I’ve been asked to run a Christmas one-shot by my Friday night gaming group. I was thinking about one of the Dune intro adventures but as I’m just starting a Dune game on Monday nights, I thought to shake it up. My hard copy of T2000 4th Ed is currently sitting in another country so I’ve been watching videos and flicking through a PDF copy of the rules.
The character sheets are pre-gens that I’ve thieved from elsewhere. Let the players make their own characters as long as they’re from the same side, ideally the same unit. Group Cohesion is important.
|STR A: HW: B, CC: D, ST: CAGI A: DR: D, MO: D, RC: CINT CEMP D
|HP 6, ST 4, CUF D, MO D
|STR B: ST: CAGI A: MO: C, RC: CINT B: RE: C, SU: C, TK: DEMP C: CO: D
|HP 6, ST 5, CUF C, MO D
|STR B: ST: DAGI B: RC: DINT B: SU: D, TK DEMP B: PE C, ME D
|HP 5, ST 5, CUF D, MO D
Waking up. Cold. December 2000. The players wake up. They’re in the woods in Poland. A light snow has already started to cover their bivouac shelters. The forest around them is picturesque but also eerily silent. The players are remnants of several troops that were dismembered during the last push.
Encounters The players should have the opportunity to have some encounters as they move. They think they’re heading south, away from Kalisz and away from the winter, away from Russia. As this is a one shot, and not part of the main plot, there should be one encounter now.
- Rózga. An old man wearing a green jacket, leading a goat. He has a loaf of bread in his arms, a little stale but perfectly edible. If they treat him badly, things will go very wrong for them. Everywhere they go, they will encounter little bundles of sticks. They’ll dig into their pockets and find twigs. If they treat him nicely, he will share his bread with them – which ends up being worse as it’s Rye bread, infected with ergot.
- The Town. They come across a small village, people fearful of strangers. The people will barter with them for food/drink/shelter. If they don’t have much to barter they will ask a favour. They want a small group of them to travel southeast to Wietun. Two men, one woman. They don’t have vehicles but they will supply a couple of pack mules. Hopefully the players agree. The woman, Jolanta, is wrapped up heavily and heavily pregnant. One of them men is her husband, Daniel. The other man is her brother Wieslaw. They may notice Jolanta wears a T shaped cross, on a chain. This isn’t the Tau cross, this is the symbol of Saint Anthony.
- Turo?. They see a strange figure in the woods. A long billowing sheet, topped with a horned head complete with flapping jaws. IF they shoot at it, it flees. If they chase it, they find nothing but the sheet. This is a local dressed in the local fertility deity trappings on his way to the next house to beg a glass of vodka or some fruit. He’s already quite drunk but will sober quickly and hide in the undergrowth, under the snow if challenged. If they are relentless, they will catch the unfortunate soul (Oskar) and he will be terrified out of his wits, especially if they have hurt him.
The journey to Wietun will take 24 hours, so maybe three encounters.
Christmas Miracle The small group will travel slowly to Wietun, with encounters as usual. They won’t reach Wietun for a couple of days but the end of the second day, Jolanta needs shelter and they find a small shack where she can give birth. From then on they have noisy Christmas miracle to deal with as well. The players will have to use their medical knowledge to assist in the birth.
Wietun As the players and their entourage approach Wietun, they encounter the town’s remaining scouts. The town is filled with refugees, makeshift shelters and the smell of burning wood and food being cooked. The players will be greeted and then immediately asked if they are well. If they are uninjured they will be sent out to shovel clean snow into buckets and bring them to the fires to be melted into clean water.
The Council After a day (urban encounter?), the town council comes to the players. They offer them shelter and food for as long as they stay. This is their little Christmas miracle.
The Ergot is potentially the biggest complication. The GM should feed the players notes based on their perceptions.
- If they give Jolanta any of the bread it will bring on parturition rapidly and violently
- If they eat it themselves, they will begin to feel the effects of ergotism. Some of them will have pins and needles, some will feel their fingers on fire, others may start to see things. All will experience vomiting.
- The hallucinatory effects of the Ergot will play up on fears, reduce CUF and it will make the encounter with the Turo? seem entirely supernatural. Players shouldn’t be told but they will fail almost every perception roll while under the influence of Ergot
If the players refuse to escort the people (or are violent), they should be run out of town and you can then just throw encounters at them until they run out of ammo and medical supplies.
If the players are unkind to the people they meet, they won’t be asked to stay. They’ll be given food and water, but asked to leave. They are outnumbered, so it will likely not turn out well if they try force.
If the medical rolls fail, the mother or child may die. If the mother dies, the child will live. If the child dies, describe how the morning comes but it never gets truly light again. Describe how what seems like snow, is actually ashes. Up ahead, the town of Wietun is burning.
- Supernatural – draw from The Omen or The Prophecy to add a little supernatural horror/thriller
- Alien – rather than adding Alien, add Brightburn.
- Threads – the mother doesn’t make it, and the baby, well, it’s barely human for the thirty seconds it survives. Thoroughly downbeat.
The Nativity (c. 3 BC). Three Kings (1999). Silent Hill (2005). Threads (1984). The Blair Witch Project (1999). Kill List (2011). A Field in England (2013)