Full Moon Over Midville

By David N. Searle
HTMLized by Gustav Dahlström.



The night enveloped the small town, hovering over its residents like an animal ready to pounce. The silence was complete the raw energy in the air was almost tangible. Stars formed strange and mystic patterns in the sky, the likes of which had never been seen by human eyes. The still of the night was broken by a an eerie chanting from the east. A forest, normally green and welcoming, stood black and foreboding as it guarded the unholy ritual taking place within. Twenty-three scantily clad men and women danced and writhed around an odd-shaped alter shouting inhuman words

The moon's face appeared. As a howl echoed through the empty streets of Midville five men on cries rounded first onto Kazango, their bodies began an evil transformation. Muscles started to enlarge shredding the clothes from their bodies. Their body hair started to grow and their nails and teeth quickly reached canine length as the metamorphous was completed. The wolf pack gunned the engines of their bikes and sped off down the road, looking for trouble.

The face of the moon was broken by the silent beating of leathery wings struggling to remain aloft. After circling several blocks a bat hovered above a residence. Noiselessly it glided down to an open bedroom window and flew in. The creature's outline began to fade and shift. The transformation complete, a man stood where a bat once was. He looked around the room, and noted the details. An unsuspecting girl lay on her bed, deep in sleep. As his fangs showed themselves from behind colorless lips, his eyes gleamed with expectation. The shadow of the man crept up on the prone girl until he was but inches away from her exposed neck...

Lake Midville was a deep and quiet lake usually. As the chanting from the east died down, movement was visible on the surface of the shallow waters. Suddenly a head surfaced and at first glance appeared almost human. The inhumanity of it was revealed when the grotesquely bloated torso became visible above the waves. Its head was bald and slimy with non-existent lips and gills that marked the sides of its neck. Its fingers were webbed and long, with three-inch talons. A blasphemous croaking was heard as a horde of these frog-like creatures slowly began la make its way into the unsuspecting town.

In the basement of a building where a respectable doctor lived, a hideous experiment took place. An evil grin crossed the face of the once-sane doctor as he lifted a full beaker to the light. With a practiced eye he scanned the liquid for any impurities, rotating it slowly. He lowered the beaker to the table and paced, his mind raced with thoughts of what the consequences of his actions would be. After walking back to the beaker, he picked it up. Cautiously he brought the glass container to his lips and paused, then swallowed the entire contents in one swift motion. He froze for a second as the elixir took effect. In another second he was on the floor twisting in agony -his experiment a success. Slowly a hand rose from the prone figure and grabbed the table. Carefully it pulled itself up. The doctor's facial features were unrecognizable and his breathing faster than seemed possible. A psychological negative of the former doctor smashed the lab. Suddenly, he stopped, eyes wild with hatred, then broke through the door to the outside.

These are just a few of the horrible things that can happen in a little town. The horrors that await in the night are worse than any duelling car. The residents have no way of combating these terrors -or do they? Members of a secret society, Department 17, have begun a crusade against these monstrosities. By presenting articles like this one, which define the creatures that might be met and spreading the word on how to defeat them, lives may be saved. The fallowing is a list of the more common creatures:

Werevolves: Lycanthropes are more common than people believe. There are more types of lycanthropes than the common werewolf, but it is our focus. Transforming takes three seconds and is a D2 hazard (accessed each turn) if the transforming person is the driver of a vehicle. No actions can be performed while transforming. Lycanthropes, werewolves in particular, are vulnerable to silver and ignore most other items -although fire has a limited effect. Werewolves have 4 DP and cannot be knocked unconscious. Silver weapons do normal damage, flame weapons do half damage, other weapons have no effect on them. While in werewolf form, they are Runner 2. A werewolf can attack twice per turn; it can either use a claw-claw attack or a claw-bite attack. A werewolf's claws need a 7 to hit and do 1d-2 damage (full damage to vehicles). A bite attack needs an 8 to hit and does 1d-4 (no effect on vehicles, but will cause anyone bitten to turn into a werewolf in 1d days unless cured. Both of these attacks can only be done to targets that are within 1/4" of the werewolf. Silver bullets are available for 50x the normal load cost (for MGs, VMGs, ACs, pistols and rifles only) and cannot be mixed with other ammo types.

