Monday, January 16, 2017

A Great Big Nuclear Tomorrow - Post Apocalyptic Theme Park Encounters

A Family Tradition 

Playing RPG's while on vacation is a tradition for our family.  We like to call this #GetOutAndGame'ing.  Whether we're playing No Thank You Evil in the Magic Kingdom, or Savage Worlds on a Delaware beach, each time we travel we typically pack an adventure or two.  This past week our family traveled to Disney World with something different planned for this traditional feature.  

In previous #GetOutAndGame blog posts we've shared our excursion and highlights from our adventure, but there was no way for you, our readers, to be a part of our world.  This time I wrote something specifically that you can play with your own friends and family.  All you need to do is print out this blog post, and you'll have a complete adventure at your fingertips!  

Our crew! Carrie, my mom, Evie, and me, playing at the Old Key West Resort in Walt Disney World

I've been itching to write my own Mutant Crawl Classics adventure, ever since reading the MCCRPG preview in the Goodman Games Gen Con 2016 Program Guide.  Not just any adventure, but something that mashed together two of my favorite intellectual properties:

  1. The wonderful world of Walt Disney
  2. The brilliant, non-Oscar contender, Kevin Costner masterpiece known as Waterworld

Not wanting to step on any IP toes, I made sure to make this adventure post as "theme park neutral" as possible.  Judges and GM's can feel free to add influence from their favorite, childhood amusement parks, and it should work just fine.  Take your most special memories, submerge them in fifty feet of water, and have at it!  

As I wrote down some notes for this adventure, I realized that it was looking more like a hex-crawl... albeit a very watery, sea-based hex-crawl.  This brought me back to one of the coolest maps I've seen recently, a recreation of the Brig Niagara by cartographer +Christopher West.  That big, beautiful boat had to be a part of this adventure as well.  

So here we go.  Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!  Grab small children by the hand, and have a look at... 

A Great Big Nuclear Tomorrow

Sometime in the future, not long after the Great Disaster, vast areas of Terra A.D. are submerged by a furious, briny deluge.  Given the general proximity between the world's theme parks and the sea, many of these once festive locales are now sunken graveyards of yesterday's laughter and joy.  But the advanced technology used to power these attractions may still be of some worth, providing riches and artifacts to those brave enough to explore the haunted depths.

A Great Big Nuclear Tomorrow is an aquatic hex-crawl 0-level funnel adventure designed for Mutant Crawl Classics RPG as outlined in the Goodman Games Gen Con 2016 Program Guide.  The adventure, just like MCCRPG, is 100% compatible with Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.  If using the latter, I highly recommend including +Reid San Filippo's Crawling Under a Broken Moon rules to give the adventure a proper, post apocalyptic tone.

For me, I think the proper feel should be Bioshock meets It's a Small World

To create the 0-level characters judges are encouraged use one of the following methods:

(Judge's Note:  When we ran this adventure at Disney World, we combined the MCC-Preview Method with the Disney-Themed characters.  So we had a Pure Strain Human Captain Jack Sparrow, and a Manimal Mr. Toad, etc.)

The plot of this adventure is very simple: 

The PC's, part of a seafaring tribe, have discovered a chart that leads to a network of sunken structures, each one rich with powerful artifacts and technology.  The chieftain of the PC's village grants the explorers a great sailing vessel, in return for half of all that is discovered beneath the waves.  Travel to the sunken theme park should take the better part of a week.

Feel free to add more to make this your own.  Alternatively, there are some plot pointers in the Celebrate America! encounter.

Judges are encouraged to create their own crazy sea encounters that could occur en route to the sunken theme park.  


For a sailing vessel, I strongly recommend using this ship created by Christopher West:

This is just a sample image, and the complete map can be purchased here at Maps of Mastery.  I was a proud backer of Chris' project, and was REALLY impressed with how the map turned out.  Great work, sir!

One other topic to cover before setting you on the watery path:  Drowning.  Fortunately previous adventures by Goodman Games have covered this topic.  Here are the rules according to The Sea Queen Escapes:  

"Drowning: A submerged PC without an air source can hold his breath for as many rounds as his Stamina score. If he engages in actions while submerged, this duration is halved. Once this time limit expires, the PC begins drowning and must make a DC 10 Fortitude save each round or temporarily lose 1 point of Stamina. The save DC increases by 1 each round after the first. A drowning PC can take no actions and must be rescued by another character. When a PC’s Stamina reaches 0, he dies. If the PC is rescued, the lost Stamina is restored immediately."


This adventure is a series of random, sea-based, theme-park-themed encounters.  Judges are encouraged to set this adventure on the waves above their favorite attraction, or base it on their own creations.  Every 1d6 turns the judge rolls 1d12 and consults the list below.  Repeat events are at the discretion of the judge.  Perhaps the PC's are lost, or maybe they find a similar locale.  

1 - Atomic Animatronics

Just before the Great Disaster most theme parks were staffed by dozens of animatronic automatons that would greet guests, take pictures, and take part in various performances. Not quite AI, these robots could perform simple acts of entertainment, while appearing lifelike and jovial.  As the world of the ancients ended, many of these animatronic creations remained active, their nuclear batteries designed to last for centuries.

Judges are encouraged to come up with their own fictional characters that are represented by the Atomic Animatronics.  Or just use versions from your favorite, family amusement park!

The PC's find a location inhabited by Atomic Animatronics.  Roll 1d4 to determine the location and situation. 

