“Look, I know the supernatural is something that isn't supposed to happen,
but it does happen.”

-Dr. John Markway, “The Haunting”(1963)

Adventure Ideas: Page 2

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Even more adventure ideas I've come up with for use in my games at home and RPG conventions. Enjoy!

LOOK OUT!

The group is driving long distance to a location as they've been asked to help deal with a situation. It’s dark, it’s raining, and they’re on a road with lots of turns and foliage and other obstructions, making poor visibility for driving.

The team/group should be discussing the case on the way there or having some kind conversation as if they're all talking while driving. Determine ahead of time who’s driving, and at an unexpected moment, the GM shouts out the PC’s name and to look out… aka: “JOE, LOOK OUT! THERE’S SOMEONE ON THE ROAD!

After the driving skill has been rolled, regardless if they succeeded in dodging the person or not, once they've skidded to a halt and/or look behind them, there will not be anyone there! As the group begins to reflect on what they saw (it all happened so fast that the details are few), it’s obvious that something about the whole event was amiss.

For example, the GM will offer up notes like “Joe, you made out what looked like a rain coat, but it looked old, tattered, and shredded along its edges. Mark, you thought you saw what looked like a machete in the person’s right hand. And Marie, you didn't notice any of these features as your eyes were drawn into the man's eyes, for they seemed to glow ever so slightly in the darkness, glowing brighter than the head lights of the car when you spotted him. You couldn't make out his face however as the hood of his rain coat obscured it.”

The group should come to a decision/realization that something supernatural is afoot (if psychics investigate the approximate spot where the person was standing, they'll get appropriate trails and scents of supernatural activity).

From here the group will need to decide if they want to investigate further. GM’s should gently encourage the group to do so, adding a shoulder devil’s food for thought that says “Since its supernatural, there’s someone/something that’s attracting its presence.”

There’s a small town maybe a mile or two down the road, and if they group stops to investigate further about this person and describe him, the towns folk will seem to turn away and become hesitant to talk to the PC’s. Eventually someone (probably one of the town eccentrics) will talk about a town legend of a serial killer (before there was such a title) years ago who wore a tattered rain coat and hunted people down and killed them with a machete (or whatever weapon the GM chooses).

What do the players do now? They are supposed to be helping friends in another town that’s at least an hour or two further on yet. Then again, this unexpected presence terrifies this town and it’s obviously returned from the grave for some reason. Does the party split up? Do they abandon this town to its fate? Perhaps come back later? If they do come back through, the being will have claimed a few lives since they've moved on (hit them with a guilt angle if they leave and return.)

What is this thing exactly? An entity or ghost of some sort? Was it summoned by a vengeful or evil mage to slay his/her enemies? Is it a demon in the guise of the folk legend? Or perhaps it’s the same being from the legend, coming into the area every few decades to inflict death and terror and leave again (perhaps as a way of obtaining immortality)? Is there something that draws it to this area? If so, can it be removed / destroyed to bring the town peace from this killer?

Small Town, Big Troubles!

Moving candle imageA small town located somewhere about an hour or so away from where the PC’s live is on a downward spiral to becoming a city of madness! Violence acts and bouts of insanity are becoming common place and the local authorities are ill equipped and unprepared to respond to the escalating problems, especially when some of their deputies are starting to exhibit their own signs of madness.

The PC’ will eventually get an anonymous call for help in this town, but by the time they get there, the town is having random issues at any given moment: assault, self mutilations, attempted murder, severe hallucinating… anything and everything is going on here.

Even worse, the players won’t be able to solve this in a matter of minutes, and the more they traverse or stay in the town, the more they will start having violent hallucinations as well (dead enemies rising from the grave to kill em, bugs crawling in and out of their skin, inanimate objects speaking to them, etc…)

The group is staying at the one place in town that can put them all up, an old and crumbling Inn called “ The Barracks” (or whatever you choose to label it). This building is the oldest structure in town, in fact it was the first one ever built and was used as an outpost for Spanish/French/Indian traders early in the country’s history. It was been converted many times over the years, being everything from a bar, a restaurant, office space, even a flea market. However, in a small town it’s hard to make a sizable profit and so the building has changed hands a lot over the years. The current owners (The Rockwell’s) are retirees who enjoy the small town life and want to stay busy, running the converted Inn while trying to make enough money to keep it running.

