By Mark Edwards
Colour Designation: Green
Minimum SCL: 9
Training Package Recommended: Any (Scout, Death Squad and Strike Squad may be useful)
Consolidated Pay: 400c per Operative
Contact: Dr Kalden, KARMA Bio-Research Division 5, Uptown, Tel: 05551-5226749-123
Coverage: Station Analysis
Summary: Operatives needed for immediate expedition into Cannibal Sector 5. Expedition is to collect samples from the CS basin lake known as 'Clearwater'. Bonuses for further flora and fauna samples may apply if warranted. Due to possible high threat level no solo Operatives need apply. Sampling equipment and instruction on its use will be provided.
This is a simply expedition in the Cannibal Sectors, with a one or two twists. This BPN assumes that the description of CS 5 shown in MRB and Mort source book is applied to the WoP i.e. Chemicals, toxic waste, mutants, the Lake Clearwater and the rumour of the Leviathan living in it and psychic powers, although it can be adapted easily if these are not used.
The BPN follows the operatives as they travel on foot to Clearwater and the surprise they find waiting for them. The two versions or realities of Clearwater (see below) can be applied as the GM sees fit ' either one could be real with the other the illusion. I, personally, preferred the 'Tranquil' Clearwater as the real one and 'Twisted' Clearwater as its cover from the outside world.
As always add, delete and change things as you see fit. Due to word constraints this is but a skeletal framework for a possible CS5 and Clearwater and it’s 'Monster'.
Part one gives an introduction, Part 2 is the main part of the BPN with sample encounters and Clearwater description and Part 3 is a debrief.
Part 1 Meeting the Good Doctor
Meeting with Dr Kalden is very easy. The Operatives can arrange an appointment over the telephone. The Doctor is very eager for this expedition to start show will fit the PCs in straight away. The Doctor’s office is in a small KARMA facility on the north side of Uptown (Section 431). The compound is surrounded by a high reinforced concrete wall and is patrolled by bright green shiver with FEN AR rifles (on the wall) and Gator Stormers (on the grounds). The PCs will be given scent bands to wear that identify them as 'friendly' to the Stormers and escorted to the Doctors office. On the way they will pass through featureless corridors and will never seem a single lab. Dr Kalden’s office is a small clean and very tidy office in row of identical ones. There is the correct number of plastic seats for the PCs, a plastic desk and plastic chair for Kalden. The room is white with a grey tiled ceiling and floor, there are no personal effects around the office at all, and Kalden waits for them inside.
Dr Kalden himself is what you would expect from a KARMA scientist; he is about 50 years old with thinning grey hair, a small beard (grey), horn-rimmed glasses and a white smock with his security badge clipped to the left hand breast pocket. The two escort guards remain in the room for the briefing. The PCs should get the feeling that they are not being told everything or they are not important enough to warrant a proper briefing
He starts something like this.
'Ah, It is good of you to come, please sit, make yourselves comfortable.'
'I am Dr Kalden, it is nice to see such noteworthy Operatives applying for my little jaunt into the wilds. I won’t bore you with details but suffice it to say I need you to collect some small samples from the basin lake in the middle of CS 5. Now there is no real time limit for this task but I do require the samples as soon as possible, so shall we say 3 days. You will be provided with a sampling kit on your way out, all quiet explanatory, will a simple to use instruction manual, so if you don’t have any further questions?'
Possible questions - 'What about the monster'
'Preposterous, there is no such thing, there has been no concrete evidence, only the ramblings of one or two insane Ebons that now reside in Bethlehem asylum. I don’t believe for one moment that well trained Operatives such as yourselves could believe such fairy tales.'
