The page contains the complete writeup for the Scenario: "Mushroom Hunt".
If you view this Scenario, you will only be able to run it as GM, never play a Contractor in it.
Suggested for 2 to 4 Contractors at Newbie level.
Went strangely well with a large group, the first interaction ended up separating two players with the hotel owner in room 1-3. A few of the players had gifts which made the final conflict a bit trivial, so really make sure to aim this game at true newbies.
Ran for 3 Newbies. Notes: make the search for a car more of a challenge. Innkeeper's truck should be essentially useless for giving chase. Follow up during car chase for people who were infected by spores. Provide guidance for how many people will be infected if the bus is flipped at high speeds.
Players seemed hesitant to steal a car on moral grounds, despite constant reminders of the time contraints.
After the fight they immediately fled outside, and set the room on fire, and set off to begin washing their clothes. They then set the room on fire, absolutely refusing to reenter, even after 'you spot a suitcase by the bed as you toss the accelerant in'.
I do think they have a good idea for the sense of scale possible in these games, after letting the bus get away by asking everyone in the town for a ride (with no influence or offers of money or anything). They finally waited till all the cars left before making it to the bar, and chatting with the bar people to build a little repretuire, then trading an assault rifle for the ride. I repeatedly mentioned he was 'at cruising speed' 'he asks to stop to pee, they say sure.' like repeated things that would have increased time (since there was no way to catch them- they didn't mention they were in a rush at all)
Realised I was going to have to call it, when 4 hours in and didn't have a vehicle.
It was fun and beautiful
After accepting a job, the Contractors awake on a strange bus in the middle of the Nevada Desert. In their hands is a mission brief from Prometheus Ventures: gather a sample of the paranormal substance found in room 13 of a motel in the town of Rachel, Nevada. Destroy the rest so that it cannot spread.
A moment later, the bus driver announces “Rachel, Nevada.” The Contractors disembark into a tiny town on the outskirts of Area 51. They arrive at the specified room of the alien-themed motel to find the innkeeper approaching the room with her cleaning cart. She opens the door to find the entire place overgrown with blue, bioluminescent fungus. Everyone catches a whiff of the spores and begins to feel dizzy, but the Innkeeper gets the worst of it. She faints face-first onto the shroom-covered floor of the room.
Gathering a sample of the fungus is easy enough. In doing so, the Contractors notice abandoned luggage and a used bed in the room. If they take measures to protect themselves and investigate, they’ll quickly learn that the room was occupied by Megan Fiore and recently abandoned. A bus ticket receipt for the same line that brought them to Rachel is found, the departure time: 15 minutes ago.
The innkeeper is muttering now, semi lucid, half-formed gibberish about how wonderful the room smells, how The Contractors need to take a whiff. Fungus is visibly growing on her skin, assimilating her flesh. She sits bolt upright, exhaling a cloud of spores from fungal gills forming in her nostrils. She will try to force the Contractors into the room to be infected, but one old woman with a gun isn’t likely to be very successful.
They’ll dispatch her and destroy the room somehow. Then it’s time to turn their attention to the bus. The person who infected the room is on board and will arrive in the town of Eureka in mere hours. They must stop the bus before it arrives or risk infecting the entire city.
The Contractors must find or steal a ride, catch up to the bus on the Nevada highways before it reaches its destination, and kill the alien fungus on board. If they can save the other passengers. . . well that would be swell.
This game is an ideal first Game for The Contract. It is more action-oriented and on-rails than most Contract Scenarios, but it should make Players feel both badass and scared. The objective should be winnable, even if things get messy.
If the Players do something this guide doesn’t cover, don’t try to force them back on the rails. Be adaptable and allow them to make a mess of things. If they manage to win without facing half the challenges we’ve laid out, well, good for them! If they fuck things up so bad victory becomes impossible, well, better luck next time.
