by Clinton Dreisbach

“The Box” is an adventure for Owl Hoot Trail meant to be run over one session. It is a good introduction to the game and is suitable for one-shots, but can work as the beginning of a campaign.

The structure is a little unusual in that the adventure is about two groups of humans, one ostensibly on the side of the law and the other a gang of criminals, and the players can play either group of individuals. The criminals are fully generated characters, and so they work well in a situation where you want pre-generated characters. There are stats and information for the guards, as the GM will need them if the players are playing the criminals, but if the players are playing the guards, it’s recommended they make their own characters.

The characters are available in two forms: one at first level and the other at second or third level. When being played as PCs, the characters should be first level. If they are GM characters, played as antagonists, they should be at the higher level, in order to make it challenging for the players. The criminals are mostly 2nd level as antagonists; the guards are all 3rd level as antagonists. It’s hard to be the bad guys.

The Setup

Our guards have been hired by Mr. Eliza C. Althouse to guard a package from Ten Sleeps to Sweetwater, via the train. This package is a long black trunk with metal straps over it and a lock. There are very small holes drilled around the sides of the trunk. It weighs at least 200 pounds, probably 300. It is being delivered to a Mr. John Chisum, who owns a travelling circus. It contains an owlbear cub and is ensorcelled to keep said cub tranquil.

The safe car on the train, the Night Queen, contains a safe with thousands of dollars worth of jewels and coins, as well as the deed to 20,000 acres of land outside Inferno Falls in the Northern Territories. The safe car has two railway guards assigned to it, and Althouse’s guards have been allowed by Red Nails Railways to accompany them.

The Night Queen will stop at a small town, Eden, to take on water and passengers. This is where the adventure begins. Only one of the Red Nails guards will return from the stop; the other’s been paid off.

Smiley Browne’s gang of criminals are waiting at Eden for the Night Queen. Baron Horn, who is probably a vampire and is definitely a powerful frightening man, has employed them to steal that deed to 20,000 acres of underground oil lakes outside Inferno Falls. His definition of employment is unpleasant. Browne’s gang will get money for sure if they do it; they will be hunted and killed for sport by Horn’s servants if they fail. To be clear, they don’t know what’s in Althouse’s package and they ain’t there for it, although they are likely to take whatever they can get.

Browne’s plan, which you can ignore if the players are playing his gang, is to get what they want and then take over the locomotive, unhooking it to escape. If cornered, Tallaluh will jam the boiler’s safety valve or someone will shoot the water tank, causing the firebox to overheat, which will send the train into a frenzied pace, either making it eventually explode or go off the rails. Horn’s told them to get to Stop Over, a town with no law to speak of, where he will send a servant for the deed.

If the guards do make it to Sweetwater with Althouse’s package and it is unopened, Chisum will give them $1000 to split. If it has been opened, they’ll be lucky to make it off the train alive.

Cast of Characters

Smiley’s Gang

“Smiley” Addison Browne, human scoundrel

“Why, hello there, missus. Smiley at your service.”

GRIT 0, DRAW 1, WITS 2

Level 1

Wile +5, others +3

HP 10, Melee +1/1d6 (bowie knife), Missile +2/1d6 (pistol, 6 shot, range 0-1), Def 12, MDef 13

Backstab for +5 damage

Level 3

Wile +7, others +5

HP 18, Melee +3/1d6 (bowie knife), Missile +4/1d6 (pistol, 6 shot, range 0-1), Def 14, MDef 15

Backstab for +7 damage

Tallulah Warren, human gadgeteer

“Cover your ears, boys. It’s about to get loud.”

GRIT 0, DRAW 0, WITS 3

Level 1

Learning +5, others +2

HP 10, Melee +1/d3 (punch/kick), Missile +1/1d6+2 (rifle, range 2-3, 15 shot), Power +4, Def 11, MDef 14

Powers: Sonic Shield (+4 Def/1 hour), Ear Bleeder (1d4+1 damage), Floating Wave (float 100 pounds)

Level 2

Learning +6, others +3

HP 14, Melee +2/d3 (punch/kick), Missile +2/1d6+2 (rifle, range 2-3, 15 shot), Power +5, Def 12, MDef 15

Powers: Sonic Shield (+4 Def/2 hours), Ear Bleeder (1d4+1 damage), Fatal Vibrations (touch/2d6 damage), Floating Wave (float 200 pounds)

Black Barrow, dwarf ruffian

“Hrmph.”

