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Franklin Fortner

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About Franklin Fortner

ID Card

  • Role
    Supporting Character
  • Playby
    Brian Donlevy
  • Full Name
    Franklin Fortner
  • Goes By
  • Profession
  • Position
  • Birth Date
  • Status
  • Height
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color

Physical Description

Proper, proportional build --- not flabby.  Good posture.  Keen eyes.

Traits & Characteristics

Razor keenness.   Affable on the outside, but very self-serving.  When he says that you're his friend -- watch out!  He is a gambler.


He is a salesman.  Not in the traditional sense but more like someone who sells people phony stock certificates, or someone who ropes people in to becoming partners in get rich schemes.


Sleight of hand - smooth talking - cheating at cards.

Aliases / Nicknames


Kith & Kin

Life Events

He is an "associate" of Judge Hiram Priest Esq.   They have both prospered from other-than-legal schemes.

Character Notes

Player Notes

Other Characters by this Player

  • Esquire
  • Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
  • 22 posts
  • Player
    Samual S. Hinds
    Goes By
    Birth Date
    Hair Color
    Eye Color
  • Horace Potee
  • NPC
  • 2 posts
  • Player
    Montana Historical
    Goes By
    Birth Date
    Hair Color
    Dark brown
    Eye Color
    Dark brown

Recent Posts

  1. Franklin Fortner
    With all the carrying-on, Sally Adams would not be ignored nor outdone.  With a florid face and in a cloud of belched liquor to scent the breezes, she began.
    "If Miss Mundee is too modest to accept your toast, Sir..." she slurred "....Here's a toast to all of you then: Mr. Fortner, the wonderful new owner of the Stardust Saloon! Mr Simons, the manager of the new theatre! Mr. Flandry, the finest barman in the world! Miss Mundee, the songbird of the stardust, and most of all... all of our wonderful customers!! All of them 'Jolly Good Fellows!'" she trilled: to be fair, many of them were as much her patrons as they were patrons of the saloon.
    She started to warble in a strained mezzo-soprano.
    "For they are jolly good fellows
    For they are jolly good fellows..."
    Never before had For He's a Jolly Good Fellow been played with such a vicious edge on the pianoforte. 
    Frank cast an eye to see where Arabella had gone or if she was still in his employ, but in walked Mr. Priest who walked write up to Fortner.
    "I'm signed up.  I'm on the slate," he said through his chaw. 
    "Wait a minute!" he shouted while waving Sally Adams down.  "I've got an announcement to make!"  Then, with an arm around Hiram Priest's narrow shoulders, he continued.  "Mr. Hiram Priest here," he said, pointing at the man with his free hand, "..is running for Mayor of Kalispell!   And I'm here to tell you that we couldn't make a better choice.   Now I haven't know this man very long, but as some of you know already, he saved my life yesterday by  plugging a drunken cowpoke who was about to slap leather with me.  Since then I've found out that he's been a Judge before .. and a damned good one, I hear.  And he's also been Mayor of towns from Missouri and up into the Dakota territory."
    Franklin stood back and began clapping, and he looked to Caroline and Ralph to back him up.
  2. Franklin Fortner
    Fortner was enjoying the banter with Ben Simons, Ralph and Caroline about a future competition for the loose money in Kalispell, and whether he was going to poach the saloon's talent for his new theater project.  Sadly, it turned into a bit of a fracas.
    Suddenly Arabella, who'd been dutifully playing with the ivories, slammed the piano's cover down.   The percussion caused the morning patrons to jump --- all heads turned as she flounced over to the bar.
    "Well that's nice ain't it!!" she hollered, loud enough for even the aging and deaf Sally Adams to hear loud and clear without her tin ear horn in place. Arabella was standing in front of Ben Simons now with a look of complete outrage on her little face and the tears squirting from her eyes. "I give you my best Lady Macbeth and you just thowed it in the dirt an'... an' she's just stood standin' there an you offer her a part in your plays, well... you can just... you can just go get lost, Mr. Simons...." she twisted on the spot and in her rage and and brokenhearted upset shouted "You can all get lost! I'm goin' to work fer Mr. Jolly, least them dead folks treat me with some respect!!"
    Frank went, "Whoa .. whoa," and, when he caught her eye, he slowly shook his head at her.  It was one thing to be extravagant and say cute, outlandish things, but it was another thing to insult patrons.  She'd even unwittingly enlisted the help of Sally Adams who finally shut up after Ben offered her a drink.  That was always the best way to control a drunk. 
