Driving the plot

As per title. I’ve rebooked, but it was an annoying fail.

I was turning right onto a major road from a closed junction. I waited for the oncoming traffic to pass, then edged out to get a better view. There was some traffic coming in the distance, but I made the turn (too fast, in hindsight) to maintain progress and not seem hesitant.

The examiner failed me on this maneuver, as he thought it was unsafe and the oncoming traffic had right of way.  I would have passed were it not for that, as I only made 5 minor mistakes out of a potential 9. So lesson learned. I was otherwise fairly satisfied with my driving. Driving for a test is not real driving, so my second attempt should be better matched to what they expect.

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Ran a Dark Heresy game for gf and a friend on Saturday, worked very well. The flexibility of node based design showed its strengths: the players skipped the settlement to go straight for the sewers below. Also its weaknesses as they skipped 50% of the characters and encounters. This ended up working OK for the time we had to play.

I improvised and worked off the 5-room dungeon template to keep it satisfying:https://1d4chan.org/wiki/Five_Room_Dungeon.

Entrance with Guardian

The party travel on the rail to the dungeon. They are descending to the Underhive to exterminate a flesh-eating centipede and its cult. They are investigating missing children and a missing techpriest.  They have to escape a stalled railcar in the pitch-black at the end of the line. The servitor that controls the final service elevator is infected with multiple centipedes. The party has the chance to discover the nature of their foe, and tech/medical characters get a chance to shine. This also serves as a puzzle and teaches the players that there is no true AI in the setting, only biomechanical computation.

 

Roleplaying Challenge

grtwn

This got them to Growtown, once a forgotten settlement in the Underhive, but redirected sewage from the upper levels of the city has made it a thriving feudal town. It’s also awakened the Maw-Flukes, ancient man eating centipedes once worshipped as gods by degenerate humans.

The party has to find clues from the population by any of the following: relieving the town of mutant thugs, investigating the disappearance of people’s children linked to the orphanage, tracking the security systems to the sewage tunnels or providing medical aid to injured townspeople. If the players are too obvious, members of the cult or the hired thugs will try ambush them and take them to the sewers.

There are early clues about the beast’s attacks, its smell and the fact that it is being controlled psychically.

Trick or Setback

flood tunnels

The players have several ways to get to the next stage: convince a fisherman to loan a boat to investigate the sewage pipe on the lake, go through another service tunnel in the city, enter from the basement of the orphanage or be taken prisoner.

Here it becomes obvious that the sewers are full of mutant aberrations with insect features. They ambush the party with blowpipes, javelins and slings. Their weapons are tipped with the numbing poison of the centipede. While they are weak, the poison will paralyze limbs and breathing, which makes climbing and swimming lethal.

There is a further trap here: the sewer is currently blocked by a floodgate, which the mutants or the techpriestess below might open. If they are caught in the rushing waters, they will be swept to the next level below, might drown and lose all their gear. This is to escalate the situation and force the players to react with violence of action against the ambush. The rushing waters also stop players escaping if they entered by boat, or at least make it very difficult. The tunnels and tight quarters make grenades and flamethrowers dramatic. It’s a chance to exhaust their stamina and ammunition before the final confrontation.

Plotwise, the mutants are a creation of science, and worship a goddess they call “She”. They venerate a centipede uroboros necklace each wears, which has psicrystal controlling them. There are also clay jars to be found, with the missing children slowly being mutated into centipede hybrids. This triggers major fear and insanity gains. Any NPCs will go insane and try destroy the jars to give the children unpolluted deaths. This may trigger the next stage earlier than expected.

Big Climax

ziggurat

The party should then arrive at the Xenos temple. The run up to the temple should have more of the jars of gestating mutant kids. There’s also signs of a very large Maw-Fluke in the tunnels, along with all the datacables heading to one location.

The players should enter into a cave, with the stepped Mayan/Aztec pyramid in the middle. Atop is a large purple crystal which pulses with psychic energy.  Inside is the missing techpriest, one of the Daughters of Resque – a tech-heretic group who unleash mutation plagues to try evolve humanity.  The techpriest will try take people alive to experiment on them, but is otherwise quite insane. She can summon a 5m tall Maw-Fluke which causes fear, with a psicrystal embedded in the head like a unicorn horn. Destroying the crystal releases control of the beast. But it is very tough.

Reward, Revelation

The final confrontation should take place on top of the pyramid, as the techpriest attempts to summon a horde of Maw-Flukes from the Underhive with simple images: “Maw-Fluke. Guard. Pyramid.” or “Maw-Fluke. Destroy. Outsiders.” The players can re-arrange the commands in any order or substitute new ones if they feel creative. This can be done on the console or by psychic connection with the crystal. There’s a maximum of 3 words. The Techpriest herself is not a tough fight, and can easily be ganged up on. There’s an onrushing wall of Maw-Flukes climbing the pyramid while the players try to solve the puzzle.

The game has ended with the Maw-Flukes in stasis or serving the players in their quest for power. In all cases so far, the rogue techpriest has been killed. The mutant children have not been rescued or saved – they are probably too far gone for that.

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Driving the plot

    1. Having to shift with the left hand is an added complication. Maybe it’s not so hard if that’s all you know, i.e. have not learned to shift with the right.

  1. Once I was driving on the highway with my whole family (mom dad and 2 yrs younger brother. Stopped at tollbooth and it was one of those automatic ones. I stopped too far back and couldn’t reach it. My brother already was laughing at me. My dad already yelling to pull up and stop stretching unsafely & unrealistically. So when I pulled up I lurched too far forward and now it was like ten feet back. My brother laughing like a loon. I’m cringing thinking people everywhere are laughing and pointing at me (they were busy going thru their own lanes properly but the guy behind me was probably annoyed) I wanted to just keep driving but my dad was flipping out because it was the NYS thruway and if you don’t have a ticket you have to pay the maximum which is like $8 (yes i know but this was ca 1995 and my dad is frugal) So i had to get out and walk back for the ticket. Which wouldn’t dispense because no vehicle. A kindly attendant walked over and gave me one. My brother laughed the next two hours about this. He still occasionally brings it up.

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