GRIT 4, DRAW 1, WITS -1

Level 1

Toughness +5, others +1

HP 14, Melee +5/d8+4 (axe), Missile +2/3d6/2d4/1d6 (shotgun, 1 shot, range 0-1), Def 12, MDef 10

Dirty fighting (d6+4 damage), enrage (+3 GRIT/-3 WITS, 1 round)

Level 2

Toughness +6, others +2

HP 18, Melee +6/d8+4 (axe), Missile +3/3d6/2d4/1d6 (shotgun, 1 shot, range 0-1), Def 13, MDef 11

Dirty fighting (d6+4 damage), enrage (+3 GRIT/-3 WITS, 2 rounds)

Wolf LaRue, walking wolf scout

“…​” Smiley: “Wolf here, she doesn’t talk much.”

GRIT 2, DRAW 1, WITS 1

Level 1

Wilderness +5, others +1

HP 12, Bowie knife +3/1d6+2, Missile +2/1d6+1 (pistol, 5 shot, range 0-1), Def 12, MDef 12

+1 to missile attacks at range >= 1, +3 to hear/smell

Level 2

Wilderness 6, others +2

HP 16, Bowie knife +4/1d6+2, Missile +3/1d6+1 (pistol, 5 shot, range 0-1), Def 13, MDef 13

+1 to missile attacks at range 1, +3 to hear/smell

Seven Clever Serpents, shee gunslinger

“I didn’t pay for a first class ticket to be ignored, human.”

GRIT 1, DRAW 2, WITS 1

Level 1

Wilderness +2, Toughness +3, Wile +2, others +1

HP 11, Melee +2/1d4 (knife), Missile +3/1d6+2 (2 x .38-cal, range 0-1, 5 shot), Def 13, MDef 12

Shoot twice at -2 each, +1 damage with all guns

Level 2

Wilderness +3, Toughness +4, Wile +3, others +2

HP 15, Melee +3/1d8 (sword), Missile +4/2d6+1 (2 x .45-cal, mithril inlay, range 0-2, 5 shot), Def 14, MDef 13

Shoot twice at -2 each, +1 damage with all guns

The Guards

Rex Whatley, human ruffian

“I ain’t afraid to get my hands dirty if I got to.”

GRIT 2, DRAW 1, WITS 0

Level 1

Toughness +5, others +2

HP 12, Melee +3/d6+2 (anything), Missile +2/2d4 (.41-cal, 6 shot, range 0-1), Def 12, MDef 11

Enrage (+3 GRIT/-3 WITS, 1 round)

Level 3

Toughness +7, others +4

HP 20, Melee +5/d8+2 (anything), Missile +4/2d4 (.41-cal, 6 shot, range 0-1), Def 14, MDef 13

Enrage (+3 GRIT/-3 WITS, 3 rounds)

Whisper Grey, human gunslinger

“iprefertoletmyshotgundothetalking.” “What’s that?” BOOM

GRIT 0, DRAW 2, WITS 1

Level 1

Toughness +4, Wile +3, others +2

HP 10, Melee +1/d3 (punch), Missile +3/see below, Def 13, MDef 12

Shoot twice at -2 each, +1 damage with all guns

Shotgun: 3d6+1/2d4+1/1d6+1 damage at range 0/1/2, range 0-1, single shot

.38-cal revolver: 1d6+2 damage, range 0-1, 5 shot

Level 3

Toughness +6, Wile +5, others +4

HP 18, Melee +3/d6 (bowie knife), Missile +5/see below, Def 15, MDef 14

Shoot twice at -2 each, +2 damage with all guns

Hellhound Shotgun: 3d6+2/2d6+2/1d6+2 damage at range 0/1/2, range 0-1, double-barrelled, can fire both for +1d6 damage

Twin .38-cal revolvers, blued finish: 1d6+3 damage, range 0-1, 5 shot

Cecil “Goblin” Steele, half’in mentalist

“Cecil Steele, sir! They call me the Goblin, but as you can see, I’ve a pleasant face and becoming air.”

