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Five Room Dungeon- Locked Down (Soft Sci-Fi, System Agnostic)

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Author's Note: For the sake of my and everyone else's sanity, I've decided to leave my personal grievances with unrealistic sci-fi at the door. Expect wacky super-science shenanigans to follow.

Elevator Pitch: Party's first quest as a group is a prisoner escort mission to Metroplanet, a bustling mega-structure where species of all kinds meet and do their work. As one might expect, things don't go as planned.
Entrance/Guardian: After a quick introduction by the hiring party allows everyone to get a chance to introduce themselves, an android prisoner known as Jaws breaks free of his binds and attempts a break. Main authorities contain the fleeing prisoners while Jaws and several other flashy tough guys take on the PCs.
Notes for this stage:
  • Probably provide an opening scene for the players to establish their character. Perhaps a fluffy, over-helpful alien ticket-taker runs into them and starts doing their best to make sure the PC is having the 'best possible flight experience' despite the context?
  • One of the PC's contacts should be here, either by coincidence or by virtue of having gotten them the job in the first place.
  • For all his bravado and muscle, Jaws, so named for his powerful mechanical bite that unhinges to great lengths, is cowardly and won't attack any PC he doesn't think he can beat one-on-one. He will attempt to threaten a prisoner, PC, or civilian he grabs with biting said target's head off, on the promise that he's let go.
    • Fluffy McHelpful is an ideal target, because the PCs will have to decide between legal ramifications and watching an annoyance get bitten in half (always fun).

  • Feel free to describe a vast, bustling cityscape view as they fly into Metroplanet. Do any of the PCs have fond memories of the planet? Any goals while they're here after the job's done? Shopping to do, perhaps?

Puzzle/Roleplaying: At least one prisoner has escaped recently, and the warden secretly suspects one of the PCs has been tasked with enabling another escape. He makes things as difficult as possible to enter so that he can study and intimidate the PCs. His right hand man is tasked with studying the most suspicious PC as they escort the prisoners to holding cells.
Notes for this stage:
  • Whatever the DM decides to do with the escaped prisoner that caused the Warden to go on guard, consider making that character important in the future or related to one of the PCs somehow.
  • The Warden and his assistant are both members of the Argosian Knights, a cult that believes that all individual personalities will eventually merge into a greater psionic hivemind as psionics become more prevalent. They have differing positions within their religion, though they respect each other.
    • If one of the PCs are a Knight, or have a position on the religion, it might come up.

  • Maybe one of the PCs does have a rap sheet, or a reason why they would fall under greater suspicion. Interacting with that could be important. Alternatively, they could be law enforcement themselves, and hold a position relative to the Warden.
  • In order to make them show their true colors, the Warden will try to make them uncomfortable (separating them from their weapons, making them remove outer garments) in order to gauge their position on authority and view of him. A successful check of his motives will tell a PC he's doing it mostly to scare out treachery.

Twist/Setback: Turns out that the right hand man is actually the one that raised his boss's suspicions in the first place, but he's been clever enough to hide his tracks so far- until, of course, one of the PCs found him out in the last phase. As soon as someone realizes he's the traitor or he maneuvers a gullible enough PC into position, he sets off a mass release protocol.
Notes for this stage:
  • Prisoners may try to chat to PCs, stirring up pity for their circumstances and asking for small favors. Acceding to this will increase suspicions towards that PC if the warden is present. However, if the assistant is present but the warden is not, the assistant will promise one of the prisoners a small favor 'in the near future'- a hint that he may be more than he seems.
  • The right hand man will chat up the PCs, trying to judge them. If his pride is played to, he will boast that the Warden trusts him more than any other member of the prison staff. This is the second major hint- that he has access to the logs.
  • The third hint that the assistant is more than he seems is that he will invite one of the PCs into a control room and reveal what the warden's true concerns are about. Based on the PC's reaction, he may try to trick them into activating the release protocol on his behalf.
  • The Warden should be locked out of the upcoming fight as one of the Assistant's first moves, whether it be a 'security feature' or what not.
  • The party should have no reason to feel sorry for the Assistant (They've known him for all of what, half an hour?), so having him rub the moment in a PC's face will be more than enough prompting for people to start calling for blood.

Climax/Fight: The treacherous warden's assistant provides long-range poking for high damage, while the violent escaping prisoners cause a massive swell of mooks that the PCs can slap around. Using the environment is key for this fight, especially with multiple floors, door switches that can be closed but not opened, and conveniently placed balconies.
Notes for this stage:
  • The Assistant's main tactic is to be a slimy little skunk and retrieve a smuggled sniper rifle he stowed on the third balcony before taking potshots at the party from afar. He does not care about shooting the escaping prisoners, so feel free to describe misses as hitting crowd members.
  • If the Assistant had a PC follow him, he should have a secondary weapon/psionic power to temporarily disorient or stun them while he skips out. Failing that, he doesn't want to stay in a one-on-one duel but may have to.
  • Prisoners should be treated as a horde and use horde attacks. Feel free to include a 'boss monster' prisoner that has excellent stats and fights apart from the group.
    • If you want to bring Jaws back (presuming he survived), he may be interested in Round 2 against his better judgement.

Reward/Revelation: The warden, having been cut off from the PCs by a door during the fight, thanks them profusely and apologizes for being so blunt. He offers them a letter of recommendation- and a new job, because someone did actually get to escape during the mess. Who it is and what this means for the campaign is up to the DM.
Notes for this stage:
  • If you've been saving a plot hook, now's the time to use it. Failing that, there's always some sort of super-powered freak or mob boss that wants to be out of prison. Get creative.
  • It's been a long day. Maybe consider letting the PCs cool off at one of their preferred haunts/vices before pushing for the next plot point.
  • The Warden's in your debt. Maybe he can be a future contact? Maybe there's more to him than meets the eye and he's actually someone else in addition to being the Warden.
  • Does the Assistant get away? I hope not. Perhaps he gets shot in the back by someone who paid him for the break attempt, leaving you with clues to the next part of the game.

Updated 08-01-2020 at 07:09 PM by DarkisnotEvil