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[Provided] Additional scenes for "Desolation of the Dead"

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Scene: The blocked screw [the journey on the Sump River]

“Suddenly the bark shudders and you lose speed while the low humming coming from below the rear deck turns into an angry, strained growling”

Some of the debris and junk floating the sump river must have got into the propeller screw of the bark and be blocking it now. This comes to the mind of any character passing an eas(+30) test for either Operator/Pilot(any water vehicle) or CommenLore(Tech). An ordinary(+10) Logict test will suggest the same.

The engine needs to be stopped at once before the struggling of the machine-spirit leads to damage to its own form. While this is as easy as the turning of a lever and a quick appeasing of the machine-spirit, the other task is more daunting: somebody needs to dive down into the dirty water and free the screw…

Have an NPC suggesting to draw lots over it. If the characters aren´t brave enough to do it themselves outright, have the lot hitting some NPC.

Getting this done takes a brave man, a knife… and a dive. Freeing the screw takes an extended test for Agility(+10), and a total of three success. Each role stands for a couple of minutes of work. A chain knife will give a +10 bonus, but the knife will need server cleaning or the displeased machine-spirit will stop jumping to action if called upon later.  

Take note of the number of roles and describe the diver how he blindly fumbles in this tainted thing called water to cut some wrapped up plastek junk away from the screw. After the fifth role, characters watching the water might …see something moving under the surface (Awareness+0;  the one inside the water has no chance of seeing it coming).
A successful ballistic skill test (-20) will hit the mark close enough to scare the predator of, otherwise the person in the water will get an Agility(+0) test to climb out quick enough. If both fail, the thing in the water will attack.

The thing attacking is best described as a long, pale eel the size of an adults arm, with no eyes, a body riddled with little spikes and mouth filled with a set of vicious, curved fangs. It locks it jaws in the body, trying to snake around the prey. The initial attack will only inflict one wound. Normally, it has smaller prey and waits till tis prey dies of blood loss or the wound itself and keeps locked for hours. Removing it takes a difficult(-10) Agility test or an routine(+20) Medicae test. If failed, the victim starts to suffer from Blood loss.

Needless to say, if an NPC went down there he will take longer than five roles and he will die from blood loss if the attack is not prevent by a well-placed shot.

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Very cool and nice work! The river journey could make for lots more events, enough to fill a session or two if the players are up for it. 

...and if the GM takes care to avoid "bleeding them out". You shall not rob your PC of all their precious wounds before the big final fight... unless this is part of the mood for the final scene ;)

EDIT: the important word "avoid" was missing in my original post

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Scene: Premature Labor [On the Sump River; best played last]

“It is a gut feeling. A bad one. At first your gaze searches for something in the darkness... and you can almost swear that there is something... but you are not sure. You start to think that it might be just your nerves, but as you have a look at your comrades you see it in their face as well... in the face of everyone around you. Then, it happens quickly. The breath starts to condense in front of your lips and before your eyes you see rime building up on the deck. Then, your eyes are drawn to the darkness again.... and then you see how it moves ...and then you hear it howl! “

 

As the ritual is enacted, reality is assaulted as the veil is weakened. Things push against form the other side, lusting for this world and the soulfires of men. The characters need to pass a Fear(2) test. If they fail it, they will not only be victim to warp shock (see core rules) but suffer from 1d10+(DoF) temporary Willpower damage as well. The whole ghosting itself only lasts for mere moments before it fades, but the bad feeling should last.

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Scene: Leechwyrm (Sump River)

While the unhealthy waters of the sump river are not teeming with life they are host to some of the most unpleasent things one could imagine. Among those are Leechwyrms, creature looking like a mix of a leech, a tape worm and a centipede. They grow about a step and a half in length and are about half as wide. Unlike many of the other life forms the characters might witness down in the Underhive, the Leechwyrms are dark like dried blood.

The creatures normally exist as parasite to larger mutant monsters living in this filth (like the one offered as an encounter) but are not below attaching themselves to small hosts...and killing them. They swim about in the lower currents and with the tiny pseudo legs on their sides they are even capable to move out of the water.

 

Two or three of them will latch onto the lower side of the barge, mistaking it for a host at first. As they find no sustenance, they crawl along... and eventually up over sides. Ask the characters for Awareness(+10) test. If they fail, the first thing they notice is the scream of one of those who came along as an Leechwyrm wraps itself around the man. The next second, one of the beasts will attack one of them.

 

Treat these creatures as having a Strength and Weaponskill of 30. If the characters do not notice them, the creatures have the Initiative, otherwise it is the other way around. One hit is enough to get rid of one of those plagues. They will try to grabble and if they are successful in a “damage opponent” move, the character feels a short sting. Ask for a Toughness test. If the test is failed, the victim suffers 1d5+DoF temporary strength attribute damage as a result of the venom the Leechwyrm delivers to numb the larger mutant creatures to its sucking. This test needs to be repeated in each of the following combat rounds until the victim takes control of the grabble or the Leechwyrm is removed. If the victim loses more then half of its Strength Attribute this way, it becomes comatose.