  1. Pizza Den - Idea by Scott Robinson:  The PC's discover an undersea pizza den still staffed by  2d6 Atomic Animatronics.  There is rooftop access to the den floor through a ventilation shaft.  Once in the main area, the PC's find the animatronics still at work.  Half of the robots are performing a terrible live show on a stage in front of dilapidated tables and chairs, lit only by the shadowy sunlight cutting through the waves above.  The other half are trying to make pizzas... poorly.  There is no light in the facility, and no food or supplies other than pots and pans.  So the remaining animatronics don't have anything to work with, until now.  Once the PC's are spotted, the animatronics rush them in order to turn their organic material into pizza. 
  2. Stage Performance:  A floating stage can be seen 3d100 feet ahead in the water. 1d6 Atomic Animatronics are standing on a broken wooden sign, 10' x 30', performing a live comedy skit.  The language of the animatronics is an ancient tongue, so there is a high likelihood that the PC's have no idea what is being said.  The animatronics have no interest in the party, and will not attack unless forced to defend themselves.  The robotic actors possess a single hat containing 6d6 pieces of old coinage.    
  3. Sentient Hermit Animatronic:  The PC's approach a small dinghy crewed by a single Atomic Animatronic named "The Rabbit."  The Rabbit is completely self aware, and is attempting to leave the area in search of a new powerplant.  The Rabbit explains that it has only enough nuclear power left in its battery for another six months.  The PC's can choose to aid the Rabbit, or leave it go.  But if it is brought along for the ride on the big boat, it offers its services to the PC with the highest Personality.
  4. Itty Bitty Song & Dance - Idea by Yorrus Rex: The PC's come across a great cave network, sticking out of the water.  They can choose to enter the long, 300' long passage, but will find that they are beset upon on all sides by small, 12" tall miniature Atomic Animatronics.  The tiny creations keep singing the same annoying song over and over again.  2d4 attack the PC's for every 50' they travel into the Itty Bitty Song & Dance cave.  As the PC's survive each 50' segment, reward them with swag from Table 1-4, Additional Beginning Equipment from the MCCRPG preview.  Two rolls per 50' should be fair. 

Atomic Animatronic:  Init +0; Atk punch +2 melee (1d6), or laser eyes +2 ranged (1d10); AC 14; HD 2d8 (10); MV 30' (15' under water); Act d20; SP: Robot.  Immune to all mind affecting powers.  Upon destruction, nuclear battery may detonate.  PC making the killing blow must roll a Luck check.  If failed, the Atomic Animatronic explodes in a mini-nuclear blast, causing 1d4 points of radiation damage to everyone within 20'.  SV Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1. AL N. 

Itty Bitty Atomic Animatronic:  Init +0; Atk punch +1 melee (1d3), or laser eyes +1 ranged (1d6); AC 12; HD 1d4 (2); MV 15' (15' under water); Act d20; SP: Robot.  Immune to all mind affecting powers.  Upon destruction, nuclear battery may detonate.  PC making the killing blow must roll a Luck check.  If failed, the Itty Bitty Atomic Animatronic explodes in an itty bitty mini-nuclear blast, causing 1 point of radiation damage to everyone within 20'.   SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +1. AL N. 

2 - Mauler Mountain

This towering structure is Inhabited by the Logue-Folk: very dense, woody plantients.  5d8 total Logue-Folk inhabit the top of Mauler Mountain, which juts up 100' above the waves.  There are at least half a dozen caves in the great, plasteel structure, each one practically infested with Logue-Folk.  Mauler Mountain was once the theme park's highest's, mountain-based log flume, and a very popular ride.  Now all that remains is about 200' log flume passages that marked the high point of the ride.  The Logue-Folk have turned the access areas surrounding these passages into living quarters.  There remains one single log flume boat, serving as flagship of "Diet Cola", the plantient chieftain.   

The Logue Folk are a harmless people, looking to live simple lives in the region surrounding the sunken park.  If approached as friends, Diet Cola will ask the PC's for help freeing her son "Root" from the Reverse Aquarium.  If the PC's can find this location, and bring back any lost Logue-Folk they find, they will be greatly rewarded (10 bags of fine sea shells). 

Logue-Folk:  Init -1; Atk by weapon, +0 melee/-1 ranged; AC 12; HD 1d4; MV 30'; Act d20; SP: Hardened bark skin, 1/2 damage from blunt weapons; SV Fort +1, Ref -1, Will +0. AL L. 

3 - Celebrate America!  

Once this pavilion was a celebration of everything about the United States and what made it such a great place.  Now it is a broken down ruin.  The exposed rooftop offers a single access panel that opens into a large auditorium.  It's a 30' drop to the floor.  Surprisingly there are no natural tie-offs on the roof, so PC's will need to come up with something else to tie off to.  

Once in the theater, the PC's are surrounded by tattered American flags, water-logged and moldy seats, rotten hardwood floors, and ancient view screens that once shared images of the USA's glory.  Two entrances in the rear of the theater lead to a waiting area, where guests would gather before the show.

It is in this pitch black holding area that the real treasures of the ancients can be found.  Historical fragments can be found in good condition in several glass containers.  Roll 1d6 to show how many historical pieces remain, and then another 1d6 on the following table for each surviving piece:

  1. Ancient Document about a historical figure
  2. Ancient Book written about or by a historical figure
  3. Piece of clothing from a historical figure
  4. Writing utensil from a historical figure
  5. Weapon from a historical figure
  6. Portrait of a historical figure

Not sure which historical figure to use?  The Judge has a couple of options.  First, they can just pick one of their favorites.  My daughter Carrie would easily say "Alexander Hamilton" for all of the aforementioned rolls.  Another method is to just take a list of relevant figures, and turn it into die rolls.  For example, as of this blog post there have been forty-four presidents, with the forty-fifth taking office shortly.  So the Judge could use an electronic dice app to roll a d45, or maybe use a d50 ignoring results of a 46-50.  Then just match that up to the presidential order.  

