Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Test cover for Future Releases

With the new year comes a new format! Pre-existing adventures will keep their old covers, however, all new adventures will be in a similar vain to this test cover.

Thoughts?


Happy New Year everyone! See you next year!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Quick Note - King of Cards!

Well ... maybe not. A side project I'm working on.


With any luck they'll be approved by the time I get back from vacation and I'll be able to order them for the "client" before deadline.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quick Note - Patron Supported Adventures will resume!

A really quick note as I go out to a Christmas party with the wife: Starting tomorrow I will once again be picking up the pen and creating five-minute adventures and the One-Page Romps this blog was (for a little while at least) known for.

I won't get much hammered out this month, but expect at least two winter themed adventures ... I got permission to go to my writing hole tomorrow night (also known as Books-a-Million) so expect one by Friday!

On another note, I will be at Spring MEPAcon in Scranton, PA and there will be at least 1 Eldritch Shadows playtest ... you've been warned.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Eldritch Appendix N

Some other blogger are posting their own personal Appendix N's either for their home campaigns or for their releases. So I figured that I would jump onto the wagon and hitch a ride! Eldritch Shadows (formerly Basic Modern) is very fairly formed from my childhood in the 80s and 90s and as such is heavily influenced by television Shows that existed at the time.

1. Beyond Reality

I watched this between the ages of 10 and 11 on USA network and from it gained one of my first crushes in Nichole DeBoer (Otherwise known as Ezri Dax of DS9). The show's mix of investigations and weird paranormal stuff that wasn't as overly dark or science-y as X-Files really matched with my likes and has kept with me since. This is one show that I wish hulu or netflix would actually pick up so I could watch it.

2. Poltergeist: The Legacy

For a year in the mid-90s my family had Showtime. This show and SG-1 were the main draws for me and I would typically race to watch every new episode I could. I was really drawn again to the "hidden" supernatural world and the team aspects of the show. Luckily for those of us in the States the show is available on Hulu.

3. Simon R. Green's Ghost Finders Series

A relatively recent addition, the Ghost Finder's series has the witty dailogue and brisk pace I've come to appreciate about Green's style. The series about a group of trendy, witty Paranormal Investigators who gripe about everything under the sun was one of the main pushes to finally get me to start thinking of modern paranormal roleplaying games.

4. Kolchak: The Night Stalker


When I was really little we lived in a farmhouse that was converted into an apartment in the middle of nowhere (honestly the place should have been condemned). As such cable was impossible and the days of satellite receivers NOT being the size of mini-vans was still years away. We got 2 channels on the antenna receiver and one of them player 2 episodes of Kolchak every day during the summer (right after Bewitched). I've heard stories of British children hiding behind sofas during Doctor Who ... well this was my Doctor Who. In 2005 they remade it with slick and sexy people ... it was horrible.

5.Dark Matter Novels

I've spoken before of how much I love TSR/WOTC's Dark Matter setting but truth be told I never played it. Until the d20 Modern version of the setting I never owned it and until e-bay I never saw the Alternity version of the setting. What I did have were the three novels released by WOTC in the early 2000s. I've read this books about 10 times each and with each reading am reminded how cool this would have been to play in! A setting where all the conspiracies are real, aliens, ghosts, Altanis, ancient relic machines ... makes me wish that the final 2 novels would have seen a paperback release instead of a digitial only released (stupidly back when people needed to be glued to a computer to read it*).

Out of the three books the first "In Hollow Houses" was the best with "In Whispers Call" being an amazing second.

*Seriously if anyone has the digital only books and would like to slip them to me ...

Quick Note - The Next Big Project - Eldritch Shadows

In the next three days Genius Loci Games will launch its very first kickstarter for a Swords & Wizardry Compatible adventure/sandbox/mini-setting. The resulting product should ship by June/July of next year (2015) ... depending on the success of that project I have a second lined up and now that I've received the permissions I needed for the cover art I can announce it.

Being written on the side right now and planned for a kickstarter in July/August of 2015 is my BasicModern supplement/setting for Swords & Wizardry. Basic Modern has been re-titled to Eldritch Shadows. Material for this supplement has previously been released and can all be found here in one fashion or another.

Fingers crossed folks! Fingers crossed!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Quick Review - Wanted by Assassin Games

Wanted
Wanted is a 23 page collection of extremely short "Adventures" for 5e and goes for $1.99. The description from the drivethrurpg listing states:

Written for the most recent edition of the most popular fantasy role playing game! This supplement is a collection of 10 very short adventures meant to be dropped into an existing low-level campaign. Each short adventure should provide enough material for a single session of play.
- The Raven: the rich are being targeted by a nimble thief, and a bounty has been placed upon their head. The true identity of the culprit is a shocking surprise.
- Mrs. O'Leary's Basement: clear some rats out of a basement. How noble a quest for heroic adventurers.
- A Vermin Problem: a plague boils up from the sewers, and the city guard is paying for each rat slain. Of course, they're paying more for an end to the problem.
- Dweller in the Dark: the local crypts have become a haunt by a ghoulish creature.
- The Unfinished Tower: flying menaces have decided to move into a tower before construction is finished.
- Grapes of Wrath: rare vintages were stolen, and someone is paying to have his wine recovered.
- Farmer's Lament: livestock are being slain, crops are being trampled, and something is leaving large holes in the fields at night.
- Death from Above: the streets are no longer safe after sundown, and a vicious killer is targeting people caught outdoors.
- Lingering Regrets: a man is haunted by his crime.
- A Knight's Blade: a stolen sword during a tourney threatens a knight's standing.
Additionally this supplement provides optional rules involving chase scenes, and hazards that may befall characters that venture into the sewers.

The "adventures" are really nothing more than a series of low-level encounter areas that are quite easy to pepper around the game world and are pretty easy to insert into nearly any homebrew or published setting. The collection is nicely presented, with graphic design elements that aren't hard on the eyes but also has nearly no artwork. Most of the "adventures" range from 1 to 1.5 pages and are very tidily done. The pdf also includes some new rules for chase scenes and sewer hazards which are decently done and quite fun. The only issue being that the referred to tables seem to be missing from my copy (however, this is easily fixed on the fly). Fun as the rules may be with the release of the Dungeon Master's Guide they're rather pointless.

As for the "adventures" themselves they're rather fun, if not overly short, and offer a nice diversion from a long campaign.  They do, however, require a lot of work on the part of the DM as they're as bare bones as possible offering a few location hints, tactics for the enemy and a quick overview of the situation. Still, out of the collection "The Knight's Blade" is my favorite as it can easily be expanded and turned into an entire session on its own due to the need for investigation and detective work on the part of the PCs.

Finally there are a few handouts/props for the players to lead them to the "adventures" that have a great sense of production value and really lend to immersion into the world.

Scale: 3.5 out of 5. I would recommend picking it up if for no other reason then to pick it apart for interesting side-quests or downtime killers for a long standing crew.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Queue

Recently through means of gifts, grab bags, and pure luck I've added greatly to my RPG collection. In the past week I've received through contests and gifts from followers and friends the following PDFs:

Numenera
The Strange
13th Age
Dungeon World
Cartoon Action Hour Season 3

I've also been lucky enough for friends and family to gift me the following in glorious murdered tree format:

Pacesetter  -  Cryptworld which was written by the man whose cows keep killing my Library group (I speak of you +Tim Snider !)
Shadowrun Fifth Edition
Dragon Warriors
Dark Dungeons
Pathfinder Gamemastery Guide

A lot of reading is on my table. I've begun to skim each of the books and so far out of the PDF collection I'm digging 13th Age and CAH3 the most. Dungeon World feels like it is trying too hard to me and Numenera is just ... huge ... I want to give it its proper due but I feel this massive tome would have been better served by a physical copy.

I'm really loving the simplicity of CAH3 and I'm dying to get my hands into its guts and create some awesome for it. My daughter has been clamoring for a new game since her S&W game ended a month ago and she isn't really feeling Hero Kids anymore so this might be a good call. I'm thinking of developing something along the line of Galaxy High but with middle school kids or one of the least known 80s cartoons that I loved; Kidd Video.

For me, I'm enjoying the writing of 13th Age more than anything else. I've yet to gain an option yet on the mechanics or game style it promotes, but the writing is fun and loose and I like the concept of the Icons. On the print side, I've been reading Dragon Warriors on the recommendation of a few other blogs ... I don't know what to think of it. It seems like it would be fun, but like my 30 minutes of trying to figure out action resolution in Cryptworld it is costly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quick Note - I summon a Fairy ... Like Tinkerbell!

Much to Codename: The Wife's chargin my three-year-old daughter has expressed an interest in gaming after watching/sitting in on a few of my older daughter's Swords & Wizardry game (if you want some details on this game listen to the latest Save or Die's e-mail section). Being that she is only three (a rather smart three-year-old but none-the-less, three) I figured I would play a game of +Justin Halliday's Hero Kids with her.

I didn't use a specific adventure or even give her a character, I just gave her the dice and gave myself some and told her she was in a large castle that was dark and spooky. Much of the twenty minutes of game was exploration and puzzle solving. However, near the end she looked under a bed and was attacked by a giant evil cat (with only one, yucky yellow eye). My daughter bolted, running from the cat at top speed. Unfortunately she ran into a dead end, and was trapped by the cat.

"What do you, Roe?"

"I ... I make a fairy appear!"