 

All tests to wrest control of a grabble or to pry away those creatures are -10 once the grabbled successfully. If they are attacked during grabble, the victim of the grabble will suffer half of the damage the attack inflicted  (“blow through”).

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Encounter: Living off the stinking river [sump River]
“Loud shouting draws your attention to the benches of the sump river. A dozen of dregs shout and bark at you from there, waving their arms around, one of them picking small rocks and junk up, throwing them toward your barge but failing to reach.”
 

These dregs have build themselves some large nets for fishing and have thrown those far out into the river.  If the characters don´t stop the barge they will drive into those, ruining the nets and blocking there barge´s screw. That is what and why the underhivers are shouting, butIt takes an ordinary(+10) Linguistic test to understand the underhivers. There speech is a very debased form of Low-Gothic and their habit of cursing with every third word or sentence isn´t making it any more understandable.
 

If the characters stop the barge, the dregs will pull in their nets with lots of hateful cursing. If the characters destroy the nets and thereby block themselves in the water, the enraged dregs will pick up bows (or perhaps one rifle) from the ground and open up fire. Treat this as combat over a range of little more than 30 meters and give them a meager BS. They will launch about 3 attacks each round and will flee if either two of them are hit or if the characters open up fire with full automatic weapons. Cutting away the remains of the net might be nerve wrecking and dirty, but this time nothing else will attack the one in the water. The GM is encouraged to still play it along the rules of the scene “blocked screw”. There is no need to tell the players that they are safe this time.

 

 

Encounter: The Saint falls. [sump River; , best played at the beginning of the journey]

At the river side the characters note a large figure in the darkness. At first, they think that somebody is standing and pointing at them, but as the come close they see there mistake. An old and corroded stone statue has been placed there. It must be about three meters high and seems to depicture an Imperial Saint, the right arm raised for blessing or greeting. Which Saint is impossible to tell, so. From the looks of it the piece has been drifting in the water for a long time before it was washed ashore. Somebody must have erected it in the sludge of the river bed, but who or why seems to remain a mystery.

Just as the barge passes, the statue will start to “bend” forward and fall face first into the filthy waters with a loud SPLASH! (possibly the waves of the barges screw gave the final “micro push” to this event… ).

The NPC with the character will start to murmur, taking it as a bad omen. Talking that thought out of the others and raising the moral takes an ordinary(+10) test for Fellowship, Charm or Command. If the characters don´t, the need to pass a Willpower(+20) test to avoid getting “infected” with that mood. Those who do will need to role a dice when they will spend fate point during the rest of the adventure. If a 9 comes up, the fate point is spent but there is no effect. In addition, the GM is encourage to have the NPC murmur things like “I have a bad feeling” or “this will fail” during the remaining mission…

Edited by Gregorius21778

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I made up some additional background for three further Enforcers for the Gallowsway. Just in case the characters get to interact a little more with some of them.

Honour where honour is due: the inspiration was taken from the "generation tables" of "Insta-NPCs#1: Motivation, Attitude and Appearance" by Moebius Adventures (see DriveThruRPG.com)


========================================================================================
Torven Suller [Greed / Haughty /Smelly]
The hollow faced but reddish enforcer has a strong, chemical smell to him, but one that is very different to that of the district and more akin to industrial cleaner. And matter of fact, that impression is quiet right as Torven is so disgusted by the drizzling filth from above that he washes himself with watered down cleaning solvents. The dry skin rush it got him is something he says he is willing to bear “rather then what ever that **** coming down here might bring along. If the whole of you want to die of some sickness or another, it is fine with me!”. Enforcer Suller is not very popular with his comrades, not only due to his smell but due to his arrogant nature. To him, all of the others are just too lazy and stupid, otherwise they would keep clean as he does. When there is a possibility to get him into contact with something icky, the others will play a prank and do so and laugh as he grows pissed about it.

Torven really believes that he does not belong here, that it is just ain´t fair that he is trapped in here. To break even, he sometimes takes little objects away. Belongings of victims or money from drunk workers they pick up and put into a cell to get sober. Most of the others suspect, but nobody cares. If given a chance t pan handle something really valuable, he is likely to go for it unless he considers it something that is important for an ongoing case. He is greedy, not stupid.
 

Lauden  Nors [Experimentation / Sarcastic / Hairy]
Despite his rather young age, Lauden sports a dense beard that grows up to close under his eyes and the rest of his body is covered in so much hair that the comrades dubbed him “wholly”. Lauden Nors had BEGGED to get stationed down here. Before, the son of a workers foreman had been assigned to the middle hive where he spend his days making cognomen controls in the streets, keeping queue disturbances in check and making sure that workers would not gather in the open as idle gatherings provoke ill-loyal behaviour. But he had wanted more. He applied and joined the Gallowsway enforcers for a chance to fight underhive gangs, to cull mutants on forays "down there" and to serve the hive and Him on Terra by kicking ass.
 

