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Forums » Fantasy Roleplay » The West Gets Weird (Open)

Hello! This is an RP set in the Old American West, in the late 1870s! This has a Weird West theme, meaning steampunk, the supernatural, & magic intermingle with the trials and tribulations of the western frontier.

Anyone who reasonably fits into the setting can play, but please follow the forum rules!

Far out where grasslands meet desert, is a wee frontier town called Saltypeak. Neither salty nor on a mountain, the town is a quiet place where folks are eking out an existence for themselves. It’s straightforward, running east to west, with a few commodities setting up shop—the saloon is always an old favorite, alongside a barbershop, and a general store.

As I said, Saltypeak is ‘wee’.

Its townsfolk go about their day-to-day routines, unaware of an interruption to their lives. From the northeast, a brown horse comes trotting into the main street.
Upon its saddle sits a dark skinned young man, painted grey with dust from his travels.

The rider directs his horse to the familiar sight of a saloon and slows to a stop by a trough of water, where he can finally dismount and stretch his legs. Onlookers eye the stranger as he ties the horse to a hitching post and removes a couple of bags from the saddles.

The stranger doesn’t bear the large, imposing figure of a mystery gunman with a murky past. He is lean and wiry, and of average height; the man’s navy suit (filthy as it is) looks more in place with a detective agency and cuts a sharp, clean look...dust be damned.

It’s a look that is out of place this far west and raises hackles of the locals in other ways. Is this a government man? What’s a Pinkerton doing here? He don’t got no place bein’ here!

He smartly ignores the murmurs and spends a few extra minutes tending to his horse. Once satisfied, the man readjusts his bags and steps onto the porch to head inside. People turn to look in the most predictable way, because— as I said before—, a man of an agency has no place being here.

Agent Faulkner can feel the tension smother like a musty quilt, and he can’t help but grit his teeth behind thin lips. At least the entire building didn’t stop its business on a dime. He hates when they do that.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

Frank Efferson was bending an elbow with a couple of the local cowpokes over a friendly game of cards, trading scuttlebutt and tall tells. He'd been chasing a lead on a bounty out here to Saltypeak, but it was beginning to feel like a dead end. Could be the feller moved on already, or maybe he'd never come here at all.

Still, it had been a long ride and Frank figured he'd rest up himself and his horse both for a couple days before moving on again. Always drifting. Always hoping to come across the man with the snake and six shooter tattoo. Frank wasn't the violent type. But he had a bullet just waitin' for that mudsill iffin' he ever found him again.

"That black gelding you got, Dan, he 'minds me of a mean 'ol rip I had back when I was still 'tween the hay and the grass. Called him Tornado. Faster than one, but he tossed me off more times than I can count," he smiled as he reminisced and took a sip of his whiskey.

"Hey, you boys heard anythin' bout..." he paused momentarily when the man in the navy suit entered the saloon. His own thoughts mirrored most of the other folks here, wondering who the feller might be and what in the world brought him to a place like Saltypeak.

Still, fellow traveler and all, Frank tipped his hat in a greeting, "Goin' the wrong way to find New York City, mister." Despite the nature of the words, his tone and smile indicated he meant it purely in jest.
As he passes by the poker table, Faulkner catches the quip right quick and fires back with one of his own:

“Good thing I’m not trying to find it then.”

His tone is jovial and warm, and the toothy smile he flashes is equally disarming. Although a smile coming from a businessman (or city slicker) isn’t always a good sign.

The man steps up to the bar and sets his bags by a seat, which he slides into with the relaxed air of someone who is very glad to be done riding for a spell. He hails the bartender and orders a whiskey—and a room, if there’s still one available, for a week’s stay.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

"Well, iffin that ain't trouble..." one of the cowpokes breathed out quietly as he went back to looking at his cards and stuck a quirley in the little pile.

Frank couldn't help but be curious and a little suspicious 'bout the newcomer. The fact that the man had booked a whole week hadn't escaped his notice, which meant this wasn't a little pit stop to his main destination. Was he after the same bounty as Frank was?

Maybe he'd been too quick to think he'd hit a dead end. And just maybe this Four-Fingered Tim feller was a bigger deal than his $200 bounty might suggest if he had someone from the old states come lookin' for him too.

