Matt Jackson – over on Google+ – created a mini-map on an index card and challenged readers to come up with an adventure. This was my own stab – the Pit of Filth. Given the existence of more than one horror adventure in the Fighting Fantasy solo adventure book range, it seemed an ideal fit for a system – and meant I could turn out something that you could play without knowing many mechanics at all.
This is a horror scenario for a single player and a GM. The adventure uses the basic Fighting Fantasy system.
Your character has three stats: Skill, Stamina, and Luck. Roll 1d6 + 6 for Skill and Luck. Roll 2d6 + 12 for Stamina. Skill is your ability to do things. Stamina represents your physical well-being. Luck represents your edge and the turn of fate. If you add all your stats together and they come to less than 30, re-roll one of them.
To fight something, roll 2d6 and your SKILL. Do the same for your opponent. Highest wins. If you draw, both lose 1 STAMINA and then carry on. If someone hits 0 STAMINA, they’re unconscious and close to death – and that includes you! At the start of the game you only have your bare fists to fight with, so battle with SKILL -2 and do only 1 damage on a successful hit, until you find something to fight with.
If you want to spice up the game a little you can use random Weapon Damage by rolling 1d6 on a successful hit and matching your results of 1,2,3,4,5,6 against the number outlined below (i.e. while unarmed, if you roll a 1 for damage you cause no harm at all, as your punch or nail-rake fails to land squarely or inflict more than a stinging scrape).
Unarmed (U): 0,1,1,1,1,2
Improvised (I): 1,1,1,1,2,2
Sharp (S): 1,2,2,2,3,3
Blunt (B): 2,2,2,2,2,3
Piercing (P): 1,2,2,2,3,4
If you try to do something or beat fate, roll 2d6 and roll equal or less than your SKILL or LUCK, respectively. If you roll against LUCK and succeed, reduce the value of your LUCK by 1. In combat, if you lose a SKILL test to your enemy and they damage you, you can Test Your LUCK to reduce harm taken to zero.
“You wake to an overwhelming stink of festering meat and an uncomfortable warmth. You feel the embraces of bodies enclosing you. At first you feel safe in the warmth, until it dawns on you that you have no idea where you are nor any recollection of what happened before now… Except, no… that isn’t true. You remember drinking heavily. Some kind of party, and people clustering tightly around you. Games, laughter, then cold air, nausea, vomiting… Then nothing. When you try to open your eyes, you find them stuck shut. You try to clear the goo, attempt to squint. You can see only pale shapes in a thin light leaking through a crack off to your left. You turn your head and come face to face with a half rotten skull…”
Light Source: Nothing in the room. Light leaks in beneath the door.
The character lies in a charnel pit, in room 1 on the map. They lie atop a couple of dozen other bodies in various states of decay. The smell, first and foremost, pervades the room and blankets everything. The room contains no direct source of light, though light from room 2 leaks in from the cracks around the ill-fitting door.
Scrambling across the heap of bodies takes time and a little balance, and each movement seems to stir up the stench of death all the more. The character feel a wave of nausea and almost inevitably feels bile rising in his or her throat. Make a Test against SKILL to move across the bodies without falling over and sustaining 1 STAMINA damage.
The south-east corner of the room rises slightly from the level of bodies, a floor of hardened, packed earth free from bodies. In brighter light, the character would see dark patches in the dirt. If the character sniffs close to the floor, they smell the irony tang of much blood.
The pit contains many bodies, male, female, old and young. Most wear some clothing, a few just scraps of underwear. The bodies vary in state of decay, a few so rotten the skin sloughs off the bone.
Searching through the bodies provides some useful finds, but requires an iron stomach. Roll 5d6 (a six sided die rolled five times) and compare against the character’s STAMINA. A result above the character’s STAMINA means they become overwhelmed with nausea and vomit violently, losing 1 STAMINA and getting no roll on the finds table.
After three attempts to find something (whether the character fails the STAMINA roll or not), the dogs in room 2 start growling and scraping at the door. After a fourth attempt, the dogs start to bark and the character risks drawing unwanted attention, unprepared.
