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Industry! Commerce! Our steam train is now capable of hauling cargo across a continent, and also bears a comfy caboose for those guarding the valuable goods. Ever more tempting for fortune seekers of a chaotic disposition…

Steam Locomotive RPG Battle Map, Banner
Caboose & Cargo Cars, Banner Preview

Might I suggest a modern spin on the classic “adventurers hired to protect caravan” adventure, and playing a hired gun game where your players must protect a train on a long journey? They can make a home of the caboose, adventure up and down the train, interact with passengers, and enjoy an ever-changing scenery.

Alternatively, they might prefer playing the attackers! Your players can enjoy boarding the train, guns blazing, to rob the passengers and cargo before taking off to Tahiti.

I’d love to hear of your plans and ideas, so be sure to leave them in the comments. 🙂

Unexpected Cargo

Warren Blake rose from his fallen opponent, loading another bolt into his hand crossbow. He did not recognize the uniform of the body below him. Any of the organized, named gangs would want to be recognized to garner any infamy they could. Are these a new group, or some other faction that does not want to be identified? These questions, considering their success so far, set Warren on edge. They already wielded the weapons he was after. This would require care and silence.
Crossing the gap between carriages brought Blake to the door of the first of two storage carts. He took a light grip of the door’s handle and pressed his ear to the metal. The tracks roared below him, coupling with the smog of smoke in the air and blood on his clothing. Warren breathed in slow and deep. He drew himself inwards, focusing internal energy to his senses.
Block out the white noise.
Beneath it… movement. Footsteps and tools. Three, maybe four sets. Too many for speed alone, especially if they are armed.
Warren took another breath. At his command, adrenaline began to disperse through his body. His muscles tensed, heart raced, and his environment began to slow. The door opened with a shove of his shoulder and he extended a hand towards those turning to face him. His outstretched fist clenched. The shadows of the carriage’s interior, cast by the brigands’ lanterns, followed the movement of his fingers. They leaped from the walls and dropped from the ceiling, filling the cart with impenetrable, inky darkness.
Orders of panicked coordination were shouted from those caught in the haze. The sounds of hands scrambling for weapons and ammunition clanked from their locations. Inexperienced, or idiots, Warren thought. Maybe both. Regardless of the underlying reason, every gasp and murmur served only to lead him right to them.
The first fell to a crossbow bolt. His pained cry was a futile warning for the others, each one falling to a flurry of targeted punches and kicks. The darkness receded some moments later to reveal their broken bodies.
One more cart. Those around Warren had not been courteous enough to die quietly, so any beyond the next door may be on alert. Now was the time for speed.
Warren threw himself between the carts, his heel connecting and forcing the final door open. Five expressions of angered surprised met his. Two were closer, leaning against crates of cargo. The other three were gathered around a larger, mounted version of the firearm weapons, with a circle of multiple barrels, some form of crank on its side, and a belt of ammunition running out opposite it. All five raised their new weapons at him.
A series of deafening cracks rang out as Warren tumbled back to the previous cart, taking cover to the door’s side. Their projectiles were piercing their carriage’s wall and he could feel them impacting through the metal against his back.
A dozen explosions later, the firing subsided. Their apparent leader shouted in quaking rage, ordering his men forward. Footsteps approached.
Warren focused deeper. He took long, intentional breaths. The last of his strength pushed to his skin, reaching out into the shadows that surrounded him. Darkness began to twist and shift against the lanterns’ dimmed light. Black tendrils curled from the surfaces, creeping over and covering Blake’s form. Within seconds, he was consumed. The shadows retreated, and he was gone.
Invisibly, Blake pushed himself through the shadows. With a single step, he was thrown through the swimming blackness. Without a single sound, he found himself emerging at the end of the back-most carriage. In front of him were crates of armaments, the mounted weapon, and five men stalking forward to find him.
One hand gripped the mounted gun’s handle, turning it to face the closest opponent. The other moved to the crank. Mechanical ticking drew the attention of the men, who each turned to see Blake at the weapon’s trigger.
A moment of illumination came from each muzzle flash. The darkness parted like a series of still images, each one progressing horrified faces as the five men met their end.

– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy

Download the Caboose & Cargo Car Maps

This has been a fun addition for our train map to draw, but we are not yet done. After a short break to experiment with some Halloween-themed maps, I’ll come back to this project to create an asset pack. In the meantime I suggest downloading one of our many other asset packs to use as cargo.

Do let me know what assets you would like to see, and please enjoy our train maps!

Till next time, pard’ner. Enjoy:

For exclusive map variants and even the PSD files, consider joining the amazing community that makes these maps possible:

The Caboose & Cargo Car Maps are free to download thanks to Patrons such as:

Caboose & Cargo Car Maps, Patreon Credits
Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, thanks to our generous supporters. If you would like to use this map commercially, please contact me 🙂

About the author

Ross McConnell

DM, aspiring artist, and founder of 2-Minute Tabletop! I love drawing, writing, and worldbuilding, and this is the website where all of it comes together.

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