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Rippers adventure hooks

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  • Rippers adventure hooks

    Self-plagiarism note: I originally posted these on a Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death d20 forum many moons ago. I never managed to run these adventures with my old group back then, but they fit in well with Rippers so they'll finally be getting a chance to see the light of day!

    The Electric Ghost
    William Klemmer was the first man to die in the electric chair in Auburn Prison, New York, in August of 1890. Later that year, grisly murders in Auburn have stumped the police. The victims appear to have been burned to death, and a local engineer has claimed that the victims were electrocuted.

    The Real Story: The strange energies of Klemmer's execution somehow unleashed a lightning elemental. Klemmer was executed by Edison's direct current (DC), rather than Westinghouse's alternating current (AC). For my purposes, high voltage direct current has a slim chance of creating a lightning elemental when a human life is "sacrificed" with it. After the adventure, DC is no longer used for executions not only for that reason, but also because of the sheer brutality of Klemmer's death.

    The Great Ghost Cats
    Livestock is disappearing at a startling rate from local farms. No one is sure why, but the mutilated corpses of sheep and cattle have been found with no obvious cause of death.

    The Real Story: A wealthy man has imported dangerous big cats and one (or more) have escaped ... I figure not all "monsters" have to really be supernatural if I play up the suspense!

    A Soul as Black as Soot
    Chimney sweeps are going on strike, afraid to work ever since a series of strange deaths by fire have claimed many of their comerades. They claim someone is specifically targeting them with flaming arrows, but no evidence of such attacks have been discovered.

    The Real Story: The culprit is the ghost of a crooked chimney sweep. He robbed wealthy families while on the job, and has hidden his ill-gotten gain in random chimneys throughout the city. The ghost is able to create fiery bolts and is protecting his stash by killing those who get too close to his treasures.

    A Dangerous Crossing
    More livestock woes. A farmer is losing sheep after sheep at a river crossing. He has never seen any animal take the sheep -- one moment it is there, the next he hears it cry out and it's gone. The farmer says he once saw a drawing of a crocodile taking an antelope, and wonders if somehow one of those things has gotten into the river that winds through his farm.

    The Real Story: The culprit here is an avanc, a water-beastie from British folklore. An avanc is a large, rat-like creature that lives in rivers near shallow fords. It can generate whirlpools to capture prey, which it tears apart with its claws and consumes. The PCs not only have to figure out what this thing is, but how to destroy it. They somehow have to get it out of the water where it is vulnerable, for in water it is invulnerable to physical attack.

    The Dead Live!
    A local cemetery has been the scene of some horrible sights of late. Graves have been opened -- seemingly from the inside! A constable was posted on guard, and he was found the next day clubbed on the head and doesn't recall what happened. All he can remember of the night's events is seeing a figure in white sheets like a burial shroud moving towards him.

    The Real Story: The truth is, only one of the exhumed coffins shows signs of activity from the *inside*. All the others were broken into from the outside. A local doctor, desperate for anatomical study, has hired some ne'er do wells to acquire bodies for him. The constable's recollection of a white-sheeted figure is accurate -- but his memory of it stalking up to him is not. That is a side effect of a gravedigger's shovel to the head. And the coffin clawed from the inside? Some poor soul was mistakenly buried alive and died, only to be exhumed days later by the grave robbers. Again ... this one is not supernatural, but could be played up as such as the players run around gathering stakes, mallets, and garlic.

    The Hounds of Hell
    The wife of a wealthy man hires the PCs to act as bodyguards for her precious son. She explains to them that her son is being stalked by … believe it or not! … spectral hounds. Although she knows how insane this sounds she is absolutely certain of this for she has seen them herself: large, wolf-hound like curs that actually float several inches above the ground!

