Welcome to beautiful Consternation, New Mexico, nestled against the south end of the picturesque Taos mountains. The land is productive, providing apples, pecans, sorghum, chiles, pintos, alfalfa, and grazing land for sheep and cattle. Located in San Miguel County, it’s a popular stopping over point for folks going between California and Texas and has many amenities for the weary traveler, like the lovely Crystal Palace with its famous chef brought in all the way from Boston. Its sister city, Uproar, is a thriving mining colony bringing Ghost Rock out of the Rockies and down the rail spur to be shipped across the great Confederate States. Consternation is your gateway to the West, with all the comforts and amenities of the East.
Of course, this was before The Incident. On a winter morning in 1875, a roar of hot wind swept down out of the mine and into Consternation, accompanied by an earth shaking rumble. The sky was darkened for three days by dark clouds of smoke that poured out of the mine. About half of the population of Uproar didn’t survive, and the half that did only remember the events of the day in nightmares. Many were lost in mine collapses, others were burned by the explosion or the fires in the township.
The mines have not been reopened, the town has been shunned. The chef at the Crystal Palace has moved on to California, along with more and more of the township. Consternation is still a busy town, and it still has fresh water for the trek between east and west, but there is a good deal of concern among the town fathers about the trend.
The Crystal Palace
Formerly a regal institution, where visiting dignitaries stayed The ballroom gave the place its name, with a huge chandelier. There’s support for the place from the moneyed folks in town, but not enough to keep it from starting to slide into disrepair. The Boston-trained cook has left for California, and a certain shabbiness creeps in around the edges.
Owner/Counter: Percy Firth Cook: Banjo Firth
The Hue and Cry
Amenities include Faro, drinks, ‘stew’, dancing with Lady Dye’s consorts and a piano player, occasionally something fancier. Fist fights are not uncommon. Guns are checked at the bar.
The Ghost Rock
The Ghost Rock has Faro, drinks, beans, Mr. Stone’s consorts, and that new game, poker. Fist fights are not uncommon. The Ghost Rock was a miner bar, and it’s still rough at the edges. It’s the H&C’s dirty-faced twin.
Your character probably knows a goodly handful of the townfolk—I’m not going to tell you who you know and who you don’t, look them over and decide for yourself. If you want special relations beyond a smiling and nodding acquaintance, you should probably let me know.
Ezekiel “Zeke” Abrahams (36)
Zeke is the Methodist minister, from a line of ministers. He’s good speaking to the congregation about how loving your neighbor is even more important out here, and he’s good speaking to Jean Elliot when she threatens to convert to Catholicism because they get better sermons. He practices what he preaches, is concerned for his flock, and involves himself in their lives when he feels it necessary.
He and his wife Marilyn have four children. Their eldest boy, Aaron, was killed in the Uproar Incident. Winston, Orpah, Sarah, and Ruth may be seen around town.
Winston “Winnie” Abrahams (14)
The younger stable boy at Ortiz’s stables, Winnie fills in the gaps that Jim doesn’t cover. He’s not too bad with horses, but he shines with people. He’s got his daddy’s conversational gift, and he’s good at making people feel comfortable. He loves a good tale, whether telling or hearing. In fact, one of the sure fire ways toget him to shut up is to start one he hasn’t heard too often.
Winnie has his eyes on the Mayor’s office, and he’s already aware that the path is paved with good connections. He’s looking to make friends with everybody, or at least enough anybodies.
Emily Banks (19)
Emily works quite a few hours at the Consternation Store, mostly as a big ‘fuck you’ to her father. If she could think of something bigger to do, she would probably do it without very much thought to consequences. Everything she does is done with broad strokes and bright colors and dramatic poses.
Father: Maximillian Mother: Emily Brother: Quentin
Maximillian Banks (42)
The biggest rancher in town. He has a record of being pragmatic to the point of ruthlessness. This has upset a few people in town, and cost him the goodwill of some of the townfolk. But at the same time, his allies are strong and staunch.
