This was our first playtest of the Spaghetti Western Rules.
It was gloriously bloody and fun: just as a good Spaghetti should be!
A Bullet for Chaco
A S&W Spaghetti Western
Former Mexican Army officer. He has left the military and now lives the life of an itinerant adventurer. He dresses as a peasant in white clothes and poncho, and does not discourage those who mistake him for one. He is an excellent scout and a crack shot with his scoped repeating rifle.
Played by: Ben Hoffrichter
Gambler and gunslinger, dressed like an ordinary cowboy. Smith is a violent man, loaded down with six double-action revolvers. He proves to be a vicious and effective killer, with a hint, just a hint, of a conscience.
Played by: Kevin Rohan
Southern Texas, not far from the Mexican border.
The two PC’s are riding through rough and rocky country, headed to the small town of San Luis to resupply, do some gambling and drinking, and get a good night’s sleep in a bed. Miguel trots along, riding one of his two mules, and John rides on his horse.
As they travel along on the hot, clear day, they see a column of smoke rising, several miles to the north.
Curious they ride off to check it out.
The land quickly turns to hilly farmland, and topping a rise, they see a small valley below them, and in the valley is a burning farmhouse.
They cautiously ride down towards the farmstead, noting that there are several bodies scattered in the front yard and a number of dead cattle and horses lying in the corral and pasture. Suddenly one of the figures begins to feebly crawl away from the blaze. As they get closer they see that three corpses lay by the burning house: two small boys and a woman, all shot, and the woman looks ravaged. The crawling victim is a man, apparently the husband and badly shot down.
Miguel and Smith, crouch by the stricken man, giving him water, as he gasps out his few remaining words,
“It was Chaco and his banditos. Here take this….”
The husband pulls a bloody wallet of coins and paper money from his bloody shirt.
“They missed this,” he gasps. “Take it! Take it for payment to avenge my family. San Luis, he is in San Luis!”
Money in hand they watch him vomit blood and die. The wallet contains almost $150.
With grim determination, they head towards San Luis to kill Chaco.
Part One: San Luis
San Luis is not a large town, with barely five hundred residents in and around the town.
It is a dusty little town with a decent saloon, the Lucky Lady, a hotel, bank, town marshal’s office, general store, blacksmith, mill, stables, and even a town doctor. Each of the buildings are made of clapboard, with porches and wooden walkways.
The town is only a half a dozen miles to the south of the farmstead.
The PC’s arrive there within the hour.
The PC’s arrive from the north, and ride down the dusty street. They notice that the local farmers and townsfolk seem scared and nervous, glancing at them and then putting their eyes down. Loud and cruel laughter comes from the Lucky Lady, and the PC’s decide to head there.
John notices that someone is watching them from the curtains of the Marshal’s office. The curtains are quickly pulled shut again.
Before they can get very far down the street, two very dirty and greasy Mexican banditos detach themselves from the storefront they were leaning on in the shade and walk into the middle of the street, slightly drunk and arrogant, blocking the PC’s way.
“Hold it Senors,” they sneer, fiddling with their pistol butts. “There is a tax of 50 dollars each to enter San Luis, pay now or leave!”
John Smith, nasty smile on his face, says something smarmy, and it angers the Mexicans.
With a nasty snarl they go for their pistols.
Smith pulls two of his double-action .45’s before the banditos can even clear their holsters, putting two shots in one man’s head, and a single bullet through the other man’s head, the fourth bullet going wide.
The shots ring down the street and the noise and laughter in the saloon gets even louder: they are used to gunshots in this town.
Frightened townsfolk quickly clear the sidewalks as Smith reloads and he and Miguel continue towards the saloon when the door to the Marshal’s office.
A fat, white bearded old man with a tin star on his chest waves them over, nervously looking around.
“Hey! You! Come in here, quick!”
Tying up their mounts, Miguel and Smith enter the dirty office and the Marshal quickly shuts the door and checks the curtains. Sitting at his desk is another hefty, older man dressed in fine clothing. He carefully looks the PC’s up and down before speaking.
“I am Mayor Stephan Dean and this is Marshal Carston and we need your help! From what we just saw out there on the street you can obviously take care of yourselves and I believe you are the men we’re looking for!
