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A revolver, a rose, and a bottle of piss.
Sorry if the writing is unclear, the whole thing got started as a reoccurring joke (the bottle of piss outside the pizza place) and snowballed one evening when I had nothing else planned. Since then my players keep returning to it with really inventive ways to "solve the curse" when I don't throw them enough other plot hooks, so I started changing the NPCs' back stories each time to keep things interesting.
What you hear on the street:
There's a couple parking places in the alley behind that all-night pizza place, and if you go by early enough in the morning you might find an old revolver there. It'll have a few bullets in it, is untraceable, and it will disappear by sundown. Sometimes there's a bottle instead. Don't drink what's in the bottle.
What isn't being said:
Police in half a dozen near-by cities have seen that gun, and they don't want to see it again. The people killed by it are usually freaks and odd-balls, but sometimes it's a sweet old grandmother. Internal Affairs thinks that the gun is being used by a police vigilante group and "disappears" from evidence so that when a cop decides to whack some nutjob without bothering the courts he's got a weapon ready and waiting.
The bottle won't kill you, but you just might kill yourself. Sometimes it's got tequila in it. Bad tequila, but it won't make you sick, just angry. Beat-the-dog-to-death-for-making-too-damn-much-noise-sleeping angry. If you're lucky the bottle's only full of piss, which might actually taste better than the tequila. All it makes you do is vomit.
Sometimes there's a rose there too. People who pick up the rose, well, they end up disappearing too. Sometimes they come back dead. Most often they just don't come back.
What's really going on:
The alley parking lot is a stage, and when conditions are right, a hot clear windless night, a cast assembles and acts out a play. Sometimes the hero wins, sometimes the villain wins, sometimes everyone dies, but they'll be back some other night, ready to do it all over again for the first time.
In the spring of '94 Ignacio fell in love with the wrong girl. It's an old story; boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy tries to win girl back, boy fails, is killed, and his body is tossed in a dumpster. But for some reason Ignacio's story didn't end there. For some reason his story keeps playing out different variations night after night leaving only a few clues behind.
In the basic storyline Ignacio meets Rose, your average young hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold. He tries to help her get back on her feet, but after a while she "Dear Johns" him because she 'can't destroy his life too' and has returned to her pimp. Ignacio tracks down her "pimp" Royce who tells him in a fit of anger that Rose isn't a hooker, she's a con artist, and Ignacio was the pigeon. Royce is furious with 'that bitch' because she cheated him by 'wasting time with a punk like you when there are bigger fish to catch' but lets slip when & where he's meeting her that evening. Ignacio goes and gets a gun then crashes the meeting in a parking lot off an alley.
This is where the story diverges for Ignacio. In some versions Rose left him out of love and Ignacio must defend her from Royce. In others Rose uses him to get rid of her current partner, and then offers him the vacant position. Some times Rose and Royce intended to draw Ignacio there, the better to rob and kill him. However it goes down, the next morning there'll be an item or three left in the alley for the unwary to find. This is generally where the story begins for the players, depending on which items are found.
The revolver's only "power" is that at dusk, if left unattended or unnoticed, it vanishes, making it a perfect murder weapon. If someone is paying continuous direct attention to the revolver or holding it in his bare hand at dusk it won't disappear. Instead, sometime in the next few hours the holder will find himself drawn to Ignacio, who appears to be an ordinary, if somewhat distraught, young man who wishes to buy a gun and will tell his story at the slightest provocation. The later Ignacio and his audience meet the more desperate Ignacio is. He will ask his audience to come along to witness the meeting, just in case.
The Rose fades quickly and withers after being picked up. But sometime shortly afterwards the player who touched it meets a lovely young woman who asks him to buy her a rose from a street vendor before entrusting him with her story. What Rose tells the player may have little resemblance to the "truth", but her intent is that player come with Rose to meet someone she's afraid of but can't avoid. Whether she's screwing over the PC or is genuinely afraid is up to the GM, all Rose wants is some company.
The bottle comes in two versions, but only one has a power. When filled with bad tequila, a drink or two inspires rage in the imbiber. She becomes violent, overreacting to anything remotely irritating to her. If her Rage stimulus is triggered, 'fight' is the only option she has. The length of the effect depends on the amount drunk. When filled with piss the bottle is just disgusting. The bottle itself has no wrapper or indication where it originated, but after dusk it will draw its bearer to the alley. Royce will already be there waiting, nursing a bottle identical to the one the PC has. Whether angry at Rose, conspiring to kill Ignacio, or whatever else the GM decides, Royce typically does not want any observers, but will let enough of the story slip, either through drunkenness or anger, that the PCs know something of what's happening.
What happens next is up to the players. Neither Rose nor Ignacio can be talked out of keeping the meeting in the alley, but may be physically detained. The meeting in the alley is very still and quiet there is no sound of traffic, and no other people around except the PCs and the three others. Cell phones and other complex technology will not function; the players are effectively cut-off from the rest of the world until dawn. Even if they leave the alley before then the PCs will find the city completely empty and powerless.
If Rose Ignacio or Royce survive the night they fade away as the sun rises, along with any evidence of what happened during the meeting, including any PC bodies. If any of the three were killed or prevented from meeting the others, their associated items appear in the parking spaces off of the alley. If none of the three died during the meeting, or no one touched any of the items the next day, events won't repeat themselves until the next hot clear night when the stars are plainly visible, otherwise the events repeat every following night, despite the weather.
Players which survive the night and seek them out again discover that neither Ignacio, Rose, nor Royce will remember meeting the players before or are aware that events are repeating themselves. They will also discover that the three's motives and temperaments change from one repetition to the next.
What's going on behind the scenes?!
Ask your GM, or decide for yourself. I have deliberately left out any cause or solution to this situation.
Greykev | profile | Apr 18, 04 | 9:37 pm
this was actually pretty cool, I like it!
Mattias | profile | Apr 19, 04 | 7:25 am
To me, it sounds like a Room in the House of Renunciation wandered away from the House proper, and is pursuing its own mindless agenda, attempting to undo something, and set things to a more 'correct' pattern.
Mr Unlucky | profile | Apr 19, 04 | 3:00 pm
Only thing I would change is that the bottle would never contain tequila...