'How will we get there'
'I have arranged for you to be dropped 2km beyond the wall from this facility. You will need to head to the lake by foot as the entire area around the lake for about 10 km is a dead-zone. The toxins and radiation seems to play havoc with complex machinery and electronic devices. You needn’t worry about your suits and weapons I am confident that they will work at least a 90% level, more than enough for this task, but if you are still concerned please allow my staff to check them over for you. It is then just a short 13km walk to the lake. The SHIVER copter will rendezvous at the drop off point once signalled. They will return you to this facility for de-brief'
[If the equipment is given over the facility staff will take them away for an hour and then bring them back and state they are secure and will work fine ' even though they haven’t even checked them ' even if they check the equipment themselves the PCs would be able to tell until they are in the zone]
'Why do you need the sample?'
'I am afraid that your current SCL does not permit me to tell you why I require the samples but I can tell you it’s in the best interests of the Company, which should be the only reason you need to collect it for me.'
On the way out the PCs are shown to a waiting SHIVER transport helicopter. A white smocked technician is waiting beside it with a small brief case. The tech will introduce the sampling kit to the PCs something like this:
'This device is very easy to use. Simply unlock and open the case, placing it on the ground like this. As you can see the case is fully cooled and will preserve any samples for up to 24 hrs. Now we have rubber gloves if you need them and a large pair of medical tweezers. Simple take the sample in the tweezers like this and then place it on of the 4 toughened plastic jars, as you can see they are easy to open and become airtight when closed. For liquids simply use this slightly larger than normal pipette and simply place the liquid in one of these 6 medical vials, again they seal on closure. I believe that Dr Kalden requires two full vials as an adequate sample. When you are finished close and lock the case. It is armoured so the contents should be ok as long as the case is handled properly. This handy strap can be used to carry the case or it will fit to any large type MagHold or Dark Lament equivalent.
[Sample case ' PV 5, weight 2.5kg, 6 PV 1 vials, 4 PV 1 jars (from small to large), large tweezers, large pipette and cooling system with coolant liquid for 24hrs (interchangeable with standard Wraith Raider coolant suit liquid]
Part two ' Over the wall - GM Information
CS 5 is like all the rest - skeletal buildings, curtains peeping out of the black holes of shattered windows, waving in the slight breeze. The ground is cracked concrete and split steel walkways that have smashed down with the fall. A light breeze blows dust around creating small storms of dust and sand while whistling through the broken homes of long dead Mort citizens. The one strange thing about this sector is the plant life. Small brown plants seem to grow everywhere, the ground, roofs and in walls. Although sparse it is uncommon for there to be any plant life anywhere around Mort Central. The plants are mutants that thrive on the chemicals in the rain. Also the entire CS slopes slightly towards the middle. This slope is hardly noticeable until the lake basin rim to reached, which is the edge of the crate at the centre of the CS.
The drop is quick and clean; 10 seconds on the ground, then the PCs are left in a small shattered square by the departing SHIVER and their final 'Good Luck'. There are no hidden beasties lurking in the shadows ready to strike or at least not yet. The first thing the PCs should notice is the silence. Apart from the slight wind whistle and the whine of the departing of the helicopter there is no sound. Sound travels far here, even the clinking of falling glass and especially the noise of a high-octane helicopter engine. Any smart Op team will realise this and move quickly away from the landing zone (hopefully leaving a marker to show it as the pick-up point). Encounters at this point are expected so you can either indulge the players or leave them wondering why nothing attacked.
Below is an encounter timeline that can be used with three sample encounters, feel free to add to it or ignore it entirely.
Distance in Sector: Encounter
Approx 6km: Pack Mentality
Approx 10km: The Monster Squad
Approx 12km (2km from lake): Clickkk & Wirrrr’s Tea Party
The lake basin rim: Deaths Garden
Fill in any gaps as you see fit. For each encounter roll a secret Concentration roll for each PC. The first is at '2, add 2 to the penalty for each PC that passes the previous test for each encounter afterwards. This is the Leviathan’s assault on them as they pass into its area of influence. This is a unique Psychic attack and not like Ebon powers. Protections against the Ebb will have no effect on this test and Ebb users cannot pick up the attack. [The same can be said for any Psychic use on all the encounters]. Once a PC has failed the test Leviathan can now infect their mind with his illusions. It will start will tiredness and weak cramps, nausea or headaches. It is best to play these effects down and introduce them gradually as the PCs move closer to the lake.