GRIT -1, DRAW 2, WITS 3

-2 to all damage from performing tricks

Level 1

Amity +2, Wile +4, others +1

HP 9, Melee +0/d3 (punch), Missile +3/d4+1 (.22-cal, range 0, 7 shot), Power +4, Def 14, MDef 14

Common Tricks: Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation

1st Rank Tricks: Hypnotism, Silent Illusion, Disguise Self

Level 3

Amity +4, Wile +6, others +3 \ HP 17, Melee +2/d4 (knife), Missile +5/d4+1 (.22-cal, range 0, 7 shot), Power +6, Def 16, MDef 16

Common Tricks: Dancing Lights, Ghost Sound, Prestidigitation

1st Rank Tricks: Hypnotism, Silent Illusion, Disguise Self, Sleep

2nd Rank Tricks: Mirror Image

“Ugly” Francis Swordsmith, orc marshal

“What town’s going to have an orc marshal? Lawman for hire’s the life for me.”

GRIT 2, DRAW 0, WITS 2

Hardy 1

Level 1

Toughness +3, Amity +3, Wile -1, others +1

HP 12, Melee +3/d8+2 (longsword), Missile +2/d6 (.32-cal, range 0-1, 6 shot, explodes on a 1), Def 12, MDef 14

Detect if a soul’s up to no good within range 1 at will

Heal a body up to 2 HP per day by sharing a drink

Level 3

Toughness +5, Amity +5, Wile +1, others +3

HP 20, Melee +5/d10+2 (widowmaker), Missile +4/2d6+2 (.50-cal, range 0-2, 5 shot), Def 15, MDef 17

Detect if a soul’s up to no good within range 1 at will

Heal a body up to 6 HP per day by sharing a drink

Smokey Fearslayer, hill folk preacher

“By the names of the Lords of Light, we will pierce this darkness!”

GRIT 2, DRAW 0, WITS 2

+3 to spot underground traps and dangers

-2 to all damage from performing prayers

Level 1

Toughness +2, Amity +4, others +1

HP 12, Melee +3/d6+2 (axe handle), Missile +1/d6+3 (.38-cal rifle, range 2-3, 15 shot), Power +3, Def 11, MDef 13

Rebuke (+3 vs MDef, d6 damage, range 0-1, no cover)

1st Rank Prayers: Armor of God, Inspire

Level 3

Toughness +4, Amity +6, others +3

HP 20, Melee +5/d6+2 (axe handle), Missile +3/d6+3 (.38-cal rifle, range 2-3, 15 shot), Power +5, Def 13, MDef 15

Rebuke (+5 vs MDef, d6 damage, range 0-1, no cover)

1st Rank Prayers: Armor of God, Inspire, Divine Favor

2nd Rank Prayers: Choose Me

Others

Owlbear Cub

Lvl 4, GRIT 3, DRAW 2, WITS 2, HP 28, Def 16, MDef 16. Claw +7 (d6+3) with followup claw +7, or Howl of Lament +6 (all intelligent creatures within earshot are saddened and trailin’ for two rounds. All wild creatures who hear it come to see.)

Red Nails Railway Guard

Lvl 1, GRIT 2, DRAW 1, WITS 0, HP 12, Def 12, MDef 11. Shoot +2/d6+1 (pistol, range 0-1), club +3/d6+2.

Conductor

Lvl 3, GRIT 1, DRAW 1, WITS 1, HP 21, Def 14, MDef 14. Shoot +4/3d6 (shotgun, range 0-1), knife +4/d6+1.

