Wednesday, July 25, 2018

A Symphony of Blood and Bone: An Adventure for Those who Know

This is a complete adventure based around investigation, to show what type of thing players running in the Those who Know universe are likely to encounter.  This can either be undertaken as a group  who are playing as Those who Know, or a group playing as a squad of Agents from API.

                                              (Artist's Interpretation of the Sun-People/Starfolk)

Setting: A small city in America, somewhere off the beaten path, but not quite in the country.  I set it in a small city in Illinois, but wherever you're more familiar with will work.  Edits may be required if you wish to transplant it to some other country.

Backstory:

Previously, there were a race of incredibly powerful beings whose name has been lost to time.  They were individually very powerful, each one many times stronger then a man, letting them outrun deer and wrestle bears into submission.  As such, they had no need, as humans do, to modify their environment, so they left no tools behind.  But when Man came, at first they pitied him.  But when he began to encroach on their territories, there was much debate on what to do. However, it was eventually decided that since these Sun-people did not need the Earth to live, they would let Man have it, and ascended into the Heavens, where they have dwelt until this day.  But then one day, less than two years ago, one of these Sun-people was struck by a communication satellite, and knocked down to earth.  She fell down through the atmosphere, and crash-landed in central Illinois.  She was almost dead from re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, but her incredible body served to protect her, even though she was little more than a charred husk at this point.  Ordinarily she likely would have stayed there until her body regenerated, and then she would have left.  But she was discovered by a woman named Abigail Keyes, a Fleshcarver.  Seeing the incredible power in this Sun-Sisters body, Keyes captured her and imprisoned her in a device of her own creation, the Dread Machine.  Using the Dread Machine, Keyes was able to create all sorts of wondrous creations.

But before the Sun-Sister fell and Keyes discovered her, there was a man named Isaac Calder.  Calder was a strong capable man when he was young, a fact he proved through his staggering number of achievements.  He began his life as farmboy in Kansas, then enlisted in the United States army to fight in Vietnam.  He served several tours of duty with distinction, and proved himself valiant and capable.  From there he wandered America, fighting in martial arts tournaments and performing various manly odd jobs.  But as he grew older and frailer, he began to despair, and sought a way to extend his life.  He found it in Dr. Keyes.

Dr. Keyes grew him a new heart using the Dread Machine to mix his DNA with tissue from the Sun-Sister, to create a new organ charged with life.  This new heart strengthened Calder, and is slowly restoring his youth.  Dr. Keyes was overjoyed by this unbridled success, and is now continuing her research, in an effort to replicate her results and make herself as strong as the Sun-Sister.  But unbeknowest to her, or anyone else, the Sun-Sister is still conscious inside the Dread Machine, and is seeking to regain her freedom...

Hook: An attempted robbery by one Robbie Shu ended unexpectedly when the victim turned the tables on him, giving him a broken arm and a dozen fractured ribs.  That would-be victim was Isaac Calder.  Since Calder is quite old, this is very fishy.  Investigate it, and see if there is any truth to these rumors.


                                                         (Isaac Calder)

The Would-Be Victim:

Isaac Calder

White, male, balding.  Yet he has the body of a man fifty years younger.  How old is he?
Calder is full of folksy wisdom and is endlessly cheerful- but this is an act.  If you act against his goals, he will take any action to see you silenced.  He has no scruples and will do anything to escape and live.

If attacked, Calder will reveal his supernatural abilities by viciously attacking the one responsible.  The hybrid Heart he received from Dr. Keyes has given his body supernatural strength and speed, as well as the ability to regenerate a limited amount.  Calder prefers to fight with his 12 gauge shotgun and his dogs, but if pushed into a corner, he will use the concealed pistol he almost always carries, and his enormous strength to break bones like they are made of taffy.

<DM Note>
The Adventure itself is an investigation, and uses Zack Smith's investigation as Dungeon Model.  You can read more about it here.  Essentially, the players start in the Crime room, and they can move throughout the rooms vertically or horizontally, until they reach the Center.  The diagonal rooms with nothing in them, those are secret rooms.  If the adventure is getting slow and the players are stuck, one of the secret rooms open and enemies come out.  These attacks represent attempts by the villain of the adventure, in this case Dr. Keyes, to destroy the players before they can find out the truth.
</DM note>






Tier 1:


                                                                 (Robbie Shu)

The would-be attacker turned Victim:

Robbie Shu

White, male, on the shorter side.  Missing a couple teeth, has bleached dreadlocks. 

