Saturday, March 26, 2016

Five Room Dungeon: Birthday Bash!

These are kids having a birthday party.
They are at a gym.
So wracking my brain and trying to think of something that breaks the mold, I think I got an idea. This scenario requires the metric starting 4 member 160 CER, and a relationship with a dicey customer with good social connections. A mobster, a crooked politician, that kinda thing. You see, this guy's goons were to deliver two special presents. One is a toy for the son or daughter of his esteemed colleague, one is a anti-personnel explosive (or whatever cool thing can take someone out of the picture) for a not so esteemed colleague. Wouldn't you know it, the boxes somehow got mixed up. Somehow, the party is the most capable to fix this mistake. Are they bad enough dudes to break into the Dungeon Fantasy equivalent of Chuck - e - Cheese, switch the presents, and come out ok? Find out!

Preamble: Let's Stage Things

So, first off the party needs to get tangled up with some high falutin type of mobsters, if you are at a loss for characters, you can take this one:
  • Shibazakura "The Red Mistress"
    • A Coleopteran (The Next Level) mob leader, named for her ruby red shell, like a Japanese Beetle. Very Christmassy. 
    • Very fond of flowers and pink.
    • Quick to assume men are hitting on her.
    • Values Social Etiquette tremendously.
Her two Cat-Folk lackeys (Buggy and Booster?) were to deliver an intricately crafted wooden articulated dancing figurine to the daughter (Hildegarde) of her partner in crime, a dwarf (Irondome Straightbeard) It was of impeccable gnomish craftsmanship.
She also had them deliver a vessel, a magic assassination device that would rupture itself in 6 hours, releasing a monster to teach a stool pigeon a lesson. His name isn't important.
What is important is that these buffoons ruined this one easy task, and of course, did everything wrong, and somehow swapped the packages. They realized this after dropping off the one package for the child's birthday party earlier this morning, but before delivering the other. For some reason, the party is the best equipped to deal with this problem. They are directed to find the gift with her name on it, and exchange it for the real present. They are reminded that A) if they mention their association with her, her reputation is on the line, and she will not be happy if they do anything to damage it, and B) these are her friends, so fighting should not be a first resort, and mortal combat will be punished.

Room 1: The Entrance

The players should be given directions to the facility, and finding it should be neither time consuming nor challenging. The challenge will be convincing someone to let them in.
The facility, by the way is Pied Piper's Paninis, a popular place for kids with ok food, and games that give vouchers that can be exchanged for prizes.
The whole store has been reserved for a private affair and the door is guarded by two burly bruiser bodyguards dressed how you'd imagine bodyguards to behave.
The players can use a variety of negotiation tactics to get in.
  • They can pretend to be live entertainers if any have good performance, acting, and storytelling skills.
  • They can try simply reasoning with the guards.
    • Remembering the Shibazakura's and Irondome's name gives a +1 each to any social rolls. If they bought a gift themselves, regardless of the contents, that is also a +1 to the roll.
    • Savoir-Faire (Organized Crime) or similar can also be used a complementary skill to approach the guards with the solemn respect they deserve.
    • This can finally be clinched with any appropriate contest of social skill versus will (Say 12) or a straight reaction roll, whatever the GM fancies. Winning the quick contest or getting a good reaction or better means they trust they are on the level. Anything worse and they are sent out to do some busy work before being let in (The food here s*cks, here's $5, bring us something back from Tiny Pharaoh's.)
  • The players can try to fight them, each of them should be about a 50 CER encounter (Try the ogre or orc sergeants from Mirror of the Fire Demon, The Ogre with the club feels more in tune with the flavor, but you can call it something else. ) and of course, this can have consequences for the rest of the scenario, not the least is the earlier promise of retribution.
  • If the player's somehow botch this up really really bad, and it is still possible, Deus Ex Machina them into being thrown into the dungeons of the arcade.
Somehow, if the train hasn't gone completely off the rails, the players will have somehow cleared the entrance. Give a bonus character points if they role play the situation well, have a very creative solution, and/or successfully follow the rules that Shibazakura laid out to maintain her reputation.