Undead Giants: With mad scientists crawling all over the country it is no surprise that men are still trying to improve cloning techniques by taking parts from dead bodies. A dead brain is dead, and cannot be brought back to life. Typically built for intimidation, the monsters tend to be about 7' tall. They have 7 DP and are harmed only by flame weapons. They move 1/4" per turn and do 1d with their punch. Most believe that everyone alive should die, except children, because they cannot die. Normally these huge and horrible monsters will not harm a young child - intentionally.

Mad Slashers: These individuals are terrors to the modern world. Their minds have taken full control of their bodies. Slashers are able to take incredible amounts of damage and walk away, single-mindedly pursuing a person (especially young females), and perform feats no normal man can do. Mad slashers all have 4 DP, but regenerate 2 DP per phase. All mad slashers take damage like metal armor (lose 1 DP if a 6 is rolled). For example, Jones attacks a pretty female camper and her two friends with his axe. Jones is a mad slasher, and proud of it. He missed the girl. But, her big burly boyfriend Biff butts Jones from behind, before Betty begins bawling, with Barry's bat. (Sorry, I couldn't help it.) Biff rolls and gets two paints of damage to Jones with his bat. Jones is unaffected by the bat so Barry draws his machine pistol and shoots -and hits. He rolls a six for damage and manages to do one point of damage to Jones. In the meantime, Betty picked up the triple-barrel gyroslugger and let loose all three barrels. Having had HESH ammo in all three barrels she manages to do three hits of damage to the mad slasher. Jones is now at O DP and falls down. The three run to the car to try and escape. By this time Jones is back up and chasing them again.

Vampires: Vampires are the most feared denizens of the dark. These beasts can change at will into a bat, a wolf or a cloud of mist. They fear nothing. they have the strength of several men, and unmatched cunning. The special abilities attributed to vampires are incredible strength (can lift 500 Ibs. without being encumbered and does 3d damage with bare hands), the ability to see in the dark (no darkness penalties apply). The ability to transform (it takes 15 phases for vampires to change form) is limited because vampires must change into human form before changing into any other form, and regains invulnerability to normal weapons see below).

Vampires may hypnotize a victim, bringing him under control. This requires a to-hit roll of seven for the vampire's stare to be made. If successful the victim cannot take any actions that turn, and on the next turn is under the vampire's control. To break control, vampires must be injured or killed.

Vampires may bite a victim (must be unmoving for no damage). If bitten three times a person will become a vampire in 1d days. When the person rises as a vampire, he will be loyal to the creating vampire.

Special care must be taken when encountering vampires, as no normal weapons can hurt them. They can be damaged by wooden weapons which do full damage, a holy symbol applied to vampires does 1d damage that cannot be regenerated. A holy symbol will keep a vampires at bay, it cannot enter the same 1/4" as a holy symbol and will take the path farthest away from it. Garlic is treated the same as a holy symbol. Sunlight instantly kills a vampires, as will a wooden stake through the heart. Holy water does 1d damage per ounce.

Holy water costs $25 per ounce. A large holy symbol costs $20 and is 2 GE (or 3 lbs.). Wooden bullets are available for 10x the normal cost of basic ammo (MGs, VMGs, ACs, pistols and rifles only and cannot be mixed with normal loads. Garlic costs $5 per string of cloves. Vehicular weapons may be modified for vampires hunting; icedroppers and smokescreens may have holy water added to their loads (doing 2d damage to any vampires that it hits), a FCE may have garlic added to its load causing a smokescreen that reeks of garlic. Vampires cannot go within 1/2" of a cloud of burning garlic.

Each day vampires must rest in a coffin that contains dirt from their home country. When they rise at sunset, all damage will be healed except for damage done by a holy symbol). If vampires do not rest the damage sustained the night before remains.

Frog-men: These slimy creatures are far too numerous to be believed. Summoned from their watery homes by unholy rituals best left unsaid, these creatures come onto land to breed with the human race. They are not hard to kill, but are usually in numbers too large to defeat by simple violence. Fortunately most of these creatures are only happy living on the East Coast and the southern-most swamps. They have 3 DP and cannot be knocked unconscious. They take double damage from all flame weapons. They must stay damp. If they remain out of the water for longer than 30 minutes they will take 1 DP of damage each ten minutes. They are extremely slow (move 1/4" on phases 1, 3 and 5) and dimwitted.

