This scenario was first run at a Continuum game on May 11, AD 2002 at Monkey Head Games in Selden, New York. What I have here are the notes I used during that game, modified a bit to include ideas that occurred during the game itself.
The adventure is designed to be run immediately after character creation as an introductory scenario. It presents an elementary problem-solving situation to the spanners, and does not deal with Time Combat or narcissists or anything complicated like that. Experienced players will have too easy a time of it and will solve the adventure almost immediately. The scenario is supposed to get players thinking four-dimensionally.
This document is not a carefully-detailed adventure; it requires much embellishment by the Game Master. I have not, for instance, provided details of the corner or the chronies. There are some unexplained references in this scenario that assume you’re familiar with central Long Island. These references can be changed to any generic locations that apply. Just about any late twentieth or early twenty-first century corner would do, really.
If you have any suggestions to refine this scenario, please send them to me.
A person with amnesia arrives at the spanners’ door. They must determine who he is and how to return him home. He is Steve Setzer, a novice from “Scenic View,” a neighboring corner.
Saturday, January 14, AD 1989 , 13:00 EST, at “Styx” (the characters’ corner) in Port Jefferson, New York (the corner exists from July 1, 1985 to July 7, 2005).
The chronies are together at the corner, enjoying an afternoon doing nothing in particular. Hunter (the corner’s mentor) is not around: she’s told them that she isn’t anywhere around the corner from January 12–18 (she said something about not wanting to be jinxed by Friday the 13th, but the real reason is that she knows she’s not directly involved in the events that are to come, though she may help out unseen).
Let the PCs interact for a bit. Suggest that they are hungry, but that there is nothing good in the kitchen. Let them get goodies, either by spanning or by level means. If they decide to order food to be delivered, try having the food arrive the moment they decide to do this. It may or may not be in their Yets to place the order (GM’s decision); let them work out the implications for themselves.
Whatever they do, at 1:30 PM there is a ring at the door (if necessary, the PCs’ elders should tell them to go to 1:30). It is Steve Setzer, suffering from amnesia. Steve is a nervous wreck, looking half-frozen and frightened, dressed in light clothing, insufficient to protect against the cold January day. He begs the PCs for help.
Let the PCs bring him inside. They’ll soon want to know who he is, and that’s when he’ll admit not knowing. He’ll tell them how he found himself in town, not knowing who or where he was, or how he got there. He’ll also tell them that the only items he had on his person when he came to were a movie ticket and a slip of paper with the corner’s address on it. He says he lost the ticket sometime during the night and that he doesn’t remember anything about it.
See Steve’s character description below for the reason he has amnesia.
The chronies may assume he’s a spanner, but he has no memory of that life, and won’t understand them if they bring it up. Attempts to demonstrate spanning only serve to send Steve into shock, and nothing they do will jar his memory or successfully get him to span. Spanning in front of Steve is not a violation of the Fourth Maxim, though the characters won’t be sure of this at first!
Refer to the Likely Span of Events below for things that may be touched on during the adventure.
The first thing the PCs will probably do is go looking for someone to tell them all the answers. They haven’t met any other corners so far, and Hunter isn’t on this level, but they may try to find her elsewhen.
It should be difficult to locate Hunter, but clever thinking in arranging a rendezvous should be rewarded with success (make finding her good practice in finding spanners). Once they have her attention, though, she will not be very forthcoming. She will pretend to be surprised about the visitor (though she knows full well who he is), and will suggest that the chronies do what they can to help him. Continued questioning of Hunter results in a response of “Further information is not available here.” She wants them to take care of this matter themselves, but she reminds them she is available for emergencies.
The chronies may want to know where Steve came from, and they may also want to know what is on that movie ticket stub. The only way to figure this out is to backtrack Steve’s journey since he arrived.
Steve spanned in, unconscious, in the middle of the soccer field at Port Jefferson High School at 10:37 PM, January 13, 1989. Fortunately, no one saw this happen (the PCs may want to make sure of this).
