Thursday, 23 March 2017

Interlude: Party Night at Kappa Iota Lambda - A We're All Going to Die Adventure

So, Ellis Cobalt will soon be nearing the end of their amnesiac sex pest adventures. Meanwhile, the real world is getting pretty busy this week, so while I retool things for the next chapter Ellis is taking a week off from walking into rooms, wondering why they walked in, forgetting they ever weren't in the room in the first place and trying to show their (non-existent) penis to the nearest animate entity.

But it may surprise you to know that I don't always play RPGs with anonymous strangers looking to cyber or send me dickpics. Sometimes I play RPGs with my friends that I have who are real and totally exist.

Recently we tried out the one-page RPG We're All Going to Die, by Adrian Bott. It's a one-shot game built on regular violent character death, with dice rolls being replaced by the cruel whims of the GM and a name picked out of a hat.

This is the scenario I wrote for the game- loosely based on 90s teenage slasher movies and probably slightly stolen from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Couple of tips for anyone looking to run this game- Get all your players to come up with two characters. Having a spare makes it much less traumatising when you start murdering people early on in the game. We played with one GM and three players with two characters each, and the whole game wrapped up in two or three hours.
Character creation template
Also, these notes were written rapidly, and for my own purposes only, so there will be plenty of plotholes, loose ends, things the players ignore, things the GM will want to ignore, and things you might just have better ideas for entirely. Of course you should feel free to improv, improve, ignore and riff off anything in here if it seems fun. If you do give this a play, please let me know how it goes.

And again, thanks to Adrian Bott who wrote the rules for this game.

Party Night at Kappa Iota Lambda
You are high school kids. You’re all from various John Hughes tinted walks of life, but you have one thing in common. You aren’t cool. Maybe you were cool but you’ve had a fall from grace. Maybe you’ve always been a bit of loser. Maybe you’re a bit cool, but you want to be cooler. Whatever the reason, last week in detention you decided to listen to Wacky Michael, even though he’s the sort of person who insists on being called Wacky Michael.
During that detention Wacky Michael told you he knew about an absolutely insane party happening at the famously awesome Kappa Iota Lambda fraternity house that weekend. What’s more, he had a way to sneak himself and some good buddies into the party.
Getting into a College kids party is exactly the sort of thing that could boost you a couple of rungs up the vaguely defined but strictly policed ladder of “Cool”. That’s why, on Saturday night, you find yourself and a mismatched gang of kids you can barely stand climbing over the fence surrounding the Kappa Iota Lambda fraternity house.

Games Master Background NOT FOR PLAYERS- Draw on this info if the players manage to beat up or interrogate a cultist who isn’t an idiot.
Kappa Iota Lambda, and its sister Sorority, Delta Iota Epsilon, are two ancient and noble Houses. Over the generations they have produced Supreme Court Justices, Senators and CEOs. People with power.
What is not known outside the hallowed halls of the fraternity is that these people worship the God of Want, an ancient and powerful extra-dimensional being that feeds of deprivation and need. But the universe is a zero sum game, for there to be deprivation there needs to be excess, and so the God of Want grants great boons of excessive wealth to those who will create that deprivation.
Tonight is the night, once a year, when the brethren of KIL and the sisters of DIE will unite, perfect greats acts of hedonism and excess and then sacrifice human lives to the God of Want. And our heroes are about to wander right into the middle of it.

MAP: EXTERIOR


MAP: INTERIOR

START
The plan is a simple one. Despite being the absolute coolest, jockest, bro-est fucking people you’ve ever seen the Frats at Kappa Iota Lambda aren’t above a little cosplay. For this party everyone is going to be dressing up in these deep purple velour robes, like some kind of camp grim reaper. Wacky Michael has a set of such robes, so he’s going to sneak into the party through the front door, head to the kitchen pantry at the back, and open a window for you guys to get in.
You guys have just traversed the fence at the SOUTH EAST corner of the grounds, and you can already here the bass from the party, and see the coloured lights spilling from the frat house windows The house itself looks like someone crashed a medieval castle and an ancient Greek temple together, with a disturbing mix of Norman arches and Greek columns. To your WEST is a utility shed, to your NORTH is a pretty sinister looking hedge maze, which seems like a weird thing to have at a frat house.
But then, it’s well known that this is the kind of Frat house you only get into if your Dad is the CEO of a major corporation, or at least a senator. Even from here you can see that the house is a mansion. You know your goal is to get to the back of the house and in through the window to the pantry.
If they try to go around the front way they will be met by a couple of burley looking guys in purple robes who politely but firmly tell them they aren’t welcome.
Oh, and BTW, if it does occur to anyone to use their mobile phone during this, they get absolutely nil signal.

