The People of the Consumed God [Original: Sub-Hex 2004]
This village and its inhabitants is described with about 170 words in total, and it would be a waste of provided input not to use it. With close to 400 souls living in it, it should be among the first things the player characters will be able to spot (with the help of a vantage point and field glasses). In my game the village will take the form of a shanty town that was erected near (or around) a water hole, with a lot of buildings having walls made of gathered rocks/chunks of debris and clay and roofs made of salvaged metal/plastic panels.
The characters will never have heard a thing about the village as the it´s inhabitants do not travel far. They have no fuel and did not maintained their cars but disassembled them, using the parts in other structures . According to the people, they try to stay for themselves and do not seek contact as they fear to attract the attention of raiders. Aside from goat herds they have meager fields with corn and a system of dug-out cisterns that helps them to survive. Still, life is hard for them and their armament is limited but they will allow characters to enter their settlement. When the PC look around the village they should learn quickly that these are not the people who kidnapped the herders as there are no vehicles to be found anywhere. The people know about the clan of the Fungoid Garden as they trade with them and the characters can learn the direction from which their convoy usually comes by just asking for it. It sometimes happen that the leader of this village exchanges people of his for edible fungus. Times are hard, and the people are given as brides or workers, so the leader says.
The villagers want to make the characters stay over night so that they can capture them in their sleep to sacrifice them to their god, but they go about it slyly. They will neither welcome the strangers with open arms nor will they invite them to stay overnight right out of the blue. But once the characters ask for the Fungoid Cave Clan the village leader will point out that they trade with them and expect them to show up again within the next two days. This is all a lie to coax the characters to stay or to stay nearby. If they stay inside the village, they will be attacked at night and will need to flee quickly or they will be overwhelmed by sheer numbers alone. If they stay outside a large group of villagers (as much as twenty of them) will come searching for them after dusk, hoping to capture them.
All in all, the village has two functions for the scenario: it is a step stone towards the Fungoid Garden (with the direction provided the characters have a much better chance of finding the location), it provides some social interaction AND is a trap for the characters. Think about the happenings in the H.P. Lovecraft story “Shadow over Innsmouth”, but without the fishmen.
The village needs a name, so the people inside of it will just call it their Sanctuary. All of them will be be reluctant to speak with the characters and it takes as DL: 10 Skill check to engage them in any conversation. The only exception is their leader, a broad-shouldered and bearded man named Howard who has three wives and ten children, the oldest are on the edge to adulthood and the youngest just toddlers. Towards the characters Howard will act as a wary but kind leader, but talking to him about the village or seeing him interact with his family might tell the PC that this men regards everyone else as far beneath him and that in truth he his callous and kind of feared by the populace. Howard is the high-priest of the cult that next to all of the villages adhere to feverishly, as their god feeds them. If he is ever to drop his mask in front of the characters, he will be belittling towards them and act like he would be talking to children while the same time explaining to them how insignificant the life of all that are not chosen by the gods are.
To be continued…