- 1 Introduction – What the GM Knows
- 2 What Went Wrong
- 3 What the Players Know
- 4 Preparing to Play
- 5 The Hook
- 6 Check/Aid the Victim
- 7 Enter the Bar
- 8 Leave the Scene
- 9 Inside the Bar
- 10 Combat Encounter 1 – The Lunatic in the Bar
- 11 Lunatic’s Traits
- 12 After the Fight
- 13 The Investigation Begins
- 14 Chip Stop
- 15 Waiting for an Appointment
- 16 Meeting with Management
- 17 Warehouse 9
- 18 Getting Inside
- 19 Inside the warehouse
- 20 Above-Ground Levels
- 21 Warehouse Basement
- 22 The Final Encounter
- 23 Robots and Machinery
- 24 Serum
Introduction – What the GM Knows
As a matter of national defense, the NAU’s Department of Defense has commissioned the aid of brilliant scientist Dr. Rutherford Watkins. With the war in the Middle East still blazing, the government has hired him to develop a national defense system capable of predicting and thwarting enemy attacks by whatever means necessary.
Dr. Watkins is not only a brilliant scientist but a skilled electrokineticist and computer security specialist. He has spent the last three years, and billions of government dollars, developing a botnet that uses crowd-sourced computing methods to calculate and predict the offensive maneuvers of enemy nations by parsing intelligence data and comparing past trends as well as current political movements. His defense system has proven wildly effective and the NAU has not experienced a major threat to national security in the year since its deployment.
What most don’t realize is that Dr. Watkins’ security system doesn’t use supercomputers, or even crowd-sourced personal computers, to perform his calculations. He realized early in development that the fastest, most powerful supercomputer in the world was the human brain, and he knew that if he could tap the power of millions of brains at once, he could form the greatest supercomputer and intelligence network known to man. Unfortunately, most humans have proven unwilling to surrender their psyche to the common good, so he had to devise a method to gain control of peoples’ brainpower without their knowledge.
Before Dr. Watkins could implement his “brain botnet,” he needed to devise a method for getting chips implanted into millions of willing citizens. To do that, he tapped the power of the world’s foremost marketing firm, MarkeTech, Intl. With their help, a new cybernetic implant was developed that would target a mass audience and ensure widespread rollout of the doctor’s brain-utilizing microchip. MarkeTech rushed the product through production and launched a nationwide marketing campaign the likes of which the country had never-before experienced.
The product, a simple implant that taps the taste and pleasure receptors of a user’s brain, bestows “the gift of flavor” to those eating the otherwise bland nano-foods that are the solitary staple of every layperson.
This so-called “Flavorizer” is a boon to every citizen, since most have never even tasted real food and would pay almost anything to have the opportunity to taste something pleasant. Thanks to large government subsidies (the doctor’s doing) though, citizens don’t have to pay much to gain one of these coveted implants.
MarkeTech’s Flavorizer has been a wildly successful product, and cybershops around the country have been filled for the last year and have made a fortune from the new product. It seems like everyone has something to gain from this breakthrough device.
Of course, there’s one catch. There’s always a catch.
What Went Wrong
Because the product was rushed to market, it hadn’t been fully tested on a large audience.
A flaw in its design has left at least 1% of its users vulnerable to a “glitch” that causes them to go insane after limited use.
The signals sent from the brain through the chip occasionally cross paths with emotional triggers, and in some cases, the user becomes exceedingly agitated, even violently angry. These users often fly off the handle and attack nearby people without provocation or regard for their own safety.
News of these occurrences is not public knowledge, but Dr. Watkins and the NAU government are aware of them. To avoid admitting guilt, billion-dollar class action lawsuits, and a forced shut-down of the defense project, the government has issued a silent order to detain victims and ship them to special mental hospitals where they are de-chipped, but detained for up to three months for surveillance. Even when dechipped, patients seem to exhibit levels of anger far beyond what they are used to; a permanent cure has yet to be found.
What the Players Know
Of these events, the players know very little. They are aware of MarkeTech and their new “Flavorizer” chip, and the players themselves may have already had one installed.