Leviathan can project anything the PC mind may expect or imagine, so feel free to play with shadows and cries in the wild. There will be no test for the final encounter; the PCs will be rendered unconscious whether or not they have been effected before.
Encounter one - Pack Mentality
This encounter takes place in a rubble littered street. On either side of the road the shops and homes lie empty and dark. The rain is light but the sky is dark and brooding. Pools of shadow lie everywhere, masking hidden eyes. The first thing the PCs should hear is a piecing howl that is joined by two others in quick succession. About 500m down the street a huge black dog pounces onto the top of some rubble. 3 sets of baleful eyes stare at the PCs from the hounds 3 heads. Again the howl is taken up by the middle head and joined by the other two. This hound is slightly larger than a Domino dog and has a pigmy sized completely bald human on his back. This strange duo is Krone, the pack master and Cerberus his mount. Krone has the psychic ability to communicate and control anything with canine DNA. He acts as a focus for the dogs creating a hive mind for all the animals he controls. He is also symbiotically bonded to Cerberus allowing them to act as one entity. Krone has been 'hired' by Scavs from other sectors to gather equipment from any insurgents to is hunting grounds ' SLA, Carrien, Dark Night or other, they are all hunted by the Pack master and his hunters. Krone always travels with Cerberus and a minimum of 6 other large mutated dogs. Krone has recently found that he can control other Dog type creatures and currently has a pair of Domino dogs under his sway. He has rewritten their minds to hunt for him and not to recognize civilians or SLA personnel as 'friendly'.
In this encounter Krone has his two Domino dogs, 4 normal hounds plus 2 extra dogs for each PC. The ambush has been laid out for sometime now and the 'extra' dogs currently surround the PCs. When the PCs pause and stare at Cerberus the dogs will attack. Two dogs will rush each PC from their hiding places in the rubble and buildings. Their tactics are to bring the PCs to ground and then finish them quickly. The two Domino dogs have formed small hit squads with the other 4 dogs (1 domino and 2 ordinary). They will attack just after the initial ambush, one from the front and the other from the rear. They will focus on the 'toughest' PCs and again try to pull them down so they can be finished quickly. Krone will watch the fight and will withdraw if the pack seems to be losing, he will recall the two Dominos and use the rest to delay the PCs before fading back into the rubble and buildings. If fired at Cerberus will dodge (he is very quick and agile) and fade from view. Krone can control the pack without needing to see them. Due to his control all of the pack can 'see' or sense what all the others can make it very hard to blindside or sneak up on a dog. Krone also bleeds off any pain and emotion the pack feels, so the dogs receive no penalties for wounds and have no fear. In any fight the pack acts, as one entity so may deserve bonuses on attacks and dodges.
STR 10 DEX 12 COOL N/A PHYS 11 WALK 2.2m RUN 4.4m SPRINT 7m
Detect 5 tracking 4 Hide 5 Unarmed Combat 4 Running 4
Claws (4 attacks) Pen 1 Dam 2 Teeth (1 attack) Pen 2 Dam 4 (all natural weapons +1 to hit)
Domino Dogs ' See Karma SB (big, armoured and regenerates)
Encounter two - The Monster Squad
This encounter takes place in a small children’s concrete playground. The PCs have just walked through the wreck that was a small community school, destroyed in one of the many fires that spread through the area after the fall the school is now only a burnt out shell with no upper floor or roof. The high-rise apartment blocks that litter the entire city surround the playground. Water runs down ancient and soft brick feeding the brown plant that seems to live everywhere in the sector. The first hint of trouble is the horrific sight of a ten-foot tall mutant Carrien exploding of a nearby alley and into the playground. It has 3 arms that end in long talons; one of the arms is obviously broken and hangs limply by its side. The Carrien’s mottled grey skin is ripped and torn in places, dark blood drips from wounds all over its body where it hasn’t been scorched and burnt. The most horrific thing about this creature is when it turns towards the PCs and begins to charge forward its eyes aren’t filled with anger or hatred but pain and more importantly fear. This Carrien is fleeing something worse than it is. If the PCs give it the chance it will ignore them entirely and run right past at top speed.
