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IRON DM 2015 Tournament

Deuce Traveler

This wasn't my best work, but the limited word count pushed me to complete a more functional entry than a very imaginative one. My first draft was over 1200 words and was a little more creepy in explaining the ingredients, like the desperate gnoll having been eating the dead due to his paranoid isolation, making him more desperate for conversation and a real meal. Also, the death from above was worked out better due to the doppleganger's shapeshifting ability, where he modified his body to stretch out and look more like a elongated child with lengthy fingers and claws at the end he would use to slice into necks. The higher (hidden) holes he slipped through made it harder to discover how the killer entered the rooms.

At first, I almost centered my entire story around the painful pun, something like the Joker's gas from the Batman series but contagious upon telling instead of it being sprayed, but I couldn't fit enough ingredients into it to work. I think tightening it all up made for a better piece of written work, though I wish some of my crazier ideas could have made the cut.

LucasC, you have a great imagination, but in the future you will have to drop some of your favorite ideas in order to put in a cohesive entry that meets the word count limitations. I'm not writing this as a critique, since I employed the same strategy as you just did when I first started contesting. Check out some of my first entries from years back, since you are getting the same exact advice I did. I lost plenty of writing contests on here because I loved an idea more than I wanted to win. But still jot those down, so you can use them later. I made the mistake of not keeping up with some of my more imaginative ideas for adventures, and now many of those have been lost due to time and memory loss when they should have been salvaged. I can't wait to see what you come up with next year.

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Once A Fool
So much to respond to!

I will take a moment to discuss Shells and her arc though. I'll admit when writing that ending just felt like the obvious perfect way to end it. I didn't put any more thought into it than that. After reading your critique and spending quite a bit of time thinking about it, I'm more convinced than ever that it's the right ending. In fact, I couldn't disagree more strongly with your suggestion. I'm not sure it's necessary to go into it here, but I probably spent three times as many words writing about why it had to end that way than I did in the whole adventure. But I'm extremely grateful for the critique, because without it I wouldn't have spent that time and energy thinking about why I was making the choices that I was. The point is I had 750 words to convince you that it was the right way to end it and I didn't succeed, largely because I didn't even think that that might be necessary. The exercise definitely helps me work toward being a more deliberate and in general stronger writer. There's a writing podcast I listen to that often mentions writing action that is both surprising but inevitable. Shells' willingness to sacrifice herself should have been surprising but inevitable. I'm not sure how I would solved that in the word count provided, but then, that was my challenge. And I'll definitely be more conscious of those types of decisions in the future. So thank you for that.

I'd certainly like to see your reasoning, so feel free to post that.

Here's where I'm coming from, though: yes, as a story--and particularly as Shells' story--the ending works and is a good one. But as an adventure, it isn't--or shouldn't be--her story. It should be the PCs' story. And, that being the case, I'm always going to look for the option gives the PCs a tough choice over the one that doesn't.

Maybe I'm a bit cynical, but I really don't think most players are going to look at the situation, see what needs to be done, see that the NPC they only just met is willing to do it, and give a second thought to trying to stop it. Especially if they don't even need to do anything to let it happen. Most players, I think, will be totally fine with it--unless they are given some reason not to be.

You state that the presence of so many unanswered questions is a weakness, but I suggest the opposite. It is in these questions that DMs and players find choices. Because of their existence, the adventure to be repeated with vastly different results, it becomes easy for a DM to tie the adventure into their game, they provide opportunities to stitch PCs directly into the action, and they create space wherein each person can add their personal touch. No adventure can account for every possible question, but if there’s enough of a picture, it becomes easy to find the answers.

I guess it depends on who you're writing the adventure for. If it's for yourself, you've already got some ideas what the answers are. If it's for someone else (and I suggest that for IRON DM, it should be), you can't assume that. If you want to give the DM choices in answering those questions, that's good. But you should still provide your own answers as suggestions, because giving the DM nothing to work with means making more work for the DM. And that is not liberating.

Also, regarding the backgrounds: I mentioned agendas and backgrounds together because they are linked. The former emerge from the latter. But background serves less function than agendas, because it is not interactive. Background is for you; agendas are for the players. Take that background information and convert it into NPC agendas and you'll (potentially) convey that information more efficiently.

Thanks for the critique Rune, I find it valuable, appreciate the directness, and can see lots of areas I can improve. You are doing an outstanding job of judging entries.