Like other citizens of the NAU, they are unaware that their brains are being used as processors for a national defense network and that they are vulnerable to the chips’ “glitch.” Players do not know about Dr. Watkins, the government cover-up, or even the NAU’s involvement with the creation of the Flavorizer implant. News of these events will unfold throughout the course of this adventure.
Preparing to Play
As a GM, you should familiarize yourself with the Psi-punk rulebook so you understand the language and game terms presented in this adventure. You may alternately adapt the adventure to any game system you desire, but we will assume knowledge of Psi-punk and the Fudge system. At the very least, you should read through the entire adventure before sitting down to run it for players.
This adventure is designed for 3 – 6 players, but can be scaled up or down as necessary.
Much of this adventure will unfold through role-playing and via the use of skills. Take note that more (or fewer) players will adversely affect the challenge level of any combat and they may need to be adjusted appropriately.
Once familiarized with the adventure and the core rules, gather the materials you need to play (dice, pencil and paper, players, etc.) and have fun.
Every adventure needs a “hook” – something to pique the players’ interests so they feel like they should care about the events that are about to take place. If you are running this adventure as part of a larger campaign, feel free to come up with any explanation you need to get the ball rolling.
Perhaps one or more of the players has heard of this great new device and decides to get an implant only to later hear rumors of its negative side-effects or perhaps one of the characters has a family member who has gone berserk and they decide to investigate what went wrong. Try to use the power of the characters’ backstories to invent a hook that really hits home with them.
If you are running this adventure for a group of new players, they may not have fully detailed character backgrounds and personalities yet. Feel free to invent a different hook if you choose, but we have provided one below for your convenience.
Read the following text to your players:
“It’s a hot day in [insert the name of your city] and your group is headed to the local pub for some drinks. You’re all excited about the new Flavorizer implants that you’ve recently acquired, which have added taste to your food – something that you’d only previously heard of. Sick of bland nano-food and ready to really put your new taste buds to the test, you all agreed to gather at the bar for some drinks and a bit of now-flavored non-food.
“As you approach the bar, your conversations distracting you from the din of the city, you can’t help but take notice when a body comes crashing through the window and lands on the sidewalk at your feet. You barely manage to shield yourself from the shards of glass that try to tear at your face.
“From inside the building, you hear a cacophony of screams, shouts, and distress calls. It’s obvious that someone has crashed your party.” Spring into Action If the players haven’t already interrupted your dialog with shouts of what their characters intend to do, give them a moment to speak up. When someone announces an action they would like to take, try to run with it – even if you haven’t prepared for it in advance (players will never cease to amaze and amuse you.) We’ve tried to anticipate a few of the actions they may take, and have provided a few solutions to help adjudicate them.
Check/Aid the Victim
Curious (or helpful) characters who rush to investigate or aid the victim notice the following about him. Read this text to the players and use the bullet points to answer any questions.
“You go to the victim’s side and take a look at his body, which is covered in blood and broken glass. He’s an average-looking man in a business suit, probably just off work for some heartless Corp, and his glasses lay several feet from his body. He has several lacerations, but appears to be breathing.”
The man is not dead, but is losing blood.
Characters who wish to try to treat his wounds need to make a Fair Medical check. Success means that he will stop bleeding but remains unconscious.
He has government-issued ID in his wallet (if the characters decide to take time to flip through it) but his name is insignificant and forgettable. For all intents and purposes he is a John Doe.
He has no cash in his wallet (and shame on them for asking!) If an ambulance is called, they get the impression that the response time will be sufficient to save his life Players do not need to spend much time worrying about this NPC.
Enter the Bar
Characters seeking action may wish to enter the bar. They can do so via one of two readily-noticeable methods:
Through the front door Through the broken window. If attempting to enter through the front door, the characters will notice that it is being blocked by an upturned table. Characters with a Great Strength attribute may be able to force it open in one round, but characters with a lower Strength attribute may need to find an alternate means of opening the door (or enter through the window).
Feel free to allow the players to be creative with ways to force the door open.
Players who wish to jump in through the window must make a Good Athletics (Jump) check to avoid being cut by broken glass on the way in. For every degree by which the character fails the check, they take one Scratched physical wound.
