Events

During the characters' investigations in Ramallah their actions will trigger certain events.

Authorities
Visiting the Culvert or any other interaction with Israeli or Palestinian security forces.
Bomb!
Visiting the Touqan Family Bakery or Ahmed Yassin's apartment.
Harrowing
Visiting the hospital.
Mot's Plague
Spending time in the Old City, Sewers, the Culvert or Qira.
Watched
After the characters have survived the car bomb.

The Authorities

At certain points during Episode One the characters will need to consider talking to the authorities. This may also be forced on them when they visit the Culvert or if they get into trouble.

In these situations the Game Leader must remember the team consists of several non-player characters who will have witnessed everything and possess videos of most of it. The non-player team members have different motivations and concerns from the player characters. This is a tool the Game Leader can use to bring tension and uncertainty to the situation. Generally Farouk Hosny and the team members responsible for security will wish to avoid drawing too much attention to the team. Instinctively they know claims of magic symbols and other dimensions will not be well received by the authorities. The camera and sound operators are likely to be more open, especially if there is some footage or other evidence to support their claims. Sometimes social and cultural issues will motivate the non-player team members. For example, when the team find the body of Walid Touqan in the sewer some team members, particularly those who are from Muslim cultures, will wish to ensure the body is properly buried.

Attempts by the team to warn the authorities about the magic of the outer dark are doomed to failure. Whether it is the Israeli Defence Force, the Palestinian Civil Police Force or even the UN doctors, no one will believe the team even if they have video footage or other evidence. The ridiculousness of the claims and the reputation of Mystery! Science! TV will prevent anyone with any authority believing the team.

Characters who embark on reckless and criminal activity will find themselves in trouble with the Palestinian Civil Police. The outcome of this is left to the Game Leader to decide based on the circumstances. The Palestinians police have 3d6+3 on any actions relating to questioning or searching the characters. Generally the Game Leader should allow the characters to go free though their arrest may have implications. Spending a night in the cells may be very unpleasant for characters with some status effects.

Capture And Culvert

When the team investigate the Culvert they will definitely find themselves in trouble with the Israelis. The Culvert is a few hundred yards from Camp Nathan and the Israelis will get suspicious of any activity in the area. The road leads only to the base and few people other than soldiers have reason to be on it. Because of the heightened security situation and the base being under quarantine, any activity around the Culvert will attract an Israeli patrol in about ten minutes. They will handcuff the team, place them in the back of their patrol's vehicles and take them to an Israeli base on the other side of Ramallah. The team's vehicles and equipment will be checked and then sent after the characters.

The characters will face several hours of questioning by the Israelis who will closely examine all the footage on the cameras and laptops. They also check mobile phones and any other devices the team has. The Israelis are both effective and paranoid, with 4d6+4 on any rolls relating to the searching and questioning of the team.

The presence of the outer dark symbols in the Culvert and any other symbols the team have from Al-Nazeb's cave will attract the Israelis' attention. The interrogators will produce photos of Bulus Farah's dead body and seek to understand the connection between Bulus and the Culvert. During this part of the questioning skilful characters may learn some information from their interrogators.

Automatic
The photos show a naked young Middle Eastern man on a mortuary slab. The man has blackened limbs and extremities like those suffering from the plague at the hospital. Carved into the man's back are three symbols.
Easy
The symbols are Death's Door, Mot and Star Stone and have been cut into the skin. (Note: The characters will not be given the time or opportunity to study the photograph and learn which concepts are invoked by the symbols.)
Moderate
The man died in Israeli custody on the 25th September after harassing an Israeli patrol.
Hard
Several of the soldiers who arrested this man have subsequently died of the plague.

The team's questioning will be intense, stressful and long. The coincidence between the symbols on Bulus' back and the ones in the Culvert is too great for the Israelis to ignore. Game Leaders may role play as little or as much of this as they desire though it can be fun to have characters explain the symbols and magic to a highly skeptical interrogator. The whole process will take twelve to twenty-four hours during which all team members are kept isolated from each other and have little time to rest. There are no direct consequences for this though the Game Leader may wish to apply situation bonuses to the next attack of Mot's Plague.

