This adventure was designed as a one-shot with pre-generated Shut-In characters. It was meant to introduce people to the world of Fates Worse Than Death.
See Walk Outside for complete rules for creating and playing shut-in characters.
Herbert Shannon, Senior
Eduardo Juarez, Ronin
Denton McCall, VR Addict
Tyrone Clay, Otaku
Van Nguyen, Adolescent
Mary Preston, VR Addict
Dorris Delacruz, Senior
Armani Fallud, Ronin
The Story So Far- In the first half of this century, corporations grew increasingly powerful and increasingly few and had a greater grip on the world. Yet corporations were, by their nature, stupid, only thinking about the next quarter’s profits instead of the long term consequences of their actions. Corporations ruined the environment and made the gap between rich and poor grow greater. Corporations discovered wonderful things like mental programming (allowing people to poke around in human brains as if they were computers), advanced genetic engineering, and psychic training, yet people saw few benefits from these discoveries. The world’s problems came to a head in 2047, when a group of socialist terrorists, called the Freedom Army, ignited an uprising that spread to most of the world. Society broke down, billions died, and the Freedom Army grew increasingly dictatorial until the people overthrew it as well. The people of earth, now free from both mega-corporations and socialist dictators, sought a new path. The new path was Gated Communities. People would set up small economic collectives and screen people for entry using mental programming and psychic technology. Since they were able to assure that only “perfect” people got in, these gated communities grew incredibly successful. The post-war corporations modified their own tactics, becoming more like gated communities, just to compete. Most of the world was ushered in to a new age of prosperity in the corps and gated communities. However, there were people that couldn’t or didn’t want to get in to these new utopias. These people were forced in to the world’s inner cities. The post-war government, worried that this concentration of jobless people might start rioting, instituted a massive welfare system. As more good, sane, educated and trustworthy people left, the streets grew more dangerous and more people decided not to leave their apartments.
Life as a Shut-In- Most people in the city of Manhattan are shut-ins. Many younger people have been shut-ins their whole life. As kids, they used full-immersion VR technology to go to VR schools on the internet. As adults, they do all their shopping online, even their grocery shopping (non-shut-ins teens deliver the groceries as a part-time job). Everything is delivered to their apartments and left outside the door (most shut-ins wait until the delivery person leaves before opening the door). Most shut-ins subscribe to full-immersion VR fantasy worlds. In these worlds, the shut-ins are fantastic heroes in a fictional society, interacting with millions of other subscribers from all over the world. VR fantasy worlds are very addictive, especially because in VR the people are physically fit heroes living in a beautiful world, while in this world they are unfit and living in tiny, dirty apartments. Shut-ins are forced to leave their homes occasionally, usually to go to a doctor. These are frightening experiences and the shut-ins count themselves lucky if they can get home without being killed.
What You Know About the City- Manhattan was once one of the world’s greatest cities. Today, it is one of the world’s worst slums. The VR News programs you watch report nothing but horrors: assaults, muggings, rapes, murders, kidnapping, etc. The primary sources of danger in the city are: muggers, gangs, drug pushers, drug addicts, homeless crazy people, plagues and wild dogs. You’ve heard that gang members will kill you just for wearing the wrong color clothing, drug pushers will hold you down and force you to use drugs so you’ll become addicted to them and drug addicts will kill you just to steal your shoes and pawn them off for a few cents.
Most of these horrible people come out at night – during the day is the safest time to travel. There are no busses. Few people in the city can afford gasoline (and the roads are so bad they’re almost impossible to drive on anyway), so most people in the city walk to take the subway. Automated scanners at the bridges and tunnels that lead to the city are supposed to keep guns from coming in. Rich criminals can afford smuggled guns, while all the other criminals and crazies have to attack people with knives and clubs.
The city is an island, about 2 by 11 miles. Rising ocean levels have flooded the bases of many of the buildings at the edges of the island. Most roads are numbered: streets start at 1st at the southern end of the island and go up to 220th; avenues start on the west side and go up to 11th. More than half the properties in the city are abandoned. Gated industrial complexes that spew out pollution are scattered around, each taking up several city blocks.
The Power Outage- Several days ago, every electronic item in your house shut down. If you were in VR, you were yanked back in to the real world violently. The power stayed off. The next day you heard someone in the street with a bullhorn shouting that there had been a “catastrophic transformer failure” and that power was out to the whole neighborhood, and that he had no idea when it would be restored. You heard the sounds of jackhammers outside. Then the jackhammers stopped, and you heard nothing, but the power never came back on. You ate all the perishables in your fridge and started eating canned food. Now you’ve run out of food. You have running water, and it’s warm enough that you aren’t in danger of freezing to death, but you do need food. Hoping there might be strength in numbers, you’ve considered asking your neighbors if they wanted to come with you to try to get some food.
