“John Carpenter’s Ski Resort” or “The Blob That Came in from the Cold”

Good heavens, it’s another recap! This one happened so long ago that I don’t even remember the date of it. Elyssa had been playing with our group for several sessions now, but the only GM she’d played with was, well, me. And that’s Just Not Right, so Josh put together a one-shot for an evening when we were short a few players.

We join our party on a bus, headed to the Devil’s Fork ski resort in Vermont. It’s winter, but the weather is worsening quickly, so the bus is relatively empty, containing only:

  • Claude Barber [Elyssa], the driver, also a war veteran with a bad leg.
  • Louise Wilson [Doug], a biologist on a ski vacation, somewhat prone to panic attacks.
  • Kristie Banks [Brian], a debutant and freshman at Dartmouth, who just broke up with her boyfriend, but darn it, she’s going on that ski trip anyway.
  • Ted Ruggiero [Dan], a special forces veteran, later turned police officer, then turned alcoholic, most recently turned ex-police officer. He’s a friend of Tony English, the manager of the resort, and he’s hoping Tony can give him a job.
  • Michael Cole [NPC], a shifty looking guy in a nice suit, a.k.a. “the PC that nobody chose.” He wouldn’t even give his name, so the rest of the party ended up calling him “Gucci Suit” the whole time.

Just after the bus crossed the bridge over Devil’s Canyon, the only road leading to the resort, a bright light was seen behind them, and the bridge collapsed into the gorge with a tremendous crash. Claude was able to make it off the bridge safely, but wasn’t able to keep the bus from skidding into a ditch on the side of the road. Fortunately, no one sustained any injuries, but they couldn’t get the bus started again, and there was no way to repair it in the middle of a blizzard. They could see the lights of the resort, but it was going to be at least a two-hour walk. Bundling up, they took only the necessities, and helping Claude along, they reached the resort well after nightfall, but safely (much to the surprise of at least one of the players).

Tony was extremely surprised to see the tourists; he assumed the last bus run would have been canceled. He was even more surprised to see Ted, but he was an excellent host, offering the group complimentary meals and drinks. Ted quickly took over as bartender, and made sure the group was well supplied. Dr. Gerry Hannaford came up from his clinic on the resort property to check everyone out, and gave Claude some painkillers. Jenn Estrella, one of the ski instructors, came and introduced herself, and chatted with the group while they ate. They spotted a young blond man arguing with Tony, and Jenn explained that he was Kirk Mazel, the chief ski instructor, and that he wanted to take a snowmobile out into the storm to look for the U.S. Ranger stationed nearby, but Tony forbade it. Eventually the group went off to their rooms, except for Ted, who slept downstairs on a couch by the fire, presumably to look after the bar. During the night, both Kristie and Louise awoke with the feeling that someone was in their rooms, but there was no one around.

The next morning, the skies had cleared, but all phone, radio, and satellite links were still down, and with the bridge out, it didn’t seem likely that they’d be repaired soon. Still, Tony offered to open the bunny slope for anyone who wanted to ski. Ted wasn’t interested, and Claude preferred to rest, but Kristie suggested that, as an advanced skier, she would benefit from some private lessons with Kirk. She never got that far, though, because Kirk had another argument with Tony about looking for the Ranger, and eventually stormed out to take a snowmobile and search on his own. Jenn eventually took pity on Kristie and clued her in that Kirk and the Ranger were a couple, which put an end to that plot development. So Kristie skied by herself while Louise took snowboarding lessons from Jenn.

By lunch, Kirk still hadn’t returned, and the group started to get worried. Ted offered to take the remaining snowmobile and go search. Kristie volunteered to come along, as the only experienced skier and snowmobiler in the party. Setting out, they were most of the way to the ranger station when they spotted Kirk’s snowmobile off to the side of the trail. With a quick search, they found Kirk, too…frozen solid. So solid, in fact, that Ted and Kristie couldn’t figure out how that could have happened in just a few hours, even in mid-winter. They decided to take him to the ranger station, as it was closest, to see if there was anything at all they could do for him (Ted knew there wasn’t, but Kristie wasn’t being terribly logical), but when Ted picked up Kirk’s body, it shattered into a million pieces. Kristie quickly picked up on the cue that she was in a horror movie now, and fulfilled her obligation to scream hysterically for several minutes.