The Train

The Night Queen is a steam-powered express passenger train. It is the jewel in the Red Nails Railways fleet. It rides the railway between The Old Towers back East and Silver City in the West, a 75-hour trip. The fare is $8 for coach class and $35 for first class. The portion of the trip in this adventure, Ten Sleeps to Sweetwater, is 28 hours.

Cars in Order

  1. Locomotive
  2. Tender
  • The Night Queen has a 90-ton locomotive with a 6-foot-diameter boiler, the biggest one ever built. It is a Grand Dweomer Class locomotive designed under the direction of Thelonious Steelfire and built by the Steelfire Clan. It is too heavy for many rail bridges unassisted, so it has a levitation system designed by C. M. Archon, which reduces its effective weight to 60 tons. (Note that the train does not levitate: its weight is reduced by the upward pressure of the levitation system.) The tender generally carries 10 tons of coal and 30 tons (about 7200 gallons) of water.
  • The locomotive has a crew of three: the _engineer_, who controls the locomotive’s stopping, starting, and speed; the _fireman_, who maintains the fire and regulates steam pressure; and the porter, who assists the fireman in monitoring water levels and managing the fire. A second crew rides onboard (the engineer and fireman in first class and the porter in coach) and they switch out in 12-hour shifts.
  1. Mail Car
  • The mail car is what it sounds like: a car full of mail. It has no assigned crew and is normally locked, but the fireman or porter unlock it, deliver mail to the post office, and take new mail at each stop.
  1. The Box
  • “The Box” is the Night Queen’s luggage car, but it’s not like most luggage cars that you might see. Prospectors, adventurers, and other folks with valuables travel on the Night Queen and the Red Nails Railway Company wants to make sure their valuables arrive safely. This car has reinforced steel walls with a lead lace built in to make scrying harder. The doors on each end lock from the inside and the rear door (passenger-facing) has two slots, one at eye-level, and one at waist-level with a built-in table to transfer goods. There is a side door for loading and unloading at railway stations, but it is locked from the outside and the engineer has the key. There is also a small roof vent.
  • Inside the Box, there is a large combination safe, as well as racks for luggage. Two double-barrelled shotguns are kept loaded for use by the Box crew. Normally, the Box is staffed by two railway guards, but on this journey, the guards will be joined by Althouse’s hires.
  1. Coach (absolute rabble)
  2. Coach
  3. Coach
  • There are three coach cars behind the Box. These cars have benches and no beds. There is a walkway down the middle of the car with benches on both sides, and a washroom with an outhouse-style toilet at the end of each car. This washroom is shared between men and women, although the second and third coach cars tend to segregate themselves by sex. People do sleep on the benches.
  • The first coach car is full of absolute rabble. Being so close to the front of the train, it is sooty, dirty, and loud, and not much sleeping happens there. Pickup games of poker and drinking are the most common pursuits in the first coach car.
  1. Tavern Lounge Car
  2. Dome Buffet Car
  • The lounge car and buffet car are where the coach passengers and first class passengers meet. The lounge car has dark walls and curtains and keeps the light low. There is a bar in this car, and tables and booths to relax in. The railway company has paid employees working as poker dealers. The games aboard the Night Queen have become so famous that decks of cards are sometimes referred to as “railroad Bibles.”
  • The buffet car isn’t a buffet in the modern sense of the term. It’s a brighter car with a counter that you can buy sandwiches and snacks at. There’s no warm food; passengers are expected to get off at stops to buy hot meals. The buffet car has a dome on top with a second story you can access via stairs. The dome has large glass windows to look out on the views.
  1. First Class Sleeper
  2. First Class Sleeper
  • These are your classic sleeper cars with beds that fold-down from the walls. The car is broken up into compartments with thick curtains to close off each compartment. There are shared washrooms at the end of the car, one for women and one for men.
  1. Observation Car
  • The observation car is the analog of the first coach for the first-class set. This car has chairs and tables to relax at and you can often find people relaxing, debating, or reading here. The walls have large class windows on both sides and along the back wall, providing the best views on the train.