A few weeks ago, a bandito named Chaco and his gang stormed into town and took over! They killed the Marshal and set up Carston here as the new one, no offense Carston, ‘cause he’s a drunk and a coward! They’ve run roughshod over everyone, robbing travelers, abusing the women, scaring off farmers, and beating or killing anyone who dares oppose them! The federal marshals are too busy to look in on our small border town and we can’t get word to them anyway! Something has to be done, so we want to pay you for your services. We’re putting a $2000 dollar bounty on Chaco’s head, and $100 for each member of his gang. Are you interested?”
With surprisingly no haggling, Miguel and Smith take the job. Hell, they were going to do it anyway, now they get paid even more!
They head out and, after some discussion, finally cross the street to the saloon.
They push through the creaking batwings into the dimly-lit, smoky room.
A couple of townies sit at a table quietly drinking. A fat bartender is nervously polishing glasses behind the bar. All three glance nervously into a corner, near the stairs, where several dirty and heavily armed banditos sit. They are drinking, smoking, swearing, and laughing loudly. A couple of scared looking saloon girls are sitting on their laps. In the center of the saloon are three competent looking gunmen, ignoring everything but the intense game of poker they are involved in. All three look tough and trail-worn. One is considerably bigger than his companions, burly and heavily muscled.
The banditos shut up and sit up a little straighter in their chairs as Miguel and Smith stop to take in the view.
The two PC’s, stride across the bar and take a seat, keeping the three poker playing gunsels and the banditos in full view. The bartender nervously takes their order for beer and ambles off.
Presently, a scruffy looking old man, barefoot and in ragged overalls, ambles into the saloon. He squints around, eyes opening wide when he sees the PC’s, and shuffles off to plop down in a chair at their table, a small cloud of dust rising from his clothes.
“Howdy,” he says sticking out a grubby hand. “My names Walter. Old Man Walter’s what they call me. You look like folks who could use a guide in town. Buy me a beer and I’ll tell ya whatever you need to know.” He grins a rotten-toothed grin through his dirty white beard.
Miguel and Smith eye the old man warily, decline the dirty handshake, and order him a beer.
“Okay Old Man Walter,” Smith growls, “ Tell me about those banditos over there.”
Gulping the beer the old man grins and whispers conspiratorially, “ Them’s Chaco’s boys. That one in the middle there, with the rattlesnake headband, that’s Chaco. He’s mean as Hell and dangerous as a rattlesnake. They say he killed that one on his head by grabbin’ it and bitin’ it’s head off.”
He cackles like a crazy bird after telling that one.
Taking another beer, he slyly moves his eyes over to the poker playing gunmen.
“Them there gents is Ty Wheeler, Bud Largo, and Big Joe Turner. They came into town a couple of days ago looking for work. They was approached by the Major and Sheriff, I hear, to do something about them boys of Chaco’s, but they turned him down. They been doin’ nothin’ but a playing cards and drinking and womanizing since then. I hear they be pretty quick with them guns, especially that big galoot Turner.”
As Walter is telling his tale between sips of beer, another bandito busts through the batwing doors, seemingly in a panic. He eyeballs the PC’s and quickly heads over to Chaco. He quickly whispers into the bandit leaders ear, nodding his head towards Miguel and Smith. With a shout of “What!” Chaco slams his hands on the table and leaps to his feet.
Instantly, Smith has his six-guns in his hands and Miguel grips the sawed-off double barrel shotgun he has hidden beneath his poncho. They return the bandit’s furious look with steely-eyed gazes.
Old Man Walter gives a whoop and dives to the floor. He crawls slowly under the batwings to get out of the saloon. Once he does this, he hightails it down the street in a cloud of flying bare-feet and dust.
The three gunmen, cards dropped, all have their hands on pistols and are eyeballing both the banditos and the PC’s.
Chaco, realizing that the PC’s are competent, dangerous, and apparently not afraid to shoot it out with half a dozen of his men, gives a little half-grin and relaxes, hands away from the pearl handle six-guns he wears. Gesturing to his men he leads them out of the saloon, all the while grinning evilly at the PC’s. Once outside they head to the stable, collect their horses, and ride out of town.