It's completely up to the Judge as to the value of these artifacts, or if they are even real.  Chances are they aren't, but it's your game.  This is actually an encounter that could signal the end of the adventure, as an artifact could be the entire goal of the quest.  Perhaps the Cabal of Clinton or the Tribe of Trump want pieces of their namesake's past, and the PC's are on a mission to find this one structure.  If that's the case, feel free to throw 1d4 Historical Animatronic's into the scene, each one the spitting image of a president!

What better way to end an adventure than to battle an animatronic Ronald Reagon/George Bush tag team?  Go crazy!

Animatronic Historical Figure:  Init +0; Atk punch +2 melee (1d6), or mouth-mounted lightning generator, ranged (1d8); AC 12; HD 2d8 (10); MV 30' (15' under water); Act d20; SP: Robot.  Immune to all mind affecting powers.  If destroyed, explodes in an electrical burst.  All targets within 10' must make a DC 10 Fortitude save or take 2d6 electricity damage.  SV Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1. AL N. 

4 - Glowstick Stand

Not far in the distance (within 1d100 feet) the PC's see a small floating case bobbing in the water.  Upon closer inspection, it appears to be a sealed, watertight container with vague markings on the exterior.  If the PC's examine the markings they will see faded images of both a smiling child holding a small wand as well as several radiation warnings and some small print that is too faded to read. 

Opening the metal, refrigerator-sized chest requires a DC 20 Strength check.  Feel free to give bonuses to the roll based on equipment.  Additional PC's may aid, each one adding +2 to the roll, however the Judge should note this number.  If more than 2 PC's aid in opening the container it will sink immediately upon opening.  Encumbered PC's may have difficulty swimming!  Inside the container are 1d4 working Glowsticks

Glowstick:  TL: 2; CL 2; Range 30'; Special: Acts as a light source for up to 4 hours.  Power source is an ancient, miniature plutonium device that is slightly unstable.  If the Glowstick is in any way damaged, dropped, or tinkered with (causing the inner capsule and shielding to burst), it detonates.  All living creatures within 10' must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or suffer 1d3 points of radiation damage.

5 - Gift Shop

The PC's notice a small building not far beneath the waves.  Although close enough to see, it poses no threat for the boat to pass above.  Small bubbles rising from the roof of the structure reveal that there may be an air pocket below.  PC's will need to swim down to examine the structure.  Upon closer inspection, this is long closed Gift Shop that once catered to excited theme park guests. 

The building itself is not much larger than a kiosk, with two rooms.  The first is 20' by 20', and is completely filled with water.  This was the main shop area, with long rotted and destroyed toys, shelves, and other wares floating about behind a closed and locked (DC 12 to open) glass door.  There is nothing of use in this area, unless the PC's are on the hunt for scrap metal or plastic.

The second room is much smaller, but also virtually air tight. It is the old storage chamber, that also served as a fallout shelter for employees of the park.  There are only two entrances into this 8' by 10' chamber.  The first is the front door, which is stuck but can open with a DC 15 Strength check.  The downside is that this will flood the room with water.  The second is through the broken plumbing network that leads down into a fractured sewer pipe.  PC's can swim down from the surface (30') to the pipe, then swim back up into the shelter, emerging from a busted toilet. 

Inside the Gift Shop Fallout Shelter the PC's can find the following:

(Roll a d8.  Each PC can roll once plus another time per point of positive Luck modifier.  PC's with a negative Luck modifier can only roll once.  Should the PC with the lowest Luck score enter this room, they accidentally trigger the main entrance and the entire room floods with water.)
  1. Stuffed mascot that can record 10 seconds of the user's voice.
  2. Extendable grasping device with a working clown head and mouth at the end.  3' total reach.
  3. Baseball cap with logo of park.
  4. 1d5 Shot glasses
  5. 1d3 Super bouncy balls
  6. Ceramic statue of one of the park's characters
  7. Medipac (Artifact, as per the Mutant Crawl Classics preview from the Goodman Games 2015 Gen Con Program Guide, page 189).  Only one of these is available, so once a PC finds this, it cannot be rolled again.  Consider another roll of a "7" to just yield some old gum. 
  8. Pack of 1d4 functioning C-Cells

6 - Riverboat Rascals

Teenage Manatee Manimals, or Manateenimals, roam the waters above the park in a makeshift, 30' long riverboat.  The Manateenimal craft is on the lookout for other sentient creatures to place in their reverse aquarium.  Their motives are unknown and mysterious, although the Judge can come up with their own plots.  Perhaps the Manateenimals serve a dark and wicked master, such as Mutant Bipedal Sperm Whales, or something Cthulhu-esque.  

Eight Manateenimals are in the boat, each armed with a spear, on the hunt out for potential sources of entertainment.  

Manateenimals:  Init +0; Atk by weapon, +0 melee/+0 ranged (1d8 for spear, the most common weapon carried); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 15' on land, 30' in water; Act d20; SP:  No penalties for actions under water.  Can hold breath for 30 rounds, or 15 if exerting themselves; SV Fort +0, Ref +0, Will +2. AL L.

7 - Reverse Aquarium

This is the Lair of the Manateenimals, a simple observation deck just above the waterline, and a large, empty, aquarium below.  The aquarium area is 100' x 50' and 20' deep.  It is filled with dirty moss, and random plant life that completely covers the bottom of the chamber.  Aside from the 1d8 Manateenimal guards standing along an observation area above, there are 1d4 pure strain humans and 1d4 Logue-Folk trabbed below.  Root (see the Mauler Mountain description) is one of the Logue-Folk.

8 - Gateway to Fancifuland

There was once a magical gateway to an area of the park called "Fancifuland".  Or maybe it was called something else... it's been a long time!  No matter, the beautiful and ornate archway still exists, just beneath the waves.  Sometimes it sticks up out of the water, but not today.  The PC's boat passes over the arch and gets caught by a long metal magic wand.  This causes several things to occur.

