By Brendan Sometimes
Colour Designation: Jade
Minimum SCL: 9B
Training Package Recommended: Any
Consolidated Pay: 1235c per Squad
Contact: Dark Lament
Coverage: Station Analysis
Summary: Aid Ebon research team in determining incident cause at Avalon Research Compound. Squad is expected to act as escort and security for Dark Lament Employees involved in the investigation.
After two days of writing, I decided that the intended entry to the Jade BPN was true shit. Here's one I hope will be a bit better. It concerns a misguided attempt by Dark Lament to advance Ebon technologies and the disastrous results of this tampering. It was late for the Jade BPN contest by a mile, so I took to rewriting it more accurately.
The plot concerns Avalon, a Mort-based Science-Friction research department where dirty dealings and vicious vendettas have unleashed a terrible creation, currently contained within the complex, needless to say, the squad has to sort things out, and quick.
The story has background material that the GM must be aware of. First off is Avalon. Avalon was created in 760SD by Dark Lament as a research and testing ground for Science Friction technologies. During the centuries it has had many great successes and only a few failures. It has changed little and maintained good relations with its parent department. Or so it would appear... Professor Cermia, the current director of the institute has been authorising unwarranted tests in hope of furthering her position in the dept. An unbalanced Brainwaster scientist named Craven carried out one of the experiments. In simple terms it sounds as insane as it truly was: to expand and focus the deranged mind of a mutant carrien, utilising the capabilities of ebb-flux enhancers to turn its psyche into a weapon. Absolute lunacy I'm sure you'll agree. None-the-less, Cermia agreed.
The creation was designed to focus the primal psychic rage into a mental attack, perhaps opening up a new sphere of research and putting Craven into the history books. But of course, things went wrong, badly wrong... Firstly, the creature disolved, forming as a gelatinous slime of half-formed organic muscle (think Carnage from Spider-Man), this entity is indeed the ebb weapon that Craven devised, only it still possesses the mutant carrien's broken mind. A nasty combination!
Not willing to accept failure and destroy the creation, Craven kept the results secret from Cermia and allowed it to grow, hoping to mould it into his weapon yet. Only, his long ignored wife (another researcher at the plant) decided that she'd repay him for his mistreatment of her. Sealed him into the Containment chambers and released the creature, assuming it would kill him.
It didn't. It joined with him (Think Carnage again) and was finally capable of drawing on its true abilities by using his flux. This relationship is not a symbiotic one, the creature is draining his power and life away, effectively raping him of his mind and identity. It gains all his memories and knowledge, also his desires and emotions.
Then it begins.
The facility goes into lockdown, high-security in the extreme and immune to infiltration by any none-ebb means. Dark Lament instantly becomes aware of this problem and sends an Ebon team to investigate. After four hours, they realise that the team cannot communicate. They decide to send another team in, this one will have the Operatives for security.
Pity the Operatives...
Personalities (By order of likely appearance.)
- Mr. Manon - Mr. Manon is a real power in Dark Lament, he is a creation of Sam Pay and thus I know little of him in reality. He is (in my eyes) a small and unassuming man of undefinable ebb powers. His bald head and faintly friendly, proper attitude, and mysterious motives keep my players amused. He seems to know everything and more than everything, has SLA's interests at heart and isn't a man to fuck with. He will disclose little of the actual events in Avalon to the squad, only enough to give them a start.
-Manon is beyond traits, I wouldn't bother with them myself.
- Song - Song is the Ebon in charge of the technical team to be sent into Avalon. She is beautiful and smart, pleasant enough to the Operatives and thus the target of about a dozen come-ons if your players are like mine. She is well trained and equipped with an array of Ebb gear. Her real purpose is to attract the male characters and provide good bait during the adventure.
-Song has the Usual KARMA Ebon traits with considerably lower combat skills and more 'utility' abilities.
- Targes - Targes is a Necanthrope, bulky and massive with an eyeless, swollen face, his gore-cannon sliding across his naked form. He is a master reality folder and has trouble comprehending normal distances anymore. He simply seems to 'flick' from place to place rather than walk. If the squad cares to examine him closely, they'll realise he cannot walk, rather he is suspended by levitation and his broken, useless legs hang like shrivelled string from his waist. His attitude is fatalistic, he has sent so many to their death that he never expects to see anyone again. He will offer the Ops his sympathy before they are folded to Avalon.