"Ummm ..."

"A Fairy ... like Tinkerbell!"

I was a little stunned, I figured she'd attack it or cast a normalish spell since she likes fantasy stuff ... nope, she summons a fairy. I didn't want to break flow so I just rolled with it.

"Okay, Roe." Hand her the dice. "Roll!"

She an I both roll, her magic (I decided) was 2 dice and the Cat's defense was 1 dice. My daughter won  with a 6 and 5 over my 2. She summoned the fairy.

"Okay, Roe ... now you have to tell the fairy what you want it to do and roll again."

She rolls first ... because hey my kids and following directions ... ha!

I roll too and get another 2.

"Okay fairy!" My daughter says and points into the open air. "Make kitty nice!"

The fairy shoots forward, sprinkling the cat with magic as it circles around it. The cat only has on life block so the "attack" works and the large evil cat transforms into a cute little kitten. The fairy returned to my daughter and vanished. The game ended with her picking up the kitten and petting it.

I was a fun little game and Hero Kids works especially well with such stream of thought gaming ... my daughter left the table telling me she wants to make a dragon appear next time ... oh boy.

So now my daughter is watching/playing with her MLP: FiM toys and I'm sitting at my desk trying to figure out some bloody rules for a summoner hero for Hero Kids!

Post Script - I'm thinking of using the Pet Cards Justin has already released and allowing the player to pick six pets. If the player's magic outshines the defender's defense the summon is successful and the pet comes into play.

A Summoner can only have one pet at a time and can make no attacks while the pet is in play.
Attack: Summon Pet
Special Actions:  Quick Call - Call your pet to you. It heads in a straight line to your side, making 1 dice attacks to all enemies between the two of you.
Bonus Actions: Best Friends - Gain 1 extra dice to defense when adjacent to summoned pet.
Inventory and Skills: Lore (animals), Food, Food, Gold

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Quick Note - Pyramid of the Forgotten King and other News

It sure has been a quiet month for the spirit of this blog hasn't it. With the chill winds washing over the land, school projects for the fourth grade year, and an actually gig for a third party company (more on that later) the spirit of the blog has gone into a quiet sleep as its master works his fingers off.

As I said on google+ on Monday MEPAcon was amazing and the adventures I ran there were well received! Assault's 5e version was a hit and I hope to revisit that version of Usarm soon ... however, for me the true hit was Pyramid of the Forgotten King. I was very scared running that adventure and while I did end up losing a player to boredom (or play style differences I'm unsure) I gathered a lot of supportive and constructive comments from the group as a whole ... enough so that I am going to go ahead and within the next three weeks to start a kickstarter for the project!

Wait ... WHAT?!

As it stands at 90% completion Pyramid of the Forgotten King is 30 pages long of nothing but text ... of course this is an alpha version of the adventure and some of what I learned at MEPAcon will be added or removed after my 3rd party project is complete (so mid-December). I've already started contact the artists and cartographers I would like to involve in the project, getting very rough estimates on the amounts of money needed for their work. I still have some more math to do ... but I think the current price point I have in mind works. 

No details on who is involved yet because I'm still working on some of that and others I haven't formally contracted yet. Needless to say I am liking the choices I have so far made!

In other news I am very busy finishing my first Pathfinder adventure for a certain quarterly adventure magazine! I'm having great fun with it and can't wait to see what the response if from the crew in charge of said magazine ... Speaking of Pathfinder anyone willing to look over a manuscript for me and give me some feedback before I submit?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Quick Note - Valentine's PIE

I'm currently plotting (between two other projects) my next PIE adventure with the modified rules I've been working on since last week. This one will feature the PIE team having to time travel to February 14th, 2016 in order to avert the end of the world.

Given how many times The Real Ghostbusters time traveled I feel no problem having time travel in an adventure. My biggest worry is that no one will get the reference in the plot of the adventure.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Quick Note - The Great Genius Loci Sale Part II is Live!

The second great Genius Loci Sale is up and running over at e-bay. Take a look and if anyone finds something they like, watch it or bid on it! I'm actually almost out of game books, but I have hundreds of Manga that are just sitting around. I've been collecting since the mid 90s so ask and I may have it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Quick Note - The First Great Genius Loci Ebay sale is Over!

The first sale is over and the funds gained from the sale of a good chunk of my old rpg collection has netted (with aid from my rpgnow sales for October) me half of the funds I need for the phantom bill I wrote of last week.

As such I will be placing a second selection up on ebay tonight at some point. Like the previous sale it will be a lot of 3.x edition stuff but I may also add in my Army of Darkness Roleplaying Game and my Sixth Edition of CoC.

The actual list right now is:

Lot One:

d20 Menace Manual
d20 Modern
Urban Arcana

Lot Two: (Not actually a lot)

Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition Spell Compendium

Lot Three:

Dungeons & Dragons 4e Forgotten Realms Players Guide
Dungeons & Dragons 4e Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide (w/ Map insert never removed)

Lot Four:

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Players Handbook II
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Dungeon Masters Guide II
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Monster Manual II

Lot Five:

d20 Apocalypse
d20 Cyberscape
d20 Future
d20 Future Tech

Those are the next batch in a nutshell all have been shelf kept an are in extremely good condition with the 4e books have some minor scraps from initial shipping. Honestly kind of said to see the d20 stuff go. I spent a lot of time hunting those books down back in the day and I have a lot of good memories with them ... but, I now have pdfs ...

If anyone wants these before I set up the auction tonight get a hold of me and I'll see if we can work something out privately. Also if anyone has any starting price suggestions I'd gladly take them, I received a few messages after the fact from the last sale about how cheap I made the books.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Play Report - Ghosts R Not Us!

Just finished running a game of PIE at the local shop. We ran the first adventure "Easy as PIE" and everyone was new to mini-six/D6 so there was a steep learning curve, but overall everyone picked it up really quickly ... although there were calls to let people use skills for strange things that I allowed to a certain extent. The entire adventure took about an hour and a half with one break and some explanation of rules like the use of Hero Points as both health risky die pool.

The PIE team had struggled to get the local NEPA Franchise started due to the city's high tax rate, and questions from the main branch about needing another PIE franchise so close to the main branch in NYC. After some negotiation with the local government the PIE team agreed to eventually investigate the Masonic Temple and city library for free and to neither dismiss or endorse the current mayor in the next campaign.

After setting up shop in an old electrical station the team enjoys several weeks of media attention and appearances at local events before the whole thing dies off leveling them bored and clientless. After a dozen or so prank calls the team finally gets a gig up in the back woods of "nearby" Hawley. The owner of a local gas station wants to hire the team to investigate a bunch of weird happenings  in his gas station over the last six months. He doesn't believe in ghosts or any of that "Crap" and thinks the employees are secretly trying to unionize. However, last night his 3rd-shifter was nearly drowned by his own mop bucket and the entire staff has refused to come in because of it. The owner, Lewis Digby, promises to pay double the going rate to get the issue taken care of and his employees back on the job, ASAP.

After some minor debate (who the hell wants to willingly go to Hawley?) the team suits up and heads out, arriving at the gas station well beyond the setting of the sun. Lewis is there waiting for the players when they arrive. Unfortunately before anyone has a chance to talk a giant dog-like creature built out of burning gasoline forms from the four gas pumps and after attempting to scare the Team (causing the youngest member to break for the car) goes after Digby.

"We should help him."
"nope, he hired us to investigate the gas station, not the parking lot."
"Dude if he dies we don't get paid!"
"And he faxed the accidental death waiver, we'll still get paid!"
The two Walk over to the doors to the gas station and find them locked. After more arguing they decide that Lewis probably has the key and the it would melt if the dog should eat him. So charging up their electron blasters they let lose!

(This was the first issue we had. Combat was clunky and mildly confusing. nothing not easily handled by a master of the d6 system ... which I am not).

During the time leading up to deciding on attacking the beast, Digby had gotten to his SUV but wasn't fast enough to get going. As the team joins the battle the great hound is using the SUV as a chew toy. The gas pumps blow up, the pole sign gets destroyed and Digby and his SUV get through a block away.

(A lot of Hero Points/Brownie Points were lost in the course of this battle!)

After the smoke clears the players find Digby in the forest heading under a bramble of poison ivy. He swears to play triple and leaves in search of his SUV after handing the team the keys to the store front.  Entering the station the players are greeted by floating objects that seem to take a keen interest in attempting to beat the player's heads in.

After some investigation into the slimified sluishie maker and the players destroying it with a blast of their electron blasters the team finds its way to the bathrooms, where two of them were grabbed and swirlied by toilets and losing one point each to their Charm rolls. After this some news paper clippings and an old lunch, all about a dead mechanic named John was found and the freezer (containing a second ghost attack) invented.

Making it to the garage and the final battle the players spent ALL of their brownie to convince the spirit haunting the place to try and get his boss caught smuggling drugs and letting him (the ghost) move on. The ghost agrees and the team spends a week gathering evidence away from Digby. Finally the man is arrested and the ghost passes on, but not before telling the team of a small safe under the gas station with 10s of thousands of doller stored in it.

All in all a good game ... I know I have some things to work on for future but over all very fun!

Now bed!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Quick Note - I seem to like Circles

Already planning another PIE release in the future and today with what little free time I had I did this simple little diddy for possible use.

The other thing I  was thinking was calling it "The Real PIE"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quick Note - They're Ready to Believe You!

