Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: The Dead Of Night

This encounter takes place in a post-apocalyptic village that appears to be preparing for a siege. When the PCs reach the outskirts of the small town, they see the townspeople finishing up a rather shoddy fence around the edge of the village. The fence is about 7 feet high at its tallest and is cobbled together from boards, scrap sheet metal, chain link fencing, and any other materials that can be scavenged. When the PCs approach, they are stopped at a distance by a guard at gunpoint. "Are you infected with the dead virus?" he shouts. When they are able to prove they are not "infected," they will be allowed entry.

The guards explain that the town and its people have seen an increase of attacks from wildlife from the surrounding forests within the last month. Oddly, these animals -- coyotes, wildcats, elk, and others -- all seem to be infected with the same virus that animates the Walking Dead (MF rulebook, page 101). They are obviously dead and reanimated, attacking and trying to consume anyone they encounter. Anyone bitten also becomes infected with the virus, and if the limb is not amputated, they become one of the Walking Dead as well and must be put down. The "dead animal" attacks are increasing in frequency and it's only a matter of time before the town is overwhelmed.

As the PCs question some of the villagers, a shout alerts them to a breach in the fencing. When they arrive, they see two villagers trying to repair a hole in the fence, while four outmatched villagers are trying to hold back five Infected Wolves who have managed to get through. The wolves have large patches of skin missing and their eyes are white and pupilless. Their muzzles and faces also seem to be coated in a glistening green slime as well. The pitchforks and rusty swords the villagers wield will not hold back the five snarling zombie animals for long.

Infected Wolves (5) (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 7, HD 2+2, #AT 1 (bite), DM 1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: none)

Any villager or PC who is killed by one of the Infected Wolves will rise as one of the Walking Dead 24 hours later. If anyone is bitten, they must amputate the bitten appendage first, then make a save versus poison or death. Failure means the victim has contracted the virus and they will lose 5 points of CON per day until they die. They will rise as one of the Walking Dead within 1d4 turns after death. (Failure to amputate the limb means the virus will take hold regardless.)

Walking Dead (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 8, HD 5, #AT 2 (rend/bite), DM 1d6/2d6, SV L4, ML 12, mutations: none)

Once the crisis has been dealt with, the villagers will beg the PCs to find out how these attacks began and put a stop to it. The one common element to all of the attacking creatures is that they all seem to have that green ichor smeared on them, as if they came into contact with some kind of poison or chemical. All of the attacks seem to come from the northwest as well. If the PCs head in that direction, it will be fairly easy for them to follow a trail created by the mindless rampaging animals (broken plants and branches, footprints in the mud, green goo smeared on trees, etc.)

About a mile from the village, the PCs will reach the ruins of a Bygone church. There seem to be a lot of animal tracks around the church, and if they search hard enough, they'll find puddles of that foul green substance all around the area. What has happened is that a Corpse Owl has nested in the church's bell tower, and the decrepit creature is dripping its fetid disease-laden fluids all over the surrounding area. Coming into contact with this poison is deadly as it carries a concentrated form of the necro-animation virus. If contact is made with this fluid in its pure undiluted form, a save versus poison must be made. Failure means the character immediately dies and will rise as a Walking Dead in 2d6 rounds. A successful save will still cause 4d6 hit points of damage as well as muscle convulsions and a raging fever that lasts 24 hours.

Corpse Owl (1) (AL N, MV Fly 120' (40'), AC 7, HD 3, #AT 2 (peck/claw), DM 1d6/1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: dermal skin poison (special: necro-animation virus))

Area wildlife are coming into contact with the Corpse Owl's poison and are converting into the undead creatures attacking the area. Putting an end to the Corpse Owl should be the first order of business. However, the Corpse Owl is active only at night and will leave the tower only at that time. The tower is difficult to climb (the interior stairs have rotted and crumbled away decades ago), and even if the PCs get to the top, confronting the Corpse Owl in its slime-filled lair is suicide. Waiting until nightfall when the Corpse Owl leaves the nest and then killing it with a ranged weapon is the safest way to deal with the menace.

However, if the PCs hang around the base of the tower long enough, the Mutant Lord should roll for a random encounter. If one occurs, some of the infected wildlife may wander through the area. Stats for a pair of Infected Wolves and an Infected Black Bear are provided in the event this random encounter occurs:

Infected Wolves (2) (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 7, HD 2+2, #AT 1 (bite), DM 1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: none)

Infected Black Bear (1) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 4, #AT 3 (2 claws, bite), DM 1d3/1d3/1d6, SV L2, ML 7, mutations: none)

Even if the Corpse Owl is destroyed, the PCs may be tasked by the village to help kill off any infected animals still lurking in the area. A Walking Dead incursion may happen if any infected animals are allowed to run free (which could be another adventure hook down the road). The villagers will burn the disease-laden church to the ground to put a stop to any future infected animals.

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