Now, after he had been in a few fire fights his attitude levelled, but he still looks for something GOOD to do. Something that FEELS good to do. He is the kind of guy that volunteers if it sounds exciting and like something he had not done before. If the characters act openly as members of the Inquisition (or the Arbites or perhaps a paramilitary group) he will try to get on their good sides, getting chatty and asking questions about what they do and what it is like. If he sees a chance, he tries to make a good impression if the things the characters do are THE THING he wants to do, too.
 

Oswald Haggert [Amusement / Cheerful /Frail]
The young, thin enforcer is an anomaly in this district of the hive: a smiling face. And smiling he does. The drizzling “rain” from above? “Gives a good reminder to shower each day, right?” The morose people he is surrounded by? “Yes, that is a depressing place, true. But we have such an easy time to shine in place like this, the candles in the darkness, as the creed says”. And the creed is of course right! Haggart is a stern believe and his believes include that he serves the Emperor best if he is not balking about the life he is given but that it is best to do the best you can with a smile on your face and happiness for the ability to serve. Oh! He knows the catechismns of hate (so has not read them as thoroughly up to now) and he “will wholeheartedly hate and do so with joy when facing the mutant, the xenos or the heretic... but I have not seen any of the three down here by now, so I decided not to waste my precious, God-Emperor given hate without a good course”.
 

His cheering leaves him quickly in a fire fight and he grows tense and...afraid. So he will never admit that. But his comrades know and they put him into the second line whenever possible. Small Oswald would be easily overwhelmed in close quarters, anyway. While Oswald is the receiving end of some bitter jokes half of the time, all of the troupe kinda like him. “The boy is not bad” is a line everyone will hear about him and since he has the poise to leave people alone that are not receptive to his attempts of cheering them up, nobody is really sick of him. And by the by, he makes really good ReCaff. When off duty, he plays harmonica where ever he walks, so you can easily note him in busy street even if you do not see him in the crowd.

[EDIT: some minor corrections of paragraphs & gramma]

Edited by Gregorius21778

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A point that troubled both me (in preparation of the adventure) and my group (during the adventure) was learning about a way to get down to Gantry. So, I wrote up an NPC that was allowed through the Purity Gate on a regular basis (either for being trusted or for having bribed the Enforcers) that would be easy enough to approach for my group (who operate openly and are thereby having an easy time extracting help from those that are not actively opposing the Imperium as such). Meet Wilford Harp. While it is unlikely that the characters will learn (or care) for the whole story of minor NPC during the course of the story, having a page of background for one is helping a lot. Through writing (or reading) one understand where the figure is coming from, where he is and wants to go is thereby able to improvise the actions/reactions of said NPC. And (at least my) players LOVE have a face for direct interactions
====================================================================================================
Created with: Insta-NPCs "Motivation/Attitude/Appearance"
by Moebius Adventures(PDF-Product/DriveThruRPG)
Power / Curiosity / Slender
 

If the characters start asking about the hive behind (and below!) the Purity Gate, it is likely that they are sooner or later pointed towards Wilford Harp. Everyone dealing goods at the market knows his name as do a lot of different workers and the Enforcer can tell about him, too, as he is one among a few people who travels past the purity gate on a regular basis.

The young and adventures man lives in Gallowsway but isn´t a bound worker of one of the Mortariums or any other Guild or employer. Instead, he is "excess workforce" that offers himself up for short-term hire to each and every guild, trade or business that has a short-term demand for labor and lives this way since he can remember. A lifestyle that turned him into a Jack-of-all-trades, but left him poor and without any safety as soon as one agreement ended. The rooms he lives in are rented and often he ended up with no room at all. Years ago, he started to explore the underhive in search for valuables to sell and with each month, his search had led him deeper. Before long, he made contact with underhivers. Gangs and scavengers, but sometimes people who came to barter. He quickly came to realize that some of the stuff that was
easy to acquire for anybody living in the Gallows where a prized commodity down below... especially anything that would provide light, food, warmth or health.
 

Now, he journeys below about every other month with backpack full of recharged any cells, overdue-food bars, used glow-globes, rags, plastic wrap, duct tape and the one or the other bottle of cheap booze. All of it acquired in the Gallowsway. The booze is for the RedWalk hence he needs to be on the good side of them to avoid being cut up and robbed. The other stuff he barters for spend energy cells, metal scraps (copper, whenever he gets it) and broken electonrics or gears. Back up in the Gallows, he trades the stuff he got with the Reclaimators. While one could think that he is making a tidy profit, this has a downside: whenever he goes down there, he risks his life. Some of the gangers will cut you up simply for having a bad day, no matter how much often you paid their crew "tribute" before. The rats are not the only thing prowling the darkness and even their bite can leave you with fever within hours. And even without fever hampered senses and muscle cramps, the journey in the underhive is a dangerous thing. Some areas are unstable and a route that was good month ago could by now have become a cave-in in the making.
 