Shu is a strung out meth-head.  When he's not on meth he is morose and useless.  When he is on meth, he is overflowing with energy, confidence and mostly terrible ideas.  He's still useless then, and an active danger to himself.  He doesn't tell you why he attacked Calder, but if you talk to him, you will find he speaks about the man in the most vile terms. 

Calder's Medical Records:

His records are normal until relatively recently.  Then two years ago he suffered near-complete heart failure and received a transplant.  Then from there, he begins improving rapidly, super-humanly even.  His physician is a woman named Abigail Keyes.
He also has a physical therapist named Bindy McCloud that he visits once a week.


                                                                (John Hammer)
Questioning Calder/The Lawyer:

Calder isn't lying about defending himself.  Robbie Shu did attack him with a box cutter.  But unless you corner him or break into his house, he'll be protected by his lawyer.  He isn't lying when he said he defended himself.

John Hammer- a big shot lawyer from Chicago.  A cunning and ruthless defender.  He could be making fistfuls of money in some big city, but instead he works for Calder right now.  He seems like a good man, but he will defend his client from any legal attack.  Why he is here is a mystery.


                                                                    (The Lot Lizards)
The Lot Lizards:

Isaac Calder seems to have no enemies and many friends.  He gets a puff piece written about him in the Marsh County Herald, a newspaper based in Croshaw.  But he also has many disreputable friends.  For example, he seems to visit the Truck Stop at the edge of town most nights, at least once a week.  Calder has many friends at the Love's Truck stop on the edge of Croshaw.  He is well liked there.

The Truck Stop also has a basement that is members only.  The manager, who goes by the name of Ted Johnson, claims its just full of showers and resting areas, and he is right.  But it also is where the Lizards live. 

The Lot Lizards live down here.  They are three horribly traumatized young girls who were forced into prostitution by Doctor Keyes.  They will smile and be polite, but they are actually horribly distressed.  They have been ridiculously modified to be beautiful and always look like they're wearing make-up.  There are three of them- named Star, Pumpkin and Dumpling.  Those aren't their real names, but they don't want to use their real names around you.

Pumpkin is the oldest one.  She has very tanned skin and warm brown hair.  She affects a constant air of false cheer and always smiles.  She will insist everything is fine, no matter what.

Star is the most passive one.  She never speaks unless you ask her to, and suffers from horrible stage-fright.  She's kind of icy looking, with her blond hair and eerie blue eyes, but she's a nice lay, if you ignore her star-fish like response.  She never responds to anything except direct orders.  She always seems in her own world.
 
Dumpling is the youngest and the cutest.  She is the most adorable, and the one most prone to breaking down into tears at the sign of something distressing.   

The Lot Lizards are modified humans, but they have no special powers, and will die like anyone else if killed.  They also have magical devices called slave-bands sewn into their skin, which force them to obey the Doctor's orders.  Currently she has ordered them to service any man who wishes for it, be polite and respectful to her clients and subordinates, never use violence against her or her subordinates, never tell anyone anything that might be important, and report all useful information back to me.  


Tier 2:

                                                                 (Bindy McCloud and Client)

The Physical Therapist:

Her name is Bindy McCloud.  She pretends to be innocent and that she is merely running a small physical therapy practice.  But secretly, she is running a prostitution ring for the wealthiest men in town.  The Lot Lizards are rejects from her business.  Used goods, according to McCloud.  If she feels threatened, she will possess one of her employees and have them shoot at the players or kill herself (she can control her staff, which are meat-puppets slaved to her will).  Then she will call the police and threaten to bring them up on charges. 

Or she will try and get one of her employees to sleep with you, to incriminate you.  If things get really bad, she will retreat into the basement, where the Perversions live.  

Not the First Time:

18 months ago, a woman named Mia Callon invaded Calder's house, along with Robbie Shu.  He attacked them both and killed her, while he escaped.  Shu will not speak of this event.  Calder reported the break-in, but he claims they both escaped.  Robbie Shu was quickly captured thereafter, but Mia Callon was never caught.  No one knows where she went.  Most people assume she skipped town.

                                                             (Uncertain- send help immediately)

The Birthing Chamber:

The Lot Lizards' biology has been modified to create soldiers for Dr. Keyes.  Every time they engage in sexual activity with a man, over the next 12 hours they become pregnant and give birth to a half-human child called an Unblemished.  The Unblemished age at a rate of one year per day, and when they are grown resemble beautiful, perfect human beings.  The newborn Unblemished are not raised by these girls however, but instead taken from them the day after by a man named John Smith, and taken to a farm on the edge of town, where they are raised and indoctrinated into serving Dr. Keyes.

