We’re back in Vestitas, but you can probably tell that this was adapted from an oWoD adventure.
Summary: There’s a motel for travelers who are making their way from Grey Harbour out to the coastal countryside. The hotel’s manager is a madman obsessed with his giant pet spiders, and feeds any traveler who won’t be missed to them. If the characters are taking a high-subtlety approach to the game, odds are they won’t be missed.
Discovery: The motel is in the middle of a wide, flat area, and is the only landmark for miles. If the characters arrive between dawn to just after noon, the nocturnal proprietor won’t be around. Otherwise, he’ll give the characters a warm welcome and ask if they want to stay the night. It’s an Average(+0) requisition check for each character who wants to stay, but he’ll offer a bundle discount of one check at Scarce(-10) for all of them. If the characters attempt the check and fail, the proprietor will claim that business has been slow lately, so he’ll let them stay anyway if they just pay with whatever they have. There’s plenty of unused rooms right now and a discounted rental is better than just leaving them empty.
Exploration: There is a small colonist family staying in the room across from the characters, headed out to one of the newly settled lands out on the coast. They argue loudly with one another about the situation. The wife doesn’t want to leave Grey Harbour, the husband is yelling about how they don’t have a choice since they were transferred out by the Lord Mayor, the wife doesn’t think it was right to take the kids away from their home just because the husband has to leave, the husband counters that the wife only wants the kids to stay so that she can keep living in the city to take care of them while he works all alone in the wild, the wife says that the edge of the wilderness is a dangerous place to be raising children, and on and on it goes. Eventually, they storm off to sleep in different rooms. About half an hour later, the wife screams and falls silent, and immediately after the children began screaming. One will leave the room entirely and run out into the night. The other will fall silent almost as soon as the first leaves.
If the characters investigate the argument while it’s ongoing, neither the husband nor the wife will want to discuss it with them, and all they will accomplish is causing it to end early, thus prompting an earlier spider attack, unless one of them stays in their motel room and remains awake. The spiders will not attack if there is an awake character in the room, although they will still attack other rooms (i.e. if the character is in the entrance room, then the spiders will attack the husband and wife in their respective rooms, but not the children in the entrance room).
If the characters investigate after hearing the scream, then if they are very swift they may find the wife’s corpse being dragged off by a spider the size of a large dog, but otherwise they will only arrive in time to see their two children, a pair of boys aged seven and nine, being attacked by the spiders in the entrance room – the older is trying to fight the spiders off of his younger brother. He doesn’t stand a chance.
Likewise, if the characters only investigate when the children begin screaming, by the time they get out of their room and into the adjacent room, the younger child will already have run and the older will already be dead. If they follow the younger child out, it takes a Difficult(-10) Awareness check to find him in the dark, and a Hard(-20) check to notice a pair of spiders pursuing through the underbrush. Any delay in pursuing the fleeing boy will result in the spiders devouring him as well.
If the characters investigate during the silence in between, they’ll catch the spiders as they descend on the husband. Their entry is also reasonably likely to wake the husband in his room, and he’ll flee with his wife and children upon seeing the spiders. Together they’ll run to the motel lobby and wait there. The proprietor will talk them into returning to their rooms where, if the characters haven’t killed at least one spider and left its corpse lying around as a reminder of the danger, they’ll be devoured. If the characters either confirm the family’s spider story or leave clear evidence in the form of an at least partially intact corpse in the room, the colonists will flee the motel.
A total of six spiders attack the family. Two make off with the husband, one with the wife, one with the eldest child, and two more chase after the youngest (although he’s barely big enough to feed one of them). This means if the characters investigate the motel room before the attack begins, they’ll have to contend with a total of six spiders, if they investigate after hearing the wife scream and arrive in time to see her body being dragged away there will be four, if only the children are left when they arrive there will be three, and as mentioned there are two spiders who chase after the youngest after he flees into the wilderness.
The proprietor will claim shock and fear if confronted by the fact that some of his customers have been attacked/eaten by giant spiders. He’ll say he’s never seen them before and ask if the characters killed them all. It’s a Challenging(+0) Scrutiny check to determine that he’s lying. He’s a rather good liar, but distress at any harm brought to his pets bleeds through fairly easily.
A free dinner comes with the motel stay. If the characters arrived before dinner and thus the spider attack at night hasn’t happened yet, don’t intervene in the events of the night before, or if the proprietor successfully convinced them that he had nothing to do it, they may end up going to the dinner. If all members of the colonist family are still alive and haven’t fled (probably because the attack hasn’t happened yet, but possibly because they were convinced to stay by the characters for some reason), they’ll be there as well. The husband and wife will adamantly refuse to speak of their argument the night before if it’s brought up (and it’s actually happened) and will pretend to be an adorable and loving family. If the family has been attacked, the dinner comes with meat. Otherwise, it is grains and vegetables only. Anyone who succeeds on a Challenging(+0) Awareness test can hear the spiders moving about underneath the dining room floor, as their nest is located directly below. The proprietor claims to be unable to hear the noise.
If the colonist family is no longer in the motel (dead or run off) and any player is ever sleeping or appears to be sleeping (spiders aren’t smart, so anyone lying down mostly motionless and silent will be assumed to be sleeping, even if they’re clearly reading a book or something) without anyone awake and active in the room, any surviving spiders will attack them. There are eight spiders in the motel total, but they aren’t starving enough to all swarm over one available victim. Instead, only one or two spiders per sleeping (or “sleeping”) target will attack.
If the proprietor is interrogated about the spiders, he has a clever personality, a starting Disposition of 25 (although he’ll pretend to be much friendlier), and any effort to make him give them up takes a -20 penalty. If successfully pressured into fessing up about the spiders, he’ll admit that he feeds motel guests who won’t be missed to them, and that there’s a hidden staircase down to their nest in the lobby. Succeeding on a Difficult(-10) Awareness check will allow characters searching the lobby to find the staircase for themselves.
Confrontation: Any spiders who weren’t killed earlier will be waiting in the nest, which is covered in webs that act as both arduous terrain and a treacherous environment for non-spiders. Cornered in their nest, the spiders will fight to the death. If left unattended, the proprietor will attempt to flee as soon as the characters enter the nest in force. He is unarmed and poses no physical threat.
Rewards: If the characters install a new proprietor to the motel, they gain 1d5 Influence to split amongst themselves to represent the new income. Also, they can use the motel as a free place to sleep and stash weapons or other potentially illegal gear. If the characters bother to ask a subdued proprietor where this things came from, he’ll reveal that he brought them back as smaller, more portable spiders from the nest in hex 01.02.
We still have that Patreon that we do if you want to help us make our content better, although the same disclaimer concerning backer reward applies as in other recent posts if you’re reading this anywhere near the date of publication.