The Case of the Bushdogs

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Nick Jervis
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The Case of the Bushdogs

Postby Nick Jervis » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:22 pm

(I dunno if this would be more appropriate here or in the B13 section. What follows is a scenario I wrote for a group of new players, which I thought might be of interest here. Also, in case of confusion, we're using the original rules)

The Case of the Bushdogs

Leavenworth, IN

Bureau Analytics has noted a possible correlation in three events having taken place recently in or near Leavenworth, IN. Leavenworth is a small town on the Ohio River with a population of about 350. One of its modest attractions is the Horseshoe Bend RV Campground just outside the west edge of town, which during the summer hosts about ten campers and hikers per day.

1.) 6/1/2013 - Phil Rodriguez, 40, called police to state that a large portion (roughly 4' x 7' by 1') of a privacy hedge on his property had been removed by his neighbor, Carlito Mendoza, 37. Mendoza claimed ignorance of the incident, and was able to prove that he and his family had been out of town at the time of the hedge's disappearance. He further told police that Mr. Rodriguez was "Exactly the sort of spiteful weasel who'd destroy his own hedge just to try and get someone else in trouble." No charges were filed.

2.) 6/20/2013 - Melissa Phelps, 42, reported that a "rabid hell-beast from Fort Hillbilly" attacked her doberman, Quincy. Although the dog survived, he was covered in deep scratches and had several nasty bites. When Quincy was found, he had leaves and twigs in his teeth. Mrs. Phelps suggests the attack was the result of unchained pit bulls wandering into town from their rural homes and attacking "well-kept, harmless family pets." The animal in question has not been found, but law enforcement officers have been instructed to be on the lookout for wild dogs and any pet ownership violations.

3.) 6/23/2013 - Emett Pittman, 33, local librarian, was attacked at approximately 10 P.M. two days ago, while walking home from an all-night grocery store. Although his wounds suggested nothing more than an animal attack, he claims to have been accosted by "a shrub the size of a motorcycle." Although leaves and twigs were found on his person, his story was considered "the result of opiates and an active imagination" by local police. When Emett was found, deputies noted that he smelled strongly of marijuana and liquor. Under the circumstances, Sheriff Tim Wilkerson chose not to pursue charges. He and his deputies have intensified the hunt for the animal that attacked Melissa Phelps' doberman last week, presuming it may have been the same creature, and have been going door-to-door in the rural parts of the county to issue citations and warnings about dogs being unchained and possibly rabid. Emett also notes that "beer and cheez-its" were missing from his ripped-open grocery bags, which were near his person. Oddly, a pound of roast beef and a half-dozen slim jims were still in the bag, suggesting that it was a human, and not an animal, that took his groceries. Law Enforcement officials have no leads on who it was that found Pittman unconscious and left him there, but suspect it was a local vagrant.

Interviewing Pittman

Emett sticks to his claim that he saw a bush attack him. "I walked right up next to the thing, kind of brushed against it, and then it just leapt up out of the ground." He concedes that it is a far fetched story, but doesn't know how else to describe it. "It had its teeth on my arm, right up near my face, and I remember thinking how its mouth was dry and cool, and I couldn't feel any breath or slobber, or smell any dog stench." Emett lost conciousness due to striking his head on the sidewalk during the attack.

Interviewing Phelps, Mendoza, or Rodriguez

These individuals know nothing of the paranormal nature of the attack and stick firmly to the stories they gave police. This is a deadend of mostly listening to small-town neighbors complain bitterly about one another. Examining the area of the missing hedge in Mr. Rodriguez's yard produces no useful information, as he has already planted a new, smaller hedge there and disturbed any evidence that might have been left behind. Mrs. Phelps' dog is still recovering from his injuries, but was released after a two-week quarantine at a local vet showed that he had not contracted rabies or any other dangerous disease from the attack.

Surveillance

Watching the town at night with IR reveals nothing, but motion sensor and plain NV surveillance have a 10% + Surveillance Skill chance per hour of showing a Bushdog moving about the town. If one is approached it will likely turn to attack, but if fire is brandished it will attempt to flee instead. At the end of the night, or earlier if they are chased off, they return to the RV campground to replant themselves for the day. Following them can lead to a trail of bright cheezit crumbs and oreo sleeves, eventually terminating at an enormous oak that appears to recently have been cut about a third of the way through the trunk with a chainsaw. Approaching the tree will awaken the Dryad, if she is not already aware of the agents approach, and either way she will come down from the branches to demand an accounting of the agents. Although angry, she is also chatty, and perfectly willing to share her plan, amid severe admonishments for the whole race of mankind. Agents will realize that while certainly majestic and ancient, the Dryad is hopelessly naive and completely out of touch with the way the world really works.

