So I was wondering, how do I guide the party to the next part of the adventure? Any good DM should have a Segway, but, how to guide the party in a sandbox adventure. Well, then Daron just handed it to me on a platter.
But let’s start at the beginning.
The party made it back without too much fuss from the den of pirates to Madeline. There was some talk from some party members who will remain unnamed (that means you, Gavin) about offing the adults so they would not be a threat, and simply bringing back the wee little pirate kids for a life of reeducation, North Korean style… But that didn’t happen. No NPC’s were harmed on the way back.
That doesn’t mean that a certain unnamed party member (that means you, Gavin) who suggested that the adult pirates should be offed because they may pose a threat on the trip back. Luckily, cooler heads prevailed, and no slaves, err, pirates were harmed.
So they got back to Madeline without anything bad happening. The Mayor of Madeline greeted the party, but no one in the party could remember what their negotiated rate was for ridding the world of the pirate scum. So much for the party taking notes. The party brought back the loaned equipment (the primo fiberglass sailboat and two aluminum rowboats). The party also brought back a new fishing boat, err a pirate craft that with some modifications would make a sweet fishing boat, two hulls full of food and other goods liberated from the pirates, along with ten pirates who needed reeducation, North Korea style.
So the Mayor convinced the party that the long road to reeducation of the remaining pirate children and adults to allow them to earn their citizenship (or at least die trying) would be expensive, take valuable resources and effort… Meaning that the recovered boat and trade goods have little value.
The Party was given 10 fifty pound bags of potatoes and a large bag of other root vegetables such as carrots, rutabagas, parsnips and turnips in payment for their services. The Mayor told them that Madeline was a poor town, and grew spuds to trade to Wright Town, where a distillery converted the potatoes to alcohol. All the party had to do to get something valuable in return for their work eradicating pirates was to take the potatoes to Wright Town to be made into alcohol.
Now everyone believes politicians, right? The party did. Maybe 80 years after the apocalypse, elected officials are more honest than their current stereotypes. Maybe not. In any event, no one questioned the mayor.
So off they went. Their liberated minstrel wagon, liberated minstrel horses, and ill gotten potatoes, the wages of death and slavery. What could go wrong?
The wagon was brought back the way they came. While on the ferry, the party was largely oblivious, but Gavin rolled an insane bunch of acing dice and observed another drone, circling and apparently observing.
The drones were part of the link to how the party was going to be transported to the next part of the adventure, and I was trying to figure out how to get the party in the right place… But then Daron took care of that… But once again, I am getting ahead of myself.
On the way back to Wright town, the party passed a nice camping spot. A babbling brook crossed the path, a cold fire pit along with four corpses, one with the top of his head missing, two that had been run through with long bladed weapons, and the fourth cut in several pieces, apparently by several axes. All of the corpses were decomposing, after 4 days in the sun and wore brightly colored, although blood soaked, minstrel outfits.
While Sue and Mike took in the scene, Daron proudly explained in detail how three of the four were his handiwork, and showed off his prize from the fight, a dead mouse. I couldn’t tell for sure, but Sue didn’t appear to be swayed by this, as she somehow magically morphed from a member of the Wright Family to a synth over the week. It appears that her new synth character is not particularly interested in the death of some humans… As Matthew kept saying “Sarah Conner” to her in a stilted German accent.
Mike, who somehow retained his Simian self was not too worried about the dead humans. Matthew was calculating the actuarial tables for the potential loss to State Farm on the untimely demise of these four individuals, but was pretty sure he wasn’t going to be disciplined for the insurance pay out, since he didn’t write the policy. Gavin looked for drones. Eric ate raw potatoes in the back of the cart.
So the party moved on. They went upwind of the rotting corpses, and since it was becoming dark, decided to camp for the night. They hoped the wind would not shift. They fed the two horses lots of carrots and other root veggies. The party didn’t realize that the horses loved the veggies, but that they would founder on the rich diet…
Watch assignments were given and the DM rolled a d4 to determine which watch the party would be tested. Bwuhahahaha -erk- gasp. Damn, it sucks when you swallow spit the wrong way when laughing maniacally.
The d4 rolled a 2. Which happened to be Mike’s watch. Mike shot the DM an incredulously accusing look as though of course I would make it happen on his watch. Nope, fortuitous but not forced…
Everyone was sleeping, except Mike, who was feeling pretty safe on top of the cart. After a while, he noticed something moving in the dark. It was coming towards the party. Being ever faithful, at least until he could switch over to a stronger group of friends, he dropped down and tried to warn Gavin and Sue. Gavin saw nothing and wanted to go back to sleep. Sue was convinced the monkey needed to be turned over for research, preferably one that involves sleep deprivation studies.
