Monday, November 19, 2012

The Little Shop On Skid Row

here are my general notes and outline for my "Little Shop on Skid Row" scenario for Dread. There is still some need for embellishment in some areas, allowing any potential host to add or fill in whatever they need. the key thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy it.

without further ado:

Little Shop on Skid Row

it's been a year since the event that became known as “The Mushnick Incident” . The little flower shop lies in ruins, it's owner missing and the two employees Seymore Krelborn and Audrey Dubois leaving skid row despite being wanted for questioning by the police. It was shortly thereafter this incident that the scientists and armed guards from W.B.E. came down to skid row. They had authority from the highest powers that be to quarantine the area. They built a wall around skid row, sealing all entrances and exits. Skid row became a lawless zone, where its every man for themselves.

Important things:

Drops: WBE sends food via helicopter drops once a day at 10am at Green Park. They give out enough food to feed the general population of Skid Row (approx 500) however, without a presence in the streets, hoarding and extortion take over.

There are also unscheduled drops not affiliated with WBE that happen from time to time. Certain criminal elements might have some outside connections.

Environment: Skid Row is a filthy place, so much so that all that really occurs during the daytime hours is a horribly overcast day, with a sun that appears distant and barely visible through the cloud cover. At night the sky generally clears a bit with some occasional clouds.

Generally the place Is always bathed in colors of black gray and blues.

Streets Graveyard: when people die, there used to be a place to put them. With the only cemetery filled to capacity, or reserved for those with the cash, the populous has had to resort to burying the dead in piles of rubble on the streets near the old church. The old overpass, now decrepit and crumbling, serves at the marker for the makeshift burial site.

Power and Connection: The WBE is in control of the power grid and is blocking/controlling all calls. The power is often sporadic, but there are ways around the power outages. Perhaps a side mission of hacking into the power grid could be possible here.

What's really going on?: the WBE (World Botanical Enterprises) has quarantined off skid row, because they have reasonable evidence that Audrey II is still in the area. Where the alien plant has gone, they know not for certain, but they intend to find out by sending out search/raid parties into skid row.

After the collapse of mushnick's flower shop, Audrey II retreated into the severs, she was badly damaged from the falling building. Needing time to heal, she fed off the sewer rats and other assorted creatures for almost a full year. She is stronger now, moving along the tunnels, looking for a way out. She still needs nutrition, so she has found ways to snag people on her own and devour them. She is getting bigger day by day, and her vines can reach almost anywhere in the city. If she gets too big, she can leave the sewers and rampage through the city.

The characters know very little about the Mushnick incident and the true story behind the ongoings. If they wish, they can pull to see how much they really know, by a number of pulls, at the beginning of the game. Otherwise, they will need to discover the info for themselves, whether by seeing an old person who knows, or by visiting a hall of records somewhere.

The flow of events:

Day 1:
the Drop at Green park 10am.-players will have to fight for their daily rations provisions and needed supplies. Seedier characters will try to get what they want.
A wayward package drops away from the park and heads towards an alleyway. The group should notice this package, and should hopefully see that another person is in pursuit and chasing it down. The characters hopefully should take chase, if not , they'll here a scream, and maybe investigate.
If they get to the alleyway, they find the package, coated with a green slime, no sign of the person giving chase, and perhaps a leaf. The package holds something valuable it it.

Once the provisions are secured, they can go about their normal business, but they begin to notice that some people are a bit on edge. They've heard rumors of people disappearing, missed appointment, and the increased amount of missing persons being posted on the structures. “It seems that everyone is looking for someone who's missing”

if characters have some sort of contact, they're is a good possibility that someone might not make it to a meeting.


Night 1: the night sky clears enough to let some moonlight in, but that’s when the real lawlessness kicks. in. it is real dangerous to go outside, with muggers and gangs around every corner.

On the first night, there is a very faint pulsating green glow from the sewers, which can be dismissed as pollution. The second thing that goes on is voice mimicry. Audrey has learned to mimic human voices and even some sounds (the ruins) and can lure prey to her.

If the characters go out at night, and are assaulted by any gang, there is a chance that they will see a tendril come out of the sewers and try to take some prey during a fight.