A note on GMing real places:
Some experienced GMs aren’t used to playing in real locations (such as Rachel, Nevada). The golden rule is that the GM determines what does or doesn’t exist in-game. Be consistent. If a Player/Contractor looks on their phone and finds a WalMart, if you don’t want there to be a WalMart, tell them their Contractor’s search produces no results before they discuss going there.
Red Text is text for the GM to reference at game-time
Green Text is GM text that probably doesn’t need to be referenced at game-time.
Blue Text is text that may be read to the Players as they play.
Read the entire document, then use the colors to easily find certain bits of info while you run the game.
See the guide on GMing Contractor Introductions for information on how to GM this part of the game.
Use The Talent.
This Scenario is not tightly-linked to any specific Harbinger, so feel free to use your own Harbinger for introductions. The objective is anti-alien-invader and pro-human, so it is appropriate for any harbinger that isn’t opposed to humanity.
Area 51, Nevada: USAF Security Forces officer Megan Fiore knows something isn’t right. It’s the distancing of the scientists, the forced smiles of her fellow officers. “Invasion of the body snatchers,” leaps to mind. Well shit. It is Area 51.
When her CO asks her to report to a new section of the base for debrief,the alarm bells are deafening. She knows she’s next. She’ll step inside, and a few minutes later someone else will step out. Someone that looks like Megan and talks Megan, but isn’t. She makes a break for it.
Her two years’ experience at the base serves her well. She raises an alarm on the other side of the base as a diversion and borrows the keys from Jason’s locker. She complains to her friend at the gate about those damn computers denying her badge, and he does her a favor and lets her through.
She’s behind the wheel with an open road in front of her, but despite her victory, the stress has got her feeling woozy. She stops in Rachel, a vanishingly small town on the outskirts of the base, and checks in to an alien-themed inn for a little R&R. She sneezes herself to sleep, never noticing the clouds of spores filling her room, the shelves of fungus forming in the moist crevices of her body, the slime mold consuming and replacing her nervous system. . .
The Contractors awaken on a modified school bus. They are all seated together near the front, and wake up as their introductions are made. If they attempt to wake a sleeping Contractor, cut to that Contractor’s introduction, then allow them to wake. Give the people on the bus a minute or two (but no more) between introductions to meet each other, chat, and explore the bus.
Each Contractor has their equipment sitting at their feet as they packed it. They each have two pieces of paper in their hands: a receipt for a ride on the PORCINE PORTER from Las Vegas to Rachel, Nevada, and a printed letter that reads:
We have reason to believe there is a substance of interest in room 3 of The Aley-Inn in Rachel, Nevada. Your task is to retrieve a sample of this substance and deliver it to the woman dressed in pink at the Starbucks in Eureka, Nevada.
NOTE: this substance is considered a TRADE SECRET. You must destroy all that you do not collect. If it has the capacity to spread, ensure that it does not.
The letter is watermarked with a minimalistic logo of a hand wreathed in flame.
The PORCINE PORTER
The bus the Contractors awaken on is called the PORCINE PORTER. It is an old school bus that has been given a whimsical pig-like theme. The interior is hand-painted to look like meat and has white dotted lines separating each seating section. White stenciled labels mark each seating section with the names of cuts of pork (hock, shoulder, butt, chops, head, etc). The Contractors are seated in the “head” section near the driver. The exterior of the bus is painted pink, has large, plaster pig ears affixed above the windshield, and a snout on the grill.
There are 8 other passengers on the Bus. 3 are a small family visiting Rachel as tourists, the others are going all the way to Eureka.
The windows are all closed. Outside is a desert wasteland, with nothing but clear planes and scrub brush as far as the eye can see. Anyone who has driven through Nevada may recognize it immediately as one of the state’s endless wasteland highways. Make sure you describe how empty, flat, and remote the roads are. The bus is moving at around 68 mph, which feels very slow given how open the roads are.
