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Max_Writer

Thunderstorm in 1875 - Environmental Effects?

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Max_Writer

Okay folks, I need some ideas for a game I'm going to run soon.

 

I have snatched Through the Night from Dungeon Adventures #29 for my Down Darker Trails campaign. The basic premise is a roadside inn with three graves around back, a dead man inside, garlic and crosses everywhere, and a feeling that a vampire is prowling.  What IS prowling is a slithering tracker (it was a AD&D scenario originally and I'm tweaking the stats for the tracker from the Big Book of Monsters).  The tracker was brought to the inn when a prospector found several geodes but they weren't really geodes, each has a tracker within.  He cracked one open and dumped the slime inside in disgust.  The murders started shortly after, each body drained of blood.

 

The investigators will arrive at the inn in the midst of a terrible thunderstorms (probably in the mountains somewhere) as night is coming on.  However, I need several dangers of the road I can throw at them first to encourage them to stop.  I'm going to flesh out lightning strikes, mudslides, and the simple fact that riding a horse in the mountains in the middle of the night is tantamount to suicide if the mount takes a bad step.  But I'd like a few more good environmental effects to encourage them that staying in the inn is actually safer than trying to rough it outside in the violent storm.

 

Any ideas?

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rylehNC

A rattlesnake or grizzly bear? The sound of wolves at night.

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DrMonster

Stalked by Indians seeking the culptit that murdered some of their folks?  Flash floods in gullies and down “trails”?  Rumors that the Bennet Brothers have escaped and are on another killing spree?  Rock slides or falls on the mountain trails?

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carpocratian

Where are they (state and region of state)?  How close is it to night?  What season is it?  Potential environmental and animal threats will vary according to the answers to those questions.  Riding in Montana in early spring is a lot different than Texas in early autumn.

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Max_Writer
9 hours ago, carpocratian said:

Where are they (state and region of state)?  How close is it to night?  What season is it?  Potential environmental and animal threats will vary according to the answers to those questions.  Riding in Montana in early spring is a lot different than Texas in early autumn.

 

This will probably take place in the Central California Mountains east of San Francisco though I picked the scenario so I can drop it down almost anywhere.  I plan on them arriving at the inn close to dark.  Timeline is mid-November 1875.

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carpocratian

The most dangerous animals they might encounter (excluding wasps and other insects) are mountain lions, wild pigs, black bears, and rattlesnakes.  Of those, black bears and rattlesnakes are the only ones that could be problematic.  If one was roaming around it would be most likely to approach the camp if it was looking for food, but (to be honest), the chances of that aren't big enough to have been of much worry to a group like that in that time period and place.  Female black bears can be dangerous if they have cubs with them, but they are likely to be hibernating at that time of year.  Rattlesnakes are most likely to be in their hibernation dens at that time of year.  Even if one wasn't, the danger of having it crawl into an sleeping bag and eventually biting the person (and injecting venom) is not significant enough for it to be a deterrent in that situation.

 

The Ohlone were the main Native American tribe in that area, but there weren't many left by that period, due to (effectively) genocide.  They weren't known for being particularly hostile, even during the earlier Spanish Mission era whey they were more or less invaded and their culture started to fall apart.

 

The big Gold Rush had more or less ended about 30 years earlier, so you didn't have the social issues and wandering strangers that could have been an issue in past decades.

 

Ultimately, the environmental things you have mentioned are going to be the best things to dissuade people from camping out in that time and place.  If they aren't used to roughing it and aren't familiar with the area, a general fear of being "in the wild in the dark" might contribute to it.  Reports of bandits or outlaws could be a big motivator.  That was a big danger in certain areas at certain times back then, and there was a lot of sensationalism about it in the papers and dime novels that could have made them nervous even without any local reports.

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FriendOfMrGreen

Posted 4 October, 2018

Okay folks, I need some ideas for a game I'm going to run soon.

 

I have snatched Through the Night from Dungeon Adventures #29 for my Down Darker Trails campaign. The basic premise is a roadside inn with three graves around back, a dead man inside, garlic and crosses everywhere, and a feeling that a vampire is prowling.  What IS prowling is a slithering tracker (it is a AD&D scenario originally and I'm tweaking the stats for the tracker from the Big Book of Monsters).  The tracker was brought to the inn when a prospector found several geodes but they weren't really geodes, each has a tracker within.  He cracked one open and dumped the slime inside in disgust.  The murders started shortly after, each body drained of blood. 

 

I am so stealing this!!!

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Max_Writer
1 hour ago, FriendOfMrGreen said:

I am so stealing this!!!

 

LOL.  Steal away.  It's an excellent scenario, I think, though my players were a bit put off when all but one of them were paralyzed by the thing and it was up to him (NOT the fighter in the group) to kill it with burning alcohol from the bar.  

 

I also did a follow up on it with The Spiral Crypts (here: https://d-infinity.net/game-content/runequest-thursday-189-spiral-crypts) which lay in the mountains some 10 miles from the Inn of the Smiling Spirit.  The group ran into a few prospectors heading for the inn.  They had heard rumors of the prospector who was dead there having a map and some gold dust.  When they ran into a bandit (Pete Sutter) whom they knew, tied up, who had been incapacitated when he tried to rob them, he wanted to go back for his piece.  They said they'd go with him and one of them tracked the prospectors (two of whom were now dead - one by the servant of Yig in the entrance (which they killed) and another by a malfunctioning portal.  They killed the two prospectors ... and were forced to kill the dead body of a third prospector that came back to life, and got the map and Pete's piece.  Pete, however, left to search the bodies as no one else wanted to, took the $200 in gold dust.  Good times.

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Gaffer

Bring them down out of the mountains with night approaching and the storm raging. The inn is beside a creek in a deep ravine, but it's swollen from the rain in the mountain. The water is actually flowing over the planks of the bridge, which has no railings. The bridge pilings seem to be undermined as it can be seen to shift. Only a fool would attempt to cross. All the level ground around the inn is sodden. The narrow trail back up the mountain is treacherous enough in daylight and dry weather. What option is there?

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