There is a very slight chance that the characters will see a WBE party in skid row looking around.

Day 2: another day, another drop, this time, point out that there are some specific people missing from the first day. Also at this time, there is a very good chance that the characters will see a WBE party snooping around. There is also a good chance that some of the characters who have contacts are missing them.

Today will be the first time that the character come face to face with a part of audrey II. Wherever they are in skid row, for more that a short period of time , and it will provoke an attack with several tendrils and chomping heads. This attack is supposed to be a weakening of the tower, rather than getting a fatality. Several pulls are needed to injure the plant enough to force it to retreat into the depths.

This is designed to give the group some needed insight into what is really going on here. That there is a botanical terror running around and eating people. This should spark the group into trying to find out more information from someone, as well as a plan to take out the plant, or at least find a way to protect themselves.


Night 2: The night is restless for those who try to sleep in peace. There are more screams in the night and the streets are rampant with people running around everywhere. People are being dragged away into the shadows, never to be heard from again, and the WBE presence has stepped it up a notch, adding helicopters with searchlights to the search for the plant.
If the group runs around at night, there is a very good chance that they are either attacked by the plant, a gang, or they will be arrested by the WBE and held for questioning. All of these options are bad. The key thing to remember for this night is to survive and to be on guard.


Day 3: after last night, there are only a handful of people at the drop this morning. It is impossible to know if those absent are hiding in fear, taken by the WBE, or eaten by then plant. The streets are deathly quiet. The drop of supplies is meager on this day, which confirms the beliefs of the group.

A Helping Hand: if the group has not been able to formulate a plan up to this point, as few options can occur here:

The Stranger: a weather-worn man dressed in greasy combat fatigues is sneaking around the streets nearby Green Park. He is carrying a duffel bag in one hand as has an old rifle slung across his shoulder. He will not actively search out the characters or help them, but with the proper persuasion from the group, he will lend a hand and take them back to his hideout. His hideout is an Audrey II HQ with maps and pictures of the creature, newspaper clippings, and a full armory of weapons, including some new stuff from the WBE which he took off some of the guards. The stranger will tell the group what he knows, and where the plant should be. He will accompany the characters into the plant's lair and assist them in destroying the plant.


The Extra Drop: a large helicopter flies over the heads of the group and drops a special package at their feet. The box is quite large and contains several specialized weapons and equipment. The weapons appear to be tranquilizer rifles and gas canisters. gas masks are provided. A map points out a possible location for the creature in the sewer system. There is also a formal letter included in the box, which tells the group that the WBE knows about the characters and what they have been doing for the past 48 hours. The WBE is willing to cut a deal with the group and will assist them in the containment and capture of the plant, not its destruction. The WBE stresses this point by stating that if the plant is successfully captured, the WBE will allow the group to leave skid row without any issue or questions, and will set the characters up with a life and job outside the walls. If the plan results in the plant's death, all bets are off.

It is entirely up to the characters to decide on what direction of action they want to take.

The Lair: the final battle takes place deep in the sewers, where the plant has carved out its own catacomb-like lair. Once the group gets close to the lair on the map, the sewer floor will cave in and send the characters down a slide-like chute that deposits them on a huge pile of human bones. The stench in the catacombs is overpowering, smelling of raw compost and fetid water. There is a fresh water stream that runs down the side of the floor and flows deeper into the caves below. There is a large black opening on the wall that faces the group, and the sound of loud breathing echoes throughout the chamber.

As the character climb down the pile of bones and get closer to the large black cave opening, they notice that there are two more skeletons nearby the opening. These are still dressed and in good condition. One is a small male that is wearing a black suit and tie, white shirt, and glasses. The other is female, wearing an off-white dress and a pearl necklace. These are obviously the remains of Seymore and Audrey who were thought to have escaped Skid Row, but now the truth is known about the couple's whereabouts.

As the characters enter the black cave, they can see the faint outline of a giant fly-trap plant. It appears to be sleeping, but it is still imperative for the group to remain quiet, because the plant is hypersensitive to sound. The smallest noise will wake the plant and send it into a fit of rage.

The Battle: nothing can be said for the group of characters and what they are trying to accomplish in this battle, but the plant sticks to a few tactics and will use them freely.