Zombies: All too often someone casts a spell to raise the dead. In a world where cloning is an everyday event, some people still want to control what is beyond their reach. Zombies move 1/4" on phases 2 and 4, and have infinite DP everywhere but their heads. A zombie's head is its weak point. Any damage done to other body parts will not hurt the creature; it may tear it apart, but that will not stop them. They have 2 DP heads, once that is destroyed the zombie is dead and cannot be brought back. Anyone killed by a zombie and not totally destroyed will rise as a zombie is 1d hours. Zombies do 1d-2 damage with their claws (full damage to vehicles).

Mummies: These imported disasters are a cross between zombies and mad slashers. They have 3 DP and cannot be hurt by non-flame weapons. These creatures move at normal speed, but tend to drag one leg. They are incredible strong, doing 1d with a hand-to.hand attack. Mummies only appear when someone has been cursed. Gypsy curses are said to bring mummies back from the dead to hunt the offending party. Single-mindedly, they will track their prey. They do not rest and will know where their victim is at all times. They will continue to hunt their prey until the curse is lifted, the mummy is destroyed or the victim is dead.

Ghosts: these are relatively harmless annoyances. They can, however, cause a lot of trouble. They are a -1 to fire though (treat as smoke when in mist form. They can appear solid and normal at will and take almost any shape they want Ghosts can be captured through a complicated process developed by Department 17. Using a modified limpet mine ($200) and a radio detonator, a ghost can be trapped in the mine. It is not easy to get a ghost to fly aver the limpet mine, but a laser rifle can be modified to fire a beam of energy, that will trap the ghost in the 1/4" it was in when hit. The modification costs $5,000 and uses up twice as many charges (a backpack power pack is recommended) when fired. The weapon will do 2d to anything it hits that is not a ghost.

Giant Apes: These huge and lovable apes have been seen again in the unclaimed regions of the U.S. They have 100 DP and take damage like metal armor. Giant apes are 30' tall and are represented by two 1/2" counters (one for each foot) on the map. They like climbing the highest building in the city with the prettiest lady available. The best way to handle these monsters is to have lots of ammo.

Tyrannosaurus: This monster has not been seen recently in the U.S., but has been spotted in Japan on several occasions. To play a tyrannosaurus, have the player take his shoes off and walk on the map; anything that is stepped on is destroyed. Each foot may move 1" per phase. The breath weapon destroys everything in a 1" square, but can only be used once every five turns. Once every turn the Tyrannosaurus may use one claw to attack (to hit 8, 5d damage) or the tail may sweep 5" to either side (use a broom for this effect). Tyrannosauruses have roughly 5,000 DP and take damage like metal armor. Your best bet is to be one of the people running away. Tyrannosauruses have many enemies in the monster world, none of which have been seen recently, so maybe the world is safe - for now.

Adventures

Adventures are almost limitless. Characters can play normal duel lists and be sent to solve a series of murders on the East Side, which could be caused by any of the above. The players may also want to play professional ghost hunters. Let them take the skill Science (occult), and base their knowledge on this skill.

It is best to play with the world unaware of these creatures' existence. Thus, players looking to find silver bullets can be met with anything from odd looks to possible incarceration.

New versions of Wheels vs. Walkers are passible, with the walkers being frog-men or zombies. Have the players run around the city capturing as many ghosts as possible in a certain amount of time (or some terrible evil will happen to the world). Insulting that poor gypsy may well have been a bad thing to do. The only way to remove the curse is to have the person who put it on you take it off. How does the player find him again? Angering a vampires by killing in subordinate vampires can have a character jumping to stay alive.

Using magic in Car Wars is a fun way to add terror to a game. Add spells from other games and treat them like skills to learn. Characters will want some way to combat that creature from space. Give it to them -it won't help. The adventure that follows uses a variety of the monsters cited above, and is used to help newer Department 17 agents get a feel of what lurks along empty side streets... This adventure is intended for three to six players and a GM. The characters should have 100 points each to spend on skills (let them spend this as they want, characters fighting monsters will not last long...). If you intend to play Full Moon Over Midville stop reading here.

The Players

The players are deputized lawmen, or the equivalent. This adventure assumes that the law and the PCs will get along. This is, however, not necessary. Having the players elude the law as they dodge and hunt the creatures can be fun - tone down the bad guys, as the players will have almost everyone after them.