Leave the Scene
Sometimes players just don’t take the bait. If they choose to leave the scene, police will arrive before they have a chance to get away and they will be hauled in for questioning.
Anything beyond this is outside of the scope of this adventure. Try instead to prompt the players to enter the pub and investigate what is happening.
Inside the Bar
If the characters have followed the hook and entered the bar, they arrive to witness a lot of commotion. Read the following to the players:
“The bar is dimly lit and filled with smoke, like most that you’re familiar with. It would feel crowded with people, but most of the patrons are now hiding beneath tables, behind the bar, and anywhere else they can find to try to stay out of sight. A few are screaming loudly while others are on their comm devices attempting to call the police.
“You see a lone man carving a path through the room, raving about something completely incomprehensible.
He is throwing bottles, chairs, pool sticks, darts, and anything else he can get his hands on. You suspect at least one of those things was the guy lying in the street.” The bar is a wreck, and there is a raving lunatic throwing things at anyone who gets in his way. He sees the players enter the chaos and immediately begins flinging things at them.
Combat Encounter 1 – The Lunatic in the Bar
This man has gone insane thanks to the Flavorizer chip implanted in his skull. He’s an average citizen with no special powers, but due to his enraged state, his relevant combat traits are all at a level of Great. Due to his Aggressive posture, however, he hits harder and takes more damage when hit.
We have summarized his traits below for your convenience.
Total ODFs: +4
Total DDFs: +0
Combat (Ranged): Great
Specialization: Throwing (May re-roll one dice whenever he attacks with a thrown object) Gifts: Adrenaline Rush (may take more damage than a normal person before feeling it)
Faults: Enraged (cannot be talked down; always uses Aggressive posture, already factored into his traits) Weapons: Anything that is not nailed to the ground may be picked up and thrown at the characters.
Wound Levels: 1-3 (Scratched), 4-5 (Hurt), 6-7 (Very Hurt), 8-9 (Incapacitated), 10+ (Near Death); can sustain only one wound per wound level (including Scratched) Characters attempting to talk to the man meet with only more enraged babble. He continues to throw things at them until they subdue him. Refer to Chapter 4: Playing the Game for a refresher on how combat is handled. Remind players that they can avoid killing a person by “pulling their punches” – choosing not to do a lethal amount of damage.
Due to his Adrenaline Rush, the amount of damage the man must take in a single hit before an appropriate wound is recorded is increased by 1. For example, a normal character that takes 3 damage from a single hit would normally receive a Hurt wound, but this man would only receive a Scratched wound. This is reflected in the “Wound Levels” section of his traits list, above.
After the Fight
Once the lunatic has been subdued (or killed, though murder is still frowned upon even if it is done in self-defense), the players are free to investigate what happened. It is taboo to go through the pockets of someone you just knocked out in a bar, but you can probably expect players to try this anyway.
If the PCs search his wallet, they will find about a week’s worth of various receipts, among which is a receipt for a Flavorizer implant, dated yesterday. The name of a local cybershop, “Chip Stop,” is printed on the ticket.
If they question the other patrons, they will learn that he is a regular at the bar who has a history of being a good tipper and a source for friendly conversation. Nobody who knows him can understand why he suddenly flipped out, only that he did not enter the bar with a bad attitude.
He was not quarreling with the man in the street; the man was simply a victim of the lunatic’s sudden rage. The man in the street was no more aggressive toward him than anyone else.
The barkeep approaches the players.
He’s an average-looking character who would be otherwise forgettable were it not for the small scar on his right temple which is visible through a missing tuft of hair.
“I dunno what went wrong here, but somethin’ made that guy snap. I ‘preciate you guys handling the situation with such, uh, practicality,” says the barkeep. “Ordinarily I wouldn’t ask a patron to do me no favors, but you look like you can handle yourselves.
I’ve got a job for ya, if yer up for it.” Try to guide players toward hearing out his proposition. If they do, he tells the players that he doesn’t trust the police to handle these sorts of violent events at his bar.