WINDOW
Wacky Michael is an idiot. The handy “open window” he left you is eight feet off the ground and looks like a letter box. You might be able to fit through, but only if you really suck in your guts, and possible some of your bones.

PANTRY
This pantry is bigger than your bedroom. It’s dark, but through the moonlight at the window you can see rows of tinned food that looks like it’s been there since before the war, on a shelf above a couple of crates, actual crates, of Mountain Dew. There’s also an open cardboard box. There is a door that is open just a crack.
The cardboard box is almost empty, but at the bottom you find five sets of velour robes. If they’ve any sense they will wear these.
Any attempt to climb back through the window will be met with the revelation it’s too high. If after seeing Michael murdered they give somebody a lift up, they will hear the person say “Oh! Hello!” as they land outside, followed by a blood curdling scream. If The Survivor tries to get back through the window it falls and slams shut, and jams too tight to reopen.

Kitchen
You peer through the crack in the kitchen door just in time to see Wacky Michael walk in, followed by another party goer. You can tell it’s Mike because his hood’s down and his robe is several shades lighter and two sizes smaller than everybody else’s. Oh well, you don’t insist on being called “Wacky Michael” because you’re great at thinking things through. His companion is taller, considerably less dumpy looking, and somehow managed to make a velour robe look creepy. The hood completely covers their face.
“Alright bud, I’m just going to grab some Mountain Dew…” Mike says, walking towards you.
His companion nods without speaking, and walks over to the kitchen drawer. Mike spots you, and gives you a wink.
“Actually, we’re good for Dew,” he says turning back to his companion.
The other figure in a robe now has a long, painfully sharp looking knife. He raises it into the air and before Michael even has time to be surprised the figure drives the knife into Michael’s chest once, twice, three times, blood arching through the air with each impact.
Michael falls to the ground and a pool of blood begins to grow around him.
Any attempt to attack the robed figure will be punished. If one person attempts they will also be stabbed to death. If the group attacks (or The Survivor attacks) the figure simply wrestles free and disappears back through the door into the party. If they stay hidden, the robed figure will also return to the party.
Searching the kitchen will reveal half a lettuce, a packet of crackers, some beers and an incredibly expensive looking set of Chef’s knives.

The TV Room
You’re in the house common room, a ginormous living room with a TV big enough for two people sleep on it comfortably, sofas dotted all over the place, and a number of arched, medieval looking windows with, now you look, bars on them.
As you open the door the music washes over you. This is the party you’ve always heard about or seen on TV but never thought could actually exist. Everywhere you look are guys in purple robes, dancing, some with their hoods up, others with their hoods down revealing crewcuts and popped collars underneath. There’s also some girls from Delta Iota Epsilon sorority here, identifiably by their slightly better fitting emerald green robes. To your right you can see a long table with four different flavours of Dorito in bowls and six different types of dip. To your left is a bunch bowl big enough to drown triplets in.
There are doors on the left and right of the room, as well as medieval style spiral staircase leading up and down.
Ahead of you are the wooden double doors that will lead you back into the outside world.
If they attempt to leave through the front door.
As you approach the front door a guy in a gold-trimmed purple robe, wearing a laurel, climbs up onto the table.
BRETHREN!” he roars. “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!”
There is drunken applause and clapping.
“I would like to declare that this party is started!” he shouts, raising a red paper cup.
Everyone raises their own paper cups.
“Lock the doors! Nobody leaves until the Gods of Getting Wasted are satisfied!” he declares, and two more robed figures put a wooden bar over the door, locking it into place with a padlock.
The applause is rapturous.
If they try to go anywhere else- or do anything that marks them as intruders.
As you push your way through the crowd a robed figure stops you.
“Brethren!” he cries. “You must drink to the Gods of Wanting!”
He passes each of you a red paper cup with liquid inside.
If they examine the liquid they will find it’s hard to identify with the flashing disco lights, but it looks dark and feels warm in your hands.
If they drink it’s a thick liquid, almost like warm cream in texture, but it tastes bitter, metallic, like sucking on a penny. See if anyone realises it’s blood, if not, select someone at random. That person realises it’s blood and spits it out, spraying the blood over everyone in the vicinity. There’s applause and cheering from the surrounding robed party-goers and that person is marked as The Sacrifice. If someone refuses to drink, that person is marked as The Sacrifice. If they give themselves away some other way, Sacrifice etc.