    That wasn't the way to do business.  The new proprietor crossed his lips with his index finger and said, "Now come on, Arabella.  Get off your high horse and calm down.  I show you respect, now don't I?"
    There were raw feelings everywhere, it seemed. 
    Before all this had transpired, the center of attention was Caroline Mundee.  She was the prized bauble on the Christmas tree, and it pleased Frank that she said she would stick around.
    Hoping that would placate her, Ben turned to Fortner, "Before we were rudely interrupted, we were about to toast Miss Mundee, shall we proceed or we will save it for another time?"
    "Yes," agreed Fortner, who picked up his glass and raised it.  "Attention!" he called out. 
    A couple of cowpokes turned to see what else was transpiring that morning.
    "Ben Simons and I are about to make a toast.  Please join us if you wish."  He paused while mugs and glasses shot upwards, then continued.  "Here is to the charming, the talented and the lovely Caroline Mundee:  The Montana Nightingale!"
    There was clapping and cheering.
    "Arabella," Frank said through the tumult.  "Can you play something in honor of our Miss Caroline, like She's a Jolly Good Fellow, something like that?"
  3. Franklin Fortner
    "He's a good man, Ben." he said to Simons.  "Hell!  He had my back yesterday when I was confronted with a drunk cowhand."  He cleared his throat as if to wipe a slate clean and moved on to another subject.  "What's your game?  Poker?"
    "Mostly," Ben answered as he turned to look at Fortner, "it depends on what's going on.  Blackjack or Faro will do just as well."
    Franklin nodded.  "I figure we can accommodate most games of chance.  Of course,..and I know it's important to a gentleman like you, ..we will insist on everything being above boards.  We'll run an honest house.  He turned to his barkeep, "Ain't that right Ralph?"
    Franklin Fortner gave Ben Simons a sidelong glance.  He appeared to be a careful man.  Simons, Simons, Franklin repeated in his mind.  The name seemed familiar, but he couldn't remember if the familiarity involved fame or infamy.  He figured only time would tell.
    The object of his interest spoke up.
     "Kalispell isn't exactly the gambling capital of the west, so I've been dabbling in few other things as well.  I found the town lacked entertainment, so I'm converting an old boarding house into a small theatre."
    "Is that a fact!?" Fortner expounded.
    He grinned, "Don't worry, I'm not looking at competing against the Star Dust.  I'm aiming for the more respectable and well-healed part of town.  I think both of our ventures will do handsomely here if we, mind the pun, play our cards right."
    Fortner threw his head back and followed a gusty chuckle with, "Nothing wrong with healthy competition for the hard-earned money floating around Kalispell.  Is there?  I don't think it'll hurt either of us.  Hey ... but you're not lure away some of our talent?  Are you? We've got it in spades.  There's little Miss Arabella, our piano player, and then there's Miss Caroline, the Montana Nightingale. 
    (Already, Fortner had been thinking of ways to promote the Star Dust.  One of them was to promote and advertise the lovely Caroline.  He'd settled on "The Montana Nightingale", and was planning on having a likeness of her on posters with that moniker printed above it.  Maybe The Montana Queen would do?)
    He may have appeared jovial, but Fortner was not looking to lose his moneymaking attractions.
    [As this was going on, Hiram Priest was at City Hall, putting down his $20 to have his name put on the ballot for Mayor.  He was an old hand at his paperwork.]
  4. Franklin Fortner
    Then Fortner asked Arabella to play a song, an old song. While the girl did that, performing solo, Caroline felt the girl didn't need the help - the man approached their shiny new boss. Again Caroline just watched. Wait, a second look and she knew the gentleman, it was Ben.
    Oh she had once upon a time been introduced to Ben's full name but she forgot it. Caroline wasn't much on formalities in the saloon (actually anywhere else either). Ben was a gambler who played cards on occasion at the Star Dust. He knew his trade well too. But if he ever cheated, she never noticed and no one else called him out for it. She had stood at his table for a few games and watched the cards being played, she flirted with him, and of course she got him to buy her a few drinks too. He had never caused any trouble and seemed a true gentleman.
    Franklin, each hand clasping a side of his open suit coat, turned and appraised the new comer -- well, at least new to him.  The man was turned out nicely, and his shoes were varnished.  Shoes were important to Franklin's mind.  One could dress up like a one-hundred dollar funeral, but if his shoes were dirty and scuffed, he looked like a bum.
    He felt he should know the man, or know of him.
    "You know this fella?" he asked Caroline.