First, find out how many PC's were operating below deck.  This is best to do before this encounter, especially since players will struggle with who they want exposed outside, and safe inside.  Once the Judge knows who is below deck, find out which PC has the lowest Luck score.  This PC get's impaled by the wand as it breaks through into the ship.  The affected PC takes 1d4 damage, and is effectively pinned.

The PC's need to remove the metal wand, either by breaking it with sheer strength (DC 20), or sawing it free (should anyone have tools or a device.)  The wand has 30 HP. 

Once broken free, the giant wand can be wielded as a two-handed club causing 1d10 damage in melee. 

Of course once the wand is removed the boat starts to take on water.  The PC's need to figure out a creative solution to patching up the hole in the boat, otherwise the vessel will take on enough water to settle completely upon the arch structure below.  Until the water is bailed (1d6 hours with proper gear) and the hole patched, the vessel isn't going anywhere.

9 - The Tween Queen's Castle

Once a beautiful fairy tale castle served as a towering attraction at this sunken theme park.  But now only the top 30' or so rises out of the water.  Deteriorating in the hothouse climate, and covered in fungus and mildew, there's nothing appealing or wondrous about this relic.  But at least the fireworks still work!

Before the Great Disaster, the employees at the park loaded the firework launch tubes with some experimental, micro-nuclear devices.  These were all the rage back in the old days, and the special designs they created in the skies above the park were considered well worth the risk of lobbing small atomics into the sky.  Should the PC's approach within 30' of the Tween Queen's Castle, the last 1d6 launch tubes go off, shooting exploding images high into the heavens. 

Each device explodes just a moment after launch, showering the party's boat with radioactive fallout.  PC's take 1d6 damage from the radiation, reduced by the following potential circumstances:
  • -1 damage if the PC ducks and covers (DC 10 Reflex Save)
  • -2 damage if wearing some kind of protective clothing, or if hiding under an object on the main deck.
  • -3 damage if below deck

10 - The 4D Experience - an experimental, time traveling ride that makes time slow down... in 4D!

Once upon a time the "4D Experience" was the most technologically advanced ride at the park.  To create an event that allowed for minimal guest lines with maximum guest experience, the amusement park engineers found a chemical way to allow guests to experience time travel.  Sort of.  

The 4D Experience was a large movie-theater type chamber where guests would sit down in recliners.  Once in their seats, a small halo would descend on the guests' heads generating a light mist.  This mist contained a drug that slowed down time for the viewer.  Then, a super fast 3D movie played in the theater.  For the guest, everything played out in about thirty-five minutes.  But the entire experience actually took only about three minutes.  

The roof of the theater can be found sticking out of the water, with a single access panel leading down into the structgure.  A simple ladder leads down to a storage and HVAC room, with a door leading to the main chamber.  Three hundred damp seats (fifteen rows of twenty) are all lined up in front of a tattered movie screen.  While there are doorways leading out of the chamber, opening them releases a flood of water that will fill the chamber in 3d12 minutes.  Should the PC's search the seats they will find that 1d3 of the 4D Experience Halos are still operational.

4D Experience Halo:  TL: 4; CL 3; Range Self; Special: Slows down time for the user by 90%.  While this does not allow the user to move any faster physically, their brain can still operate at this increased speed, allowing for improved problem solving.  All physical actions, including reflex saves, attack rolls, and damage rolls, are made at a +3 bonus.  Lasts for 3 minutes (or 30 experienced minutes).  Each halo only has enough mist for one more use.  

The judge should feel free to come up with their own concepts for the movie that was played, or just borrow from their favorite animated features.  

11 - Skyrockets Surprise

The PC's see a small, metal rocket pod sticking out of the water just a couple of dozen feet from the ship.  Not far from the rocket (about 25') there is a long weathered metal pole sticking out of the water.  Upon closer inspection, it looks like an old, spinning rocket ride, knocked onto its side.  There are eight total rocket pods, each one tethered to a central spoke that is tilted at a forty-five degree angle underwater.  This is the only rocket pod sticking out of the water, as the other seven are in a lowered position.  

Should the PC's approach the pod, they will notice that there are some remains of a dead creature on one of the seats.  A water breathing mutant "mariner" sought refuge hear several years ago, but died due to an infection.  The mutant was wearing a suit of sharkskin leather armor (+3 AC, 1d8 fumble die, no check penalty when swimming), wielded a sharktooth knife (1d4 dmg), and had a small satchel filled with jars of International Geologic magazines.  

Entering the pod to retrieve the gear requires a Luck check.  Should the PC fail, the ride begins to operate again, dragging the PC under water (DC 15 Strength or Agility check to get free.)  The ride operates very slowly, and it takes six rounds to make a complete revolution.  The character is at risk of drowning during this time.  

12 - Mascot Kaiju!

Whether it's a rabbit, mouse, rat, or cute panda, somehow the PC's have managed to unleash a truly terrifying site... the Mascot Kaiju!  A product of rogue nanotechnology, coupled with thousands of years to build a living and breathing monstrosity may just lead to the death of the party.  The creature rises slowly from the waves, first it's ears and head, and then face, and then the rest of the body. Altogether the Mascot Kaiju is 100' tall, and is really, really grumpy! 

Mascot Kaiju:  Init -2; Atk smash +9 melee (1d12); AC 18; HD 8d12 (40); MV 50' on land, 20' in water; Act d20; SP: Capsize Boat as an action, flipping it on it's side.  All on boat must make DC 12 Reflex Save or be flung into the water; SV Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +4. AL C. 