But Wilford Harp needs the money. He does not want to lose the little independence he has right now (so he will not push that in front of authority... he knows that those above want those below to stay where they are). If the characters seek him out they will meet a tall, slim guy with a a calm and careful personality. He is not rude, but an open and inquisitive fellow. Whenever he answered a question of one of the character, he will ask them something about their question ("why do you want to know the way to gantry?" "Do you think you have what it takes to brave the underhive?" "Is any new bounty placed on the heads of the RedWalk?") If the characters refuse to answer or if he feels they are lying to him (Scrutiny: 38) he will become reluctant to answer their questions. He can tell them about his journey but he will not give them a proper description of the way to Gantry (or Gantry itself) unless they pay him good for it or are in a position of Authority (posing as Enforcers or revealing themselves as member of the Inquisition). If they do not show their true colours but use Intimidation on him, he will "leave out" some danger or insert some misdirection unless they achieve three DoS on their role. However, he cannot accompany them, no matter what they offer: he is currently under contract and cannot break this agreement by leaving. Of course, using Inquisitional Authority to set him free for a trip is more then easy (Influence +40) but will be detrimental to the groups subtlety (-1d5 or -1d10, GM´s description).

One topic Wilford will try to avoid is his relation to the RedWalk. He will state that he tries to avoid them whenever possible (true) and that he seems them as a bunch of murderers the hive would be better without  (true). If pressed, he admits that he pays "tribute" to them so that they leave him in peace "because I have to. If I won´t they would have gutted me a long time ago". When taken along by the PC, Wilford will try to stay behind the character and he will for sure not enter Gantry with them "for whatever you want to do there, it cannot be good for my rep as tradesman there". Of course, the position are likely in a position to force him anway, but in that case he will turn on them if things get bad enough unless the characters pass a (hidden) check for a social skill (matching their approach).
 

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Allow me to provide a schematic map for the way down to Gantry.

I found 10 hours to be a bit much, I changed that to about 15 minutes per "block" inserted there. I am currently still running that section with my group. Corrections and re-writing some stuff is going on, but the "segments" are those I will use for my game. Not all of them come with an encounter, a lot are just descriptive elemtents I (literally) narrate to my group.

WayDownGantry_zpsb3aa40f0.jpg

Edited by Gregorius21778

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[The following is meant to describe the journey between the macro staircase and the spiral motorway. It will take between 20 and 30 minutes of traveling by foot and is free of obstacles. The text is thereby only narrative. I hope my English is well enough to paint the right picture]
 

„Leaving the macro staircase you follow the tags on the wall through a number of intersecting corridors. The air isn´t changing much, it stays stale but the iron tang gives way to the dry taste of dust. There is no breeze, but it is cold here, colder than in the macro staircase. The first corridor you set your feet in is wide spaced and you need to pan your stablights to realize the full width. It turns out to provide as much room as the two lane motorways of the sectors now far above you, so it is clear that it was not meant for utiliycars or trucks. The corners bend at sharp angles and there is no foot-walk along the walls although doorways and stair steps open into it. For sure, these corridors were meant to allow large numbers of hivers to travel on foot all at once, perhaps as an emergency way to evacuate a different section. But that is only a guess and might remain one as there are no signs left to provide proof to it or to refute it.

Scavengers have been here for sure as you find traces of signs that were once bolted to the walls, but the signs themselves missing. More often than not you encounter empty door openings which open frames show burst marks where steel doors were forcefully broken out of their anchorage. Those doors that remain are heavy as bulkheads and mostly covered in rust, some of them bent or showing failed attempts at breaking the frames. The only thing left untouched are huge signs bolted to the ceiling, perhaps two meters above your heads. They might have once indicated location and direction, but now dirt and rust have covered them beyond recognition.
 

You don´t follow the macro corridor for long, so, and each corridor branching off is not as wide as the one you left. Before long your way leads through corridors that would only allow two men to walk shoulder to shoulder. The dry dust aroma of the air mixes with a strange, artificial stench reminding you of plastic. Sometimes, you hear something small scuttling away from you in the dark, but whenever you try to bring light to the source of the noise, it is already gone. The number of small, dried droppings you find on the floor of the narrow corridors gives you a good idea of what is fleeing from you here: vermin.
 

The spray tags you have been following since you ventured down point you to a very narrow walkway, only wide enough for one man. It is short enough for your light to reach its end, but what lies behind that open doorway cannot be examined as your stablight seems to pierce through nothing but darkness in the distance.
 