                                                    (Michael "Mickey" Dennis at work)

Back Alley Meetings:

John Hammer has a meeting planned with a certain known individual, a Warlock and Fleshcarver known as Mickey Dennis.  Agents of API will be able to access his file.  Micky is complete unaware of what is happening here, and will not fight an Agent of API, if they reveal themselves to him.  He also says he is only here for the enormous sum Hammer promised him, as he knows this area is someone else's territory.  He knows that Keyes works here and that this is her territory, but he will lie and say he does not.

Mickey Dennis is a genius Fleshcarver, but possessed by the eccentricity of the auteur.  He was the one who created the Theorem of the Quadrilateral Man- the process that transformed Ted Johnson into Four nigh-Immortal beings.  He has returned to Croshaw to get his revenge on Dr. Keyes and steal back his research.  John Hammer was just a convenient excuse to come back.

Tier 3:


                                                                     (Rebekah Sharpe)
The Perversions:

A group of three "Sisters" that were once human, but are now so modified that they have utterly surpassed Human needs and behaviors.  Their only loves in life are in sex, food, and violence, in that order.  They are not unreasonable, but they only want those three things.  The only thing they really want is to continue their debauchery.  They are thankful to the Doctor for freeing them from their meaningless, petty lives, but they are not willing to die for her.

There are three of them, as with the Lot Lizards. 

They are Rebekah Pierce, Sylvana and Genital Mutilator.

Rebekah is the only one of the Perversions still largely sane.  She is also still the most human, though not the most attractive.  She acts as their leader and keeps Sylvana from raping everything in sight and Genital Mutilator from challenging people to fights.  Without her, the two of them tend to misbehave, but they're perfect angels when she is there.

Rebekah is about 6' 11", with rippling muscles and breasts the size of beach balls.  She also has two extra arms that she usually keeps folded up behind her back, but they work just fine.  She can bend her neck back far further than any human can, and when she needs to go fast, she can sprint faster than a charging horse.


Sylvana is incredibly sexually promiscuous, and will attempt to seduce any man she is left alone with, or any men that are round and Rebekah isn't.  She has no shame and no limit to what she will attempt. She is utterly degenerate.  However, if you won't sleep with her, and Rebekah isn't there, she will try and rape you.  She is not very strong though, and can warded off with a few good hits.

Sylvana is covered in soft, blue fur.  She has teeth around her labia and stingers underneath her fingernails that can inject deadly poison, endorphins or aphrodisiacs.  She can also inject these through the glassy fangs in her mouth.  Her eyes are solid black, with no pupils or irises.


Genital Mutilator
is an absolute horror.  She considers herself the oldest one, and watches over her little sisters with zeal.  Any insult to them is an insult to her, and insults demand a duel on the field of honor.  Genital Mutilator is a perfectly capable fighter, and her enormous strength is visible at all times in her arms and tentacles.  She will accept an apology if someone kisses the heads of one of her penises or licks the dirt off the bottom of her bare foot.  But if Rebekah is not there and you are not willing to make up for your insult, then she will try and fight and kill you.  Genital Mutilator respects strength and martial pride.  She will honor a good opponent by sparing their life and dignity, but for a weak opponent she won't kill them, and usually just sodomizes them on the spot.  Cheating opponents or those who attempt to kill her sisters are torn apart on the spot, with no forgiveness.     

She has about five heads emerging from the top of her body, with about seven breasts between the two of them.  Many arms emerge from the more fully formed torsos, giving her six to work with.  Smaller half-formed torsos and faces adorn her waist and abdomen.  From her crotch, she has a cluster of five dicks, all almost constantly erect and dripping multi-colored jism.  Then she has four stocky legs, which she uses to run like she's a horse.  She also has her tentacles that lash around behind her.           

                                       (How your players should feel if they break into Calder's home)

Calder's Home:

Where Calder lives.  Mia Callon lives here with him, in a way.  Her body lies in a comatose state, but her soul's connection to that body has been severed.  Essentially, she is a ghost, but she is still bound to her body.  If it is killed, she will leave the mortal plane behind.  Mia Callon hates Calder for killing her, but she cannot kill him, as he has booby-trapped her body with magical wards.  All he need do is say the right word, and the wards will detonate, destroying her body.



Callon's spirit is trapped here in the house.  She is incredibly bored, so anyone who invades Calder's home will be tormented by an invisible spirit like a poltergeist.  She won't kill anyone, unless they try and break into the room where her body is being kept or try and hurt her.  Then she will use lethal force. 