-Use Necanthrope template but Targes is far older and more powerful. Do what you like to him, it doesn't really matter anyway. The Ops won't fight him.
- Gurnith - Gurn' is the distraught security head of Avalon, he will be happily broken down when the Ops arrive, locked into his security chamber in deranged hysterics as he hears his colleagues being torn apart over the intercom. His fractured mind will never be restored, label him the 'liability' role in this adventure. He can spanner any plan the Ops put into action to prolong the terror. Have him appear quite sane and healthily nervous at times then babbling as soon as he hears a noise only to flee into a storage cupboard. His life span can't be more than an hour really and good riddance.
-Gurnith isn't designed as a target of the Ops, but may attack them blindly anyway. Ebon traits but out of shape and completely hell-bent. Cowardly at times, suicidal at others..
- Larriant - Larriant is the good Dr. Craven's wife, currently held in a security pen. She's determined to survive and quite resourceful. She will feign assistance but if not watched will betray the survivors to the creature at a moments notice. She is quite pretty and charismatic for a Brainwaster and might be able to con the Ops into letting her out. I'd use her as an insider threat, though not oppositional to the players, she values only her own survival.
-Use Mort Civilian traits, modified to Brainwaster employee status. Give her a gun, as big as you like.
- Director Cermia - Cermia is an aging and efficient Ebon operator. She has no powers herself, having no deathsuit and training. But is normally a clever and well-balanced personality. Needless to say that this is not the current case. She has lost control of Avalon and is rapidly losing her mental faculties due to the visions. The Ops best try to keep her sane as she will make their job a lot easier, especially for explaining this mess afterwards.
-Cermia has statistics of your determination, nothing extraordinary really.
- Craven - Whatever Craven was is now gone, the creature that terrorizes and kills in Avalon now is pure evil. Malevolent and beyond even the slightest compassion, Craven has used his abilities to access and shutdown all the facilities systems that he cannot control. He should be played as a true terror. First tempting the Operatives into confrontation, then promising them release of the hostages, then assailing them with nightmares only to offer them escape and attack them again. He is viciously clever and determined to kill, torture or rape everything he comes into contact with. Craven has special pains to get at Larriant, Cermia and Delane. Seeing Larriant as the cause of his pain, Cermia as a vicious dictator and Delane as a tempting whore.
-Cravens statistics are varied and can only be accurately portrayed by each GM. Tailor him to your squad. Basically put him at a level of power to make him more than a match for one of them but still relying upon hi s Ebb abilities and control of the complex for real deadliness. Mix Ebb and Necanthrope traits, pick a few and have a laugh with them. He mutates throughout the story at your whim and can be a constant surprise. Use all you know from Alien, Leviathan, Resident Evil 2 and 3, Urotsukidoji and anything else with big monsters. I'd say we are talking about a 5-700+ point character here, don't underrate him as a real and deadly threat. Tentacles, Teeth, Claws, Spines, whatever...
- Delane - Technically, Delane is just another low-grade employee of Avalon who happened to have sense enough to deny Cravens' advances. Now she is in real danger as her 'tempting him' has labelled her target #1.
-Delane is just an Ebon civilian with good looks and figure scores.
Other NPCs can be created to fill out the supporting cast, mostly Ebons and Brainwasters who serve only as fodder and fuck holes for Craven.
"Manon sits in his serenity. Casually states the facts to you, 'Avalon has cut communication, a technical crew sent inside via reality folding has not returned' he smiles but his reassuring words seem hollow. 'The facility can only be entered in such a way, it is a highly restricted complex and Dark Lament demand answers.' He waits for a moment, contemplating, 'I believe Infiltration from outside is the cause, Dark Knight perhaps, utilising rogue Ebon agents while they strip the place of useful resources, I do not expect the staff can be still alive.' His flat words press home the matter, Dark Lament wants this sorted out, no rescue is involved, the facility is all that matters."