================================================================================
[Awareness tests] You do feel a light breeze, though. And the air is not as dry, even moist. You even recognize dark blooms of mold at the far end of the corridor. And you hear something. Water. A steady flow but perhaps only little of it.
================================================================================
 

Once you reach the middle, every one of you recognizes the floor getting grimy wet and starts to hear the feint purl of water from ahead. Your lights reach far enough now to give you a glimpse of what is behind the corridor. You see  a slopped ramp and a large segment of a wall. The first of you to reach the door opening sees that it leads onto the walkway next to an old motorway, one wide lane spiraling down along a central pillar with a steady slope. Along this slope and close to the pillar runs a small stream of water. Not thick enough to do more but to wet the soles of your shoes (boots), but enough to make the whole lane slippery and to give mold a place to grow in the dark. The dry taste in your mouths is soon ousted by the moldy wet tang of the air you breath in now. Your light reveals the next tag easily as it placed rather prominent on the column the lane spirals around. Your way leads you further down.

[Option:] I am sparse with obstacles here as this is the root the “corpse caravans” (??) the module mentions have taken as well. If one want to add a little obstacle, the narrow corridor the characters cross last makes for a good point. The characters can notice a large amount of greyish-white dirt in the middle of it with an acrid smell. Character looking up will find some sort of nest in the high corner of the corridors, resting in a small air duct opening. The stuff of the nest reminds of something a hornet would build but as soon as the characters point a light at it they will see the naked head of a small creature, perhaps the size of a leguan but with little sharp teeth and eyes reflecting the light in yellow gloom. It shrieks at them in a high pitch, its wide nose sliths flaring and swelling. This little hive creature actually hunts rats and is no danger to the characters…but it has a means of defense against larger predators threatening it and its nest. These “nose slits” are in truth a weapon of defence that allow to spew forth a spray of secretion that stinks like what a skunk would spray you with… with the same effect. If the characters turn their lights away, the little creature will keep snarling but will calm down a little. If they keep bothering it or attack, it will spray the (first) one doing so. The stench is unbearable at first… and allows any other NPC or creature the characters will encounter a +20 bonus on any Awareness test to detect them.

A test for Logic(+10) or perhaps Survival will tell any character that this creature cannot really mean harm as the nest must have been here before and that this recently used route would not have been tagged if it would not have been safe.

[EDIT: Removed some errors in the text]

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Unless my Arbitrator player decides to do something smart & is able to convience one of the other characters, I am pretty sure that my next session will see my little group of three going into my version Gantry by force. I am fine with that as this group was build with the intention of trying to go through missions as "hardliners". I only regret that they refused to bring along a squad or two of PDF (or other forces). They are to distrustful of NPC since they all have learned that "relying on the NPC means that things fail" (I wonder if that is my fault or that of another GM before me).

Anyway, no time for writing further of my scenes into English by now, buuuuuuut...

...since they are going to fight and kill perhaps 20 further gangers in total, I made up a little list for giving each of them two additional details. Not enough to make them "real NPC," but enough to make them different targets in the minds of my players.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pv9ijizn0ili4x8/V1.0%20Traits%20for%20Underhive%20Gangers.pdf?dl=0

EDIT: Gramma, gramma, gramma..

Edited by Gregorius21778

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A note from my actual play of „Desolation oft he Dead“: My players lived up to their PC and did as they had intended. They blew up gantry o rmore precisely: they are about to send my (down-sized) version of gantry down into the river with some explosive after a successful hit-and-run attack against the “main guards”.

All fine with me, but it means I have to re-write my sump-river encounters. They are still out and about without any back-up ( a Sororita in Light Servo Armour; a Desperado-Enforcer in Light Carapace and a Mechanicus-Assassine-Sniper). I do not plan to overly pull punches on them once they reached “the temple” but I would consider it “bad sport and bad play” to bleed them out on the river. If it turns out that they win the battle at the temple with all of the PC sustaining at least some critical damage (and one of them some more….) I would actually call it a good final. So, it will be the following Encounters/Scenes

[Left to die on a raft]
[A saint falls]
[Engine fails]
[Mutant settlement]
[The Skaeder Family]
[Dead ahead]

[Left to die on a raft]
“After a while you got so accustomed to all the debris floating atop the sump so you first take the tiny raft drifting ahead of you for just that. And in truth, it is little more than an assortment of floatsam taped together that must come undone sooner or later. You only really recognized it as a raft due to the person laying on it, naked and writhing.”

As the characters come closer they might note that naked underhiver is not only bound with tape fasteners at wrists and ankles but that somebody placed duct tape over his mouth and eyes. The man is covered in sweat and struggling to come free… with the raft giving a little more with each of his movements.

The man on the raft is “Duces Hayne”, tinker, card shark, thief and conman that made the mistake of getting caught playing tricks in gantry a short while ago. Before they had put him on the water naked and bound they told him that “you are fodder. If for them things in the filth or for them mutants settling down the stream … well, you´ll know first!”