Room 2: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge

Aw Cheeses, what do I do?
Somehow the party has entered the building, either through coercion, brute force, negotiation, capture, whatever. Meandering about they will weave through gaggles of children and a menagerie of carnival type games and pit fights (No video games, so rich kids command arena fighters to do battle with soft weapons and soft armor instead.) Characters are in costume, like Muenster Maurice and they have such a lifeless expression, when he gives a child half-orc a balloon, he bursts into tears with fright Maurice shifts his weight awkwardly from one foot to another before giving up and walking away. A foreshadowing opportunity is available for a character with Empathy or Body Language with a large penalty due to not being able to see his body. Success on either (rolled secretly) might warrant telling the character they feel a little bit off about Maurice, but they can't tell if it is a real thing or his weird eyes.
The party is knee deep in rich kids who are all the sires of underworld heavies. They will easily find the present drop off station, but to their horror when they look for the dangerous gift, they realize all the cards have already been separated from the wrapped packages! And the party doesn't know what wrapping paper Shibazakura used!
There is another of Irondome's attendants near the presents. If he has a reason to be curious about the party, or the party flat out asks him, he'll tell them that the cards were set aside and he has used an indexing system to relate the cards to the presents. The mafiosos take etiquette very seriously, so all the cards have been set aside to more easily allow Ironsheen, daughter of Irondome to write the appropriate thank you notes.
Be prepared to come up with a good excuse as to why the party can't go back and ask which wrapping paper was correct, maybe there isn't enough time to go back, or it will be too hard to go out and come back in again.
A player with Empathy, Body Language, or Psychology might realize the attendant is both bored and envious of the children. He wants to play games too! Without those skills, it might be teased out by role playing, or somehow worked around with thief and sneaky skills to inspect the presents sneakily or find and steal his index. Notably, they will never find the present, and the reason for that is explained in Room 3.
Otherwise, you can somehow convince him to come play games with you! He really wants to win a Muenster Maurice figure for 3,000 tickets (Or, alternately, don't sat how many they need, and by pure deus ex machina, when they have role played enough, they just happen to have enough tickets.) You might offer to have one party member guard the presents in his place, unless that is too boring, and you don't want a player to have to sit out a "room." Here are some ideas:
  • Each game can cost a GURPS buck, or more if you like.
  • Use Observation skills to watch children playing and find out which activities give out the most tickets and/or utilize the party's skills the best.
  • A skeeball game is three skill rolls of Throwing - 5 for tiny targets, and that low hanging shield to prevent cheating by just dropping it or throwing directly at the best target instead of rolling, or simply Hobby Skill (skeeball) if any character is cool enough to have it. Ignore all failures and critical failures, and add up Margins of success. The players win 30 * Margin of Success tickets, and a bonus 50 tickets for each critical success.
  • A basketball game, similarly requires a skill of Throwing - 3 or Sport(Basketball) - 1 for awkward equipment and a net that moves slowly back and forth, win 10 * Margin of Success tickets.
  • A shooting gallery comes in three levels, use Bow or Crossbow skill to hit targets at skill-4, -5, and-6 respectively, each round lasts long enough to allow reloading plus 3 seconds of aiming split between the three targets. Fast-Draw (Arrow) or (bolt) can allow an additional aim per each of three targets per round, for a maximum of two aims. Each target hit is a 20 ticket reward, and there is a 100 ticket bonus for performing perfectly. Timings can be discovered by using Observation to watch some kids play first, otherwise the players won't know how much time they have to aim.
  • Gambling games can be played as a Quick Contest of Gambling versus the house's skill of 15. Losing only loses a dollar, but winning gets 2*Margin of Success Tickets, with a chance to double or nada or cash out. Each successive doubling adds 2*Margin of Success tickets, plus doubling the existing running total
  • Come up with your own interesting ideas! Some others I had that might require more depth than I want to write out
    • Players act out characters from pseudo-video games as children yell out commands telepathically with a controller.
    • Games of chance to win several tokens at once to play more games in turn.
    • Being a super jerk and stealing tickets from a child.
    • Especially look at player Hobby Skills and Sport skills, make those points worth it.
Eventually, the attendant will have had his fill, can cash out for prizes, and will do you the favor of looking over the list of gifts and cards.