This briefing takes place at dark Lament itself, I don't know what other gaming groups do with this building so I'll leave the specifics to you. If you don't like Manon, simply replace him with any suitably higher up Ebon. Truth is, Manon doesn't know what is going on, his powers cannot penetrate the Ebb defences of the facility (wouldn't be very secret if Ebons could just 'look' inside would it?) He guesses something to do with the experiments but also assumes outside infiltration. He doesn't expect the squad to survive, simply to push the hand of the opposition, whatever it is.
The squad will be shown to a facility room where they will each be given a SF tag that allows them to be folded into the facility (but not out again, don't tell them that though.) There is a dozen Ebons here all preparing to fold in, most are SF technical crew, Song is in charge here and will help the squad in whatever ways she can to prepare.
If you're a nice Gm (i.e: NOT ME) you'll let the squad quickly purchase any goodies they think they'll need. If not, tell them there isn't time for that and to go straight away.
"In a high spire of Dark Lament you find a black and scarlet chamber, shielded from the bitter and hating storms outside, the fold chamber is a nightmare place where a pulsing sweaty life can be felt through the fleshy walls. A Monstrous form ushers you all to alcove-hidden seats, tough and bony chairs that seem to remind you of death sentences and electrocutions. 'Intruder guide you' the hulking form whispers solemnly as he works a soft console and draws ebb force into the massive equation accelerator required for your departure."
It's all pretty much covered above, unless your players suggest something move on to Avalon, where the action is.
Arrival at Avalon:
"All time and space is pulled about you, terror forms and mishappen things that belong in nightmares alone drift almost beyond your senses, and suddenly the world shifts, rippling back to order. Dragging your distorted minds and shattered understandings with it."
The squad and the Ebon crew have arrived at Avalon, mostly. Two of the technical crew are unaccountable. They arrive in the port chamber and can quickly discover the following facts:
- They cannot communicate with the outside world, at all, in any way. The Ebons will set about work on the communications systems to try and get them going.
- Power is off, only bare systems are running.
- They can't port back, the rooms machinery just refuses to function.
- Despite the fact that the facility is down, it seems fairly undamaged
All this should bother the players until you press them into activity.
Craven isn't a man who wastes time, he plucked the first two Ebons out of the fold upon arrival and uses their voices to lure the squad out into the ruined corridors. Here, he will attack, first using Ebb abilities to separate and detain some while attacking others. I'd whittle away the tech crew by about three or four here. Remember, he's far too clever to be killed here and will port out or feign death if losing. The Ops will probably withdraw, especially if you fuck them up enough.
During the BPN you can up the stakes by playing with the Ops' minds. Not the old, 'your character is hallucinating' schtick, but something far nastier. At any point, Craven may use his Ebb powers to attack the minds of a person. I leave the specifics up to you but he will infect the victim with his mind and drive their subconscious into overdrive. The victim must make a Physique roll at -10, or be stunned for as many rounds as the roll failed by. The victim is then beset by the destructive, lustful urges that occupy Cravens' psyche. Give the character as many Psychological problems as you like for a scene or two. Basically, the character will be living in a world of violent urges, paranoia and hatred, attempting to vent their unspoken frustrations and desires in as primitive and instinctive a way as possible. The after effects may well cause them to roll cool and check for PERMANENT psychosis!
From here, the squads options are numerous. I leave the rest of the BPN to you. The facility is expansive and the survivors few. There are a few possible endings outlined below.
- They die! Ha, cool but probably not your best bet.
- Craven seems to die but swaps host, say Song, Cermia or even a squad member. Good for the expanded ending seen in most horror movies.
- They manage to cobble together a new weapon/virus/rival creature in A-Team tribute.
- Take back the control systems and fry Craven in the power plant or exterminate him in a test chamber. Simply put, from here the BPN is too open to pin the players to a single route. I haven't played it through myself yet and will probably add sections with my own groups ideas for it.
Running this BPN:
Now, I realise that all this is a bit quick and unfulfilled, but I see some potential for it. You can tone it down if you like, I play nasty and my players are all either grown-up enough or sick enough to enjoy it. I'd work subtly, playing on fears and especially on the unknown menace that Craven has become. Remember, no one knows what really happened to him. He is sick and evil but very clever. He shouldn't be caught out too easily. His perversions and bloodlust might be his only real weakness. Baiting him is perhaps the best tactic, but I pity the bait if the Ops use this plan...