Seize Everything
Seize Everything

Line of the Night: San Marcho

The sandbox Deadlands game that I was running in the fictional territory of San Marcho has come to its conclusion, and its successor–a D&D 5e game being run by my friend Peter–has begun. With the campaign over, I wanted to take a moment to look back over some of the best quotes from a year of supernatural steampunk wild west roleplaying.

San Marcho Party

Cast of characters:

Brett as Ezra Galloway, smooth-talking gentleman from back East with a gatling pistol in his pocket.

Peter as Arthur Morgoon, heir to the Morgoon Rail Company and 14-year-old kid who’s supposed to be at boarding school.

Ben as Jian, a Chinese martial artist and former rail worker now acting as Arthur’s bodyguard and coach driver.

Spencer as Carson Slade, illiterate monster hunter and personal nemesis of the most dangerous man in the Territory.

Nick as Alex Gitche, magical gunslinger in a patched white coat with old enemies south of the border.

And Josh as Edgar, mad scientist, alchemist, and professional paranoid.

Quotes listed below were recorded over various sessions by either Brett or Ben. I’m going to be running through the best ones in chronological order, and will be referring to everyone by character name.


GM: “You pass a cowboy on the road. He has a herd of geese.”
Players: ???
GM: “I don’t know why I said geese, it just slipped out.”


NPC: “So are we going to bury these boys?”

Jian: “I didn’t bring a shovel.”

Gitche: “You can literally burrow through the ground.”


Edgar: “Everyone knows the Confederacy is just a bunch of liars trying to exploit science-men.”

Arthur: “Is that what we’re calling black people now?”


NPC Cultist: “Any day now, the righteous will rise up from hell.”

Arthur: “Whyyyy are the righteous rising up from Hell?”

NPC: “Well, all the righteous went down to Hell to fight the Devil, of course.”

Edgar: “This is why we need one of their fucking bibles.”


Edgar: “I’m afraid your man will most likely die of infection.”

NPC Doctor: “Oh no, surely not. He’ll die of gangrene.”

Edgar: “That’s…infection.”


GM: “I’m trying to decide if that’s racist because Ben’s black or because Jian’s Chinese.”


Carson: “That’s the fifth time I’ve drawn a two. This session!”

Ezra: “I need you to take that initiative edge so you can seed the deck for us.”


Ezra: “You rolled a nat 20 on a d4.”

Arthur: “I’m going to write down that I’m the resident expert on hillfolk cults.”


Arthur: “How many people do we have to cut?”

Carson: “I don’t know, it looks like there’s no one ahead of us in line.”

Arthur: “Aw man, sick elementary school reference bro.”


GM: “You hear a door slam ahead of you.”

Carson: “Well, we’ve got to leave guys. Doors are my one weakness. And bullets. And small dogs, apparently.”


Jian: “I open the door.”

GM: “Ezra broke the lock on that door, so it won’t open.”

Jian: Rolls a 35 on a Fighting check “I open the door.”


GM: “The sound that emerges doesn’t sound animal or human.”

Jian: “No, that totally sounds human.”

Carson: “What kind of humans do you hang around?!”

Arthur: “He’s Asian.”


Ezra: “I stand my ground, behind the others.”


Carson: “All right, let’s do it. I drive the needles into my brain.”

GM: “…I’m trying to figure out if I should have seen this coming.”


Jian: “Are you man enough to shoot a man who asked you to do so?”


Edgar: “That sounds like a ghost story. ”
Gitche: “True, but the situation we’re in seems awfully applicable to the story.”


GM: “You’re walking in the woods. There’s no one around, and your phone is dead.”

Carson: “There’s phones?”

Edgar: “Ghost rock.”


Gitche: “I’m back. Is everyone dead yet?”

Carson: “No, we’re trying to determine how Shia LaBeouf this thing is.”

Ezra: “We’re approaching 100% Shia LaBoeuf.”


Jian: “I threaten to murder him.”

Gitche: “Yeah, ask him to shoot you again.”


Edgar: “I give him a clockwork finger.”


Jian: “I vote talk, then shoot.”

Gitche: “That sounds like a good strategy, considering our historical choices.”