There’s too much paperwork and he doesn’t have insurance, so he tries to keep a low profile.
He tells the players that this isn’t the first time he’s heard of this sort of thing happening.
His own daughter flipped out a few nights ago and was hauled off by a couple government drones. He’s not allowed to have any contact with her and he doesn’t know what happened. All he does know is that this guy went nuts the same way she did and he suspects something’s the matter.
The barkeep offers to pay each of the players a Good amount of Wealth for their troubles. He wants to know what’s happening that caused both his daughter and this man to go berserk. Assuming they accept, he’ll provide a description of his daughter and impart the only clue he has to go on in regards to the incident:
“My daughter and I both got those new Flavorizers just a few days ago, down at the Chip Stop. This guy’s been talking all day about how great it is to know what food tastes like, so I assume he’s just got one too. Now I dunno if that means nothin’, but it sure seems fishy to me. I just hope that we’re not all going to wind up at the funny farm because of these things.” If the players had searched the man’s belongings earlier, they’ll note that “Chip Stop” was the name on his Flavorizer receipt.
The Investigation Begins
After you’ve hooked the players into investigating the mysterious and sudden surges of violence in otherwise docile people, they can begin investigating the matter.
Their only clue so far is that two people who have received Flavorizer implants at Chip Stop have gone insane. Players should follow this clue and head down to Chip Stop to ask questions.
Chip Stop is a popular chain of cybershops that specialize in minor implants.
They do not do limb replacements, bioware, or other forms of more intense upgrades.
Rather, they deal only in microchip implants. Their motto is “In and out in an hour or your next one’s half off.” This is common knowledge that may be imparted to the players.
Entering the storefront, players see a waiting room filled with people from every background. Most are too focused on their personal tablets to pay attention to any new person that walks through the door. Every few minutes a nurse enters the lobby and calls a name, which causes them to momentarily stop what they’re doing and pay attention.
Just as frequently, new patients leave the back room with smiling faces. They have a nano-food lollipop in their mouths and seem thrilled that it has a unique and delicious flavor. Everyone in this waiting room is here for a Flavorizer implant, which the players can gather by talking up the clientèle.
Behind the front desk is a harried woman who seems to be having trouble keeping up with the commotion around the office.
She’s the only employee readily available to speak to, but doesn’t seem to take much notice of the players until they approach.
“Name?” she asks, as you approach, not even taking time to make eye contact.
The woman seems flustered with the abundance of activity in the waiting area. “First and last, please.” If given a name, she types it into her terminal, then looks up at the player (or players) who gave it to her.
“No appointment record,” she states. “We’re booked this week. If you come back early next week we may be able to squeeze you in, or you can access our scheduler on the ‘Net.” The players are obviously not there for an appointment and should mention as much. Any time they try to ask her a question she tries to shoo them away, consistently repeating that they don’t have an appointment and to come back next week or schedule on the ‘Net.
Players may attempt any number of skill checks to try to get the woman to talk to them. Any Social or Manipulation skill will do, as will the mind control power. Because she’s overwhelmed and not in any mood to waste time answering questions, the difficulty for the skill check is Great.
Players may attempt this skill check as many as three times using a different skill or method each time. If they fail the third time, she becomes slightly more hostile toward the players. She begrudgingly agrees to answer their questions, but only with the most basic information possible.
- Depending on the questions asked, she may have the following information to tell the players:
- Chip Stop has been overwhelmed with customers seeking Flavorizer chips
- MarkeTech offers a 1-year limited warranty on all chips sold
- Records of current and former clients are strictly confidential
The chip seems to be having side-effects on a very small percentage of clients, but she is not at liberty to discuss what those are (she will provide this information only if the PCs made a successful skill check) Players cannot talk to a chip-doc or upper management without an appointment. She will schedule an appointment for the players to speak with a doc or her boss about the matter, but will do so only if the players succeeded at the above skill check. The appointment will be set for two weeks from today.