Miguel and Smith stand just inside the batwing doors and watch the banditos ride out. They then head out of the saloon to get their own horses. Before they can step onto the dusty street a deep voice calls out behind them, “Wait a minute.”
Whirling, they see the figure of Big Joe Turner filling the doorway, his hands up and away from his large Army pistol.
“I’m guessing you took that bounty the Major and that poor excuse of a Marshal were offering, didn’t you?”
“What if we did,” Smith barks back.
“I want in. There’s more than twenty of them at a camp outside of town. I want a third of the bounty. For that I’ll show you where they camp and how we can kill them all pretty quick. I’ve been stuck here broke for about four days and I want seed money to move on. Wheeler and Largo, they don’t want to go up against Chaco because of the numbers, but I’m sick of that little bastard Chaco. He’s been mistreating them two saloon girls, and I think we can kill them all if we work together. Deal?”
The PC’s quickly agree and Turner explains about the camp.
They majority of the banditos stay in a small hidden ravine a few miles outside of town. They keep their forces split between town and the camp in case one group gets attacked, then the other group can come to their aide. Besides, Chaco’s paranoid enough to not want all of his men together in one place in case they get drunk and starts plotting against him and his second in command, Vargas.
The ravine is between two large rocky cliffs, each about a hundred feet tall. The entire ravine runs for about a thousand yards, and is about 100 yards wide at it’s widest. A small river runs through the ravine. The banditos camp down in the ravine to keep their fire hidden at night and to stay out of the wind. Turner heard about the place from one of the drunk banditos last week.
Smith gets a nasty grin on his face at this, and Miguel nods his head. They quickly load up supplies and head out with Turner.
Part Two: The Slaughter at the Ravine
With a bit of difficulty, the three find the hidden ravine. They camp out under the cover of a large cluster of rocks and wait for night to fall. Once it does they creep up a hillside, coming to the cliff overlooking the banditos camp. They can hear Chaco’s voice coming from below.
Peering over the edge, they see a large bonfire. Turner’s information was correct: the camp lies about a hundred feet below the cliff top and the ravine is about 100 yards across with a small but fast moving river in the center of the ravine. Horses are tied up near the water and about 20 banditos are clustered around the fire, drinking and listening to Chaco. They are so overconfident with their hiding spot they don’t even have a lookout.
With big grins, Smith and Turner begin pulling bundles of dynamite out of the saddle bags they brought up the hillside. Miguel unlimbers his lever action rifle, lining his scope up.
With hearty grins the two gunmen thrown dynamite into the fire below as Miguel opens up, blasting Chaco in the torso with his rifle.
The entire camp blows apart with the campfire, sending screaming men, ash, and burning wood everywhere. Guns are drawn and the shooting is wild. Smith and Turner light up fuses and start chucking dynamite left and right, killing small groups of banditos as Miguel begins to shoot individual targets, killing several. Finally the few survivors of the grisly first seconds realize that their attackers are above and begin to shoot at them, but there are too few and the attackers are under too good of cover.
Miguel sees Chaco crawling towards the water and manages to shoot him in the back before the rattlesnake-headband chief rolls into the rolling waters and is swept downstream in the darkness.
With ruthless efficiency the last few banditos are shot down and there is only the screaming of the horses.
The three attackers run down the hill, collect their horses, and gallop into the camp. The tied up horses are calmed down and the bodies are checked for survivors. There are none. In less than a minute all 20 men were killed. A search of the river turns up no sign of Chaco.
They decide to return to San Luis to see about what’s left of the gang and deal with the second in command, Vargas.
The moon is high and bright as they ride back to town. Turner's horse has some problems with a shoe and this slows them down, but they make it back to San Luis before too late.
Part Three: Death in San Luis
The PC’s and Big Joe Turner see a large plume of smoke rising across the moonlit night sky before they enter town. As their horses trot down main street they see the Marshal’s office is burning.
The Mayor and the Marshal are hanging by nooses from the building front as it burns.
Grimly, the three pull out their weapons and ride down main street.