I have to say, this was fun! I'm glad I got to play and maybe I'll see y'all next year.

Hey, no problem. And thanks. You've got the building blocks. I have no doubt you will hone your own IRON DM style out of them.

I think tightening it all up made for a better piece of written work, though I wish some of my crazier ideas could have made the cut.

I think you're right. It's hard to write a mystery scenario as tight as this one (which you know, but I'm saying for everyone else's benefit). Especially for D&Dish systems.

I meant it when I said I was impressed.


Once A Fool
[MENTION=221]Wicht[/MENTION] and [MENTION=34958]Deuce Traveler[/MENTION], you have 48 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please limit your entry to a title, a list of the ingredients used and 1500 additional words. Be aware, also, that any description of those ingredients that you choose to include will count against your word total. Please include your list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. Please refrain from reading your opponent's entry until after you have posted your own. You are on your honor to do so.

Your ingredients are:

First Day

Lonely Ranger

Mighty Leap

Rotten Hull

Undone Deed

Unfinished Masterpiece

Deposed King


Iron DM 2015 Round 2: The Lost Crayon Caper

First DayThe first day of school
Lonely Ranger John Reynolds, who knows the location of Victor's new club-house
Mighty LeapWhat it takes to reach the yacht
Rotten HullThe outside of the yacht abandoned in the woods
Undone DeedReturning a stolen crayon, Ziggy's quest to reclaim his title
Unfinished Masterpiece Ponies Parachuting into Pakistan
Deposed King Ziggy, the former “King of the Monkey-bars”

The Lost Crayon Caper
A S.P.I.E.S. FATE adventure for 1-4 players.

The previous school year at the Super Private Investigation and Espionage School (S.P.I.E.S) ended rather dramatically for the first grade class. Vesper Lynx was just about to put the finishing touches on her most ambitious piece of art ever (Ponies Parachuting into Pakistan) when her favorite black crayon came up missing. Victor Von Mood accidentally blew up his club-house. James Tonto, the best friend of the eccentric John Reynolds, was transferred to a different academy. And Ziggy Krycsiwiki lost his “King of the Monkey-bars” title in a surprising playground upset. With so many unresolved issues, now that summer is over, the first day of school for the new second-grade class promises to be interesting, especially for our stalwart PCs, who must find Vesper's crayon and thwart Victor's nefarious plans, all while avoiding the wrath of Ziggy, who wants revenge, and his title back.

Dramatis Personae
The PCs: Second Grade students at the prestigious, and very secretive, S.P.I.E.S. One of the PCs is also the reigning “King of the Monkey-bars,” having deposed Ziggy Krycsiwiki the previous year.

Vesper Lynx: A coquettish artist, devoid of her favorite black crayon, but determined to retrieve it.

Ziggy Krycsiwiki: The former “King of the Monkey-Bars.” Rumors based on his size suggest he spent three years in the first grade before finally graduating last year. He is notorious for biting people.

John Reynolds: Despondent after the transfer of his best friend to another school, he spends recess exploring the woods behind the playground. He habitually wears a white Stetson and carries a silver pea-shooter in a holster on his belt. He is generally considered the best shot in the class.

Lewis Snap: He possesses an unfortunate milk addiction and stole Vesper's crayon in order to fund his habit.

“The Baron,” aka. Victor Von Mood: On the playground, he wears a green-hood and a mask. He seems to have plans of school-wide domination. Currently in possession of Vesper's black crayon.

The Set-up
Victor Von Mood was despondent after accidentally blowing up his club-house last year, along with all his blue-prints for fabulous machines of school-domination. Determined to rebuild, Victor settled on establishing his new headquarters in an old, yacht inexplicably dumped in the woods behind the school's playground. He also needed some new crayons and hired Lewis Snap to find him some. Snap stole exactly one crayon, Vesper Lynx's favorite black crayon, before losing his nerve. As the new school year begins, armed with his crayon, Victor and his band of loyal henchkids, are determined to turn the rotting yacht into the best super-secret-clubhouse ever. Meanwhile Vesper begins the first day of school with a dogged determination to find out what happened to her crayon. In the background of all of this is Ziggy Krycsiwiki, who wants vengeance for losing his “Monkey-bar King” title to one of the PCs.