New Rules

New Race: Walking Wolf

Every once in a while, a wolf ends up in a two-legs body, normally human. Sometimes, that wolf was cursed; sometimes, they were just born that way. There’s even stories that say if a wolf looks it its killer’s eyes right before it passes, it can switch bodies. Whatever happens, you end up with a wild creature walking around.

Walking wolves are usually scouts, ruffians, or shamans, but they look like members of other races and can be whatever they want.

Walking wolves gain a +1 to DRAW, and a +1 to Wilderness. Their noses and ears are way more sensitive than humans, and they gain a +3 bonus to hear or smell something, usually danger.

Edward_Bigsby_cover_350The flamboyant artist Edward Bigsby pays a call to the Investigators on the recommendation of a mutual friend, but dies horrifically before he can tell them what he needs. Soon afterward, the police question the PCs – another corpse matching Bisgby’s description has been found, with their address in his coat pocket. It does not end there; dead Bigsbys are being found all over London.

Follow the trail of Bigsbys through the bohemian streets of crime-filled 1930s Soho, dodging Chinese triads, Dope Kings, and the Metropolitan Police force to find out once and for all who Edward Bigsby is, and why he keeps dying.

The Many Deaths of Edward Bigsby is a stand-alone Trail of Cthulhu scenario from the pen of Adam Gauntlett (Soldiers of Pen and InkDulce et Decorum Est, and many more).

 

Stock #: PELGT42D Author: Adam Gauntlett
Artist: Pat Loboyko, Miguel Santos, Georgia Roan Type: 27-page PDF

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If you go down to the woods today…

The shadowy depths of the primeval forest are the ancient source of our collective fears. But there is worse in the woods than timber wolves and fairy tales; you can lose not just your way, but your mind, too.  This brand new collection of Trail of Cthulhu adventures explores hidden groves and endless avenues – the hideous soul of Lovecraft’s forest.

  • Midnight Sub Rosa: The diary of Ezekiel de la Poer, a colonial-era French necromancer hanged for child-murder in 1736 was stolen at the home of an emeritus professor in the small town of Rosa, Alabama. His house lives in the eaves of a forest of white ash. Can the Investigators find the book before its thief becomes something else entirely?
  • The Silence Mill: In a small village in Brittany close on the Arthurian forest of Brocéliande, a friend of the Investigators stands accused of serial murder, cannibalism and even lycanthropy. Can they ascertain the truth, or will the truth find them?
  • Dreaming of a Better Tomorrow for 30 Dollars a Month: Amongst crowded green precipices and muttering forest streams of Vermont, labourers from one of Roosevelt’s integrated Civilian Conservation Corps camps disappear. In an atmosphere fraught with political intrigue and Jim Crow laws, can a mixed bag of Investigators find the primordial peril which threatens more than just one camp, or even one State?
  • The Coldest Walk: Deep in Wisconsin’s northern woods lies the town of Four Pines – a quiet, almost forgettable community. However, whenever the aurora flashes in the sky the inhabitants have a terrible choice to make. Can the Investigators stop the inevitable, or must they take the Walk for themselves?
  • Trembling Giant: In 1937, the United States government transferred 300 acres to the newly recognized Koosharem Band of Paiute Indians. But this new land is throttled by distorted trees and stalked by unnatural beasts. Nightmares grip the shaman and warning totems shatter – what is the legacy of this ancient land, and can the tribesfolk fight this ancient evil?

Containing extensive handouts, maps and pre-generated characters for each adventure, Out of the Woods takes your hand and lead you gently through the eaves and into the darkness.

…you are in for a big surprise!

Stock #: PELGT43 Author: Adam Gauntlett, Lauren Roy, Chris Spivey, Ruth Tillman, Aaron Vanek
Artist: Stefano Azzalin, Jesús Blones, Nyra Drakae, Valentina Filic, Christine Griffin, Brittany Heiner, Dave Lewis Johnson, Rich Longmore, Olivia Ongai, Gillian Pearse, Miguel Santos, Ernanda Souza, Alicia Vogel. Pages: 168pg Perfect Bound

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