    The Real Story: A wealthy but insane man has hired a magician to summon spectral hounds to kill off the sons of his enemies. His wife knows of the plan and she is as mad as he is and rather likes the idea of ghostly hounds doing the dirty work. She hires the PCs to guard her son because he is actually the son of one of her husband's enemies! Should her husband's wicked plan be fully carried out, her own child would be at risk! Not only that, but her husband, a wicked and cruel man, would find out about her adultery with his hated rival. This could be doubly bad for her. To try having the best of both worlds, she hires the PCs to be her son's body guard, telling them about the hounds but not revealing the whole story. That way, the killings of the rival sons could go on, and her own son could be protected.

    Down in the Dirt
    Something is attacking employees and passengers of the London Underground. The only evidence left behind is a sickening pool of filth and slime. Police suspect squatters hiding away in the tunnels, but even they have abandoned tunnels for fear of the gruesome killer.

    The Real Story: A lazy city sewer worker somehow managed to capture a giant, maggot-like creature he found living deep in a dank pit far below the city. He set it free in the city's massive sewer system, thinking it would save him a lot of work catching rats and cleaning clogged pipes. Unfortunately, it found a way into the subway tunnels and has discovered that human flesh is much tastier than human waste.

    Fire on the Mountain
    Something is killing miners at a mountain top mine. Men are found slaughtered like animals, crushed as if dropped from a great height when there is no way for them to have had such a fall, and even burned almost to a cinder. The miners are threatening a strike, and the company has sent in thugs to keep them working. The work site is becoming a powder keg of heavy-handed strike breakers, scared but angry miners, and company men who just want it all to stop so the work will get done again. Meanwhile, the strange killings go on. The miners are now starting to suspect the strike breakers – but that doesn’t explain the killings that took place before they arrived.

    The Real Story: The miners have drilled close to the nest of a wyrm. They are far too close for the wyrm’s comfort and it is attacking the miners to drive them away from its precious clutch of eggs. If the miners or strike breakers find out about the creature, they want to kill it. If the company men find out about it, they want to capture it and put it on display for cash. All the wyrm wants to do is defend its young – it is the innocent party in this case. For once, the heroes have the save the monster from the humans! The fate of the little dragon and her eggs depends on which side the PCs chose: the miners and strike breakers, the company men, or the wyrm itself.

    This is a Victorian-era science fantasy version of one of my favorite Star Trek episodes, The Devil in the Dark (that's the one with the Horta). Inspiration can come from a great many places.
    'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

    The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!

  • #2
    The Rippers savage tales needed more Poe!

    Return to the House of Usher
    The Rippers need to do some research, but the only known book on the topic was said to be in the library of one Roderick Usher. Lord Usher passed away 50 years ago when his entire house collapsed in upon itself in a freak storm. The team has to travel to the ruins of the Usher estate to see if they can find and salvage that old book.

    The Real Story: Lord Usher and his sister are still alive... as are a pack of hideous ghoul-like creatures that are the last known descendants of the twisted and wretched Usher family line. The heroes find the vast catacombs beneath the ruined mansion, but can they find the book and get out before the Ushers and their ilk find them and... have them over for dinner?

    For the Love of God
    In Rome, the party is investigating a mystery in the catacombs beneath the city. Suddenly, the find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit that manifests itself with the tinkling of small bells. The ghosts attacks get increasingly dangerous, until they begin to threaten the lives of the heroes.

    The Real Story: The team has stumbled close to the last resting place of Fortunato, chained to a wall by his friend Montressor many decades ago. His ghost, freed from its tomb but still "chained" to the catacombs, is acting out in its rage. The party has to find his sad corpse and give him a proper burial in order to lay his unquiet soul to rest.
    'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

    The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!


    • #3
      Even More Futility
      The heroes are on their way back to England after a visit to the United States. They are booked aboard the fabulous steamer Titan, the fastest, largest, and most luxurious ocean liner the world has ever known. Sadly. during the crossing the ship strikes an iceberg and begins to sink, threatening the lives of thousands of people on board.