Players can attempt a Superb Computer Security check to break into Chip Stop’s database and alter the date, but not while in sight of the woman (note that Chip Stop has no records in their database about the Flavorizer malfunctions; snooping players will find only that certain people have or have not received an implant from Chip Stop recently.) Even if the players succeeded on their skill check, she doesn’t offer any more information than they ask for (unless she is under a mind control effect, in which case she will happily comply with everything they ask.) If players manage to schedule an appointment to talk to a chip-doc or manager, they can either come back in the scheduled time or hack into the company’s database to alter their appointments.
If the players choose to wait out their appointment date, see “Waiting for an Appointment,” below. If they successfully altered their appointment dates, skip to “Meeting with Management,” below.
Waiting for an Appointment
If the characters choose to wait out their appointment time, they may lose valuable days in their investigation. During this waiting period, they should receive clues about the events surrounding the issue.
Rumors on the street are that people have been flipping out at random all over the country. These events haven’t made the news and no official sources have addressed the issue. Nobody seems to be linking the occurrences to the Flavorizer implants, but people are getting suspicious about what’s happening.
Feel free to come up with another encounter wherein the PCs experience an enraged citizen. You may use the statistics for the lunatic from Combat Encounter 1, above, but feel free to set the encounter anywhere you choose. If the PCs search that person, they too will have a Chip Stop receipt for a Flavorizer implant.
If the PCs return to the Chip Stop before their appointment date, the woman remembers them and depending on their success in dealing with her earlier will be more or less inclined to fudge a new appointment for them. The characters may attempt to make a Great Social or Manipulation skill check or mind control check to request that they see a chip-doc or manager immediately, but the difficulty increases to Superb if they had failed to influence her before. If successful, she will give them an immediate appointment (skip to “Meeting with Management”).
Otherwise, they will have to continue to wait out their time and she will not allow them another try even if they return again another day.
If unsuccessful, tell the PCs that a few days pass and then continue to “Meeting with Management.”
Meeting with Management
If players were successful at scheduling a meeting with a chip-doc, only one of them will be called back (perhaps one at a time, if they chose to make appointments for each character). Players will interact one-on-one with the chip-doc who will, after his prep work begins (remember the characters are supposed to be there to get an implant) tell the customer that they already have a Flavorizer; this should prompt discussion about the character’s actual motives for being there.
If instead the characters were able to secure a meeting with upper management, they will be called as a group into a manager’s office to speak with him about their concerns.
In either case, when one or more characters are being lead into the back room, read the following:
“You’re led into the back room by a surly nurse who looks like she’s been overworked and underpaid – but isn’t that life for all of us? As she leads you into the office you catch glimpses of chrome machinery in several rooms, each occupied by another patient.
Business is certainly booming.
The nurse leads you into a room and asks you to take a seat. ‘He’ll be with you momentarily,’ she says, and hastens back toward the waiting area to call the next patient.
You’re kept waiting for only a few short minutes before a man enters the room and addresses you.” When speaking with the characters, try to keep in mind who they’re talking to (a chip-doc or upper management) and how many characters are in the room and act accordingly. Feel free to add your own flavor – the doc preps a work station, with scissors to trim away hair around the brow, a scalpel to make incisions, and so forth. Chip Stop isn’t posh, but it’s a much more sterile environment than any back-alley street doc the players may have visited before.
- At some point the players will discuss the Flavorizer issues and their concerns about the chip. The chip-doc/management personnel can tell them the following:
- Business has been fantastic since the introduction of the Flavorizer. Chip Stop even has a tally of how many they’ve installed nationwide, and the most recent count is around 1.89 billion
- MarkeTech introduced the Flavorizer about a year ago and it has the whole nation talking
- The NAU government has subsidized the cost of the Flavorizer, making them affordable even for the average citizen
- The Flavorizer is completely harmless (characters adept at spotting falsehoods can detect that this is a lie)
- Roughly 1% of users experience some form of mental instability (this information is only offered if pressed, and only if the players succeed at a Good skill check to Manipulate/control the NPC)
- MarkeTech may have worked directly with the NAU government to create this device (Great difficulty)
- A man named Dr. Rutherford Watkins is credited as the designer of the Flavorizer (Superb difficulty)
- Users who experience side-effects become irrationally violent and attack friends, family, co-workers, and even random strangers; when possible, these subjects are hauled off to a government holding facility (Great difficulty) There is a nearby holding facility in the warehouse district, but not even loved-ones are allowed to know of or visit it (Superb difficulty) This is all of the pertinent information that the NPC is able to provide. If the characters manage to gather all of the information, their next logical step would be to visit the warehouse district or to at least attempt to find out which warehouse is being used as a holding facility.