As the Carrien begins to move towards the PCs a large rock smashes into the ground just behind it. Quick PCs (Detect roll) catch a glimpse of something flying out of the alley. On the wall opposite the alley now hangs a strange human. His arms end in a single long talon that now grips the wall securely. Under his arms are large bat like wings and his feet are large and have finger like thick toes. The creature face is dominated by two huge black eyes that stare unblinking at the PCs. The mutant starts to quickly climb higher up the building.
Out of the alley run 3 other humans dressed in rags and bits of Carrien hide. They all look normal and two carry very long spears (12 foot long with a sharpened point hardened by fire). The third man has been badly burned in the past and only has hair on one side of his head and nasty scars. This man smiles when he sees the PCs and gives a high-pitched whistle. All three fan out and begin to walk slowly forward. From out of the alley another 3 figures appear. One is a huge man about the size of a large Shaktar or Stormer (approx 2.9m tall). He is covered in thick dark brown hair that looks more like fur. On his chest just below his left nipple a small 'babies' head and arms can be seen growing out of him. The head moves and looks at the PCs and one the arms points as the mouth moves silently, the large man grunts, nods and raises his huge club. The other two are a tall thin man with four arms and a knife for each hand and a naked woman in some sort of leather harness that pulls on the leash around her neck. She has both arms bound across her chest and is gagged. White flecks of froth can be seen around the edge of the gag. The four armed man looks up at the large man before he begins to unleash the woman.
As this is going on the two spearmen will charge the PCs, attacking the biggest first. The burnt man will conjure a fireball and launch it at the PCs. The flyer will swoop down and rake them with his talons or pick up rocks and drop them. Once unharnessed the woman will charge screaming at the PCs, quickly followed by four arms and gargantuan and his huge club.
The Monster Squad - Mutant cannibal hunting group
STR 16 DEX 10 PHYS 13 COOL N/A (Baby Bro ' DIA 14 CONC 15 KNOW 14)
Club 2-handed 6, Unarmed Combat 5
Huge Club ' Pen 2 Dam 8 AD 3 PV 1 (tough skin)
Hits 29 (Baby Bro ' 10)
Mutations ' Huge size, tough skin, mind shield (Baby Bro ' There is a '5 penalty on any mind attacks against him. Gargantuan is immune to mind effect as BB is his mind)
STR 8 DEX 13 PHYS 11 COOL 10 DIA 8 CONC 7 KNOW 7
Blade 1-H 7 Unarmed Combat 4
Knives ' Pen 1 Dam 4 (four attacks per phase) AD 1
Mutations ' extra two arms, ambidextrous, agile
STR 12 DEX 15 PHYS 13 COOL N/A
Unarmed Combat 8 Spit 5
Teeth: Pen 1 Dam 4 AD 1, Claw: Pen 2 Dam 3 AD 1, Organic acid Dam 6/4/2 (damages first thing hit ' full damage on 1st phase, then 4 on next and finally two on 3rd phase)
Mutations ' extremely agile, strong, Claws, Fangs, Acid sacs, frenzy (acts like UV ' on all the time)
STR 10 DEX 12 PHYS 11 COOL 8 DIA 7 CONC 6 KNOW 6
Fly 10, Unarmed Combat 4 Throw 3
Talon: Pen 1 Dam 3 AD 1, Dropped Rock (large) Pen 1 Dam 5 AD 3 ROF 1
Mutations ' Talons, Bat-wings (speed 4km per hour), Infrared vision, Agile
STR 9 DEX 9 PHYS 9 COOL 11 DIA 7 CONC 13 KNOW 10
Unarmed Combat 3 Throw (fireball) 6 Ignite 6
Fireball ' Dam 15 (damages first thing it hits) range 25m cost 2 hits, Ignite - Pen 4 Dam 8 AD 4 cost 1 hit (For fire powers also see Red Thermal Ebb powers ' Thermal ball 2 and Burn 2)
Mutations ' Pyrokinetic (creating flame costs hit points. It takes 2 phases for a power to 'recharge' and hits are regenerated 1 hit every two rounds (similar to Stormers), but only hits taken from using mutation)
For the other two mutants use normal human stats ' they carry long spears (Pen 3 Dam 4 AD 1) and are experts at using them.
