Author(s): Scott Dorward
Appears in: Nameless Horrors (Supplement)
The residents of a shantytown in Depression-era Massachusetts find their small community under assault from unknown forces. Working to overcome their own infirmity and the indifference of the authorities, the investigators — residents of the shantytown themselves — need to find out who or what is preying on them before those they hold dear are destroyed. Their investigation will bring them into contact with otherworldly horrors, a house that exists between dimensions, and the machinations of the faceless men.
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Describe the adventure in detail; no bias allowed.
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The residents of a shantytown in Depression-era Massachusetts find their small community under assault from unknown forces. The residents of the shantytown are all suffering from a strange malady. People are lethargic and wasting away, and their skin is flaking off. No one can identify the cause, and no one outside the camp will help. The truth is that a secret organization, the Midas Circle, is preying on the residents of the shantytown, siphoning their life energy using unnatural means and leaving them as crumbling husks. Working to overcome their own infirmity and the indifference of the authorities, the investigators — residents of the shantytown themselves — need to find out who or what is preying on them before those they hold dear are destroyed. Their investigation will bring them into contact with otherworldly horrors, a house that exists between dimensions, and the machinations of the faceless men of the Midas Circle....
- Maps, Charts, and Tables:
- map: The Hooverville
- list: Dramatis Personae (NPCs, for Keeper use)
- chart: Relationship Map (for Keeper use)
- list: Meeting Reggie Clover (for Keeper use, but could be used as hand-outs as a summary of info gathered from this source)
- map: Prospect House
- list: Appendix B - Pre-Gen Characters (for Keeper reference)
- Illustrations (not intended for use as handouts, but perhaps useful as such):
- Things Fall Apart
- Dramatis Personae (NPC portraits)
- A faceless man pays a visit to Nancy
- What remains of Harold Priestly
- The gates to the Prospect House
- The investigators find a dead vagrant
- The Hawkes Device
- The Master Bedroom
- Esther searches for Species 17 in Billy's abdomen
- "Hoovervilles" (background information; intended for Keepers, but perhaps useful for setting the scene for investigators as well)
- six pre-generated characters
- Crawley, Massachusetts
- Prospect House
- Bentham Hospital
- Ebbet's Cemetery
- Blue Star Diner
- The Crawley Examiner
- Crawley Police Department
- Crawley Grand Hotel
- "Species 17"
- "Ventriloquist's Dummy"
- "The House that was Doctor Aston Hawkes"
- "Men Without Faces"
Tomes and Artifacts:
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Set pretty firmly as a one-shot scenario in the Great Depression by default, but could probably be moved from the default city of Crawley MA to any small U.S. city of the Depression, if desired. Possibilities for updating the scenario to the Modern era might be to convert the Depression-era "shanty town" to a homeless Tent City, or to a refugee camp for victims of war or natural disaster. Still, there do not seem to be too many opportunities to work this into a longer campaign.
- This is an unpleasant, unforgiving scenario. Characters that have few resources and damaged psyches will face powerful forces, and will see and experience things that will keep them on the brink of madness. It is likely to end with all of the investigators dead, dying, or insane. This is not to say that some form of positive outcome is impossible, but this is probably not a scenario for groups that like happy endings.
- The scenario is presented sandbox-style as a series of locations and NPCs, an opening scene that lays out a bad situation, and a group of investigators with reason to uncover the truth. To use the scenario, simply present the situation in the opening scene and follow the actions that the investigators take, making sure to play the NPCs according to their motivations, and provide the players with the descriptions and conflicts outlined in the scenario. While there is no fixed outcome, there are some likely ones provided with the scenario.
- There is little to stop players creating their own investigators if this is their preference, but because of the time period and the required investigator backgrounds, it can be difficult to fit Bleak Prospect into an ongoing campaign. The restrictions are that any characters need to be residents of the Hooverville, who have lost everything, and who have close ties with one or more of the other residents. It would be helpful if the group contained a person with medical training, and someone with a scientific background, but this is not mandatory. Ideally, some of them should also have connections to members of the Midas Circle. By definition all the investigators are down on their luck, and begin the game with a Luck score of 20 points each, and a POW score no higher than 40.
Sequel Plot Hooks: None; the scenario is probably best run as a one-shot scenario, with the pre-gen characters assumed to be doomed.