Reasonably tall, average build, with a thick but neatly trimmed dark brown beard, when Ralph is dressed up for his saloon shifts he can definitely pull off the businessman look. He has a warm smile and his eyes seem to sparkle with things are going good, he is seldom seen without a cigar in his hand or puffing away on one. Though they are normally covered by clothing, his body has it's share of old scars - wounds from the war and much more personal encounters.
Traits & Characteristics
Very calm even in the most tense situations (+)
A man of few likes (Matilda and the saloon) and many many dislikes (foreigners, southerners, politicians, lawmen, mayors,
clergymen, do-gooders, braggarts, men who can't hold their liquor, brat kids, well, you get the idea. (-)
Cannot be bullied or even intimidated. (+)
Though he would argue it's always justified, he can be quite violent. (-)
Normally to see Ralph in action in the saloon, he comes off as a smiling pleasant enough fellow who seems at ease with his job and the customers. Rile him up though and another Ralph comes out, you do not want to meet that man. Ralph never shouts but keeps his voice under control, the fire in his eyes tell one when his temper is up. He and Matilda treat each others as equals in this business partnership and they often are kidding around and teasing each other.
Position: Co-owner of the Stardust Saloon in Kalispell
Details: Ralph handles as he puts it 'the heavy work' whether it be wrestle a new beer barrel to behind the bar or toss a
troublemaking customer out of the saloon. He's always armed and he has guns hidden away within the place too, he is
ready for any sort of trouble. He also bartends and claims to play the piano. Hear him do it once though and the conclusion
is obvious, he's terrible at it.
Veteran of saloon work, all kinds of saloon work from bartending to bouncer.
Knows guns and is very competent at using them.
A brawler too if it comes to it, he can take a pounding and dish it out.
Hobbies & Interests: Likes the liquor though it does not impair his ability to do his job. Also enjoys the occasional poker game. A surprisingly
good baritone singer.
Aliases / Nicknames
Place of Birth
Small farm in upper New York state.
Kith & Kin
Parents: William, Mary (deceased)
Brother(s): William Jr., Older brother who died in the Civil War.
Sister(s): Susan, younger sister, he lost track of her when she left to start a new life.
Matilda Devereau, his only friend. They compliment each other so well, their bond is solid as rock.
None currently but over his lifetime he's made enough of them. New to Kalispell, but give him time.
| CHILDHOOD 1836-1851 |
Ralph was the middle child of three born into a farm family in upstate New York. His parents were God fearing and strict in bringing their children up but they were fair. It was a hard life and the father expected the boys to help him in the farm labors as soon as they were able. By age 12, Ralph knew he wanted to be anything but a dirt farmer. He ran away at 13 and 14 but was caught and returned to his family. He didn't hate his family, he hated the farm. Finally at age 15, he was given an opportunity to accompany a relative to New York City to work as the man's apprentice as his father surprisingly gave in to the inevitable.
| EARLY ADULTHOOD 1851-1856 |
Ralph found the city amazing with its size and endless places to explore, the huge numbers of people of all kinds who swarmed those streets and shops. As for the work, he soon tired of it for it was backbreaking labor and done with no real profit to him, he might as well have been a slave. He ran away, yet again but this time in NYC there would be no catching him. He then began a career of petty crime as he fell in with a street gang of young toughs. He found he liked a good fight and even better, he usually won. And for the first time he had some actual money in his pockets.
| ADULTHOOD 1856-1865 |
Being a criminal meant run ins with the law and eventually the inevitable happened, he got caught in commission of a crime and was sentenced to three years in prison. He came out unreformed but maybe a bit wiser about what he could get away with and what was taking too big a risk. He ended up taking a 'job' working for the local corrupt political machine which had him beating people up with legal blessings. He knew sometimes it was unfair and he didn't even like his bosses but it was money and that was the way life was in NYC.
He was 25 years old when the Civil War exploded, tearing apart the nation. Though he would never have had to go serve, he decided he wanted the new adventure that being a soldier would present to him. He enlisted in a New York Zouave regiment, they got some really colorful fancy uniforms which impressed him.