Release

Eventually the Israelis will let everyone go in the belief that the team is either a genuine if somewhat crazy documentary film crew or making a Blair Witch style found footage horror film.

While the Israelis will not believe any claims by the team about magic causing the plague, the symbols provide enough connection between the Culvert, Bulus Farah and the disease to warrant further investigation. Israeli biochemical warfare experts will search the pipe for any deadly bacteria but find nothing. However, it will be dug up and the pipe replaced because the Israelis have no other ideas about the disease's source. As soon as this happens the number of new infections drops and the infected begin to respond to treatment. For the characters, this means no further resistance actions against Mot's Plague and their existing status effects will disappear over the next few days.

Bomb!

The Harbingers of Revolutionary Jihad are on the trail of Ahmed Yassin and members of the History Club. Guided by the Custodians Of Writing, the terrorist group wishes to remove all trace of Ahmed's activities to prevent anyone realising the Custodians' involvement. The group knows that Bulus Farah is dead and they caught up with Walid Tougan at the bakery but failed to get any useful information from torturing him. With no further leads they decided to keep watch on the bakery and Ahmed's apartment hoping that one of the History Club will show up. When the characters are spotted near the bakery or the apartment, the terrorists correctly assume the team is also after the History Club and attempt to stop them with a bomb.

The bomb takes place the day after the characters visit the bakery or apartment and is placed in a car on a narrow road near the entrance to the characters' hotel. The Harbingers of Revolutionary Jihad are planning to target the team as they enter or leave the hotel. As the team nears the bomb, an Israeli patrol of four armoured vehicles comes from the other direction and is passing between the bomb and the characters when it explodes. The heavy bulk of the Israeli vehicles absorbs most of the blast and the extra protection built into the cars keeps the characters safe from the direct effects of the blast and shrapnel. However, the cars are violently rocked and a huge cloud of dust and smoke fills the air completely obscuring everything from sight.

The bomb also triggers a brief shift in time for the characters. After a few moments waiting for the dust and smoke to clear, everyone in the cars will realise something is wrong. Instead of being on a busy city street the cars are now in a sandstorm. For a moment the storm clears and the characters get one quick action to analyse the situation before the sandstorm closes in again.

Automatic
The cars are no longer in a busy city street but on a rough, rocky road being buffeted by a powerful sandstorm. Just visible through the sand is a wooden palisade and a gatehouse. A naked man is walking through the arch of the gatehouse.
Easy
The gatehouse and palisade appear to be a recreation of a Roman fort.
Moderate
Almost every part of the man's skin is covered in tattoos.
Hard
In the man's right hand is a black stone.

The team then find themselves back in a city street wrecked by a car bomb. The characters will realise they have been very lucky. Apart from a few minor injuries the entire team is unhurt. The cars are damaged with cracked windscreens, dents and a couple of flats, but are still driveable. However, the team is facing the aftermath of a large explosion in a busy street and it is not a pretty sight. Wrecked Israeli vehicles block the roads and there are hundreds of dead and injured people around. Within a few minutes of the blast the roads will be sealed by the Israeli Defence Force and the team will be stuck. It will take several hours for the characters to get themselves and their vehicles clear of the scene.

Game Leaders should spend time describing and emphasising the scale of human suffering around the characters and pointing out how close they all came to being killed. Once the team gets clear of the situation and the adrenalin wears off every member must resist the post-traumatic stress attack. This is 4d6+4 but it gains a 1d6+1 situation bonus if the character did nothing constructive to help the injured (e.g. just filmed the aftermath). Anyone failing the attack gains one of the following: Nightmares, Self-Medication, Irritability or Distracted.