The driver, seated just in front of the Contractors, is Bob Johnson. He is wearing a cheap plastic pig snout, secured with an elastic band. It does not conceal his face, and Contractors that look closely can easily see that he’s not hiding anything under it. He is a chipper and eccentric man who created the PORCINE PORTER to bus people around Nevada. If asked “why pigs?” He simply responds that pigs are noble animals. His business model is frankly pretty bad since he does long hauls to remote areas of the state, but he’s a nice enough guy and clearly loves what he does. If the Players start interviewing him too much, proceed with another Contractor’s introduction or, if they are all awake, have the bus arrive at Rachel.
A minute after all the Contractors are awake, Bob Johnson announces “Now arriving in Rachel, Nevada!” and gives a pig-like snort/squeal for dramatic effect.
You emerge from the bus at a gas station so dust-covered and misused, you’re surprised to see the Chevron logo on it. A sunbleached sign in the window of the quick-mart advertises kitchy alien-themed souvenirs.
The town of Rachel is less a town than a faililng roadside attraction. Its greeting sign proudly declares that its 36 residents live closer to Area 51 than anyone else. A scattering of small houses shimmer across the scrub brush plains, each one set far apart from the others down their little dirt roads. There are no sidewalks and only four businesses: the gas station, a general store, a restaurant, and a tiny motel known as The Aley-Inn.
In true small-town fashion, the quality of everything in Rachel is low and home-spun. The whole place has an air of aspiring, and mostly failing, to be a roadside attraction.
It has the following businesses, which are easy enough to see. (This is more than it has in real life).
The bus stops in front of the Chevron to unload its passengers and gas up. Bob Johnson will tell the Contractors that this is their stop and usher them off the bus with the rest of the passengers.
The Aley-Inn is a quarter-mile walk away. The town has no sidewalks, and mostly only dirt roads. They will pass by the other businesses on the way to the Inn.
If the Contractors stick around, they may see other people boarding the bus a few minutes after it stops. Megan (Infected and fully converted by the Fungus) is amongst the group of passengers boarding, but shouldn’t be mentioned unless the Players specifically ask about the people boarding. If they do, 5 people are boarding, mostly tourists wearing some sort of freshly-purchased area-51 memorabilia. Megan sticks out as she is dressed in black jeans and a black hoodie, with the hood pulled over her head. She is the first one on the bus.
The Aley-Inn is based loosely on a real inn in Rachel Nevada. It is about 3 “blocks” from the Chevron station. It is a tiny inn made up of four buildings: a management building and three standalone rooms in mobile buildings. The Management building has a sign in the window: "Back in 5 minutes".
Room 3 is easy to find. The blinds are drawn, and the door (which takes a traditional house key) is locked.
As the Contractors investigate the exterior of the building, an older woman in work jeans and a floral-print blouse approaches them. She’s pushing a housekeeping cart, and its little plastic wheels rattle noisily over the unpaved desert.
“You folks looking for someone?”
This is Scarlett Ticutta. She runs the Inn with her husband Abraham. She is a little sluggish due to her Oxycodone addiction, and medical or drug-aware Contractors might notice she is currently under the effects of some sort of depressant after speaking with her for a minute. Although she is kind and welcoming, she is also wary of strangers, especially men. Attentive Contractors will quickly notice she’s wearing a holster with a small pistol in it (no roll needed).
Yesterday she had a phone conversation with the woman in room 3 about transportation, and she bought her a ticket on the PORCINE PORTER, which has departed about 2 minutes ago at this point.
She will deal with the Contractors before entering room 3. If they seem lost or say they’re looking for a room, or she suspects they’re up to no good, she tells them to go wait in the lobby and Abraham will be right with them. In this case, she won’t enter the room until they leave. If the Contractors can get on her good side, she’ll tell them about buying the ticket and say that she should be departed by now. She may also let Megan’s name slip or mention that she thinks she works in “The Area 51”. If she trusts them, she will allow them to stick around while she opens the room. In any case, she’ll be going in first.