Found a few things out among the wilds of the web recently that are really awesome. The first is this set of Paranormal Exterminators and their gear from Crooked Dice. Really awesome designs that would go great with the franchise kit recently released by the Nerdy Show. Both of these things of course would go great with Easy as PIE and a certain pdf release that will be shared tomorrow!

So go check these things out and get to busting! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Quick Note - The Genius Loci Great Ebay Sale!

So as almost anyone who has read the blog knows I lost my job back in August. Since then my family has managed to stay afloat through a combination of my freelance work, my individual sales, my wife's pay and my military disability (gained through getting hit by a wrecking ball moving at 20mph) .

Unfortunately things have taken a bad turn ... I won't go into details, but suffice it to say I need have gained a bill I didn't know would exist. As such I have put up the vast majority of my roleplaying game collection on ebay ... right now it is mainly my 3.5 stuff, but it will grow in the coming days.

I ask only for a look to be taken and if anything I have up interests you or someone you know then please bid or spread the word.

Thanks!

ebay auctions

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quick Note - Halloween Adventure Voting has Closed

The Genius Loci Samhain adventure voting has closed and the winning adventure is: A New Basic Modern Adventure with 47% of the vote!

I'm already working on the outline and I should have this up for Thursday next so that you can all run it by Halloween Weekend!

Breakdown:

A new adventure for Basic Modern847%
A Sci Fi tell on a derelict Ship (Explorers)424%
A Fantasy Tale of Vampires and Crypts (S&W)741%
A new adventure for Basic Modern847%
Nothing, take a break you damned workaholic!212%

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Patron Supported 5-Minute Adventures - Easy as Pie

With Halloween right around the corner and the release of The Nerdy Show's Franchise Kit earlier this week I decided to whip out some old .pdfs, look over a Anti-Paladin's Mini Six system and hit the bricks running ... away from some ghosts!

Typically my Patrons would get this 24 hours ahead of the blog, but today ... well, today is not going so well and I wanted to maybe make some people out there happy (they do still get the cleaner pdf version though!)! So strap on your proto ... I mean Electron Blaster and bust some Ghos ... Paranormal Entities!

Easy as PIE

A frighteningly Fun Adventure for 4 to 6 Characters!

Setting Introduction and Rules modification.

Ghosts, demons and the things that go bump in the night are real. They're out there, their in your closets, under your beds and in your breakfast cereals. Some place in the world have high concentrations of the paranormal, some have almost none, but everywhere from the forgotten sewers of New york city to the cult infested wastes of Siberia have some paranormal activity. That is were we come in … and maybe, you. We are a loose consortium of franchises started nearly 30 years ago by the original Paranormal Investigations and Extermination team or PIE for short. Since that time, the organization has spread out across the world and has founded dozens of franchisees, and now it is your turn. For as little as $50,000 USD you can become a part of this consortium and fight the good fight against the evils that haunt, terrorize and just plain creep the living out.

Remember, if someone or their family has seen a spook, specter, or ghost, we believe them.

P.I.E. is a game of paranormal horror comedy, a realm in which ghosts and ghouls exist and want nothing more than to scare the living crap out of normal humans … when they're not trying to bring total destruction upon the world … and it is up to you to do Something about it. You are equiped with the proper gear, you have the will to be the one to stand up and do the Something everyone wants. The question is, can those people pay and is will enough when you battle the unknown and have no clue what it is you're supposed to do?

P.I.E. uses the Open d6 rules variation Mini Six and is capable of being played with nothing more than that single pdf. However, as it is with most things there are alternate and variations on the rules presented in Mini Six.
  • Dice cannot be split into individual pips. Its all or nothing.
  • Everyone starts with 20 hero points. These points can be spent to add an extra dice to any action. However, hero points are lost on any “wounded” or above attack. If a player runs out of hero points he or she is considered too exhausted to continue on.
  • Since there are no pips allowed, CP can only be spent in the manner or increasing the total number of die. To this the player needs to spend 10 x Dice# in the skill or attribute he or she is attempting to increase.
  • The wild Die always s has a negative result. The severity of that result depends on how well or bad the player who rolled the dice rolled.

There is also new equipment that P.I.E. team members have access to.

Electron Blaster – A special piece of equipment that allows the PIE. member to interact with and harm nearly any paranormal entity. If the PIE member successfully hits(Range from blaster +5 Difficulty) a paranormal entity (PE) with the Electron Blaster the PE losses 1 tether.
Paranormal Entrapment Device (PED) – A large, disk-like device that can successful capture and contain a PE. When the PE is brought to 0 tether it can be trapped. For the trap to work the PE most be harnessed by at least two electron blaster beams.
Detector – The Detector is a small, hand-held device that allows the PIE member to locate the general direction and power-level of a PD.

The Adventure
The P.I.E. team has been called in to investigate an old gas station off of route 6 in the backwood of the area. The report claims that the small gas station has been experiencing more then a few weird occurrences. The sluishe machine will turn on but none of the slush ever hits the floor, it merely vanishes. Customers have complained that items they pick up are gone by the time they reach their vehicle, and more than once an employee will walk in and find the entire store has been rearranged; Typically by way or sticking (through some means) everything to the ceiling. While these events have been going on for months the owner has ordered his employees to just deal with the issues as they appear. That changed last night when a young employee named Steven was nearly drowned by his own mop bucket.

When the players arrive at the gas station they find a place that should have been condemned and burned into the bowels of hell itself years ago. The windows are dirty, the neon glow of the beer advertisements are barely noticeable under the decades of grime. Most telling however, is that a single vehicle rests in the parking lot of the gas station and a huge “Closed” notice can be seen tapped to the door of the station. Once the players leave their vehicle, the door of the black SUV will open and a large man wiggles out and walks toward the players.

Lewis Digby's family has owned the station for two generations and have seen it through depression, war and the downfall of the coal towns. He is large and somewhat nervous looking, his Hawaiian shirt and shorts slightly too tight for the man's large girth. As he approaches the players anyone who succeeds a Moderate Wits Challenge will notice that Lewis' forehead is beading with sweat and he is looking around nervously. Just as the large man opens his mouth to speak to the players the four gas pumps flare up and catch fire and a roars erupts into the night as the fire start to swirl together.

Paranormal Fire – Might 4 (Brawl); Agility 3 (Throwing); Wit 1 (Search); Charm 1(Intimidate); Perks (3) Heat Wave (all within 5' range must succeed a Moderate Agility Check or suffer 1D damage); Insubstantial; Scare (Succeed a Difficult Charm Check or suffer a Complication for 1 round); Weaknesses (2) Fire; Complex Thought; Attack (1) Fireball (1D damage if successful); Tether 4

The Paranormal Fire seem solely intent on Lewis and unless harmed by the players will ignore them in favor of the large man. Lewis is for one round completely terrified and is only able to babble incoherently. After the first round Lewis will attempt to run back to his car and if successfully run away.
Once the Paranormal Fire is extinguished and if Lewis is still in the area he will offer the PIE team anything if they can remove the threat from his business. If Lewis has vacated one of the PIE team will get a phone call from him stating the same. Either way, after the Paranormal Fire is defeated an eerie fog will encompass the station, emanating from within the station itself.

The unnatural fog is itself a paranormal entity, but not one that has a will, purpose or mind of its own. Any player who makes a successful Moderate Wits check would know that the unnatural fog are the protozoa of the spiritual realm, a near ambient spiritual energy that follows any significant encroachment upon reality. While in the fog the players have a stronger than normal chance of getting separated and lost in the fog, requiring Moderate Wit Check to not do so. The unnatural for extends in a hundred yard radius from the station

The Station

There are three entry points to the station. The main glass doors which stand open and inviting, the garage door (Area 6) which appears to be bolted into the ground and requires a Very Difficult Might Check to open and a rear emergency exit (Area 4) which appears to be torn open, the door itself resting half buried into the sheer rock of the hill behind the station.

The Shop (Area 1)

The convenience area of the gas station is small compared to larger chain stations and features only four aisles, a refrigeration unit and a rack dedicated to adult entertainment. If any of the players happen to use the Detector the device will go “off the charts” and begin to overheat. If the player is not quick enough to turn the Detector off it will catch on fire in their hand.

After exploring the area for a bit the players should find nothing out of the ordinary, if and when they attempt to leave the entire room should begin to shake and get more violent with every step toward an exit the players make. After a few moments of this the items in the convenience area will begin to shoot off the shelves zipping toward the players. Further the sluishe and fountain drink machine will begin to pour onto the floor from its fountain.

The Bathrooms (Areas 2 & 3)

While relatively normal looking rest stop bathrooms, the rooms have been subtle changed by whatever presence is haunting this place. Whenever a player looks into the mirror of either bathroom the mirror will attempt to scare the player requiring a Difficult Charm Check. The toilet paper (to which there seems an infinite amount) will attempt to wrap around and suffocate any player that steps within 5' of the toilets, helping to trip up the players for attack by the Possessed Toilets.

Possessed Toilets – Might 4 (Brawl); Agility 0 (Dodge); Wit 0; Charm 0; Perks (1) Swirly (On any attack that would result in the target losing a Hero Point the Possessed Toilet can force the head of the target into its bowel and flush, causing the target to temporarily lose 1 Charm for the session); Weaknesses (2) Complex Thought; Stationary; Tether 1

Storage (Area 4)

A long narrow corridor jammed on either side with foodstuffs, trail-sized medicines and sodas. The left side of the area appears to have been savaged and all that remains are the shredded boxes and containers that once peacefully existed here. The back emergency door to the station appears to have been ripped open and thrown into a nearby hill.