So Mike went and tried to get Daron and Matthew to see what he was seeing. Daron saw it, and started thinking about his options… After all in an attack, if the attackers are all busy with the rest of the party, what are the odds they counted *everyone* and would figure out one got away? Matthew woke up, and lit a torch, destroying his and Mike’s night vision. Daron saw over a dozen eyes shining back from the north side of the camp. Daron bravely snuck away, after all, someone has to survive the battle to write epic prose of how the party fought to almost the last man.
What followed was mass chaos. 24 zombies attacked. The players complained “Hey, zombies are only supposed to move 4 inches”, but these were special zombies. The party massacred the zombies, but only after Eric being very gravely wounded. Eric did do some epic zombie killing. Sue fought one zombie for a while, and eventually convinced the dice to stop messing around and roll well. Gavin was surrounded, but all the highly effective zombies grouped around Eric. Matthew tried to run off, or that was what we initially thought the screams of terror (so we thought) was for. Matthew instead had an intricately detailed plan of how he was going to draw off a large group of zombies and outrun them. Unfortunately for Matthew, the zombies were just as fast as he was.
So the horses were feeling rather I’ll from all the rich food they were fed, so the zombies spared the horses a long, agonizing death. Gavin started killing zombies, Daron climbed onto the top of the cart and started poking them to death. Six zombies almost overturned the cart. Eventually, all of the zombies were deadified.
Matthew and Daron looked through the bodies for anything useful. Matthew found an ancient leather wallet with a drivers license and an insurance card. Worried that he wrote the policy for this zombie, Matthew studied the insurance card and was thankful that it was an Allstate policy, not a State Farm policy.
The rest of the party burned the bodies. Eric cut strips of meat from the dead horses. After all, not all of the animal brought down by zombies is spoiled, right?
The zombies wore a variety of clothes, from farmer clothing to beggar clothing. Nine of the zombies wore brightly colored minstrel clothing.
The next day, the party had to pull the cart… Except Eric. Eric was badly wounded and had to walk. Every chance he got, Eric would slip into the cart and feast on horse meat and raw potatoes.
After 4 days travel, pulling the cart by human power, they arrived in Wright Town. Upon arrival at the gates if the city, they were asked their business. The guards made the party strip naked, then inspected for mutations and deloused. Mike got extra scrutiny because he was a Simian. Mike was convinced that some anti Simian racism was going on. Everyone else was happy that the damned dirty ape was keeping his hands off of them.
Everything was going swimmingly.
Need I say more? I don’t think anyone quite understood why Daron shot the guard. The Guard was doing guard things, you know, showing how important he was, and he pushed Daron around, just a little.
Daron picks up a d4 and says “if I roll a 4, I shoot the guard”. He says it is a very conversational, quiet, casual English voice. The d4 decided it needed to make things interesting and rolled a 4. I wish I could describe it in a Hoosiers winning shot mode, where the dice was like the basketball bouncing around the rim of the hoop a few times in slow motion, and Gene Hackman looked worried, then Swoosh and the crowd goes wild.
Nope. Nothing like that.
The die hits the table, flat on the four, and Daron shoots poor Dale. Gavin says “Wait? What?” Pauses and says “I stop him!!!” except Gavin was 20 feet away.
Now Dale had run amuck with his Sergeant several times and had several personal action reports filed against him with HR. Dale met the woman of his dreams, married her, and now has a child (had a child – now past tense) maybe twins on the way. Dale had been a model employee since meeting and marring Rhonda Mae. All that came to an explosive end as the top of Dale’s head came off, kind of like John F. Kennedy in Dallas.
Then things got bad.
The guards were stunned. Then they started ringing the alarm bell and closed the gate with the party outside. Then the guards got angry. Sue and Mike got inside and tried to get the guards to believe that it was all a big misunderstanding. They just needed to get ahold of the Wright family. The guards beat Mike mercilously with the crowd screaming “Rodney King!” Over and over (what? Too soon?)
Gavin went and surrendered to a guard and told a conflicting story to what Sue and Mike were telling.
Eric walked calmly over to the back of the cart and started eating a raw potato. Matthew opened up his umbrella, and sat down next to Eric and also enjoyed a raw potato, knowing that might be the last real food they got until the hangman’s noose tightened around their necks.
Everyone except Daron was hog tied, or in the case of Mike, he was monkey tied.
Daron bravely sneaked off with bullets and the gun. He avoided several horse patrols.
No one noticed the drone flying overhead during all the action
As a DM, I enjoy it when the party goes in a direction I was not expecting. This, however was something I was not expecting and was unprepared for almost the entire party being captured.
At least I have a week to mull over some possibilities.