Under the track
- "This is train CIV1181, kilometer 15 right after the station. There is a person close to the track on my left side. Could you send somebody to look at it."
- "Understood. Anything suspicious?"
- "He simply lies there. And I think he was there yesterday, too..."
Look at the scene of a crime. Three police cars, one doctor. The victim is male, under twenty. Trekking shoes and clothing for a trip, a small backpack was searched and strewn around. A purse is nearby, with the ID of the victim. No money, the watch also appears to be missing.
The apparent cause of death are multiple wounds caused by a blunt object, it could easily be a stone, there are several covered with blood. The deed was committed with great violence.
If you look at the location, there is nothing unusual. A mile from the next village, close to the track. There's fields attended by large machinery, very few people. There is a small fireplace, a copse of trees, a brook is not far, a good place for a little trip or a personal drama.
The police will do their work. They will probably find some homeless guy, that looks crazy enough. Case closed.
But maybe you are of a more sensitive nature than most. Then you will be drawn into the trees, deeper, where it is dark. A small illegal dump, bottles and shards, plastic and tinfoil. There are thousands of such places. The cops just passed through it. You get a shiver down your spine.
Only if you have the Sight, will you see what is true. The stones you have ignored before, are a part of something. A structure, half-ruined, still standing. An altar is here, preserved with blood and offerings. What entity does it serve, a dark god or an evil spirit? How old is it? And how could it survive this close to civilization? Nobody ever moved closer. No one built a house here. The trees were not felled for fields. Not even the track exposed it.
So what happened?
1. The boy was just out on a walk, looking for a place to do a field trip with his scouts. He found more than that - a nice little dump they could clean up... and an angry spirit that resented the thought. Even then, spirits shouldn't be this powerful - perhaps it was fed recently?
2. A random visitor, an unwitting companion, or dragged here specially for the purpose - it was a sacrificial victim, but something went wrong during the ritual, and the body was left in the open. There is an active cult here. You will see if you ask too much.
3. The spirit has stirred from its slumber. But the old people knew what slept here, and have appointed one of them as a guardian. This tradition was passed on through many generations, and the current guard has little of a shaman in himself. He started to be delusional under the influence of the spirit, and killed the boy he held for a cultist. You could be next.
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? Responses (8)
And of course there are more options, with or without the spirit, that may or may not be evil. Three is the number of tradition.
This plot does not exactly fit into the Tales of the Road, but I mention it here anyway. ;)
I like the first idea best.
I would like a little variety in the possible truths, perhaps like all the supernatural aside, the man was a mugger and his victim caught up with him, gave him a tasering and then beat him with a blunt object for stealing her purse (Anger management???)
A good little urban paranormal hook. Could be the start of a much bigger story...
A fun little side adventure to plug into any modern horror game, then watch the pc's go nuts trying to figure out where it fits into the "bigger picture" of the campaign. (Some of the conclusions they sometimes wind up drawing either make for great ideas, or are eerily accurate.)
Nice evocative tidbit for a modern setting, fits well into a game I'm about to start up, actually, so high marks.
Thanks! Added the Modern freetext for convenience.
I really like the lead in, this solid intro and plot set up. A great write up. It is more atmosphere than plot, but you could go a lot places with it. It even be sci-fi adventure, mad researcher, alien space landing and all that.