Beginning the School Day
As PCs enter the S.P.I.E.S school-ground to begin the first day of second grade, Ziggy looms threateningly, looking even bigger then he did in the first grade. He threatens the PC who stole his title, demanding a rematch and making specific threats as to what he is going to do to the PC's face. Meanwhile Victor Von Mood disembarks from his father's helicopter and sweeps up the front steps in his usual over-the-top manner. Vesper Lynx is questioning people as to the whereabouts of her crayon, lost at the end of last year. Sharp-eyed PCs can spot Lewis Snap slinking into school, pointedly ignoring Vesper.

The Second-grade teacher, Mr. Carre, welcomes his class, and begins with basic bomb identifications – a subject Victor seems unusually interested in. Meanwhile Vesper unrolls a parchment, her unfinished masterpiece, (Ponies Parachuting into Pakistan) and spends her time sorrowfully gazing at it. It should be clear she really wants her crayon back.

The PCs will have an opportunity to question Lewis Snap as to the whereabouts of the Crayon at target practice following their bomb-class, and with just a little bit of prodding he breaks down, admitting that he stole the crayon and sold it to Victor. Vesper hears this but before anything can be done, the bell for morning recess rings, and it is clear that Victor is no-where around – he and his henchkids have disappeared. Vesper pleads with the PCs to help her get her crayon back, being practically in tears.

On the Playground
On the playground, Ziggy immediately zeros in on the PCs, demanding a Monkey-bar fight (one kid stands on the top of the Monkey-bars and attempts to push all the others off as they try to push him off). Victor is not anywhere to be seen. If the PCs give in to Ziggy, all the other kids gather round to watch. If one of the PCs wins, Ziggy sulks for a while, and then later follows the PCs to exact revenge. If Ziggy wins, he is triumphant and once more, as last year, won't allow any of the other kids onto the Monkey-bars without shoving them off; that is, he insists that all who want on the monkey-bars play his game. Meanwhile, while the PCs dealt with Ziggy, Vesper wanders off, into the woods, where she is subsequently captured by Victor's henchkids while they work on the yacht.

PCs who want to find Victor or Vesper can ask questions and get pointed towards the woods by other students who saw them entering the woods.

In the Woods
PCs who try to explore the woods soon realize they have no idea where they are going. Soon they are confronted by a couple of feral dogs. Enter John Reynolds, who knows the woods quite well. John is quite lonely, and when he finds the PCs, if they show any kindness at all, he agrees to help them. He knows where Victor is, and can lead the PCs straight to the yacht.

The Yacht Hideout
The yacht lies in the middle of the woods, on the other side of a ravine. Victor and his friends reached it by swinging across on ropes, but currently all the ropes are anchored to the side of the yacht on the other side of the ravine. Reaching it is going to require jumping. PCs who fail, and fall into the ravine, can climb back up the side they began on, and try again, but there is no way to climb up to the yacht, and the ravine stretches for miles.

The hull of the yacht is quite rotten, the paint is basically holding it together, and entrance is gained via a large hole in the side of the yacht.

Vesper is tied up inside the yacht, her crayon on a table nearby. Various diagrams for outrageous robots and other machines have been drawn up and are on the table with the crayon. There are four henchkids in the room with Vesper, busily trying to hammer new boards up on the side of the yacht, to strengthen their new club-house. The henchkids are each armed with pea-shooters and they put up a fight.

Once the henchkids are defeated (John Reynold's helps, though he eccentrically only shoots at their guns), Vesper can be freed and reunited with her crayon. At that moment, Victor Von Mood enters, accompanied by a large wooden robot. The robot attacks and must be dealt with. If Ziggy lost the Monkey-bars battle, he shows up at this time also. Unfortunately for Victor, whenever the robot attacks, it does damage to the rotting walls of the yacht, and soon it is clear that the yacht itself is about to collapse. As the PCs flee with Vesper, Reynolds and the crayon, the yacht collapses behind them – Victor has once more destroyed his own lair.

Vesper, reunited with her crayon, finishes her masterpiece and presents it, framed, to the PCs as a reward for their efforts. Victor swears vengeance against the PCs for the loss of his hideout. Lewis Snap tells the PCs he is sorry for what he did and is going to do his best to kick his milk habit (unfortunately, he's fated to fail). John Reynolds thanks the PCs for a fun time, but still continues to spend the days roaming the woods; but now he is determined to be a guardian of the woods, helping those who might get lost in their depths. And Ziggy continues to be a playground bully.

