About this adventure: it is meant to be played as a one-shot session of three to five hours. It is system-agnostic and brings its own simple rules for encounters. Even an inexperienced game master should be able to run it for three to five new players. No character sheets or rules required, all you need is a d6 and a d20 (except you roll online) and a pen to write down the current hit points. The fun part are the weird gadgets with their possible malfunction effects (see sidebar).
BackgroundTo save money on wages, Whacker Tomsen started an automation project at Gnomerado: replacing staff with constructs. To keep maintenance low, he built them in a way that allows them to improve and repair each other. This worked out well... until gnomes started dying, removed and replaced by constructs.
SummaryWhacker's project was a failure. The constructs improved themselves quickly into a direction he had not planned. To do their job best, they made themselves look and behave like the gnomes they should replace. Soon constructs and gnomes were indistinguishable. Then also Ford Prescript (secretly) reappeared, a former partner of Whacker and chief technician at Gnomerado, who had been ousted because he did his own little side projects using Gnomerado funds and resources. He gave the constructs what they needed to complete their evolution: a power core based on Aeum. He secretly built those with a control unit and a kill switch, giving him full control over the constructs.
Timeline: "Once upon a Time in the Wild West"
|10 am||Group arrives and explore Gnomerado||This should be just fun exploring and doing some mini-games. The players can possibly find out that something is wrong in the entertainment part.|
|6 pm||Airship leaves, park closes, constructs start attacking.||Fights versus some of the smaller and medium sized constructs that are attacking wherever the group goes.|
|9 pm||Fight versus the wrong BBEG.||Rather short fight versus Whacker in his spider bot.|
|11pm||Fight versus the right BBEG.||The Man in Black should be a real threat. maybr add a few hitpoints to make him survive a little bit longer. Players should basically have used up all their special attack items before/when the boss falls.|
Factions: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"There are four independently acting groups in the park:
The remaining Gnomerado employees - They try to keep the park running while their boss seems to be missing. They are the first contact for the PCs. During the night they hide in the Museum of Famous Failed Gnome Inventions, using those inventions to defend the building if required. Whacker and his two confidants - They are hiding in the Manor of Impossible Architecture. Whacker is not interacting with the other employees because he doesn't know anymore who is still a gnome and who is already a construct. The evolved constructs cannot enter this building, because their internal logic is not capable of processing the weird architecture to navigate in there, so the three are secure in there - for now. Whacker still has control over the original constructs.
The evolved constructs - The constructs had built their own laboratory and assembly line inside the Poopy Pants Underground Rollercoaster and its attached maintenance rooms. There they disassemble everything, optimize and improve it and then reassemble an advanced version. Ford - Ford is currently hiding in the House of Horrors, believing that he is in full control of the constructs. They execute his commands, but he has no clue of their underground operations, as he is not aware of the fact that they operate on their own outside their given commands.
Act I: "Testworld"
"No matter where you go: there you are."For helping her in the past, Margo Weedlebeam offers tickets to the PCs that allow them to visit the entertainment park Gnomerado and try out the latest and greatest additions that are not available to the public yet. Each PC who is not a gnome also gets a 24 hours lasting transmutate-to-gnome flask, as only gnomes are allowed to enter the park. The PCs arrive by using the newly established airship line that connects Bridgeport and Gnomerado, they have to come here in leasure time clothes, means: no weapons, magical things, companions, pets ...
The tickets were sent out before the sentient constructs took over most of the entertainment park, the gnomes would not have invited people into a park that's under siege at night, the park just stays open to avoid a mob of angry gnomes, who have waited for months to finally visit the entertainment park. The mentioned attractions are still closed for the public and simple constructs let everyone use them who can show a matching ticket. They will ask everyone a couple of simple yes/no questions and let them rate the attraction.
* On a scale of one to ten, how did you enjoy the ride?
* Would you use the ride again?
* If so, why? If not, why?
* Would you recommend the ride to your friends?
* If so, why? If not, why?
"Never drink unless your alone or with somebody."The first part of the adventure should be the PC exploring the Gnomerado entertainment park and them trying out things. The GM can add any mini-games they like and which somehow fit into the carnival and wild west theme. The Gnomerado map contains many labelled points of interest that can get explored: there are a side-car racing track and mud catching ponds, the Spin-da-wheel house with all kind of card games and a gnomish version of roulette, in the Gnowling Hall they can throw giant bowling balls into a group of gnomes, or a female gnome in the Fortune Teller hut may do wild prophecies. Some of the new attractions are:
Beer Barrel - drink as much as you can, and then some. This attraction has been opened already due to popular demand. When the park closes in the evening, the drunk or sleeping gnomes are just dumped outside its gates using a wheelbarrow. Any drinking games are possible here, it should be noted though that it is unwise to have drunk PCs fighting. The gnomish employees can help out with some instant-sober potion in that case. Gnomifuge - a circular ride with small cages all around. Gnomes get into the cages and then the Gnomifuge spins quickly around its centre axis. Riding it can and most likely will cause dizziness, discomposure and disorientation for a few minutes. Very Whirligig - this ride is very similar to the Gnomifuge, with the exception that the cages are held by arms which also move up and down while the ride is turning.
