In our previous outings, we established our plotlines, fleshed out our primary antagonist, constructed our Act 1 Action Scenes, and inserted some clues for the players to follow. (In fact, you might want to re-read these entries as I'll be referring to events described earlier.)
Today, we'll move onto Act 2 and Act 3, where the PCs now know what they're generally facing (though the primary villain may still be undiscovered). It's time for them to take steps to put an end to the menace!
With the Adventure Creator's Three-Act format, Act 2 is a series of "Challenge Scenes" for the players. These are the things, situations, and events that now stand between the heroes and their ultimate goal of solving the mystery and putting an end to further malfeasance. Act 3 is the finale, where the final conflict and resolution happens. To keep this short, we'll only have 3 scenes in Act 2, which will then lead into scene 4, which will also be our Act 3 Finale.
When we last left the players in Act 1, they were rescuing Louise Farmer from the Order of the All-Seeing Eye, currently overrun with werewolves. The PCs should now be very aware of the lycanthrope conspiracy, though they may not have ID'ed their leader yet. GM NOTE: Louise should impart on them that a straight-up firefight with a werewolf horde is probably suicide. (Especially if the PCs aren't packing a crap-ton of silver bullets and wolvesbane!) So sneaking out undetected is the best course of action. Once they've escaped, they can decide how to best deal with the menace. (If they want to charge in and attack the lycanthropes in their lair, go ahead and let them. After the slaughter, let their replacements show a bit more discretion...)
ACT 2 CHALLENGE SCENESChallenge: Avoid Danger/Deal With Threat
Plot: Zombie Potion
Clue: Secret Door
Scene 1: The challenge here is for the PCs to escape from the All-Seeing Eye without being detected or seen (Avoid Danger). Louise's research may come in handy, as she was investigating the All-Seeing Eye's connection to the deaths in town. She recalls that her examination of the building's blueprints revealed a hidden secret entrance/exit they might be able to use for their escape (from its days as a speakeasy). The passageway is found in the back of a linen closet in a bathroom on the first floor (Bathroom - Secret Door). The PCs will need to find some way to distract (Trick) the werewolves in the building to get to the passageway and make their escape. This could be an exciting "stealth" encounter or, if it goes poorly, an exciting "chase" encounter! (When the escape is discovered, our villain Sheriff Pratt (Warlock) will know who's responsible. And he won't be happy about it (Deal With Threat).)
Challenge: Do Research/Find Help
Location: Religious Offices
Clue: Odd Behavior
Scene 2: Once that scene has ended, the PCs will probably hunker down in hiding for the evening. The next morning when the sun is up, the werewolf threat has passed. But the PCs will only be safe until the sun sets again, at which point the wolves will be after them again! They'd better Do Research/Find Help if they hope to survive! If they haven't done so yet, Louise suggests checking out the local church (Religious Offices). The church is empty, but unlocked, which seems strangely inviting (Odd Behavior). As they investigate, they should hear typing coming from one of the offices. The church secretary will be here ("Linda"), dutifully hammering together the church bulletin (Vixen...though it's a stretch). She is surprised to see them here, but unlike the rest of the town, she will be nervously forthcoming with information (Fugitive). She confirms that the lycanthrope conspiracy is real and that townspeople are fearful of talking about it. ("You either end up dead, or as one of THOSE!" she says.)
Challenge: Assist/Save NPC
Plot: Never Speak of This
Opposition: Serial Killer/Animated Objects
Location: Crime Scene
Clue: Lack of Alibi
Scene 3: Louise is now cursed with lycanthropy, so she only has until sundown before she becomes one of the pack! (Assist/Save NPC) Louise explains (per our clues in the previous post) that destruction of the pack leader will break the curse for all those who have contracted the disease. The chase is on to find the leader! The PCs should now know most of those Coldcreek residents cursed with lycanthropy (from both their observations as well as Linda's list). Although I mentioned in an earlier entry there were eight of them at the temple, I'm going to scale back and say there were five: Pastor Burchell; Steve Thompson, the town food market proprietor, and Roger Warner, the town mechanic (the large surly townperson who threatened them in our first act) are three that they know of. (The other two are Pratt's deputies. And, of course, Pratt is behind it all, though he was not at the temple that night.) Logically speaking, confronting Thompson for info would be the best course of action (Owner/Proprietor). His store is closed, so the PCs should investigate his home.
It will be locked, though it's obvious someone's in there. Whether they break in or talk to him through the door, Thompson will beg them to go away and leave him alone. If convinced to talk by telling him they know he's one of the pack (Lack of Alibi), he will let them in and agree to tell them everything (Decide...Never Speak of This). Thompson is afraid for his family, friends, and the community, and he wants to be rid of the curse. (He's been able to retain his humanity in human form, though he feels Pratt's influence on him at all times.)
If the PCs overcome or drive away the deputies, Pratt's voice crackles on the patrol car radio: "You've been a thorn in my side since arriving. It's time to end this. Come to my Temple. Fail to show up, and I'll slaughter everyone in town."
And the gauntlet is thrown...
ACT 3 FINALE
Challenge: Collect Evidence/Recover Items
Plot: Cursed Artifact
Opposition: Conspiracy/Evil God
Clue: Things Out of Place
"Kneel cattle!" Pratt demands. The PCs will probably refuse. They may even say something fairly insulting. Or they may open fire. Regardless, Pratt touches the medallion, and his minions charge. If the sun is down, Pratt transforms into his werejackal form and joins the fight as well. If the sun is up, he still transforms, but into a form of considerably lesser power. Since Louise has been "touched", she may join the fight for Pratt under the influence of the medallion. (It could be an interesting turn to see if the PCs can hold her at bay without hurting/killing their partner.) If the medallion is somehow taken from Pratt during the fight (Pick-Pocket), all of his minions will break off their attack on the PCs and will then turn on Pratt! If Pratt is killed or destroyed, the curse will be broken and his minions (and Louise) will return to normal. The lycanthropic threat to Coldcreek has ended.