Wife: Emily. Children: Emily, Quentin.
Theodore Brace (63)
Brace owns the bank, and currently has about half the property around town mortgaged. Since the Uproar incident there has been a slow creep of people looking to stay afloat with loans or mortgages. Brace is uncommonly flexible with this sort of thing right now, because he’s trying to keep the town alive.
His son, Owen, runs the Land Office.
Owen Brace (41)
His father Theodore got him the job running the Land Office (inside the Post Office) twenty years ago. Well. Made him take it. He’s hated his job and his life ever since. But he’s too weak to actually do anything about it except get frequently drunk at the Passive Aggressive table down at the Ghostrock.
Gabriel Coala (25)
Gabriel owns the biggest farm in the county, and he grows sorghum and alfalfa, apples, pintos and chiles.
Wife: Anna (deceased) Children: Victor
Charlie Coyote (60)
Charlie is a Navajo who wandered into town one day and refused to leave. He’s been caught cheating at cards and had the crap kicked out of him on more than one occasion. He sometimes finds brief work, but he can’t keep it and most folks find him untenable in large doses. Most of the time he’s seen, he’s ghosting around town in what’s left of his shabby canvas coat asking if you maybe got a nickel for a drink, or watching folks and smirking at nothing in particular.
Curtis is the Sin Eater—a position the town requires infrequently and desperately tries to ignore when it doesn’t. He’s also kind of creepy and tends the graveyard.
Jasper Fontaine (39)
Jasper is one of the prominent ranchers in town, and a mean ornery cuss. Most likely, you’re just glad he spends most of his time out on his ranch being horrible to his cattle.
Jean Elliot (38)
Jean is the town’s postmistress, and she also manages the general telegraph. Her husband David died in the Uproar Incident, and since she came out of mourning she’s been keen to replace him. As tends to happen with people in her position, she has a habit of gathering information, and is not above using the power of her position to gather what she’s missing. “I ain’t saying that I would deliberately lose your mail, Johnny Freeman, I’m just saying that if I spend all day wondering about that new building going up on Wirtham Street, I might get distracted.”
She has two sons. Robert, the youngest, is in California with his wife Betsy on a mission to minister to the Celestials, and Jim, who is Robert’s half-brother by a cantankerous bag of snake bile named Nathan whom Jean left in Pennsylvania to come out west.
Jim Elliot (22)
Jim’s not what you’d call good with people. He’s not mean or rude, he just doesn’t really know what to do around them. But he gets animals just fine. That’s why Mister Ortiz hired him on to work at the stables. Jim is mostly reserved around folks, afraid of looking foolish, afraid of people making fun of him. But if you can get on his good side, Jim would do pretty near anything for you.
Benjamin “Banjo” Firth (23)
Banjo is part owner of the Crystal Palace, and has recently been pressed into service as the cook. He and Rusty have a highly volatile relationship, and the food tends to reflect the current status. (More spicy when they’re angry, more sweet when they’re enamoured, that sort of thing.)
Persimmon “Percy” Firth (25)
Percy is part owner of the Crystal Palace; she works at the front counter and does general public relations.
Bradford Higgins (40)
Bradford was brought in from Santa Fe by Mizz Marrow to run the Consternation Store, aiming toward higher quality goods and a more discerning customer. He’s been in town a few months, and still has a lot of issues with being viewed as an outsider. This was one of the big reasons for bringing on Emily Banks, who is about as local as you can get without hiring Mayor Wirtham’s grandfather.
Mathilda “Mattie” Jefferson (38)
She’s the teller at Consternation National Bank, and runs the place. She’s very businesslike and has no time for frippery or nonsense. If things are quiet, she’s been known to lock up early and go home. Her husband, Daniel, is the groundsman for the Mayor’s estate. Her daughter, Leah, is a twelve year old tomboy who will break her mother’s heart if she doesn’t start acting like a young lady.