Wild Boar Carts - wooden carts pulled by two boars each. There is no race track or something, as soon as they get slapped on the back the boars just run off along the roads, the cart more or less flying behind them. They will only return when getting hungry, until then everyone in the cart has to hang on for their life and wait until it's over. Poopy Pants Underground Rollercoaster (aka the "Hive") - this ride is completely locked down and not available for testing. When asking, the PC get those replies: "Maintenance", "Closed due to an incident", "It is not finished yet" or "I do not know". The real cause for the ride being closed is that the constructs have erected their "hive" in the attached underground maintenance area where they produce new and update old constructs. They use the carts of the rollercoaster to move incomplete constructs from one construction station to the next.
Connecting the bits
"It don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep."
- The employees are all pretty nervous. At first, they don't tell what's happening, but if the group doesn't give up on them they will tell that their boss Whacker is missing and that constructs are attacking. There can be a little bit of confusion about who is attacking whom, as there are gnomes, constructs, and constructs looking like gnomes. If the group finds the gnomes defending the Museum of Famous Failed Gnome Inventions, the employees immediately tell what they know.
- If the group visits the "Manor of Impossible Architecture", there is a chance they find Whacker hiding there. He will assume that they are sentient constructs that finally have found a way to navigate the building, but if there is any reason for him to believe they are not (due to actions or roleplay), he will tell them what's happening in Gnomerado and team up with them. As this kills one fight from the timeline, there should be some additional waves of attacking regular or mini-boss sized constructs instead.
- If the group gets caught by constructs while sneaking into the Poopy Pants Underground Rollercoaster, they get immediately attacked there. The constructs will not follow them to the outside in case they flee. Whacker (notified by a spy) will also know of the presence of the PCs now and try to contact them as soon as they are outside the rollercoaster area.
Act II: "The Quick and the Dead"
"That'll be the day."As the PCs prepare to leave the park at the end of the day, the airship is already gone and there is no other way to leave. Depending on what the group has found out so far, different opponents start to attack.
- If they are still unaware of what is going on, they get attacked by Whacker's simple constructs.
- If they already tried to enter the "hive" or somehow revealed themselves to Whacker or Ford, they will most probably have teamed up with Whacker and get attacked by Ford's constructs (who look like gnomes) instead.
Combat: "Gunsmoke"The PCs start with 8 HP each and the movement rate for everyone is 3 squares per round (movement is possible in all six directions). Everyone rolls 1d20 initiative at the beginning of the combat (the boss has his own roll, all other constructs act on the same rolled number). Then each round, the GM counts down from the highest value to the lowest and each participant attacks on their number (except when the initiative has been altered by an item's effect). When a PC drops to zero or fewer hit points by a hit, they are unconscious. Do they take damage again, they are dead. A construct with zero hitpoints is broken and out of combat.
Inventions: "The Salvation"
"It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it."The group is probably unarmed but can use the items found in the Museum of Famous Failed Gnome Inventions, see the item list in the right sidebar. As they are museum exhibitions, all items come with a small descriptive card. Either Whacker (it befriended already) or a gnomish employee will give a hint to the museum or pull them there and help them get the things to work. There are other possibilities to damage the opponents:
- Fall damage: 2 points. Two PCs teaming up can easily push a construct down, a single PC needs to roll a 6 on 1d6 to do that. A fallen construct has no further attacks in this round and needs to stand up again first.
- Fire damage. There is always a chance (5-6 on 1d6 ) to find a bucket with inflammable liquid. A PC can ignite the bucket's content and throw it in one round if there is an open fire at hand. Roll 1d6 . On 4-6, the target is soaked in burning liquid and taking 2 HP damage for three rounds, on 1-3, the liquid covers 3 squares for one round, causing 1 HP damage to everyone crossing them.
Opponents: "The Wild Bunch"
If they believe the regular maintenance constructs are going wild, they will probably attack anything that looks like a construct. At this point, Whacker does not know that the PCs are no constructs and will send his simple construct army to attack them.
