SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

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Last week, we gave out a slew of pre-made characters. This

You'll jump! You'll swoon!  You'll demand to see the manager!

You’ll jump! You’ll swoon! You’ll demand to see the manager!

week, we’re going to give you a full adventure to run. This one was inspired by the first Skeleton Crew comic we ever wrote (if you’re a player, no peeking, as there are spoilers!) I’ve used it at many conventions, it can generally be run in a little over 2 hours. Enjoy!


SKELETON CREW – FRIGHT AT THE MUSEUM

This is a Skeleton Crew RPG pickup game, designed for 2-6 players. The PCs start with 20 points of skill, with a cap of Great (+4). While some of the skills and aspects are provided for the players, Fate is a very much a “make it your own” kind of game, so we have left some parts blank. For filling in aspects, the GM will start the game by asking a few questions, to see about the character motivations and connections. Any open skills or aspects can be filled out before the game, after it starts, or even near the end. GMs are encouraged to let players switch out skills, even mid-game, and not to worry too much about the retroactive changes. Reminder: if they decide to gain more Physique or Will, it will give them extra Physical Stress or Mental Stress. Keep this in mind.

THE SET-UP

Read aloud: You’re New Manchester’s premier team of Monster Hunters and paranormal investigators. You have tangled with plenty of underworld criminals, and have made many enemies, but you’ve also recruited a handful of allies. One of them, known as the Nosy Shadow, just heard that the necromancer Deadringer is hitting the Schmitzonian Museum of Natural History tonight. You head there as fast as you can, hoping you can beat him there.

As you pull up to the Schmitzonian Mall, you recognize the building- it’s the one with the giant banners advertising their touring exhibit, “The Mummy of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel.”deadringer comical scared

As the crewmates pull in closer, they see the skinny Deadringer at a broken window, slipping himself through. He sees you coming up, curses to himself, “Oh, fudge me!” and climbs through awkwardly.

POTENTIAL PCS

For a list of pre-made PCs, see last week’s blog post. If you want to reverse the gender of any of them, go ahead- Shelley can easily become “Sheldon” or “Percy”. It’s your game!

PRE-GAME QUESTIONS

TEAM ASPECT – Your Team aspect is “Monster Hunters”

The GM should ask the players the following questions- these will help shape their aspects and relationships for the upcoming game. If the same player tries to answer more than one or two, make sure you allow other players a chance to answer some.

  • Best Mate – You (A) consider another character your best mate in the whole world- you have saved each other’s necks so often you’ve lost track. Character B – write an aspect describing your strong feelings towards A (love, trust, disgust, etc.)
  • Former Enemy – You (Character A) find yourself on a team with a former enemy (Character B.) Write your feelings towards this character. Do you trust ‘em? Character B: do you mistrust A back? Is there an ulterior motive behind your cooperation?
  • Superiority Complex – You (Character A) consider character B to be your biggest rival- according to you, B thinks he’s SOOO much better than you, and you’ll do anything to prove that you’re the best. Character B: Is A your rival too? Do you feel like A is better than you, and you likewise have to prove your worth? Do you actually feel superior, but don’t feel the need to prove it?
  • Love in the Air– You (Character A) are head over heels in love with character B. Character B: write an aspect showing your acceptance of this love, or your knowledge / lack of knowledge about it.
  • Ulterior Motive – You (Character A) secretly or overtly want something that only Character B can give. Does B know information about a secret treasure? Does B have an ancient artifact that you’re eager to pull from their dead fingers? Character B: Do you know of A’s objective, or do you only have vague hints?
  • Love Gone Sour – You (Character A) used to be in a romantic relationship with Character B, before it crumbled; OR, Character A had a relationship that was disrupted, thanks to Character B. Write your an aspect reflecting your interpretation of the events.
  • Like a Son / Daughter– Between you (Character A) and Character B, there is a paternal / maternal bond. Pick which is the father/mother figure, and which is the son/daughter figure (age might be a good indication.)

Team Chemistry -The Chemistry aspect describes how the group members view each other. If you want, this can explain hint at a mutually shared past. Here’s a few examples:

  • Trusted: Band of Brothers / Old War Buddies
  • Familial:  Childhood Friends / Test Tube Experiment Siblings
  • Awkward: Thrown Together / Distant Co-workers / Amateurs & Old Pros
  • Competitive:  Confederacy of Rivals / Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend
  • Hostile: Every Man for Himself / If We Get Chased, I’m Tripping You

Note: For 2 hour games, this section can be skipped. If so, here’s a recommended pre-made Team:

Team Name: Skeleton Crew

Team Concept: Monster Hunters

Team Chemistry: Second Family – Love & Brotherly Hate

The following section contains spoilers of what’s ahead, and should be viewed by the GM Only – players, back off!