When the characters barge comes near, they are witness to the raft finally breaking apart under the man and him dropping into the sump water. Characters that want to rescue the stranger can jump into the filthy waters and dive. Getting there quick is a test for either Athletics, Strength or Agility and they have three chances. The difficulty is ordinary(+10) but drops by one step for the second and again for the third role. Additional penalties come up if the character in question is using an attribute for the test (instead of using the Athletic skill)(-10) or if the character is not jumping into the water immediately but spends time to get rid of weapons/equipment first (-10 for every full action spend on getting rid of weapons and/or gear). If one of the three tests is successful the character was able to grab the man and bring him slowly back to the boat. If all three tests are failed, they cannot reach him in time and have no idea where in the sump waters he might be. Unable to locate him, the man is doomed to drown.

If the character rescue Hayne the short, scruffy man will be very grateful… and immediately start making up a story of what happened to him and how he could help the characters for rescuing his life. It is all 80% truth and 20% lies with him and the characters will have a hard time discerning one from the other [scrutiny; (-20)]. He is not knowing anything about “the temple” but during his short stay in Gantry (he spend about three days gambling there) he had overheard some conversion between Omar Endish and the keeper of the tavern. It seemed he was waiting for people he called “them **** needle faces” which he was waiting for to “come back up the river” to “collect there dead”.

Hayne should be useful -once- in the remaining adventure. He could pass a test for something the characters fail or lack the skill or he could give some good clue. He will pretend to be better than he is, so. Every other advise he gives should be peppered with lies and misinformation and every other tasks he undertakes for the PC will actually fail (treat it like three levels of failure).

Optional: If the characters have RedWalk gangers with them, they will not be found of somebody rescuing a man who was punished that way. Every other social test the characters attempt will be one step more difficult from now on and the GM should change their disposition towards the PC by 10s.

[The falling saint] (as described, so this is now just something added for atmosphere since there is no group of NPC which moral could be affected. In addition, I don´t want to use my own fate point rules as the PC will need each and every one of them).
 

[The engine fails]
[Ask for an Awareness(+10) test. Characters that pass it will note a “thud” from underdeck] “All out of a sudden, the barge loses speed. You can still hear the engine running still you note that the momentum drains away and it is clear that within the next few moments the barge will be just driftingt on with the stream."

A character looking at the water behind the heck of the barge will quickly note that it is still, just like the screw would not be moving any longer. If the characters have any underhive NPC along, they will check that first and tell them quickly. If a character with any technical knowledge (Tech-Use or Trade(Technomant) checks the engine she will note after a few moments of inspection (and without any test) that a mechanical part of the engine broke that was delivering the engines work to the screw (something akin to a cam belt or toothed belt). Furbishing some replacement from the allocated junk and “spare parts” under deck takes an ordinary(+10) Tech-Use test.
If the test is failed (or not taken at all) the characters can furbish something but it will jump or tear about every hour and they will need to fix the thing a new. Role d10 and the beginning of every other scene. On a 9, feel free to have “it” come apart somewhere during the scene. If the test was successful, the spare part will hold for a number of scenes equal to the level of success. Tell the character that has done the repair that he believes that his fix might come apart again during the remaining trip.

GM´s Note: This scene is meant to give the characters a reason to get into contact with the mutant settlement, the Skaeder Family and the barge in the upcoming scenes. If Hayne fixed the engine, he will proudly proclaim that this is “as good as new!” and that it will hold, no matter what. It will fail shortly after the characters passed the mutant settlement. He will fix it again, and it will come apart again every hour.
Personal note of the author: I came up with this since my players stole scrap barges. Instead of having them deal with keys, I had ruled that the sump fishers secured their barges by removing parts like these.

(Next to come...)
[Mutant settlement]
[The Skaeder Family]
[Dead ahead]

Edited by Gregorius21778

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[Mutant settlement](see the entry in the original module)
“After about an hour, you start to recognize feint gleam ahead. There must a light somewhere in the darkness.” (…). “As your vessel carries you closer the gleam slowly grows into a flickering orange shine that pulses against the dark, somewhere to your left on the stinking river. A little later you recognize three fires burning near the water´s edge, each of them housed in a metal barrel. All of them produce thick smoke that rises up into the darkness. Close to them is a smaller canal opening into the wider stream. A row of of uneven an bend poles has been staked into the river from there, covering a third of the width of the stream. “

 

 

This is the entrance to the mutant settlement. The poles were staked into the dirt covering the ground of the sump river to support nets and fish traps mounted between them. The fire in the barrels is fueled by garbage and the smoke that rises from it is reeking of burned plastic.
The canal leading into the stream has walkways at both sides, each of them 1,5m in width. About six meters behind the canal opening is a guard post of the mutant settlement, consisting of three mutants behind a barricade made of floatsam on which they rest a scrap canon

[see the DH1st “Inquisitors Handboock” ; in fact crude shot canon made of a piece of pipe and loaded with junk. Treat it as a weapon doing 2d10 damage with the a range of 20 and the Inaccurate; Primitive[8] and Scatter quality. Any armour counts as +1 AP against this weapon.]

