Monday, 30 October 2017

GURPS Spooky Halloween One-Shot 2017


A group of 20-somethings all have a long weekend in autumn, and decide to go backcountry camping at Black Lake.  What starts out as a fun trip soon turns into terror as something attacks and begins picking them off, one by one.


Beth Henderson - Klutzy Accountant
Travis McTaggart - Cowardly IT Technician
Phil Powell - Stubborn Machinist
Kate Norman (Initially an NPC) - Curious Nurse
Darryl Johnston (NPC) - Trickster Unemployed Mechanic


Travis is dating Beth
Beth is running buddies with Kate
Phil is secretly gay lovers with Travis
Kate is dating Darryl
Darryl is cousins with Phil


Saturday, October 7th, 2017
The group of friends crammed into Darryl's old pickup and drove for 2 hours out of the city, and then another hour on a gravel road before arriving at the parking lot for Black Lake's backcountry campsite; far enough that nobody's cell phone had a signal.  The leaves were already falling off the trees, but the weather was good, and still warm enough that nobody needed a jacket.  Phil had been camping here a few times several years ago, and remembered that it was still about a 30 minute hike through the forest to the actual site.

Beth saw a sign at the trailhead warning about bears in the area, but they were a large group, and would be storing their food in a bear-bag suspended from trees, so they were likely to be left alone.  Even so, Travis readied a can of bear mace, just in case.  About 20 minutes down the trail, they noticed a disgusting smell, like a mix of rotting meat and skunk, and after a brief look around, Phil discovered the source: a half-rotted dear carcass, its intestines torn out, slightly off the trail.  Travis clung tighter to his bear mace, and they continued on.

They arrived at the campsite, and by the time they were done setting everything up, it was almost sunset.  Beth decided to head down to the lake, only a few minutes away, to take some pictures, and Kate went with her, while the guys stayed back at the camp and played some cards.  Darryl eventually got bored and went off to smoke, leaving Travis and Phil alone to covertly make out before anyone came back.

On their way back from the beach, the girls noticed some bear prints on the trail, and Beth took pictures.  They showed the guys, but none of them were able to make anything of them, though Travis suggested they leave (and was turned down).  They settled in for a dinner of camp-stove cooked hot dogs and burgers, before going to sleep early to be well-rested for the hike the next day.

Around 2AM, something moved through the camp making growling noises, which woke up Travis, who stayed in his sleeping bag and tried not to make any noise.  It also disturbed Kate, who got up, noticed Darryl was missing, and got out of her tent to have a look around.  She found a speaker in a tree attached to Darryl's phone playing bear noises, told him to stop screwing around, and went back to sleep.

Sunday, October 8th, 2017
In penance for his prank (and to give Kate time to cool off), Darryl volunteered to clean up breakfast while the rest of the group got started on the 3-hour hike to Smith's Ridge.  He eventually caught up to find that Travis and Phil were slowing the girls down, both of them severely out of shape.

Eventually, they made it to the ridge, and were treated to a great view of the valley, as well as Mount Farnham in the distance.  Phil noted that there was a lot less snow than when he was here 5 years ago, and everybody shook their head while saying "global warming".  Beth took some pictures, and they had a picnic lunch before starting the trek back down to the campsite.

Thanks to Travis and Phil, the 6-hour hike ended up taking closer to 9, and they made it back only just before nightfall to find that something had been rooting around in their cap.  Phil's tent was entirely upside down, Kate and Darryl's was collapsed, the bear bag had been torn down and food torn out, and a terrible smell, like rotten meat and skunk, lingered in the air.  Phil took a look around and found a bit of brown fur on one of the bushes around their camp which seemed to be the source of the odour.

Kate yelled at Darryl for not properly storing the food, but he claimed that he had done everything correctly.  After his prank, neither Kate nor Phil believed this, and after figuring out that there wasn't enough food left for everyone, Darryl decided to make the hike back to the truck, which had a protein bar in the glovebox, to have dinner in solitude.

After 2 hours, Darryl still hadn't returned, and it was now dark.  Phil decided to set out to find him, but everybody else preferred to stay in the camp and let Darryl sulk.  While on the trail, Phil was overcome by the same smell of rotting skunk, causing him to gag and his eyes to water.  Out of the darkness, something big and furry lunged at him, clubbing him with a tree branch and breaking his right arm before running off back into the woods.