All speculation, of course. Mr Navy Suit might be here just as easy to buy a piece of property.

Nevertheless, Frank renewed his investigation, thinking he might just have some competition. "Any fellers come through here past week or so missing his right pinkie finger?" he asked the cowpokes around the table.
“Saw a lady with one eye wander int’ town last week,” one of the cowpokes rambles at Frank. “Said she lost it to a spooked horse and a cactus.”

Faulkner is just about to take a drink when he catches that. He stifles a laugh behind the glass and then sets it aside temporarily.

“Sounds like right trouble,” the agent notes. He’s casual in his commentary, like a four-fingered man isn’t on his list of important bullet points.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

"Ow..." Frank sucked in a breath between his teeth about the idea of losing an eye to a cactus.

The man at the bar seemed friendly enough, maybe even looking for an excuse to chit-chat. Whether he was looking for Four-Fingered Tim or not, might still be able to share some news from the road.

"Long road?" he tried. Then offered up his own to hopefully put the feller at ease. "Just come up outta New Mexico myself."
The man takes another drink from his glass and leans back against the countertop.

“That is a pretty long road,” he muses about New Mexico. “I’ve come out from Regent, myself, northeast of here.”

Regent, for both the uninformed and informed, is a booming mining town in the Arizona territory.

Regardless of Frank’s familiarity with it, the stranger in the navy suit extends a friendly free hand to him.

“Agent Ulysses Faulkner, National Bureau of Arcane Investigations.”

Now that makes for a stir around the folks within earshot. This man ain’t just a government man: he’s a federally sanctioned monster hunter.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

Frank raised a brow and whistled softly to that news.

"By Harry, ain't that somethin' you don't hear every day!" he exclaimed as he set down his shot glass and reached to shake Agent Faulkner's hand. "Frank Efferson," he offered, then glanced to the other two men at the table who he'd only just met himself, hoping he remembered their names. "Bill and Dan, right?" They nodded in confirmation. "Care to join us?" Frank looked back to Faulkner and gestured to the empty care at their table.

"Almost hate to ask, but why is the Bureau interested in a little town like Saltypeak?" Frank asked it anyway, knowing everyone within earshot was anxiously awaiting the answer.
The agent shakes Frank’s hand with a practiced ease that comes from living out in DC.

“Pleased to meet you, Mister Efferson, sirs,” he addresses all the fellows introduced. “And I wouldn’t mind a round to kill the time.” He slides off the stool to join them at their table.

The next question he receives isn’t surprising, and he answers like he was ready for days: “The big fellows upstairs have asked me to come out west and see how the frontier’s fairin’ with anything unnatural.”

To give weight to his point, he adds, “Regent dealt with a ghoul pack in its mines, quite literally the day before I arrived there. Their sheriff and mine owners were surprisingly well prepped for it.”

Faulkner mimes use of a double-barreled shotgun.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

Frank looked suitably impressed by the news about the folks in Regent dealing with a ghoul pack. "I mighta collapsed the whole ding mine," he admitted with a short chuckle, then took another sip of his whiskey. While he was a decent shot and a fairly fast draw, he'd seen men that were better shots and faster draws go down because they thought they were better than they were. If Frank could avoid a straight up fight, he tended to do so. Course, that wasn't always an option.

"Any reason to think anything of the sort's going on out here round Saltypeak?" he asked the monster hunter. "I only been here a short while myself, but ain't seen nothin' like ghouls yet."

He glanced at Bill and Dan, seeing if they had anything to add, figurin' since they were local, they might have heard rumors Frank had missed.
A deep rumbling came from the collapsed mine, a long-sleeping creature rising from the rubble. It pushed rubble and stones out of the way, the sound of stone scraping against stone grating on the ears of anyone nearby. A large, stone humanoid arose from the dust, looking around in confusion at what the world had become.
((Hi, Ancient Guardian, and welcome to the RP!

Unfortunately the current participants are a few hundred miles away from the aforementioned mine, which is also still very intact! You may not get responses from that post.))
Faulkner bobs his head at Frank’s choice of ghoul-handlin’. “Surprisingly, they hardly touched the place, save to burn out and fill in the nest and tunnel that lead into the area.”