His regiment saw some bloody fighting and any glamour he imagined might occur in a war quickly disappeared. But while the conditions and harsh discipline was something he chafed at, he found he remained calm and poised during the fighting. He did his job and he even was noticed and promoted for his heroism. By 1864 he was a sergeant. Then his regiment was disbanded so he immediately signed up with another newly raised one, glad to welcome a veteran. He finished the war in that regiment and to this day proudly states that being in the war to save the Union and free the slaves was the best thing he ever did his whole life.
| LAST DECADE: 1865 - 1875 |
Demobilized one last time, Ralph didn't go back to NYC, working for the politicians didn't appeal any longer. He wandered about taking various manual labor jobs and never really taking to them either. He was restless and began to slowly make his way west to see what this frontier life might be all about. He took a job in Chicago at a saloon and found out he liked it! He was a bartender but the boss called upon him to often intervene with troublesome customers. That he did, with a zest.
That's about when he met Matilda Devereau, though she was Mrs. Matilda Osgood back then. Her husband owned a prosperous saloon in Chicago also. She saw Ralph in action one evening and took up a conversation. He was impressed by her right off and then pleasantly surprised when she offered him a job at her husband's saloon with wages higher than he was currently making. He took it.
Taylor Osgood was a fine businessman, well anyhow he looked the part with his nice wardrobe and handlebar mustache. But Ralph soon realized Matilda was the brains behind the operation. She did the day to day running of the saloon, while her husband spent freely of the profits. Even worse, he was a brute, he treated Matilda badly especially when he had a few too many. To her credit Matilda often fought back, she had gumption which Ralph liked in a person.
A few years passed and Ralph was entrenched in his position, trusted and relied upon by Matilda and at least tolerated by Taylor who often neglected the day to day humdrum anyhow. Matilda and Ralph talked one night very seriously while they split a bottle of Irish whiskey. Matilda wanted to have her own saloon but such a concept was a bit overreaching as far as society was concerned. But if Ralph would go in with her, as co-owner, they could make it work. Ralph jumped at the idea. There remained one obstacle, Taylor Osgood. Matilda decided she would ask for a divorce and work out a private deal with Taylor to get a sizeable share of the money in the current saloon. Why not, she deserved it as she did all the work.
Well, that did not turn out well at all, maybe the pair expected it would not. Osgood refused and their relationship was now poisoned beyond repair. Very soon after Osgood made his own move. He brought in a good friend of his, an off duty constable of the Chicago police known for his rough ways and attempted to throw Matilda out of the place, his life, everything.
It descended into violence quickly, as usual Matilda fought back like the spitfire she was even against two larger men and the fight spilled out into the saloon's main room itself, scattering stunned customers. Ralph now intervened. Osgood drew a pistol and fired, narrowly missing Ralph who dove for cover. The constable drew his own weapon and blazed away. Ralph withstood the quick volley then calmly popped up and shot first the constable then Osgood. The off duty policeman died instantly, Osgood remained standing and still armed. But only for seconds as Matilda had reached the bar and pulled a revolver behind the shelf then aimed it right at her despised husband. Her shot took the man right in the chest and he collapsed. He would finally expire the next day in his own bed.
This entire bloody confrontation had taken place with close to twenty customers and when the inevitable investigation opened up, even the police department could not avenge their now deceased officer as it was stated by the witnesses the dead men had drawn weapons and fired first. Ralph was never charged, Matilda was for some reason brought to an actual trial where a jury quickly found her not guilty.
Matilda had her money now, all of it even. But staying in Chicago seemed a bad bet, Osgood had other friends, a few in high places and then there was the police who never took well to one of their own dying regardless of the reasons. No, it was time to go west and start over. Soon after their search turned up an available saloon in some backwater little Montana town, Kalispell.
| The Present: 1875 |
Negotiations were done by mail and it went quite smoothly. The saloon changed hands soon after and the old sign went down, replaced by a freshly painted one. The Stardust Saloon was now open for business!
Education Details: Barely educated, his mother taught him to read from the Bible, otherwise he did farm work so no formal schooling for him. He still hates to read as he is very poor at it. He lets Matilda handle all that sort of thing for the business.
Languages Spoken: English of course, none of them foreigner ones.
Animals & Pets: Saloon has a dog named Bruno and a few cats lurk about too, he's not partial to cats but tolerates them because Matilda points
Ralph rolled his eyes and muttered, but in a voice loud enough to be heard by this newcomer, "A gentleman buys a lady a drink too ya know."