How To Use a Skill- Roll 1d20 and add the AV listed on your character sheet (AV is the appropriate attribute, plus 4 for each level of skill above the first). The GM will decide the difficulty for what you’re trying to do: 10 (easy), 20 (moderate), 30 (hard) or 40 (legendary). If you get over your difficulty, you succeed. Combat skills are not rolled as skills, they give you plusses to actions and reactions (see below).
How To Fight- At the bottom of your character sheet, I’ve listed the fighting action and reaction which are easiest for your character given your character’s attributes, skills and equipment. When combat starts, roll AGY + AWR + 1d20 to determine the order in which everyone acts. Every round, each player gets one action, used in order of initiative, and one reaction, which they can only use if someone is trying to do something to them. Example: You get an action, so you declare you’re going to stab the bad guy. He declares he’s going to dodge. You both roll, and whoever beats his or her difficulty by more wins. There are different actions and different reactions with different effects, attributes and difficulties. For instance, if you wanted to knock someone unconscious you would use one action, if you wanted to disarm them you would use another, or if you wanted to bring them closer to being dead you would use a third. Describe to your GM what you want to do and your GM will tell you what action or reaction is appropriate.
1. There’s a wino hidden in garbage. Carmen Frink, elderly female. If not noticed (Hard AWR roll) she will pop out and scare the PCs. She can tell the PCs the direction of a liquor store that might sell food (see 6).
2. Kid Gang – wants to rob the PCs. 4 kids, ages 7-10, homeless. The leader (and biggest) is Matty Chao. They have pipes but because of low STH they can only do 1 blunt damage (attacks at 1d20 vs. 10). Most attributes are 7, 1 BLD, 1 BDY, 3 INCY. If attacked they will run and get their parents.
3. Animalist. Andrew Martinez. Young, handsome, Hispanic, hair dyed white with brown spots, long leather coat with feathered fringe, steel claws on boots, knives. Knows neighborhood, can give directions. At some point after they see him, 2 Siders with crossbows will drop down (Hard AWR roll to notice them sneaking down) and try to shoot Andrew. Andrew is a very skilled fighter and if the Siders’ ambush doesn’t work he can probably fight them off.
4. PC’s Choice: go down a dark street –or- through recently abandoned industrial complex.
On the dark street, the streetlights have all been smashed. There are 2 addict muggers waiting there (like Addict Merc p.132). Muggers are Randy and Tim, they are thin, multiracial, have sores and dirty clothes. Randy has a swinging rock (3 blunt, extended knockout @ 1d20 vs. 9). Tim has a shiv (does an invisible aim from the shadows, then does an extended vital strike at 1d20 vs. 6, doing 2 bladed if successful)
As PCs approach the complex they see the gates are open and no one is inside. A recorded voice says “please ensure the shut down of all equipment before evacuating” then “consult the evacuation handbook for your workstation” then “lock all doors and gates when leaving”. If PCs go through, halfway through there will be an explosion, then a pool of acid will run along the ground. PCs must run faster than the spreading puddle or climb up ladders on the refinery machines.
5. Insomniac Homeless Scrounger. Keisha McGree (mixed race, braids, black dress, sandals, self-mutilation scars). Has Physio Control (2) and Control Attack (1). 18 WIL (Sibosin effects included). Can sell PCs a machete for $50, chain for $15, pipe for $10, Hand Shield for $25 (she has 2 of these), a fake gun for $80 and a small flashlight for $5.
6. “Food and Liquor” – has a paycomputer outside. Has pepper sprays for $75, old faded “I Love NY” t-shirts on the wall, prepaid disposable cellphones for $30, city street maps for $5, 1st aid kid (minor) for $15.
7. Homeless Crazy. Lars Cedric, paranoid schizophrenic, has a green tarp wrapped around him, big guy, skin dyed black. “I remember you. You were in the hospital when they operated on me!” AGY 8, AWR 12, INL 5, END 7, SPD 12, STH 15, WIL 3 BDY 6, BLD 4, INCY 5. Strikes with skullcrusher at 1d20 vs. 2 (range 1-2, 3 blunt damage, pierces as 6). Dodges at 1d20 vs. 5.
8. PCs’ Landlord – kicking Carmen Frink (homeless wino from #1), going to set her on fire with gasoline. “I told you I didn’t want to see your ugly smelly face around here anymore!” Bill Watson, has baseball bat. AGY 6, AWR 7, INL 8, END 4, SPD 8, STH 7, WIL 5, BDY 3, BLD 4, INCY 6. Strikes with bat at 1d20 vs. 12 (does 3 blunt, range 1-2). Blocks at 1d20 vs. 11. If PCs try to intervene, Bill will threaten to kick them out of their apartments and to blacklist them to other landlords, meaning they may end up homeless on the streets.