Suddenly a shot rings out of an alleyway and whistles past their heads. With a shout they dive off their horses and run for cover. At least two men are firing out of the saloon and a few more are shooting down the street, by the stables.
Miguel dives into an alley near the saloon as Smith and Turner cross the street near the blacksmith shop.
Making their way towards the stables, Turner heads down the back alley as Smith climbs an outside stairwell on the blacksmith’s shop to get high ground on whoever is shooting by the stable. Suddenly, the gunman Ty Wheeler, steps up to an open window on the second floor of the stables and begins to fan the hammer of his six-gun, splintering the wooden rail around Smith and catching him high in the side with a slug. Smith responds by firing four shots from his own double-action pistols, shattering the window frame around Wheeler and putting a bullet through his shoulder. Wheeler curses and falls back to reload his weapon.
Turner comes to the back of the stables as two of the banditos catch sight of him. He fans the hammer of his big .44 Army and kills both of them. He stops to reload.
Miguel, across the street, has come to the back of the saloon. Shouldering his rifle, he pulls out his sawed-off shotgun and creeps up the outside stairs to the second floor. Opening the door he sneaks into the hallway/railed balcony overlooking the saloon. He quietly checks the doors, finding the saloon girls hiding there with a look of terror on their faces. He reassures them with a smile and shuts the door. He begins to creep silently towards the stairs leading down to the saloon floor when he hears a creak of wood from below. Someone is under the balcony in the saloon.
Miguel suddenly leans over the rail with the sawed-off shotgun. Right in his sights is the snarling and surprised face of the third gunman, Bud Largo. Largo tries to scream as Miguel lets him have both barrels in the face and mouth, killing him instantly. From across the saloon, behind the bar, a bandito opens fire, splintering the rail near Miguel. Miguel calmly reloads, making his way the stairs. As the bandito pops up form behind the bar to fire again Miguel casually blows the man’s chest apart with both barrels. He then unslings his rifle and checks the rest of the saloon. It is empty.
Back at the stables, Wheeler is furiously reloading his pistol as Smith leaps across the alley and lands on the tin plated roof of the first floor of the stables. This puts him right at the second story window. He sees Wheeler crouched by the window sill with a look of surprise on his face. Smith opens up, putting four rounds through Wheeler, killing him in a cloud of white gunsmoke and splattered blood.
At the backdoor of the stables, Big Joe Turner kicks the back door off its hinges with his size thirteen boot. Inside, two loads of buckshot pepper the frame and Turner. Big Joe steps in, sees Vargas panicking and holding a now empty double barrel shotgun, and fans four shots of his big pistol into Vargas, killing him and throwing his body back half out of a window.
Outside there is the sound of a few horses being rode hard out of town. Apparently the few surviving banditos are heading for easier pickings. The PC’s and Turner have had enough and let them go.
After a minute of silence and reloading weapons, Smith, Turner, and Miguel all call out and find each other. The townsfolk start coming out of their homes and stores as well. It appears all of the remaining banditos and gunmen are dead.
The banker, Mr. Porter, explains that about an hour before the PC’s arrived, a bandito came riding furiously into town and burst into the saloon, loudly telling Vargas that the camp had been attacked and none but he had survived. Apparently this one had been on the way back to camp when the PC’s attacked and witnessing the slaughter, quickly rode to town. Vargas went crazy and attacked the Marshall’s office, hung the Mayor and Marshal, and lit the place on fire. He said he would kill any man he found on the street, so the townsmen locked them selves in their homes and business, waiting to see what would happen.
Suddenly a shot rings down the street and strikes Smith in the leg. Lot’s of vile curses in Spanish follow the shot.
Half leaning on a horse is Chaco, covered in ragged bloody bandages with a smoking pearl handled six-gun in this hand.
With a snarl Smith, Miguel, and Turner all draw and fire. Chaco is riddled with bullets and falls like a bloody scarecrow in the streets.
The banker, Porter, gladly pays off the reward to the three adventurers. A sum of $4800. Chaco plus 28 of his men (counting Vargas,Wheeler, and Largo). The three split the money and after buying supplies, all ride off down the trail together.