The moment Scarlett (or a Contractor) opens the door, several spherical puff-ball fungi drop from above. Contractors in the doorway must roll Dexterity + Alertness (Difficulty 8) to notice and dodge the falling objects.
Tiny spines on the outside of the fungus will snag hold of any flesh or they touch and can pierce through normal clothing. A puff of glittering blue spores also escapes on impact, and for those hit who have never seen the fungus, it’s impossible to avoid inhaling them.
Anyone who is hit with a falling fungus or inhales the spores begins to feel hot and dizzy and must roll Mind, Difficulty 6. With an Outcome less than 4, take one Mind damage. Anyone who fails takes two Mind damage, and a botch results in three Mind damage.
Those who are affected by the spores feel hot, dizzy, and get a bad brain fog. They become sensitive to light, and feel an urge to find shade and stay put, although they can resist these urges without a roll.
You can assume Scarlett fails without rolling (due to her weakened mind from the Oxy).
The inkeeper turns around with a look of absent surprise, a puffbacll still stuck to her face. She mutters, "sure smells good in there" before falling backwards into the room, unconcious. A cloud of bioluninescent spores rises from the fungus-covered carpet.
Anyone who makes this roll is infected. If they merely inhaled the spores, they must roll every two hours until they are treated with standard antibiotics. Usually this means once when infected, once on the car ride to pursue the bus, and once after the big fight on their way to treatment. Anyone whose flesh was pierced feels a warm glow as the fungus begins to take root. Even if the main body of the Fungus is brushed away, they must make the same Mind roll every minute until the tendrils in their skin are surgically removed.
Removing the tendrils requires a knife and takes a Wits + Medicine roll, Difficulty 7. A partial or complete success causes a Severity One Injury but removes the tendrils. Failure causes the Injury but does not successfully remove the tendrils.
Those who fall unconscious due to Mind damage taken in this way effectively die. They remain unconscious for five minutes as their body is converted by the alien fungus, growing physical characteristics of fungi. When they regain consciousness, they are under the control of the GM. Their Mind damage is entirely removed, but their Mind is capped at 2, and their Intelligence is set to 1. Their primary goal will be to spread the fungus, either by infecting others with their own spores (deployable at melee range at will), or getting people to enter infected areas. If no one is around, they will “nest” in a shady, secluded area for a few days until the area is corrupted by the Fungus. They will pursue these goals until they die.
Inside Room 3
Inside is a cheap motel room that is absolutely covered in blue, bioluminescent fungus.This is where Megan has made her next for the past week. The fungus is sparse enough that The Contractors may investigate the room without kicking up a cloud of spores if they're careful. The spores themselves glow blue for a minute or so before fading.
Contractors may roll Perception + Investigation, Difficulty 6 to gather more information.
A couple minutes into their investigation (before they are finished with their investigation), Scarlett will awaken. She is now a fungus zombie, and perceptive Contractors will notice that her nostrils now have fungal gills, there are shelf mushrooms growing from her skin, and her irises are glowing with the same blue bioluminescence as the fungus.. In a zombie-like voice, she says that she adores the scent of the fungus and thinks that everyone should put their faces in it and take a whiff (anyone who does is dosed). If anyone resists or refuses, she unholsters her gun, and repeats her demands.
If the person she is actively pointing the gun at attacks her, she automatically wins initiative and gets a shot off at the start of combat. If anyone else attacks her, roll Initiative as normal.
She has 4 dice for Initiative and 4 dice to shoot her gun (Dex + Firearms, Difficulty 6 because of the close quarters, +2 Damage). In addition to her standard attack, she may sneeze glowing blue spores towards one person in melee range per Round.
If they call the cops, it’s not very effective or useful. The cops will be extremely non-committal to chasing after the monsters but assure the players “they’ll look into it”. Rachel has no local police / sheriff presence.
The time pressure is on and the players must find a car to give chase. How they get a car is up to them. They can bribe, buy, steal, or carjack anything they want.