When searching, make the STAMINA check then, on a success, roll on the find table, below:
1 – Pocket knife (S) (character fights at SKILL -1 with a damage of 2 STAMINA)
2 – Key fob torch and a couple of keys
3 – Mobile phone, without any charge
4 – Handkerchief and a card of matches
5 – Debit or credit card
6 – Handful of small change
The character will only find results 1 – 5 once. Change can be found more than once and if the character finds three handfuls of change and scrounges a sock (either from their own foot or a corpse) they can improvise a Blackjack (B) (with the same combat stats as the pocket knife, above).
A truly desperate character might consider tearing a leg off one of the rotten bodies, with the intent to use the item as a club. Despite best efforts this will prove impossible, the muscle and sinew simply too tough to tear apart, and the character will suffer 2 STAMINA damage from violent vomiting.
The exit from this room is composed of wooden planks roughly fixed together with a nail gun. On the outside (from Room 2), it looks like blanks of discarded wood leaning against the wall – and would require a successful SKILL test, at a penalty of -1, for someone to find (assuming they had the time to search, given the hungry dogs occupying the room).
“The room stinks of raw meat, wet fur and animal crap. Two wretched, bony mongrels lounge in the centre of the room, chewing on large bones from an unidentified animal (or, perhaps it isn’t an animal). The dog’s fur is spiked with filth, grease and blood. They have a lean and hungry gaze…”
Light Source: Three battery powered LED lights affixed to dark green toughened plastic spikes light the room. Someone has driven then spikes into the floor, one near each door and the other in the north-east corner behind the dog matting. The character could use the Spike (I) as a weapon without an adjustment to SKILL and inflicting 2 STAMINA damage. The spike shatters, causing 1 STAMINA damage to the character and becoming unusable, one any pair rolled (i.e. double 1, double 2 and so on).
When the character enters the room the two mangy dogs snarl and pounce to attack.
DAMAGE: Roll 1d6, 1-3: 2 STAMINA bite, 4-6: 1 STAMINA scratch
TYPE: Animal (Canine)
If the character subdues the dogs, they discover a couple of buckets and several large bones. One bucket contains warm water, the other contains meat scraps. The dogs rested on a patch of straw under which the character will find, if they search, a wristwatch, a pair of broken spectacles and a human finger with a gold wedding ring.
“You step into a passage of packed earth, loose grit, and stinking dirt, the air cold and dry. A cold draught trickles down a rough passage that rises toward an ominous block of stone. In three other directions, rough wooden doors with long, rusted nails for handles, block off direct sight into three separate chambers. To the left, you can hear low moans of pain. Ahead, the dull throb of muffled music.”
Light Source: One battery powered LED lights affixed to dark green toughened plastic spike, as per Room 2. The spike has been driven into the ground at the north point of the crossed passages.
The block of stone has a small keyhole, discovered on careful inspection with a reasonable light source. Pushing the door finds it too heavy to shift. The draught of cold, crisp air trickles over the top of the stone. Crying or calling out attracts no attention from outside (as the hide-out is simply too far away from any other habitation), but does alert the Dark Priest in room 5.
“The large room is filled with a dull red light from several covered lamps with filthy, soot stained glass. Two bodies hang from manacles bolted into the ceiling. The wretches wrists glisten slick with blood, and they balance precariously on blocks of rough stone like hideous statues. In the far corner of the room, a stepped platform supports a slab of stone atop which sits what appears to be a massive fish tank jammed full to the brim with flesh.”
Light Source: Four battery powered LED lights affixed to dark green toughened plastic spikes light the room. All lights have become smeared and stained with blood, sending out a dull red light. Affixed in the ground, one in each corner. Otherwise, as per Room 2.
The bodies hanging from the manacles have been horribly mutilated. One has an eyeball hang loose, scooped from the socket and left to wither and die. The other has no nose and both nipples sawn off. Both have deep, raw scars across their bodies and several broken bones. The Dark Priest has them both drugged to a point where the pain means nothing to them and they have only a tenuous grasp on reality. If release from their bonds, they have no concept of survival or saving themselves – roll 1d6, 1-3: the survivor attacks the character, 4-5: the survivor collapses in a heap and lapses into a coma, 6: the survivors starts to attack the hideous Canker.