When this so called 'gentleman' (more like cheapskate in Ralph's opinion) went and did that fancy hand kissing the upper class did, Ralph was unimpressed but some of the rowdier elements at the bar got a big kick out of it, angering Arabella. Ralph felt compelled to stick up for the girl even if he didn't much like this foreigner.
"Alright boys, lay off 'em. Mind yer own damn business," he admonished them with a glare and since all were regulars they knew better than to mess with this man when he got angry. It went quiet immediately.
Arabella settled then for playing a song request for the man. That of course made no money for the saloon, once more he'd have to tell Caroline she needed to talk to the girl about her lack of business fundamentals.
"Jennie the Flower of Kildare" the man blurted out.
Well, if Ralph had been a betting man, which he wasn't, he would have never bet on Frank Grimes doing something so stupid as to actually decide to shoot it out. There in front of him was a man with a derringer already out and off to one side and behind his view another fellow with a pistol. Maybe it was the whiskey he'd drank or maybe just stupid male pride at not wanting to back down but it proved to be a final fatal mistake. Shots rang out from two directions and down went Frank.
"Well....damn," Ralph muttered leaning over the bar to check if the man might just have survived it but the glassy open eyes and no hint of movement or breathing. Nope, he was dead as a doornail.
The older man stood up and slid his gun inside his voluminous, frock coat. "Everyone remain calm," he said with surprising timber, years of mayoral and judicial proclamations showing through. "This is clearly a case of self-defense."
Caroline had watched it all, still hanging on tightly to Arabella, only letting go once the smoke hung above the bar and the victim lay there sprawled out dead.
"The fool," she muttered, just like Ralph she had not liked this man which is a far cry from wanting him dead though. Still she would not be mourning him either.
He turned to Ralph Flandry. "Can we count on you to be a witness?" he asked. "There will be a hearing, I'm certain."
"Not sure about a hearing but we gotta let the marshal know, he'll be asking questions," Ralph answered, "Yeah, I was a witness. The man went for his piece."
Then Priest reached down and took Frank's unused gun from his hand, and handed it over to Flandry. "He should of listened to reason."
Ralph set it on the bar, "Preachin' to the choir, mister."
Caroline sighed, "I'll go fetch him."
She doubted Arabella actually had ever seen a man die before her eyes so she wasn't going to make her go do it. And with that she walked out the front, not running, no reason to hurry - wouldn't change nothing.
"My habit is collecting drunken cowpokes' guns." the newcomer's smile widened, "You see, whenever I meet a drunken cowpoke, I always ask him for his gun. I ask him real nice, at first."
He held out his free hand, palm up. "Or, am I gonna have to take it from you?"
Ralph just stood there listening, not inclined to interrupt. He didn't like Grimes and now the neer do well had gone and gotten himself into a fix of his own creation. When Frank glanced his way, Ralph just smiled.
"This is between you and him. You started it. And he is askin' you nice. Besides I'm sure you'll get your gun back...........sometime."
The man seemed amenable to the price and produced a dollar coin for the whiskey, calling Ralph 'friend' during the transaction. Ralph simply nodded as he swept up the coin up, "Yer welcome, mister."
That's when Grimes had to go butt in, he was one of the sort most towns and saloons seemed afflicted with, a loudmouth and troublemaker. He was worse when he was with a few others of his ilk and Ralph barely tolerated the man because he did at least buy drinks. Caroline had an aversion to the jasper too and avoided him whenever possible and the veteran saloon girl normally was good with almost any customer.
But this well dressed fellow was new and apparently Grimes decided he would have some fun with the man. Ralph tensed for trouble but decided not to make the first move, just see what might happen. If Kalispell was lucky, the fellow would surprise everybody and make a swift end of Grimes, no loss to the town. More likely though the town wouldn't be that lucky.
Insults came first but that didn't satisfy Grimes who suddenly went for his pistol. Ralph lowered his hands under the bartop and reached for the sawed off double barreled shotgun but turned out he did not need to.
"Loudmouth! Stop before I shoot you ----- in the back."
It was Hiram Priest, sitting comfortably at his table, a revolver in his hand aimed straight at the trouble maker.
In the confusion caused by the former judge, Frank was able to swiftly and deftly slip a derringer from an inner pocket.