There are three issues for the PC’s to deal with/solve here:

1. The violence and hallucinations and madness are escalating before the PC’s very eyes. There will be times the players may be assaulted by raving loons who simply snap out of it moments later. People may come out shooting at the players due to suddenly going extremely paranoid about the strangers in town, and other situations that put the PC’s into potential harm’s way.

2.All the insanity, wild emotions and energies are now attracting Supernatural creatures. The Gormaglut, Gremlins, Banshee’s, Devil Ghosts, Poltergeists and Haunting Entities, Scaring Crows and the like would find the town an attractive place to hang out in as of late.

3. Finding and dealing with just who or what is responsible for this ongoing nightmare.

Optional suggestion of who’s responsible: The new owners of The Barracks may seem to be friendly, helpful and concerned about the town, but in reality they are the cause of the trouble. One of the unique aspects of this bar is large amounts of storage space in the back of the building, which coincidentally is built into the side of a hill with no windows or easy access to them. They've opened up a few of the brick walled rectangular rooms with arched ceilings (which makes for a unique atmosphere) with tables, chairs, dark boards, video games and so on for a small bar area.

But they've kept the largest rooms hidden away and have built their own micro brewery within one of them. This is where they brew their own ale and beer with a variety of hallucinogenic funguses and alchemical concoctions and have been serving it to the regulars and visitors alike. As their craft has improved over the last several months, the doses have been getting heavier and more dangerous. The PC’s will most likely eat and drink at the Inn (its good, cheap food and drink after all), they WILL begin to suffer similar issues along with the rest of the town. There’s only a few other placed to dine out at in town, and the food isn't as tasty (or as surprisingly addictive) as the Inn’s.

The Rockwell’s have also been practicing the mystic arts since their retirement, and amongst other talents have mastered the art of summoning Scurry Scree’s and Scurry Talus creatures(The Rifter #46) to protect and watch over the Inn, so if the players snoop around the Inn (or deduce who’s responsible, the Rockwell’s won’t be unprotected and will most likely be well aware of the PC’s actions. They've also learned a method of making vitality potions that returns both of them back to their early twenties. While they may look like they’re in their mid to late 60’s, they both fight like Chuck Norris in his 20’s! They also hurl magic spells as part of their fighting talent.

The Rockwell’s moved to the small town several months ago due to the convenience of being the only inn around the town and therefore getting access to wayward drifters and travelers alike, whom they've started performing alchemical experimentation on in yet another storage chamber hidden deep behind the inn. The experiments could be unleashed on the PC’s if they snoop this far back into the bowels of the inn.

They’re also excited by the prospect of a new division opening up in town soon; it seems the big city has finally found this small town and is considering building strip malls, restaurants and new homes to add to the town population… “the more, the merrier” is what the Rockwell’s say, they've got plenty of their brew to go around.

What harm has ever come from anyone opening a book?

Random image by Kevin Long

Note: This adventure was designed for either regular player characters or victim player characters. Could take place at a public library, a private library, a used book store, wherever books can be found in quantity.

This adventure begins with a player character observing an impressive collection of old, rare books. One of the books in particular will catch his/her eye. It’s a very old leather bound book, simply titled “The Bestiary” (or something similar and aptly titled.) Thumbing through the book displays yellow musty paper with extremely detailed illustrations of monstrous and horrible things. The language will be a mix of Latin, English, German, and a variety of lost languages all stirred together into an illegible mess.

All is well the first time the PC looks through it, but either by the second time he cracks open the book, it seems that many of the illustrations are missing, as if they've simply vanished off the page! Or if the PC does not open the book a second time shortly afterwards, an option would be to have the PC run into a beast that he recognized from said book, enticing him to investigate the book a second time. Either way, it will eventually become obvious that the bestiary was a prison of horrors, and the PC just helped them escape! The question now is how do the players get them all back inside the prison?

Perhaps researching the book or translating the mix of words will have the instructions of what to do, which could include any number of methods, and more than likely each different beast will require its own method of capture. Examples of capture could be specific rituals, touching the beast with the book, killing the beast and opening the book to its correct page to absorb the creature’s energy back into it. Bizarre sacrifices and rare materials could be needed in the process, hell… there could be sex magic involved for all they know. One thing is certain however, the creatures that have escaped will be a terror on the area until captured, and they will not be captured willingly, or peacefully.

Note: This could be a good time to use the S.D.C. versions of creatures from the Dark Conversions book, Rifts Conversion Book One and so on.

There’s something freaky going on in those woods!

