Saving Denver

An adventure for Tibet the RPG

In Brief- This is a short adventure, suitable for level 1 characters and beginning players. The adventure starts with a mystery: an entire monastery slaughtered by a supernatural force. PCs must track an escaped cursed phurba to a nomad rebel camp, where it waits on a CIA plane to be flown to America. If it reaches America, where divination and exorcism is unknown, it will wreak incredible havoc.

Character Introductions- The PCs are traveling West towards Lhasa. If PCs donít yet know each other, have them meet on the road. They find a dead monk buried under a light coating of snow. The monk has been stabbed in the back. The monk was running East when he died. The monk is only partially frozen, suggesting that he was killed not too long ago. If a PC can make an easy (10) Death skill roll or can make a hard (30) Emergency Medicine roll, the PC can recognize that the monk was killed instantly by a very strong and very accurate strike with a phurba. As the PCs walk down the road they find more dead monks. A moderate Tibetan Geography will tell PCs that the only large settlement within hundreds of miles is a medium sized monastery. The rest of the area is nomadic grazing lands.

The Monastery- Down the road a few miles is Likpo, a Kagyupa menís monastery of 300 monks. The monastery emanates -5 KMA because of all the death and suffering that happened there recently. There are dead monks scattered everywhere. Yet any monk will know that with a monastery this size there should be many more monks. There are dead yaks and sheep in a small garden and dead horses in the stables.

If the PCs search the head dobdobís quarters they will find the following diary page:

I must confess to having other than complete confidence in my Lamaís wisdom.

A messenger came today from the rebel camp to the North. He said that the campís leader, who I think may be related to venerable lama Palden, needed an exorcist. He spoke in worried tones about poor omens. The messenger insisted that the rebels were in the midst of a project of incredible importance, and that nothing could be allowed to go wrong during this time. Lama Palden agreed to go to the camp to try to diagnose the problem. I reminded him, respectfully, that we had fewer monks than ever to maintain the prayers in the gongkhang, and that his good karma may be the only thing keeping the prisoners there subdued. I suggested that he send one of his apprentices, who he has been training in divination, in his place. The venerable lama told me that he believed he was needed personally, and he left in a great hurry with the rebel messenger.

I have ordered the monks to work extra shifts chanting in the gongkhang. I have told them they should miss meals, or miss a nightís sleep should they have to. Perhaps fear is clouding my perception, but I think I feel something awakening in the gongkhang.

In the library the PCs can find a Kenjur, Tenjur and all of the skill books listed on p.115 except the sorcery skills. There is also a history of the monastery that describes, among other things, all the dangerous entities that the monastery has taken charge of.

In the abbotís quarters is this letter:

To my honored abbot Gyatso Pelden, from your dear friend and devoted student Tenzin Namgyal,

I need your wisdom. I have been seeing and hearing the most terrible omens. They speak of death on a monumental scale. Please send someone to help divine the nature of the threat. We are in the middle of a very important operation. The rebel cause is about to gain aid from a very powerful source, but I want to know what danger the omens speak of before I continue with the operation. Any help you can send will be appreciated.

The abbot also has a diary. These are the two latest entries:

Yesterdayís Entry
I have received an urgent call for aid from the rebel camp to the North. Perhaps this is that which I am in danger of ignoring. I will leave immediately and travel there personally.

Day Before Yesterdayís Entry
My horoscope for the next few days is disturbing. There is some danger, and I will ignore it, or not treat it with enough care, or perhaps not be there to deal with it. The danger will blossom in to violence. Then a few days later is will blossom in to violence of an even greater magnitude, unless the influence of strangers can subdue it.

If the PCís search the temples, monksí quarters and storage rooms they will find craft tools, holy objects (prayer wheels, written prayers, prayer flags, prayer beads, rebel charms), magical components (divination cards, phurbas, mirrors, a 2 headed drum), medicine (all the herbs, medical charms), weapons (5 whips, 5 swords, 4 WWI rifles, 10 long bows, 10 matchlock rifles) and 2000 Srang worth of jewels, money and gold statues of buddhas. All food is spoiled.