Caroline pulled away from the table as fast possible just in case there was going to be an exchange of lead, not wanting to be right next to Hiram, so she could be completely out of the line of fire and headed straight for Arabella at the piano. At the first shot she was planning on tackling the girl to the floor, never knew where bullets might fly.
Ralph now spoke clearly but softly, "Grimes, if the man shoots you, it's no skin off my nose. You got yerself inta this, yer on yer own."
Ralph noticed the new arrival of course from his position behind the bar, the man practically lived behind that bar. But then he was used to it. He'd been a soldier once, during the war, and a damned good one but bartending was his career since and he was quite suited to it. The newcomer paced up to the bar then as Ralph nodded acknowledgement.
"Give me a whiskey, and don't be cheap."
"I take you mean the whiskey," Ralph replied dryly then reached for a more expensive bottle of the stuff, "Irish whiskey, genuine article, that work for ya?"
He poured a shotglass up to the brim, "Price comes dear though, that'll be a dollar."
Of course a customer could get a whole bottle of the rotgut kind for a little more than that.
Ralph had been one of the first to respond to the cries of 'FIRE!' and did his fair share on the bucket brigade line. They were lucky it had been daylight and the response was amazingly fast from the locals, the building was saved, only one office had damage but.........one man was dead. Turned out it was Mr. Orr, well that was certainly convenient for Leah Steelgrave and her hospital plans as Orr had been the chief (maybe only) opposition. He noticed as they finished that Matilda and Caroline had made it out of the saloon to watch the excitement.
"Ain't that the very man you said you hated, hon?" Caroline asked her boss.
"Well now, that would be a fairly long list but yes, I detested him. He didn't give a damn about this town's future or the health of it's folks," Matilda smirked, "I'm not gonna waste any tears on his passing."
Caroline shrugged, "Oh well, guess all the excitement's over. Sooo....boss, we gonna close the saloon on the day of his funeral? Or throw a party?"
Matilda gave a chuckle, "Neither, it'll be business as usual. We got a living to make and let's face, he ain't gonna complain."
The two women turned to leave, Caroline giving a little wave to Ralph who nodded.
Ralph was about to pour a shot of whiskey for a thirsty cowpoke when there was a familiar screeching shout out - who else but Arabella. No matter how many times he or Matilda told her to stop doing it, she kept on doing it. It was just something they had to put up with. By now Ralph seldom even bothered to listen to the details. No doubt something important to her alone.
She then dragged this rather fish out of the water looking jasper up to the bar, a young man Ralph had never seen before.
"Mr Flandry?" she turned to the imposing, bearded barman "Would it be all right if I buy Mr. Vaughn here a drink to say thankyou?"
"Buy as in you present me with some money to pay for it or buy as you promise to pay for it later and I never even see a penny?" Ralph answered, dripping in sarcasm.
"Shot costs a dime," he quoted the dirt cheap sort of rotgut whiskey price.
"When I see the dime on the counter, I'll pour the shot," he added, casting a second glance at the man wondering why the hell he wasn't buying a drink for the girl? Caroline had to teach Ara better how that was supposed to work.
"Well, hell. You know, I know that. Just a busy time and I reckon I just let that slip." Speed said, " I best be speaking to Miss Devereau then, that is if she might be available."
"Sure you got a lot on yer mind, Marshal," Ralph shrugged then pointed to the stairway going up to the second floor, "Matilda's up there. Just go to the door with the gold knocker, only one that has something like that. She's up there right now, think she's working on the books."
"As I said, if you were to able to stand with us, the town will pay you." Speed reminded him.
"I'll help long as I get paid and if Matilda sez it's alright with her," Ralph agreed but with conditions.
"Coffee, um, I'm sure the cook has some on the stove in the back," Ralph answered, up front at the bar he only sold liquor and beer. Maybe the occasional sasparilla.
Turned out what the lawman really was here for was quite different.
"Hardly, she is all that and then some to be sure, Ralph, but I'm here about the coming trial for Case. First, I'd like the use of your roof. I'd like to put some riflemen up there in the event that there's trouble. The other thing, if you're not a witness, the city'll pay you to be up on your roof. And any damages to your place."
Flandry slowly nodded, "Well, now that's interestin' enough. A couple of things first off though. I ain't the owner of this here saloon, Miss Matilda Devereau is so yer askin' the wrong person about using the roof. And secondly, I work for her and I would only agree to man the roof.........so ta speak............if she gives me the go ahead."
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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