The Sacrifice
“WE HAVE A SACRIFICE!” bellows the robed guy who handed you the cups.
Before you can speak to particularly burly robe-wearers have appeared at your side, hooked their arms around and yours and begun dragging you to the punch bowl. Everybody parts to let you through, some cheering or booing.
A robed guy with gold trim on his cloak and a laurel on his head walks up to you.
“Well, well!” he says to the audience. “It seems a lamb has wandered right up to the altar! What do we do with the lamb everyone?”
The chant of “Sacrifice!” comes back from everyone in the room.
“That’s right!” the laurel-wearer says. “Bring me the instrument of sacrifice!
Reverentially two people pass the laurel wearer something the length of a long sword, wrapped in the same fabric as the robes. He lifts it up with one hand, and with the other yanks away the fabric revealing A YARD GLASS filled with BEER.
“YOU!” the robe guy shouts. “DO YOU ACCEPT THE SACRIFICE?”
Wait for an answer.
Everyone cheers, and the glass is lifted to your lips.
If they player attempts to drink, describe to drinking in accordance with how good/bed their character is at drinking. If they try not to, the glass is forced into their mouth and the beer spills down their clothes and onto the floor, which onlookers find hilarious. Both will reach a point where they start to feel like they can’t breathe, but they keep going.
As the last beer drains away everyone claps again because these morons will clap at anything. The guy in the laurel is patting you on the back and saying “Good job bro. That was legendary.”
Then he rests a hand on your head, pulls it back, and slits your throat with a sacrificial dagger, letting your body fall face first into the punchbowl. There is more clapping, and whooping, and laughing, and people calling “SACRIFICE!”
If they give themselves away again the whole room will come after them and this will be over quickly.
If they talk to someone they’ll hear about the Gods of Wanting, and how everyone has to be wasted in time for the Ceremony tonight.

Garage
The door leads down some steps and into a brightly lit room of breezeblocks and concrete. There’s a tool bench at one end of the room, and in the middle of the room are three vehicles. A Lamborghini Aventador SV, a classic Aston Martin and a large if slightly ratty looking white van.
The tool bench has spanners, screwdrivers etc. in. The cars are all open but don’t have keys in. A further search will reveal the keys are in an open lockbox by the door, right next to the switch that opens the garage door. If they look in the van they’ll find the body of a dead old guy in green overalls. Searching him will give them the keys to the utility shed. At some point (you pick) three guys in robes walk in and the lead one asks “Hey! What the hell are you doing!” They draw meat cleaves and start to attack. If the players get the upper hand one will run for reinforcements. Somebody should die here though.
Whatever vehicle they take, this will get them out the front of the house. As they drive off they’ll see bros in robes running out the garage and more waving angrily from the window. But the gate of the driveway is locked. If they ram it, the car will crash and the driver (or front seat passenger if the driver is the survivor) will be killed. Everyone survives if they wear their seatbelt though (don’t prompt that though).
They can climb the fence to escape. Some of them might even survive.
The Highway
Bloodied, tired and aching you stumble onto the road, and too frightened to rest you start limping back to town. As you walk, you see a police car up ahead.
The police car will stop, and the cop will ask what everyone’s up to, seeming friendly but suspicious. Get everyone into the back of the police car, and get the story from them, while driving back to the Frat House. Maybe hint that some weird stuff goes on at that Frat house. When they get there everyone is out the front of the house in robes.
The cop gets out of the car, looking sternly at the party goers. “There’s something I need to say to you boys,” the cop says gruffly. “I need to tell you… KAPPA IOTA LAMBDA RULES!” and then he runs in a circle high fiving everyone at the party.
More bros in robes gather around and grab each of you, dragging you back into the house and down to the basement.