Pasco Jones (28)
Pasco deals Faro at the Ghost Rock, and he’s pretty comfortable with the set up. He’s been there for what seems like eternity, and he’s very settled there.
Adam “Doc” Lake (32)
Doctor Lake is the town sawbones, and he enjoys his work. Some folks worry that he enjoys it too much.
Billy Little Creek (56)
Something about Billy keeps people from calling him Bill or William, a childlike glee and a zest for life. He’s the piano player down at the Hue and Cry, and spends far too much of his pay on Kelly. It’s not love, as such, and many of the townfolk are ‘not especially comfortable with their relationship’ but who could say a word against Billy?
Wendy Little Creek (80)
Wendy is the bank’s sole guard, with a rifle strapped across her back and a pistol in her belt. She’s not fast, but she’s very good. If you have the time for her leisurely conversation style, she also has a lot of information to share.
Brigitta and Olaf Magnusson (34/36)
Brigitta and her husband own and run the General Store. They’ve been doing it for years, and have become quite comfortable. They didn’t so much gouge people as simply charge what the market would bear, and they’re honestly a bit hurt and confused by the competition from the Consternation Store. They’re also a little worried about what the hit to their profits will do to their income.
Children: Astrid, Elsa, Gottfrid
Mrs. Adele Marrow (30)
Mrs. Marrow lives in a large house on the north side of town, built into the mountains. Her husband, Phillip, was killed in the Incident at Uproar, and Adele took over his mining and storage/shipping concern. (Now it’s mostly storage and shipping—there are a few small mines in the area, but folks are leery about working them, and they’re not as productive.) She’s also opened up a new general store in town, in direct competition to the Magnussons’s store, which has not caused happy feelings between the two factions. Many of the townsfolk think she’s tetched in the haid.
Winter Mason (31)
Winter was a foreman in the mines, and was one of the few survivors who was working that day.She bought out the owner of the Ghost Rock, who headed west to California, and keeps a cool firm hand on the craziness which would otherwise likely boil over. Despite the lax rules on firearms, there have been only three shootings in the Ghost Rock under her reign, mostly because she’s a crack shot and each of those shootings ended with her putting down the person who drew first. There’s something about Angela Sumner she resents-
her attitude maybe-something that grates.
Luther Morgan (35)
Came out to Uproar after Jefferson Davis freed the slaves, to work in the mines. Before the Incident, he started a smithy in Consternation. He works simple projects, like shoeing, and delicate projects like doorknobs and gun repair. He seems to have a very placid outward demeanor, but rumor has it that his temper burns fiercely and can turn violent.
Wife: Olivia. Children: Ananaia, Luther, John Henry, Sarah. Brother: George
Olivia Morgan (31)
Olivia deals Faro at the Hue and Cry. She’s not as burly as her husband, but her temper is far less subdued. She’s not as enthusiastic as Alicia, but between the two of them they do tend to cause the locals to think twice before starting anything.
Husband: Luther. Children: Ananaia, Luther, John Henry, Sarah
George Morgan (26)
George followed Luther to Consternation, mostly due to a lack of anywhere else to go. He runs the barber shop, and his niece Ananaia and nephew Luther (the twins) consider themselves his official employees. George has all of the peaceful demeanor of his brother, but without the underlying tension.
Alicia Murro (20)
Tends bar at the Hue and Cry. Has been in a few fights and knows how to handle herself, but has not yet learned to stay out of fights unless there’s a good reason to be in them. Her weapon of choice is a wooden staff she keeps behind the bar. If she keeps extending her father’s credit, she’s going to lose her job. Which would be a shame, since she’s providing most of the family’s income currently.
Mother: Ramona. Father: Tony
Tony Murro (38)
The Editor of the weekly four page broadsheet “Consternation Springs”. He lost three children in the Incident, and since then has become the typical bitter cynical drunken jaded newspaper editor. The bustling news office now has one reporter, and Tony is likely to be found with Owen Brace down at the Hue and Cry.