“Fright” Story Structure:

  • Act 1 – The Foyer / Vampanzees Attack!
  • Act 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects / The Orb of Kao!
  • Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit
  • Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

ACT 1 The Foyer

End Goal:

  • Story: Players are to dispatch or placate the vampanzees
  • OOC: Players are to become accustomed to rpgs (turns, skills, declaring actions,) and Fate system (combat, aspects, stunt & invokes). If possible, also introduce compels and consequences.

Players should enter the building after Deadringer- common ways include climbing in through the window (athletics) or breaking down the solid door (physique).

The first room is the main hall of the museum.

Once you get in, you see Deadringer at the other end of the hall, about to slip into the first exhibit.

I’m going to get the mummy. If you have a problem with that, you can talk about it to- my army of vampanzees!”

Deadringer pulls back his cloak an reveals a cluster (hardly an army), of vampanzees- namely, vampire chimps, complete with tiny fangs and short black capes.

vampan hate

At this point, players should brainstorm what the main hall is like. I recommend a large Woolly Mammoth model in the center of the room. Other ideas could include a gift shop, an info kiosk, fire extinguishers, lighting fixtures, etc.

Vampanzees – Mob
High Concept – Vampire Chimps
Aspects: Overly Curious; Bouncy Little Bastiches; Fight or Flight
Skills : Fair (+1) rating in Athletics.
Stunt: Clamber – If a Vampanzee is in a mob of 2 or more Vampanzees, it can make Attacks with Athletics. (If NOT in a Mob, it will generally join another mob or run away!)
Stress: No shift boxes— one shift of harm is enough to take them out.
(Note: The number of vampanzees are handled like mobs- each one is weak as heck, but add up to a threat if not divided. There are is a mob of 3 per character.)

Alternatively: Have only 2 vampanzees (which will be weak,) but invoke their aspects a lot- this will demonstrate the players how invoking works. 

Initiate Combat – Roll for Notice (Reminder: Zomboy & Caomh have stunts that give them order bonuses).

Determine the objectives & stakes: Vampanzees, for their part, want to scratch you, drink your blood, and maybe eat a few fingers, until they’d grow bored with your bodies.

Phase 0: I recommend you institute Phase 0, especially with a new group. One the first exchange, characters are not allowed to make Attacks- instead, they can only Create Advantages or Overcome.

Possible Compels to consider: Vampanzees are very curious. Weston has trouble with Light. Amon-anda might has trouble is the Vamps act in a particularly nasty way.

Once the vampanzees are cleared, players can follow Deadringer down the hall.

ACT 2 – The Hall of Sharp Pointy Things

End Goals:

  • IC: Characters reach the end of the hall, which is best achieved by disabling the Orb of Kao.
  • OOC: Characters have experience with a non-combat obstacle, and test out a Challenge.

(Note: In a Short, 2 Hour session, this section is less necessary to the plot- the number of successes can be reduced as time dictates.)

As you leave the main hall, you get a closer look at the exhibit Deadringer escaped through: “The Hall of Sharp Pointy Objects.” It seems a poorly thought out exhibit, with display items ranging from historical, like ancestral knives and spears, to mundane and random, like bent pipes and jagged rocks. Really, someone should be fired for this.

At the end of the hall, you see Deadringer place a large black crystal ball on the floor. He rushes out the door, and the orb starts emitting a thick smoke. The smoke seems to coalesce into spectral hands, which start reaching out and feeling the objects around them. There is also a high-pitched melody emitting from the orb, like the lullaby from a music box.

Any attempts to approach the orb will result in the hands grabbing random sharp objects and throwing them in the character’s direction. I recommend one free “jump back” into the safety of the doorway, giving the characters time to plan their approach.

Orb of Kao – Challenge

High Concept: Crystal Music Box of Doom

Experts will recognize the sphere as the Orb of Kao, a soul catcher from Ancient Egypt (they’re pretty rare, which makes the fact that Deadringer found one a little surprising.) It protects itself with ghost hands, and plays a haunting melody that hypnotizes anyone close enough to hear it.
Aspects: Egyptian automated sentry; Souls trapped inside; Made of hard glass

Challenge parts:
1. Dodge the Attacks- Recommended Difficulty – 2. Recommended Skills: Athletics
2. Avoid the Siren’s Call – Recommended Difficulty – 4. Recommended Skills: Will
3. Crush the Sphere – Recommended Difficulty – 6. Recommended Skills: Physique.

Taking Turns: Each challenge should be tackled by one character at a time.

1-3 Characters: You may have one character attempt all three challenges (as they run the gauntlet), or may have characters tag in. You may also consider lowering the difficulty of the later challenges by one or two points.

4+ Characters: We encourage each challenge be tackled by a different character, as they divert one part of the orb’s defenses, letting the next character tag in. If having over 6+ characters, considering raising the difficulty of the lower level challenges by one or two points, or consider adding a fourth challenge.

Extra characters: Any character that is not tackling a challenge may do ONE following:

> Make one attempt to use create an advantage to create an aspect.

