From early childhood at the instruction of his mother, Case was taught that he was better than anyone not associated with his family. His other complexes and disorders began to show up early as well. Case was unable to feel remorse for the things that he had done to others, feeling he had the ‘right’ to do whatever he wanted. This was where his superiority complex blossomed. Followed in short order by his narcissistic disorder reared its ugly head.
However, it was when he got older and had a gun that he became a man to fear, even if one thought they were his friend. The exceptions are the Steelgraves, for whom he would do anything, and possibly already has without the family knowing.
Case Steelgrave is handsome and charming. He is also a cold-blooded killer. If met on the street or in a social setting, most people would say, “He’s so handsome and pleasant. I just can’t believe he’d kill anyone that wasn’t threatening him.”
As a child living in St. Louis, Case was fascinated with the tales of life out west. He wanted the glamorous life of a high stakes gambler and the homage he perceived to be accorded to gunfighters. Case also has avoided jail by always managing to goad his target into drawing first, therefore the killings have all been in self-defense.
Case is always well dressed in the latest style. Having taken on the role of town marshal in Whitefish, he takes great pride in displaying the shining badge on the breast of his jacket or vest. He’s finding that being a marshal gives him a perfect niche for continuing his true calling, being the most feared gunman that ever lived. His most distinctive feature is his voice. It is deep. rather slow in intonation, and very classy. The accent is rather undefined but is most similar to the British accent of one who has been classically educated.
Method of Operation
Case’s former base of operations was El Paso, Texas. He still subscribes to and uses the El Paso Chronicle to get job notices.
The prospective employer puts a personal ad in the El Paso Chronicle (newspaper) that names a city or town.
Case responds to the ad by mailing in a response that names a bank, usually in the city or town listed in the ad.
Steelgrave travels to the place specified and retrieves his fee. Then goes to the post office to pick up a letter (addressed to him via general delivery). The letter has the name of the person he is supposed to kill.
Currently, Case then spends as much time as it takes to goad his target into a fight, forcing the other person to draw on him so he can claim self-defense. However, he has the town of Whitefish in his pocket so there is no one willing to stand against him.
Case used the position of town marshal to cover his real profession, gunfighter.
Gunfighter - Fast and accurate with either hand, with fists or pistols.
Very good with a knife.
Gambler (Card Sharp) - Excellent with cards, practiced at every method of cheating.
Hobbies & Interests
Killing. Getting Shade Thornton, or any of that lot, regardless of sex or age.
Aliases / Nicknames
Kith & Kin
Spouse / Partner
*Gayal Dorset (deceased)
*Elsie Carpenter (deceased)
*See history for details.
None he is aware of.
Elias Steelgraves will do whatever is necessary for him to get what he wants, to advance his station in life, to increase his holdings.
He often purports to one thing but will do the exact opposite. He can never be trusted to be truthful. At seventeen, he decided that Elinor Dressin was going to be his wife. And although she was being courted at the time, he began his own courtship, knowing that her other beau, Harlan Knowles, would confront him.
When that happened, acting stunned and injured, Elias challenged Harlan to a duel, allowing Harlan to select the weapons. Dueling was pure sport to Elias, and Harlan was not a man of weapons.
Although Elias knew he could defeat Harlan, he let on publicly like he was against the duel idea. So convincing, even those who knew him, believed him. So, in order to eliminate the competition, he lay in wait for Harlan. The secluded area was perfect. When the man crossed the bridge, Elias sprang from hiding and slammed him in the head with a rock and then shoved the lifeless body to the rocks below. The following day he went to Elinor complaining that he had waited an hour past the time Harlan was to show, he never did. Though she did not believe him, she saw in him a man that would get what he was after, and as his wife, so would she. They were married and before the year was out Benjamin was born.
Age: Mid 50's
Elinor Steelgrave is a handsome woman in her sixties. She is very petite, almost delicate looking, but her appearance disguises a spine of steel. In demeanor, she is invariably polite in a condescending manner. She is highly intelligent. Like Elias, Elinor manages the family with an iron fist. This steel is applied in her business dealings as well.
Benjamin ‘Ben’ Steelgrave 39, 1836
Benjamin Steelgrave is the eldest son and his father’s right-hand man when his mother allows him to be. Along with his wife, Nona, and two young sons, he has moved to the new ranch in Whitefish. Benjamin would be considered a gentleman rancher as he has no inclination to actually work the range. He is a rather handsome and elegant man who, like his mother, has a somewhat condescending air when he speaks. He is not unintelligent, but he is not the brains of the family.
