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M-Files Adventure Ideasby Marco Dalmonte
I was checking through my files yesterday after a debilitating day and I found out something I thought it was interesting: basically X-Files episodes adapted to Ravenloft. Well, I've decided to do the same, but adapting them (some of them) to Mystara.
As a final note, it should be also possible to recreate the atmosphere of government cover ups if the party works for such a government. In this case, they could be special agents working for Alphatia, Glantri or Thyatis (which have a wide network of spies and informers who can direct the players to the various cases) or for a new political body called IBS (International Bureau of Security), a branch of the WDL (Western Defence League) that has the power to operate in all the state members of the WDL. Enjoy the adventures!
This collection of adventure hooks centre on the TV series X-Files and can be played by any group of adventurers. However, some of them (or all of them) can be linked together in a huge campaign that puts the characters vs. a mysterious group that wants to masquerade or cover up their involvement in numerous events that happen in the world. What the final goal of this mysterious group is however, is left to the DM to tailor to his campaign. As a final note, it should be also possible to recreate the atmosphere of government cover ups if the party works for such a government. In this case, they could be special agents working for Alphatia or Thyatis (which have a wide network of spies and informants who can direct the players to the various cases) or for a new political body called IBS (International Bureau of Security), a branch of the WDL (Western Defence League) that has the power to operate in all the state members of the WDL. Enjoy the adventures!
This adventure is best set in Glantri, Alphatia or Thyatis. Eugene Victor Tooms is a murderer who was sentenced to death back in AC 850. However, unknown to everybody, the government decided to volunteer him to experiment special potions and new magical dweomers. After a year, Tooms died during a last experiment involving altering his genetic structure mixing it with parts of amoeboid creatures. His corpse was then dropped in the disposal compound to be assimilated by gelatinous cubes. However, he wasn't dead, but merely cataleptic. The genetic structure of Tooms had undergone many transformations in the precedent months and when he awoke, he was able to free himself from the gelatinous cube and to escape the compound. Now he roams the streets of the most crowded cities of the country and has the following powers/characteristics (he's a veritable living ghoul):
- -his eyes glow yellow when he is experiencing strong emotion and has Infravision (90');
- -he has stopped ageing;
- -he is forced to hibernate for thirty years at a time to maintain his youth, if -he fails to return to hibernation within one year of waking, his age starts catching up with him at fast pace (this he discovered soon);
- -to enter and survive hibernation, he must consume five human livers;
- -he hibernates in a nest made of trash bound together by a glue-like substance he produces from the bile in the livers;
- -his skeletal and muscular structures have changed so that he can squeeze through very small openings (vents, chimneys, barred windows, etc; maximum 10' radius);
- -he finds the taste, smell, and texture of decaying meat appealing (must make a Wis check to resist eating rotten food whenever he finds it);
- -he has the power to regenerate lost limbs and body parts (2 hp per round)
The PCs will have to cope with him when a strange series of death will begin to befall some people in town...
Feral humans are hunting the populace of a small village. In a region near a primeval forest (Alfheim border, Karameikos or the eastern Thyatis), loggers of a small village start to disappear and the local logging company begins to lose money for the delay of his workers. When the workers threaten to leave if the beasts that prowl the forest are not dealt with, the company asks the government to take matters in its own hands and it sends the PCs investigating. They will discover that the corpses have been mauled and partially eaten by a strange type of unknown animal... these are humans preying on humans in the most literal sense. Degenerated humans (brute men maybe, but definitely humans) still live in those woods and want to protect their territory.. and hunt for survival. They have the power to camouflage with the surroundings, so it will be really difficult to spot them (Infravision works only when they are in motion; Detect Invisible and Trueseeing might be better). [I've mixed this old episode with another one on purpose here]
In a cold northern region (Glantrian Alps, northern Norwold) a meteor strikes down from the sky. The nearest mages (magical guilds) hire the PCs to build up an expedition and retrieve parts of that meteor to use for studies and magical researches. Once there, the research team is forced by bad weather conditions to remain inside a wooden refuge waiting for better conditions to make the trip back (this means the group must not have means of Teleporting itself back). During their stay one of them is infected by a parasite from the meteor. The parasite is a worm that feeds by attaching to the hypothalamus and absorbing its secretions (it could feed on Psi Points or Spell Levels or Int or Wis or whatever too). Anyhow, the effect of this is that the person's emotional state changes. They become paranoid, then angry, finally homicidal. When the party discovers one of those strange worms about to enter the ear of one of them, the doubt that anyone could have already been infected spreads fast... The best way to do this is to create a claustrophobic feel and emphasise that no-one can know for certain who is infected and who isn't. The PCs must find a cure before it's too late.. and before they run out of provisions.