RegularThe regular constructs will attack blindly with anything they can use, which is usually tools like screwdrivers, saws, hammers, blowtorches or bricks. Attack: attacks with one of two random tools, it has. Roll 1d6 . On 1, it misses, on 2-5, it does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does 2 HP damage. Hit Points: 2
Mini-BossTwo of them. These constructs usually operate heavier gear in Gnomerado, so they can attach with larger things. Attack: attacks with one or both of two random tools. Roll 1d6 . On 1, it misses, on 2-5, it does 2 HP damage, on 6, it does 3 HP damage. Hit Points: 5
If the group has found out that all gnomes are in fact constructs, or if they have talked to Whacker and he explained everything, then the enemies are:
Sentient RegularThese constructs look like any random gnome. If they get attacked while being alone, they try to retreat and get support. In combat, they attack blindly with anything they can use, which is usually tools like screwdrivers, saws, hammers, blowtorches or bricks. Attack: attacks with one of two random tools, it has. Roll 1d6 . On 1, it misses, on 2-5, it does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does 2 HP damage. Optionally they can choose to defend themselves in a round, blocking 2 HP from every attack (does not block damage from area effects of the special items). Hit Points: 2
Sentient Mini-BossTwo of them. The advanced constructs mimic those gnomes who apparently had the say in Gnomerado: the lawyers. They wear a dark suit and a tie. They have built-in flame throwers and small rocket launchers. Attack: attacks with one of the two weapons.
- Flame thrower: 9ft long and 90° wide cone. Roll 1d6 . On 1, it misses, on 2-5, it does 2 HP damage, on 6, it does 3 HP damage.
- Rocket launcher: circle of 3ft radius within 15ft range. Roll 1d6 . On 1, it misses, on 2-5, it does 2 HP damage, on 6, it does 3 HP damage.
Act III: "High Noon"
"It ain't dying I'm talking about, it's living."Fight with the boss and two mini-bosses (optionally add some minions, depending on time and the size of the group and how well or bad it goes).
Fighting WhackerIf the group somehow got around this because they already found Whacker and teamed up with him, add a fight with 1 to 3 "Mini Bosses" instead.
If the group fights Whacker, he will immediately stop the fight the moment he sees actual blood coming out of a wounded group member. If they defeat his spider robot, he'll climb out and wait for the killing blow. Either way, this point should be the reveal that the group and also Whacker are humans and trying to defend the park. They team up and go for the real end fight against The Man in Black and his minions. If the spider is still intact, Whacker will just mow down the regular constructs outside the Hive, but in that process, the spider will finally break. The spider robot is also way too big to enter the Rollercoaster tunnels.
BossWhacker rides a giant spider-like robot that covers 4 squares and can attack 3 times. Only the spider is attackable, Whacker is well hidden under a lid. Attacks:
- Leg Stomp: Roll 1d6 . On 1-3, the attack misses, on 4-5, it does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does 2 HP damage. Can do 2 leg attacks each round.
- Bite: 1d6 . On 1-3, the attack misses, on 4-5, it does 2 HP damage, on 6, it does 3 HP damage. Can do 1 bite attacks each round.
Fighting the Man in Black
"Don’t just lay there and bleed."The last fight will be the group + Whacker (except he got killed accidentally) versus The Man in Black + two stronger constructs (see "mini-boss") + a few regular constructs, which can appear from inside the tubes they lie in (see map below).
It happens inside the "Hive" in the Poopy Pants Underground Rollercoaster maintenance room, because Ford found out that the constructs do things out of his control and followed them around, ending in the Hive, just moments before the fight. Whacker will recognize The Man in Black as Ford Prescript, his former partner. Ford has "improved" himself and does not look like a gnome at all, more like a mix between a human and a machine. The group can use some stationary gadgets inside the hive (details in the mouseover windows on the map below).
BossThe Man in Black is wearing black clothes and a brown cape. He is carrying a large rifle and a lightning whip that buzzes with sparks and discharges when it hits something.
- Rifle: Range 70ft. Roll 1d6 . On 1-3, the attack misses, on 4-5, it does 3 HP damage, on 6, it does 6 HP damage.
- Whip: Range 9ft. 1d6 . On 1-3, the attack misses, on 4-5, it does 2 HP damage, on 6, it does 3 HP damage and the target falls to the ground, losing 1 action for the current round.
"We'll give you a fair trial, followed by a first-class hanging!"If Ford is not dead, Whacker will hand him over to the authorities the next morning. He will also declare a stop to the automation project. The employees will start cleaning up the park, removing the disabled constructs. The next airship arrives and leaves in the evening with the PCs on board.
"A red glowing sun diving into the ocean, calling the darkness.And so it started ...
An airship, silently cutting the space towards home.