The Mascot Kaiju has roughly the same speed as the PC's boat, so this may lead to an epic chase.  The PC that is in charge of controlling the ship must make an Intelligence check each round for sailing knowledge.  The DC is a 15, and each assisting PC adds +2 to the check.  Keep note of who these acting characters are, as they are not permitted to act in a subsequent combat round.  Should the PC's make the check, the boat escapes the Kaiju for the round.  Should they fail, the Kaiju catches up and can either attack a PC or try and Capsize the boat.  Three successful Intelligence checks result in the boat outrunning the Mascot Kaiju, and the creature loses interest.  But it may be back!

*     *     *

We hope you've enjoyed our short, post apocalyptic, theme-park inspired adventure!  If you have a chance to run this for your own group, or even just use an encounter or two, please let us know.  If I get enough feedback I may add a few more encounters!  

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Scattered on Centaurus VII

Art by me... sorry, not as talented as +Carina W.!

Last summer I wrote a space-based, Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure called Centigoats of Centaurus VII.  The adventure was a silly, campy, over-the-top mess featuring demonic goat aliens created by a time and space warping, Sezrekan-tainted, goat dragon... named Sezregoat.  I ran the adventure at Gen Con 2016 and the entire experience was a riot.

You can go check out, print, and run the original Centigoats of Centaurus VII right here.  

Last week during the Steam Winter Sale I picked up Alien Isolation for the PC, and scared the crap out of myself for several nights straight.  I wanted to try and inject this spirit into a Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure, and then I remembered the Centigoats.  I believe the concept and game mechanics featured in the original adventure would feel right at home in a more serious game... perhaps with less goat-theming.  

So I set out to reskin Centigoats of Centaurus VII into something appealing to the space-horror fans.  I now bring you...

... Scattered on Centaurus VII!

Fair warning!  

If you've read the original adventure there isn't much changed.  I've removed the goats and replaced them with a more traditional, evil, and scary demon-alien.  There's also a slightly modified mechanic for what I'm calling a Scattered Funnel.  We tried something similar at Gen Con 2016, and it seemed to work, so it's back.  

As always, if you end up running this adventure with your own group, please let me know!

Scattered on Centaurus VII

Contestants of a futuristic game show must fight to survive and escape the dreaded jungle planet Centaurus VII while being hunted by demon-aliens, twisted by hell itself.  


Pitch Black certainly comes to mind in this adventure, since it features crash survivors trying to flee a cursed world.  I mentioned Alien: Isolation, but anything from the Alien or Predator series could count as inspiration for this adventure.  Connections to the TV show Survivor are also obvious.  

Necessary Materials

Before embarking on this grand voyage to a cursed jungle world, you may want to check out a few other resources.  

Miska Fredman's Patreon Page - The snapshot of the shuttle crash map came directly from +Miska Fredman, and is shared on this page with his permission.  That said, if you become one of Miska's patrons, you can access all kinds of phenomenal maps.  I'm a proud patron, and the Crash Site series comes with multiple maps: black and white, color, nighttime, and an adventure seed.  

Crawling Under a Broken Moon Issue 2 - The mutation canisters found in this adventure cause PC's to develop strange and sometimes terrifying powers.  For the purposes of this adventure, I'd recommend using the Base Mutation Table found in the CUaBM Mutant class in this particular zine issue.  

Space Dungeon Occupations - Created and compiled by +Noah Stevens, this list is PHENOMENAL and fits the tone and feel of this adventure perfectly.  While you can certainly throw any 0-level characters into this adventure, I highly recommend going the full sci-fi route.  You can even choose to use the 0-level generator on the Purple Sorcerer's site.  Just select "Space Dungeon (Stevens)" for "Occupation Source."  

The Scattered Funnel

The name of this adventure comes from a modified 0-level funnel that I'm dubbing a "Scattered Funnel."  We first played Centigoats of Centaurus VII and rather than giving every player a handful of 0-level characters I only gave them one a piece.  As they died, they got to draw new characters, and along the way they could pick up additional NPC's who had been scattered around the crash site.  Since they didn't have any "fodder" characters to start, everyone began the game very protective.

Here are the rules for a Scattered Funnel

  • Each player only begins with one 0-level character.
  • New 0-level characters can be acquired during play.  These are drawn randomly and then added to a central Pool of character for players to share.  
  • Any time a new PC can be gained for the Pool it will be noted in the adventure.
  • Any player can swap out for one of the Pooled characters at any time.  Players should keep track of any personalities or backstories created by the original player.
  • If a PC dies and the Pool is empty, that player must sit out until the Pool is replenished.
  • If all PC's die the adventure is lost.

Adventure Background

Scattered on Centaurus VII is a 0-level funnel for 12-18 PC's.  Alternatively, this could be played with 4-6 1st level DCC PC's, with a whole lot of re-skinning given the "sci-fi" feel.  If you are using either Crawling Under a Broken Moon or Crawljammer as a campaign setting, you can probably make this fit fairly easily...  

It is the year 2250, and the player characters (PC's) are participants in an incredibly popular reality holo-show called Offworlders.  After nearly two-hundred and thirty-three years since the decline of the reality TV show, some rich producers thought to resurrect the genre so popular in the late 20th and early 21st century.  Offworlders drops contestants off on remote, alien worlds, to survive for thirty days.  

Of course there are some safety precautions on the Offworlders holo-show.  Producers make sure that the participants are protected by a great electric fence, creating a secure perimeter and enclave.  The participants may have to deal with nuisance creatures, such as bugs, worms, and slimes, but the most dangerous alien life forms are safely kept at bay.  

This season's episode of Offworlders takes place on Centaurus VII.  A hot jungle world roughly the size of Venus, Centaurus VII was viewed by producers as being quite uncomfortable (and therefore good for holo viewers), but not particularly dangerous so long as the Goren were removed from the holo-show's protective enclave.  The producers know nothing of the Grim Stalker threat.    