  5. Franklin Fortner
    Things seem to run like a well oiled machine, or so Franklin sensed.  Everyone seemed to have a part that they played, and played well.  For instance, there was Ralph.  He was an old hand at the saloon -- like a foreman on a ranch.  He would be a good candidate to step in as Manager if Franklin had to be away for whatever reason.  There was Arabella.  She played an important part too.  She seemed loved by all, if annoying, and was like a glue that held things together.  Then there was Caroline, young but like Mother Earth to the staff.  They seemed to put a lot of stock in her.
    All this was good for one Franklin Fortner.  The smoother the Star Dust ran, the more time he could devote to his sidelight.  It stood to make him a rich man if things fell into place like he was hoping and planning. 
    Everything hinged on Horace Potee ... now there was a character he needed to meet and "work on". 
    Absently, he stared over to the table where Hiram Priest would hold court.  It was reserved for the old Mayor, Judge, and roué.  Maybe roué was a bit harsh.  There was nothing debauched about the sly, honorable Mr. Priest.  What he had besides a brilliant, calculating, mind was a rapacious heart.  He, most certainly, was a player in his wider drama.
    Fortner's attention snapped back to the moment when Caroline descended the stairs,  and Arabella rushed to the piano and played a sort of rolling welcoming fanfare and announced excitedly "Ladies and Gentlemen, here she is, The Chicago Songthrush, Miss Caroliiiiiine Mundeeeeeee!" In fact, Arabella was always quite put out when the songstress actually did get up early enough to join the rest of them at the early morning breakfast table. It broke family tradition, see.
    "Morning, folks!  Gonna be another hot one I'll bet," she flashed one of her light up the room smiles.
    "It's always a hot one with La Mundee in town!" Arabella concurred, before slurping the rest of her sarsaparilla. 
    Hot time, thought Fortner.  They don't know the half of it, he mused.
    "Hey, it's that girl who sings!" slurred Sal, who had now put on her seein' glasses. "...Caroline." Boy, this place sure looked funny in the morning when it was empty and the light was streaming in through the windows. 
    Arabella jumped up from the piano stool, bashed her empty glass down on the bar like the cowboys did after they'd downed a beer in one and threw her arms affectionately around the old bawd.
    "Look Caro', Aunt sally's come in to see us!" she beamed, as if some luminary like President Grant or Queen Victoria had dropped by.
    A shadow fell across the floor as someone, newly entered, blocked the slant of the morning sun.  Frank turned and saw a well turned-out man.  It was unusual for him to see anyone as nicely dressed as he was, and it put him on alert.  So, to show the newcomer who ran the place, he called over to Arabella.  "Play Buffalo Gals".
  6. Franklin Fortner
    "Line 'em up," he said to Ralph.  "Two whiskeys."
    "Alright, boss," Ralph did as was directed, pouring two shot glasses to their rims.
    Ralph then heard their new employer address Arabella about a drink.
    "She was not allowed alcohol when Miss Devereau was here," he decided to let the man know, Arabella was still just a kid.
    "Oh?" Frank muttered.   Then he turned to Arabella.  "Sorry kid," he said.
    Arabella stamped her foot and put her hands on her hips. "Not that she needed to: I'm Tea-Total, Mr. Fortner, signed the pledge when I was twelve... 'Water Bright is My One Delight!'" she reeled off some Methodist doggerel. Sure, Arabella got up to all sorts of things she hadn't ought to do, but drinking alcohol wasn't one of them. 
    "I had no idea. Maybe Ralph can set you up with some water?"  he queried.
    "It's kinda aggravating' when someone tells you not to do somethin' you wasn't gonna do no-how in the furst place." she further expostulated.
    Aunt Sally had moved back to the bar, eagerly waiting the free drinks.
    "Drink up, Miss," he said to the old strumpet.  One of the house and the memory of the wayward Grimes."
    Franklin lifted his glass and took a couple of sips.  It was good stuff.
    There was an ominous creaking noise from upstairs and Arabella suddenly shushed them all (although hers was the loudest voice present) "Quiet! All this shoutin's woken Caroline up!"
    "What?" asked Sal inevitably.
    "I said be quiet!!" Arabella yelled. She jerked a thumb at the somewhat antiquated strumpet and explained to Frank "She's a lot more easier to get along with when she's got the horn on her."
    Frank held up his palms and cautioned her to keep her voice down.  "You never know who's suffering from the hangover, do you?"
    One attendant across the room reached outside the swinging doors and removed the CLOSED sign.   It was time for business.
  7. Franklin Fortner
    Sally cocked her head and smiled. Arabella always thought Aunt Sal had a beautiful smile.