Encounter three - Clickkk & Wirrrr’s Tea Party
The PCs are not far from the basin rim when they hear shouting and cursing. If they investigate they find a strange sight. In a clearing surrounded by broken buildings and rubble is a dinning table and chairs. Bound and gagged around the table are 5 figures. A dark haired woman wearing an all in one body suit and a the remains of a tattered suit (rival company roll ' DN operative), a decaying skeleton with some flesh still hanging on, a desiccated corpse of a large Carrien and two large male humans totally naked. One has been decapitated and his head lies near his seat (sliced off through the mouth). SLA armour and equipment lie on the edge of the clearing, the armour looks like it was opened like a tin can.
A 6th figure moves around the table pouring mudded water into fragile looking tea cups from a battered metal tea pot. This last figure is Clickkk & Wirrrr, a slightly large than human sized Manchine. He has gone completely insane and now has two personalities. Clickkk is his nice side. He is like your favourite grandmother, always there to help and give you tea and cakes. Clickkk will say encouraging things to you while patting your head with one of his 2 razor sharp blade appendages. Wirrrr on the other hand is a psychotic killer, he would rather shout abuse at you, and then blame you for saying something bad about him before slicing your fingers off one by one using his overly large scissors appendage. The Manchine cannot control his personality so will flip between them randomly. The only underlying connection is that the Manchine is lonely so now spends its time hunting things to keep him company with. He will host a tea party and after a while go off to find others; those that haven’t been killed in Wirrrr’s rages are left to die of starvation before the Manchine returns.
The PCs are totally ignored by the Manchine and can either move on, watch or attack him. If they attack use normal Manchine stats from Karma SB but beef them up a bit. If they watch the Manchine will be nice and polite and offer tea then after going around the table ask angrily why nobody is drinking. He will then hit a random diner before cooing over them and asking if they are OK (Pat, Pat) and the cycle will start again. The Manchine is best left alone. He will try to subdue any attackers (any that survive its first rage filled assault) and use them for the next tea party after stripping them of armour and weapons.
Encounter Four - Deaths Garden
The PCs have now reached the Basin rim. The basin is a huge crater that holds the lake; its rim stands 30 feet high and will need to be climbed (easy task). As the PCs breach the rim and look down at the lake they find a very strange, if not impossible sight. It should be something like this:
'The climb although tiring is easy and you clamber the last metre to the craters rim. The rain is light again, a slight drizzle blowing in the breeze; you look down and stop. The headaches and cramps clear for a second as you gaze down onto the glittering blue lake that rests quietly below you. The banks of the crater are covered in a thick lush growth of trees, grass and all manner of plant life. Movement on the lake catches your eyes and you stare in bewilderment at a small flotilla of wooded rafts bobbing on the waters surface, small human figures sit patently and fish the lake as if you were on a resource world. The headache returns, stronger this time, your eyes water and vision blurs. You hear a cry from below and as darkness envelopes your senses you could swear that someone was waving at you from the rafts.'
