Dragon Snacks #1

Welcome to Dragon Snacks, my new monthly feature here at Dragons in the Kitchen. Sometimes I get cool ideas for adventure hooks or jumping off points that just don’t merit an entire post. Sometimes I have things I want to talk about, like games, products, or things I’m working on, that also don’t deserve an entire post.  And sometimes I just have ideas to throw into the ether. This is what Dragon Snacks is going to cover. Every month I’ll give you three morsels that will hopefully help you with your gaming life.  Without further ado, here is the first installment of Dragon Snacks:

When was the last time you played a D&D adventure about ghosts? I was thinking about this the other day and I really couldn’t place an adventure I’d played, seen, or heard others talking about where ghosts were the major antagonists. Some adventures will have ghosts thrown in, but they never take a starring role. If you look at the Monster Manual, they seem like more of a pain in the ass than anything. But, if you treat it as more than number and throw in the lore ghosts become really interesting. The one thing that sticks out to me is possession. Imagine, players possessed by ghosts…

Swarms of vermin can make a viable adventure.  Why do adventurers always have to fight the wizard in his tower or the zombies that come at night? What a beleaguered village asks a group of passing adventurers to help with their rat problem? What if a city is so desperate to be rid of their plague of crows they put a bounty on the birds? The cool thing here is that it can stand as its own adventure or be a portent of something more powerful on the horizon.

I prefer minis. This might be obvious from reading my blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever put it into black and white. So here it is, given the choice between a game that uses minis and one that doesn’t, I will almost always pick the game that uses minis. I guess it just helps me visualize combat better. I always like it when players have a mini just for the character they’re currently playing (I do this). It makes me feel like they’re more invested in the game when they took the time to buy and paint something that will only ever be that one character.

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My Halloween Adventure: Finale-The Beast of Woodbridge

Here it is: everything I’ve been writing about this month put together to make the adventure I’ll eventually run. I say eventually because players, like all DMs know, can be a herd of cats. When I do run it, I’ll post a full report.  Also, bear with me here.  Regular readers will know I like to play fast and loose and when it comes to World of Darkness, I play it really fast and really loose.  My notes here are anything but complete. Don’t be afraid to comment or message me if you have any questions.

Prologue-

The players are all residents of the town of Woodbridge. Each of the players is ‘somebody’ in town, meaning the sheriff, the hardware store owner, the doctor, something like that.  Woodbridge is an extremely isolated town in upstate New York.  There is about a mile of what could be called civilization in the center of town on either side of Main Street. The town has a sheriff with two deputies.  To the north is Woodbridge State Park, a massive and densely forested park that can be impassible if you don’t know it. To the south are miles of farmland.  There are also an elementary school and high school in town. Most of what the players would be looking for can be found in town, but nothing insane. There’s no army/navy store, there’s no Dick’s Sporting Goods, but there might be WalMart.

The antagonist of this adventure is a disgruntled man named Wilbur Davidson. He’s been using black magic for years trying to resurrect his dead wife. He’s made a deal with a demon that if he overruns the world with evil possessed wax monsters, he’ll get his wife back. Wilbur will do anything he can to get his wife. He knows he’s gone too far and doesn’t care; when confronted by the players he’ll fight to the death.  They’ll meet him for the first time in Scene Two.

Scene One-

The players are drinking in the town bar The Hunter’s Rest, they hear about a new wax work in town (treat this as a minor thing). One of the local farmers complains about losing another cow to an ‘animal’. The knight rolls on and the bartender walks the players out of the bar.  Outside the bar they find the body of Tom (a local, have him be someone the players would see almost everyday, filling a position in town they don’t). He’s badly mutilated as if he was ravaged by a wild animal. The best guess would be a bear.  But it was something bigger than a bear…

Scene Two-

The players try to research what attacked Tom outside the bar. Use the skill polls from Chapter 3 of the core WoD book for this.  Most difficulties should between 3 and 6. What they should eventually figure out is the attacker was a werewolf, cows are a favored prey, and silver kills them. They then will use skills to gather the silver and set a trap for the werewolf.  Note this is a classic werewolf, something that changes and goes nuts during a full moon, not a WoD werewolf. It’s possible that they run into Wilbur Davidson. In fact, they should. He’s weird, fascinated by the occult, and would know about these things.

Scene Three-

They trap the werewolf (I’ll let them figure out how they do it).  When they catch it, it runs into the woods.  It’s an extended contested action (the wolf has a pool of 4) the first to ten wins (players catch the wolf/wolf escapes).  Players roll Dex/Athletics or Stam/Athletics.  If they catch him, they fight.  If it gets away, they’ll have to go back to the drawing board.  If it gets away they’ll find a patch of fake fur. This will lead to more investigating, which could lead them to the waxwork.

‘Werewolf’ Stats:

Note: I only put down the dice pools I’ll use.

Attacks:

Bite 7 dice (L)

Claws 5 dice (L) attacks twice

Health: 7, takes 1 extra damage from silver weapons

Scene Four-

When they kill the ‘werewolf’ it will remain dead for a dramatically appropriate amount of time. They’ll notice something is off about this body, it doesn’t seem right, natural. When they least expect it the ‘werewolf’ will ‘come back from the dead’ and attack again.  Same stats, this time the only thing that can keep it down are fire of getting it to full aggravated damage. When they kill it, burning black smoke will pour out of it. They’ll now see that the body is actually a wax sculpture. The only logical place this could have come from is the waxwork.

Scene Five-

The players go to the waxwork to find Wilbur in the middle of a terrible ritual. He completes it and animates all the wax sculptures in the display. They attack the players. The waxwork is one big room with the displays around the room. There is also a room in the back used for storage and sculpting.

