Last night, we started a new campaign — playtesting Mike’s modern-era horror campaign. I’m sure it has a name, but I’ll be calling it “The Texas Big-Rock Massacre” until someone tells me different.
The setting is the town of Pine Box, Texas (I love that name), home to Southeast Texas University (SETU), not too far from Austin. The characters include Ginny Sue (Wendy), a cheerleader and sociology student; Mac (Josh), who plays tight end for the football team, and is also Ginny Sue’s boyfriend; Tom (Brian), a perpetual grad student working on his dissertation in philosophy; and Doug’s character — whose name I didn’t catch, so I’m just going to call him “Padre” — a young Roman Catholic priest on some sort of residency program.
Through the magic of the campus Ride Board, these four characters were in the Padre’s car late one night, returning from a trip to Austin. The Padre noticed tail-lights off to the side of the road, so of course he stopped. The vehicle turned out to be a van with its front bumper torn off and scratches all along its sides from tree branches. The driver, unfortunately, seemed to be quite dead, presumably from smashing into the windshield. Ginny Sue called 911 while the Padre removed the driver from the van and administered Last Rites.
Ginny Sue noticed a dirt access road where the van seemed to have come from, and went off to look for other victims. Tom followed. They eventually found an open area with lots of tire tracks and footprints, and Tom found a fair-sized bloody rock. The police arrived around this time, so Tom and Ginny Sue went back down.
The police turned out to be just Officer Roberts, a local figure well-known to the PCs. He expressed appropriate concern over the dead guy, and was very interested in Tom and Ginny Sue’s discovery up the access road. Once the victim was laid out in the headlights, Tom recognized him as Joe Landis, a Computer Science student who Tom had shared a class with once.
Officer Roberts took statements from the four PCs, and eventually more police showed up. After a quick conference, the new police officer (whose name I didn’t get) told the PCs that they could all go. Officer Roberts thought this was somewhat premature, and said so, but he was overruled. The PCs were shaken, but went back to town to get some coffee.
The next morning, the Padre received a call from Officer Roberts. The police had ruled Joe’s death a traffic accident. Roberts believes there was foul play involved, but has been ordered not to follow up. He hoped that the Padre and his friends could look into things a bit on their own and see if they can figure out what Joe was doing out in the woods at night. The Padre, of course, accepted. He called Ginny Sue first, who promised to use her extensive social network to find out who Joe was partying with, but came up empty. The Padre then contacted Tom, who guessed that Joe was probably an antisocial type, and suggested they talk to people in the campus computer lab. At that point, we broke for the evening.
I’m fairly certain I got several of the names wrong, especially the victim and the officer, so if you want to let me know what they should be, I’ll happily edit.