Edgar: “Did you ever get your shotgun back?”

Carson, to GM: “Did I get that back?”

GM: “No.”

Carson: “That ghost bitch! Get back here! I’m not done with you yet!”


NPC: “The fish rots from the head, you know? So knowin’ old man Acosta, it ain’t a surprise that the rest of ’em are…you know…”

Gitche: “…Fish people?”


NPC: “They keep sayin’ if we don’t pay the taxes, they’ll come back here with the army.”

Gitche: “Just don’t pay the taxes. Then they can’t afford the army.”


Edgar: “We can start an old-west ghost-rock biker gang.”


Jian: “I took the Martial Arts perk instead of the Quickness one, which is functionally similar in what I need it to do.”

GM: “Okay?”

Jian: “So I punch this guy three times.”


Ezra: “I’ll take the one on the left.”

Gitche: “And I’ll take the twenty-four on the right.”


Edgar: “Oh God, they’re not people, they’re Native Americans!”

GM: “I’m just now realizing how bad it might be to have the Indian war party be not humans.”


Edgar: “I fill Ezra with lightning.”

GM: “Can you really fill someone with lightning?”

Edgar: “I’m gonna find out.”


Edgar: “We could just burn the whole town.”

GM: “This…this is the same group of players from the time you blew up the village of Gath, isn’t it?”

Players: “Yyyyup.”


Arthur: “I’m a lone wandering badass rolling into town.”

GM: “You’re a lone wandering badass. With a bodyguard and accompanying scientist.”

Arthur: “We’re three lone wandering badasses.”


GM: “Jian, in his duster and voodoo hat, becomes the worlds most obvious spy.”

Jian: “I switch to my sombrero.”

Arthur: “Now he’s the world’s best spy.”


Ezra: “Why are you opposed to killing Jack Dicer, Jian?”

Jian: “I don’t believe he killed all those people in Gath.”

Arthur: “All those people we killed in Gath? YOU GOT US THERE, JIAN.”


Arthur: “Then we kill him in self-defense. For trying to kill us in self-defense. The double-reverse-self-defense is legitimate.”


The State of San Marcho v. Jack Dicer, a legal case conducted in the absence of the accused, inside a cart full of gunmen.


GM: “People tend to pre-game sermons here.”


Carson: “Speak English or go back to your own country!”

Ezra: “…They’re Native Americans, Carson.”


GM: “It’s the trial of Jack Dicer, Part II.”

Ezra: “It’s Been Appealed.”


Edgar: “That’s what the shanking is for. It’s for confusing him sexually.”


Jian: “That’s a kidney. It’s okay, you don’t need them anyway.”

Edgar: “We’ll get you new ghost rock kidneys.”


Arthur: “Jack Dicer is not a good man! Who else uses the souls of others to protect themselves? Answer! Voldemort does that! Voldemort!”


Gitche: “What southern past? I mean secret past.”


Jian: “Did he just say that they had martial artists? Because I would totally join the Confederacy if it had martial artists.”

GM: “Has anyone actually explained the Confederacy to Jian?”

All: “No.”


Ezra: “I like that the Confederacy is morally ‘grey.'”


Arthur: “If you want to ride in the cart instead of your horse, that’s fine.”

Carson: “I think I can still ride.”

Arthur: “Your eyes were literally bleeding.”


Arthur: “Should we add the Gath Beast to the to-do list?”

Carson: “Gath Beast?”

Arthur: “Yeah check this letter dawg oh wait you can’t read.”


Ezra: “Jian, Arthur! What a coincidence we happened to run into each other out here in these miles of countryside!”


GM: “Time for the age old San Marcho question of: what is a crime?”

Arthur: “Was This Murder Justifiable?”


Arthur: “It’s not that we don’t trust your intent. It’s that we don’t trust your capabilities as people.”


Arthur: “All right Jian, you take the left one. And then also take the right one.”


Ezra: “Have you seen anyone around here asking lots of questions?”

NPC: “Yes, you, ten minutes ago.”

Ezra: “Do you know where he went?”


Arthur: “I doubt that Jian has knowledge of statistics and probability.”

Jian: “I do not.”