Clayton ‘Clay’ Steelgrave 34, 1841
Clayton is employed as the foreman of Evergreen Ranch, the Steelgraves’ ranch in Whitefish. He is the family member that is least interested in perpetuating the feud with the Thorntons. He has longed for a ranch to work and, under other circumstances, would have likely gone on the drift. He is generally good with horses, cattle, and people. He enjoys working and playing hard. Clayton is also good-natured, usually quick to smile and laugh. Despite the fact that Shade Thornton killed his younger brother, he would like to see the feud ended.
He is married to Janet Redmond and they have four children (two boys, two girls).
Zeke Steelgrave 32, 1843
Zeke has taken over the management of most of the Steelgrave’s non-ranching business interests. Of course, he answers to Elinor when it comes to business decisions, but as he has a very keen business sense, she does not interfere often. Zeke, like his elder sibling and mother, loathes everything Thornton and does not bother to disguise it. He is also cunning enough to interfere with the Thorntons’ various business interests without being overt or having it easily traced to him.
Calvin Steelgrave (deceased, a. 22 at TOD)
Calvin “Cal” Steelgrave was spoiled, arrogant, and truly psychotic. He was the family hellion and used to getting what he wanted or taking it if there was resistance, women included. He also considered himself as good a gunfighter as any that’d ever been born. While carousing with his brothers in Missoula, he spotted Regina Cantrell being escorted by her future brother-in-law, seventeen-year-old Shade Thornton. He caught her coming out of a store and tried to drag her into an alley and assault her. Shade heard the struggle and beat Calvin severely, even though he was younger and less experienced. A few hours later, Calvin lay in wait, intending to shoot Regina. Instead, Shade killed him.
Leah Steelgrave 26, 1849
Leah is a lovely and pampered young woman with a nasty streak where men are concerned. And likely the deadliest of the clan. She seems to enjoy luring them into her web and then crying foul, forcing her brothers to send them packing, usually not very gently. Most men call her bewitching. Those that have been caught in her trap and survived, call her a witch, and worse.
None that have survived to this point.
ADVERSARIES & ALLIES
Other than immediate family, to be determined during gameplay. Likely to be few.
Shade Thornton. Any that attempt to stand against the Steelgraves, or the Evergreen Ranch.
Others to be determined during gameplay.
1837 to 1847 (age: Birth - 10)
Once in school some of his future traits began to be displayed. Of course being the child of a rich family didn’t help.
1848 to 1851 (age 11 to 14)
Case was beginning to display his cruelty to others with continual fights and disobedience to his teacher. The final straw came after his fourteenth birthday when he wore the brand new gun and holster his father had gotten him to school and threatened the teacher. He was removed by force and delivered to his home with the message he would not be welcome back. The result of reading dime novels. He began developing an insatiable interest in gambling.
1855 (age 18)
Having run away to Texas, Case Steelgrave began his career as a professional gambler, as well as his rise as a gunfighter. There were several stand up fights where the competition was dispatched quickly. Some were not close to him in ability, but he had goaded them into it and allowed them to pull their gun first.
1857 (age 20)
His reputation continued to grow. He was beginning to be compared to Dallas Stoudenmire and Cullen Baker, though he would never face either. He was busy with the life of a gambler who would kill at the drop of the wrong word. He was then recruited as a gun for hire. The newspaper method was developed.
1858 (age 21)
Case took the first of two wives, a saloon girl by the name of Gayal Dorset. She was an asset to his gambling and fulfilled his needs. Finding out she had cheated on him, he whisked her off to Mexico on a supposed vacation. He returned without her stating she had left him. many suspected Gayal was in a shallow grave somewhere.
1859 to 1869 (age 22 to 32)
Not much changed for Case, with the exception of the 1861 marriage to Elsie Carpenter, and the 1862 murder of his brother Calvin. This marriage lasted for five years. Lasted until her continual use of Laudanum (tincture of opium) turned volatile with loud knock-down drag-out fights almost the order of the day. When Elsie pulled a pistol on him, a bullet cut a furrow across his right arm, he shot and killed her. The killing was ruled as self-defense. With that, Case cleared out of Texas and headed for Evergreen Ranch and the family.
1871 to 1875 (age 34 to 38)
He was well received and brought back into the fold which was rustling cattle, burning homesteads and killing nesters. Ever expanding the Steelgraves holdings. And to ensure that they were not apprehended, Case was installed as town Marshall of Whitefish. He was also on the prowl for any of the Thorntons, especially Shade! And, he still was able to pursue anything that turns up in the El Paso paper.
"So how long we gonna stay here?" Toole asked, not that he minded lounging around, but he did have a pocket full of money that was itching to be spent. "The boys are a some restless and havin' money means they wanna get out an' spend it somewhars."