Harrowing

Visiting the hospital is a deeply unpleasant experience for the characters. The hospital is overwhelmed and patients are often left lying in their own filth unless they have family members to help them. Some patients have open sores and the flesh of their extremities is literally rotting off. Many patients are in pain and though the hospital is receiving lots of supplies the medical staff struggle to keep up with the patients' needs. The state of the children is especially disturbing.

Any character who spends time in the hospital must make a resistance action against the harrowing experience. The base attack is 2d6+2 with additional dice depending on what the character did in the hospital.

1d6+1
Speaking to, spending time with or filming adult plague victims.
2d6+2
Speaking to, spending time with or filming child plague victims.
1d6+1
Visiting the morgue.

Anyone failing their resistance action gains one of the status effects: Distracted or Disturbed. These are not Persistent and only last 24 hours.

Mot's Plague

Mot's Plague is a magical disease and not transmitted by the usual vectors. It is caused by direct or indirect exposure to the magic forces of the outer dark unleashed by Ahmed Yassin and the History Club. The characters are at risk if they spend time in the Old City, Sewers, Culvert or Qira but exposure to people with the disease (e.g. in the hospital) does not put the characters at risk.

The day after being exposed to the disease the characters must make a resistance roll against Mot's Plague. Mot is an outer dark god of corruption and decay and its plague eats away at the victim's soul. The physical symptoms seen in plague victims are manifestations of the spiritual corruption. The magical nature of the danger means a character's physical health and fitness are irrelevant to resisting the plague. More appropriate defences against it are attempts to maintain the character's sense of who they are and their own importance. Almost any advantage can be turned to this end as long as the player can explain why it is meaningful to the character's identity.

Resistance rolls are required the morning after each exposure to the magic of Mot's Plague. The strength of the attack has a base 1d6+1 for being in Ramallah plus each of the following which applies to the character:

1d6+1
Spent at least one session in the Old City.
1d6+1
Spent at least one scene in the village of Qira.
2d6+2
Spent any time at all in close proximity to the Culvert including driving over it.
2d6+2
Spent at least one scene in the Sewers.
3d6+3
Sprayed by corpse vomit.

Award situation bonuses to the attack or resistance based on the characters' actions. The magical nature of the disease makes safety equipment and medical treatment useless but characters who find time to pray, meditate or undertake other activities to reinforce their reality may gain bonuses.

Plague Effect

Anyone who fails their resistance against Mot's Plague gains one of three status effects: Bloody Flux, Buboes or Genital Sores. If a character already has one of these status effects its CP is increased by the attack's degree of success until the CP has reached 25 (1d6+6). After this point all additional CP is converted into Life damage and ultimately a character may die of Mot's Plague.

Medical care will not aid the character's resistance actions against the effects of Mot's Plague, but it will allow them to recover Life advantages. Medical care cannot remove the status effects (they have the Persistent keyword) but they will spontaneously disappear either at the end of the adventure or after the Israelis destroy the Culvert.

Watched

After the failed bomb attack, the Harbingers of Revolutionary Jihad switch their tactics and follow the Mystery! Science! TV team in the hope they will find Ahmed Yassin. The terrorists are well funded and equipped but lack the manpower and skills to be discreet. At some point after the bomb (probably at the Roman Ruins) the characters will notice something suspicious.

Automatic
A team member notices an old dirty white Renault saloon car and remembers seeing it two or three times before.
Easy
It has a Palestinian registration plate.
Moderate
There were two Arabic-looking men in the car, both in their twenties.
Hard
The passenger was looking at the team and talking on a phone.

From this point onwards, the team is being followed by one of three vehicles: the battered white Renault saloon car; a newish dark blue BMW saloon car and a brown four-wheel-drive Ford pickup. To spot any of these tails, or to elude them once noticed, the team must beat a resistance of 3d6+3. The Harbingers of Revolutionary Jihad will avoid getting into situations where the characters can confront them, but just in case, they are armed with a variety of weapons and will use them.

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open/oneshots/petra/act1events.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/12 12:25 by darth_tigger
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