Unfortunately, this season's holo-show is about to get off to a rocky start.

Image courtesy of +Miska Fredman

Adventure Outline

Crash! - The adventure begins with a great crash, as the PC's are ejected from their cryopods onto the floor.  It should be revealed that they are all contestants on Offworlders, and that they are expecting to land at a drop zone within a somewhat safe, definitely not mortally dangerous, jungle enclave.  But as the PC's get their bearings, they will notice that their shuttle is a wreck, with pieces of the ship on fire, exposed wires sending sparks, and smoke filling the craft.  

How the shuttle crashed is up to the judge.  Maybe it was just a bad day for the pilot, or perhaps poor weather forced the craft down.  

Exploring the Shuttle - Surviving this adventure will require that the 0-level characters salvage as much as possible from the crashed shuttle.  Give the players enough detail about the damaged shuttle that they feel risk of staying inside, but also give them time to explore.  There are Goren waiting outside, and they should start to enter the shuttle's broken frame at some point.  
  • Cryopod Room:  This is the starting point for the adventure.  A semi-circle of six pods, each capable of holding 2-3 participants.  Whatever the 0-level characters have as starting equipment is found in small footlockers kept at the base of each cryopod.  Each cryopod has its own battery unit, and can be reactivated with an Intelligence check (DC 15).  Someone placed inside the pod can be kept "on ice" for 3d6 months before the battery runs out.  
    • Pool:  There are an additional 1d4 potential PC's located in the Cryopods.  After determining the number, a DC 8 Intelligence can free each sleeper.  A failed check kills the pod occupant as they freeze solid and shatter.  
  • Med Lab:  The Med Lab is directly adjacent to the Cryopod Room.  Most of the supplies have been strewn about, but the PC's can recover 2 medkits (heals 1d4 hp), 1 stim-jim (boosts Strength by 4 for 2 hours before dropping it by 8 for 4 hours), and 2 gallons of fresh water.  There are also 3 Mutation Canisters designed to help survivors adapt to different worlds.  Unfortunately they don't work well!  PC's who open a canister are exposed to enough mutagens that they suffer a mutation as per the Base Mutation Table found in the Crawling Under a Broken Moon Mutant class.  Alternatively, you could come up with your own mutation, perhaps raising an attribute at the expense of another, or just making cosmetic changes.  Each Mutation Canister has only one use.  
  • Command Deck:  PC's approaching the command deck of the crashed shuttle can feel the heat coming off the door.  The fire burning on the Command Deck has ruined all electronics and controls.  Attempting to enter the deck causes 2d8 damage per round to a PC, and allows the fire to spread to the next chamber.
  • Airlock:  2 EVA suits can be found in the Airlock.  Although designed for space travel, the suits provide some additional protection (+4 AC, Fumble Die 1d8), and render the wearer practically immune to background radiation damage.  Given the hot jungle temperature, however, wearing the suit for longer than an hour requires a Fortitude save (DC 10) for each half-hour of use.  Should a PC fail the save, they suffer 1d4 points of Stamina damage.  If this forces their HP below 1, they die from heat exhaustion.  This damage can be recovered at a rate of 1 per hour, or 1 per minute for every gallon of water used to cool down.  
  • Port Drive Core: The port drive core compartment is stable, but shut down.  Attempting to power up the drive core is impossible due to the condition on the Command Deck.  There is a toolkit in this room that may come in handy later, however.  
  • Cargo Bay: The cargo bay is directly exposed to the exterior of the crash site, and most of the contents are damaged.  When the Goren decide to enter the shuttle, it will be through this breach.  But searching the chamber the PC's can salvage the following: 2 Pulse Rifles, 11 chips of Pulse Rifle ammo, 1 Flamethrower, 5 chips of Flamethrower ammo, 20' of useful rope, a crowbar, 2 flashlights, 5 MRE's (meals ready to eat), a professional quality video recording rig, 1 small tent, 2 metal crutches, and a single foam mattress.   

The Crash Site - The actual crash site is fairly dangerous.  As the PC's start to search the Cargo Bay, give them indications that "something" is coming.  Alternatively, if the PC's are exploring every nook and cranny of the crashed shuttle, and are unfazed by the flames and sparks, send in the Goren.
  • Goren:  5 Gorenenter the cargo bay swiftly, and with extreme prejudice towards the Earthlings.  
  • Cargo Bay Fragment:  South of the main crash site the PC's come across another section of the shuttle.  This was part of the cargo bay, and searching the containers the PC's can find 2 more chips of Pulse Rifle ammo and a container of super-chunky peanut butter.  
    • Pool:  A single wounded passenger of the crashed vessel lay near the Cargo Bay Fragment.  Using a medkit revives the passenger, adding them to the PC Pool.

C.H.O.P.A. #1 - The Courtesy Helium Operated Passenger Assent vehicle is designed to give contestants a quick and easy escape from the holo-show.  Up to six contestants can comfortably fit inside a CHOPA, as it automatically fills a great helium balloon and floats high into the atmosphere for retrieval.    

Unfortunately CHOPA #1 has been damaged, and is lacking a Helium Module.  It seems that several inquisitive Goren have found this module, and are playing with it off in the jungle nearby.  CHOPA #1 has a very clear "#1" stenciled on the side of the craft, leaving it open that there is a CHOPA #2 located somewhere.  A single Flamethrower (4 chips of ammo) is contained within a special housing on the outside of the CHOPA.
  • High Pitched Goren:  The PC's hear the high pitched cackling of two nearby Goren that have taken the Helium Module off of the CHOPA and are breathing the gas.  Unfortunately for the Goren, a Grim Stalker lurks!  If the PC's follow the sound, they discover the pair of creatures 100' to the east.
  • The First Grim Stalker:  This encounter should occur whether or not the PC's follow the Goren.  
    • If they do follow the confused chatter of the Goren, a lone Grim Stalker appears and quickly stings both Goren.  The brutish apes fall over and start to transform into Grim Stalkers.  The original Grim Stalker then burrows underground.  The transformation process takes 2d7 minutes, and should be described in detail as the Goren dissolve in high pitched screaming into a mass of bone, flesh and tears. If nothing is done to the pools of flesh, they reform into 2 Grim Stalkers that attack the party. 
    • If the PC's don't follow the Goren, they hear the chatter stop, and a few rounds later the Grim Stalker attacks the PC with the lowest Luck score with a stinging DNA injection.  It will then attempt to flee by burrowing under gound.    