 

 

The mutants are not initially hostile but weary of intruders as even down here, they are shunned and sometimes hunted by gangs, slavers or the odd purge marching down from above. When the characters come near the entry they will be hailed from the dark. If the characters want to barter or talk and pass a challenging(+0) test for Fellowship or Charm the mutant will allow one of them to pass. The test should be modified by the barter goods the characters have to offer. While the location of the temple is not know to the mutants, they have seen junk barges coming from down the river on there way to Gantry, returning after a while with the flies buzzing around them.
Intimidating the mutants into letting the characters pass is a very hard (-30) test. It is not that they are overly brave, but they feel that they have nowhere to run. If failed, the mutants fire the canon and after that, two will charge the characters while the third runs back to the settlement to warn them about the attack.

 

The settlement itself is made up of about 10 to 20 resting places of mutants different crowding both sides of the walkways, the canal between the side largely covered with planks of plastic and sheet metal. Some of the resting places are scrap hovels or tents made of discarded plastic sheets, others nothing more an assortment of used foam plastic boxes. Each of them is home to one or three mutants and lit by a tiny flame kept in tin can or a dying glow globe.

The mutants life from the “fish” they can catch from the river, rats they can trap in the surround tunnels and from small fields of fungus growing in spots they up to three hours of travel away from them and from what little trade the least mutated of them can have in other settlements. There trade goods are the junk pickings that get past the sump pickers in gantry and finding in a nearby old waste dump shaft they regularly scrounge as they gather more junk to burn in the watch fires and to light there little homes. If the characters want something to fix the engine of there scrap barge, the mutant can provide something and will trade it for any item that might be useful to them down here (GM´s choice).

Those mutants that harvest the fungus have had encounters with "the maggot men" and avoid the areas they encountered those. "These are neither men nor mutant", they will mutter. The directions they give aren´t easy to get, but those who pass a difficult(-10) test for Intelligence or Logic or Navigation(Land) will recognize that the place they encountered them was near the river.
 

If attacked, most of the mutants will turn and flee into the surrounding canals and shafts and perhaps only 1d10+4 of them will try to throw themselves against the attackers, using primitive hand weapons as they storm forward (All-out-attack). Those that fight count as benefiting from the Hatred Talent and some should have a mutation beneficial for fighting.

Hayne knows about the settlement itself (but little else) and thinks that those mutants are evil, cannibalistic monsters. But he will add that those are not the people he have heared those in Gantry talk about in regard to the corpse trade.

[Edit: cleaned some of my messy gramma & added a few bits]

Edited by Gregorius21778

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[The Skaeder Family]
“Once more you see the shine of light ahead of you, this time a steady aura of grey against the dark which turns brighter as you come closer.” (…) “As the aura grows you start to note a spear like finger of bright light coming from its center and darting about, a search light stabbing the dark, and a chugging, mechanical sound becomes audible”.

 

 

The junk barge of the Skaeder family is anchored ahead of the Acolytes. The Skaeder are a reclusive family clan that has settled in a nearby channel, a filthy and partly inbreed lot of junk fishers and algae farmers. Their family head, a former technomant, decided to leave the hive proper behind and move down here. That was two generations ago and their youngsters don´t even know “uphive”. They are distrustful of strangers and fiercely territorial when it comes to competing sump fishers.  There are five of them on the boat by now while one of them is down in the water in a heavy diving suit, provided with air through a compressor on board on the barge. [use the “Dreg” profile Dhcr2nd; p.394; but with Strength: 36 and Toughness: 38]. They have two shotguns, one laslock and one stub revolver.

 

 

If the Acolytes travel with undimmed lights the Skaeder will have noted them and start to shout their claims for this spot, spewing insults and threats to what they perceive as a rival boat. They will stop this as soon as the the characters identify themselves as anything else but rival sump fishers, but they still remain an unfriendly lot.
###########################################################################
Their starting Disposition is 40 and their Personality is  Aggressive. If one of the pc is an  Arbitrator or if they are accompanied by Sanctionaries their Disposition drops to 30. If they are accompanied by the RedWalk or a character from the Ecclesiarchie their Disposition raises to 50 as they have respect “for Him on Terra, as it is proper”.
###########################################################################

 

 

While the Skaeder do not know about the temple, they know the barges of “that mad guys with the robes” and will spit out when they mention them. The Skaeder mind their own business, but they noted the metal in their faces and are quiet sure that those are “some crazy bunch, and those are no good but trouble”. Acolytes in need of a spare part can barter with the Skaeder (any item of at least Average availability will do it) and if the GM still plans to use the Monsters of the Sump encounter, the Skaeder will gleefully give a warning about what might be ahead. The characters might take that for an attempt to scare them off, so.