Tendril/Vines: This is Audrey II's main attack. She will use several of her vines and attempt to slap around the group as much as she can. The size of the vines can range from thin as a whip to as large as a tree trunk.

Chomp: Audrey II has a huge mouth that can just about disable any person unfortunate enough to get stuck into the giant maw. If a character gets stuck in there, it's going to be very difficult to get out of the maw before being chomped. Another option is that there are several smaller heads of the plant on the ends of some of the vines and are biting for significantly lesser damage.

Bringing Down the House: self preservation only goes so far, but in a last ditch effort all bets are off, when the plant is close to being knocked out or killed, it will try to finish the job by any means necessary, even if it means bringing down everything on top of it. The plant will use it's attacks to go after structure points to bury everything and everyone. Perhaps the plant is betting on the fat that it survived a structural collapse once, and that its strong enough to survive another one.

The Wrap Up: whether the plant is destroyed or captured, there are a few loose ends that need to be tied up. There is a chance for the character to escape Skid Row by venturing deeper into the sewer system to find themselves outside the walls. Or perhaps they choose to confront the WBE and hope that they remain faithful to their bargain (if the group chose to go that route). The one thing to remember here is that not all the questions should be answered, because there's always a chance for a sequel.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dread: Fun for the Family

i've had a breakthrough, a moment of brilliance. And it's all thanks to some free stuff at drivethrurpg.

at one of the conventions i regularly attend with my daughter, i usually spend some time in the family room, where there are kid friendly games available and lighter content versions of more prominent games. my friends often are the overseers of the family events, and i am often brought in to assist in doing something interesting for the kids.

i generally bring events to these places that i'm very familiar with, like Qags and our homespun Clash of the Kaiju mini game. I use Dread for great horror games, but the system is sound enough for everything.

now, a few days ago, i was checking out the free stuff section of DriveThruRPG, just trying to find some fun and interesting things. i came across some adventures for a game called "Fantasy Adventures for Kids" by Jen Games. i took a look at them, and it's relatively simple design. a simple dungeon that goes from room to room, and each room has a puzzle or a combat in it. nothing major, nothing really scary, but challenging.

i downloaded three items:

castle of blood: this one caught my eye initially. typical villagers/adventures going after a dracula-ish character in his castle. cool

citadel of madness: a sunken citadel rises from the depths, and the characters have to get Cthulthu to sleep again. SWEET!  also doesn't hurt that the shape of the dungeon is in the shape of a nautilus spiral.

The tomb of despair: typical dungeon crawl with a lich. nice.

so i have my ideas and scenes already here. but what about the questionnaires?

i got to thinking. a figured that i have i bit more leeway with these things. instead of questions, i would have simple statements. statements that explain the general concepts of the character.

for example:

Max: Monster Hunter (idea for Castle of Blood)

You have read every known book on monsters

You tend to have nightmares when you sleep...if you sleep at all.

You carry holy water, your old journal, and matches with you at all times.

Bats tend to make you a little uncomfortable.


this will help me make several characters to start, and to use several times throughout the convention.

also, i thought about a mechanic that allows the kids to get out of difficult situations without severely weakening the tower. perhaps a quick hand of War can convince me to help them solve a puzzle or help them get away from a swarm of bats rather than killing them. purely an optional idea.

the final bit is something we all know. the tower falls, someone gets knocked out of the game. doesn't have to involve death. they can just run away in fear. also, should have some candy on hand for the kids that get knocked out first.

all for now.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Let's Explore...Super Dungeon Explore!

i picked up this board game several months ago, but had never played until last night.

its called Super Dungeon Explore and its a dungeon crawl game that emulates the good old days of  8-bit/ 16-bit RPGs. it sets heroes vs the consul and his minions. there are a multitude of minis, cards, counters, and dice in the set. tons of goodies to deal with.

so last night i got over to a couple of friends' house and was able to sit down and play a few games. the first game was  an 8bit game, which consists of two heroes vs the consul's denizens and a mini boss. that game was more or less the intro game that really helped us grasp the flavor of the game and the small nuances of the game. the game ended in my defeat, since i was the consul.