A Very difficult Wits check will reveal an old news paper clipping from a year ago. Must of the clipping is unreadable due to various stains and rips but what is legable states:

The recent tragedy at the Digby Family Gas Station has left the community in shock as mechanic Jack Umbrige is mourned and local investigators search for answers in the station's garage where Jack was fou …. “

Freezer (Area 5)

The metal freezer room houses the ice cream, cold drinks and other things in need of freezing and refrigeration. When the players enter this area the door behind them will lock(Very Difficult Might Check to force open) and the freezing mist will grow, cutting visibility down to a mere three feet. The Temperature dips causing the need for a Difficult Might Check. If the players fail the take a -1D penalty to an Attribute of their choice.

The Freezer has become the home of a Personification, a type of PE that is the personification of an emotion, thought-type and so on. In this case the Personification is that of Gluttony. The PE has no eyes, no nose, nothing but a semi-spherical bod, an over-sized mouth with razor sharp teeth and four overly long spindly arms. The PE will ignore the players unless the players attempt to interact with it or any of the foodstuffs in the Freezer.

Ice Cream GluttonMight 2 (Brawl); Agility 3 (Dodge); Wit 1; Charm 2; Perks (3) Insubstantial, fly (60 ft/round); Slimed (target must make a Moderate Charm Check or suffer -1d penalty to Charm for the scene); Weaknesses (1) Salt (Burn away 1 Tether on unsuccessful Very Difficult Wit Check); Tether 3

If the Personification is defeated the freezing mist will dissipate and the door will naturally unlock, freeing the players from the freezer. If the players decide to investigate the freezer a Moderate Wits Check will reveal a half frozen brown lunch lunch bag containing a half eaten bologna sandwich, three Oreos and an apple. There is also a handwritten note with several hearts drawn on it stating “I can't wait for our vacation! Lara xoxoxo” In large block letters the name Jack is written on the outside of the bag.
The Garage (Area 6)
At first glance the garage looks to be the most normal thing about the gas station. The clean floor sports relatively few stains and all the tools have been neatly polished and sit in regular rows. Aside from the tools and implements of the mechanic's trade the area is empty. A Very Difficult wits investigation will reveal the five pentacles that have been smeared on the garage's four pillars and back wall.

After a few minutes of investigation the garage will shake requiring an Easy Agility Check for the players to remain upright. When the garage stops shaking it will look different. Three cars are on lifts about ten feet from the ground, while a third lift only has part of a car on it, the back end of the car is on the ground, a man's body pinned under it, struggling to move as a pool of black blood forms around him.

He killed me” A voice booms through out the garage as the scene plays on.

Lewis Digby walks through one of the players from out of the shadows and kneels down next to the figure. “I'll never understand it.” The man says, his voice strangely high pitched. “You could have been a partner Jack, could have been rich in your own right.” Lewis pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one, putting it to Jack's grimacing lips. “Just had to keep quiet about it and I would have cut you in … but telling the feds ...” Lewis shakes his head.

I didn't think he'd find out.” The voice booms. “Thought I could do the right thing and get enough to bet Lara and I out of here.”

Well, I own the local cops … or their women … you'll be a tragic accident, nothing more and the case … poof,” Lewis empathizes this by blowing out a whiff of smoke. “All gone, like smoke in the wind.” Lewis turns to leave. Oh, and don't worry, I'll take care of that pair of legs you keep around.”

I JUST WANTED TO DO THE RIGHT THING!”

The cars begin to shake and contort, the sound of tearing metal strikes the air. In a moment of impossibility the cars slam together meld and change into the form of a giant machine ape.

The players can try to talk Jack down but it is too late, he has been too overcome by his own hatred and need for retribution that all he knows now is the destruction of the man who killed him.

Car-Golem JackMight 6 (Brawl); Agility 3 (Dodge); Wit 1; Charm 2 (Intimidate); Perks (2) Armored (+3 to Electron Blaster Difficulty); Scare (Succeed a Difficult Charm Check or suffer a Complication for 1 round);; Weaknesses (1); Tether 8

When Jack is defeated the cars will come crashing down but before they hit the room will return to normal. An investigation of the station will show that everything is back to how it should be (save the mess the PIE team made). Any readings from the detector will come back negative as the spiritual energy that soaked the station has dissipated.

Concluding the Adventure

The PIE team now knows what truly happened to Jack, but have no concrete evidence to pull against Lewis Digby. If the players should confront Lewis with this new information he will attempt to buy their silence for a thousand dollars a month. If the players don't bite he'll attempt to have them killed. Alternatively the players could keep their mouths shut and just accept the payment offered for their services.

The adventure leaves a few questions hanging in the air. Can a ghostly crime scene count as evidence? More importantly, who or what ripped off the rear door to the station? Was it connected to the current case or something else that was drawn by the large amounts of spiritual energy that had soaked into the station since Jack's death. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quick Poll - Halloween Incoming!

First I would like to say that I really, really wish that Google +'s new poll feature would be integrated into blogger. However, there is no use to lament what is not so I have instead created a survey VIA Google Forms!

Remember folks, Samhain is coming!

What should Genius Loci Do for Samhain?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Quick Note - This Grand World

This morning I played a quick game of "Grand World" with 3 other people who will remain nameless. 

What is Grand World? 4th Edition D&D basically but used as a subsystem. Esentially Grand World is a Fantasy MMO in which is "leaking" into the real world. The players are normal MMO gamers who have been affected by the leaks and are now investigating them in game while still trying to be "normal" MMO gamers. 

Today's game was a micro-dungeon located in the fields of Gloomwood, the last place the Half-Elf Bard was before a TPK that ended with her waking up in a real-world hospital with elf ears. The party found the Dungeon Boss and discovered it was out of synch with the game granting it far more power than normal for a low-level Boss. The session ended with the Defensive Fighter getting hit by a critical and finding himself wounded in the real world.

So far I've found this to be a wonderful way of using 4e because it maintains the tactical aspect of the system while also inviting roleplay from the players in a meta-game kind of way.  If I was truly interested I think I would delve deeper into this idea. As it stands though it is a fun way to spend an early Saturday morning before my family wakes up.

Now, here's the big question: How the hell am I still awake after +Robert Quintero's utterly awesome 5e game kept me up to 0115 this morning and "Grand World" started at 0430?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Quick Note - We Need a Thunder Rift Appreciation Day!

The more I delve into TSR's Thunder Rift setting for Basic D&D the more I fall in love with it. This is understandable as my young self was the target audience for this setting back in the early 1990s. So as I read Knight of the Newts and the Thunder Rift setting guide the more I want to run a game in that setting and so off to the internet I go ... only to find a lot of dislike for it. Over at Dragonsfoot the consensus seems to be that it is a flawed and unplayable setting and while there is an entire forum dedicated to the setting it is small and hasn't been used in nearly a year.

So I have decided to say that we need to have a Thunder Rift Day! A Day in which we can all go "hey look! This is pretty damn cool!" a day of stories from game sessions long past, a day of NEW sessions in old modules ... or mayhap new modules ... to relive or rekindle interest in a smaller setting.

So, what say you OSR? What say you Dungeons & Dragons gamers? Shall we do this thing?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Quick Note - Gazetteer 13 - The Shadow Elves released & Other News!

Should have played the Dwarf
Gazetteer 13 - The Shadow Elves is probably the one Mystera Gazetteer that I have been waiting on since WotC started releasing the Basic edition Gazetters last year. Back in my non-gaming days, when video games ruled the world for me, the Sahdow Elves of the Capcom Mystara Games were the most intriguing part of the story to me. They were also the part that I couldn't just nudge into one of my Tolkien corners of understanding. They were different and cool just a people who were left wide open for me to ponder and imagine about.

Phantom Tribe, Emoing the Emo before there where emos.
Eventually the Shadow Elves began to form in my mind as the Phantom Tribe from El - Hazard and when I began roleplaying with 3.5 back in the early 2000s it was these Shadow Elves that made appearances in my Mystara (I talked about my Mystara back when I talked about Gaz1).

At the moment obtaining the book is a bit of a no-go f
or me but it is there in my wishlist ready and waiting for me to grab it and read it so that I can finally learn how much my Shadow Elves and the official ones differ!


Gazetteer 13 - The Shadow Elves was released yesterday on DnDclassics.com for $4.99.

In other news I received a package in the mail yesterday with no return address and no information regarding who sent it. So, to whoever sent me the Dark Matter Adventure "The Killing Jar" I have to give a huge thank you to you!

The collection is almost complete!
Now if only WotC would fulfill my two wishes of Alternity stuff on OBS sites and POD of classic books!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Patreon Supported Adventures - Torture Chambers of the Inquisitor

The Torture Chambers of the High Inquisitor

Background
In a medium sized trade city a large number of homeless have gone missing. The local governor would normally pay no mind to this as it relieves the city of what he considers to be riff-riff. However, the people of the lower districts have come together to appeal aid and have unwittingly caused a ruckus in the noble districts in the process. With no recourse but to investigate or throw the noble district into chaos the governor has sent out a missive to any foolhardy enough: Find and stop whatever is taking the homeless and if need be rescue those who can be saved.