Deuce Traveler

The Brothers Makeembo


First Day
Lonely Ranger
Mighty Leap
Rotten Hull
Undone Deed
Unfinished Masterpiece
Deposed King


The party is visiting a small chain of islands for trade, exploration or ingredient hunting, when the nearby underwater volcano briefly explodes, throwing fire and soot into the sky and causing the sky to grow a color crimson. The native kiliyawalaka tribe of humanoids are stirred into a panic, believing the Fire and Earth Spirits have turned against them. Island King Kukukilakulika, who promised to placate the spirits during a similar incident, is deposed and a shaman of the Air and Water spirits has taken over. The king's supporters cannot act directly, but beseech the party to aid them.


The islands are far isolated enough to avoid foreign invasion, but just close enough for intrepid traders to risk ship and lives to trade with the kiliyawalaka for pearls. Because of this, pearl diving has gone from being a hobby to becoming of vital importance. Exactly one month ago, a competitive diver barely survived bringing up a pair of the largest, most beautiful pearls the tribe had ever seen, one light blue as the sky and the other sea-green as the ocean. The enjoyment didn't last long, since that night the twin underwater volcanoes, the Brothers Makeembo, erupted.

The king was a shaman of the Fire and Earth, and after some meditation he declared that the pearls contained the daughters of the Air and Water spirits who were fleeing their harsh fathers and wished to marry the Brothers Makeembo. The king said that if the pearls were not given to the volcanoes, then they would blow twice more the second night, thrice the third, and one powerful last time the fourth, which would destroy the village. The volcanoes were miles away, by several treacherous reefs, and so a champion was chosen out of the sea rangers, who fished and hunted and knew the currents better than all others. A specially reinforced raft was built to ensure her success. When the ranger went out on the third night (and with three blasts from the volcanos), a storm began, increasing in strength until sight of the ranger was lost to the natives. By morning, however, it had calmed and the volcanos no longer rumbled. The ranger seemed to have succeeded, but no sign of her or her shark animal companion was ever again found.

The villagers forgot about the troubles until the volcanoes blew once more, while the heroes are present. During this first day of troubles, the sky is darkened and turned reddish with heated ash, just like the events the people went through a few weeks ago. Faith in the king is lost, as his promises for the villager's safety are found to be empty.

The shaman claims that the daughters in the pearl do not want to be given to the Brothers Makeembo, and that the Spirits of Fire and Earth are fickle lords that should not be placated. He insists that the people leave the island they have been living on for generations and become oceanic nomads once more. The oceanic life is dangerous, but he reassures the people that if they return the daughters to their fathers, then the villagers will be given a boon of safe passage. The people are afraid and more willing to follow the shaman, but both factions have skilled warriors and spellcasters and are being careful to avoid a violent struggle between their kin. The heroes are outsiders, and are considered neutral arbiters by both sides, and so will be approached and asked to choose sides. Unfortunately, the magic of this place is alien to what the players are expected to be useful, so attempts at divination for the good-aligned solution will not succeed. They will have to decide who to help due via their gut instincts, relations made, or self-interest. Luckily, there are several ways to find a solution, and the heroes have a few more days to solve this.

To support either side, the first thing they might want to do is investigate the site of the dangerous volcanoes to see what happened to the pearls. They will need to use their own boat, or purchase a vessel from the villagers. On arrival, they can see further away from the Brothers, a tiny island with the beached, rotting hull of a vessel propped up against some rocks. Here they find the ranger, eager to communicate, but in bad shape. She tells the heroes that as she approached the Brothers and dipped a sack holding the pearls over the lip of the volcanoes, the volcanoes ceased trembling, but the wind and sea grew violent, causing her to pull the rope back up and struggle to stay afloat. She was eventually smashed against the reefs near the island, her brief deed undone. The ranger is willing to give the players any information she can, and she does not take either faction's side. She just wants to return to her family, but she will aid her rescuers in their efforts. From here the party can attempt to drop the pearls into the lip of the volcanoes, but a strong storm will develop in which they'll have to fight against.

If the party sides with the shaman, then they must return the pearls to the Air and Sea Spirits, which might require them to split up. The sea realm is believed the be deeper than where the diver found the pearls, inside a great trench of unknown depths. The shaman's son created a new device, a leather bladder that can hold some air in order to aid a diver, but he lacks a way to pump continuous air into the device. The party can take their chances with a strong swimmer and just the simple bladder, or tool with the invention to improve upon it and their chances of success. As the diver makes the attempt, the water heats up and fissures in the ground open as volcanic activity rumbles mightily below and tries to disrupt the attempt.

