Wednesday, October 27, 2010

[Festival of Fright] Dangerous Encounter: Living Nightmare

To run this encounter properly, the Mutant Lord will previously need to have some idea as to who (or "what") frightens the PCs. It can be a particularly villainous foe they encountered, a monstrous mutant they barely defeated, or any large creature they have heard rumors of that they have shown hesitancy to meet. ("Boy I hope we never run into one of those!")

When this encounter begins, the PCs should find themselves in some central public location such as a town square, tavern, or marketplace. There should be some concerned excitement bubbling up nearby as the townsfolk in the crowd begin to talk excitably. The PC should catch snippets of conversation: "She just wandered in...thought she was dead...her poor parents must be relieved...!" If the PCs ask around or investigate, they'll get the following information:
"About three weeks ago, a small girl disappeared from the village. No one knew if she was taken or if she just wandered off into the woods. It was assumed she had been dragged off and eaten by one of the creatures lurking in the ruins nearby. Her parents were inconsolable. However, about an hour ago, she wandered into the village! She seems to be healthy and unharmed, but there's something...wrong about her. She just stares off into the distance--never blinking, never speaking..."
The parents are happy to talk with the PCs (they're just delighted their child is back) and will let them meet with the girl if desired. The child, named Haester, sits silently in a chair, staring wide-eyed off into space. She seems almost robotic or hypnotized, devoid of emotion. If the PCs talk to her gently and ask what happened to her, she'll slowly turn her head to them and blandly remark, "The Grizzold took me to his house." The parents will act surprised, explaining that "the Grizzold" is a made-up monster from a fairy-tale her parents used to tell her. (If asked for a description of the Grizzold, the Mutant Lord is encouraged to describe the most horrific creature he can imagine. The PCs may later encounter "the Grizzold" if they're freaked out enough at the description!) Upon further conversation, Haester will describe the old ruined house about 5 miles away where "the Grizzold" kept her. She will also warn about his "mean dogs" before she shuts down completely. If the PCs aren't curious enough to investigate on their own, the village's town council will offer them a handsome reward to deal with this monster before another child is taken.

When the PCs arrive in the area, they should see an old dilapidated mansion on a hill. (The Mutant Lord is encouraged to play this up as the classic "haunted house" scenario, with the wind whipping up, night falling, and a blood-red full moon in the sky.) As they approach the house, a pair of Kamatas (MF rulebook, pg. 78) will charge from the underbrush and attack.

Kamata (2) (AL C, MV 180’ (60’), AC 5, HD 5, #AT 3 (2 claws, bite), DG 1d8/1d8/1d6, SV L3, ML 9, mutations: energy retaining cell structure, increased sense (smell))

Once the creature's "pets" are dealt with, the PCs can enter the house. Unbeknownst to the party, a Fear Feeder has taken up residence in an old dilapidated mansion. The extra-planar creature feeds on fear, terror, and horror, and it takes the shape of whatever terrorizes its victim the most. As the victim cringes in horror, the Fear Feeder consumes the negative energy until it has drained a victim of all its Willpower. Once drained and emotionally broken, it releases its prey and goes to find a fresh source of fear. (Fear Feeders are particularly fond of childhood traumas.)

Fear Feeder (1) (AL C, MV 120’ (40’), AC 3, HD 6, #AT 2 (claws plus special), DG 1d8/1d8/WIL drain, SV L6, ML 10, mutations: mental phantasm (unique), emotional vampirsm (fear))

The Mutant Lord should have the PCs slowly investigate the house, looking for "the Grizzold." Since the Fear Feeder is a shadowy creature, it will hide in the corners and the darkness, looking for an opportunity to take the shape of a new horrific being to terrorize its new "playthings." The Fear Feeder will try to attack the party individually rather than as a group, so it will wait until they separate before striking first. Once the nature of the Fear Feeder is discovered or once it looks like the fight is going against it, it will attempt to flee the area, hoping to find another location near another village with children.

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