Finding the Warehouse If the characters were not successful in getting information that Flavorizer defectees were being kept in a warehouse holding facility, you have the option of trying to come up with some additional means of them gathering that info. One simple but effective method would be to use a mysterious message sent to one of the PCs on their tablet by an anonymous person with no traceable reply-to address:
“I know you’re investigating the Flavorizer defects. Come to Warehouse 9 at 11:00 p.m. and you’ll get your answers.” You can let the PCs speculate over the intent of this anonymous message, but ultimately try to steer them toward Warehouse 9.
If the PCs were successful in getting information from someone at Chip Stop, they still need to find the precise warehouse.
They can attempt to hack computers, use Astral Projection to listen in on someone’s conversation without being seen, mind control management, or any number of other things. Let them be creative and try to work with them, but ultimately lead them to Warehouse 9 in the warehouse district.
Eventually the players will arrive at Warehouse 9. The building is rather nondescript; its windows are painted over and it has a barbed wire fence surrounding it.
Vicious-looking dogs patrol the land between the fence and the building. A guard post stands at the single gated entrance.
Players are usually creative and have a wide variety of tools at their disposal to help them enter places where they are not wanted. It would be impossible to write detailed scenarios for every conceivable option that the characters have, so try to be creative and work with the players when they come up with an interesting solution for getting inside the warehouse.
- To help you provide a few options for the players, describe the following aspects of the warehouse to them. Whatever check they decide to make, the difficulty for the task is Superb. If they fail, allow them to try again using a different method (even if that means returning a week later after they’ve escaped certain death and have waited for the heat to cool off!).
- The warehouse is three stories tall, with only one apparent entrance
- The windows are painted over but not boarded up
- Three vicious-looking dogs patrol the grounds (dogs have ODFs and DDFs of +3 each, if the PCs wish to attack/subdue them)
- The barbed wire fence is about 10 feet tall and ten yards separate it and the building Two guards man the booth at the gated entrance; they will not let anyone in without appropriate ID (Superb Forgery check could produce ID for the party, but no amount of bluffing, acting, or lying will let them through without ID; mind control may help, though) Given the information about the area, players will have options to talk to and manipulate the guards, sneak over the fence and past the dogs, or try any number of other ideas they may come up with. Again, the difficulty for checks to succeed at whatever task they try to perform in this area is Superb.
Players may have to make several different types of checks (climbing, sneaking, attack, bluff, forgery, etc.) to get through.
If the dogs start barking, they must be put down in a single round or the guards will come to investigate. If the guards are attacked (or see the dogs being attacked), they will immediately sound the alarm and a large number of reinforcements will start to arrive within just three rounds. PCs would be wise to escape and come back later, rather than try to fight with every single person in the building.
Inside the warehouse
Once inside, the players’ task is ultimately to discover what is going on with the Flavorizer and the people supposedly being held. It will take a bit of snooping for them to discover the real secret behind the events that have been uncovered thus far.
There are a few key locations that the players can explore, but they may need to get clearance to do so.
Warehouse Entrance/Lobby: Unless allowed entrance by gate guards, a desk clerk will question them as to their presence. The difficulty to persuade him/her is Superb, while the difficulty to sneak past is Wonderful. Players encounter this room if they entered through the front door.
Generic room/empty closet: If the players entered through a broken window they will enter a small room that is nondescript and typical of a warehouse. It may be a storage room for shipping boxes, cargo containers, etc. All boxes are empty and unmarked.
Production Floor: Large machinery, conveyor belts, and robotic arms stand lifeless on the production floor. It looks as if nothing has been manufactured here in months. This large room is responsible for the majority of the floor space dedicated to the building.
