Sewer Patrol: Route 99

by Dan Livengood

I hope this is ok. I didn't get word one way or another. Ithought about saving it for the BPN comp, but I think something more convoluted is in order for that. ;-)


This BPN is designed for a beginning squad, or for a squad that has fallen into disgrace. Either way, the squads that receive the job of patrolling Lower Downtown sewer route 99 are considered expendable at best. This is the kind of BPN that lets the operatives know just how worthless and replaceable they are to SLA.

The BPN will be picked up at the local BPN hall with a maximum of waiting and a minimum of instruction. However, not long after it is in the squad's hands, a message will come though on the squad leader's fax, oyster, or whatever data communications means they have available. The instructions read as follows; "Follow route indicated on map. Eliminate vermin encountered. Report areas and facilities in need of repair. Note other conditions in need of additional attention. Report findings to Department of Resources." Included is a small and complex engineering diagram of the route.

Lower Downtown Sewer Route 99 is known among SHIVERs and downtown operatives as "Hell's Toilet." Contacts among these groups will mostly laugh when they hear that the squad has earned such a "rewarding" job. The more serious will simply say they have "heard bad things" and such and warn the squad to "take care." No one has anything good or helpful to say. Also, ops and SHIVERs familiar with the route call it "Hells' Toilet."

If the squad attempts to research the route they will have little time as they are expected to begin immediately. However, some browsing can be done via oyster while traveling to Lower Downtown. Such research is likely to bring up: dead bodies of various sorts being found along the route, carrien nests eliminated on Gore Zone, serial killer lairs, squads disappearing, drownings, etc. Once again nothing optimistic or of value is associated with route 99.

The Opening

The route begins as a huge spillway beneath an overpass. Here a number of gutters, pipes, and streets empty into a pool and from there flows into a tunnel roughly 5m wide and 3m high. The water is about .5m deep and flows sluggishly into the dark maw of the tunnel.

The lighting within is obviously out of commission (some stolen and the rest vandalized). The first few meters of the tunnel's walls and ceiling are covered in spay painted gang sings and such, but this abruptly ends beyond the gray-blue illumination provided by Lower Downtown. Cold air and a stench that can only be described as coming from the bowels of hells issue from the opening. From here on air filters will be absolutely necessary.

The Tunnel

Just beyond the opening the squad might notice a SHIVER helmet hanging from an old pipe protruding from the wall. It is badly battered. The end of the tunnel disappears in the distance ahead. The diagram shows it to be over 4 kilometers in length. Along its course more pipes pour in their filthy contents. But, the level of the fouled water remains the same as at irregular intervals drains gurgle, swallowing as much as they can.

One character, choose randomly or simply take the unluckiest, is splashed by a burst of fluid from one of the pipes that opens into the tunnel. Unfortunately, its not water, but concentrated industrial waste. It will inflict damage to whatever it touches in the following order: equipment, armor, flesh. The first round does 5 damage, 4 the second, and so on until it neutralizes at 0, or is neutralized by whatever means the characters may have their disposal (?).

The Chasm

The tunnel ends suddenly, opening up in the side of a great chasm. Above, the chasm extends and faint light can be seen from the opening at the top. It stretches out of sight to each side and below. The water of the tunnel, and several others like it that can bee seen along the chasm walls from this point, is pouring out into the abysmal depths below. At the same time a foggy mist rises from the dark below. Everything is damp and covered in a layer of slime. Echoes, traveling down from the metropolis above, can be heard faintly.

The only way to cross the chasm is a "bridge" of pipes (only 1m across) that extend beyond the tunnel's end. These run across the 70m expanse of the chasm to a similar tunnel on the other side. Crossing the bridge should only prove a problem is one of the character's is afraid of heights or if they should happen to slip on the slime covering the bridge (DEX to avoid slipping). Those who fall and do not get help, or a handhold, will plummet to certain death.

Declining Tunnel

The tunnel on the other side of the bridge is almost indistinguishable from the previous one. It is level at first, but begins a gradual decline after about 100 meters. The first sign will be that the water seems to be relatively still, but after a little bit begins more of a flow in the same direction the squad is going. Also, it begins to deepen, first coming up to the thighs, then waist, then chest (of a human-sized operative).