The Map

To keep the adventure in a small playing area only use the northern section of the Midville map. this is the map with City Hall and the Police station. More maps can be used as desired. Set up a single police cruiser in the police station parking lot (any 'X' desired), and park 3d of random vehicle counters around the map. Now place 3d pedestrian counters on the map. The players start in City Hall, where the Mayor is pleading with them to help investigate the recent murder spree...

Getting Started

The characters are summoned into the mayor's office. This meeting was expected by the players, as there has been a rash of killings recently. The PCs are the best crimefighters Midville has to offer. The mayor is direct and to the point. The interview will be short, but it will be very apparent that the mayor is under a great deal of stress. He wants the murders stopped, and will give them a hefty bonus if this is accomplished within three days. They will get $5,000 each to solve the mystery, plus expenses. If the players try to haggle for a higher price, the mayor will look a bit disturbed and go as high as $7,500 each. If the mayor is pushed for even more money, he will ask the players to leave and Midville will do its best without them. Maybe the next victim will be a friend.

The Murders

The following can be found in the morning paper, and will give the players an idea of what has been happening. "During the past several weeks 13 ghastly murders have taken place. Following no set pattern, and leaving no clues the murderer has managed to kill time and time again. No one is safe from this madman. His victims include an 85 year-old lady, a seven-year-old boy and every age group in between. "The only trait ail of the victims have in common is the way they are found. Sometime during the night the bodies are found lying in the middle of a street, head severed from the torso and missing. Identifying the bodies has become a chore dreaded by the local coroner. "The bodies show no signs of struggle or any distinguishing marks. The most recent victim was found last night at the corner of Beech and Second. the small boy had been missing for six days, and was identified by birthmarks on his lower right leg. Like all the victims, his head was nowhere to be found -almost surgically removed. "We can only guess what purpose these killings serve. With no eyewitnesses, and no other clues the police are at a standstill. Inside reports say that the mayor has hired a special team to handle this case."

What Is Really Happening

Based in a small harmless-looking coffee shop (Block #4) is a cult of fanatics that worships the demon Senio. The demon has demanded the sacrifices before he will give a spell to his high priestess. The high priestess of the cult is Ruth Lummons, a waitress at the Coffee Shop. Every evening at 11 p.m, the cult meets at the shop and worships the demon.

The demon is a very-low-power demon and requires many sacrifices to give its worshippers a single spell. Once 15 sacrifices have been made he will bestow the spell "Mind Switch" on the priestess. This spell allows the caster to swap minds with the victim. The subject's mind will be placed in the caster's body, and the caster's mind will be placed in the subject's body.

For the sacrifice to be completed properly, the cultists must dance and chant the proper spell around a pentagram and a human head must be severed at the peak of the ceremony. It anything is disturbed, the sacrifice will not count. If the pentagram is broken, the demon will be released and terrorize the city.

The goal of the cult is to get the Mind Switch spell and cast it on the mayor. Then slowly more members of the alt will replace other officials -thereby taking over Midville! With only two more sacrifices required, it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to stop them.

Ruth usually gets her sacrifices from the Coffee Shop; enticing men to meet her after work, asking children to come and taste the new dessert in the back, giving older folks rides "home." the owner of the Coffee Shop has no knowledge of the goings on at his shop.

Clues

The crimefighters can start by asking for more details on the disappearance of the boy. The boy's parents live above the Radio, TV and Electronic Store (Block #10). They are very upset about the loss of their boy and will not respond kindly to harassment by rude players. If a few questions are asked and a bit of compassion shown, they will be glad to answer.

The boy was last seen going to the Coffee Shop for a newspaper. He was a responsible child and had done this errand many times. He got excellent grades in school and was well liked by all his teachers. Anyone going to the Coffee Shop will be met with a stone wall. Ruth will be there and greet the players in a friendly Midwestern way. She will insist that the boy had never made it to the shop to ask for change like he had before. In fact, she was worried when he did not show up on time. For more details on the Coffee Shop see the section below.

Police reports show several noise complaints from the apartment building in Block 44. Oddly, the complaints have been about noises from the west and not from the east. The officers on duty have always assumed that an error was made and they meant the Wrecked Edsel Bar. There is nothing to be found at the site where the body was found. None of the people in the surrounding buildings saw or heard anything. Several other "red herrings" can be placed in the city. Stories of a ghost in the vacant office space, or odd strangers staying in the hotel, maybe some odd creatures have been spotted in lake Midville...

