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Author: Matt Sanborn
System: Call of Cthulhu
A Blood Brothers type Call of Cthulhu Adventure set in February of 1978.
Playtesters: Brian "MacZilla" MacDonald, Brian "I'm back" Courtemanche, and
John "False Witness" MacCone.
Dedication: To Keith Herber, perhaps the greatest COC writer of all time.
To Tom Savini - This bucket of blood is for you brother.
To Forrest J. Ackerman - for obvious reasons.
Outline: This adventure can be played by any number of players and can be a
fun and unique break from a campaign, or used as a tournament module. The
setting of our story is February 6, 1978 in New England. A northeaster is
reported early in the morning, but no one seems too concerned. No one is
taking into account there will be a full moon and high tide in Massachusetts
when the storm hits. It becomes the worst northeaster to ever hit New
England and white-out conditions happen for almost two days. The Boston
"In two days of furious weather, the 'storm of the century' ravaged the
coastline, smothered the region in over two feet of snow, claimed 54 lives,
dismantled 2,000 homes, drove 10,000 people into shelters, and caused $1
billion in damage.... More than 3,500 cars, trucks, and their cold and
frightened drivers were stranded along Route 128 after the blinding snow
piled higher than wheel wells, doors, hoods, and roofs....
When it was over, there were reported snow depths ranging from 27 to more
than 50 inches across New England, plus drifts of up to 15 feet. Compounding
the disaster were the 20 inches of snow still on the ground in some areas
from a storm three weeks earlier.... No driving was allowed for six days, so
people skied, snowshoed, tugged kids in sleds, and hitched rides on plows to
get where they needed to go. Low on provisions, some feasted on lobsters
flung to shore by the surf while others painstakingly rationed dwindling
amounts of milk and bread."
The storm started out slowly. Quickly it changed from light snow to a
whiteout, and no one was going anywhere for at least two days. No police or
medical help could get to anyone. Everyone had to take care of everything
themselves. To make matters more difficult many places suffered blackouts
for almost a week and others the loss of heat. People froze inside their
houses. Your players will face all these difficulties, plus rampaging
zombies inside their building.
Game Preparation and Setup: The preparation for the Keeper is a bit more
than usual. You will need to roll up 50 zombies before the game, and keep
track of them during play. See the Zombie Play section below. You should
also design a six story apartment building with two elevators, and access to
a roof. In the basement is a laundry room, game room, boiler room and
maintenance office. There are ten apartments on each floor. The best way
to set up the physical plant is to have five units on each side and a
straight hall dividing them. This will give both players and zombies full
view of each other.
Game Background: The game begins about 11:30 a.m. in the apartment building.
All players have decided to stay home from work and play a new game they
love called Dungeons and Dragons. They are planning to play all day and
night, passing the storm in the world of Greyhawk. Play opens up with all
the players around a table playing AD&D. There should be at least 4 people
at the table. More is fine. An NPC must be the Dungeon Master, all players
are just that, players. If your game has less than 3 participants playing,
use NPCs to fill out the remaining characters. Got that?
The DM Duncan Lee stands up and opens an old leather bound book which he
purchased two days ago at a used bookshop for a prop in the game. "Lloth
lifts her head and screams...," Lee says, then turns to the book. He begins
to recite a chant in Latin. Lee has no idea what this book is and what he
is chanting. The book is a 100 year old unholy prayer book, and he is
reading Summon the Dead, during a full moon, and high tide. The cemetery
across the street has a mausoleum holding 50 bodies waiting for the earth to
soften. Presently, they are stirring, animating and becoming aware of the
fact they are cold and hungry.
Players will get a big kick out of the spell, especially Lee who has taken
about 15 bong hits already this morning. The gaming continues for another
hour before the first scream is heard.
Beginning Play: The game is going along quite well when a woman's scream is
heard. If the players have also been doing bong hits they may laugh at the
screams or be completely wigged out. It is apparent that a woman is
screaming for help. If players run into the hall to investigate, they will
bump into a middle aged man with a fairly obvious toupee. This is Father
Francis Butera - much more about him below.
The second event will happen right after the bump. The elevator opens
revealing a zombie ripping the throat out of a woman with his teeth. She is
screaming no more. A laundry basket rolls out; there is clothing everywhere
and blood all over the walls. One sanity roll is required here, with a
1d.2/1d.12 Sanity loss for this grizzly sight and zombie. Investigators
soon realize screaming is coming from all over the building. The zombie will
continue eating away, and will only attack if disturbed. Players' reactions
will determine play for a while after this scene.