    "All right, big feller. But I should tell you, I don't usually accept drinks off strange gentlemen!" she flirted, drunkenly.
    Frank's expression didn't change.
    "Well that makes this a remarkable day because I usually don't offer drinks to strange ladies.
    "Line 'em up," he said to Ralph.  "Two whiskeys."
    "So," he continued with Sally.  "Grimes cheated you, huh?  Well, we'll make that right.  They don't call this the Start Dust for nothing."   He then reached into his waistcoat pocket and pulled out a greenback.  "Here," he said, slapping it into her hand.
    Franklin didn't want any trouble from anyone.  He need to sow fields and fields of goodwill.  Then, when he pulled a trigger, any trigger, he'll have a lot of support from all quarters.
    I'd offer you one, Arabella, but you're going to be on the clock pretty soon and we don't want you tipsy.  Do we?"
  8. Franklin Fortner
    Before the reticent barkeep could answer, the bar's swing doors crashed open and a woman staggered in with a cry of "Where is he? Where's the feller what killed Frank Grimes?!!!" She looked like she had either been drinking heavily this morning, or she still had a tankful left over from the night before. 
    This was trouble, and Fortner braced himself.  Man, woman, it didn't matter.  Liquor mixed with guns was trouble with a capital "T".
    The woman looked much the worse for wear, obviously drunk.
    "Was it YOU?!!" she pointed to Mr. Flandry, but then screwed her eyes almost closed and leaned forward on the bar, before exclaiming "Oh no, that's Ralph!" She cast her myopic glance around the room. "Where is he? I... I got somethin' to say to that feller." she shouted.
    Arabella ran up and guided the lady toward Frank.
    "I think you're looking for Mr. Fortner, Miss Adams!" she yelled. Sal was a trifle deaf as well as being short sighted. "He shot Mr. Grimes. I tried to stop him but, well, you know. Boys will be boys"
    It was too late.  Arabella had just dosed the fire with gunpowder, despite Fortner's hand-signalling for her to shut up,.
    "Oh! Sweet little Alla... Allabella!!" Miss Adams cooed, seeing who was helping her. She then looked to the front where Arabella was guiding her and saw a tall blurry figure. 
    "You the feller what shot Frank Grimes?!" she demanded, poking him in the chest.
    It was before hours, it not being ten o'clock yet, and the place was empty of patrons.  Only the crew was present, brooms and rags in hand.
    Fortner moved her hand away from his chest.
    "We're not open yet", he said quietly.  "As for Grimes, he pulled a gun on me.  He was drunk.  He didn't listen to reason.  He was looking for trouble and he found it.  And get your facts straight.  Two of us shot him.  That's how much of a threat he posed to the law abiding citizens who were gathered here.  The Sheriff said it was self-defense, and he was right."
    He took a step back from her.
    "Now .. if you'd like me to offer you a whiskey, I'm certain I can talk Ralph into pouring you one."
  9. Franklin Fortner
    Ralph was a tough nut to crack, in Fortner's estimation.  But, then again, it's better to have someone who is tight-lipped working for you rather than someone who is a blabber mouth.
    Then he asked him what is pay was, and Ralph told him that his pay was comparable to others who kept bar.  To Fortner, that meant about $1.70 per hour. 
    But Ralph went on.  "I get free room and board too, food and drinks on the house."
    Franklin nodded then stood back and crossed his arms.
    "Whatdya say to $2 an hour?  Let's call it $20 a day.  And, yes .. room and board is thrown in too. AND drinks on the house."
    It was a generous offer.
  10. Franklin Fortner
    "Well, Mr. Flandry," he began, once he reached the bar.  "How are things looking for us?  Any problems with supply or quality?" 
    "Nobody calls me that...it's Ralph," he softly pointed out before answering the pertinent question, "Supplies are good. Tildy always did a fine job of procuring the necessary amounts. She dealt with the Zimmern Brothers out of Helena, reliable distributors."
    "I'm sure she left the books and correspondence up in her office," he added.
    "Why thanks,.... Ralph," Frank began.  It was his practice to start off in a formal manner until advised otherwise.  "Sounds like you have everything under control."  He slapped his hands down on the polished bar and smiled.  "I'm not about to reinvent the wheel.  So why don't you just keep on with what you have in the past.  When I get a chance, I'll go over the books --- maybe this weekend.  What I want you to know is that if you need any roadblocks cleared or help with problems, feel free to see me about 'em."
    He lowered his voice.   "What's your pay?" he asked.

About Sagas

Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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