If the characters tell the Skaeder that these "robe guys" are daemon worshippers they might be able to recruit them, especially if they offer some reward. While the dregs will fight along the characters, they might turn and flee when they actually need to face the undead and they will for sure piss their pants and run as soon as there is an actual daemon manifest.

 

 

If the Acoltey rescued Hayne, it is up to the GM if his presence either increases or decreases the Disposition of the Skaeder. Hayne will firmly believe that the Skaeder like him because “we made some good deals in the past”, but if the last thing they had bartered from Hayne broke down shortly after he left the Skaeder might feel betrayed.

[EDIT: Corrected some of my bad gramma]

Edited by Gregorius21778

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[Dead ahead] (best played close to the cult hideout)

“The shine of your light begins to carve a large object out of the dark, revealing inch by inch a scrap barge [about a dozen yards] ahead of you. It floats in the sump without a light, without an engine running and seemingly without any crew on deck.”

 

Ask for an rountine(+20) Awareness tests if the characters check the surrounding with a search light (or something similar). If they succeed, they will note dead bodies drifting in the sump, face down and only the back of their heads, their shoulders and a bit of their upper back protruding the water. They will note about a dozen (and count two dozen if they succeed with at least two levels of success). The GM might want to ask for a Fear test.
 

The players are likely already assuming that this is a trap, and they are right. The cultists have send about two dozen animated corpses into the water and ordered them to enter any ship as soon as it reaches their middle (which is roughly the location of the deserted barge) and to kill everyone on board. Of course, cultists are an exception to that. It is up to the GM if the animated dead know the cultists by esoteric meanings or if a certain pendant or charm is needed to path through unharmed. In fact, if the characters have the splinter with them they secured from the murder scene that started their investigation, they might pass undisturbed.

If the characters don´t note the danger or just head on, the dead in the water will start to act once they are in their middle. All of a sudden, they will grow frantic in their attempts to reach the ship, splashing through the water. Before long, one of them will have thrown himself onto the screw, blocking it with its body while the others try to climb up the barge. At first, 1d10 dead will reach the edge of the barge and those will need three to five rounds of combat to climb up. Every further round, another d10 will reach the barge and so on till there are about 20 of them (use stats from the original module or which ever stats you use for the living dead).

 

The best way to deal with this situation is to remove the body from the screw. A character can try to achieve this by securing himself with one arm at the stern railing, hacking down at the still squirming corpse. It takes 15 points of melee damage to hack the corpse away, but due to the awkward position the character can only use a half action and suffers from a -10 to all WS test. A test that was missed will be treated as a hit, but only with the minimum damage of his weapon.

 

Of course, the characters can decide to snipe at the corpses form away without getting close. Treat the corpses as suffering from the Mind locked Trait (p. 137 DH2nd), but role only once for all of them. It is up to the GM if they just “play dead” and wait as ordered or if they try to swim to the barge.

If the characters have Hayne along he will tell the characters that he -knows- the barge and that it belongs to a friend of his. His first reaction is to plead to the characters to check it and see if anybody is still on board needing help.

 

GM´s Note: The dead aren´t a real threat for a dedicated force. The only have their bare hands and need to climb up the barge. Pretty of time for a warband to deal with them, especially if they brought additional troops along. But if said warband is using firepower, the sound of the shots might echo wide enough over the sump river to reach the ears of the cultists standing guard at the temple (see sidebar p.148 DH2nd of suggested distances), alarming them so that they get a +10 bonus on all Awareness tests during the final encounters (or perhaps even a re-role!).

 

In addition, the GM is encouraged to keep track of the ammo consumption of said scene. Especially RedWalk gangers might blast away at the living dead, and thereby ending up out of ammo somewhere during the final fight.

 

The deserted barge is a sump fisher, not unlike those of the Skaeder family. The crew is drifting among the animiated dead, now dead themselves. A character that searches the boat could salvage it for spare parts, find an only partially used med-kit or other stuff that might come handy (GM´s choice).

Personal note: This will be my last installment regarding the sump river as I will concentrate on the preparations for the final battel from now on. Wish me luck! I want my players to be between a rock and hard place (to make their undertaking as believable  and tense as possible), but I don´t want to **** them completely. Luckily, I got myself some maps to tinker with.

EDIT: Gramma...*sighs* when will I ever mind the difference between "there" and "their" at my first attempt? I am ought to... oh well...

Edited by Gregorius21778

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Hi again,

it has been a while that I started this topic. Recently, I polished the scenes I had created and now release it a free fanware PDF over at rollforherey.net and on my own blog.

I hope you enjoy!

 =======================================================================
With kind regards: Gregorius21778
My blog

P.S: Hey, Asmodee! We want our signatures back!

 

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