If Steve is not interfered with (and interfering is dangerous, as it may cause frag; however, as long as what is already known about Steve isn’t contradicted, the GM should feel free to change things as he sees fit), he does the following:
|10:37–11:15 PM||Wake up and panic. Search around the field frantically. Find the ticket and the address in his pockets.|
|11:16–11:35 PM||Walk into the center of Port Jefferson. He’s too frightened to talk to anyone at this point.|
|11:35 PM–3:55 AM||Wanders the streets of Port Jefferson.|
|3:56 AM||Finally sits down in an alley near the water, wraps himself up in a cardboard box, and dozes off. The ticket falls out of his pocket while he’s sleeping.|
|7:20 AM||Gets up and starts wandering again.|
|9:50 AM||Finally works up the courage to start asking questions.|
|11:00 AM||Gets directions to Belle Terre (the corner’s neighborhood).|
|1:30 PM||Arrives at Styx.|
While the chronies are spanning around, they should be mindful of the Fourth Maxim! No one should see the PCs span, or see them in more than one place at a time. Also, Steve shouldn’t see them well enough to recognize them at Styx. Unless one of the chronies took care to remain unseen to Steve at Styx, his seeing them clearly on the streets will frag everyone who is at Styx when Steve arrives.
Alternatively, the PCs might want to use ordinary investigation skills to determine who Steve is. There are no missing people reports (as soon as he gets his memory back, Steve is a spanner again!), and they can’t determine where and when he spanned in from, so this is going to be hard. Reward any particularly clever ideas with good chances of success.
If anyone uses Dreaming to find out who Steve is, here’s one image: the Dreamer is in a World War II war zone, and Steve is dressed as an American soldier. He’s in a squad of men trying to get through the zone and toward the Dreamer, and a mortar blast nearby catches him and separates him from his group. The squad runs past the Dreamer, not noticing that Steve is missing, and does not stop for anything the Dreamer may do. When Steve comes to in a moment, he discovers that his arms and legs are paralyzed, and cries out for help.
Other Dreaming images or interactions are possible; be creative.
The only real piece of evidence Steve has on his person is the movie ticket he found in his pocket. It’s for Queen of the Damned, Saturday, February 16, 2002, 8:00 PM showing, at Patchogue Theater.
The PCs can go there at that time and try to meet Steve’s junior. He shows up at the theater by car at 7:45 PM It’s a crowded night (Queen of the Damned opened the day before), and locating Steve may not be easy. Require Observation rolls to see him in a crowd.
When they do manage to find him, he’ll greet them like old friends, and will seem to know all about them. They shouldn’t give away too much information, but since elder Steve has amnesia, there’s little chance of frag.
Steve will tell them who he is and anything else they may want to know. They can then take this information back to elder Steve’s level and find his corner.
The PCs might decide to span Up to when Hunter has returned to Styx, and let Steve hang out levelly until then. This won’t work. If the spanners span Up, Steve will be gone. If they stay level and just wait, there will be some point when Steve is out of sight (maybe going to the bathroom, whatever), and he doesn’t reappear. A high-level spanner, sent by the chronies’ elders, has retrieved him. Any attempt to follow Steve into the out-of-sight place results in their own elders showing up and ordering them away (Second Maxim).
The player characters should be solving this problem, not the non-player characters!
Once the chronies identify Steve and return him to Scenic View, the scenario is over. It’s pretty hard not to win this one. Let them work on it until they figure it out.
This is a list of events that are likely to occur during this adventure. It is not necessary to do all of them; as the characters are working out one problem, keep the list handy to be ready for their next course of action.
|Limit||Temporarily suffering from amnesia|
|Locality||Patchogue, AD 2000s||Fraternity||none|
|Corner||“Scenic View,” southern Brookhaven Township, AD 2001–2020|
Skills: Internet J5; Computer Games M6; Dreaming A5; Acumen (fast food work) [M] J5
Possessions: Just his clothes, which are shorts and a yellow T-shirt
Steve, a novice at “Scenic View,” spans too close to Brookhaven National Laboratory’s particle accelerator during a desperate move in a Time Combat elsewhen, and appears in Port Jefferson on Friday, January 13, 1989, at 10:37 PM EST.
The frag caused by this dangerous span inflicts Steve with near-total amnesia. He arrives in Port Jeff knowing only that someone was chasing him. He only has two objects on his person: a movie ticket stub for Queen of the Damned, showing at 8:00 PM EDT on Saturday, February 16, 2002 at the Patchogue Theater; and a slip of paper with the address of Styx on it. He does not know he is a spanner, or what one is, though he knows that he has an odd way of seeing things. He has no ID or money.
Steve wanders around Port Jefferson for a while, asking for help and directions, until someone finally tells him how to get to Styx.
Last updated September 24, 2005