Back in the Apartment: Fight or flight, both the priest and players will
dash back into their homes. It is at this point that players should make
idea rolls. Anyone succeeding gets a very strong suspicion the book has
something to do with this. Screams are coming from below and above.
Players have no firearms in their apartments. Calls to the police or anyone
not in the building are usually met with busy signals. A Luck roll is
needed to successfully place a call to the police. There is no way anybody
can get to the building. Police and firetrucks, as with all vehicles, are
useless in this storm. Mother Nature has us at her mercy. Phone lines go
dead around 3:30 pm.
Two of the players have an apartment on the second floor. They have a c.b.
radio and some baseball bats. The question is whether anyone is willing to
risk it. The only link the players have to outside the building is the TV.
All Boston stations are broadcasting nothing but weather reports, alerts,
and information. Shelters are being listed, but whiteout conditions make
the journey impossible. At noon, meteorologists still are not exactly sure
what the total snow fall will be. They're guesses are not even close.
The Phone Rings: Father Butera from across the hall is on the line. He
tells players he is a priest who came to stay with his mother during the
storm. He would like to run across and brainstorm about what to do. His
mother can be heard softly crying in the background. If the players agree,
the priest will look through the peep-hole and dash into the other
apartment. The priest is a decent and compassionate individual. More of a
love child without the free lovin'.
He states he can only stay a few minutes because he does not want to leave
his mother long. He believes this is some unruly gang of people. However,
he cannot account for the obviously decayed appearance of the body. If the
players tell him about reading the book, he will ask to bring it across the
hall to examine. He then asks if anyone needs to make a confession. He
will perform the service if needed, then depart. As he leaves, two zombies
exit from the stairs and begin their way down the hall.
Zombie Invasion: Preparation of the zombie invasion is the most tedious part
of pre-game planning. You will need to roll up fifty zombies. To give each
creature a bit more personality, here are some suggestions:
Constitution: This score dictates how decomposed the body is. High scores
show a recently interred body. A low score shows a greatly decayed, and
horrendous walking corpse.
Size: Any zombie with a size roll less then 5 identifies a body which is not
complete. Perhaps just an upper torso and head, its arms and decayed hands
dragging it down the hall. Maybe it's just an arm. A high score of 16+
shows the creature to be bloated, full of gas, and if lit on fire or shot,
will explode doing 3d.6 damage to anyone and anything in a 15 foot radius.
Intelligence: Any zombie with 4 or lower Int. score will be fascinated by
the colors and patterns of the television. Should they pass by one, they
may stop and stare at the screen. Once a hot meal walks by however, they
are back into the hunt.
Zombie Raid: Twenty five zombies enter the building at 1 pm. Every fifteen
minutes another d 6. will enter. Rolls are needed for every fifteen minutes
of game time up to five times. After that all zombies not in the building
are blown away and destroyed by the storm. Discount any zombie beyond the
Keepers should pre-game plan on how the creatures will move throughout the
building. Keep track of where the beasts are. I penciled them in on maps I
made of the building. There are 99 people in the building and there are 7
guns in the place. You must also plan where these items and people are
located. Although it sounds daunting, players using sound judgment won't be
running all over the building.
The Priest Calls Again: Father Butera calls at 2:30 pm. He needs to come
over again immediately. However, two zombies are now in the hall trying to
push a door down. Any movement will attract them to the player's and Mrs.
Butera's apartments. Players will need to figure out what to do.
The Priest Arrives: Make sure the priest gets to the apartment. He informs
players that the tome is some sort of unholy prayer book. He believes that
some sort of spell has unlocked a gate to hell. Despite being a priest,
Father Butera never bought into the true fires of hell awaiting all sinners.
He is now confused and nervous. The other fact he has gleaned through
reading is that another unholy prayer exists in the book to send the dead
back to hell. It calls for a fire to be cast high above the ground and
outside. Chants are conducted while two human skulls are dropped into the
flames. This all must happen at sunrise. In no way will the priest
participate in this ceremony. If the players feel this is the route to go,
the priest will stay in an apartment with his mother and any injured or
Things in the Apartment: Carefully plan out what is in the apartment.
Players will have stocked up on food, as they knew a storm was coming. You
should not allow guns into the game, as the excitement will dissipate
quickly in a shootout with slow moving targets.