                                  (John Smith is tougher than this guy, though he cannot regenerate)

The Immortal Courier:

The Lot Lizards have no idea who or what he is.  He goes by John Smith- but they don't trust him.  He comes to pick up the children they give birth to every morning.  He looks like a white man in a hoodie and sweatpants. 

Smith is all but invincible, and cannot be killed except through magical means.  Shooting him won't do any good.  Smith himself is little more than a Golem, a meat automaton with no real mind of his own.  Only magical damage or burning him to ash could kill him.     

Strange Research:


Mickey Dennis sold John Hammer some books on magical healing and spiritual medicine, all of it useless in the hands of someone without a scrap of magical talent.  Mickey could maybe fix Mia Callon/Hammer, but he has no intention of doing so.

Tier 4:

                                                               (Dr. Abigail Keyes' clinic)

The Clinic:

Where Bindy McCloud is employed, but she works off-site at her own facility.  Home of horrible monstrosities below grounds, but during the day or above ground, perfectly normal.  Dr. Keyes works here.

                                                               (Mia Callon `1993-2016)

Mia Callon:

Mia Callon lives here with him.  She's not actually dead, and her comatose body lies in a vegetative state on Life Support in one of Calder's upper rooms.  Her soul counts as a ghost.  If you smash her body into paste, she dies. If her body is killed, she will leave the mortal plane behind. 

Mia Callon hates Calder for killing her, but she cannot kill him, as he has booby-trapped her body with magical wards.  All he need do is say the right word, and the wards will detonate, destroying her body.  If you would be willing to help her, though, she would certainly be all for helping you. 

The Shallow Grave:

Hammer will then take what he got from Mickey, if not disturbed, and go to an unmarked grave a short distance from the highway, at the edge of a cornfield.  He will find his "sister's" remains and attempt to bring her back with the magic he has.  His sister is named Mia Hammer (Mia Callon now)- she went to this town a few years ago before changing her name and disappearing off the face of the earth.  He thinks she is dead.  He has no idea.     

                                                  (You get the idea)

The Black Feast:

John Smith brings the children to an undisclosed location.  There they are graded and selected.  Those who fail their tests are sent to processing.  Those who pass are taken to John Smith's farm, to be raised.  Those that fail are instead taken to a defunct restaurant that seems to have been closed for years, but at night you can still hear the sound of cooking, and mysterious deliveries show up every so often, but normal people ignore it.  The workers here are monsters wearing human skin, with no regard for what they are doing.  They are led by a henchmen of  Dr. Keyes and a cohort of Calder and McCloud named Lisa Goode.There will be a dinner later.  Isaac Calder, Bindy McCloud, and Abigail Keyes will show up here for the dinner.  Those children that are sent for processing are sliced up and prepared as food for the concerning palates of those here.  Keyes will run if she sees anyone coming, but Calder and McCloud will stand and fight.  But if Goode is interrupted before she can serve dinner, she will try and kill you.

Lisa Goode is an immensely fat, megalomaniacal woman.  She cannot stand to be insulted, and flies into a rage at the mere mention of an insult or her weight.  Despite the many treatments Keyes has put her through, her age and portliness cannot entirely be disguised, and she will react with great violence if they are mentioned.

Tier 5:

                                                   (Dr. Abigail Keyes, office halloween party, 2014)

The Doctor:

Her name is Abigail Keyes.  She is a small, Asian woman.  She has no bedside manner, and is very low in agreeableness.  She wants power, and is willing to do any number of despicable things.  She is also paranoid beyond belief.  Isaac Calder is her employee, but she is his puppet.  He does her bidding, but while he moves things around, she is working hard on something.

Abigail Keyes wants to obtain the power of the Sun-Sister for herself.  She is absolutely ruthless and would do anything to achieve victory.  She will bargain, but do not expect her to keep her word.  She will expect you to betray her at any time, as this is what she is planning to do to you.  If she has no option but to fight, she will retreat into the basement of her clinic and unleash the power of the Dread Machine on you.


Tier 6: 

                                                               (The Dread Machine)

The Machine:

Behold the Dread Machine!

It looks like a great pipe organ, connected to countless pipes, cables and wires.  Tubes carry blood and fluids in and out, and low moans of pain can be seen coming from it.  Instead of a control panel, there is a piano built into the front.  Dr. Keyes controls it by playing certain songs out on the keyboard.  If she retreats into this room, she will use the Machine to conjure up the horrifying Meat Menagarie, a skinless, bleeding thing that spews blood from every orifice.  Destroying the machine will kill the Meat Menagarie, but will free the Sun-Sister inside.

                                                        (The Meat Menagarie)
                      

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