The air pearl must be returned by getting to the top Spear Rock, a jutting tower of stone looming over the island's tallest cliff. A strong climber can attempt to climb straight up the Spear, a dangerous and time-consuming effort, especially with the occasional volcanic vibration disrupting the effort. Another solution is to attempt a sport called Leaping the villagers banned a generation ago due to the amount of fatalities. The hero must run up the cliff and leap from the edge onto the only flat ledge on Spear Rock, then climb the very short rest of the way up, made all the more difficult by also carrying the pearl.

No matter which spirits the heroes decide to help, the elemental activity on the island ceases when their tasks are completed. The heroes can also decide to evacuate the villagers without rediscovering the pearls, though the journey will be treacherous as the angry elements tear up the islands.

Further Adventures:

Future adventures could arise from this ranging from elementals seeking revenge, or even elemental lords seeking to use them in their struggles for domination.


[sblock=Conversation in the car tonight...]
Daughter #1: But about the painting... Was it a picture of My Little Ponies?

Me: It was ponies. They were parachuting into Pakistan.

Daughter #1: But why did she have to have her black crayon... why not finish it in some other color?

Me: Obviously because you need black to draw the bullets whizzing around the ponies. And the machine-guns the ponies were carrying.

Daughter #1: Why Pakistan?

Me: They were probably rescuing hostages. Or taking out a terrorist.

Daughter #1: What kind of ponies are these!?

Me: Ponies with Machineguns!

Daughter #1: (speaking to Daughter #2) They were My Little Ponies.

Me: ...with machineguns...


Once A Fool
Round 2, Match 3: Iron Sky vs. Gradine

[MENTION=60965]Iron Sky[/MENTION] and [MENTION=57112]Gradine[/MENTION], you have 48 hours to post your entries to this thread. Please limit your entry to a title, a list of the ingredients used and 1500 additional words. Be aware, also, that any description of those ingredients that you choose to include will count against your word total. Please include your list of ingredients at the beginning of the entry and please do not edit your post once it is submitted. Please refrain from reading your opponent's entry until after you have posted your own. You are on your honor to do so.

Your ingredients are:



Defensive Position

Narrow Path

Blighted Crop

Gray Area

Redeemable Evil

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated
These ingredients are awesome. Several glommed together in my mind instantly upon reading them and I think I know exactly where I'm going with them. Best of luck, Gradine!


The Elephant in the Room (she/her)
The Fittest

Nuclear war has made the world an irradiated disaster, with only a handful of humans surviving in vast underground bunkers. Resources have dwindled, and the time has come to reclaim the surface for humanity.

The surface is a harsh place, but with hard work and great determination our clan have dug out a small bit of that world for ourselves. We’ve repurposed shelters, built water purification systems, and our crowning achievement: clean soil to grow healthy crops. With the background radiation fading little by little each year, it appears humanity might just survive after all.

But do we deserve to?

It started last week. A fast-spreading infection has ruined the most recent crop. The fungus, fatal to ingest, harmful to touch, eats away at anything organic, leaving nothing edible. Our botanists have synthesized a compound to kill it, but it grows back at an alarming rate. The village’s botanists have loaded a small cart with all the compound they’ve created. A group of volunteers must brave the unexplored wasteland, fighting back the creeping rot all the way back to its source, so it will trouble our community no longer.

Within the first few miles the rot is easy to track and kill. As long as the party is diligent about where they are spraying they can easily fight back the rot. There is, however, a foreboding feeling of being watched.

They come in the night, while the party rests. Horrifying mutants of the wastes; their emaciated humanoid bodies covered in dry, cracked skin and irradiated tumors, with sharp claws and teeth. Their target is the cart; they make off with as many canisters of the compound as possible before fleeing. Despite the party’s best efforts there are simply too many of the creatures to prevent them from stealing most, if not all, of the party’s remaining canisters. They fight hard but not to the death, aiming to wound and distract rather than kill, and while tougher than an average human will flee if heavily wounded.