The average character cannot see anything deeper than 10 centimeters in the murk wash that surrounds them. Rats (both living and rotting), waste, a condom or two, and even a severed decaying human arm float by (the Ops might want to get the arm as it could be evidence to some disappearance or unsolved crime). Have "things" constantly bump and brush up against them in the murky water just to unnerve them a bit.


After a hour or more like this they come upon their first turn. The side-tunnel intersects with the current one to the left and above. About an inch of water runs along it's floor and into the previous tunnel. As the Ops climb up in to the connecting tunnel the echoed barks of carriens can be heard (the operative can roll to determine that it is coming from further up the previous tunnel).

Three other tunnels and a number of pipes open into this room at various heights. Fortunately they are only flowing lightly when the Ops enter. A faint red light in the ceiling provides only minimal illumination. Across the chamber is a bolted in steel ladder going up the side of the room's basin-like curve to a passage-sized opening near the ceiling (a 6 meter climb).

Suddenly, the room begins to flood from two of the other tunnels and numerous pipes. It's a washout and the Ops only have 30 seconds until the camber is completely flooded. For the first round the characters can move at whatever rate they desire. However, they should be penalized one phase of movement of each 5 seconds of player discussion/indecision. The next two rounds the water is deep enough to maximize movement to a walking pace. The fourth and fifth rounds the only option is swimming towards the ladder. By the sixth round the water is up to the steel pressure-door at the top of the ladder.

If the door is open past the sixth round the water will flood into the passage beyond the pressure door. This will force any in the passage to swim for three round to avoid being thrown, beaten, and drown by the tide wave of water rushing down the passage. After three rounds any water in passage will ebb allowing the Ops to return to their feet.

Passage Network

The passage is actually a main corridor among numerous other passages, doors, halls, etc. The floor is a combination of concrete and steel grating. Dim yellow white lights illuminate the main passage as well as some of the tangents. As the Ops walk they might hear other noises among the maze of passages. Doors close, feet can be heard scurrying across metal grates, things creak and rattle. Attempting to pursue the noises with find only empty passages and small rooms and possibly get the characters lost (Navigation to find the right passage again).

Near the end of the passage, on the left, there is a doorway to a small 3x3 meter chamber. Light comes from within. Inside are a dozen or more burning candles. The walls and floors are covered in a plastering of dried and semi-dried (still sticky) blood. A small altar has been made out of a SitStill beer plastic crate at the far side. On top, amidst a scattering of writhing maggots lay seven humanoid livers in various states of discomposure. The Ops can document and collect evidence if they wish.

The passage ends at a steel door. Behind the door is a narrow shaft going both up and down into stygian darkness. According to the diagram the Ops need to take the shaft down to its end (20 meters below). On the opposite side, built into the wall, of the round shaft is a rusty steel ladder. About 5 meters down is a weak rung. If a character weighing more than 75 kilograms, before equipment as a rule of thumb, places his or her weight on the rung it will break. The falling character must then either grab another rung (DEX -4) or be grabbed by another character, who is strong enough (DEX -2) or fall 15 meters (PEN 0, DMG 4, AD 2) to the nearest ground.

Air Duct

The shaft opens in the center of the ceiling of a small 3x3 meter room. All round the walls are access panels, hatches, valves and pipes. The floor is spattered with the droppings of the common giant sewer rat. The diagram instructs the characters to take duct 99-XX-tul. The duct is indicated by stencil painted letters above its opening and the fact that is wire grate is missing. The duct is only one meter square, so most characters will have to move on hands and knees. The larger, and less fortunate, will have to crawl on their stomachs.

Within other ducts intersect at regular intervals with the main duct from the left, right, above and, below.

Not far into the maze of the ducts the sounds of several approaching claws on the hard floor of the concrete ducts can be heard. If any of the Ops makes a hearing roll give them three rounds to act. If any of them make a detect roll at -1 give them two rounds. Otherwise they will only hear the approaching scurrying clawed feet with one round to prepare.
From a side duct pour six giant sewer rats. They are small and flexible enough to move past individual characters. They are both territorial and hungry so they will fight to the death in most cases. However, any injured by fire will immediately retreat.