Case looked at Toole like he had lost his mind. "Likely get ourselves shot to doll rags. If news has gotten this far, and there's no reason not to think it hasn't, then the law will be on the lookout for us. So the closest place would be Proctor where we just were. Tell you what, Toole, I want you to ride down there and see what's what. Maybe we head back down there, and maybe we find out if there's a posse out for us."
"I can do that, boss. I surely can." Toole answered. "You boys sit tight won't be all that long." He marched off to the picket line to get his horse saddled. Case stood watching him. Toole was a good man, dependable, so his foray into Proctor would not result in him dallying in the saloon, maybe running his mouth as some might. No, Toole would ride in and have a look around, maybe get a meal see what he could learn, but he would stay away from the saloon.
Saddled and mounted, Toole walked his mount over to Case. "Be back as soon as I can." He tuned the horse and started off toward the town of Proctor as the men watched and Dyer Howe walked up to Case.
"Where's he goin'?" Was the question.
"Proctor, see if it's safe to ride in a few at a time and have some fun." Case replied. "No way I'm turning all you boys loose on that poor town at the same time. Liable to get us all killed!" He said that jokingly, but there was truth in those words. A dozen liquored up outlaws loose in a town? That was a recipe for disaster.
"Yeah, that wouldn't do. Not at all." Dyer answered. "Take some plannin' and some control if we're gonna do that."
"Don't I know that." Case admitted, looking after the fast disappearing Toole.
Case and his boys were camped north-west of Proctor, along side a nameless lake, taking their time getting wherever they were going. Case had not said yet, other than they were headed north toward Kalispell. So far things had been interesting. The addition of Shannon and his men had already been profitable. So that was a boon for men doing nothing, but a surprise that they had actually followed through with the split from the bank job.
It would be a test now to see what happened with the rest of the banks along the way that were on the list, and how Shannon would hold up his end of the bargain, even though they had not parted on the best of terms at Boyer's Crossing, anything was possible, from continuing the deal, to craw-fishing on it. Only time would tell what was to happen, which also gave Case pause.
To the north was home range on the Evergreen, but even as crooked as his father was, a gang of outlaws, worse than the ones he had on his payroll, would not be welcome for more than a few days at best, but then, there was no telling what Elias Steelgrave was apt to do, or accept. Case was his son after all.
There were rumors of mining operations to the north, and it was if not cattle rich, it certainly had plenty for them to take. Mining of course, interested him as it was a means to some easy money by any number of ways. A man just had to use his head. Big Flat had taught him a valuable lesson, it was clear that a gang could not ride roughshod over a mining camp anymore than they could take over a town. Whitefish had been the exception to that.
It was natural for Case to slowly take over the town of Whitefish from it's infancy to where it was before it's destruction. That had been simple, the simplicity failed in Big Flat. Yet there was Guyer to deal with in Kalispell, that did not mean he had to take the town to do it. And, it was possible, he thought, that using his head, he could ease his way into control of the town, with Guyer out of the way. He liked that thought. Pike would be a different problem altogether, but there were rumblings that he was gone. He needed to get more on that.
Case was stunned by the demand. But looking into Walt Shannon's eyes convinced him he had met his match. The three bank robbers were willing to shoot it out right then and there, regardless of the outcome. He doubted that many of his men were prepared to die that day. Oh they would answer the call for sure, but, was it worth it?
"Look Walt let's us all put the hardware away and get down to brass tacks on this deal." Case said. "Let's come to an agreement on a plan, then you boys take the list and head on out."
"Agreement? What would be the terms of this agreement Case? Just how's this supposed to work if we can't trust one another? And, at the moment, I don't see a lot of trust being built here. You seem to think your boys all lined up there scare us. Hate to break it to you, they don't." Shannon brought both pistols into view. "We ain't figurin' on livin' forever, so if it happens today, well, it was a hell of a ride. If not, we move on with it. You lay that list here on the table and we'll have a look, but I'd say the cost has gone up some."
The was a long pause, neither man moved until Case reached inside his coat and withdrew the paper the list was on, then laid it on the table. "What now Shannon?" He asked.
Walt set down one of his guns and picked up the list, sticking it in his coat pocket without so much as a glance at it. He picked up the gun and got to his feet, the three slowly moved toward the door. Four maybe five would fall immediately if they tried anything, a high cost for Case Steelgrave.
At the door Walt smiled. "You know the list, we'll deliver two miles toward the next one." He said sharply. Wally and Injun Charlie mounted and kept their guns on the door. "Twenty-five percent!" Walt dashed to his horse, holstered his guns and mounted pony express style as they galloped off, rounding the saloon to block any chance of a shots coming their way.
