El Rey's
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Basic Information

In the novel The Getaway by Jim Thompson, the main characters are criminals trying to escape the law and get across the border into Mexico. The ultimate goal of their journey is to get to El Rey's, a sanctuary where crooks can live like kings. (El Rey is Spanish for "The King").

Prior to the last chapter, the book only hints at the nature of El Rey's, implying that it's some sort of paradise, or perhaps a fortified mountain retreat run by banditos. The characters have never been there, but they know of other criminals who retired there when dodging police manhunts grew too tiring. What little is stated for certain is that the "entry fee" to retire at El Rey's is a percentage of the (no doubt stolen) money you bring with, and that there are no police in El Rey's. When the main characters arrive, the book takes a turn for the surreal, a hard left from crime drama to speculative fiction. Once you enter El Rey's, there is no leaving - Armed guards and difficult terrain prevent it. Likewise, there are little or no imports, and the money you brought with has only a fraction of the value it did outside. You'll quickly spend through your illicit savings, no matter how large, and find yourself doing manual labor for El Rey himself, such as working at the butcher shop. The butcher shop where (since the only imported food is insanely expensive) those who have run out of money and value to the "community" are chopped up and roasted. Turns out you'd have been much better off just going to prison.

Both film versions of The Getaway omit that final chapter, so the viewer never gets to see El Rey's. The movie From Dusk Till Dawn also used El Rey, in the same way those movies did - criminals on the run, aiming to retire there, but we never learn what the place is like. Of course, having just fought Vampires and survived, Seth Gecko is likely to think mere retired-bank-robbers-turned-cannibals is a walk in the park.


1. Books: The Getaway by Jim Thompson
2. Movies: The Getaway (1972) (IMDB)
3. Movies: From Dusk Till Dawn (IMDB)

Game and Story Use

  • For flavor, could be handled as an Urban Legend told between outlaws, or the ultimate (and probably unattainable) goal of some character. Crime Fiction is full of tales of the crook who intends to retire after one big score. El Rey is a natural mythical place for them to set their sites on. Taking a cue from the movie versions, the campaign would never actually show El Rey, just have an old con mention it fondly to establish characterization.
  • Or, you could build a plot around the Getaway, with criminals trying to dodge the law and cross the border. Along the way they visit adventure towns. After a relatively short arc (say 6 to 12 sessions), they arrive at El Rey and retire. Then phase two of the campaign begins…
    • You'll need a bunch of dangerous hombres to be their fellow retirees.
      • You could play your new NPCs as impressions of Steve McQueen and Alec Baldwin, ala the Getaway films.
      • Or you could go the Tarantino route, since all his films seem to have a Shared Universe. NPCs already retired to El Rey would then include Seth Gecko, Mr Pink, Butch Coolidge, The Bride, Jackie Brown, Mickie and Mallory Knox, Pumpkin and Honeybunny, etc.
        • And maybe a few characters from Robert Rodriguez films as well. At least one guy with a guitar case.
  • All things considered, it should be relatively easy to imagine a state turning a blind eye to a place like this, if only for its ability to take high end criminals out of circulation at least as effectively as a prison.
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