This is best set in Glantri, Thyatis or Alphatia. The government's magists are trying to create a super-soldier (or spy or something). They have taken the best females they could find and created clones of her altering their genetics so that they look normal but are super-smart and super-strong: the perfect unsuspecting ultimate weapon (a special type of flesh golem). However, the clones are also aware of their status and want to escape their creators' yoke, so some of them finally fool their masters and are able to escape. They look like young girls, but are hardened killers. Also, a design flaw causes their bodies to start going bezerk, changing and growing increasingly inhuman. When some girls are accused of killing their parents in different parts of the country, the PCs start investigating, with the government secret agents trying to retrieve or eliminate the golems in the meantime.
Beyond the Sea
A murder similar to the ones committed by a convicted criminal occurs and the characters are called to investigate (maybe they did arrest the original criminal..). The former murderer however is in prison, still awaiting execution. In fact, the prisoner has escaped the noose twice before (this is the reason of his delayed execution), and when the characters go visiting him he claims to have achieved contact with the spirit world from that brush with death. In front of them, he channels the spirit of someone close to a member of the party and begins taunting him/her with memories from the past (perhaps memories of guilt or sin). Is it real or is the prisoner trying to fore-stall he execution? And more important, who did commit the murder? It comes out that the new murderer is a copycat that wants to imitate the former, and only with the strange powers of divination of the convicted they will be able to find him.. but at what price?
This adventure is best set in Darokin or Alphatia. Various people die in flop-houses and bordellos in the seedy part of the city, but the PCs are called to investigate the cases when the son of a prominent man (powerful merchant or wizard), is found dead in one of the houses of pleasures. All the clues led the characters to an odd religious sect in a nearby rural area. The sect called the Kindred, have a rogue among them, one who hates the open land and seeks the city. Why did witnesses say that the victims entered their rooms with women and men came out? What draws back the rogue Kindred and what do the crop circle that dot the land near their compound mean? The answers can be many: the sect is composed by polymars that are spying on the city, but one of them has tasted human flesh and has now become addicted to it; the others are trying to capture it to avoid being discovered. Or the sect is composed by descendants of doppelgangers from another planet and are now waiting for their fathers to return, but one of them has gone crazy and doesn't want to leave this world...
Young at Heart
This adventure can be set in Glantri, Alphatia, Thyatis or Darokin. An enemy from long ago returns, apparently from death.. He lost an arm and other bits to the characters and was then presumed dead or sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. However, a wizard found him and repaired the damage using grafted troll flesh as an experiment. The wizard has been studying ageing and used a process on the villain which made him about 20 years younger. Healed and escaped, the villain has bided his time. Now he has selected the character who destroyed his arm as his victim. He methodically stalks and kills the friends and family of that character, strangling them with his new inhuman hands...
In Karameikos, a band of loggers cut a tree that has stood for thousands of years. Inside the tree is a swarm of ancient insects (tiny mites), released when the loggers chop down the tree. The mites sting and poison the loggers to death and cocoon their bodies as food and breeding ground. The loggers families are worried and the characters are hired to find them. They go to the logging camp, and find the cocoons. Trapped for the night (make something up), the characters find that when darkness falls the nocturnal mites swarm. First, the characters must survive the night, and then stop the menace from spreading.