The keys to Scarlette's truck are in the management building, but it is an old beater of a toyota, not suitable for a long-range, high-speed chase. The only other car parked at the inn is a Nissan Rouge, belonging to a family staying in room 2.
Here are some cars that are parked around Rachel, but you can use your discretion to add others ones if you’d like:
They can prepare at the general store. Give someone a Wits + Drive roll to not leave without extra gas in an extremal gas can.
It is not difficult to catch up with the bus. The bus travels at 65-75 Mph, which feels excruciatingly slow on these roads. Driving at 100 mph here is easy and does not require a Drive roll.
Estimate how long the Contractors spent in Rachel before giving chase. Remember, combat lasts very little time and the town is absolutely tiny. I suspect most groups of Contractors will leave no more than an hour after they arrive. If that is true and they travel at 100Mph, they will catch up to the bus in about 3 hours. If you want to do the math yourself, the formula is 70t = st-sb, where s is the Contractors’ average speed, b is the number of hours delay and t is the time to catch up (solve for t).
If for some reason the Contractors were excruciatingly slow leaving Rachel, the bus may lose some time making stops along its route in various towns. The route is as such: https://goo.gl/maps/hfqfNN46NFMGRMn66
On the drive, have everyone who inhaled spores earlier make another Mind roll. Play up the strange new instincts and feelings they are having.
Megan Fiore is patient-zero of the fungal invasion, and as such, has transformed not into a standard fungus-zombie but a full-fledged fungal queen. The new alien’s mind is sharp, though it does not have a perfect understanding of humanity. She knows how vehicles and guns work, and she knows she may be hunted.
She has a black, fungal cap that is easily mistaken for a tulip hat that conceals eyes. In fact, she has no eyes any longer, yet can “see” by sensing vibrations in the air around her. Her skin is pale, spotted, and rubbery to the touch.
Health is treated as a “traditional” pool, which is to say that Injuries aren’t individually tracked. Rather, her health total is reduced by each Injury’s severity until it reaches 0, and she dies.
Health total: (number of Contractors x 6)
Stuns: Wits is considered 7 for the purposes of calculating stuns
Penalty to physical actions: missing health / 4 (rounded up)
Body (for the purposes of Body rolls only): remaining health / 4 (rounded up), do not count penalty
Regeneration: Megan regenerates 1 hit point per Round of Combat (per 3 seconds outside)
Spine shot Megan may extend lengthy, fungal spines from her fingers, and may shoot these spines at a range of up to 20 feet. Roll Perception + Athletics Difficulty 5 (6 if ranged). Does +1 damage. Anyone who takes damage from a spine must remove it within one Round, otherwise, the spine is treated as an infectious puffball (same system as those at the inn, only rolling Mind each Round instead of each Minute).
Quick Conversion: Anyone incapacitated from mind damage from her spines or spores is converted into a fungal zombie after a single round of unconsciousness. Anyone infected with a spine must roll Mind each round (instead of each Minute) until the spine is removed.
Spore Flesh: Any time she takes damage, Megan lets loose a cloud of spores. These spores infect anyone within 5 feet, necessitating a Mind roll, Difficulty 8 if they have not already been infected
Hive Mind: Any fungal zombies within 100 feet have a mental link to the alien, and she may dictate their actions and access their senses.
Poison Flesh: If any of Megan’s flesh is consumed or enters a Character’s mouth (if bitten, say), they must roll Body, Difficulty 9 each round for 5 rounds. The first time they fail, they take a Severity-1 Injury. Each subsequent time they fail, the Injury is replaced with one that is a single Severity higher. Damage from this ability cannot Stun.
Assault on the PORCINE PORTER
Bob Johnson the Bus Driver has 5 dice of Wits + Drive, and maneuvering the bus is at +1 Difficulty.
Megan is sitting near the front of the bus (in the same section the Contractors were sitting in).
Megan Discovers she’s being hunted.