Thankful that it hadn't taken out his leg, Phil ran back to the campsite, bloodied and in severe pain.  Kate was able to rig up an impromptu sling, and the group debated what to do next.  Kate and Travis preferred to wait until daylight, but Phil and Beth would rather abandon the camp and leave now.  Eventually, Phil's stubbornness won out, and they set out, with only flashlights, Phil's hatchet (given to Kate, seeing as he only had one working arm), and Travis' bear mace.

As they walked through the forest, the beast returned, smelling it long before hearing growling behind them, turning to find nothing there.  Phil tripped over something, cursed, and adjusted his flashlight only to realize he was face to face with Darryl's pale, disembowelled body.  Travis panicked and sprinted while everybody else stood frozen in horror.  Still tired from the hike and quite panicked, Travis tripped over a root.  As he tried to pull himself up, the beast's miasma clouded over him, filling him with terror, followed by its hand on his right leg.  Travis managed only a blood-curdling scream, and then silence.

The survivors regained their composure at the sound of Travis' scream and ran towards him, eventually finding his body, where Beth and Phil shouted "Travis, no!" in perfect synch.  Beth took the bear mace, and they realized that they needed Darryl's keys to start the truck, and headed back to his body.  Just as Kate fished the keys out of his blood-soaked jacket, the smell came back, followed by growls, and everyone bolted.

Beth, a long-distance runner in college, got well ahead of Phil and Kate, only to be clubbed by the beast and knocked down before they could catch up.  Just as it wound up to club Beth again, Kate hit it with the hatchet, which caused it to bash her in the face with a huge fist instead, while Phil helped Beth up.  It turned back to chase Phil and Beth, who headed off into the bush, but was unable to grab either of them.

Phil and Beth finally made it back to the parking lot, and turned to see that there was nothing behind them.  They remembered that Kate had the keys, so Phil set Beth down by the truck, grabbed a rock, and smashed the passenger window open.  He helped Beth into the back seat, and quickly followed, hoping that the beast had finally given up the chase.

Kate managed to hide from the thing that had killed her friends, and stopped dead when she smelled it again, only to finally catch a clear glimpse of it, faintly illuminated by the weak moonlight.  The beast walked on two legs, stood roughly nine feet tall, was covered in brown fur, and had huge feet.  It dragged Travis' body out into a clearing, and started to take large bites out of his torso while Kate ran away, hoping it hadn't noticed her.

Much to Phil and Beth's relief, Kate made it to the parking lot and got in the driver's side of the truck, but was soon followed by the monster.  She locked the doors and put the key in the ignition, but the engine wouldn't start, and it reached through the smashed window and grabbed Phil while Beth dropped the bear mace.  Finally, the car started, and Kate gunned it into reverse, but the monster kept its grip, jumped up and held onto the side of the truck, and tore Phil out the window.

The beast crouched over him and took a bite out of Phil's shoulder, eliciting a shriek of pain, while Kate shifted the truck into drive.  She floored it into the monster, running it over, along with Phil, shifted, reversed back over it, and gunned it down the gravel road back to town.

Everybody got to pick out one thing tying themselves to another character, and we got the Beth > Travis > Phil bisexual love triangle, which was pretty funny.

Beth's player correctly figured out what the monster was: a sasquatch.  Had Travis gotten a good look at it, he might have been able to identify it, as he was into horror movies.

For fun, I tore up people's character sheets when they died.  During the parking lot action scene, I had Phil's sheet in my hands, held ready to tear until Kate failed a Driving check and killed him.

This was a bit of a railroad, as the general sequence of events was pretty locked in, though they did have some choices (or the illusion thereof).  I think I had let the group know this in advance, however, and everybody seemed to have fun regardless.

Though it never came up in play, Darryl was also behind the bear prints on the trail to the beach.

Phil's player failed every single test .

Kate was an NPC until Travis was killed, at which point he got to play her instead.

I initially had the idea to run this as a two-parter: first, they'd play as the random scrubs struggling to survive against a single sasquatch, and then they'd play as 400-point Monster Hunters against a family.  I eventually scrapped it because I thought it would take too long, but it would totally have fit the time frame.

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