The PCs will awake about 4 hours later in the small village on the west bank of the lake. They will be initially confronted with the Tranquil Clearwater reality. A tall, tanned and healthy looking human man will introduce himself as Orin, their guide in the Guardians village. He will tell them the history of the lake people as in the reality guide below and will try to convince the PCs to stay with them. If the PCs resist (an I’m sure they will), the Leviathan will slowly change parts of the realty to the Twisted Clearwater version (what the PCs will expect). For every 10 minutes the PCs are around the lake they will need to make (secret) CONC rolls with minus 2, every time they fail they will gain a level of the mental derangement ' Clearwater dependency. The high the level the more the PC wants to stay in Clearwater forever. It will feel more comfortable to them with every growing minute. If they decide to stay or reach level 10 then do what you want with them but they will never leave and will forego their SLA lives completely. If Tranquil Clearwater is the true reality then they will live nice lives in a protected Garden of Eden, If Twisted is true then they will become the leviathans next meal.
If the PCs are violent towards the people or completely resist then the leviathan will show them the twisted reality in its full. The people will attack them in frenzy and if they are subdued the PCs will be fed to the beast in waters. If you are using tranquil as the true reality then leviathan will use illusionary attackers to protect its people. Any water taken from the lake will become a thick black sludge after leaving the basin no matter what reality it is taken in.
This reality is as it sounds. The lake is clear and clean, the waters safe to drink. The basin crater is covered by a lush growth of plant life. The tribe of the leviathan live on the west bank in wood and mud huts, people grow vegetables and fish the lake, which has an abundance of fish and marine life. The Leviathan speaks freely to its people using telepathy and uses its powers to maintain the land, purifying the rain as it enters the basin and cleaning the soil of toxins. The people are happy and content; children play freely around and in the lake. Laughter is the most heard sound. The rain is light and clean, life is simple but good.
This is way it is expected. The land is harsh and barren. Skeletal remnants of trees stand in clumps around the black coloured poisonous sludge like lake. The insane people controlled by the Leviathan live on the west bank in holes cut from the earth. They dress in Carrien skins and are wild featured. A child that is caught by an adult not of its family is roasted alive and eaten. Rafts float on the lake, made of rotten wood. The young and old alike are daily thrown into the lake from these rafts ' food of the beast beneath the water. The Leviathan encourages fights between the families of the village, for every new slave taken a sacrifice must be given. Forages outside the basin are common, more meat for the beast. Nightly rituals of dance and mad song are made by each family on the lake edge for the beast. The lucky ones chosen that night will be compelled by the Leviathan to walk into the lake to be devoured. Violence is common, pain endless and death featureless. Strangers are eaten. Use normal human stats for any attackers in this reality.
Part three - Just rewards
Once the PCs are back at the pickup point the end is in sight. They are ferried straight back to Dr Kalden’s Labs and are met by the same technician that gave them the sample case. He is to take it so they contents can be checked. The PCs are escorted back to the same room from they met Dr Kalden in before. He is already there waiting.
'It is good to see you back safe and sound. Please tell me what you saw out there in the wilds.'
Kalden will listen to anything and everything the PCs want to tell him, nodding in the right places. He is quick to dismiss any mention of psychic humans or lush growth in the basin:
'Obviously some of the chemicals in that sector managed to get into your suits and you were hallucinating. I’ll have one of my medical staff check you out.'
After the interview the technician will appear and hand a brown file to the Doctor. He will browse it and smile co ntently to himself. The technician will be dismissed and Kalden will again thank the PCs for their help, if he ever needs more tasks fulfilled he knows whom to ask.
The PCs will be given a further 100 credits for each extra sample brought back, 250 to 500 credits for 'interesting' samples, i.e. a mutants DNA sample or the Pyrokinetic’s brain etc. They will be reminded that this BPN was very important to Company as they themselves are, wild stories and rumour can only harm everyone’s reputation (i.e. keep your mouth shut about the BPN).
The PCs will then be sent for detox and their equipment cleaned by Kalden’s men before they are allowed to leave.