Friday, January 29, 2016

Mini Adventure -- Young Blood

This is probably the most successful 90-minute adventure for kids I ever ran. It is also the only one written not only for young players, but also for young characters. I have written about it twice in the past, both times describing instances in which I was practically forced by the kids to turn what is essentially a single encounter into a full campaign. However, I have never presented the adventure in playable form – until now.

The Setup
The adventure starts with the kids waking up in a dusty basement with no recollection of how they got there or any information about their past or identity. They are wearing tattered school uniform, but have no backpacks and their pockets are empty of anything that could serve as clues to their identity. They are all terribly hungry, but otherwise unhurt. From upstairs they hear fierce pounding on the doors. I like to actually pound at the door and scream like a madman to emphasize the urgency of the situation. This almost never gets security guards running to the classroom. Almost.

The Premise
The kids have no way of knowing this, but they have all been turned into vampires by a now deceased vampire playboy named Jax, an appalling person whose vile practices and shameless violence have finally caught up with him. Unfortunately for the kids, unless they are very careful, they will be caught up in the aftershock of his death as well.

Look at these eyes. Now look at these teeth...
The House
With a few exceptions, the entire adventure took place inside Jax's house, a fancy bachelor pad in a calm neighborhood that serves as thin veneer for horror. Since it's day outside, leaving the house will prove very difficult for the vampire kids.

1. Basement
The basement is bare except for a hammer, a mattock, a hoe and some hemp rope, all stacked under the stairs leading to the living room above. Fierce pounding and muffled screams can be heard from outside the house. It's impossible to make out the words, but the tone is clearly angry.
Challenges: The basement door is not locked, but requires the combined strength of at least two kids to open on account of its weight and the tightness of the hinges.
Rewards: Searching the room will reveal a secret compartment under the stairs. It contains an old Nokia phone with a single number on its memory card and a scepter of gold and silver depicting two entwined feathered snakes. The number belongs to a vampire interested in buying the scepter. He doesn't answer calls during the day for obvious reasons. If called after dark, he will identify as Mr. Calzoni and offer $200,000 dollars for the scepter.

2. Living Room
The living room is small, but extremely well-furnished. There is a 110'' TV with an Xbox, a playstation, a pile of games taller than a man, a library with both fiction and occult literature, stylish leather furniture and an immaculately clean kitchenette with an assortment of expensive Japanese and Spanish knives.
Challenges: Heavy black curtains cover the windows, leaving the room in darkness. Should anyone open a curtain, they will immediately loses half their hit points. Another round of exposure will leave them in a catatonic state. The third round spells doom as the kid's undead body turns to ash and scatters on the floor.
Someone is pounding at the door and shouting "Betty! Are you alright? I'm coming in." If the kids don't do anything in this regard and don't make too much noise the door breaks down in three rounds and a black man with a black Kevlar, a katana in one hand and an automatic pistol in the other hand storms in. He will attack the kids, calling them "monsters" and fight to the death. He cannot be reasoned with.
Rewards: The refrigerator contains nothing but wine bottles. Examination will reveal the bottles are filled with blood. Should any of the kids drink some of the blood, they should get an immediate boost to their strength, agility and senses. If they are hurt, they will fully heal. A thorough search of the room will reveal a Glock pistol taped to the bottom of the sofa. The bullets are made of silver.
There is a buzzing smartphone on the coffee table. The caller is a bronze-skinned woman with tattoos of feathered snakes on her arms. Her called I.D is "Taloc." If the kids don't answer her, they see there are 47 unanswered calls and 15 messages. Within minutes, they get another call, this time from a tough-looking man with a giant beard and cruel eyes named "Sash".
Taloc: Taloctitlani is a Mexican friend of Jax. She is calling to warn him to stop turning kids before he attracts the attention of hunters or elder vampires, neither of which approves of this practice. If the kids answer the phone, she sighs heavily, realizing her friend is already dead and tells them to stay put. She will come to collect them as soon as the sun sets and take them to Mexico. She warns them that both local vampire hunters and vampires will try to kill them. She calls many more times before the end of the adventure because she is very worried about her friend. The scepter is hers. Jax stole it from her and planned to sell it to finance his relocation.
Sash: Alexi is the elder vampire of the city. He is very angry at Jax for creating vampires without his permission and is calling to tell him that he has one last chance to start following the rules or Alexi will personally blood eagle Jax before leaving him to bake in the sun. If Alexi speaks with the kids, he informs them that their existence is unauthorized. As soon as the sun sets, he intends to come to the house and kill them all. Like the majority of NPCs in this adventure, he cannot be reasoned with. However, he will allow the kids to live if Taloctitlani takes personal responsibility for them.
The password of the phone is 1885. Unless the kids somehow deduce it, they can only use the phone to answer calls.

Do mind your steps...

3. Bathroom
The bathroom shows signs of extreme neglect. There are cobwebs in the toilet bowl, mold on the walls and ceiling and a dead bird in the sink.

4. Bedroom
The bedroom is large and affluent. There is a circular bed in the center that displays signs of recent lively activity. The sheets are torn and crumpled, the duvet lies on the floor and feathers from the pillows are scattered all around the bed. In one corner of the room there is a pile of ash, clothing, an ankh medallion and a wooden stake.
Challenges: In the other corner there is a blonde teenage girl with five bleeding holes in her stomach. She is alive, but just barely. She is armed with a crossbow and will shoot the first person who touches her. Otherwise, she is in no shape to fight. If questioned, she will tell the kids that her name is Betty and she is a vampire slayer. She came to the house to kill a vampire that has committed many outrages in the neighborhood. The man outside is Knife, a fellow vampire hunter. She suspects the kids have been turned into vampires as part of some twisted provocation against the elder vampire of the city. If ignored, she will bleed to death in three rounds.

This adventure often ends in TPK, either at the hands of Knife the vampire hunter or Alexi the vampire elder. While there's a small chance they will beat Knife, they have no chance at all to defeat Alexi and his monsters, making staying in the house for too long a certain death.
To survive this ordeal, the kids must either secure Taloctitlani's help or flee the house before the sun sets, possibly by improvising some kind of a mobile tent to protect them from the sun. What happens next? It can be this, or this or even this, or whatever else you fancy. The world is great and full of horrors.

No comments:

Post a Comment