- A hermit leaves his seclusion deep in the desert to spread justice in Pelor’s name
- A sand elf gazes out the train window, sipping his beer and debating if he will need another before arriving in New Midway
- A high elf bard plucks the strings of her dulcimer on the dusty stage of The One-Eyed Donkey
- A thri-kreen gunslinger stalks across a sand dune towards the unknown
- A deep gnome prospector rests his weary bones, listening to the chatter of the locals and the exotic music
Ihaab Sundancer, a sand elf security guard working on the CW Steam Express, watches thri-kreen hatchlings stealing bits of water from one of Tarturia’s regular water towers along the train tracks into the desert. He remembers that sometimes security on the train would shoot them for entertainment or sport with little afterthought. This particular train ride is an ominous one as it brings a new sheriff to the town of New Midway, a town with the superstition that disease, famine, and bad luck occur whenever there is a sheriff in town. Ihaab notes that there is no warm welcome for the sheriff, who heads off with his deputy to the sheriff’s office immediately.
A thri-kreen dressed in a duster and cowboy hat, named Tak-Liscthk, wanders into New Midway out of the desert in the west, and talks to a downtrodden thri-kreen laborer named Klashyk. He is directed to the mayor’s office, where he talks to a clerk and learns the mayor is not currently in, but can usually be found at The One-Eyed Donkey tavern.
At The One-Eyed Donkey, alive with the high elven music played by Ashivera Amarathar, Tak talks to the bartender and meets Ashivera and the deep gnome prospector Krieger Walschud. Shortly afterwards Ihaab enters the tavern in an attempt to avoid “train duty” and riding out with the train to the east where work on the tracks is progressing, under the guise of staying to “protect the new sheriff”. Tak learns that the mayor is actually in a room upstairs, goes up and interrupts him unashamedly, the mayor gets angry and shuts the door on Tak. The thri-kreen is surprised to learn that this exchange has made him an instant celebrity with everyone in the tavern and enjoys some dwarven ale and chatter with various patrons. Tak convinces some patrons, mostly through intimidation, that the term “bugger” is rude and inappropriate to use when referencing thri-kreen.
PieRon Wickerstat, leaving his hermitage in the desert, enters New Midway and goes to the Sheriff’s office, meeting the new sheriff James ‘Slim Jim’ Canyon, and is almost immediately deputized. Upon leaving the sheriff’s office PieRon is assaulted by a vision of a ring of staves each with one open-mouthed skull atop it surrounding the sheriff’s office. The vision fades but the sound of a woman crying is still carried on the wind. PieRon uses his divine sense and detects lingering undead energy where the staves were planted in his vision, and senses that the entire town is unhallowed. then he makes his way to the tavern and meets Tak, Ashivera, Ihaab, and Krieger.
Tak and PieRon learn that the mayor has already snuck out the back of the tavern and go to the mayor’s office to talk with him. The dwarven mayor, Warren McKlak, is none too happy to see Tak again and has an unpleasant discussion with the thri-kreen and the human. The discussion ends with not-so-subtle threats from Tak and a “gotcha” reveal of the mayor’s newest deputy. Tak manages to steal several papers from the mayor’s desk with his sneaky lower arms, which appear to be mostly schedules and notes that indicate a bandit group of tieflings known as the Sand Devils have been raiding resources regularly and the mayor appears to be keeping good track of their actions while also attempting to cover them up and make amends for their crimes. One such crime includes stolen cattle from Buffalo Bill’s farm just outside of town.
PieRon and Tak go back to the One-Eyed Donkey where they ask about the Sand Devils and the towns history with sheriffs. They learn that problems with sheriffs seem to have started about 3 years ago with a sheriff named Lucky, and that since then New Midway has never had a sheriff for more than a few months at a time.
Many of the party members already knew or recently learned that there is a “regular”, roaming sand storm that pass across the Gornobi desert roughly once a week. The storm tends to be very predictable in its movement, reliable in passing at least once a week, but can vary day-to-day, in some instances coming on two consecutive days but only rarely has this been observed. The last roaming storm passed Etherium Point four days ago.
Tak, PieRon, Ashivera, Ihaab, and Krieger all gather together to head out to Buffalo Bill’s ranch to investigate the Sand Devil activity that the mayor’s papers revealed.