The plot enabler, of course, is that rail tycoon Glendon Aldridge has died. The PCs are here to attend St. Paul's Church for the funeral, and more importantly, for the reading of the will.
The will leaves the PCs a substantial weekly wage, and an experimental train, which they can only have under the condition that they go adventuring in the name of upholding the American Way.
Traveling with the PCs will be a crew of less-capable NPCs who will operate the train for them. I'm going to have the players design these NPCs to draw them closer into the game world. This will presumably make it more personal if an NPC turns treacherous, or is placed in peril.
Additionally, each PC will have his own train car where he can stash his trophies, or even decorate as he likes. I'm hoping that this will give the players some interesting ways to express their characters, and will give the campaign a sense of home, even though it is a far-roaming campaign.
I don't want to give away too many spoilers here, but the PCs can't get the rewards promised them in the will until all the paperwork goes through. But they're still contractually obligated to start adventuring right away, so their first task is to investigate the "Uncle Sam Wants YOU!" posters that have been mysteriously appearing around town, along with the rumors of Affected Yankee Doodle (Uncle Sam's right-hand goon!) being in town.
The thing I am most excited about for this adventure is that I'm doing everything I can to ensure that all of the encounters have some sort of interesting twist to them.
For instance, One of the first encounters takes place inside a fairly public structure. The location is a front for an Affected gang, and about half of the patrons present are members of the gang. The other half is made up of helpless schmucks. If the Affected know that the players have caught onto them, they're going to try to kill everyone in the place who isn't a part of their gang, since a single witness could blow their cover.
In a later encounter, the players meet a group of gunfighters who want to kill them. The gunfighters fill the room up with poison gas, and take pills that create bubbles of breathable air around themselves. This means that the only way for the players to escape the gas is to stay as close to the gunfighters as possible!
And then during a boss fight, a certain tentacled boss will reveal that his tentacles are supporting a layer of a gooey acidic substance which will fall if he is killed. The PCs will need to figure out a way to beat him without getting splashed with deadly ooze!
These obstacles will all be surmountable. Fairly easily so. It's a level one adventure after all. But they should all add at least enough of an interesting twist to keep the players paying attention. I'll make sure to post about how it all goes down.
There is a lot more in store here, and I'm dying to talk about it, but I'll have to save it for later, as anything more would have to be a huge spoiler.