The creatures are easy to follow and make no efforts to hide their tracks. If injured and bleeding they leave a trail of black ichor that irritates human skin on contact but is otherwise harmless. The trail leads through old, dead woods, now sparsely populated. Dead stumps appear rotted away and covered in claw marks. The trees themselves have been eaten away by the same creeping rot, though little evidence of the fungus itself remains.

At one point the party might find a small, makeshift mound of rocks and dead branches. They cover the corpse of one of the mutants, killed from injuries received while attacking the party earlier. The creature is humanoid, a bit shorter than an average human. They may have even been human, once. Radiation damage has long since mutated it into something else; something grotesque, almost bestial.

Later they come across a small area fenced-off area, with what appears to have once been a garden. It has long overgrown the confines of its small, damaged picket fence, filled with wild squash and pumpkins of massive size. The fruit have been partially eaten by the creeping rot, but like before the fungus itself seems to be almost entirely gone. There is plenty enough salvageable portions of the squash to save. It’s not much, but any bit helps. It is slightly radioactive, but barely registers a fraction of a Gray on any of the party’s scanning devices, and should be safe enough for human consumption.

The tracks end at the broken down carnival. A dilapidated sign reads “Jackson County Fair.” If approached during the day the grounds will appear abandoned, though recent signs of life are apparent throughout. At night, however, the place is full of mutants wandering about, picking through the ruins. They will appear to socialize with each other in small groups before disbanding. If approached they will scream. Most will flee deeper into the park, though a few will stay behind to cover their retreat, again aiming to wound and frighten off and fleeing when severely injured. The carnival itself represents a pretty significant jump in the background radiation, leaping up to just over a full Gy, not enough to be fatal but definitely dangerous to be exposed to for longer than a few hours.

Tunnel of Love
All signs indicate that the creatures had fled (either the sun or the party) into the Tunnel of Love. Unblinking eyes stare at the party in the darkness as they enter the foyer. A light reveals these belonging to countless rows of half-rotten stuffed animals. An injured mutant cowers in the remnants of the ticket booth. It will try to remain undetected, but if approached it will lash out, fighting to the death.

Ultimate Test
Continuing along the party comes to a pair of ominous looking signs. The first reads “Can your romance survive…” and the second: “The Ultimate Test of Love?” The second sign is written in red paint, as it were blood dripping. A rotten door hangs at the end of the pathway.

The Ultimate Test is a dark, narrow hallway of mostly black walls. It is a maze of corridors, twists and turns. The floor is littered in shards of glass, thick enough to pierce most footwear. A keen eye will note that there is a very narrow path that appears deliberately free of the glass; otherwise the maze is hazardous to any but those wearing thick protective boots. A few walls still contain mirrors on them, but the image on each is distorted in some way, making one appear taller and skinnier, or shorter and fatter. To make matters worse, a few mutants will remain ahead of the party; hard to follow but ready to throw rocks and bits of plaster at them. These do little damage but harass and frustrate the party’s progress.

The Tracks
After the Test the party comes along a long, underground tunnel filled with ancient tracks. A pair of heart-shaped carts sit at the near end of the tracks. One of them appears to growing small amounts of fungus from the creeping rot on them. The wooden tracks themselves appear to be afflicted from the rot, and are worn down with many, many claw marks. Water drips from overheard; the air heavy, wet and filled with the odor of decay. At the narrowest points of the path mutants will throw themselves at the party, attacking from behind hastily constructed barricades of broken architecture. The roof is partially collapsed in areas, making the going slow and creating numerous choke points for the mutants to wait in defense of their lair. They attack more viciously here than at any time before; there should be no doubt that at this point they are going for the kill, and will no longer flee.

The Lair
At some point down the tunnel the creatures focus their defense in front of a broken door to an old maintenance room. This is their absolute last stand and will not allow any of the party to enter the room while they still draw breath. There is an air of desperation about them. You can see it in their faces. Once slain there is nothing stopping the party from entering the creatures’ lair.

Immediately to the right of the entrance is a stockpile of the party’s compound canisters. While a few have broken most remain intact, and there should be plenty left to effectively wipe out any of
the rot they’ve encountered up to this point. They also hear a whimper in the far back corner. An old dusty curtain appears to be moving slightly.

A small group of mutants are huddled under the old curtain. They are much smaller than the others. Children. Some are crying. Some of the older ones are cradling the smallest. One of the larger children bolts to the other side of the room, protecting a table with a few small scraps of rot fungus. There is a discarded pumpkin nearby, swarming with roaches, untouched by the creatures for many days. The children are helpless and will not fight back if attacked.

