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While staying at a small town during your journey, you hear a commotion going on out in the town square. Should you choose to investigate, you find twenty or so villagers arguing with a portly, middle-aged man in expensive clothing. The people sound like they’re complaining about fields of crops that have been burned and trampled!
“It’s common brigandry, nothing more,” the portly man – apparently the mayor – assures them, much to the annoyance of the crowd. “I’ll have the town watchmen patrol the area and deal with the miscreants. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more important affairs to attend to!”
The crowd mills around the town square, grumbling and talking amongst themselves. Should you wish to inquire further about their plight, you hear tales of strange rumbling noises and terrifying screams during the night. While you ponder this, a small woman with long brown hair, oversized spectacles and a number of satchels draped over her shoulders steps forward.
“I’m terribly sorry to eavesdrop,” she remarks in a crisp, educated accent. “I am Stephanie Culpepper, local detective. I think you should take me to the scene of this crime, post-haste! If my guess is correct, we will find important evidence that supports a theory I’m working on regarding disturbances in the local area. And you,” she adds, looking in your direction, “would you be so kind as to accompany me? You’re clearly equipped for, shall we say, ‘unforeseen circumstances’.”
If you decide to go with them, Stephanie implores the farmer to take you to the field where these disturbances occurred. You walk for nearly half an hour along a narrow road until you reach the farmstead in question. Just past the quaint house lies a field in ruins, with crops burned and crushed, as was described!
Stephanie rushes past you and starts examining the ground, taking care to tiptoe through the devastation in case she accidentally ruins some evidence. She pulls a large magnifying glass out of one of her satchels and examines a crushed stalk of wheat in greater detail.
“It’s just as I thought,” Stephanie beams with a triumphant smile. “This farm was destroyed by a giant, rolling juggernaut powered by the souls of the innocent, and crewed by forsaken spawns of darkness from hell itself. Judging by this residue, it came through a portal from beyond this world through arcane magic, but the texture indicates the foolish spellcaster was destroyed as soon as the portal manifested. Got their comeuppance a little early, I should think!. Come along, we have to stop that thing before it lays waste to more farmland!” With that, she dashes through the fields, following the trail left by your foes.
The farmer seems dumbfounded by her theory and gives you a shrug, but should you follow Stephanie based on this flimsy evidence and spurious reasoning, you hurry to catch up.
Stephanie grows increasingly determined to catch up to the cause of all this. If you have a way for all of you to travel more rapidly, Stephanie will be extremely grateful. Otherwise, after hours of travel you sense a strange tremor in the ground.
“Do you feel that?” she asks. “It’s close now, very close! This way!” She rushes onward and before long, you can see and hear a huge, hulking juggernaut grinding its way across the burned and crushed landscape. Of greater concern is another farmstead just beyond it, clearly the next target for this improbable machine!
“Boffins and crumpets,” Stephanie cries, “the people in that farmstead are in danger of being brutally eviscerated and turned into a fine paste! We have to help!” Even from here, you can see the beast-like monstrosities on top of the juggernaut, eager for the blood of innocents to be spilled. You spy a stairway at the back you can use to fight your way on board. Once you’re ready to go, you charge in, with Stephanie staying back a bit, ready to cover you with some sort of elaborate crossbow.
A few of the infernal creatures shoot bolts of fire at you from the top deck as you climb the stairs, and fight the guards that move to prevent you boarding the juggernaut. Should you prevail, you find yourself in the bowels of the juggernaut, where strange, arcane machinery propels it onwards.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing to stop this contraption in its tracks,” Stephanie assures you. She reaches into a satchel and pulls out a wrench, and throws it into the gears. The machine groans as gears break and the whole juggernaut grinds to a halt!
“That’ll save the farmstead, but the monsters operating this thing need to be finished once and for all. Let’s go and clean their clocks, shall we?” The stairs up beckon from nearby, leading you to the top deck where a host of infernal monsters await, under the guidance and supervision of their commander, wielding a long, vicious sword.
“Look at that bloated slug,” Stephanie remarks as you deal with them, “fat from feasting on the flesh of innocents, forcing his lesser brethren to fight for him while he drools at the prospect of gorging on our tender, innocent flesh!” Stephanie shoots her crossbow at the leader, drawing him into the fight where you can face him down!
If you survive the battle, you are cheered by the townsfolk and treated to a feast in your honor.
“Another mystery solved,” Stephanie remarks, dusting off her hands and ignoring the strange look you give her. “Come, let us enjoy the festivities while we may, because while we may have restored the peace, miscreants, ne’er-do-wells, and hell spawns from the nether world do not sleep!”
You are presented with a bag of gold for your efforts, and you get to keep the infernal monster’s vicious sword, too!
You can use demons, devils, or some other monstrous foe to populate the juggernaut.
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Inventor of the SabreRPG system (which we love), Steve's the wonderful GM who hosted many fantastic campaigns for the Seafoot family. He's been writing, illustrating, and publishing his own books for over a decade, and is best known for The Aielund Saga. We're so glad to have him on our team writing these fantastic adventure modules, as well as Adventurer's Guides. His experience as both writer and GM makes him incredible at what he does, and we think you'll agree when you read his work!