Once Kristie stopped for breath, Ted convinced her to help him scoop Kirk up into a bag (ew), and they headed back to the resort. Dr. Hannaford examined the remains, but couldn’t come up with anything other than the fact that they were frozen hard. He put them in the specimen refrigerator in his office for the time being while he ran some more tests.

The rest of the group was rightfully concerned now, and figured that the best course of action would be to head to the Ranger station, to see if they could radio for help from there. This time, they took everybody in the resort’s Sno-Cat. As they got closer to the station, though, their compass started going haywire, and they had to proceed carefully along the trail for the last bit of the trip. At the Ranger station, they didn’t find anyone around (warm or frozen), and none of the equipment was powered. From the top of the tower attached to the station, though, they spotted an area of flattened trees, something like an impact crater. As it was getting late by this point, the party headed back to the resort for the night.

The group checked in with Dr. Hannaford, to see if he had made any further progress. They entered his office to find him bent over a microscope…frozen stiff. More screaming ensued, but when that was done, the party investigated the room. They found one window very slightly ajar, but it could only have been opened from the inside. Screwing up her courage, Louise looked through the microscope, and fortunately didn’t die instantly. She discovered that Dr. Hannaford had been looking at a piece of Kirk, as expected, and that all the cells in Kirk’s body seemed to have ruptured simultaneously as the fluid within them froze. With nothing else to do in the dark, the tourists spent a very uneasy night in the lobby.

The next day, the party agreed that heading out to the impact crater was the only reasonable option (for PCs, anyway — anyone sensible would have barricaded themselves in the basement until help came). The four tourists took the Sno-Cat out to the crater to look around. They found a crater with glassy-smooth sides, of course, and a rock at the bottom that had split into pieces, revealing an inside like a geode. Their compass and other electrical gear was still nonfunctional in the crater. Naturally, while they were debating what to do about the meteorite, noises came from behind them!

Whirling around, they found gelatinous blue ooze creeping out of the woods towards them. Louise immediately had a panic attack and ran off into the woods. Kristie tried to help Claude get back to the Sno-Cat while Ted held the blob off. Ted quickly learned that shooting at the blob had no effect, as it oozed around his feet…and froze them solid. Ted tried to run, but only succeeded in breaking his feet off at the ankles and falling into the snow. Kristie abandoned Claude for the moment and ran back to the Sno-Cat to look for a weapon. She pulled out some flares (with perhaps just a hint of metagaming), lit one, and waved it at the blob. The monstrosity immediately abandoned Ted and headed for the flare. Kristie tossed the flare into the center of the blob’s mass, which immediately engulfed the flare. The blob seemed to be consuming the flare, growing larger as it did so, but that provided enough of a respite for Kristie and Claude to drag Ted back to the Sno-Cat. Claude managed to prevent Ted from bleeding to death, they found Louise stumbling around in the woods, and headed back to the resort for what looked like a Last Stand.

The party members with intact limbs got Ted into the doctor’s office and loaded him up on the good drugs. Unfortunately, once they returned to the lobby, they found another small blob there, heading for the fireplace. Kristie snatched up a fire extinguisher and sprayed the monster, but it only shrank back momentarily before coming after her. Claude and Louise, in a fit of inspiration, Managed to rip the power cord out of the back of the plasma TV, leaving it connected to the wall, and tossed the other end onto the blob, which shivered, vibrated, then burst messily, getting protoplasm all over the floor.

The party knew they weren’t out of danger yet, as they had just moments to prepare for the arrival of the larger blob from the crash site. Louise produced a taser (from, uh, somewhere), and was attempting to rig it so she could use it on the end of a stick, when the giant blob burst through the main doors. With no time left for jury-rigging, Louise jabbed the taser into the blob and fired it, just as her arm was being flash-frozen. She ended up losing a limb, and was sprayed with now-harmless protoplasm as the larger blob burst apart.

As the party members counted their remaining limbs, and designated Kristie to ski cross-country for help, the credits started to roll.

I waited much too long to write this recap, so I suspect I may have gotten more details wrong than usual (although I did remember to get all the names from Josh). Correct me if I did. My most sincere congratulations to Josh for creating a one-shot that actually was shot in one, something that I’ve yet to pull off with this group.