When Bill and his friend are addressed, one of them perks up at the bounty hunter’s line of questioning. “Heard whisperin’ and howlin’ in the night, like no beast I knows of.” He frowns mightily.

Faulkner raises his brows at the fellows and leans forward in the seat. Could be drunken nerves at coyotes, or an open window...


“I was aiming to do what would be routine rounds,” the agent announces, “more for educational purposes than looking for a hunt...but if there’s an actual problem... well, that’s what I get paid to do too.”

He leans back again. “Like I told the ‘tender, I’ll be here a week. Should be ample time to sort out Saltypeak’s supposed ‘howling’.”
((Ohkeh nevermind))
((Sorry, I didn't read everything.))
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

Frank sat back in chair as he tossed his cards over to Dan to reshuffle and to deal Faulkner in to the game if he's up for it.

"Let me ask you sumthin', Agent," Frank says, taking another short sip of his whiskey. "I been huntin' bounties for ... oh... a right long while now. Good 'nuff work, I suppose. But how's one start up in the monster huntin' business? Does it pay worth a damn?"
Faulkner makes a gesture to indicate that, yes, he is absolutely keen for a game of cards.

The agent tilts his head at Frank and his line of questioning. A wry half-grin drifts across his face, in a wistful way that shows this isn’t the first time he has been asked.

“Well, depends. Some fellows take to hunting monsters the same way they do bounties—usually less training and more fatal injuries, unless you’re lucky enough to find a fellow to train you.”

He pauses to take a drink and let that sink in.

“On the other hand, some take it up as a necessity to protect their homes and livelihoods and learn by experience.

And from an official end, the Bureau gets job applications and letters from people interested in it too—if they don’t come to you out of their own interest, first.”

Faulkner sets his drink down and scoots it aside as Dan starts dealing cards. He idly turns his glass between his fingers.

“As for pay... the Bureau compensates and pays pretty alright. It’s a part of the government’s business, after all. Otherwise the rest depends on the...kindness of strangers and others.”

Some of whom skimp out on pay after a handshake.
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

"Somethin' tells me huntin' monsters might be a tad more ... satisfyin' sometimes than trackin' down lowlife mudsills," Frank commented as he lifted the corners of his cards to glance at them once Dan was done dealing. Usually, the counties offered more money for the lawbreakers alive than dead and Frank tried hard to oblige. The extra money was certainly welcome, but more than that, he believed in the law. And he was simply the middle-man. Wasn't his right to be taking lives unless his own was endangered.

Still, it grew wearisome. Particularly when the bounty was a real curly wolf that would slice open a throat the second he got a chance. Monsters... those just sounded more straightforward. Stick a bullet in 'em and move on. Maybe several bullets, just to be on the safe side.

And he figured there weren't no sense in beatin' round the bush with Faulkner. "I'm more than a might bit interested in this line of work, Agent. Iffin' you got cause to need 'nother gun, I ain't too far," he said, gesturing toward the stairs of the saloon.
Faulkner takes a peek at his own hand once all have been dealt, but Frank’s offer is an unexpected distraction from the game. Even Dan and Bill look up from their cards.

“ that so?” the agent questions. “Well, it’s not everyday someone offers their gun so readily...are you sure though? You would be taking on creatures bigger and tougher than a lot of men, most months.”
Frank Efferson (played by Juls)

Frank gave a shrug. "Agent, I ain't sure 'bout much of nuthin' anymore. Cept that I've been riding back and forth 'cross the west nearly a decade now, chasing down bad eggs like ol' Four-Fingered Tim. Don't seem to be gettin' me nowhere I wasn't already."

There was a small hint of frustration in Frank's voice. Not with Agent Faulkner though. It was that after all that time doing this job, he'd never found the man with the snake and six-shooter tattoo. And was losing hope that he ever would. Maybe the feller got hisself shot by someone else 'long the way. The bullet Frank was saving for him destined to go unused.

Something needed to change. It was just that he'd done this for so long, he didn't know how to do much else. And then along comes a monster hunter...

"Maybe to get somewhere I gotta up the ante. Go big or go home, huh?" He glanced at the ceiling, as if that last bit were directed at God.

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