While the Dryad converses, her bushdogs (three in all) will approach with the sound of rustling leaves. If threatened, angered, or just hung over enough, she may order them to attack. She herself will flee back into the tree.

Reality

The bushdogs are mobile plants that have been animated by a Dryad for vengeful purposes. She is angry because her home in the Horseshoe Bend RV Campground was recently vandalized, and she fears that without 'retribution', the sons of Men will come and clearcut her precious trees. She is a proud but nervous creature and not nearly as bright as she thinks. She is actually fond of Mankind's trappings and loves nothing more than to sneak a bit of food or drink out of a camper's cooler during the night. On rare occasions she has taken human form in order to socialize, but these encounters have not gone well in the past, and she has not assumed human form since 1971.

A pack of teens on a "do it yourself" kick went to the state park to cut down trees, the idea being that they wanted to make their own canoes for rafting the local river. However, they had little luck finding a large enough tree, until they spotted the Dryad's oak. They immediately set to chainsawing it, but fled when they heard the snarl and bark of a wolf over the noise of their tools. The tree was severely damaged and remains unstable, and their litter (Pabst Blue Ribbon cans mostly) remains in the area. The kids told no one what they were up to or what they saw.

The Dryad didn't know what to do, and was feeling angry and frustrated. Since the kids had left some of their supplies in a cooler during their haste to escape the "wolf," she helped herself to a veggie sub and a beer while she was thinking. In two millenia of life, it was her first drop of alcohol.

Suddenly inspired with all sorts of wild ideas and no concern at all for consequences, she sent out the spirits of some of her oldest trees to animate bushes in town and attack, seeking vengeance and any snacks (particularly beer) they can grab. She has the alcohol tolerance of a nine-year-old and is still working her way through the twelve bottles of beer her bushdogs stole from Emett Pittman. A sober Dryad is aware of anything that happens near her tree, but agents approaching have a 60% chance of finding her too drunk to notice them. There is an additional 15% chance that they will find her severely hungover and grouchy.

Solution

The Dryad is angry at mankind and mostly wants to be assured that this won't happen again. She would also like more snacks and some help repairing her tree, but claims that it would take "strong Earth magic and many long summers" to fix. In reality the supplies to fix the tree can be found at the local Home Depot. Kind words, some work on her tree, and an agreement to occasionally send her liquor and Oreos will put this case to bed.

A Bushdog is a heavy, gnarled root, with four strong leg-like projections, a wolf-like head with no discernible features other than a thorn-filled mouth, and a large shrub growing from its back. Depending on the plant it was animated from, the bush may be larger or smaller, may be flowering, or could even be a topiary.

Bushdogs are difficult to harm. Only striking the central root of the beast can really kill it, and even then the "spirit" of the beast can flee to find other host plants. If nothing suitable is nearby, the Bushdog spirit will flee back to the dryad for replanting. Bushdogs are not intelligent, and have been known to posses plants regardless of utility (for example, it could technically assume control of a bonsai tree and make it flee its pot, regardless of the fact that a 6-inch body is useless for its purpose).

* * * *


EXP
Exp for resolving the scenario is 1200, with the following modifiers:
-100 Pittman remains convinced that something paranormal happened
-100 Tree is not healed
-100 Taking too long (four+ days)
-200 Weapons fire in town
-100 Threatening, bullying, or otherwise accosting the Dryad
-50 Town believes wild dog is still on the loose
-50 Unnecessary entanglement with local law enforcement

****
My group managed to resolve this case fairly quickly, although they had some difficulty talking with the Dryad. Using the cover of a lawyer from an Indianapolis firm, one of the agents convinced Mr. Pittman to change his story so that he could get involved with a class-action suit, along with Mrs. Phelps, against the local Animal Control authorities who failed to prevent the wild 'dog' attacks that resulted in their injuries. They set a trap of Cheeze-its and orange soda for the bushdogs, who led them back to the Dryad's tree. Although they didn't think to fix the tree (when the Dryad erroneously claimed that it would take mighty magic to do so, they believed her), they did setup a regular delivery of junkfood to the Campground in exchange for her promise to leave the local populace, and alcohol, alone. Finally, they set loose, and subsequently captured, a pair of mangy pitbulls in the town, to once and for all prove that the attacks were entirely normal in nature.
Last edited by Nick Jervis on Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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