NPC: “You mentioned Reedtown, how about we float there?”

Arthur: “Uh, Reedtown is currently being assaulted by magical racists. Actually.”


Ezra: “Fuckin’ swampcats.”

Arthur: “That’s not a good thing to do, Brett.”

Ezra: “I call her Krystal.”


GM: “You see a still-being-built inn.”

Carson: “Still being built in what?”

Edgar: “You guys are the worst.”


Arthur: “Well, how did the hill folk exorcise?”
Ezra: “Jumping jacks?”

Carson: “Weight lifting.”


Ezra: “Looks like the work of log cultists.”

Carson: Oh god, log cults?”

Ezra: “They truly have a fell power.”

Carson: “Well, I’m stumped.”


GM: “These are hard drinking, hard working men in this bar.”
Ezra: “Ah. My people.”
Arthur: “We hide Ezra so no one associates us with him.”


GM: “You watch the trap you’ve constructed from nitro, razor wire, and bacon. A holy offering to a god you hate.”


NPC: “I do, therefore I am. Descartes can suck my ass.”


GM: “Normally I don’t mind your sex jokes, Peter, but I draw the line at gang pedophilia.”


Carson: “Can I hit the window behind him?”
GM: “…Do you think he’s a vampire or something? That he’ll burn in the sunlight?”
Ezra: “We haven’t disproved that.”
Jian: “Wouldn’t even have been the weirdest thing to happen to us.”


GM: “He was clearly trying to replicate his friend’s surprise attack, but he failed because he didn’t know you were in the corner crying.”
Ezra: “Ha! Got him.”


GM: “They roll poorly and do no damage.”
Edgar: “I yell ‘pussies!’ back at them as I continue to flee.”


Arthur: “Don’t fuck this up!” *rolls 0*
GM: “Arthur fucks it up.”


Carson: “Jian, we’re gonna have a stern talk about destroying evil hands.”
Ezra: “It’s a surprisingly handy skill.”


Carson: “Remember the farm hand that went missing? This is the farm hand.”
Edgar: “Well, you’re not wrong.”


GM: “You would have had an interview with the San Marcho Flyer, but you skipped town before it happened because you don’t trust word-smiths.”


GM: “Since SoundCloud stopped supporting Roll20, I’ve had to make some changes. This is your new traveling music.”
Ezra: “I have no complaints. It’s funky fresh.”
Gitche: “It sounds like we lost a whole lot of the budget.”


Ezra: “The man in white bought the map to the gold. We searched around, followed him, found him standing over a chest full of gold… AND THAT WASN’T THE RIGHT MAN OR THE RIGHT GOLD?”


Ezra: “Are we just going to throw this guy to the gators?”
Edgar: “I think we should leave that decision to Gitche. It’s his plot arc.”


Edgar: “Can you drop down Jeffreys’ mining plates?”
Carson: “Which ones are they?”
Edgar: “The ones that say ‘MINING’.”
Carson: “…Which ones are they?”


GM: “Collecting the arrowheads is difficult, since they’re totally coated in neurotoxin.”
Edgar: “One of my hands is mechanical, Adam. I don’t give a fuck.”


NPC: “We’ve run into a situation with your friend Ezra being a spy.”
Edgar: “What friend?”
Ezra: “And he’s not even lying!”
NPC: “That man is one of the finest, most deadly agents of the Union they’ve got.”
Edgar: “What? Come on. I’ve seen him shoot.”


GM: “I assume you’re playing harmonica either because you’re calm, or because you’re trying to distract yourself from freaking out.”
Ezra: “Both those things are true.”
Edgar: “He’s calm and freaking out at the same time? He really is a professional.”
Carson: “Classic misdirection!”


GM: “You look out into a maze of canyons.”
Arthur: “I do see a lot of corn.”
GM: “…what?”
Arthur: “Maize, Adam, get rekt.”


GM: “Gitche stands there with his gun pointed at the Captain, struggling to think of something cool to say before firing.”


GM: “Jian shows up with a new, crazy lightning ability that he’s learned through training.”
Edgar: “And lots of peyote. That’ll do that.”
Ezra: “…Will it? Will peyote give me lightning powers?”
Edgar: “He thinks it does, and that’s pretty much how Jian works.”