Adventure Hooks
Missive of the Troubled Governor. The missive of the governor has reached the party and eager for the reward (500 gp) and agree to the quest.
An Old Friend. One of the party members once journeyed with and formed a fast friendship with an old dwarf named Bomgi. After the two split to go on their separate roads Bomgi ran into some troubled times and ended up as one of the homeless forgotten on the streets of the city. Only recently did the player discover their old friend's fate but before they could make it to the city Bomgi was among the many who vanished.
An Old Wound. The party's cleric or paladin (or both if they serve the same god) receive word from their order about the recent activity in the city and request that they investigate. The letter tells the sad story of a Church Inquisitor who fell to darkness. The Order believes that someone has found the Inquisitor's dark secret and is copying the fallen Inquisitor's final, horrible acts. The Church requests that the copy-cat be eliminated and that any link to the Church be removed.
Book of Secrets. It is rumored that long ago a great dark mage created a book that in its pages held every dark secret of any individual alive or dead. All the owner of the book had to do was whisper the name of the person and that person's secrets would be theirs to know. The dark mage supposedly vanished from the city ages ago, leaving behind all his worldly goods except for the Book of Secrets.

Adventure Set-Up
The Torture Chambers have a grand total of seven areas. The seventh area is locked away until the players find the five keys to unlock it. The halls connecting the chambers are patrolled by the victims of the Inquisitor. Every 500 feet the characters have a 3 in 6 chance of encountering one of the following:

Roll (D6)
Encounter
1
2d4 Pyre Zombies
2
2d8 Skeletons
3
1d10 Leper Zombies
4
1d6 Guests
5
1 Shadow
6
2d8 Zombies

Area 1. The Stairs
This area is a stairway that leads up into the sewers of the city and a door that is locked by five keyholes arranged into the shape of a pentagram. Once the characters have the five keys those keys must be placed in the corresponding holes to the rooms the keys were located in. Should a character not put the keys in correctly they will be struck by a lightning spell trap.

Area 2. The Room of the Hanging Coffins
Dozens of hanging metal coffins dangle from the ceiling of this area and lay on their sides upon the ground. The floor and some of the cages have ancient moldy bones. A single living homeless person, a dwarf named Bomgi, is trapped in one of the hanging coffins. When the players enter he will tell them to run. As soon as he finishes speaking four of the coffins will attack the players. Should Bomgi survive the attack and is freed by the players he will request that he come along to aid them (treat as hireling by rules of choice)
Enemies – Hanging Coffins(8): HD 4: AC 2[18]; Atk Slam 1d6; Move 6; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; SPC on a successful attack the Hanging Coffin has a 4 in 6 chance to attempt to capture its target within itself (save negates). While trapped the target receives ½ the damage the Hanging Coffin does from any attacks. While trapped the target cannot move or make any actions that are not vocal.
Treasure – Approximately 25 gp worth of gold and jewels litters the ground.
Key Location – rear wall being held by a skeleton.
Area 3. Room of Desperation.
A richly appointed chamber with fine carpets and tapestries. A side board against one wall has liquors of ever y variety available to drink as the players please. However, these bottles are laced with a poison that will magically over hydrate the drinker's body until they explode. When the character's enter this room they are enchanted by a spell that rings the door. This spell causes them to be overly thirsty. Any supplies they may have do not sate the thirst they feel. The effects of this spell last twelve hours. If a character succeeds a saving throw against either spell three times in a row he is disenchanted and cannot be re-enchanted in that way for twenty-four hours.
Enemies – None
Treasure – None
Key Location – Resting on the sideboard.

Area 4. Room of Impalement
Large narrow spikes cover nearly every inch of this chamber. Hundreds of bones line the floor and a few more recent bodies slowly rot on the spikes. Once the characters are in the room the spikes come to life and writhe like snakes as they try to impale the characters.
Enemies – Living Spikes (50): HD 4: AC 2[18]; Atk Stab 1d4; Move 0; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240 spc on a to-hit roll of 20 or better the target is impaled on the spike and receives 2d4 damage per round until he is removed from the spike.
Treasure – Approximately 50 gp worth of gold.
Key location – On the floor carelessly dropped among the bones.

Area 5. Room of Giant Rats
This large pit of the room is a squirming mass of giant, rats who have grown large and dangerous in the centuries they have been used as instruments of torture and death. At the mere scent of human or demi-human flesh the two dozen or so giant rats will fly into a frenzy and attempt to devour the nearest character.
Enemies – Giant Rats (24): HD 3; AC 6[13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/120; Special: 5% are diseased.
Treasure – None
Key location – Stuck in the gap of a Giant Rat's teeth.

Area 6. Room of the Wheels
This room is a giant sphere made up of five-foot wide sections of alternately moving wheels. Each wheel has 30 blunt, metal shafts extending from it at a distance of fifteen feet. The rooom itself spins as well at a rate of every three minutes, turning to a different angel. If hit by a shaft the player is knocked off balance for 2d6 damage and must succeed a saving throw or fall helplessly into the device and receive an additional 2d6 damage for every round he fails a saving throw.
Enemies – None
Treasure – None
Key location – Stuck against the center most shaft.

Area 7. Inquisitor’s Quarters
This room is richly appointed. The walls are covered in a velvet wall paper and tapestries. From the five walls of the chamber a single faucet breaks through the wallpaper and various other tapestries. If any of these should be turned on it will issue forth blood not water. The Inquisitor is no where to be found until the character have explored the whole room. Once this has occurred the players will be overcome by fog that well be sucked into the form of the Inquisitor. While happy to talk to the characters he soon grows tired of it and attacks.
Enemies – The Inquisitor (Vampire)
Treasures – 250 gp worth in jewels and gold. The Book of Secrets found in a false drawer.

Concluding the Adventure
Should the players be fully successful in their mission they will find that the city has released a breathe it did not know it was holding. The Governor reluctantly pays the characters and sends them on their way with a promise of future employment if their services and talents are needed again. If the characters rescued Bomgi he will beg for the adventurers to take him on as a faithful retainer. The book, while evil, is of little use unless the owner rolls a critical success. Otherwise the book lies.

With the Inquisitor dead the questions that still remain are simple. Why did the torture chamber exist at all, especially if it truly belonged to a good god or goddess. Further who or what turned the Inquisitor into what he was in the end?



Monster Index
Giant Rats: HD 3; AC 6[13]; Atk 2 claws (1d3), 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 3/120; Special: 5% are diseased.
Guest: HD: 2+2; AC: 6 [13]; Atk: Touch (1d4+level drain); Move: 12; ST: 16 Special: Fear, Level Drain CL/XP: 4/120
Hanging Coffins: HD 4: AC 2[18]; Atk Slam 1d6; Move 6; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240; SPC on a successful attack the Hanging Coffin has a 4 in 6 chance to attempt to capture its target within itself (save negates). While trapped the target receives ½ the damage the Hanging Coffin does from any attacks. While trapped the target cannot move or make any actions that are not vocal.
Leper Zombie: HD 1; AC 6[13]; Atk 1 claw or bite (1d6); Move 9; Save 17; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Disease, those slain animate as leper zombies
Living Spikes: HD 4: AC 2[18]; Atk Stab 1d4; Move 0; Save 14; CL/XP 5/240 spc on a to-hit roll of 20 or better the target is impaled on the spike and receives 2d4 damage per round until he is removed from the spike.
Pyre Zombie: HD 2; AC 8[11] or with shield 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon or strike (1d8); Move 6; Save 16; CL/XP 3/60; Special: Immune to sleep and charm, immolation.
Shadow: HD 3+3; AC 7[12]; Atk 1 touch (1d4 + strength drain); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP 4/120; Special: Drain 1 point str with hit, hit only by magic weapons.
Skeleton: HD 1; AC 8[11] or 7[12] with shield; Atk 1 weapon or strike (1d6) or (1d6+1 two-handed); Move 12; Save 17; CL/XP 1/15; Special: none



Monday, October 13, 2014

vampire abilities varient 5e

Last night I went to see +Dracula Untold with my wife (a review tomorrow on Fili Archives) and found the movie a heck of a lot better than any of the reviews that came out on Friday claimed it to be. Yes it was a bit rushed in some places and drawn out in others, but over all it was pretty wicked.

One of the coolest effects in the film was Dracula's ability to become a horde of bats and reassemble at will in an almost instantaneous fashion. This gave the fighting scenes a wonderful constant momentum where the action was always moving forward and never bogged down. To me this is a cool replacement/combination of the traditional mist form/shape change found in a lot of vampire fiction.

The following replaces both Misty Escape and Shape change in the 5e edition of Dungeons & Dragons for Vampires (MM p. 297). 

Colony of Bats. If the vampire is not in the presence of either direct sunlight or running water it can use its action to shift in a colony of Hive-Mind bats. While in this form the vampire can move a rate of 5 feet or 60 feet flying and its stats remain unchanged. If the Colony of Bats attacks a target during this time it counts as a bite attack.

Primal instincts. If the vampire is dropped to zero health points he will shift into his Colony of Bats form and attempt to return to his coffin. During this time he is at disadvantage for all rolls and cannot attack.

Note: post created from my tablet while at my daughters' gymnastics practice. Please forgive any style or spelling issues as this is a rather strange way of doing this.