Room 3: Trick, Or Set-Back

The party will take a few minutes to understand the indexing system, or a player can use Speed-Reading and Research, with +2 for research, To cut the time in half for one, or a quarter for both. Try to set a frantic ambience if they can't do it fast, but ultimately it doesn't have an impact, because everything is happening at the speed of plot.
When the party finds the card, they read it.
Hello, Little Princess,
I am so sorry I couldn't attend your party today, but I got you something that I'm sure you will like. If you and your father care to swing by one of these days, we can have our own small party, how's that sound?
Hugs and Kisses, Auntie Shiba
A horrific question should come to light as the party reads this: if the present is wrong, how come the card that was adhered to the wrapping paper was right? (Well, it might not happen that way, the party might assume that this is how the mixup in the drop off occurred, drop the hint if this isn't as obvious as I intended it to be.) If they noticed Maurice earlier, an IQ roll might allow them to put two and two together if they don't realize it for themselves.
In any case, if they try to find the present in the stack, they will find it is already missing. If they look for M&M, he won't be anywhere they expect to find him, but they might get a tip he went into the kitchen. By pure coincidence, when the players find out or decide to look in the kitchen, the double doors burst open, and out comes a cake being pushed by Maurice... and beside him Booster (one of the two characters that were supposed to deliver the present, remember?)

Room 4: Climax, Big Battle, or Conflict

Maurice opens up the costume and of course reveals himself to be Buggy. Irondome, who had not yet been seen by the party stands up, visibly upset as he realizes what is going on. A cook comes ot of the kitchen and takes off her hairnet. It is the stool pigeon, Irondome in seething anger speaks in a disturbing calm, "Andrea, this is my daughter's birthday. I am not just a little grieved to see you here." Attendants and guards are rushing the children out of emergency exits. While two draw weapons for battle. Bonkers breaks the device inside the present, and a spirit enters the cake. They are both revealed to be double crossers secretly working for Andrea while pretending to work for Shibazakura.
For this battle to be a fair boss fight, the players have on their side
  • Approximately 160 CER, or maybe less if they couldn't bring in their weapons.
  • Two 50 CER muscles that work for Irondome
    • In the case that the players didn't have their weapons with them, a Serendipity use might mean that coincidentally the muscle have normal (good quality, nothing extra) versions of the weapons they would usually use.
The boss will be:
  • This Cake (CER 67)
  • Two Thouls representing Buggy and Bonkers. Use the shortsword stats, and describe them as Cat-Folk. (CER 100)
  • An Orc-Sergeant (Mirror of The Fire Demon) but describe it as a human for Andrea. Shortsword or Axe (CER 50ish)
  • Two Ogres with mauls (Mirror of the Fire Demon) (CER 98)
Statistically, this fight should be slightly in favor of the enemy, and might be considered a very worthy battle. For more or less challenge, take away the two NPC helpers, or have them come in later, or add more. Without the two helpers, the battle is hard enough to be worth 2 character points if no one is seriously wounded.

The floor plan for the battle should have a lot of chairs and tables which act more like a nuisance than a permanent obstacle but work good enough as cover against the cake's special attacks. I somehow imagine the shape of the building being an "L" with the dining area in one leg of the "L" and the games being in the other, if the players can lure the enemies away from the cake so they aren't in line of sight, it'll be an easier battle. Buggy and Bonkers are Cat-Folk, thus they have Laziness. If they are injured even lightly, they have a very good chance of abandoning the fight.

Room 5: Rewards, Revelation, or Plot Twist.

If Bugsy and Bonkers got away, this is a good plot hook for further mafia intrigue. In any case, the party is ruined, but the chaos is such that Shibazakura isn't immediately obviously to blame. As for rewards, when the party defeats the cake, it explodes into gobs of frosting everywhere, with a glowing present box in the middle. This item is a roll on the treasure table with at least one enchantment no matter what was rolled, and a slightly easier chance to be cursed than normal.
For protecting the two family's honor and defeating the attackers, the players might earn the privilege of buying or getting free reputation or contacts with an organized crime body. If you have Dungeon Fantasy 17, this also might be a fair opportunity to buy a rank in the mafia.

Other Thoughts and Closing

I feel like this adventure is a little battle light. That's fine if you like a change of pace every now and again. An easy remedy is to have a segue into acting out arcade game I think, like I mentioned earlier. You could make it a secret path that would allow characters to bring their real, and probably better weapons into the facility if it doesn't make sense for them to bring them in otherwise. Maybe the players can win some useful prizes from the arcade too if they get bajillions of tickets? Something from the 40 Artifacts or Glittering Prizes?

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