Carson: “Can Jian take people with him when he tunnels?”
Arthur: “Ezra, how long can you hold your breath?”
Ezra: “I don’t like where this is going.”


Arthur: “If your old friend Kendrick turns out to be an enormous piece of shit, that’s on you.”
Ezra: “I accept that.”
Arthur: “That means we also kill you.”
Ezra: “That is not what I accepted.”


GM: “The night passes uneventfully, as far as you know. But when you wake up and look over at where the bodies are, it seems like there are fewer there.”
Carson: “Oh, they’re just decomposing.”
Edgar: “Carson, do you know of any monsters that might eat corpses?”
Carson: “Just the Northwestern Corpse Wendigo.”
Arthur: “Can we…never go anywhere near that?”


GM: “He climbs the wall, reaching the top. You have one more chance to do something before he escapes.”
Jian: “I throw a rock at him.”
GM: “Do you have the throwing skill?”
Jian: “No.” *hits anyway*


Preacher NPC: “Do you know what has become of those good men?”
Carson: “They were consumed by the beast, for their blood.”
Edgar: “Blood for the Blood God.”
Carson: “Skulls for the Skull Throne. You know how it is, bro.”


Edgar: “How do you feel about magic?”
Carson: “It can be used to stop evil things.”
Edgar: “Well that’s too bad Carson, magic doesn’t exist.”


Edgar: “I’m the only one who gets to be a science fascist, if it happens.”


Arthur: “Jian, I don’t pay you to be injured!”


NPC: “Sir, put the gun down and we’ll get you a complimentary brunch.”
Ezra: “Yeah, hey, sounds like a good deal.”
Edgar: “What’s IN the brunch?”
Jian: “Ooh, asking the important questions. Keep your guns out.”


Arthur: “Jian, I don’t pay you to get lost!”


Arthur: “Jian. I want you to look me in the eye, and ask yourself. Did I pay you to do this?”


Jian: “I’m going to lie down on the ground and try not to cry.”
Arthur: “Then you’re gonna cry a lot?”
Jian: “Next turn, I’m out of actions.”


GM: “Despite your pinpoint accuracy, he doesn’t seem to be noticing the wound as much as he should…”
Ezra: “Wow, that guy must be a badass and you definitely don’t suck.”


Agent Galloway: “We have a picture of the brain wired into the robot, if you’d like to have a look. You’d be the last to see it, since we’re going to be purging it before anyone gets any ideas to try something like that again.”
Edgar: “Actually can I get a look at that?”


“You know, I never really got what your con was…you know, the one where you took a guy’s job and did it for him?”


I also wrote a song with references to all the different challenges I seeded into the sandbox. I’m not going to post a link to my shitty attempt at recording it, but I will post the lyrics below.

“Down in San Marcho”

There ain’t no chains or shackles!
Or anyone to save you
You’ll try to justify the violence
Only after bullets fly

Red Michael wears a coat of skin
And calls the Devil himself kin
And in the hills they prophesize
That fire will fall from the skies
In Morton where the bankers scheme
The people there ain’t what they seem
Grey and Blue both watch their backs
When Vendetta Red picks up her axe
Gold and white walk through the mist
Looking for their missing fist
From far below they see the dawn
Ask how many miles to Babylon
The Nickel Men at the crystal still
Bind themselves to Diablo’s will

In the maze the Liar Pit
Sees Jack-o-Tallow take the bit
Across the border and down the line
The agent’s looking for a sign
The iron horse lays tracks again
For blood, Black River and Templeton
And deep underground the serpent crawls;
You’ve seen the writing on the walls

And that puzzle box that won’t ever close
Once you’ve got it open
What’s inside it, no one knows
And those that do ain’t talking
But once they hear and once they see
That Pandora’s Box has opened
They’ll come for you and take what’s yours
Ain’t no way to stop them

Hear the hammers drumming down
Nails into your coffin
There ain’t no cavalry coming down
Down in San Marcho


It was a damn good game, and a pleasure to run. Here’s to San Marcho, and the heroes who won it.

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