The human expansion has been pushing more and more into the thousands of acres of thick woods at the edge of town. The most recent development was a large hospital, medical specialists buildings and a research building centered into one large hub. This area just celebrated its first year anniversary of being in business.

However, not all the activity is to be celebrated, for acts of vandalizing has been going on all over the hub for the last few months and seems to be escalating. Destruction of property (both outdoors and indoors), theft of a variety of things, and in a few cases, doctors and various staff have reported being ambushed and assaulted!

While there are several vague reports of witnesses stating the vandals and attackers always run into the woods when they flee, there is one eye witness named Dr. Simmons whose report stands out. He claims that he was jumped by a pack of what he labeled “people who were all hideously deformed and freakish looking with minimal clothing. In fact, I’d say they were almost tribal looking!”

They assaulted him, but they stole none of his valuables; instead they stole his briefcase, which held all of his research materials. When interviewed by the PC’s, Dr. Simmons is a researcher in Gene Therapy and has been working with a research clinic that specializes in retroviral research. He goes on to state he believes that he was close to a breakthrough on curing certain genetic defects. However, the vandalizing and attacks on the building left him paranoid to the point where he wrote everything down by hand and that stolen briefcase held the only copy of all his research.

So what’s going on exactly? What are these “things” coming from the woods? Why are they destroying property, stealing medical supplies and research paperwork? Why did this only start in the last few months? If the PC’s don’t react quickly enough, will the events escalate to kidnapping or murder? If/when the PC’s go into the woods; they've got their work cut out for them as its THOUSANDS of uncharted thick woods, which will make searching or even tracking difficult at best. And if they do find the source or the hideout of the vandals, they are most likely going to react with hostility to the PC’s. Who/what are these vandals to begin with? Freaks of nature living in the woods? A clever corporate espionage tactic from a rival hospital or research firm? Escaped mutations or creatures from past experiments?

When bad science goes really bad

The group is on patrol or in some way dealing with a random monster out in public somewhere. In the middle of the battle a dark figure in black ops gear springs out of nowhere to help slay the monster. This mystery man only uses hand to hand weaponry on the beast and seems to hold no guns or range weaponry. He’s incredibly agile and shows great feats of strength, but moves in rather sporadic and uneven, jittery, jerky movements at times. He won’t speak to the group and will acknowledge them as little as possible. As soon as the creature dies, the figure will flee the scene as quickly as he came. If the group gives chase, he will perform high leaps over rooftops, use smoke screen for covers, etc. He will only fight the group if he’s cornered or is attacked first (and he will prove to be a tough opponent if he does attack the players, but only enough so that he can escape again, has no intention to kill off the players).

They will eventually run into this figure again (or perhaps multiple figures if dealing with multiple supernatural beings). He/they will act the same way as the first one did. However, the PC’s will luck out and find an injured figure who'll give chase for only a moment before collapsing. Examining him (removing face mask and shirt) will show that the man is scarred up like Frankenstein’s monster, and the base of his skull has a small metal contraption surgically attached to it. Toying with it will kill him (the tech will lead them to a company called “Med-Gate”). If not, he will wake up and talk gibberish to them (“word salad” condition) and seem dazed and confused. If asked to write any info down, all he will do is scribble the word “Med-Gate”. Within moments of writing this, the man will suddenly go into an extreme epileptic shock and die!

“Med-Gate” is a large medical science lab company, whom happens to have a lab in the PC’s city. If the PC’s investigate this location, they are not only probably going to break all sorts of laws, but also anger a potentially sleeping giant as this lab is secretly working on making human war machines for military applications. The experiments they are performing on people are nothing short of horrific and inhumane. More than likely the soldiers they’re creating are being tested against the supernatural to gauge their ability against superior opponents.

Note: This tech is like a crude beginning or test phase to Juicer or Crazie technology from the RIFTS world. But using it requires lots of contestant treatment and maintenance on the soldiers and most don’t seem to last long. This tech puts their nerves into a perpetual state of wanting to move in every direction at once (like have a non-stop seizure) and cranks adrenaline to critically accelerated levels amongst other augmentations.

This process wears the human body out quickly and therefore they'll always need more test subjects (which may cover a kidnapping angle mentioned earlier in the game). Currently the cons FAR outweigh the pro’s, but all the inhumane experiments on people may evolve this tech into something worthwhile in the DECADES to come. Destroying this lab may stop these experiments from going any further, but at what cost to the players? How might Med-Gate respond?