Note 2: it is perfectly possible to use these variant abilities in OSR material. I would suggest adding a saving throw for a successful Primal Instincts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Maps - Torture Chambers of the High Inquisitor

For an almost done patreon ... a patreon with a huge back log!


This one will be for Swords & Wizardry and is technically a 1-Page Romp.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Quick Note - Still Alive

This past week has been pretty interesting: minor house fire that killed the oven my son getting a pretty nasty fever and my wife's new schedule as a department head. Obviously, this has put a bit of a dampener or pretty much everything going on at Genius Loci Games ... which seems to happen every year at this time ...

That all said I should be back up and running at normal rates this week. I have 3 one page romps in the works an outline for my Halloween adventure that will be my second Basic Modern Adventure and have plans to do layout and mark-up for the September anthology this week.

Never seems to be enough time in the world.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Patreon Supported 5-minute Adventures - The Coming of the Night Train

A little early because the month is nearly done. Below you'll find the Basic Modern adventure "The Coming of the Night Train" made for my WIP Basic Modern source book for Swords & Wizardry. Most, if not all the rules can be found on the blog just do a search for "Basic Modern". Patreon holders, your pdfs have all the rules in it and your monthly anthology will have the rules and the classes.

Enjoy and as always feedback is greatly welcome.

The Coming of the Night Train

Adventure Set-Up

The Alby train station, which has laid vacate since the R&L Railway declared bankruptcy in the late 1940s, has recently entered into the local news and social media spheres as several bodies have been found on the tracks leading to the station. While investigation by local police have determined that the bodies had been moved to the tracks from elsewhere, a few people in town aren't so sure.
Chief among the dissenters to the official investigation is Jacob Greely, the uncle to one of the murder victims who believes that the station must be central to the murders. Unable to find local help and afraid to investigate on his own he hires outside help; the adventurers.

In truth the station is a focal point of magical energies and was the site of an occult experiment nearly a century ago. Since then the train station has collected spirits, ghost and other forms of undead within its walls and has slowly feed on the necrotic power of these otherworldly beings. For at least twenty years the station has been alive … in a sense, and has lured hobos, transients and others who would not be missed to it for reasons dark and yet strangely simple. The Station wishes to become a focal point again … and the coming of the Night Train will make that happen.

The living servant of the Station, a former hobo who now calls himself the Conductor murdered the young men and women who have been found and tied their souls to the rails of that lead to and from Alby station. With the souls of the innocent bound to the station it can now summon the Night Train to it … and if that happens the whole of the area will be warped over time for the Night Train is the Devil's train a form of mobile hell in the modern world.

Adventure Overview

The Coming of the Night Train takes place over three acts. The adventurers mission focuses on investigating the Alby Train Station and discovering by what means it was used in the murder of the victims found nearby. The adventure is planned for only one session, however, as with everything in life human interaction, chance and good times may extend it beyond that time limit or cut it short.

Act One, opens with the players meeting Jacob Greely at a roadside diner outside the town of Alby. Players may quickly figure out that Greely has personal reason for why he thinks the train station is at the center of the murders. Investigation, either through questioning or researching old town newspapers will reveal that Greely was arrested and charged with his girlfriend's murder nearly twenty years before. The players will also be confronted by local police and an FBI investigator who attempt to “scare them off” with threats of impeding an investigation and tampering with a crime scene.

Act Two finds the players at the Alby train station and meeting, very briefly, the Conductor who comes off as a Historical Site Worker who works at the train station while the local government attempts to remake it into a tourist attraction. While in and around the train station the players experience several minor and major hauntings, ending with an attack by Conductor and his death.

Act Three is a race against time as the players are forced to discover how to free the trapped souls before the Night Train breaks into reality while the station does everything it can to stop them from this task and in the process showing just how much of the local landscape it controls. The players also once again come up against Agent Crane who attempts to arrest them but who can possibly be convinced to aid them.

Important NPCs

While it is possible for the players to interact with a number of other characters throughout the adventure (it is strongly suggested the GM have fun with this) the following named NPCs are part of the main story of the game.

Jacob Greely – Uncle to one of the murdered people, Jacob is the employer of the players in this adventure. He is a pouchy, balding man in his mid-thirties, who smells of stale beer and has a slightly wild look in his eyes. Twenty years ago he and his girlfriend went to the Station after a football game to get drunk and make love, she died and he ended up in an Asylum for five years due to his utter believe that the shadows killed her.

Agent Crane – An FBI agent from the Harrisburg branch office, Crane is obsessed with solving the case in hopes that it will get her an appointment to the main branch. Crane is young and athletic and typically very rational. She is afraid that if a third party solves the case she will lose out on her promotion and be stuck at the Field office for the rest of her life.

ACT 1 – A Dark History

Jacob's letter to the adventurers asked them to meet him at an old worn dinner on the outskirts of Alby. On the night the players arrive the ground is wet from a recent storm and the smell of oil and fresh rain mix in the autumn breeze. The parking lot is empty save for a broken looking old pick-up and a glowing reflection of the “Rich's” on the rain-soaked asphalt of the parking lot. The diner itself is a small tin pill-shaped building, the kind that was common in the 1950s. The Red trim is faded and chipping and the metal is tarnished and showing signs of rust. The windows – the ones that have not been replaced by plywood – are fogged from decades of grease and cigarette smoke.

A wisdom-based check with a Success Rating (SR) of 12 will reveal a car partially hidden behind a nearby sign that proclaims “Free Coffee with every Order!”. A Street-Thug or Street-Wizard will recognize this car as an unmarked police vehicle if they notice it or it is pointed out to them.

<table>
The police car is occupied by Agent Crane and a local police officer who is aiding Crane with murder case. If approached, Crane will attempt to use her authority and badge to intimidate the players, but will not inform them as to the reason for her presence. In truth she is there to observe the meeting between Jacob and the players. Her hope is to convince the players (through either reason or strong-arm tactics) to not take the case.
<table>

The inside of the diner is not much better than its exterior. The stench of stale cigarette smoke and ancient coffee wafts through the air in a pungent miasma, mixing with the smells of hamburgers and eggs. The narrow diner is lined with booths that look as if they're rarely cleaned and are covered in graffiti spanning at least two generation. From Somewhere unseen “Hey Jude” plays.

Jacob Greely is sitting near the back of the diner, his back to the wall, his eyes darting wildly around. When he notices the players Jacob will make them over. Despite his jumpy manner Jacob proves to be rather friendly and open with the players. While talking with Jacob the players can discover the following through interaction and roleplay:

  • Jacob is the guardian of Samantha Greely, his brother's daughter. She went missing three months ago and was the last of the victims found.
  • Jacob started to care for his niece after his brother and sister-in-law went missing ten years prior.
  • Jacob is a suspect in the murders but has not yet been formally arrested. This is due to the death of his girlfriend, Kim, twenty years ago.
  • Jacob believes the station is a portal to hell.
  • A total of 6 bodies where found on the tracks, 3 (all males) about a mile north of the station and 3 (all female) about a mile south of the station.
  • The sites were the bodies were found have been taped off by local police and have a patrol attached to them. However, the abandoned train station has been left alone.

The last thing Greely does before leaving the diner is to press a small locket into one of the players' hands. If questioned he'll simply state “I was holding it when I came to, if she had it then maybe ...” Greely. When the players leave they find that their vehicle has been towed and Agent Crane and two police officers are waiting where the vehicle had been parked. Again, Crane attempts to dissuade the players from taking the case, threatening to arrest them if they get in the way of her investigation.

If the players decide to ask questions around town or of the staff inside the diner they won't find much as the town folk aren't very trusting to strangers and are already spooked due to the presence of the FBI and the murders.

  • There's talk of turning the station into a museum like the folks in the Electric City did to bring in tourism. (False)
  • Greely was the star quarterback for the high school football team before he went crazy. (True)
  • Every so often a train whistle, like the ones from the old steam trains, can be heard in the distance. (True)
  • Those kids weren’t actually murdered, its all a hoax by the Sheriff’s department to get Alby attention. (False)
  • Strange lights can be seen at the end of the old train tunnels to the north of the old station. (True)
  • There's an old hobo that leaves in an abandoned boxcar near the tracks who talks to God … and gets replied to. (False)

ACT 2 – Last Stop

The forest of the Allegheny foot hills have long since swallowed up the tracks and train station that once serviced as a major hub for the people of the Alby area. Oak and maple trees fight for precious soil and the cool breeze threatens of another cold rain. The station itself is only fifty yards into the young forest, its old and weathered stone chipping and discolored to a faint moldy yellow. Besides the breeze rustling the autumn leaves there are no sounds that would normally be associated with a forest.

Once the players step foot in the station they notice that despite its age and lack of upkeep it appears very well persevered. No animals have made their dens here, the wood floors are free of all but a few fresh leaves, there is still electricity, and the windows and doors remain intact. While in the Station a number of strange things can possibly occur.