Gnomes, sitting on the deck, humming a slow tune.
Their faces lit by red glowing coals inside a crackling brazier.
One gnome staring back to Gnomerado, motionless.
With red glowing eyes, and an evil grin."
Rewards for the PCsIf this one-shot is being played with PCs that continue to play after, each of them gets a seasonal ticket for Gnomerado and one of the remaining magic items. The GM might have to adjust the items to the regular RPG system rules.
CliffhangerIn that case, the above quote can also be read out to the players, a hint that the constructs found out about the control mechanism and the kill-switch and that there are constructs already without. Those started to infiltrate the world outside of Gnomerado, a new faction with a goal unknown ...
Current year: 2861 PB
Table of Contents
Simple attack weapons for damage
Catoblepon's Cable Cutter
Simple attack item that works well against constructs. Available: 2. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 1-2, the attack is a miss, on 3-5, it does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does 2 HP damage.
Dutrius' Dental Drill
Works on constructs, too. Available: 1. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 1, the drill gets stuck and requires a roll of 4-6 on 1d6 to get it out, starting next round. On 2-5, the attack does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does 2 HP damage.
TheChangeling's Trash Catapult
Stuff in all the things and then push the red button labelled "do not push". Be sure to aim. Reload time: 1 round. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 2-5, the item works, doing 1 HP damage to everything in a 9ft long and 90° wide cone, on 6, it does 2 HP damage. On 1, the content gets pulverized, completely obstructing the view around the user in a 6ft radius.
Theiket's Tactical Tooth-Bar
Iron bar with teeth. Does damage on impact, just swing it to mute everyone who misbehaves. Available: 1. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 2-5, the attack does 1 HP damage, on 6, it does do 2 HP damage.
Special items for special effects
Amélie's Arctic Inverse-Accelerator
When the AAIA touches a surface, a freezing circle with a radius of 9ft spreads out and everything within becomes frozen. If frozen objects get damaged for at least 2 points, they burst into hundreds of pieces. Duration: 1 round. Uses: 1. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 2-6, the item works, on 1, it explodes and everyone is "six feet under" snow. Roll 5+ on 1d6 to escape, also no more actions for buried people in the same round.
Dimi's Miraculous Time Dispenser
Upon activation, time warps! Everyone (who knows it) can execute two actions in this round. If someone had his action already, he can do a second action at the end of the round. Duration: 1 round Uses: 3.
Dr. Emy's Electrocution Grenades
On impact, the grenade explodes and disables every energy powered item or creature (that is completely inside the radius) within a radius of 9ft. Duration: 1 round. Uses: 1. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 1, the grenade malfunctions and every energy powered creature gets recharged (+1 HP), on 2-5, it works as described, on 6, every energy powered creature gets overloaded and loses 1 HP.
Kefkejaco's Beer Mug
Simple attack item that works well against constructs, they are service machines, after all. Just yell "Hold my beer, bro!" and hand the mug to the construct, rendering it unable to attack for one round. Available: 1. Uses: 1. After one round, the construct will just drop the mug, breaking it.
Qurilion's Quivering Quartz
When placed on the ground, the quartz inside the cylinder will fall down and drill a foot deep into the ground and start vibrating. Everyone in 9ft radius falls prone (except creatures/machines that spread over more than two tiles), machines/constructs have a chance of losing an important part like an arm or a leg or break completely. Duration: 1 round. Uses: 1. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 1, only the PCs are affected and need to roll 4+ next round to be able to stand up and take an action again. On 2-6, the item works: for each construct roll 1d6 . On 1, it breaks, on 2-4, it loses a vital part/weapon.
Satrium's Accurate Strategical Statistics (S.A.S.S.)
These pages show all the data in real-time: status of weapons and combatants, movement vectors etc, giving the group a strategic advantage. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 2-5, the group acts first (including allies). On 6, the opponents declare their action, then the group can decide if they want to act first or last. On 1, the readings are all wrong and the whole team acts last. The user of the pages cannot do any other action.
Silo's Swift Slippers
The wearer can move twice their usual range and jump three times as wide and high. Duration: 1 round. Uses: 2. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 3-6, the item works, on 1-2, the slippers dissolve into a sticky mass, glueing the wearer to the ground. Roll 5+ on 1d6 to escape (starting next round).
Stormbril's Healing Gun
Shoot your best friend to health. Uses: 3. Execution: Roll 1d6 . On 2-5, the shot heals for 2 HP, on 6, it heals for 4 HP, on 1, the user hits his own eye, taking 1 HP damage.
- BBEG: Big Bad Evil Guy
- GM: Game Master
- HP: Hit Points
- PC: Player Character
- RPG: Role Playing Game