The Jungle  - Any trip into the jungle itself should result in one of the following encounters.  For each hour exploring (perhaps searching for CHOPA #2), roll 1d8, and refer to following list.  If the PC's are not following some kind of path or trail, feel free to repeat these encounters, obviously keeping in mind previous actions.    
  1. Production Assistant:  Ejected from the shuttle during the crash, a production assistant was fortunate enough to be wearing a parachute.  Now they are stuck in a tree, about fifty feet off the ground.  A nest of Centaurian Hornets lurk just a few feet from the production assistant's face.  Centaurian hornets are a lot like regular hornets, except that they secrete acid.  If the nest is disturbed in any way, the hornets spend 1d3 minutes taking to the air before they begin to devour production assistant.  Should the PC's get in the hornets way (knocking down the nest), they must make Fortitude saving throws (DC 10) each round or take 1d3 damage.  Any use of fire or aerosol spray will cause the hornets to flee.  Bob is carrying a pair of MRE's (meals ready to eat), a full clip (6 chips) of Pulse Rifle ammo (but no rifle, he dropped it somewhere) and has several hundred feet of parachute cord.  If saved, the Production Assistant can be added to the players' Pool.  
  2. Guest Host:  The guest host of Offworlders is hiding in a cave, scared out of their mind after encountering an angry Goren.  Unfortunately for the guest host, there are more Goren in the cave.  The guest host will fire on anyone that approaches within 30' of the cave entrance unannounced.  Once the guest host is convinced to leave the small cave, a Goren will spring out, attempting to kill the host (draw a character from the 0-level stack to determine stats).  If the Guest Host is killed the Goren will then retreat back into the cave with the body.  The cave is 5' wide and 30' feet long, ending in a 20' by 20' chamber.  3 more Goren are hiding in the chamber (for a total of 4).  The guest host carries a Pulse Rifle with three chips of ammo (see weapon description.)  If saved, the Guest Host joins the Pool.  
  3. Grim Stalker Surprise:  The PC's come to a small ravine.  To get to the other side, the PC's must either climb down (50', only a DC 5 due to the branches and roots) and climb back up on the other side, or spend another hour traveling in either direction to get around the the obstacle (forcing another encounter.)  As the PC's climb down, take careful note of their order.  Choose the PC with the lowest Luck score.  Once they are at the bottom of the ravine, a Grim Stalker DNA Injector (with a +4 addtional bonus to attack) will strike that PC.  If this encounter is rolled again, either with the same ravine (possibly an extension) or another, 2 Grim Stalkers appear at the bottom of the ravine, completely bursting out of the ground and into combat.  Searching the ravine reveals all manners of sticks and debris that could potentially be used as clubs, torches, or rather large toothpicks.    
  4. Worm Pit:  The lead PC falls into a 10' deep pit and into a soupy mixture with the texture of bean dip.  Immediately the next round, something large and hungry begins nibbling at the PC's legs.  The worm attacks each round (Atk +1 melee 1d4 damage), until the PC is pulled out of the pit.  The edge of the pit should be approached with caution, as the ground is quite soft.  Any PC performing an action at the edge must make a Reflex save (DC 10) or tumble into the soupy mix.   
  5. Crashed Satellite: The PC's come across an irradiated pool of muck and slime, thirty feet across.  There is a faint green glow, and a crashed satellite rests nearby.  Radioactive fuel from the satellite has seeped into the pool.  Two Mutated Goren lay half-in and half-out of the pool, seemingly dead.  If approached, these aliens will rise up, revealing terrible mutations and growths, and attack the party.  PC's who approach within 5' of the satellite, or enter the pool itself, must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) or take 1d3 points of Stamina damage from the radiation.  Salvaging the crashed satellite yields a transmitter that could possibly be used to communicate with the production crew in orbit.   A second shuttle can land in the area within 1d14 hours. 
  6. Rain of Pain:  The weather takes a turn for the worse, and a heavy rain starts to fall.  The acid content of Centaurus VII's rain isn't deadly, but it is high enough to cause skin reactions and general anxiety.  Anyone exposed to the rain must make a Fortitude save (DC 8) each hour or suffer 1 point of Personality damage to reflect agitation.  The rain persists for 1d5 hours, possibly through multiple encounters.  The Personality damage heals at a rate of 1 point per hour spent under cover or after the rain ceases.  
  7. The Dimensional Monolith:  The PC's discover the original inter-dimensional monolith that allowed the Grim Stalkers to leave their own hellish world and come to Centaurus VII.  A simple, silver 10' cube, the monolith bears a carved seven pointed star on each side.  Judges are encouraged to use this monolith in any way that fits their play style.  Perhaps the monolith allows a pathway to an actual hellscape.  Perhaps someone who touches the monolith can contact the entity known as Sezrekan and attempt a Patron Bond.  Or maybe 1d4 additional Grim Stalkers arrive to attack the party. 
  8. Jettisoned Cryopods:  The PC's find 2d3 cryopods in the jungle.  Each one contains a potential PC for the Pool.  