  • No door while remain open for more than six rounds. Even doors that are wedged open will close.
  • Lights, whether electrical or flame, while either burn too brightly or go completely out in six rounds.
  • Every so often a previously closed window will open or an open window will close (hard).
  • The old clock in the Waiting area will chime midnight every twelve rounds, the chimes will sound like they belong to a much larger clock than the small one in the Waiting Area.
  • Any player left alone for more than three rounds in General Waiting will blink and find themselves pulled through time to the 1940s as a unit of soldiers readies to get on a training. To all other players this player is standing utterly still as if in a trance.
  • Any failed SR checks will result in the player seeing shadowy figures in the forest around the old station.
  • Temperatures inside the station fluctuate greatly between extremely cold and extremely hot. The only room that does not seem subjected to this is General Waiting.
  • The distance from one side of General Waiting to the other changes every time the players enter it. From wither Waiting or the Office areas.
  • The toilets in either the Men's or the Lady's Toilet overflow with blood only to quickly disappear.
  • A scream can be heard from the adjoining area and black blood will seep from under the door. When investigated nothing is amiss.
  • A Figure, typically a young girl stands just at the edge of a single player's vision. When that player turns to look a cold wind comes from nowhere to wash over him or her.

While it is the Game Master's realm to decide such things it is recommended that must of these situations only occur once or twice. However, the doors and station clock are recommended to be reoccurring.

Area 1 – General Waiting

Pristine hardwood floors lay bare of any scratch or marking. The smell of pine wafts through the area, barely covering the smell of burning coal and engine grease. Benches line the walls, waiting eagerly for travelers to sit and rest. Four pillars of carved wood hold up the arched roof, each describing two of the levels of Dante's hell.

Besides the random phenomena listed above the reliefs switch pillars on every visit to the General Waiting area. If the players have Greely's locket, a faded chalk outline of a woman's body will appear on the floor after the third time the players enter the area.

Area 2 – Lady's Toilet

The small room is immaculately white, the tiles reaching from floor to ceiling are carved into reliefs of ivy that seem to constantly move and pulse like veins in a body. The old-style pull toilet’s string has been replaced by a gilded noose and the smell of flowery perfume is overpowering.

Besides the random phenomena listed above on the first entrance to this area the players most overcome a SR 15 Constitution check or be overcome by the stench of the phantom perfume. After this first encounter the perfume can still be smelled but is no longer dangerous. During every other visit after the first it is possible that the pulsing ivy reliefs will be replaced with giant cockroaches that will attempt to overtake and cover the player. After several rounds everything returns to normal as if the roaches had never been there.

Area 3 – Waiting

Marble floors echo every foot fall. Old electric lights, shaped and designed to mimic gas lanterns line the walls. All the shutters to the windows have been closed tight. This room appears to be empty save the dozens of benches that line the room, turning the area into four corridors leading to two sets of double doors.

On a random bench is a single briefcase of the style popular in the 1920s, every time the players enter this area the briefcase is on a different bench.

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If the players have figured out the meaning of the tickets found in the Ticket Counter area after the chalk outline appears they may attempt to open the briefcase. However, this will illicit the first aggressive action by the Station. When the players attempt to open the case a woman's voice will be heard whispering “run” just as the Waiting area is filled with deranged looking ghosts dressed in style ranging over a two-hundred year period. If the players do manage to open the case they will find in it a single brass key.

Enemies – Deranged Dead (12)
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Area 4 – Ticket Counter

The ticket counter stands empty of any adornment it once had. The cold, hardwood floors are pristine and slightly reflective like a mirror. The windows overlooking both General Waiting and the Platform are closed, but a soft breeze can still be felt. A single teller window stands open to the Waiting area as if no one ever thought to close the slim glass window that stands latched to the wall beside it.

During the first visit to the Ticket Counter the players will find some money laying on teller window. If any player attempts to pick-up the money a hand from the other side will grab hold of the player and attempt to pull him or her though. If the players look out the teller window they will see nothing but darkness from the Waiting area. If the grabbed player fails an SR 20 Strength Check he or she is pulled through the window (under the bars) and will be dealt 2d6 damage.

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After the chalk outline appears in General Waiting the players will discover three tickets laying on the ticket window. The three tickets have no origin or arrival station but list three trains: Train 2 arriving at 1248, Train 4 arriving at 0610, Train 8 arriving at 1756.

The numbers on the ticket, when placed in the correct order (from earliest arriving to latest arriving) are the combination for the briefcase in General Waiting. Once the players take the tickets the room's door will shut and lock. Whatever players are trapped inside will feel the temperature falling quickly to below 0. A SR 15 Constitution Check will allow the trapped characters to survive several rounds, however the temperature will continue to drop during this time and it is imperative to find a way out. Game Masters are asked to be fair and creative with the results.
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Area 5 – Men's Toilet

The small restroom is covered in tiles of rustic earth tones and smells, new. The sink in the corner drips slightly and the door to the stall is locked tight.

Besides the random paranormal events listed above any player who stare into the mirror over the sink will see a small boy standing halfway in the doorway to the stall. Should the player turn away from the mirror two hands will shoot out from the mirror and grab hold of the players head. If the player succeeds a SR 15 strength check he or she can break away from the hands and nothing else will occur. However, should the player fail the SR strength check they will be pulled into the mirror and replaced by the young boy from the image who will proceed to attack the players with an overly large butcher's knife; this event happens only once. Once the boy is defeated the missing player will be found in the stall of the Lady's Toilet covered in blood and may suffer from a Major Sanity Event (SR 17).

Enemies – Butcher Boy

Area 6 – Offices A

A large oriental rug covers the hardwood of the floor, several large leather easy chairs are scattered in careful appointment around the room and a large ebony desk dominates the far corner, stacked with paperwork as a small desk lamp burns with hellish light.

The first office area looks to have been preserved with time. The first time the players enter this room they will find a large, well built gentleman with iron colored hair and beard. He is dressed in a business suit reminiscent of the height of the railroad and is busily scrapping away at paperwork.

If noticed the man will address the players with a small bit of surprise but eagerly engage them in conversation. The man will introduce himself with a chuckle as “Conductor” and will explain to the players that he is working with the National Park Service and the City Council of Alby to convert the old station into a museum. While happy for the company he does inform the players that currently the station is closed and that they are trespassing. If asked about the ghosts and other weird phenomena he will dismiss it all as superstition. If Conductor is bother too much by the players he will fly into a fit of anger sweeping things off the desk and become threatening.

After the first encounter with Conductor in this area the Offices A will be abandoned during any other visit and the desk clear of anything.

Area 7 Offices B

Large picture windows look out over the track and platform, dozens of small oak desks form four corridors and an old analog clock rests above the door, forever stopped at 6:06:06. A single die-cast type-writer lay on the floor in the center corridor, a piece of paper sticking out of it. The smell of coffee and cigarette smoke fill the air with a small undertone of floral perfume.

Whenever the players are at the door to this area they will be able to hear the sound of someone typing on a typewriter. A SR 18 Wisdom Check will also reveal the sounds of a woman sobbing. Whenever the players enter this area the piece of paper in the type-writer will have one of eight messages typed on to it.
  • it locked us all away ... away into the iron ... the cold, cold iron …
  • tell him I love him still … tell him he is not to blame … tell him he doesn't have to wait … tell him for me …
  • we didn't know what we did … it was only meant to test an idea … only meant to confirm a suspension … the tracks are the key … the tracks are a rouse … the wood holds the memory of our misdeeds.
  • mommy … mommy I'm scared … teddy fell of the platform … mommy why did you push me … mommy …
  • his ring is still here ... he was going to give it too me … find his ring … tell him I love him … my Jacob … tell him …
  • at first it was only animals … found dead by the tracks … birds, dogs, raccoons … nothing strange … but … but then the “accidents” started … god forgive us … god forgive us we know not what we did …
  • hands of ice and cold … he is as much a victim as … the night train comes … the night train comes … the night train comes … soon it … I … we … will have voice … the NIGHT TRAIN COMES
  • I … love … you … mommy … please … please … the train was coming … mommy … mommy I love you … mommy help me up … mommy help me up … mommy … mommy …

If the players should happen to read any of the messages out loud a scream will echo through the offices as the file cabinets and desk drawers fly open and hundreds of pieces of paper beginning to twist and swirling in the room as if carried by tornado and attack the players.

During any visit if the players open any of the drawers or filing cabinets they will find them bare. However, there is a 2 in 6 chance that one of the drawers will hold a high school ring. A SR 10 Wisdom Check will reveal the name “Jacob Greely” on the inside of the band.

Enemies – Paper Storm (6)

Area 8 – Baggage

A plain stone floor lay bare save the drain in the middle. Rust marks flow from the drain to the walls where hooks lay empty save for several mail bags left empty. The smell of mildew and rot fill the air.

There is a 2 in 6 chance that when the players come to this area they will find six bodies on the hooks (three male and three female, all charred as if burned to death). Each with a ticket locked in a cadaveric grip in their hand. Should the player examine the tickets they will find each is for the Night Train with an arrival time of 6:06:06 PM.

If the players attempt to remove the tickets from the grip the dead will attempt to attack the players, ripping themselves from the hooks.

After the first encounter with the bodies any other visit to this area will show a plain room full of empty luggage and mail bags.

Enemies – Burned Dead

Area 9 – Platform

The long platform extends about fifteen feet out from the train station proper and covers the length of the building. The hard wood is painted in forest green with a narrow line of yellow and then another length of red as the platform nears the tracks to indict where travelers should and should not stand. The branches of large ash trees from the far-side of the tracks hang over the platform obscuring the sky.

The first time the players visit this area they will hear a little girl singing from the tracks below. If any player investigates (and crosses the yellow line) he or she will feel hands on his or back and be forcibly pushed onto the track. This can be avoided by a successful SR 13 Dexterity or Strength Check.