These children are unlikely to survive on their own without aid. By neglecting them and destroying the creeping rot, the party condemns them to a horrible death by starvation. But if the rot is allowed to grow unchecked, the party’s village will be overtaken, and what is left of humanity may too die a slow death. The fate of two species may very well be determined by the choices the party makes in this moment.

Gray Area- The irradiated wasteland
Blighted Crop- The creeping rot, the only source of sustenance for the mutants.
Un-funhouse- The Ultimate Test
Narrow Path- The safest way through the maze.
Defensive Position- The mutants are just protecting their home.
Regret- Will the party regret their actions?
Redeemable Evil- They’ve committed near-genocide. Can they possibly be redeemed?

Iron Sky

Procedurally Generated

Defensive Position
Narrow Path
Blighted Crop
Gray Area
Redeemable Evil

Laboratory #AAAAAA

A modern paranormal adventure.


Maasi County is fictional and exists wherever is convenient; anywhere rural with nearby farmland and forest can work.

If the party are investigators – police, paranormal, or otherwise – they are dispatched by their superiors investigate a “strange occurrence in Maasi County”. If not, they are likely “regulars” caught up in paranormal events, spotting a crop circle and stopping to investigate.

In the middle of a field, a circle of rotted wheat twenty feet across. The mutilated, shriveled remains of what might have been a cow occupies the center.

Upon investigation, a riding crop lies half-buried under the carcass. A PC might touch the whip end of it on purpose or on accident, earning a withered hand or foot. A tag on the whip-handle reads “Handmade in Okeus”

The farmer has no idea how or when it happened. He blames the “Curse of Okeus”, a small town about ten miles away. He refuses to say more “for fear of catching it.”


Faded, battered signs outside Okeus read:

Entering Okeus. Population: 328”
Home to the largest Amusement Park in Maasi County!”

The town is a ramshackle cluster of homes huddled around a Post Office, Sheriff's Office, a store, a couple bars, a church, and a gas station. The rusty rim of a Ferris wheel juts up from the forest beyond town.

The course of their investigation from here is up to the PCs.

Notable individuals and locations are listed below.

Characters with * next to their name exhibit one or more of the following subtle characteristics of the GM's choice. It may take some time for these habits to become obvious:

Rarely blinks
Walks in small, shuffling steps
Hums in monotone
Grab or hold things using only four fingers

In addition, *-marked individuals treasure a seemingly-mundane object of power. Each has an ethos they act on and defend regardless of reason or persuasion. When in possession of their object, the individual gains huge supernatural bonuses when performing tasks that validate their ethos. The object's power (and bonus) drains with use.

Randal Morne* – The PCs are quickly met by Randal, a zealous young FBI agent in a black SUV. He fondles his audio recorder as he tells them he's started investigating, turning up rumors of inexplicable events and disappearances, but no proof. Everyone's filthy with secrets. Exposing the truth is the only way, no matter who it hurts.

Annalee at Annalee's Salon – Annalee is a twiggy woman with an awful perm and a infinite supply of inane gossip. When pressed, she admits strange things are going on, but she's been afraid to dig deeper. She assists them whenever possible, following them even if they ask her to stop.

Father Blanderly* at the ancient, creaky church – The town pastor. A grim, balding man wearing a tweed suit and tie. He always carries a Bible to “stay connected to his source.” He says everything is fine in town; the curse is hogwash. People are immoral, indulgent, out of control. They need someone like me to straighten them out.

Maddie Jack at her rundown house – Maddie is a tiny woman in a cap and jeans. She scurries and speaks like she's being watched, approaching to tell the PCs to follow, saying nothing more until they do. At her house, she claims aliens are behind it all. “They live in the amusement park, slowly taking over everyone's mind!” She plays a video of a big-headed alien in a room of strange devices and lights. Investigating, Maddie's basement is identical to the room in the video; a set. “No, I built this to duplicate their technology!” Also, a Maddie-sized alien costume. “To disguise myself when they come for us!”

Sheriff Doerty* at the town jail – The Sheriff is as fat as he is pompous, lord of an insignificant realm who toys with his jail keys constantly. His office has an oversize desk, burnt coffee, and two jail cells. He grows angry at PCs “nosing about in Okeus's affairs” and denies anything is wrong. If pushed, he'll threaten them. People only do the right thing if they're too afraid to do the wrong thing.

