Deadlands: Anastasis & Wormwood
Chinese American woman gunslinger
Name: Min Zhang
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d10, Strength d4, Vigor d10.
Skills: Shooting d12+1, Fighting d8, Guts d8+2, Notice d8+2 (d8+4 to spot visual clues), Intimidate d4+2, Riding d4, Survival d4, Stealth d4, Knowledge (Chinese) d4.
Derived Stats: Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 9, Grit 6, Charisma -2.
Hindrances: Vengeful (major), Loyal (minor), Outsider (minor).
Edges: Quick, Quick Draw, Elan, Improved Trademark Weapon (“Wen’s Revenge” single-action revolver), Improved Hip Shooting, Speed Load, Alertness, Reputation, Damned, Ghost, Right Hand of the Devil, Cat Eyes, Professional (shooting).
Harrowed Traits: Toughness +2, Grit +1, +2 on fear checks; needs only 1d6 hours of sleep per night; immune to nonlethal damage; “death” only puts the Harrowed out of commission for 1d6 days, only an incapacitating head-shot can kill the Harrowed for good; immune to poison and disease; no beneficial miracles or tribal medicine powers can affect Harrowed, only detrimental ones.
Coup Powers: If Min inflicts a wound on herself and pulls out a small bit of her brain matter, she may use it to poison a meal. Anyone who consumes the meal must make a Vigor roll or die. Even those who succeed gain two fatigue levels (one with a raise) as spasms and convulsions wrack their body ; Min’s arms are long and rubbery, giving her a +1 bonus to her reach with any melee weapon.
Equipment: “Wen’s Revenge” ghost steel single-action revolver (.45) (Range: 12/24/48, Damage: 3d6+1, RoF: 1, Weight: 1, Shots: 6, Notes: + 1 to hit on shooting rolls, AP 1, Magnum Reinforced, malfunction damage halved) ; Backup Single Action Peacemaker Revolver (.45) (Range: 12/24/48, Damage: 2d6+1, RoF: 1, Weight: 2, Shots: 6, Notes: AP 1, double tap) ; Winchester ‘76 Rifle (.45) (Range: 24/48/96, Damage: 2d8, RoF 1, Weight 7, Shots: 15, Notes: AP 2), pistol bullets x60, Magnum rounds x10, rifle bullets x25, silver bullets x16, bowie knife, gun belt, 2 holsters, bedroll, canteen, duster, backpack, saddlebags, shoes, torch, flint & steel, 1 wooden stake, trousers, tent, evening gown, dehydrated air tablet, 3 revitalizing tonics, sure shot elixir, owl eye tonic, 2 healing ungents, 1 restoration elixir, 1 tactile desensitizer, Wong Wei’s Guide to the Great Maze, Wong Wei’s Guide to No Man’s Land.
The city of Sacramento, California, 1865
The shadows are what I most remember.
I was a little girl playing on the plush carpeted floors of Madame Lian’s Gold Lotus Parlor House. The scent of whiskey and cigars hung in the air as the beautiful ladies in jewel toned evening gowns circulated around the oriental couches and shaded lamps. And my mother dressed in red silk with a white flower in her hair, smiling and chatting with the male visitors.
They would eventually go upstairs together. For some years I did not understand what was going on. As I got older I began to notice things. I saw my mother slowly running her hand across the inside of a man’s thigh.
“Min,” one of the other pretty ladies said, “don’t watch your mother. That’s grown-up stuff.”
I ignored her and turned back. I saw the man groping my mother’s breast.
That scared me and I ran away. So I came up with my own way of watching my mother. I kept my gaze fixed on the moving shadows she and the men cast on the wall instead of looking directly at them. One could see whatever one imagined watching the shadows on the wall.
The city of Shan Fan, California, 1872
I was outside playing with my toy bullseye when one of the shadow men took an interest in me.
“Hi, Min,” the chubby man with the thin mustache said. “You’re pretty good with that bullseye. I’m Mr. Wen.”
“Thank you,” I said, eyeing the man suspiciously. He was one of my mother’s regular customers. Now that I was eleven, did he think my “services” were for sale as well?
The man took a small silver pistol out of his pocket. “How about if I teach you to shoot with something more fun than a bullseye,” he said.
“Why? What do you want in return?” I asked.
“Nothing. Your mother asked me to teach you,” he said.
“Show me what you have learned,” my mother said. She had lined up six tin cans.
I fired off six shots in as many seconds, hitting each can dead center.
My mother nodded. “Good. Mr. Wen has taught you well.”
“Why did you have him teach me to shoot?” I asked.
“It is a dangerous world we live in,” my mother said. “I want you to have a better life. Make your own choices instead of having them chosen for you. But if you cannot protect yourself your life will be at the mercy of others.”
“Mr. Wen said I should find a merchant’s son to marry,” I muttered.
My mother pressed the pistol into my hands. “This is my gift to you,” she said. “You make your own way.”
The city of Shan Fan, California, 1879
I was working as a hired gun for Kang’s Iron Dragon Railroad when I received a telegram that my mother had died.
Apparently over the course of several days she had grown feverish and delirious. Everyone thought it was just the flu until her stomach swelled up like a balloon. She finally fell unconscious and a disgusting tick-like creature burst out of her stomach in a shower of gore and scuttled off into the night.
I returned to Shan Fan. Silent tears streamed down my face as I washed her body and clothed her in white. She was buried at Zhaojun Cemetery. Meiying Zhang, 1843-1879. My mother’s sacrifices had bought my freedom but she was unable to do the same for herself.
How did my mother wind up working as a prostitute? She hinted several times about the circumstances which pushed her down that path but I was too uncomfortable to inquire further. More importantly, how did she become infected by that parasite? Was it just bad luck or something more sinister? Her unspoken story haunted me like a ghost – unseen yet ever present.
After her death I was filled with a terrible restlessness and the desire to strike out for parts unknown. So I boarded a train headed to Denver. As I watched the tumbleweeds blowing across the desert landscape I found myself contemplating who I was. An eighteen year old woman with a gun, a girl who grew up in shadows, moving from west to east. I did not know what the future held but I was determined to make my own way.
Portrait by Far West.
Worst Nightmare: Min has a recurring nightmare which occurs at least once a year. She is in a darkened building or a dark forest armed with her revolver and knife, stalking a monster which is in turn also stalking her. The monster in question varies but it is always more-or-less human-shaped (ghoul, wendigo, etc.). She stumbles across the bodies of victims the creature has killed. The dream always ends the same way — the monster charges out of the darkness and she and it are locked in fierce combat. There is a flash of light and she sees the monster has her face …
Background on Trademark Weapon: “Wen’s Revenge” is a single-action revolver crafted with ghost steel. The gun originally belonged to her mentor Hai Wen, who was assassinated. The ghost steel makes the revolver much lighter and easier to carry or hold them for long periods of time. It is also sturdier. In the event of a malfunction of cap-and-ball, Maynard cap ribbon, or armor piercing ammunition (see Smith & Robards), any damage suffered by the shooter is halved. It also provides an inherent +1 to shooting rolls due to the adjusted stock for better grip that feels like it was meant for you, a chamber that’s smooth and offers a fraction less kick-back and a barrel that stays smooth because of the ghost steel. The revolver’s wooden stock has an engraving of Maker’s Mark and five bats within a circle.