The alien is paranoid and--correctly-- assumes she is actively being hunted by the government. If anything fishy happens (there is a road block, the Contractors attempt to board the bus or disable it, etc) she will take control of the Bus
First, she will threaten the bus driver with her own anatomical weapons (spines), forcing him to drive and not stop even if it means maneuvering around obstacles at dangerous speeds.
One of the passengers will try to be a hero and threaten her with his Desert Eagle. She launches a spine into him, stunning and infecting him. Contractors outside the bus will hear a gunshot as his weapon discharges randomly.
Once the hero passenger zombified, the alien will call them over and have them take Bob Johnson hostage.
After this, she will convert one passenger per minute until all passengers are zombified or she is stopped.
The Alien fights back
While the Driver is being held hostage, the alien will attempt to combat the Contractors from the bus.
If the Contractors are following behind, the alien will throw baggage out the back. The Contractor driving must make Wits + Pilot roll, Difficulty 7 to dodge, with failure resulting in a damaged car or a crash. Anything less than 3 successes means a harmless collision with the bag or a brief slowdown. Any attempts to shoot at the bus while the driver is dodging an obstacle automatically fail.
If the Contractors roll up just beside the bus, the alien will attempt to shoot spines into their car (if the window is open).
Passing The Bus
This is generally pretty easy, but if the alien is onto the Contractors, she may attempt to either throw eggs into their car or ram them off the road.
Due to the open-ness of the roads and the top-heavy nature of the bus, a pit maneuver is more likely to tip the bus than stop it. In fact, if the bus is not disabled, it will simply continue down the road after being turned around.
Make the Contractor Driver roll Wits + Drive, Difficulty 6 if they’re driving a large car, 7 otherwise. If they fail, their car may spin out. If they are successful, the bus driver must make a Wits + Drive roll, Difficulty 7. If they fail, the bus flips. Otherwise, it is slowed temporarily. If a tire is shot out and the bus does not flip, it is caught in the sand / dirt at the side of the road and cannot continue.
Shoot out the tires
The shooter must roll to attack with firearms at +1 Difficulty.
If the tire is hit, the bus driver must make a Wits + Drive roll, Difficulty 7 to not flip the bus. Each blown tire increases the Difficulty of all Drive rolls by 1 and significantly reduces the bus’s top speed.
Board the bus
By far the coolest strategy.
Jumping between their car and the Bus requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll with Difficulty dependent on the strategy employed by the Contractors. Total failure causes a nasty Injury as the Contractor falls to the road. 1 or 2 successes results in them holding on by their fingertips.
Passengers may attempt to help them climb inside if the bus is being held hostage.
If the bus flips
Everyone on board the bus takes damage depending on how fast the bus was moving at the time
You do not need to roll for each passenger, just roll for the driver, the alien, and the Contractors that may be on board. For other passengers, use GM’s discretion or roll when it becomes relevant.
Describe a cloud of bioluminescent spores mingling with sparks as the wreckage slides accross the highway. The interior of the bus glows faintly with the light of the fungus, but not much is visible.
Three passengers are immediately converted to fungal zombies if the bus crashes, the other three are simply injured.
Megan and her zombies will pretend to be injured and in need of help, then surprise-attack those who try to help them when they are vulnerable.
At the Starbucks in Eureka, Nevada, the Contractors find a woman wearing a pink pantsuit and flats. She is a representative of Prometheus Ventures (an administrator, very type-A, does not give much information). She will take the sample and ask them if they’ve destroyed the rest of the Fungus. If they haven’t, you may be generous and allow them to go destroy the rest.
The Contractors succeed the game if the alien and all fungal zombies are dead, all infected humans are sent to hospitals (or would be able to access hospitals in the next few days), and the motel room was burnt down or all fungus inside destroyed
If any Contractors stick around or report to a local hospital for injuries or infection, they will be questioned by the police and FBI.
Anyone who talks to the authorities will be put on a watch list. If they stole a car and are found near the stolen car, they will be arrested and imprisoned for grand theft auto.