Production Floor Platforms: A runway wraps around the production floor on levels two and three of the building. There are small storage rooms on each floor that contain machine parts, some in more advanced stages of production than others. Stairs lead from the bottom level to the second and third levels.
The warehouse appears to be a generic manufacturing facility for some sort of machinery.
When players explore the aboveground levels, it appears to be just another warehouse. Curiously, it doesn’t appear to have been operating for some time.
Players must discover a pass card to the lower levels, which are only accessible via an elevator near the lobby. The desk clerk has a pass card, but will not part with it for any reason. If bribed, he/she will appear interested only to vehemently decline.
If pressed, the clerk lets slip that he fears repercussion from the government. He immediately regrets mentioning the government and refuses to discuss them anymore.
An Extraordinary Manipulation or Social check may get the clerk to loosen up a bit, but all he knows is that the warehouse was commandeered about three months ago and people have been taken below ground and held there as if it were a prison.
If the clerk is subdued without security being alerted, players may lift the pass card and gain access to the elevator. If the clerk feels threatened and alerts security, the men from outside (if not already dealt with) will arrive to fight the players. In either case, the elevator will lock down and must be forced open (via lockpicking, computer hacking, ghosting, etc.).
The clerk’s traits are Great and the difficulty to get into the elevator (if it is locked down) is Superb.
In the warehouse basement, players unravel the mysteries behind the Flavorizer freak-outs. Electronically locked and sealed metal doors hide victims of Flavorizer malfunctions, though soundproof and windowless rooms mask their presence.
Each of the rooms in the basement is electronically locked, sealed, and soundproof.
To enter a room, players must successfully use an appropriate skill or power (Lockpicking, hacking, electrokinesis, etc.) with a difficulty of Wonderful.
Each room requires its own check.
Players attempting to shut down all power to the site (and thus circumvent the electronic locks) must succeed on an Astonishing hacking check.
The first time the characters enter a room, they find no living being. Instead, they find signs that someone had been held captive here, but obviously struggled.
Scratches on the walls, burst restraints, drops of blood, and other appropriate signs of struggle litter the room.
Obviously nobody has taken the time to clean up the mess.
The second time the characters enter a room, they find an enraged lunatic who attacks them on sight, babbling incoherently.
Use the same attributes for Defectees outlined under The Final Encounter, below.
Eventually the players enter a larger room where several victims of the Flavorizer malfunction are being held in restraints.
Each appears to be struggling against their bonds as a variety of machines attempt to hold them still and perform tests on them.
In the far corner of the room stands a man wearing a lab coat, his focus on a computer terminal. One of his two pairs of arms makes gestures at the terminal’s screen while the other set holds a comm tablet into which he occasionally enters notes. He seems oblivious to the players’ presence at first, but as soon as one of them makes a move he turns to address them.
“You aren’t supposed to be down here. No, no you’re not. I’d ask for an explanation, but I’m simply much too busy. You see, all of my hands are full.”
The scientist is not interested in excuses or interacting with the players. He has orders to cover up what he is doing and to remove any unauthorized personnel by force.
Regardless of whether or not the players attempt to negotiate with him, he attacks them without so much as a response.
The Final Encounter
His last act before attacking the players is to initiate a command to let the test subjects loose. These Defectees are enraged and insane like the lunatic from the bar, and they will attack whoever is closest to them (note: this may be other Defectees, the players, or the scientist). Defectees should pose a physical threat to the players and be a nuisance as they get in the way.
There are two Defectees, plus an additional one for every two players at the table.
So if there are six players, there will be five Defectees.
Defectees (2 + 1 / 2 players)
Total ODFs: +4
Total DDFs: +0
Combat (Melee): Great
Specialization: Dirty Fighting (May reroll one dice when punching, clawing, biting, etc.) Gifts: Adrenaline Rush (may take more damage than a normal person before feeling it)
Faults: Enraged (cannot be talked down; always uses Aggressive posture, already factored into their traits) Weapons: Fists, fingernails, feet, teeth
Wound Levels: 1-3 (Scratched), 4-5 (Hurt), 6-7 (Very Hurt), 8-9 (Incapacitated), 10+ (Near Death); can sustain only one wound per wound level (including Scratched)
In addition to the other Defectees, there is a young girl, perhaps eleven or twelve years old, among the test subjects. She is as enraged and bloodthirsty as the rest of the subjects but can be positively identified as the daughter of the barkeep. It is up to the players to decide whether or not to take her alive.