      The Real Story: Those thousands of people, sadly, are lost. There is little that can be done to save them, as there are far too few lifeboats available. What's worse is that when the Titan struck the berg, it dislodged the frozen corpses of dozens of cursed Vikings, who now shamble on the foredeck killing the passengers. Although the Titan is lost regardless, if she sinks with the draugs at the helm, it will in turn become a draug ship! There will be a massive ghost ship filled with thousands of angry animated corpses prowling the North Atantic. It would be almost unstoppable. The team has to hold the bridge for as long as possible, remaining on the dying ship until the draugs are defeated so they cannot claim her. Then... they have to get off the ship themselves!

      (Sure, this sounds like it's based on a bit of history that hasn't happened yet in the late 1800s... but it's actually from a book from that era. Futility: Or, the Wreck of the Titan. It's that book that lots of people like to cite because of it's uncanny resemblance to the sinking of the Titanic years later...)
      'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

      The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!


      • #4
        These are great! Thanks for sharing your ideas.


        • #5

          I'm running my "Down in the Dirt" adventure now, but it's set in New York City. I had to get the characters to New York in order to put them on the RMS Titan for the trip back to England so I can run the "Futility" adventure.
          'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

          The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!


          • #6
            Rippers needs more HG Wells!

            The Empire Strikes Back: A cargo ship from Brazil has run aground just offshore. A salvage team that went aboard her never returned. A constable team who went aboard her to look for the salvagers also did not return. The Rippers leadership, curious about what's going on, secretly sends a Rippers team aboard to investigate. The Rippers go aboard to find no hint at all of the crew, the salvagers, or the constables. Everything organic and edible is also missing. Eventually, they come across swarm after swarm of ants who are strangely intelligent in their movements. They use strategy and even set traps.

            The Real Story: Based on HG Wells' Empire of the Ants. The cargo ship was carrying a load of wood that contained a queen and a small nest of the strange, super-intelligent ants. The team has to find the queen, down in the cargo bay, and destroy her and her "princess" ants before the colony can spread!

            The Rats: The Rippers are contacted by Professors Bensington and Redwood to help them quell a bizarre case of animal gigantism at their experimental farm in the English countryside. They'll be acting under the command of a civil engineer named Mr. Cossar.

            The Real Story: Based on HG Wells' Food of the Gods. The team has to go to the experimental farm to deal with a hive of giant wasps, various other giant insects and spiders, and, worst of all, a nest of giant rats that have taken up residence in underground tunnels. The source of the outbreak is revealed to be a strange substance called Boomfood (Herakleophorbia IV) created by Bensington and Redwood.
            'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

            The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!


            • #7
              These are great hooks! Thanks!


              • #8
                Another new Rippers game idea!

                Flies and Spiders: This takes place in South Africa. The Rippers are just finishing up some other adventure there and are trekking through the wilderness. They come upon an encampment of friendly locals who invite them to share their fire and camp. During the evening a woman's scream disturbs the camp. They find a young woman, Mabel, and her husband Arthur distraught and inconsolable. Gathering his wits, Arthur tells them that something came out of the night and stole away their son Jonathan. Mabel saw the creature, but refuses to let the Rippers know what she saw.

                The Real Story: If the Rippers get Mabel to talk, she explains that she knows what she is about to say sounds insane, but it is the truth. A large spider, big as a wolf, crept out of the darkness and took their son. Arthur refuses to believe it. If the Rippers investigate, they can follow some odd-looking tracks and drag marks leading to a concealed cave. The cave turns out to be the home of a species of giant baboon spider! Defeating the spiders, the Rippers can rescue young Jonathan and return him to his grateful parents Arthur and Mabel... Tolkien. Young John Ronald will live a long and fulfilling life.

                Based on the tale of JRR Tolkien's childhood in South Africa in which he was actually bitten by a baboon spider.
                'But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: 'we're all mad here.'

                The Order of the Dice... OF DOOM!