The Swimming Pool
A Frat House with a swimming pool- that’s the level of stupid rich you’re dealing with. People in purple and green robes are lying on a loungers all around the pool, some have taken their robes off to have a swim, some are making out. At the far end of the pool is an enormous sound system that, for some reason, is playing Wheezer.
If they’re not found out, that’s all there is here. If they’re on the run, people come after them waving knives seconds later. Try to arrange for the sound system to fall in the pool and electrocute a bunch of people.

Stairs
As you approach a huge, burley robed bro steps into your path. You can see his muscles even through the not-meant-to-be-flattering robes and he has a face like a Nazi propaganda poster.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asks.
He will not let them past until one of them has defeated him at Beer Pong.

The Basement #1
The spiral staircase is uncomfortably narrow, and as you descend you notice the stone bricks around you are wet to the touch.
The basement itself has a definite “dungeon-y” quality, with lots of pillars and stone arches. In the centre of the room is a large, shallow, round pool filled with black liquid. A couple of guys in robes are trying to rig up some sort of scaffolding over the pool. You can also see chains, a couple of propane canisters that it can’t be safe to have down here, and a banner hanging from the ceiling that reads “KAPPA IOTA LAMBDA FOREVER!”
“Hey!” one of the bros in robes says when they see you. “We’re not ready for you yet! You guys aren’t supposed to come down until the ceremony.”
These bros in robes are friendly enough so long as you keep up at least a pretense of being KIL. They’re looking forward to the ceremony to the Gods of Getting Wasted. They reckon it’ll be pretty Legendary. They’re concerned everyone is getting sufficiently, totally out of their mind black-out blitzkrieged in time for the ceremony.

Upstairs
You follow the staircase up into a tasteful lobby area with long corridors going off to the South, East and West. The carpet is a mesmerising pattern of interlocking hexagons in orange, brown and red, the walls are an inoffensive pastel. A door to your south has “Bathroom” written on it on a tiny bronze engraved plaque. By the stairs is a small table with a red, rotary dial phone on it.
If they call the police they’ll hear a male voice that pretends to be the police while trying to stop themselves from sniggering. As they keep talking more bros in Robes will appear from the East and West.

Corridor (any corridor)
The corridor seems to stretch on forever, with row upon row of doors on either side of you. Something about the motion of the carpet as you walk makes you feel nauseous.
Let them open any door and just improvise what’s in the bedrooms- someone chained up to a bed who wants to be there. A little girl waiting for a pony. A man trying to persuade an ostrich to marry him. A guy in a powdered wig trying to play the piano. The dead groundskeeper, talking about how he’d just like some new tools. Wacky Michael, still bleeding, who just really likes you guys and wants to hang out with you. Try to freak them out. The thing all of them will have in common is that they want things, and won’t leave the room because otherwise they won’t get what they want.
The windows at the front can be opened, but are too high up. Bedsheets can be tied together to get down the outside of the building and escape.

Study Room
This room, done up in the same wonderfully tasteful d├ęcor as the hallways, with a row of man-sized cupboards along one side. It also features a long coffin-shaped table surrounded by chairs and littered with books. Most seem to be ordinary textbooks- Political Science 101, Plant Anatomy, but at the very end of the table is a huge, leather bound thing that, frankly, it’d be more practical to read on Kindle.
If they spend too long in here they hear the door open and have just enough time to hide.