Also on the monastery grounds, a pack of wolves chew on the unfrozen parts of corpses. The wolves wonít normally be a danger, unless a PC is sick, wounded or intoxicated. If a PC has very bad karma, a minor spirit might wander by and cause the wolves to fly in to a rage.

The Gongkhang- In the gongkhang is a large cluster of dead monks, including dobdobs who died holding rifles. There are a dozen small, locked wooden boxes with protective symbols on them. There are bullets everywhere, including one that broke the latch of a box. The box is open, on the outside are protective symbols, on the inside are scratch marks. A Protective Mantras skill roll will tell the PCs that the symbols carved on this box were designed specifically to keep a cursed phurba subdued. Some of the monks have gunshot wounds on them, although the bullet holes are in random places (thigh, shoulder, etc.), not vital strikes like the phurba wounds.

If PCs have the ability to see in to the past (e.g. Pure Vision, Mirror Gazing), they will see what happened: monks chanting in the gongkhang, dobdobs watching over them. Suddenly a bear (an illusion caused by the phurba) bursts in. The dobdobs grab rifles and try to shoot the bear. The bullets go through the bear, hitting the walls (and a few monks). The bear stands directly in front of the box containing the phurba. A bullet hits the latch and the box springs open. The bear illusion disappears and the phurba flies out, killing everyone quickly.

The gongkhang still holds several malevolent spirits prisoner in boxes. One box is rattling. If the PCs have +2 or better KMA emanation the box will stop rattling when the PCs come near. If the PCs donít do something to raise the KMA of the gongkhang by 2 or more, the thing in the rattling box will escape within 8 hours, will hunt down and attack the PCs. The entity in the box is:

Escaped Dud Demon

    Attributes: 12 MSTH, AGY 7, AWR 10, INL 5, WIL 8.
    Abilities: Animate Corpse (costs 6 MSTH +1/round), Start Fires (5), Enter a Human (1), Cause Anger (3).
    Typical Attack: The dud will animate a corpse and send it after the PCs. If the corpse touches a PC, that PC will die. See the description of walking corpses on p.193

After the Monastery- If the PCs have any omen or divination skills, let them know that they must track down whatever killed these monks and stop it, otherwise it will kill exponentially more people.

The PCs must find their way to the rebel camp. The PCs can do this using divination skills or by making hard tracking rolls. Another way to find the rebel camp is to find some local nomads. The men in the nomad camps have all gone off to join the rebels, so the women and children are tending to the herds. The nomad women will tell the PCs where the rebel camp is if the PCs can convince them that they arenít Chinese spies.

Rebel Camp- The rebel camp is about 8 hours walk to the North. There are 100 rebels, including some ex-monks from Likpo. There is a rebel general, the abbot of Likpo, 2 CIA operatives and a Tibetan who acts as their translator. The camp is guarded 24 hours a day and the rebels guarding the camp are under strict orders not to let in strangers. All the food in the camp has spoiled. The nomads are hungry, the CIA wants to leave right away and the rebel leader wonít let them leave until he finds out what the bad omens are about.

General Tenzin Namgyal
(Rebel General)

    Level 6 Nomad
    Appearance: Old man with white hair, scraggly beard, yellow armband and a rebel charm around his neck.
    Attributes: AWR 14, INL 15, WIL 16.
    Skills: Omens (3).
    Motivations: The general is a seasoned warrior and knows that Tibet needs help, even if the devious and untrustworthy Americans are the only ones offering. He is also very superstitious. His respect for holy people is unwavering and he will likely do anything Lama Palden advises him to, unless he thinks Lama Palden is being manipulated.

Lama Gyatso Palden
(Abbot of Likpo)

    Level 7 Kagyupa Monk
    Appearance: Old monk, bald, fire-yoga robes.
    Attributes: AWR 17, INL 16, WIL 18, KMA 25 (+3 emanation).
    Skills: Protective Mantras (3), Breath Yoga (4), Fire Yoga (3), Elemental Astrology (3), Zodiac Astrology (4), Dagger Exorcism (3).
    Personality: Lama Palden is not the wisest lama around, but he has a variety of magical skills, he is a kind man and he has earned the respect of his monks and the local nomads. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the rebels, an attachment which sometimes clouds his judgment.