The daughter of a slain city guard grows more like her father each day. But when she starts following various guards and they start turning up dead, she is arrested for their murders. The characters are asked by the mother to help prove her daughters innocence. The girl begins to display strange powers (telekinesis and spontaneous image creation), and it develops that her father was murdered by corrupt guards, one of whom is seeing the mother. The father has returned in the shell of his daughter to bring revenge on his killers.
This adventure can be set in Glantri, Thyatis or Alphatia. A mage has discarded an experiment into the sewers below the city. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite dead. It is a combination of a fluke worm and a man. Driven by vague emotions and primitive instincts, it has three goals: reproduction, revenge, and return. To reproduce, the flukeman bites a victim with its powerful suckered mouth injecting an egg. The egg grows in the host's gut for three days, then burrows up the digestive track and is vomited up as a small fluke worm. It escapes to the nearest water source where it will grow into a flukeman like its parent. The creature will attack many of the sewer dwellers attempting to reproduce. Second, the thing is aware of who created it and knows that the creator caused it incredible agony. The flukeman will try to return to the wizard's dwelling and slay him, preferably by implanting an egg (this is fatal as the worm eats its way to the mouth). Finally, if the other two goals are achieved, the creature will start leading his family of flukemen to gain control of the city sewers and then of the rivers... The party is called into action when some men (mainly thieves who used the sewers for their shady affairs) start to die because of the injected eggs and numerous boat owners and fishers report strange sightings in the city waterways.
Somehow, a town has been infected with madness. Previously calm and rational people have became hopeless mad and are killing their neighbours. What has happened is a contaminant has been introduced into the environment that causes people to hallucinate. People see their greatest fears, writing moves and shifts producing horrid messages about crimes and depravity, voices whisper goading one to the brink. Who or what has caused this? The characters must find the answers before they too succumb to this deadly contamination. It turns out that some spies working for an enemy power are testing a new alchemical poison on the townfolks by polluting the wells... or it can be the same government that has allowed its alchemists to test this poison on its own people to be used later in war...
This adventure is best set in Glantri (but can be also staged in Thyatis or Alphatia). To create the perfect warmachine, a soldier who need not sleep but can fight by day or night with no rest, Herr Doktor (Rolf Graustein) removed portions of the brains of five men. While the men needed no sleep, they required certain compounds of herbs and minerals to replace the chemicals created in sleep. These compounds were the only things that kept them relatively sane. Prinz Jaggar decided to test their capacities by having them raid a small village in the Broken Lands to retrieve a magical item he desired. They did not get the item however, as they soon turned from their assignment to slaughter all the inhabitants of the village, and eventually returned to Aalban. Enraged by their failure, Jaggar told Herr Doktor to punish them to teach them to respect the orders. So the doctor withheld their compounds and locked them in a cell together. In the madness, two of the men killed each other, one simply died, but two survived by removing the traces of the compound left in the bodies of their comrades and consuming them. Eventually, the remaining soldiers managed to escape their master when he freed them and fled (to Glantri City or to Darokin). One worked at an inn, eventually inheriting it. The other became obsessed with religion (maybe contacting a hidden clerical sect if in Glantri) and finally became an avenger. After 18 years, he has decided that he has been called to cleanse the world of the evil that he was part of. He has six targets: Prinz Jaggar von Drachenfels, Rolf Graustein, two other wizards who assisted Herr Doktor, the remaining soldier, and himself (will commit suicide at end of mission). He kills in an unusual manner: he projects dreams. He can at will project an entirely convincing dream, such that the person experiencing the dream is convinced it is real (if he fails his Saving Throw). Therefore, of the person in the dream dies, they really die because the mind and body are totally convinced that it actually is happening (a powerful version of a Phantasmal Force). The bodies will display the secondary signs of the cause of death (i.e. a burn victim will not be burned, but a high internal temperature, pugilist position, and internal bleeding would have occurred). The PCs start to investigate after the second assistant of Herr Doktor is found dead without any real explanation and Herr Graustein asks either the PCs personally to help him because he feels targeted or asks the Prinz to hire somebody to investigate the matter.