"Wait!" Case said, raising a hand to stop his men behind him. "Wait, so maybe you don't ride with us, maybe we come to an agreement. One where you and your men heist the banks, take your share and leave the rest somewhere for us, or meet with one man and make the exchange."
"Well then Case, your boys need to head on back to the bar, wouldn't want a wrong move to get you killed, 'cuz anyone of 'em moves on us, and I'll kill you first. No matter what happens next, you die first." Walt's voice was even, and low, almost cordial. But his eyes told Case all he needed to know. "Need everyone's hands out and away from their hardware, right now, including you Case."
"We got off on the wrong foot here Walt," Case said complying with the order, "but maybe we can still salvage this to both of our advantages." Case added, also evenly, he was not concerned, but Shannon's threats, they were part and parcel of the situation. Not that he had wanted it to go that way, but he had to try and apply dominance over the deal, now that was out the window. What he was looking at were three hardened killers, with nothing to lose.
"We're all ears here, Case," Walt said. "Tell me just how this is supposed to work, we take the banks and make the split with you. That sounds real interestin', yep, real interestin' indeed."
"I've a list of banks.-"
"I'm sure you do." Walt cut in.
"I give you the list, you just work your way down the list, too much at stake here to fight over it."
"If you have it on you, where on you? You get it out real careful like. Lay it on the table, then back away. anybody flinches, you miss the rest. Clear?"
Case Steelgrave went cold. Walt Shannon had the drop on him, at a distance of three feet, a pistol slug would cut his spine in half, regardless of the advantage his men had, he would not see the end of it.
"This isn't what I want, Walt. Not at all." Case said firmly. "You got me alright, maybe the boys take care of the three of you, but wait, wait just a damned minute."
Oh hell Case, I'm waitin', but you tell the man with that pig sticker, he pulls it, you're dead. The rest need to get their paws away from them guns. Anybody flinches and you're out of the game. Get me?"
"Dyer! Do it! The rest of you, move them hands!" Case ordered.
"Have them turn around and put their hands on the bar, while we decide how this is gonna go, cuz you got no choice." 'Injun' Charley cocked his Sharps, Oldham drew and cocked both pistols. "I guess we best be independents, wouldn't you say? I mean, what with all this gun play about to happen, doubt there'd be much trust amongst us." He slipped out of the chair, a second pistol in his other hand. "Tell ya what Case, we could kill most all of you before any of you got a shot off, and I like those odds. But, we'll just ease out the door and you boys can go on about your business." The three side stepped toward the door.
"Now you know, there'll be no stashing money to pick up later on. That just wouldn't be fair, now, would it?" Case advised.
"Hell Case, we'll be high-tailin' it outta there. Stashin' money? Means either they'd find it, them that was after us, or we'd get killed 'er caught comin' back for it. Shit! We ain't stupid! Maybe that's how you work, ain't how we do things. We either do the job and make the split, or we do it alone and keep the money. Makes no difference to us. Just easier to keep it all." Shannon snapped. "Fact is, it's up to you how this goes. We come prepared to do business."
"Easy Walt. Just makin' sure we were making the same plans." Case insisted. "'side, I could blow you outta that chair, and boys take your two and we'd be done with it!" He was beginning to get angry.
There was the unmistakable double click of a hammer being drawn pack. "Maybe so. Not the best way to begin a partnership. So maybe, we just ride on, or maybe we all take our chances here and now." It was at that moment that Walt Shannon smiled, and his eyes seemed to dance. "Your call."
"Now, we' ain't lookin' for no trouble mind you, just a fair shake, Case." Walt began, still sitting back in the chair, "There's a bank up in Polson, Wally here cased the place, opened an account, he did. So, we thought if we could work this out then we'd ride up and take it. If not, well, we'd ride up and take it." He gave a pause, "Up to you, Case. No hard feelin's, just business."
Case looked at the man across from him, he felt his anger rising. Who was this fool, didn't Walt know who he was? he was out gunned, yet he sat there as if he hadn't a worry in the world.
"Oh, I 'spose you could just shoot us and be done with it. And the bank in Polson'd be twenty dollars richer. You boys could take it if you''re a mind too." He said easily, his voice low, even, non-threatening. Just the way Walt Shannon did business. "Be easier all around with us on board. But that's up to you, ain't like we're holdin' you up at gunpoint."
Case gave himself pause as he thought about what the man said. Case had wanted him in the gang because of their talent for robbing banks and getting away without a lot of gun play. "Five percent a piece, huh? Guess we can make that work, considering what you three bring to the table. And you say we have to do nothing?"