The Plane- In the camp is a cargo plane parked on a makeshift landing strip. The cargo plane has no markings that would indicate what military it belongs to. The plane is guarded by 2 nomads 24 hours a day. It is also locked (although a window on the door can be broken). The phurba is hiding behind a strap at the back of the cargo bay of the plane.

Wayne Howard & Alex McCoy
(CIA Operatives)

    Appearance: Caucasian, light eyes, short hair, both in cammo pants and jackets. Smoking cigarettes.
    Attributes: AGY 10, INL 10, SPD 6, WIL 10, KMA -5, BLD 4, BDY 4, INCY 4.
    Skills: Pistol (2) (+2 to strike, +4 to initiative, +12 to split dodge & strike).
        Automatic Pistols (4 bladed, ROF 3, FR 7 ft., clip holds 8)
        Flak Jacket (AR 4, PR 7 bladed 3 blunt, -5 AGY & -4 SPD (already figured in)).
    Motivations: The CIA operatives are here to bring back Tibetan rebels to a military camp in Colorado where they will be trained in modern methods of guerilla warfare. This is a secret operation and the CIA operatives want to get the rebels out as quickly as possible without anyone finding out. The operatives think the Tibetans are a bunch of superstitious primitives. If they meet young women they will try to give them gifts of chocolate and try to seduce them.
    Methods: The CIA operatives spend most of their time in their tent, smoking and talking. When dealing with Tibetans they speak through their translator, Lodoe. If they think anything is threatening their lives, their operation or their aircraft they will shoot first and ask questions later.
    Typical Attack: Strike with pistol at 1d20 +1 vs. 0
    Typical Reaction: Split Dodge at 1d20 vs. 0 and Strike at 1d20 vs. 13.

Cursed Phurba

    Attributes: MSTH 25, AGY 10, INL 10, STH 15, WIL 15
    Abilities: Spoil Food (uses 3 MSTH), Illusions (4/round), Coincidences (5), Send Disease (10), Read Minds (0) all within 20 ft.
    Motivations: The phurba only wants to cause as much death and suffering as it can. It knows it is not good at long distance travel and needs to trick someone in to taking it to a populated place where it can find victims. It is controlling its urge to kill because it knows that the plane is going to a place with many potential victims. If PCs try to get aboard the airplane, the phurba will try to use illusions to cause the PCs to be attacked or to trick the PCs in to thinking the phurba has left the plane. If that fails and the phurba senses imminent capture, the phurba will try to kill the PCs and escape.
    Typical Attack: Vital Strike at 1d20 vs. 0 (4 bladed) using 2 MSTH.
    Typical Reaction: Dodge at 1d20 vs. 0, using 2 MSTH.

Conclusions- In order to save Denver from a supernatural onslaught it is totally unprepared for, the PCís must:

  • Figure out what killed the monks.
  • Track it to the rebel camp.
  • Find out it is on the plane.
  • Find a way to get onboard the plane without getting shot.
  • Catch the phurba and then stuff it back in a box.

    The CIA operatives will be very resistant to letting anyone aboard the plane, and it is well guarded. However, the CIA operatives spend most of their time in their tent, and the rebels who guard the plane are loyal to General Namgyal.

    Even if the PCs can get past the CIA and guards, the phurba is very deadly. Out of 300 monks it was able to kill every single one. PCs should have fair warning by now that they must be very skilled or very clever to catch it without being killed. Note that the CIA operatives have flak jackets. If PCs can grab it without being hurt, they will have to make several opposed STH rolls as the phurba tries to wrestle itself from their grasp. If PCs bring the broken box with them it can be repaired, or Lama Palden can make a new one quickly.

    For containing the Phurba threat, PCs should earn 10 KMA and 20-40 XP depending on how efficiently they dealt with the threat.

    If you liked this, you might like these other pages on this site:

    Fates Worse Than Death
    The RPG of suspense, horror and hope in 2080 on the streets of Manhattan.

    Vajra Enterprises Main Page
    See all the good stuff on this site.

    Tibet vs. US
    A tabular comparison of 1950's Tibetan culture to modern American culture.