C.H.O.P.A. #2 - There are several ways to find the second CHOPA.  If they climb to the top of a tree (DC 10), they will see smoke rising from the jungle, about 3 miles to the south of the crashed shuttle.  Given the thick foliage, this trek takes 3 hours (thus, 3 jungle encounters.)  They can also try to jury-rig a transmitter from the crashed shuttle, CHOPA 1, or the crashed satellite.  Allow any PC with a technical occupation to make this attempt (DC 15.)  Finally, allow the PC's to get to the CHOPA after 5 total hours wandering in the jungle.  
  • Surrounded in Veingrass:  Once the PC's arrive at CHOPA 2, they will notice that it is surrounded by a thin, red, spaghetti-like grass.  This is veingrass, and anyone who attempts to approach CHOPA 2 will find that the grass will crawl up their legs and try to leech their blood (Atk +0, 1d3 damage.)  Placing planks or other pieces of debris atop the grass prevents this effect.
  • Removing the Helium Module:  So long as the PC's have a toolkit, removing the Helium Module takes less than 10 minutes.  The pod is 50lbs, and long enough to be carried by two PC's.  Without the proper tools, the PC's must make a DC 20 Intelligence check to come up with an alternate means of removing the module.  Any roll of a 1 causes the module to break, filling the air with helium.  Good luck getting off of Centaurus VII now!
  • Trek Back:  By this point the PC's are probably fairly banged up from the trek to the pod.  Either roll one more time on the Jungle Encounter table, or pick something that you really want to throw at the party.  

Ascent - With the Helium Module in hand, and CHOPA 1 ready to depart, the PC's must fend off one last wave of Grim Stalkers, or flee during the battle.  The Helium Module takes 6 rounds to deploy, -1 round for every PC that does "something" to aid in the process.  Perhaps they are at the controls on the inside, or outside trying to help the balloon inflate.  Eventually the CHOPA's giant helium balloon rises up past the canopy, and the surviving contestants of Offworlders can "call for evac!"  
  • Grim Stalker Rush:  The final Grim Stalker rush consists of 5 creatures.  If your players are doing particularly well feel free to mutate them with dragonfly wings, and a flying speed of 30'.  

New Weapons

A common theme in sci-fi horror movies is a lack of resources and ammunition.  The two weapons featured below have very limited ammunition.  This should reflect a 0-level, untrained character pulling the trigger and unloading a half dozen bullets or more with each squeeze.  

To simulate the scarcity of ammunition for these special weapons, use poker chips as ammo counters.  Each time the weapon is used, make the player give back a chip.  If you want to be really cruel, whenever they fumble make them give an extra chip!  

Also, the first player at the table to strap their pulse rifle and flame thrower together "Ripley Style" gets a point of Luck.  

Pulse Rifle - Damage 1d12, Range 50/100/150, Ammo Capacity 6 chips.  Special:  Player may choose to spend 2 chips (instead of 1) to increase Action Die by +1d.   

Flame Thrower - Damage 1d6, Range 30' cone, Ammo Capacity 4 chips.  Special:  All creatures in the Flame Thrower's range must make a Reflex Save (DC 10) or take damage.  Player may choose to spend 2 chips (instead of 1) to increase the DC to 14.  

New Monsters

Goren- Similar to, but smaller than the Four-armed Ape-Men of other worlds, the Goren would've eventually evolved into civilized beings if their world hadn't become infested with Grim Stalkers.  Curious but deadly, Goren can use simple tools and implements to explore their world.  They perceive anything that isn't a member of their pack to be a threat, so it's best to keep them at a safe distance.  

Init +0; Atk slam +1 melee (1d6); AC 13; HD 1d8+1; MV 40' or climb 20'; Act 1d20 or 2d16 (crits on a "16"); Ref +1, Fort +2, Will -1; SP a Goren can perform an intimidating display of rage, requiring all opponents engaged in melee combat to make a Will save (DC 10) or disengage from combat for 1d3 rounds due to fear.

Mutated Goren - Essentially a regular Goren who came in contact with the radioactive satellite debris.  Now it looks more like a zombie.  

Init -2; Atk slam +0 melee (1d6 damage, +1 point of Stamina damage from Radiation); AC 12; HD 1d8+5; MV 20' or climb 10'; Act 1d24; Ref -2, Fort +4, Will -2

Grim Stalker - Grim Stalkers are not native to Centaurus VII.  These burrowing, centipede-like insects first arrived on the planet just thirty years ago, transported via an inter-dimensional gateway that led back to a world that would make Hell look like paradise.  Without natural predators, Grim Stalkers easily spread throughout Centaurus VII, always remaining just out of sight, safely in their tunnels.  It was for this reason that the producers of Offworlders had no idea what their contestants were truly in for.  

Grim Stalkers are fearsome creations.  They roam the jungles of Centaurus VII hunting for new prey as well as hosts for their offspring.  But the breeding rituals of the Grim Stalker are truly horrifying.  These twelve foot long creatures do not create offspring directly, but instead inject their own DNA model into their still-living prey via a long, stinger-like tail.  The victim's remaining cells, those that have not been consumed, are quickly transformed into a new Grim Stalker... and the line continues.  

One day, all of Centaurus VII will be dominated by Grim Stalkers

Init: +2; Atk bite +2 melee (1d8) or DNA injection +2 melee (special); AC 12; HD 2d8+2; MV 50'; Act 1d20; Ref +2, Fort +2, Will +0; SP organic opponents who are stung must make a Fortitude save (DC 12) or be transformed into a Grim Stalker in 2d7 minutes.  This process is terrifying to witness, and brutally painful to endure.  The victim slowly melts into a screaming and writhing puddle, only to reform into an insect-worm.  To make the process even more haunting, the victim is completely aware of what is happening until they take their first step as a Grim Stalker.