Wife: Ramona. Daughter: Alicia
Marshall Maria Teresa Ortiz (43)
Formerly a foreman at the mines in Uproar, stability is one of the reasons she became the marshall. She likes things quiet.
Angel Ortiz (35)
Angel runs the stables, out on the south side of town near the spring. Lately, he’s been spending less time around the stables, though, and more time down by the spring. He’s not too worried—Jim has enough natural talent to take care of the place. And, with it looking like he and Maria Teresa aren’t going to have kids, Jim’s the natural choice to leave the place to. “Because everything dies, and it’s only a matter of time before I’m taken.”
Danielle “Rusty” Roslyn (25)
The sole remaining reporter for the Springs, she has enough enthusiasm to make up for her editor and the two other reports who have left town. She’s hard driving, she has a thirst for the truth, and she’s far too credible to be a reporter. She’s proposed to Banjo half a dozen times, which puts her ahead 6-5.
James Russell (25)
Mister Russell is the Schoolmaster, but to be honest he lets the older kids direct the traffic a majority of the time. When he’s out of the house, he’s nearly constantly reading—books on history, language, codes and cryptographs. He’s been like this since he lost his wife Sharon in the Incident.
Father Michael Sullivan (54)
Father Michael was sent to the Consternation parish two months before the Uproar incident, and was a pillar of strength in the aftermath, organizing humanitarian efforts with Zeke Abrahams and Mayor Wirtham. He’s an intense fellow, but occasionally his attention wanders off as he seems to listen to voices only he hears.
Angela Sumner (23)
Owner of the Hue and Cry. She used to work in the mines, and managed to parlay her earnings into a partial share of the H&C. After The Incident, the other owner sold out his share and left for California. Since then, Alicia has become more of a brawler than Alicia. Luckily there’s a rule against guns in the place, or she probably would have been shot by now. She and Winter Mason have a deep and bitterly unpleasant relationship, and neither of them could tell you exactly why.
Jacob “Jake” Tercero (21)
Jake is one of Maximillian Banks’s head cowboys. He knows everything and talks loudly, convinced that nobody gives him the respect he’s due because he’s short (5’2”).
Richard Thompson, Fontaine’s former head cowboy. About a year ago, he left employ at the ranch, and rapidly became scary crazy. The boy definitely ain’t right in the haid. Nobody knows where he gets his money, but he has become quite a fancy dresser. People say he eats Ghost Rock.
Whisper deals poker down at the Ghost Rock. He appeared in town a few months after the Incident and petitioned Miss Mason to start up a table. He takes his name from his clear, loud voice that easily penetrates even the noise and tumult of the Ghost Rock.
Michael Wirtham (45)
Mayor Wirtham’s father was one of the founders of Consternation, and the family name has a great deal of weight still. He’s perfectly capable in his position, and there hasn’t been any real challenge in the past ten years. Wirtham is one of the prominent ranchers in town, and his three boys (Michael Jr, Philip, and Adam) have taken to running the ranch while he’s in office. His wife, Christina, vanished last year. Nobody knows where, and Michael finally quit looking for her recently.
Brian O’Neill (26)
Nobody is certain how O’Neill survived working in the mines—this is not about the Incident, but his own uncanny tendency to attract chaotic energy or bad luck. Tools would break, supports would warp… He was never seriously injured (perhaps inconvenienced or bruised) but the people around him had no such protection. Given his luck, it was no great surprise he was attracted to Winter Mason, the foreman with no emotion. Mason hired him as bartender after the Incident, out of pity rather than because of any emotional interest.
Velvet, Satin, Silk, and Suede* are employed by Mrs. Taylor at the lovely Taylor House.
Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz, Garnet, and Amber contract for Mr. Stone, working above the Ghost Rock.
Scarlett, Kelly, Olive, Rose, Red, Jade*, and Sandy are under the firm hand of Lady Dye, working out of the Hue and Cry on the south side of town.