the second game was a 16 bit game, which involved 3 heroes vs the consul's denizens, minions, a mini-boss, and the main dragon boss.  that game went in my favor, with the dragon coming out and flaming everything in sight.

after the game, we sat around and discussed the pros and cons of the game.

the pros: its a great looking game that really captures the flavor of what its trying to capture. the minis are well sculpted and even a bit cute since they're Chibi in design. all components are high quality and built to last. play is picked up rather easily during an initial playthrough.

the cons: this game is pricey to begin with, and with several expansions on the way, it's going to be an investment. as a player, the game will become boring after several playthroughs with the basic set, since the same monsters will be out on the board every time. the consul's options are very limited in this set, and it will become apparent that at least one expansion will have to be bought.

the verdict: it's a great game, but it's going to hit you in the wallet.

also, i want to point out this group on youtube that has a great game series that explains how to play as well as an actual gameplay series. this first vid was perfect to getting a taste to what the game entails. kudos to them.


that's all for now. see ya.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

KAMB: Kobolds Ate My Blog?

I consider myself an open-minded individual. as such, my tastes are as diverse as the weather. some things call to me to try out, while other i give a fair shake, but choose to put aside. i'm serious at times, and other times i'm goofy and carefree. it all depends on what kind of mood i'm in.

several years ago, at my local game store, i came across Kobolds Ate My Baby. having heard of it, but never played it, i was curious. seeing that there was a new super deluxe edition on the shelves and in a pretty good hardcover edition. i decided to pick it up.

after reading the 30 page book cover to cover, my gaming life has never been the same.

KAMB! is perhaps one of the best games that i have ever played just for fun. its hilarious and strangely therapeutic. the situations are both strange and engaging. lunacy and chaos always seem to prevail in these games, but in the end you're left with a smile on your face a mile wide.

so, what's the deal?

you start off playing as a kobold. not the DND lizard type, but a small, furry, dog-faced gremlin with a taste for babies and a penchant for mayhem. sounds scary, but their inherent lack of intelligence and self preservation tends to tip the scales to the advantage of baby survival. these poor, furry, dumb creatures don't know any better, and often they end up dying in some horrific way during the course of the game.

so why play?

well, for one, after reading the book you know exactly what you're in for in the first place. nobody really likes these little buggers; not their king (ALL HAIL KING TORG!), their patron god Vor, chickens, people, and their own species. the kobolds are on their own in this one, and will often fight with each other to complete their tasks. it makes for an interesting dynamic.

two, when forced to rely only on yourself, and you have the cumulative intelligence of a pet rock, you tend to become very inventive with the items you have on hand. a slightly broken 10 foot pole might not seem very useful to you and i, but to a kobold it's perfect for knocking the geriatric nanny unconscious and tying up the kiddies to carry them back "shish kabob style".

so, is it always about eating babies?

no...and yes. kobolds are eating machines, and will try to eat anything in sight, especially each other. the best way to describe them are as rabid wolves that are very very dumb and very very small. their voracious eaters, but really don't know what's edible. sometimes, they can cheat death with their dumb luck. other times, the luck runs out and they have to roll on the "Kobold Horrible Death Chart". Usually this results in a random implosion, explosion, a meeting with Vor, a meeting with Chuck Norris, picked apart by chickens, explosive flatulence, and any other numerous horrible way to die that the Mayor (the referee) can come up with.

so, should i play this game?

why are you still here? GO PLAY IT!

now that my questionnaires are up for the Dread scenario "Little Shop on Skid Row", i will be spending some time typing up the actual scenario. i will be posting it here within the week, so stay tuned and good gaming.

Dread Questionnaire #9

another for Little Shop on Skid Row

Con Artist

How old were you the first time you were arrested, and why?

When and what was the last job you held down?

Why do you think your so good at conning people?

Who have you made connections with and why have you maintained that relationship?

What is your favorite con?

Who is your favorite type of mark?

What items do you find indispensable in your line of work?

How long have know known the the police are actively searching for you?

What distinguishing feature do you have that has gotten you recognized and ruined a few of your cons?

One of your normal “shills” had gone missing. How does this make you feel?

Why did you try to leave town?

How long has it been since you've seen your wife and kids? Do you miss them? Do you regret your decision to leave?

What's you name?