According to this German news article, there is a beach in Thailand (the beach of Ko Si Chang) that is always littered with plastic junk. This is due to a large patch of this stuff out on the ocean that is slowly carried onto the beach, piece by piece. Any afford to clean the beach seems futile: after about an hour, there is a new assortment of junk ruining the view. So much for the bitter reality of things, now let´s see how to use this bit of real-life information in different RPG settings.
In any kind of cyberpunk or other dark future game, this might be a little “fun fact” to add to the game world. Imaging a section of the beach that is secured by large nets in the water out of the sight of the paying tourists. Those are already employed today to keep sharks away from the bay, but this one would have been installed to keep the amassed plastic junk from ruining the regions prime tourist magnet! Locals will not only find employment as hotel staff, street salesmen or tourists guides, but also as “junk pickers” that remove the litter on the other side of the net to bring it… elsewhere. Eco-terrorists or a rival beach resort could hire the PC to cut the nets away AND to sabotage the nearby boots prio to the event, so that the damage may not be dealt with quickly.
In a horror scenario, this plastic carpet could have become the home to some fungus or blob-like creature (or any other “evolved mutation”) that developed out on the ocean where it preyed on fish that got caught in the plastic. Now, it close to the shore and finds out that human beings are just a -little- harder to catch in the water. After that is discovered, how to dispose of it? It hides in the junk carpet and retreats to it quickly in the face of danger, a junk carpet that builds up quicker than it could ever be removed! Who will venture into it and try to find and fight the beast on its own ground?
Last but not least, in a post-apocalyptic setting a “junk beach” could be the norm. The ocean might already have returned most of the trash “back to sender” while the humans marked their time in bunkers or cryostasis. A junk beach might be place where down-on-their-luck scavengers and looters shift through what the ocean washed ashore, in hope of finding ANYTHING useful or trade-worthy. And perhaps there even is some useful stuff: if containers from a container ship happen to end up in the ocean, some of the goods are washed ashore years later. According to another news story, there are still a lot of little rubber ducks drifting on the ocean due to a container that got lost during a storm near the coast of Asia (or something). Scientists actually try to learn something about ocean currents by finding out WHERE those ducks ended up!
And now, as my faithful readers may already have guessed, here comes a random table for Mutant Future(tm). The monsters mentioned are all found in the core rules which are available as a free download from Goblinoid Games:
d20 Encounters & Finds on a Junk Beach (MF compatible)
01# Damaged android parts are found among the junk! A robot PC/NPC may use those to repair 1d8 hit points (roll separately for each robot: one man´s junk is another man´s spare part!)
02# A group of 1d4+2 mangy Higher Baboons (determine hit points by rolling d6 of d8) stroll over the beach, looking for food or interesting stuff. They will first try to scare off the characters from “their” beach, but will attack if the PC group seems weaker. As soon as one of them gets killed all the others will flee, but only to return with 2d4 more Higher Baboons after 2d6 turns.
03# The characters find a patch of the beach littered with 5d6 alloy tins that are easy to clean and trade (1 sp per tin).
04# A two square foot make-shift raft has been washed ashore. There is no sign of an owner, but a length of rope has been tide to it (3d6 feet of nylon rope).
05# The characters disturb a small swarm of seagulls that fly over them in circles, screaming angrily. The GM rolls two times for the next encounter and discards any non-monster encounter.
06# The wreck of a small yacht promises loot (and actually contains 2d6 days worth of dried rations and 3d6 x3 gold in easily salvageable engine parts), but is home to an algae version of the Brain Plant (1d4+2) and their faithful guardian, a Giant Crab.
07# The remains of a large trawl net may be cut into more manageable pieces (2d6 items; 2d6 gp each item if sold in a fishing village).
08# A Carcass Scavenger moves through a larger field of junk and may Surprise! the characters.
09# 1d6 Chitterlings slither around in the trash.
10# 2d6 55 gallon plastic drum barrels have been washed ashore. They contain… (d6)
(1) Drinkable water
(2) Chemicals used for dying (55 gp per barrel)
(3) Biohazard-Class waste products (Save vs Poison or the character loses 2d6 hit points
over the same amount of hours).
(4) Industrial grade vinegar (100 gp per barrel)
(5) Diesel fuel for ship engines (up to the GM)
(6) Empty! Those were never used and thereby clean on the inside (2d6 gp a piece).
11# 1d4+1 male Cockroachoids shift through the debris in hope to find something to impress their queen. They speak the human language and -may- be a peaceful encounter (Random Reaction Roll: “Indifferent” means that they will try to stalk the characters to attack if THEY find something nice).
12# A group of 2d6 Fishmen, all armed with spears. They scout the beach from the water and will wait follow the characters along the shore line as they wait for a good opportunity to attack them.
13# The smell of rotting fish will fill the PC´s nostrils even before they here the deep buzzing of mutant insect wings. 1D6+2 Giant Carnivorous Flies have found the carcass of a some gigantic fish-mutant-thingy at the shore. As they are focused on their feast the characters may Surprise! them, or sneak past them.
14# A nasty breed of roaches have formed an Insect Swarm that will attack the characters unless they note the sudden concentration of insects (check for Surprise! ) and leave the area in a hurry.
15# The remains of an old Lifeboat rests on the shore. While it suffered some damage, it may be returned to service with a few days of work… if one can haul it out of here (350 GP).
16# A barrel full of used power cells, there might be a hundred of them! Roll a d6 per cell that any character tries: 1-2 means that is was thrown away with 1-2% of the original charge still left (two or three days of use), otherwise the cell is empty. Even those that still have power may fail with a 1 out of 6 chance after 3d6 turns of use (checked once per adventure.
17# A (perhaps still functioning or salvageable) Advanced Breathing Apparatus.
18# Rusty-but-valuable metal junk; 2d6+2 “items”, each item is worth 3d6 sp
19-20# 3d6+6 items worth of still usable plastic containers of different size and type (3d6 cp each).