Giant Sewer Rats
STR 5, DEX 8, DIA 2, CONC 1, CHA 0, PHYS 7, KNOW 2, HITS 12.
Walk 2, Run 4, Sprint 6.
Height .25m, Weight 12 Kg.
Skills: Unarmed Combat 2, Sneaking 5, Running 3, Swim 3, Tracking 4, Climb 5, Detect 4.
Weapon: Claws or Bite (PEN 1, DMG 1, AD 0).

As the Ops continue the maze of ducts becomes even more complicated and the diagram becomes less adequate. To follow the route a roll for navigation (-2) should be made. Making the navigation roll keeps the Ops on route until they are out of the labyrinth of ducts. Failure means the characters become lost until they can make another navigation roll. Lost characters will suffer repeated giant rat attacks of 1 to 3 rats for each interval they remain lost. At the GMs option a lone carrien might be encountered instead. To go easy on the characters have them stumble their way out after three failed checks.

Lower Sewers

The duct opens (there is no grate on this end either) about 2 meters above the floor of another tunnel. This tunnel is different from the previous ones because the floor is submerged under about a half a meter of raw sewage (I think you know what I mean). The sewage moves at a sluggish pace, constantly bubbling and churning. The walls are covered in a thick sludge, which hangs like vines in some places and obscures all detail. The stench penetrates even the filters of SLA armor after a while. Fortunately, this is the last leg of Route 99.

Movement in the muck is restricted to run, but at this point the Operatives will most likely be walking. Ahead there is suddenly a cacophony of noises. Squeals, barks, whimpers, cracks and clangs echo down the dark tunnel. Ahead, about 75 meters, a group of beaten carriens retreat, while small herd of carnivorous pigs turn their attention towards new prey; the operatives. The pigs will begin a charge to attack.

When they come into sight depends on the equipment in the possession of the Ops. IR/UV are almost completely useless as this is a completely lightless environment. Until the pigs come into the range of flashlights the squad cannot see what is approaching, only hear the splashing of the charge. Shots fired into the dark are treated as "firing blind" (SLA Industries p124). Fortunately, four of the six pigs are at half their normal hits (torso and total) as a result of the recent bout with the carriens.

Carnivorous Pigs
STR 10, DEX 5, DIA 2, CONC 2, CHA 0, PHYS 8, KNOW 2, HITS 18 (or 9).
Walk 2, Run 4, Sprint 6.
Height 1.5m, Weight 330 Kg, Length 1.9.
Skills: Detect 6, Unarmed Combat 5, Tracking 5, Swim 3, Climb 1, Running 4.
Advantages: Good Vision 5, Good Hearing 5.
Weapon: Claws (PEN 1, DMG 1, AD 0) or Teeth (PEN 1, DMG 3, AD 1).

Getting Out

After about a two-kilometer hike in the sewage tunnel the Ops come to the exit. A raised platform made of metal grating and a winding staircase going up. Both a faint light and grimy rainwater come down from above. The ascent is grueling, taking the characters up past layer after layer of sewer tunnels, pipes, conduits, ducts, etc. The stairs open into the filtered daylight of downtown at the back of an alley between two crumbling tenement buildings. A metal sign hangs by one screw from the wall behind the egress. Its chipped paint can still be made out; "Danger."

This is not the end though. Reports still have to be filed and money collected. The Department of Resources will simply request that related reports be faxed or filed electronically so that they may be reviewed at a later date. The proper accounts will be credited for payment. Most players will let things rest here.

However, if the BPN is being run for a group of naive or novice players let them take it a little further. Let them try to address or draw attention to the problems they found. Calls to departments such as health and safety, environment, or sanitation to report conditions along the route will be unwelcome. Complaints about the lack of proper preparation to the department of resources will result in fine. Any news about the blood caked den will be sidestepped or blatantly ignored (even by Third Eye once they learn where it is located).

Sewer patrol route 99 is a habit that has simply never been dropped. Its results are considered insignificant and are the people who take it. The more the characters try to do, the more resolute the disinterest or discouragement they will meet. SLA Industries is a cold uncaring world. Better that they should learn now.