It is time to turn all this little ideas and conversions into a stringent set of preparation notes for the Chthonian Highways adventure to come. I don´t think that I am going to actually run this before the end of the year, but I should at least have it -ready- by the end of the year. I will perhaps run something from Lamentations of the Flame Princess in between, but that is a different story that is to be told another day…
The start of it: The Abduction of the People of Long Road
The set-up for the adventure is going to be that the characters are the outriders of a survivor community, and three of their numbers are abducted while herding goats in the surrounding shrubland.
The settlement will be named Long Road, as it is located in view of one of the old highways, and will count less than 200 souls. Lond Road started out about ten years ago, as a camp of survivors who pried open car wrecks to loot what is there but wanted a base at a point where they could see for a mile into any direction. After a couple of years their number grew as other survivors pledged to join and where not send away. A well was dug. Truck trailers, vans and other large vehicles where hauled off the road to act as the sleeping chambers, trenches were dug and vehicles were tilted into them, sideways, to form walls for protection. Goats where bartered from another nomad group, the survivors tried to plant vegetables, turnips and potatoes but most of it won´t grow. A lot of the food for the community came from the ruins of a town down the road, a place now haunted by near feral people that lived among the ruins like rats, people whose behavior was closer to animals and who did not talked but shrieked and screamed when they would not murmur or his strange words in an unknown tongue. None of the people of Long Road ever staid in the town ruins at night. The scavenger parties send to loot the town, the outriders, are the PC. They went into dangerous territory together before, they are no stranger to trouble and they all have lost friends and comrades over the years.
The actual game will start with the abduction I already mentioned in a different blog post and with a young girl running back to Salvation. Sara, the young girl, went along with her older sister was able to escape the attack as she coward down into some bushes as she heard the sound of approaching engines in the fields. She watched in fear how the raiders shot one of the herders, Nick Jones, and took her sister, Rita, and the final herder, a young fellow named Martin. As the raiders noted her as well, she ran off screaming. A raider fired a shot at her and she dropped to the ground in shock as she felt the bullet ripping her ear off, blood spraying and then running down her face. The raider assumed he got her and did not checked if she was dead. The guy shot her did so out of reflex, but he did not wanted to see into the eyes of a dead child, so he decided not to check.
If the characters cannot get the necessary information out of the panicked girl [Influence CL:10] it will take a couple of minutes before the Sara has calmed down enough. Of course the characters do not -have- to wait for this to happen: it is clear that something bad has happened and from the state she is in they can easily guess [Insight CL:10] that she ran in a straight line away from what-ever-has-happened. If the character will at not head out themselves the leader of the community [a NPC I still have to create] will send them out. It will take them about 20 minutes till they see the goats ahead of them (if they drove into the right direction) but finding the sight of the attack might take them some time [unless they pass a Perception CL:15 skill check].
None of these skill checks are really important for the game, and thereby one could omit them. But as my players will be knew to the system I will let them roll some dice so that they get a feel for the mechanic.
They will find the body of Nick Jones, his head blown half off and large blood stain in the upper half of his shirt (he got shot into the chest and went to the ground. While the other raiders threatened the others that they would shoot them if they would move, one of them went to Nick and finished him off). Furthermore, they will find the tracks of the rover and might [Survival CL: 15] find those of the quads and hints of a struggle at the scene… but no further blood. This should tell the players that the remaining two young herders where abducted and give them a direction to travel next.
All in all, a pretty simple standard set-up. If this would be a meal, it would be one that fills the stomach but could need a little more salt. Thereby I will give the players three questions they have to answer for the characters, in writing before they tell each other the answers at the start of the game.
Who has your character lost in the years past, in which way and how do they feel about it?
How did the character feel about Long Road excepting more people over the years? In which year did the character joined? Was he voting
for or against it?
Below are a list of possible love interests. Does your character has any of his own? If not, how is the character feeling about having no-one?
I might perhaps invent some full-fledged events that happened in the last two years so that the characters can note their role/position/reaction to them, in order to give the players a feel for who these PC are inside the community they belong to. I hope to make it personal this way. Perhaps some of the characters will not even want to go on a rescue mission but are send their. Or I may have the chance of playing it the other way around, having the characters heading out DESPITE the community leader telling them to do different.