In this encounter, the players have stumbled into a fight already in progress. In the distance, they'll hear sounds and shouts of a battle being joined. Whether through curiosity or the thrill of apparent combat, the PCs should be "prodded" into investigating. When they arrive, they'll see a small village being overrun by Pumpkin Men (MF rules, page 90). These evil plant-men seem to be slaughtering everyone they can reach violently and viciously. All are armed with daggers, clubs, and pitchforks (ML's choice), plus they're setting fire to the village huts with their optic emissions mutation. The villagers are putting up a fight, but they are woefully underpowered for such a vicious foe. It is hoped that the PCs will leap in to assist!
Pumpkin Men (6) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 7, #AT 3 or 1 (2 claws, bite or weapon), 1d6/1d6/1d8 or weapon, SV L4, ML 9, mutations: natural vegetal weapons, optic emissions (gamma eyes))
After the Pumpkin Men are driven off, the villagers gather in the communal central area to both thank the PCs for saving them from the evil marauders, as well as to determine their next course of action. According to the villagers, the Pumpkin Men have been attacking and raiding the town around Harvest Time every year. Each year, the village is able to drive them off. A group of villagers is then selected to go over the hills and into the neighboring "Valley of the Gourds" where a huge pumpkin patch grows wild, filling the valley floor. It is from this patch that the Pumpkin Men are spawned. They have tried destroying all gourds they encounter; tearing up the soil and salting the earth; drenching the soil with poisons -- nothing seems to put a permanent end to the recurring terror.
However, this year the village has secured two 55-gallon drums of petroleum from a Bygone refueling station. They plan to raid the patch, douse the vines with gasoline, and set the whole valley on fire to stop this nightmare once and for all. They ask the PCs if they would help put an end to this menace. They offer to reward the PCs for their assistance. It is left to the PCs to plan the raid on the Pumpkin Men patch, as well as how to safely transport and apply 110 gallons of gasoline!
It takes about a half-hour to reach the crest of the hill that overlooks the Valley of the Gourds. From the crest, the PCs (and any villagers who tag along) can see a dozen Pumpkin Men standing in a circle. A weird otherworldly chant fills the air as they sway slowly back and forth. In the center of the circle, the PCs can see the vines, leaves, thorns, and twigs of the pumpkin patch twisting together and joining into a roughly humanoid shape. The Pumpkin Men are summoning a Pumpking which they hope will assist them in destroying the village once and for all! The summoning ritual is complete and the Pumpking will fully form in 5 more rounds. Once it has risen from the pumpkin patch, its soul purpose is to destroy the village and it will tromp off to complete the mission it was summoned for. Of course, the Pumpkin Men who called it into existence will follow to watch the carnage. -- unless it can be stopped in time!
Pumpkin Men (12) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 7, #AT 3 or 1 (2 claws, bite or weapon), 1d6/1d6/1d8 or weapon, SV L4, ML 9, mutations: natural vegetal weapons, optic emissions (gamma eyes))
The PCs (and any villager NPCs who came along) will have their hands full with both the enraged Pumpkin Men and their giant construct. If attacked, the Pumpkin Men will stand and fight, but the Pumpking will stomp away from the battle in its single-minded mission to destroy the village. If the Pumpking reaches the little town, everything and everyone there will be utterly destroyed. However, if the Pumpkin Men and Pumpking are defeated, the villagers use the gasoline to create a "cleansing fire" that ends of threat of the Valley of the Gourds permanently. As thanks to the PCs for their help, they will be shown the location of the Bygone refueling station where there's not only an abundance of surplus petrol, there's also a fully functioning Bygone vehicle that they can claim as their own. (Mutant Lord's discretion as to what kind of vehicle they may find there.)