Should the player be pushed onto the tracks the whistle of an oncoming train will be heard. If the player does not succeed an SR 17 Dexterity Check they will be hit by a wall of force that deals 3d6 damage and carries them to the end of the platform.

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The Child's Song

While it is not required to actually sing the song the child is singing it could help maintain the atmosphere of the game.

'Come follow, follow, follow, follow me.
Whither shall I follow follow follow,
Whither shall I follow follow thee.
To the Gallows
To the Gallows
To the Gallows, Gallows Tree'
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Area 10 – Storage

This small room has a sickly red cast to its light. The sound like the beating of drum comes from all sides, the wall pulsing in time with the beating. A small, filthy cot lay against one way, a rat's nest of rotting coats and blankets resting a top it. Against one wall, hanging on a hook is a Conductor's uniform.

This area can only be accessed after the players receive the brass key from Area 3. Once inside an inspection of the area will find a notebook with hurried, mad writing in an unknown language. A Council Mage with an SR of 18 will be able to tell the writing is antkoin but is unable to read it as the Council has forbidden the language from being learned.

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Antikoin is an artificial language created by the followers of the Morning Star during the time of Alexander. The only known complete work in Antikoin was in the Great Library but it vanished when the Library was destroyed. It is rumored that the Council were the ones truly responsible for the fire that destroyed the Library.

Antikoin is typically used by black hat mages and demonologists in their summonings and other black practices.
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An SR 15 Wisdom Check will reveal a small crate of black railroad spikes under the cot, each head etched with a blood red pentagram and sides etched with more Antikoin writing. Another SR 15 Wisdom check will reveal that the Conductor's uniform on the wall appears to be made of dyed human flesh.

Once the Storage Area has been explored a return trip to General Waiting will find the players encountering Conductor again. This time, however, the man is visible agitated from the beginning and doesn't at first notice the players as he appears locked in an argument with himself. When he does notice the players or when the players attempt to speak with him read the following:

You … you its fault, its all your fault … you and your bugs … little bugs, little bugs, little bugs. I'm the master's hand, not you … no you wanna cut off the hand (laughs) but where's the hand, I don't know, do you? ANSWER ME!!! No, no little bugs won't answ … of course I'm going to kill them my lord, be patient … er me. (laughs). No, no little bugs you're all to late … the girl can't help you, I locked her away, locked her like all the others … she tried oh she tried but I'm master's hand (laughs) and you can't me off!”

The Conductor will after this rush toward the nearest player at near super human speed and attempt to cut him or her with a small knife he holds in his hand. For the first half of combat the Conductor is near impossible to hurt, only taking half damage from any attack made against him. When he has reached half health, however, read the following.

The crazed man lets out a laugh the strangles in his throat as the chalk outline of the woman begins to glow a brilliant white. “No, nonononononononono … I locked you away little sparrow, I locked you aw ...” A form of a young woman dressed in a cheerleader's uniform rises up from the glowing outline and zips toward Conductor and right through him. The man lets out an anguished cry and falls to one knee before charging again.

After this event Conductor can be hit for full damage and his speed is reduced to that of a normal human. When Conductor has been defeated the Alby station will shake and the wood of the area around Conductor will split apart like the teeth of a predator and swallow him whole. Any player within ten feet of Conductor when this happens must succeed an SR 12 Dexterity Check or be swallowed with Conductor.

After the battle is completed the sound of a train can be heard from the north and the whole station begins to quiver. The cheerleader ghost will appear again, and picking one player at random will zip into him and her causing the following:

Images and faces flash before you, Conductor and others. Blood and gore feel your vision, and you see the conductor mouthing words in an indescribable language while soaking black railroad spikes in blood. The scene changes and you see Conductor hammering in blood red spikes into the railroad tracks still mouthing words in that indescribable language. A voice, a soft whisper fills your head. “Time is short. The Night Train comes and brings hell in its wake. The spikes are the key!”

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Note – The possession of the player counts as a Minor Sanity Event SR 12 and the player should roll to preserve their sanity after the possession ends.
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After the possession is over the player knows that in order to stop what is about to happen the spikes that were soaked in the blood of the murder victims need to be found and removed from the railroad tracks and soon as the train is coming.

Enemies - Conductor

Act Three – End of the Line

As the possessed player finishes explaining the situation to the other players a blinding light overtakes them from the station's stairwell and a female voice bellows “hands up, don't move!” The light pulls away and Agent Crane is visible moving toward the players her weapon drawn and taking in each of the players. She explains in a matter-of-fact tone that the players are under arrest for trespassing, tampering with a crime scene, and impeding a federal investigation. Agent Crane can be convinced of the player's motives and the Night Train with either a SR 18 Charisma Check or leading her to one of the haunted areas.

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Roleplay over SR Check

While all that is needed to convince Agent Crane of the situation is a good SR check it is recommend that the Game Master and players roleplay through the situation and even allow the convincing to take place without the need for a roll if the players do well in their roleplay.
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If the players are unable to convince Agent Crane she will attempt to arrest them and lead them back to her vehicle (a local police van big enough to hold up to 8 passengers). IF the players attempt to get away from Crane she will shoot them, causing the need for a successful SR 15 Dexterity check to avoid. If Agent Crane is convinced she should be treated as a 3rd lvl Soldier Hireling for the duration of the adventure and will aid the players in the location of the spikes and destruction of the station.

Thanks to the possession the players should know that there are a total of twelve spikes. Six of these spikes are to the south of the station and six are to the north. It takes an SR 13 Wisdom Check to find the spikes and an SR 15 Strength Check to remove them. While moving up and done the line the players have a chance of encountering the following every one hundred yards on a roll of 15 or better on a d20.

Roll (1d10)
Encountered
1-2
1d6 Deranged Dead
3-4
2d6 Zombies
5-6
Possessed Tree
7-8
Invisible Hounds
9-10
Possessed Vines

The players have a total of 30 minutes real-world time to locate and remove all twelve spikes. If this task is not completed in time the night turns a blood red, the sound of an oncoming train bellows in the minds of everyone within a mile of the tracks and then there is a blaze of hellish white light and then nothing more. The train has come and all within a mile of the station died when it broke into reality.

If the players are successful at removing the spikes they will hear an explosion from the direction of Alby Station followed by the light of hungry flame. Returning to the station they find their employer, Jacob Greely, standing nearby (a gas can in his hand) watching the station burn with a solemn face.

The night, however, is not long silent as the crackling of burning wood is replaced with the sounds of snapping and grinding wood. The players watch as part of the station twists and buckles into a vaguely humanoid shape. In it center, lashed to the pulsing Storage Area, is Conductor, he appears partially burnt and black spikes have been hammered though parts of his body.

I will be free! Comes an inhuman voice from the Conductor's mouth. I will have my will!

The station has, at least in part, managed to finally get its wish to be free of its birthplace.

Enemies – Alby Station

After the battle thousands of motes of light rise from Alby Station toward the sky. One lingers and forms into the shape of the cheerleader. If Greely is still alive he will whisper his dead girlfriend's name, she will smile sadly at him and after a nod to the players vanish with the other motes.

Concluding the Adventure

While not happy about having to partially falsify a report Agent Crane agrees to leave out the supernatural aspects of the murder and will call in a forensics team to collect Conductor who she charges with being the murdered.

If the players recovered Greely's ring and give back to him he will break down into quiet tears but state that he finally feels that he can move on and that he knows that Kim is now safe. No matter what he pay the players their $1,500 fee and offer them a ride back to town.

Once back in town the players find their vehicle has been returned to the diner. On the windshield is Agent Crane's business car with a small note of thanks and a cell number written on the back.

Concluding Adventure Experience Points: 700 + creature defeat XP.

Monsters

Alby Station: HD 6; AC 4[15]; Atk 2 Bash (1d8+2); Move 1; CL/XP: 8/800; SPC Arcane magic half damage.
Butcher Boy: HD 2; AC 6[13]; Atk 1 slashing (1d6+1); Save 15; Move 18; CL/XP 3/60
Conductor: HD 4. AC 5[14]; Atk Slashing (1d6+2), Save12; Move 12l CL/XP 6/480, SPC see game text.
Deranged Dead: HD 2; AC 7[12]; Atk 1d6; Save 15; move 6; CL/XP: 3/60 SPC Receive half damage from mundane weapons and can only be banished for a time equal to 1d6 days, immune to charm and sleep.
Invisible Hound: HD 4; AC 4[15]; Atk 1 bite (1d6); Move 12; Save13; CL/XP 5/240; Special: Invisible (SR 14 Wisdom Check to see).
Paper Storm: HD 1d6hp; AC 8[11]; Atk 1 slashing (1d3); Move 0 (Fly 6); Save 18; CL/XP B/10; Special: Immune to sleep, charm, fear and cold
Possessed Tree: HD 3; AC 6[13]; Atk: Bash (Limb 1d8); Move 12; Save 14; CL/XP: 4/120; Special: ½ damage normal weapons, cold, electricity, acid, double damage fire.
Possessed Vine: HD 4; AC 6[13]; Atk 4 vines (1d6); Save 13; Move 0; CL/XP 4/120.
Zombie: HD 2; AC 8[11] or with shield 7[12]; Atk 1 weapon or strike (1d8); Move 6; Save 16; CL/XP 2/30; Special: Immune to sleep and charm.