"Just wait on us to get back with the loot. Easy money. In fact, Case, we'll let you count it up and divvy it up when we get back. Hows that sound?"
Case smiled. "Sounds fair enough, guess we should trust one another. But I need to ask, you mind if I send a man along?"
"Nope, not at all. He can come along, right into the bank an' see how it's done. We don't mind, just don't care to have a bunch, being a few is the secret to our success." Shannon replied.
Walt got up slowly and walked to the bat-wing doors looking out at the cavalcade of rides that approached Boyer's Saloon. 'Injun Charlie' had been accurate, there were a dozen men with Case Steelgrave in the lead, just as he had expected.
He looked at them a long moment, horses nervously moving about, men watching the doorway. Walt Shannon stepped forward, pushing the doors open enough to be seen. "Case, be a long time" He said looking up from under his hat brim, head bowed just a bit.
"Walt." Steelgrave responded.
"Why don't you boys step down and come on in, you an' me, Case, we got somethings to talk over." Walt stepped back letting the door go, but taking the lead with the meeting.
Case stepped down, tied his horse to the hitch rail, one of two, the men waiting a moment then following suit. They streamed into the saloon and sauntered up to the bar where Boyer himself, waited bottle in hand as Shannon had directed earlier.
"You boys drink up. Case, over here, I got us a table and a bottle." Shannon offered. "You know my boys, right? 'Injun Charlie' and Wally."
"Yeah, I do." Case said, as they moved to the table and took their seats across from one another. "Glad to have you boys."
"Sounds like you've a bank 'er two in mind."
"Among other things."
"So, how's the split? I mean I'm sure these other things are profitable."
"I take twenty percent, and then a full share to every man."
"Sounds about right. Cattle, stages that sort of thing."
"That brings us to you three, what'll it cost me?" Case asked bluntly.
Walt Shannon sat back for a moment, then leaned forward looking at Case, "You see, we're kind of a specialty. What I mean is, sure you boys could hit a bank in broad daylight, like them Dalton boys, sure. Maybe somebody gets killed, yours, theirs, you know, risks you take." He paused. "Now us, well, we case the place, slip in, pop the box, and we're on our way. No shooting, no posse, well, sometimes, but we take care of that."
"And?" Case asked.
"Fifteen percent. Five apiece."
"Ten." Case countered.
The men at the bar were stirring, trying to hear what was being said. 'Injun Charlie' and Wally were getting a bit nervous when Walt replied to Cases counter offer, "Ten? Ten percent for the men that do the job, make the get away, handle any problems that might arise, for three percent? You're gonna take twenty, and then give each of these guys a full share, for what? Nothin', that's what." Walt smiled which may or may not be a good sign. "If we hit the bank on our own, well, we keep a hundred percent. And Case, there's a lot of banks in the territory." Once again, Walt leaned back in the chair.
Boyer's Crossing was just that, where two trails intersected and Hiram Boyer thought to establish a saloon with rooms where travelers might spend the night. Hopeful too that the stage-lines might also use the spot to change horses, which would be lucrative for him. That never came to fruition.
The saloon enjoyed a brief success when a small silver strike caused a sort of boom, but it petered out faster than a bottle between two drunks. Waiting for one Case Steelgrave was Walt Shannon, Charlie Whitmore, and Johnny Knox. Three more men to add to the gang but these three were specialists, it there was such a thing. They took banks at night! Although Shannon and Knox were killers, Whitmore could be homicidal at the drop of a hat.
Perhaps Case might have decided against those three at one time, but men who took banks at night, that was all but unheard of, and those assets would add to the men that already rode with him. So, they waited, and Case and company rode toward them as fast as they could.
His band now numbering and even dozen, would be a formidable gang in almost any situation, committing almost any crime. However, Case was not dumb enough to think they could ride into any town and simply take it over. Too many men in these places had fought in the war, against Indians, as well as other outlaws like his men, and were hardly going to kowtow to a bunch toughs without a bloody fight.
Big Flat had been different, Whitefish had been different. They slowly took over those towns. He no longer had the time to waste easing into anything. Now it was strike hard and fast! In and out quickly, when it involved a town. Rustling was another matter altogether. Perhaps easier that a bank in that there might be one or two riders to deal with instead of a whole town where even the women could shoot.
Toole was still his top lieutenant, and he had contacted some of other men he had met along the way and felt he could trust. That was before he'd been forced out of Big Flat, but he sensed it coming and the would pick them up along the way north. Men on the dodge met men on the dodge, even if Case was free to go wherever he wanted, he had a knack for finding hard men. Once they connected the group would number some fifteen desperadoes. It made Case smile.
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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