The Leather Bound Book
The book is written in a language you don’t understand. The letters don’t even look like anything you’ve seen before- it’s like one of those bullshit made of Dungeons and Dragons languages. It turns out Frat Boys really are total nerds. In amongst the squiggly made up writing, however, there are woodcuts. Woodcuts with entrails, and stabbing, and people in hoods doing things that definitely don’t adhere to the College’s zero-harassment policy. Some of the pictures are just weird though- there is one picture of what looks like a giant eyeball, and people that look like knights in armour emptying their goblets over the eye as people in robes hold up their hands and look…. Sad? Scared? Hungry? Honestly, the quality of these engravings isn’t top notch stuff.
If someone does happen to have RPG or Language skills, they may be able to read that “The God of Desire May Not Receive His Own Fruits” as the caption for the woodcut with the giant eyeball.

Utility Shed
You can get in here with the key from the body you found in the van.
You open the door and it creaks. This room is pitch black and filled with cobwebs. But looking around you see beneath the cobwebs are rakes, ages, shovels, and, suspiciously shining clean on a worktop right at the back of the room, is a pristine looking diesel powered chainsaw.

Maze
You dive into the maze, it’s dark and you can barely see where to put one foot in front of the other. It smells strongly of tree.

Basement #2
You dragged, kicking and screaming down the spiral staircase into the basement. It’s hot and humid and smells of stale beer and BO and it is packed with howling bros in robes and the sisterhood from Delta Iota Epsilon. Everyone seems to be gathered around a round paddle pool filled with what might be oil. There are kegs positioned all around and people are drinking and chatting. You are dragged to a cage just about big enough for one person and grabbed inside. Then someone pulls a winch and the cage is dragged on a chain until it hangs directly over the pool.

Turn
Everyone is clapping and cheering, but then it all goes quiet. The guy with the gold trim robes and the laurels begins chanting. You can’t make out the words, but soon everyone is joining in. The black liquid in the pool begins to slosh and splash, waves ripple across the water, growing bigger with the chanting.

Turn
The black water flows away, revealing underneath it a gigantic eyeball. It stares unblinkingly at you. You can see the veins running across it, and make out the structure of the unnaturally blue iris. The chanting stops to allow for more cheering.

Turn
Then, everyone goes completely silent as suddenly the eye splits right down the middle and opens up to reveal it is filled with thousands of tiny razor sharp teeth. From deep down in the depths of the thing, narrow, fleshy tentacles rise up and take hold of your cage.
For the survivor the cage door is ripped off. For anyone else, you can have the cage door rip off, or you can rip the floor out and leave them dangling.
Someone who tries can make the leap out of the cage. They can fight or try to make a run for it. If they knock over a keg into the eyeball:

Eyeball Death
As the beer sloushes onto the eyeball it immediately turns red and bloodshot, its tentacles flail madly and the air is split by an unearthly scream that seems to come from everywhere at once. The ground begins to rumble and crack, purple light shooting up from the gaps.
At this point everyone starts to run, any surviving play characters should run too. From here on everything collapses into the hole. Remember the front door is locked and windows are barred- only ways out are the garage and the upstairs windows.

Outside
As you reach the outdoors and flee the house you see the entire building is sinking into the ground in a halo or purple lightning. The scream fades and you alone, in a field, next to a big hole in the ground. Slowly everything fades to black…

Epilogue
You wake up in a hospital bed. At the foot of your bed stand two shockingly non-descript men in black suits.
If they try to move they will find they are unable to do so- the men in black will ascribe this to “Shock”. They will introduce themselves as Mr Bed and Mr Patient Chart-son. They will tell the survivor that the event at Kappa Iota Lambda were a tragic accident- under-age drinking led to a fatal gas explosion that completely destroyed the house. The surviving members of the Fraternity are distraught. A lot of them have bright futures and it will take them years to recover from this. The survivor, also, is to be commended for their quick wits and strong will in surviving the explosion.

If the player starts talking about murders or sacrifices they will cut them off, explaining that they have a bright future as well, and it would be a shame to ruin that with a reputation for drug taking- glue sniffing and mushrooms and what not. Once assure the person isn’t going to blab, or made vague threats if they’ve said they will, the men give the survivor a business card and leave. It’s completely blank.

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