Total ODFs: +2
Total DDFs: -2
Combat (Melee): Fair Specialization: Dirty Fighting (May reroll one dice when punching, clawing, biting, etc.) Gifts: Adrenaline Rush (may take more damage than a normal person before feeling it)
Faults: Enraged (cannot be talked down; always uses Aggressive posture, already factored into their traits) Weapons: Fists, fingernails, feet, teeth
Wound Levels: 1-3 (Scratched), 4-5 (Hurt), 6-7 (Very Hurt), 8-9 (Incapacitated), 10+ (Near Death); can sustain only one wound per wound level (including Scratched) The Scientist
The scientist stands at the back of the room and does his best to avoid being injured.
He will actively move away from the Defectees and will take cover behind machinery if necessary.
He has full command of the testing machines from his tablet and can use them to get in the way of the characters, to attempt to inject them with neurotoxins and mood stabilizers, and so forth. Each round he can issue a command to one piece of machinery, which can swivel and move into position to attack a character.
Players will likely notice that the scientist is controlling these robots with his tablet and attempt to disarm or destroy it. Attempting to shoot the tablet or target it with a psionic attack imposes a -2 penalty on the character’s ODFs and the scientist gets a chance to resist as normal with his DDFs of +4. It takes two successful attacks to destroy the tablet, but the scientist takes a -1 penalty on his Technology checks after it has taken one hit.
With his other two arms he may defend himself, shoot his gun, or perform another action that doesn’t take much concentration.
Total ODFs: +4
Total DDFs: +4
Combat (Ranged): Great
Gifts: Extra Arms (has a pair of mechanical arms which allow him to take additional actions each round)
Faults: Government property (extra arms were paid for by the government, so he must do what they say or suffer severe consequences) Weapons: Large handgun, tablet that controls robotic equipment
Luck Points: 1
Wound Levels: 1-2 (Scratched), 3-4 (Hurt), 5-6 (Very Hurt), 7-8 (Incapacitated), 9+ (Near Death); has a full wound track
Robots and Machinery
A wide variety of machines dots the room, each with its own extendable arms and tendril-like injectors. Each round the scientist may direct one of these to attack a character. Use his Technology [Robotics] skill in place of ODFs for the robots. For example, rather than making an attack roll with a Combat skill, he would roll his Technology skill instead. This check is still opposed by the target character’s Body check to determine success.
If a robot makes a successful attack against a character, it may inject one of the following types of chemicals. You may choose which one, or roll randomly to decide.
|–||Sleep Inducer||Great Mind check or become drowsy,-2 to all Skill checks for two hours|
|0||Mood Stabilizer||Great Mind check or become docile; can check again each round + Neurotoxin Great Body check or be paralyzed after three rounds|
Players may attack the robots, but it may prove futile to do so. There are an equal number of robots as there are Defectees (2 + 1 per 2 players) and each has DDFs of +5 with a normal wound track.
The Dust Settles
If the players successfully subdue the scientist and the Defectees, they have a few minutes to obtain as much information as possible before they need to escape. If they haven’t destroyed his tablet it may be a good source of information and one they can take with them as evidence.
The computer terminal has a Superb difficulty for any attempt to hack it (via the Technology skill, cyberpsi, or some other method). If players manage to successfully hack the terminal, they can obtain all of the information necessary to learn about the Flavorizer cover-up.
It is up to the players to decide what to do with the information they obtain, and to the GM to craft future scenarios to accommodate their goals.
Remember to tie up loose ends after the encounter. If the players accepted the barkeep’s offer to pay them for information about his daughter, they can return to him to collect. If they killed his daughter in the fight, that may add complications to their relationship. Use your best judgment and creativity to decide how to handle things from here.
Psi-punk Copyright 2012, Accessible Games; Author Jacob Wood