The tank contains a horrible experiment of mutilation, murder and dark magic, a tortured creature constructed from body parts and netherworld otherness. When the character enters the room, the content of the tank seems like nothing more than a container of loose gore. As the characters enters the room and interacts with the content of the room, the blood and ooze in the tank begins to slop out, puddles forming on the slab beneath. If the character disturbs the prisoners or releases one, the noise and movement will suffice to agitate the Canker to over-excitement. On a 1d6 roll of 5-6, the Canker shatters the container and attacks. A disturbed survivor attacking the monstrosity will cause the tank to break automatically.
If the character defeats the Dark Priest before coming into this room, the enchantment on the Canker dissipates and it goes ‘wild’, breaking free of the tank with a loud crash of glass audible throughout the whole cave. Once free, it attacks the manacled bodies, before bursting through the door – a roiling, pulsing barrel of sinew, flesh and gristle with thrashing tentacles of glistening muscle, all slick with gore.
Searching the room a character will find several Knives (S), a Power Drill (P), and several bottles of drugs without labels. The knives can be used as weapons with no adjustment to skill and causing 2 STAMINA damage on a successful hit. The power drill used as a weapon adjusts SKILL -1, but will cause 3 STAMINA damage on a successful hit. The drugs have a sedative and narcotic effect, and need to be administered by ingestion.
DAMAGE: Roll 1d6, 1-2: 2 STAMINA bite, 3-6: 1 STAMINA scratch
Wretched, emasculated victim motivated by drug-crazed hostility.
DAMAGE: Roll 1d6, 1: 1 STAMINA scratch, 2-4: 2 STAMINA bite, 5-6: 3 STAMINA thrash
TYPE: Undead (mindless)
Diseased mass of flesh and tentacles
“A strong smell of incense sweeps out of the room. A dull throb of music comes from a muffled speaker lying on the floor, surrounded by leather bound books and fat, yellow candles. A figure dressed in black leather harnesses, spikes and latex, kneels in the middle of the room. As you enter, the figure looks up and pale eyes glare through the holes in a mask depicting some otherworldly creature of fire and pain. ‘Get back in your f*cking pit, you f*cker. I’m going to rip out your f*cking guts you filthy piece of sh*t’. He growls, spittle hanging in strings from the base of his mask, and pulls a thick-bladed machete from his belt. Around his neck, you see a key dangling on a chain.”
Light Source: A dozen or more candles, all made from rendered human and animal fat, giving the air in the room in a sickening stench, thus the incense. The lighting flickers and threatens to blow out completely if anyone leaves the door into Room 3 open. Careless movement or combat may cause the candles to fall over and set fire to the books and bits of rug scattered on the floor.
The Dark Priest wears sadomasochistic clothes and piercings. He hisses and growls throughout the rest of the encounter, swearing and demeaning the character for showing any effort to survive. The man clearly feels the character has no right to live, no right to even be considered anything more than meat. He has worked horrible dark magic to create the Canker in room 4, and has murdered time and time again over the space of several months. He kills to fuel his own depraved and twisted desires, keeping a few unlucky individuals alive as ‘donors’ for his experiments.
DAMAGE: Roll 1d6, 1: 1 STAMINA slash, 2-4: 2 STAMINA deep cut, 5-6: 3 STAMINA gouge
ARMOUR: Roll 1d6, 1-4: no benefit, 5-6: reduces damage by 1 STAMINA
The key on the chain around his neck unlocks the stone door into room 6.
“You heave the stone door aside and take a deep shuddering breath. A small cave shelters several boxes of food, fuel and other supplies from the weather. A bracingly cold winds rushes in, but serves as a blessed reminder you’re still alive. You take a long, cleansing breath, then step out into the open to find an unattended SUV waiting with a key in the ignition. A track leads away to civilisation and somewhere in the distance you hear the faintest sound of ordinary existence.”
“You have survived…”