> May use the teamwork rule to add +1 to any skill rolls, provided they are at least Average (+1)in it.

Special Rules:
Black Smoke – Any attempts to attack the orb from the Hall entrance without first doing challenges 1 & 2 will be blocked by thick smoke, but a shooter may assist with other attacks (by adding +1 through teamwork or by creating aspects), or may shoot it if that character or other have already beaten challenges 1 & 2 (ex. a character getting close enough to shoot it at close range, or throw it out of the fog)

Outside the box: If players want to attempt to get the orb some other way, go for it- just write up a 2-4 part challenge for them to overcome. One group used a hypnotized Vampanzee to run the gauntlet, after using illusion powers to convince it that the orb was a banana.

Failure: If a character fails to overcome challenge one or two, don’t forget that they can succeed at a cost- this might mean they stumble through a challenge, but have some negative boosts, aspects or consequences to hinder them the next challenge or scene.

Victory: If the orb is destroyed or overcome, the characters can safely go to the next room. There is also a “broken orb” aspect which the players can exploit.

Act 3 – The (Empty) Mummy Exhibit

End Goals:

  • IC: Players realize that the mummy remains undisturbed, and that Deadringer is casting something in the next hall.
  • OOC: Nothing major. If players want to prep themselves, allow each player a chance to prep once.

You run into the exhibit of Amon-Khee-Sunkhel, and find it- strangely quiet. At first glance, it appears that nothing is disturbed.

When the players get tired of searching, lead them to the next room. Any magic users may wish to pilfer the exhibit for talismans of mild power. Characters can also steal prop weapons or search for ancient weapons.

Act 4 – The Dinosaur Exhibit / Rex Awakens!

End Goals:

  • IC: Defeat or subdue Deadringer and the Skelesaurus.
  • OOC: Players become familiar with Consequences, and fighting a character with multiple stress boxes. Against the T-Rex, players will hopefully see that stacking up Advantages is a good strategy for muscling through its tough hide.

You follow the (trail of magic / smell / maniacal giggling) to the next exhibit. It’s marked: “Mesozoic Marvels: In the Time of the Dinosaurs!” As soon as you come in, you can feel the crackle of ozone in the air. In the corners of the room are four mismatched candles, with hastily squiggled chalk circles. In the rear of the chamber, Deadringer has sprayed a chalk circle around the massive Stegosaurus skeleton.

Aha! So, you know, I was going to resurrect the mummy, and then I saw the dinosaur exhibit, and then I thought, ‘That’d be a great idea,’ and then I was like, ‘I don’t know… it’s late, Deadringer, and you always make bad decisions when it’s late,’ and- well, to make a long story short, taste my Skelesaurus!”

dinosaur feast kill

Cue a Conflict.

Stakes: Deadringer- if he succeeds, he & the dinosaur break into the night to wreak havoc on New Manchester.

Once more, ask the players what’s in the room, and Roll for turn order.

Phase 0 –If you’re doing another phase 0 (no attacks), during Deadringer’s phase 0, he does the following:

Deadringer raises his Doom Bell and starts to cackle maniacally. “You think that stegi’s the only dinosaur I’ve prepared? Face the terror of my fleet-feeted- my fleet flooted –Oh, to heck with it. Arise Velociraptors!”

From the room arise half a dozen velociraptors, each a staggering… two feet tall.

Oh, Poo, they look bigger in the movie.”

The raptors run around the floor, nibbling on everything and getting underfoot. At the moment, they’re directed at you, but given time, they’ll likely get in EVERYONE’S way.

The raptors are an Aspect that cause an obstacle when moving from zone to zone (recommend Difficulty 2). Deadringer has a free invoke on the raptors, but any player can invoke it. Once a player has overcome the raptors, they won’t bother that player again for the rest of the scene. Players may also attempt to dispel or whoop the raptors completely (recommend Difficulty 4).

Skelesaurus Dinosaur – NPC
High Concept: Terrifying Undead Skeletal Stegasaurus
Aspects: Massive spiked tail; Don’t make it mad; Vegan at heart.

Skills:
+5 Physique & Fight (With 5+ players, make it +6)
+4 Intimidate, Wilderness
+3 Will, Notice

Stunts:
Stand & Take It – Skelesaurus can use Physique to defend against Shooting attacks
Monster – Skele gains +3 from Invokes instead of +2.

Deadringer – NPC
High Concept: Skinny little Necromancer
Aspects: Derives Power from the Doombell; Kind of a Weenie; Vengeful

Skills:
+5 Shooting (Death Magic)
+4 Athletics, Mythos
+3 Sixth Sense, Deceit, Notice, Intimidate, Will

Stunts:
Necromaniac: As long as he has his Doombell, Deadringer can create advantages themed on blood, spirits, bones, shadow, or anything else. These summoned forms can be invoked to help him as normal.
Slippery Devil – Deadringer gets +2 to Athletics when using Overcome to avoid being pinned down or held.

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