The Coffee Shop

This two-story building has the Coffee Shop on the first floor and two apartments above it. Ruth lives in one and the cook lives in the other. The owner lives in one of the nice buildings to the north. Any time the players show up there will be 2d customers inside, 1d of these will be cultists scouting for victims. If the players badger Ruth for information on the child's disappearance she will break into tears and several of the customers (both cult members and non-cult members) will get up in her defense and ask the players to leave. An altercation here will have the players ordered away from the shop. This would make their investigation real tough.

Astute players (ones who make a Streetwise roll) will notice odd markings on the floor. Another Streetwise roll or an Science (occult) roll will reveal the markings to be a pentagram. On a 7 or more on two dice a cultist in the shop will notice that a player has seen the markings. He will nod to Ruth. Ruth will give an order to the cook, who will in turn notify a man stationed on top of the vacant office space building to shoot the next group of guys that leave. Ruth will then ask the players to please leave, and states that she thinks more could be learned from the School offices across the street. When the players exit, the gunman will fire two bursts with his tripod MG, drop the weapon and run down the stairs.

If the players catch the gunman he will tell a tale of possession and demons that lurk in the hardware store and how a crowbar told him to kill the players. He will act completely insane, because he knows that the "new" mayor will pardon him. This will take place in front of the Municipal building, so if the players are rougher than they have to be, officials will know about it. The gunman has no other weapons and will surrender immediately if he thinks he may be harmed.

Stashed above the shop in Ruth's apartment is the 14th victim; a 25-year-old businessman who worked at the clothing store. He has been missing for three days and is presumed dead. They will be sacrificing him tonight.

The Ritual

If the players discover that the rituals are taking place at the Coffee Shop (or if they are chasing false leads around all day) they will be called to the scene of the next body. The fourteenth victim will have been left on the corner of Elm and First.

Again they have no clues at the scene of the crime. This victim was missing for three days and disappeared while on his lunch break. None of the local food shops have reported seeing him.

Strange noises reported to be coming from the Coffee Shop at midnight. When police showed up -expecting a burglar, they found the store locked and secure. Again, they informed the Wrecked Edsel to keep the music down.

The Day After

Nothing will happen this day, the cult will lie low. Let the players haunt for more clues. If they aren't onto the Coffee Shop, point them in that direction again, they do not have much time left. The mayor announces a speech will be given in two days. It will announce the discovery of the cult. Put pressure on the players to solve the crimes.

The Final Victim

If the crimefighters are close to solving the case, the final victim should be the mayor's daughter -Ann. The mayor will double the offer he made earlier (even if the first was rejected). This will put a coal in the players' pants for sure. if the players are not near the solution, then have a character known to the PCs say he is going to the shop for some doughnuts and will be right back -but isn't. If the players still are not close to solving the case, have the police contact them about another disturbance being reported at the Coffee Shop.

The walls of the shop will have to be breached to be entered. This will sound an alarm, and the police will show up in five minutes. This, however, will not be in time. Any players that look in the windows will see the pentagram glowing and a smoke cloud hovering above it. In the fiery glow the victim is seen (whomever it ends up being). Poised above the struggling figure is a long sword in the hands of a maniacal-looking Ruth.

There will be 3d cultists there -excluding Ruth. All will have a light pistol and will be Handgunner +1. They will take cover behind the tables in the shop. Ruth will move to kill the victim out of spite, so she should be one of the player's first targets.

This battle scene should be very cinematic. Have lots of lead flying, bad guys falling, and close calls for the players. If the pace starts to slow down there are a couple of things you can do to jump start things during combat. Have the demon get loose. A falling body smears the symbols binding it. It will attack the players as a 6 DP mad slasher. It can cast a hypnotic spell once per day. It will cast this on the strongest-looking player. It is successful on a roll of 7 or better on two dice. The target gets to try and beat off the effects of the spell by rolling a 9 or more on two dice. Any levels of Luck will help him here. A controlled player will then fight for the demon. This can be a real pain for the players. Have Ruth sneak out back with the hostage. There could be a van waiting as she takes off down Second. The players then get into a delicate car chase, as they can't afford to harm the cargo.

Afterwards

The players should became local heroes for about a week, let them get discounts on a few things, and a pat on the back from most of the people they meet. The money promised by the mayor will be paid and all will be well - or will it?