A Fistful of Sanity

Date: 31st May to 2nd June 2019.

Cost: £100 (£40 Deposit followed by 2 monthly instalments of £30) The game fee includes food but you are required to provide and set up your own camping equipment for overnight accommodation on Friday and Saturday night

Location: Deadwood Western Town, Nr Kingsfold, Horsham, Surrey

All booked out!

It is the summer of 1861, nationwide disagreement escalated seven weeks ago and looks like it could erupt into a Civil War. Many of the core Southern States had declared secession from the Union before Easter. Even now large parts of the continent aren’t yet declared for either side. The town of Deadwood lies in New Mexico Territory. It is a small but booming frontier town, right in the middle of the Territory. Being a frontier town means it is on the edge of nowhere, surrounded by disputes. The town lies on one of the many possible routes to California, making it potentially more important with each new expansion westward. It is still though a long way from real civilisation. Even completely outstretched, the long arm of the Law can barely touch this place with the loan tip of its extended finger. Yet still the town survives, gradually growing with each new visitor, everyone ignoring the risks here, everyone seeking an opportunity. Every one of them beguiled by the opiate American Dream.

The last 14 years have been significant and have shaped the world out here and beyond. Firstly, the US triumphed in the Mexican – American War (1846 – 1847), where the territory was violently torn from Mexico and partitioned as a Territory of the United States. Acquiring the land and drawing a new line on the map was one thing. Telling that to the people who lived here was a very different matter. The various Native American Nations (NAN) who’d had years of irregular skirmishes with the Mexicans, now fought the American Settlers instead. Some of the NAN reached a negotiated settlement with the American Settlers. A good number did not. Unfortunately, most Americans couldn’t distinguish one tribe from another and were unjustifiably hostile or fatally off guard when encountering the local indigenous people. These attacks by either side perpetuated the division and acrimony among the conflicting races. Mexicans who had lived here their whole lives had land and possession stolen, families murdered, all under a government who didn’t recognise them as citizens. Many took up grievances in any way they could. One man’s bandit is another man’s freedom fighter.

For those NAN Tribes that didn’t accept terms, much continued as before, with tit-for-tat raids and reprisals. Finally, the fate of the NAN was sealed when Gold was discovered in New Mexico Territory. By 1849 the American Settlers had called in the US Army hoping they’d clear out the NAN menace. The US Army’s first response was to send in the entire 1st Cavalry Regiment to deal with the Jicarilla Apache. This was the first ever significant engagement between the American and Apache forces. The Americans got well and truly annihilated. And that is how the Apache Wars erupted in 1849 and don't cease until Geronimo surrenders in 1886. These years of war, against the Mexicans and then the Apache, militarises an entire generation of American men. These wars serve as a proving ground for thousands of Military Officers and enlisted men. Their aggression stoked, their skills honed and finished fighting with everybody sharing the continent with them, the Americans decide to turn on each other. When Lincoln is elected President in November 1860, many of the Southern States declare secession from the Union. The country splits in two and on April 12th 1861, the disagreements spill over into conflict as the South’s forces attempt to secure the military supplies and fortifications within their own states. In South Carolina, Fort Sumter’s commander rejects the offer to hand over his Fort and sends pleas for help to the Union. The Confederate forces fire their artillery, eventually taking the Fort but also signalling the start of the American Civil War.

And so it is, at the end of May 1861 as our story starts... As more American Settlers arrive to make something for their families. As Prospectors arrive to mine for gold and other precious minerals. As the Native American Nations fight off incursions into their lands or forge new relationships with their neighbours. As bandits ravage the caravan trails. As the town’s booming wealth attracts big business and those of dubious morale fibre. As the men and women committed to the rule of law and order do their best to spread civilisation. As people of faith see new flocks to guide. As Mexicans see an opportunity to reclaim lost lands. As tradespeople and merchants arrive to expand the town. A booming frontier town on the fringe of the discovered continent attracts the populace. Deadwood offers fame and fortune to those brave enough to take a chance…


Players are invited to take on any role that they would like in the above setting. As players won’t have had the opportunity to form relationships in town or gain knowledge about the town pre-game, we ask that players write into their background a reason why they are drawn to visit Deadwood, as the game begins. As new arrivals to the town, Players can choose how they arrive in town from one of three means. By dusty trail (Very Cheap), stagecoach (Moderately Expensive) or by riverboat paddle steamer (Very Expensive).

Players are informed that this game will of course reward good roleplaying. However, no end of good blagging and acting will still see you out trumped by someone having the right skill, at the right time, at the right level, possibly better higher than yours. Choose your skills carefully, you will need them. As this is the Old West we’re going to let you have “Shootin’ Guns” as a skill for FREE. Firearms and Ammo are also now FREE for this game only. You are only limited to period appropriate weapons.


Just for this Dark Door game but of use to the Game Organisers would be an idea of your characters alignment. We’re going to keep it simply and ask you to let us know if your Character is simply Good, Neutral or Evil. Your pre-game For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) will be tailored to suit your moral compass.

Sanity in the Wild West is a precious commodity. There are many aspects of life in the West that can help sustain or erode your Sanity. Having a strong faith might for example be a good source of protection, while acting contrary to these might become a weakness. Similarly, a respect for law and order would work the same way. Think about your characters stance on things that the Wild West might throw at them. We will track your Sanity by means of the matchbook system employed previously at games (ask for details pre-game if unfamiliar). On the off chance that your Sanity should fall during a Cthulhu game …. cough… you should prepare an insanity pathway you may fall into, with spiralling severity as your Sanity declines further. We would suggest three levels of insanity where you adopt this pathway at Light, Moderate and finally Severe.

To book for this tale of horror and mystery set in good ol' Wild West please submit a deposit of £40 via our website using our secure on-line booking and payment service. Bookings are on a first come first served basis, with places strictly limited. The deposit is non-refundable. Please refer to our full booking terms and conditions. .

Should you have any queries please contact us at Sanity@thedarkdoor.co.uk or via The Dark Door's Facebook page

Booking Conditions