Morgan Smith-Doerty* at the town jail – Locked in a jail cell, Morgan is a tall woman with wild hair. She's wearing an English-style riding outfit that's muddy and torn. She rants that the town is a trap, the devil lives in the amusement park, and her ex-husband serves him. She claims she fled town but he chased her down, killed her horse, then locked her up. He claims “she whipped her poor horse to death – put her here for everyone's safety.” If shown the riding crop, she frantically switches between cowering from and trying to steal it. Freedom means no one can tell you what to do.

Bjorn “Nordic” Svenson at the sawmill – Clearing seven feet tall with shaggy blond hair and beard, Bjorn's piercing blue eyes and deep voice command respect. For a lumberjack. He talks little and says he “stays out of town affairs”, but listens solemnly to anything the PCs tell him.

Tour Guide Athena* at the amusement park – Athena is a hefty woman with short red hair. The glossy pin on her pink windbreaker reads “World's Best Tour Guide!!!” She claims the town curse is ghosts and monsters from the haunted house. People are stupid and need to respect informed people like me.

The game-relevant remnants of the park: a run down haunted house and a dilapidated funhouse. The attractions are still powered but “too old to be safe.”

The funhouse is usable and designed with dozens of paths from the start to the finish. Exactly the moment anything becomes fun, the whole thing will jerk, something will go terrifyingly haywire, a disturbing figure will appear in a mirror, it goes dark, etc. At the finish: a foot-wide walkway over a pit leading to a room with an EXIT sign. The walkway spins and tilts when walked on, dumping the PC(s) thirty feet into a net. Near the net, the main exit. The pit seems impossibly deep.

The haunted house is suitably creepy, strange, and a Red Herring.

Before long, the * characters acting on their ethos cause disruptions, defended vociferously. Ideas:
Morne uses FBI resources to blackmail a PC.
Blanderly rouses a mob, destroying the store for selling contraceptives.
Doerty thrashes a young person for shoplifting.
Athena publicly humiliates an uneducated single parent who then commits suicide.

The night following their disruption, the * character sneaks to the amusement park. The individual passes through the funhouse in an exact route – if the PCs misstep even slightly while following, the amusements turn deadly. The * character finally crosses the now-fixed walkway to the EXIT and says loudly: “A dark act which I repent, confessed here in exchange for power”. They speak softly, then disappear from sight.

The spinning walkway remains stationary when the PCs follow. The EXIT is a fleshy membrane, seemingly impenetrable. Worse, the other * characters have followed with a mob of regular townsfolk under thrall of their powers. The mob grows increasingly hostile and will eventually attack. The net over the pit below is gone.

Several PC options:
Fight. Their position is excellent and the townsfolk poorly armed... and mostly innocent. If/when they win, they are labeled the “Maasi Mass Murderers” in the press.
Confess an act they knew was truly wrong yet done willingly. Alternately, they can commit one spontaneously then confess it.
Use the wasting power of the riding crop to decay the membrane.

Through the exit, a fleshy slide down to the control room from Maddie's video. Large-headed, lidless, gray-skinned, four fingered, short-legged aliens surround them, humming.

Strangely, a whiteboard nearby reads: “Operating definition: That done with knowledge it will cause remorse.”

Climax options:
A firefight with the aliens.
The PCs' worst memories are harvested, traded for objects charged with power that subtly goad them to use me whenever they contemplate the dark side of any moral dilemma. The objects' potency weakens until they return, confess, and the cycle repeats. The Grays' mannerisms gradually entrain on them, along with a compulsion to justify their actions.
The Nordic alien (Bjorn) arrives and stops things. He explains that Okeus lies in a region of Earth given to the Zeta Reticulans - “An intelligent, scientific, psychic, and completely amoral race” - in the “Sol 3 Territorial Imposition of 1948”. The Zetas call this area “Laboratory #AAAAAA”, operating experiments to understand the human concept of “evil” and our capacity to rationalize it. If the PCs agree to never reveal any of this, they may leave on pain of memory wipe... or maybe become agents of the S3TI Enforcement Agency.
Annalee followed them, teleports them safely to the Reptilian mothership, shapeshifts to her normal form, and rewards them for helping discover what the Grays were doing.

Voidrunner's Codex

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