Monday, May 17, 2021

One Shot: Lonnie Goes to Heaven, Down & Out in Dredgeburg

Cover to Down and Out in Dredgeburg,
by Skullfungus; ©2020 Skullfungus
Tonight I am planning an adventure in Down and Out in Dredgeburg - a one shot done with relatively low prep. I am looking for scruffy Noir-feeling action with heavy influence from "The Goon". I thought I would share my thought process here. Tomorrow I will start the day with a follow-up before doing my article on playing Tiny Dungeon with my son.

In Media Res

The game starts with a running gunfight through a hazy, stinking night in the Dusk Market against the city guard. The PCs are surrounded and need to shoot their way out. Start with one of three red shirts in the cast, Harley, getting hus (horned) head blown off.

The PCs have to pick a clump of guards to rush. Myron, another red shirt suggests going left. Karl argues that going right will get them closer to the Greenblight. Going right will get Karl shot twice. 

After 1d4 rounds of shooting out, a marsh horror joins the fray to sped things up. Myron may insist on using a skull. Once enough guards are wounded, we flash back... 

Lonnie Wants to Get Into Heaven

Eric Powell's The Goon is a favorite 
Comic of mine. 

A big, hulking zombie, Lonnie totes an unholy Blunderbuss. He is full of schemes. Once a full-time he fancies himself a kingpin in Dredgeburg.

We start the scene at the docks of The Gutter, as Lonnie weights patiently by the docks, and then collect an apparent spore cough victim drops from above. He retrieves the map from it, and then brings the PCS inside to Izzy's Bar where he introduces their cohorts for his plan.

Lonnie, hp: 9 Armor: 2 Damage: best of 2d6 +2

The Demon Lord Scaramanga has an Indulgence in his Vault, brought to Hell by a man who chose to be damned so he could try to save his son from Hell, and ended up losing his chance in a game of cards. Lonnie will use it to get to Heaven and hopefully set up a "pipeline." (I don't know of what, yet.) And is going to split his Dredgeburg empire between the crew. 

Aside from the PCs and Lonnie's team includes:

Harley, hp: 2 Armor: 0 Damage d6
Description: A small imp in a bowler hat. Harley is the "lockpicker" - a with who knows the Knock spell and has a familiar spirit with a  domain of dreams and portals.
Wants: Harleys wife, Lola, has recently died. He owes Lonnie for having his Lola's final punishment "lost" from the books, so that she is on her way to Dredgeburg. LHarley wants a "Happly ever after" with his wife.
Manner: Chatty, tries to be endearing. Bubbly voice.

Myron, hp: 4 Armor: 1 Damage: 1d6+1
Description: A skeleton with limp white hair and a cheap suit. He is here as the knowledge: he can tell an indulgence from a milagro or other holy medallion. He can authenticate the tiem.
Wants: Treacherous! Myron wants to screw over Lonnie and sell the Indulgence to a wealthy buyer in The Tombs for a chance at a high life. He just needs to make sure Lonnie doesn't make it through the night.
Manner: An undead (bad) Peter Lore.

Karl, hp: 5 Armor: 1 Damage: Best of 2d6
Description: Meaty green devil in a zoot suit. Karl is the "muscle" of this party.
Wants: Karl and Lonnie go back to "the fat days", and was a wise-guy then. Now he is trying to be a swaggering big fish. He likes the power and fear being a gangster gets him, alive or dead. Inheriting Lonnie's contacts is all he wants.
Manner: Growling voice, tough-talker.

Louise, hp: 3 Armor: 2 Damage: Best of 2d6+1
Description: A small, smoky imp-girl with firey hair. She is an expert on demolitions.
Wants: Louise is a communist who hopes to be able to supply a bunch of people in The Gutter with a means of rebelling again t The Judgement. She sees this job as a chance to get weapons and connections to help feed the Revolution.
Manner: Speaks with a French accent. Big on showing off how tough she is.

The Plan

  • The PCs and the rest of the team will break into The Judgement to steal some Voodoo Glow Skulls to blast the Demon's safe open. Knock won't work.
  • Lonnie will get some magic potions from the Greenblight that will make them invisible to Demons, and some drugs to handle Imp guards.
  • They will meet  Lonnie in the Greenblight near The Stem.
  • They will break into Scaramanga's manor in the Throne in thedead of light using pots of soporific herbs.
  • They will use he Voodoo Glow Skulls to blast open the Vault.
  • Once they have the Indulgence, they will go to ground. 

(It's the name of a band I liked in High School) 
Voodoo Glow Skulls

These improvised magical explosives have been confiscated by the Town Guard from a stockpile created by a coven of Swamp Witches who were planning on using them on a prison break.

These skulls scream, smoke, then explode over a big area dealing 6d6 damage in a big burst that also liquefies stone. In close proximity.

How It's Going...

Not good. Harley took forever using magic to open the secure warehouse, and then they got caught on the way out... Partially because Louise got greedy and piled more skulls than she could carry. When the cops surrounded them, she started by throwing a few... And got shot, dropping a bunch. You survived by sheltering in the warehouse, then dropping through the hole. Louise's theatrics earned them a small army of Town Guardsmen... And is where we started.

Shaking the Cops

Now that the PCs know what the plan was, they can go about losing the cops in the Dusk Market. They have Myron and (maybe) Karl still with them. And so we will see what ingenuity they show. They have 1d3-1 glow skulls each.  This might work best with at least one more combat encounter. 

Myron's Play

Eventually, Myron will want to pitch in the idea of cutting Lonnie out and selling the Indulgence to a buyer called Cortez. To make that easier, he is going to keep gainsaying Karl and steering the PCs toward the Tombs . Once they reach the edge of the tombs, Myron will pitch completing the job, but selling to Cortez. He will take them to a witch in Cortez' employ to make a binding magical agreement.

Meeting Lonnie

Lonnie has been doing exactly what he said he was doing. He has several pots of a substance called Green Haze, masks for the crew, and a potion that makes you invisible to actual demons.

Green Haze: C. 40, Minor Effect (target falls into light sleep) Fast Acting, Inhaled.

Aversion of the Evil Eye: Bottle must be fed s hot coal, at which point it emits a pink mist. Demons cannot see anyone who is being exposed to the must. 

Finishing the Job

The damned guards and servants are no problem, and Scaramanga is out at a social event... And the cops are still busy with a manhunt in the Dusk Market... But once a Glow Skull goes off, Scaramanga will show up, immediately. This is when Myron will try to shoot Lonnie and run off with the Indulgence and the Potion, leaving the PCs to face the Demon Lord on their own.

Scaramanga, hp: 15 Armor 3 Damage: 2d6 Mind Control
Appearance: A head that is a mass of shadow and tentacles with too many eyes, dressed in a fine dinner jacket and still holding a Warp-Essence Martini. 
Wants: To make sure no one survives messing with him. 
Manner: James Bond (Connery ers) but evil A. F. 


If Lonnie gets the Indulgence, he uses it and calls an ophanim that takes him... Trepidatiously to Heaven. It will be annoyed and quick to hand out smiting. Lonnie will tear his pocket book into sections based on bookmarks and hand them out before he goes.

If Myron Gets it, he will try to nail the PCs with a Glow Skull on his way to the Tombs. If they try to take the Skull to Cortez without him Lonnie will hunt them down for a showdown. 

The Pre-gens

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