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A 1950's campaign of fear, incongruity, and borderline madness.
The Sleepers of the late fifties and early sixties had to work damn hard to make the era seem so boring. In those years, the Occult Underground wasn't so much a subculture as it was another dimension accessed by crazies and unfortunates. A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A dimension we will call, for want of a better name, the Twilight Zone.
The PCs are 1950s Sleepers, going around to small towns and cleaning up the occasional occult spillage. Sometimes they'll have to talk, sometimes they'll break out the spells, and sometimes they'll have to go for their guns. Whatever they find, it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
(Warning: These scenarios contain spoilers for various Twilight Zone episodes.)
Talky Tina is a doll that can do anything. The trouble is, her owner has become very attached to her after her stepfather died and her mother was sent to the asylum. An orphan girl who talks to her doll is a natural target for bullies, but bad things seem to be happening to the people who make fun of little Christine, especially if Talky Tina is within earshot. One rumor leads to another, and sooner or later someone in the Sleepers finds out. A powerful clockwork with a mind of its own is in the posession of a child, and who knows what the worst that could happen is.
The funny thing about Talky Tina- aside from the fact that she's almost indestructible, makes death threats in the same sweet voice that she professes her love for Christine, and can do anything from talking to walking to murder- is that she is not evil. She doesn't particularly enjoy killing, nor does she do it randomly to those she hasn't judged to be deserving. She terrorizes people if they hurt her owner, just as she was built to do. If asked about the death of her owner's stepfather, she will maintain it was self-defense, as the man was trying to destroy her.
Talky Tina's reign of terror can be stopped in one of several ways. First talk to the creepy doll. She's perfectly rational, and if she can be convinced that she's doing more harm than good to Christine through her actions, she will likely stop. (She can't be talked to death though, ala Star Trek.) Second, talk to Christine. You can either convince her to tell her doll not to hurt people (which Tina will grudgingly obey) or to give the doll away- but unless she gives it to you, you'll just have the same problem all over with Tina protecting another child. If you can't be bothered to try diplomacy you can try to break the damn thing, but Tina is very resilient. She could be taken apart by a good Mechanomancer, though those aren't always easy to find. The most sinister option is for the PCs to attack little Christine. Tina will do anything to protect her mistress, including taking wounds meant for her. If you give her enough wounds this way, she'll die. Of course, to take this option you'd have to be the kind of heartless bastard who would actually shoot at an innocent defenseless orphan child...
"Fair was Elly Glover, dark was Jess-Belle. Both they loved the same man, and both they loved him well". It's an old Appalachian folk ballad, and it's appeared in shadows and scraps of paper all around town. The town itself gets a lot of funny looks from visitors- no one has a TV or radio, land that should be a parking lot is a forest, and everyone dresses like they're back on the prairie in the 1800s. Whatever it is, the Sleepers have to shut it down fast.
What's happening is that a ballad seems to have come alive. If they piece together the song fragments, the PCs can figure out the plot ahead of time- otherwise, they'll have to treat it like any normal job, albeit one where they talk in antiquated slang. It seems that Jess-Belle went to a local witch (a practitioner of some weird old blend of Authentic Thaumaturgy and Narco-Alchemy) to make Billy love her again instead of his new girl. The witch fulfilled her part of the bargain, but in exchange Jess-Belle had to host a demon and turn into a lycanthrope (that old witch was one nasty piece of work.) The ballad ends when Jess-Belle has been well and truly killed. If the players let events take this course, the town will fade away at the end. But do they really want to doom the lonely and jilted Jess-Belle to such a gloomy fate, or let the old witch get off scot-free? Maybe this is a traditional ballad that needs a few more action sequences injected into it- and a new ending composed.
[b]It's A Good Life[/b[
In a case the Sleepers had long ago given up on, a town in the midwest has simply vanished. No streets, no people, and only vague memories. The case was abandoned for want of any explanation, and everyone eventually gave up on it.
The case has been reopened, though, after a series of strange appearances in a cornfield. People, toys, even dogs are showing up, claiming to have come from the lost town. They tell of a horrible monster in the person of a little boy who holds the town in a grip of fear, doing horrible things to anyone who makes him unhappy. The Sleepers send in their agents to handle the situation- but they must be careful to think happy thoughts.
If they cast the right ritual while standing in the cornfield, the agents will be able to find their way to the lost town. A little boy will welcome them, provided they don't act unfriendly or make too much noise. A little investigation will reveal that the child got hit by a Major Effect in the crossfire of another event the Sleepers took care of long ago. His young mind couldn't contain the power it now had, and reading the minds of everyone filled his head with pain at the bad emotions. And so he started half-consciously creating illusions to plague those who gave him those bad thoughts. The more he scared people, the more powerful he grew, until he was able to cloak the whole town from the rest of the world. But now that the big kids are here, it's time to either apply some fast child therapy or put the kid down like a mad dog.
Showdown With Rance McGrew
A TV producer has gotten fed up with the star of a popular western, who has been insisting that he lose regularly to famous outlaws on his show. A loser hero is no way to draw in the viewers, so they hired a new guy. Soon enough, the same thing happened. And then it spread- more and more western stars were declining to win against any real life outlaws. What's going on?
What's going on is that a group of demons have taken to scaring actors. They say they're the demons of Jesse James and Billy the Kid and Sam Star and various members of the Clanton gang, which may or may not be the truth. Whatever the case may be, they're taking over the bodies of bad-guy actors, casting illusions around the stars to suggest they've been transported to the real old west, and challenging them to gunfights. When the stars back down, the demons make them abide by their rules if they don't want to get shot, and that includes keeping up respect for outlaws.
But now they've come across an actor they can't intimidate- he's actually good with a gun, and has won quick-draw contests in real life. They can't let him get away with this, of course, and have taken over the bodies of his villain costars during filming, and armed themselves with real guns. So unless the Sleepers do something, there's going to be a real shoot-out with demons on live TV.
Little Girl Lost
A Sleeper with contacts in the police office has just gotten a terrifying call- a little girl has vanished from under her bed, heard clearly but nowhere to be found. When they go to investigate, they find a back portion of the wall has temporarily opened up, leading to a horrifying Otherspace. What kind of bastard would take a helpless child into a Room of Renunciation? Agents of the Room of Open Eyes, who bend and break the rules of perspective and the natural world in flashy ways until their subject ceases to think in the conventional way. Sometimes this produces great artists and scientists who refuse to be limited by traditional ways of thinking. And sometimes this produces gibbering lunatics.
One missing child isn't something that would concern the Sleepers. But the appearance of a new Room, especially one as horrifying as this, needs to be investigated. And if possible, you might as well save the kid.
dangerousdame | profile | Jan 23, 10 | 9:38 am
Great plots. Funnily enough, all of them except for the Showdown scenario would fit into the modern age as well, not just the 1950's.
Wratts | profile | Jan 25, 10 | 6:18 am
I honestly cannot understand how I never put the two together before.