Suggested Improv Weapons and Items:
hairspray and lighter
paint thinner or remover (for the lead figures).
The Race With the Clock: Sunrise will not occur until 6:12 a.m. Players
now need to figure out what to do to hold the fort for the rest of the
night. As Keeper you will need to design a series of events to take place.
For the spell a large metal trash barrel and cover, flammables and two human
skulls are needed. How the players go about obtaining these items will
probably determine their fate. In the basement are large metal barrels with
lids. It will be up to you if zombies invade the floor and begin to attack
its residents wholesale.
Casting the Spell: Players will need to concoct a way to bring a barrel to
the roof, get its contents on fire, recite the chant, and drop the skulls
into the flames, as the blizzard continues full-bore. The winds can get up
to 75 miles an hour, and smaller characters may be blown off of the roof if
not extremely careful. It will also be up to you if zombies are attacking
the party while the spell is cast. Upon completion of the chant, 1 power
point is needed for every 4% chance of success, with 25 points bringing a
99% chance of success.
If the spell fails, it must be tried again at sunrise tomorrow; and another
night of horror begins. A successful roll turns the zombies into corpses
again, and they drop wherever they are. The bodies then begin to decompose
quickly. Players reaching zero Magic Points must be dragged into safety, or
die quickly of exposure in the storm.
Name: Father Francis Xavier Butera
Occupation: Priest Sex: Male Age: 39
ST: 12 DEX: 12 INT: 14 IDEA: 70
CON: 14 APP: 10 POW: 14 LUCK: 70
SIZ: 11 SAN: 70 EDU: 16 KNOW: 80
Sanity points: 70 Magic Points: 14 Hit Points: 12
Skills: Biblical Lore: 85 Catholic Theology and Ceremony: 92 Climb: 25
Conceal: 20 Dodge: 22 Drive Auto: 30 Hide: 40 History: 45 Jump: 22
Library Use: 60 Listen: 55 Occult: 35 Other Language/ Italian: 85 Other
Language/ Latin: 80 Own Language/ English: 90 Persuade: 77 Psychology: 25
Psychoanalysis: 55 Sneak: 39 Spot Hidden: 44
Firearms: Handgun: 30 Machine Gun: 15 Rifle: 20 Shotgun: 25 Submachine Gun:
Hand-To-Hand: Fist/Punch: 20 Head Butt: 10 Kick: 10 Grapple: 25
Name: Edna Butera
Sex: Female Age: 81
ST: 4 DEX: 4 INT: 13 IDEA: 65
CON: 7 APP: 5 POW: 16 LUCK: 80
SIZ: 6 SAN: 80 EDU: 7 KNOW: 35
Sanity Points: 80 Magic Points: 16 Hit Points: 7
Skills: Biblical Studies: 65 History: 55 Know Name of Saint: 88 Listen: 15
Other Language/ Italian: 90 Other Language/ English: 85 Other Language/
Latin: 56 Persuade: 65 Spot Hidden: 55
Name: Duncan Lee
Occupation: Drive Up Fotomat Assistant Manager
Sex: Male Age: 27
ST: 9 DEX: 12 INT: 14 IDEA: 70
CON: 14 APP: 11 POW: 13 LUCK: 65
SIZ: 8 SAN: 65 EDU: 12 KNOW: 60
Sanity Points: 65 Magic Points: 13 Hit Points: 11
Skills: AD&D Rules: 93 Astronomy: 33 DM Game: 77 Electrical Repair: 44
Electronics: 43 History: 48 Library Use: 61 Listen: 33 Natural History:
40 Occult: 35 Own Language/ English: 77 Sneak: 62 Spot Hidden: 51
AD&D Rules: This skill allows the character to boast loudly and yell over
others successfully proving he or she knows the correct ruling for the
situation at hand. A Luck roll is needed to see if the character actually
knows the rule.
DM Game: Not just anyone can DM a game. It takes an certain breed of
individual to run an RPG. This skill allows the person to make clever
props, find obscure references in books, comics, movies and Monty Python
skits, while wasting his or her life writing adventures no one will ever
play or appreciate. During actual gaming, a Persuade roll is needed every
time the DM wishes to speak in order to shut the players up.
Here are a few films to check out: Dawn of the Dead, Dead Alive, Erotic
Nights of the Living Dead, Evil Dead, Evil Dead II - Dead by Dawn, Return of
the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead II, White Zombie.
Finally - If you play this adventure, PLEASE email me and tell me how it
went. I love any feedback.