swung open, and a man rushed inside in a panic. “Shepherd! oh Lord God! someone help me, something aweful and unholy is afoot!” It was Jim Wuthrup, the undertaker, and as he hurried to throw himself down before the pulpit he shared with horror what he had witnessed. “It’s MacIntyre, he’s got up and started to walk again!” As the men of the congregation jumped to their feet astir, Mr. Wuthrup babbled on to the shepherd, about how the body of the town drunk, which had been put in a coffin last night to await burial this morning, had begun to stir. Finally it had climbed out and set its still-dead eyes on the undertaker, who had wasted no time in fleeing for the church, the sickening sounds of wrenching joints and dragging wet flesh behind him spurring him on. It was only a moment later, as the Shepherd tried to console his frightened lamb, that the door to the church burst open for the second time that morning. Brother Ned’s wife screamed and passed out in his arms as a monstrous form threw itself malevolently into the church-house. The… “thing” ...that had once been the town drunk, was now a club-footed and hunchbacked lump of flesh and boils, and what once had been its fingers had split to make way for long talons of sharpened bone. Even as the men of the congregation tried to maintain an orderly retreat of the women and children to the far end of the room, the flesh of the creature continued to warp sickeningly, the boils that covered it giving off an eerie red glow. Amidst the chaos of the fleeing flock, a few brave men had begun to pelt the creature with hymn books, candlesticks, anything on hand, taunting the beast and trying to keep it away from the women and children. The old shepherd ran to the pulpit, tearing the small cross from around his neck and pushing it into a matching depression on the old wooden stand. With a click, the side of the pulpit fell off, revealing an old coach gun and a line of old shells. As the creature continued to lumber forward, crashing through the old pews and shrugging off the improvised missiles of the congregation, Mr. Masterson came up behind it and smashed a chair over top of its head. Whirling around with a speed that belied its deformities, it rent his chest with its claws and sent him flying away. Loading a pair of shells into the breach of his weapon with a whispered prayer, the preacher lifted the worn oaken stock of the 12 gauge to his shoulder and aimed it at the beast. The gun was an old Remington, not one of those damnable newfangled weapons juiced by the devil’s own blood. Not for this man of the cloth. As the terrifying beast closed on the men fleeing to the pulpit, the preacher raised his voice in exultation. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” At the sound of their shepherd’s voice, his fleeing lambs parted to either side to make an opening. Pulling both triggers, the shepherd sent two barrels of righteous fury straight into the maw of the beast, lifting it bodily from the ground and spinning it around. The creature hit the ground with a sickening wet slap, the boils on its flesh bursting from the impact to release a luminescent red liquid that was too bright to be blood. The church house fell silent. “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” The shepherd turned to his flock, the look on his face betraying nothing of what had just happened. As if this were the intended conclusion of his sermon all along, he sent the congregation home with a simple benediction and a prayer for Mr. Masterson, who had been taken to the doctor’s as soon as the beast was dead. Closing the doors and turning to look at the mess he’d have to clean up, the preacher thought to himself quietly. In these trying times, it was a relief to know that his ultimate destiny was secured. As the shepherd rolled up his sleeves and set to work cleaning his church, for the first time in a long time, he allowed himself to smile.
  21. 1 point
    [Dead Man's Hand](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/5/17/vignette-4-dead-mans-hand?utm_content=buffer9d6bd&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer "Dead Man's Hand")
  22. 1 point
    Huckleberry

    Trade Secrets [Edison, Eiffel]

    [Trade Secrets](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/5/9/trade-secrets "Trade Secrets")
  23. 1 point
    [A Gentleman's Disagreement](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/5/4/vignette-3-a-gentlemans-disagreement "A Gentleman's Disagreement")
  24. 1 point
    Huckleberry

    Harvest [Countess Augusta Byron]

    [Harvest](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/4/26/harvest "Harvest")
  25. 1 point
    Here is the first character vignette I did for WWX. [The Storyteller](https://blog.wildwestexodus.com/blog/2017/4/17/vignette-1-the-storyteller "The Storyteller")
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