Wilbur stats

Attacks:

Fists 5 dice (B)

Shotgun 7 dice (L, 9 again)

Health 9

 

 

Wax man stats (8)

Attack- Blunt object 7 (B)

Health 4 Aggravated from fire

When this is done, they’ll have saved the town. Like any good 80s horror movie, the adventure will end abruptly.

There’s the adventure, let me know what you think.  And again, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have questions about it.

My Halloween Adventure: Part 3- The Finishing Touches

The last thing I do when writing an adventure is fill in those little details.  These can be anything from the parts between the major scenes to what items I’ll let the players find or have.  But before I get into that, I realized that I’ve missed a huge part of my adventure, I haven’t talked about my villain at all! So, I’ll start there and get to the other stuff after.

The antagonist of this adventure is a disgruntled man named Wilbur Davidson. He’s been using black magic for years trying to resurrect his dead wife. He’s made a deal with a demon that if he overruns the world with evil possessed wax monsters, he’ll get his wife back. Wilbur will do anything he can to get his wife. He knows he’s gone too far and doesn’t care; when confronted by the players he’ll fight to the death. The wax monsters follow his orders when they agree with them, but they have a vicious lust for violence. They will kill in the way their form would dictate.

Now, the items my players will have available to them will be the kind of things that would make sense for them.  They’re all residents of a small town, so they’ll only have what people like that would have.  That means no heavy weapons, samurai swords, or grenades.  They’ll have access to things like camping gear, flashlights, and hammers, basically anything you could find in a local hardware store. If one of them is the sheriff, he’ll have access to the sort of things they’d have.

So last time I described the three major scenes that will be in this adventure. After the initial attack, when the players find the body, they’ll have to investigate the incident. This will involve several social interactions with stock characters like the town librarian, the witness, and the local weirdo (that guy who knows this stuff).  Before they fight the creature for the first time they’ll need to track it. I’ll put together a quick chase scene for them involving running through the woods trying the stop this beast. It’ll either start with them protecting a prospective victim or the creature is sent after them for knowing too much. Finally, they’ll have a tense drive to the wax works when monsters try to drive them off the road, preventing the players from stopping Wilbur.

The first creature is going to be based on classic werewolf legends. The town the game takes place in is Woodbridge, an isolated small town with mountains to the north and most of the city limits taken up by the dense forest of Woodbridge National Park. There will be a deep history of werewolf lore in this town for the players to discover (this is, of course all, misdirection). They’ll think the first victim fell to an animal attack.

These are the small details that bring life to and fill out my adventure. Without them, the whole thing would be just sort of flat. Next week I’ll put up the complete adventure as I’m going to run it.

My Halloween Adventure: Part 2- The Important Scenes

The most important part of writing an adventure is having the important points you want to hit mapped out before you start writing.  It’s especially important with a story driven system like World of Darkness.  For my adventure I have three scenes that I want to happen for sure.  From this point it is matter of filling in what happens between these scenes, how you get from A to B if you will.  But, it all starts with these three major events.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted the climax of the story to be when the players thought they had killed one of the wax creatures (by staking it or shooting it with a silver bullet depending on the creature I make it look like) and having it stand up and keep fighting.  The point is they can’t kill these things unless they destroy them completely or with fire.  This is the point when I reveal the big twist to them, so it’s probably going to be the most important part.  This was the first scene that came to me.  I went into this process knowing I wanted my players to fight something that stands back up after they think they’ve beat it.  The wax idea came after and I adapted this idea to that.

I want to open the main story of the game with the players either hearing about or seeing a dead body.  This is the hook, the initial incident that sucks the players into the story as it goes on.  The body is going to be killed in a way that clearly points to one of the classic monsters.  This is how I start to lead them in the direction away from what it actually is so later the twist is actually more surprising.

The final scene I want to have is the players going to the wax work and all hell breaking loose.  They’ll fight off all the wax creations and try to stop the evil man who is making all the wax monsters.  I want this to be an exciting closing scene.  In Waxworks, my source material, the end is insane.  A random group of old people show up to fight the wax monsters and the scene is just crazy.  My ending probably isn’t going to be as insane.  I want it to believable, but also satisfying.

These are the points I want to hit with my game.  From here I’ll put them together to make the whole adventure.  Come back next week, and I’ll tell you how I plan to fill those gaps.

My Halloween Adventure: Part 1 – Inspiration

Every year I like to dig deep into my collection of role playing games and use my encyclopedic knowledge of horror films to run a group of friends through a terrifying role playing experience.  I enjoy it so much that I’m doing it twice this year, one game using the Supernatural Role Playing Game to give two of my friends a little nostalgia and another that I’m going to show to all of you.  Over the course of this month I’m going to talk about the inspiration for this adventure, how I put it together, what the players thought of it, and finally I’ll share the adventure for your use.  I’m going to be using White Wolf’s World of Darkness system.  First I’ll talk about what inspired the adventure.

I’ve been watching a lot of horror movies lately (follow me on twitter at @Costontine to find out just what I’m watching this month) and I like for these adventures to follow the plot or concept of a movie my friends and I like.  But I decided this year I wanted to give them a Shyamalan style twist.  I’m taking my inspiration from the 1988 film Waxwork.  In Waxwork, wax models of classic horror characters kill victims so they can come into our world and cause the apocalypse.  It’s cheesy, gory, has the guy who played Gimli in it, has a midget (like all movies in the 80’s), and is just really fun.  Plus all the murders can pass for something else; how do you tell the difference between a werewolf and a wax werewolf?

Taking this as my starting point, I’m going to plan out the scenes and encounters I’m going to throw at the players.  Next week I’m going to talk about the points I want to hit over the course of the game and how I’ll tie them together.