Monday, June 22, 2009

Dangerous Encounter: Last Chance for Gas

This small encounter can be placed alongside any isolated, long-forgotten road or highway. In the distance, the party will see a small building just off to the side of the road they travel. Any party members who are familiar with Ancient Architecture or History will recognize it as a small gas station. But even those unfamiliar with The Ancients should be able to puzzle out that it’s a refueling depot of some kind (especially if gas-powered vehicles and tools are used in your campaign world).

The gas station is now the lair of a pair of Skin Stealers (MF Rulebook, pg. 95) who call this outpost their home. The Stealers can see the approaching party through one of the windows of station. If there are three or more members of the party, one will exit out the back armed with a crowbar (1d6 damage) to get behind the party while the other Stealer arms itself with a sledgehammer (two-handed weapon, 1d8 damage) and lies in wait inside the building. Once the party gets close enough, they’ll spring out and ambush the party.

If, however, there are only one or two party members, the Stealers will instead try to garner the party’s trust. They’ll come out of the building and welcome them to their home, offering them a place to rest and camp. They shall try to get them to lower their guard in hopes of eventually surprising them unaware and skinning them. (The harvested skin on both Stealers is currently wearing out and starting to deteriorate. The Mutant Lord may want to mention to observant players that the two nomads seem to have very dark and leathery hides.)

Skin Stealers (2) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 5, #AT 1 (sting or weapon), DG 1d4+poison or weapon, SV L5, ML 7, Mutations: toxic weapon, reflective epidermis (radiation), unique)

Once the Skin Stealers are dealt with, the party is free to explore the station if they wish. Over the years, it has been fairly well picked over and there isn’t much left to scavenge, but there are a few items of note to discover:
  • Hidden in a toolbox buried under some debris in a corner of the station’s garage are some of the items the Skin Stealers have collected from their victims. Within are 125 silver pieces, a Rad-Purge Shot, and one Healing Pack.
  • If anyone thinks of it, there is sadly no fuel in holding tanks, having been siphoned away a long time ago.
  • In a backroom storage area, the players can find two unopened cans of beef stew (someone's long-forgotten lunch) as well as a Visitor to the Area map. This pre-apocalypse map shows all of the roads, towns, and attractions in a 50-mile radius. Some of the attractions listed include things like Old Man's Cave, Mystery Hill, and other tourist traps. The current accuracy of the map is left up to the ML. Also the destinations listed could provide future adventure hooks for the party.
  • In the garage under one of the automotive racks, there appears to be a deep pit filled with old, filthy, discarded oil. This is not oil but rather a small-sized Black Pudding (MF Rulebook, pg. 62) that has taken up residence in the pit. The Skin Stealers treated it much like a “pet,” feeding it any animals they could trap as well as the discarded bodies of their victims. The Pudding never bothers the Stealers, but it may not take kindly to the strangers poking around the area.
Small Black Pudding (1) (AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 6, HD 10, AT 1, DG 3d8, SV L5, ML 12, Mutations: toxic weapon)

If the Black Pudding is defeated and the pit is searched, the party will find many undigested bones of animals and humanoid creatures. They will also find a small metal box containing 24 copper pieces, 360 silver pieces, and 165 gold pieces. (The box belonged to one of the Stealers’ victims and was accidentally tossed in along with the owner’s body.)

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