Table of Contents
The PCs must remotely guide a SEAL team through hostile territory through the lens of a UAV – while the SEALs are being hunted by unknown cultists and monsters alike.
The player characters (PCs) are called to an urgent mission at the nearest Air Force base. The GM should play up how this is interrupting whatever the PCs are doing – in the middle of their jobs, family time, recreational activities, etc. - specific to each PC.
Once there, they learn that a 4-man US Navy SEAL team was deployed on a recon mission – the players are not told where or in what country – to observe a suspected terrorist camp.
During the recon, the SEALs came in contact with the enemy (Tangos) at night, and exchanged fire, withdrawing and calling in a Reaper drone to guide them and possibly provide fire support.
Small groups of Tangos are pursuing them, but the Reaper drone operators spotted something anomalous – a number of large “blob” contacts on infra-red. The SEALs’ CO, a DG friendly, recognised these contacts as the possible IR signatures of mythos entities, at which point he called A-Cell and they got the PCs involved. The CO has not yet told the SEALs what is following them.
The Race Against Time
Right now, it's night at the SEALs' location. The Reaper can observe only with pixelated black-and-white infra-red and (occasionally, when trees aren’t in the way) grainy green night vision cameras. Watching hideous white blobs on the monitors is bad enough, but in a few hours the sun will come up and the drone operators (and anyone else in the control room) will be exposed to the sight of shoggoths on live HD video. This is less than desirable.
The PCs are immediately given radio headsets and invited into a control room after a hurried conversation on disclosure, with two operators sitting at control consoles and a wall of monitors which show the view from the Reaper drone aircraft. The PCs are to try and guide the SEALs back to their boat on the shore of the river, avoiding the shoggoths and groups of hunting Tangos.
They may have to provide psychological support to the SEALs after they encounter a shoggoth, or if the Tangos are using some form of Mythos-related magic.
PCs with extensive military contacts might even try to wrangle more air support but this arrives very late in the scenario, if at all.
The PCs at the control room may even have to leave to go retrieve research materials or anything that might help from a local Green Box (“How fast is a shoggoth?” “You remember a book in storage that might have some details…”).
The GM might even have some players take control of the DG agents, one control the drone operators, and some take control of the SEALs on the ground.
Four experts at combat. Two with assault rifles/grenade launchers, one with light machine gun, one with heavy rifle (sniper rifle), assorted grenades, night-vision goggles, radios, GPS units, first aid kits, other military gear, and a civilian sat phone among them.
They haven't seen monsters before, and are likely to take being told “don't go that way, there's a shoggoth there!” poorly, especially if the PC on the line doesn't sound professional.
The CO & Drone Operators
The SEAL CO (Commanding Officer), two drone operators (pilot and sensors). The GM should play up the communication between the CO and the drone operators as long as it doesn't interfere with gameplay “Pilot, level out.” “Pilot copies.” “Sensor, centre camera on that Hotel” “On Hotel, copy” etcetera. The three of them are already operating at less than usual sanity, from the stresses of their jobs and what they’ve seen on the monitors so far.
The Reaper UAV
Four laser-guided Hellfire missiles. A single missile is probably not enough to kill a shoggoth ouright.
A HD colour video, which at the moment shows nothing because it's night time locally,
A heavily pixelated black-and-white thermal infra-red camera,
A grainy and distorted green night vision camera.
The mundane threat, six or seven groups of five men, each with rifles and maybe an RPG launcher or RPK machine gun per group.
Two of these groups are in jeeps with floodlights, which easily outpace the SEALs but must stay on dirt roads.
The SEALs can easily take one group themselves but need guidance against larger groups.
The Tangos keep their distance from the shoggoths, but might capitalise on their attacks.
The SEALs are being shadowed by at least four shoggoths through dense foliage, uneven terrain and rocky gullies at night. The SEALs are unlikely to see them from afar, even with their NVGs, unless the PCs deliberately lead them into an open area. The Shoggoths can travel much faster than the SEALs on foot, but seem to be following and watching at the moment, eventually making cautious approaches towards the SEALs and toying with them before moving in for a kill. They'll also try to encircle the SEALs, but don't seem to cooperate with the Tangos.
In the control room, the CO doesn't know exactly what shoggoths are capable of, and calls them “Hotels” to identify them to the drone controllers – Hotel = “H” for “hostile”.
As the SEALs make their way to their boat, a number of events might happen. Events X1-X5 could be inserted in any order that makes sense.
Event 1: Contact with two Tango jeeps.
The SEALs must cross a dirt road ahead, but the two Tango jeeps are there ahead of them.
PCs might advise to avoid, sneak between or engage them.
Those in the control room may suffer SAN loss from ordering the SEALs to engage the Tangos (Inflicting Violence), or from Helplessness (unable to affect the outcome once the shooting starts).
The SEALs, PC guidance or no, will move as fast as possible away from the jeeps, breaking contact in the safety of the foliage on the other side of the road.
Event 2: Hotel Approach
A shoggoth approaches the SEALs from the rear, trying to get as close as possible before attracting the SEALs' attention, then withdrawing.
This will be the first test of how the PCs and the SEALs interact – do they tell the SEALs the odds? Or just yell at the SEALs to run?
Event 3: Tango patrol catches up
A jeep drops off a Tango patrol near the SEALs, who begin seeking them, as the jeep goes back for more Tangos. Violence plays out on the screen as the PCs advise, hopefully before more Tangos arrive.
Event 4: Hotel Contact
One shoggoth tries to snatch one of the SEALs, while another moves to lie in wait in the opposite direction.
Event 5: Tango sweep
The jeeps have deposited a few groups of Tangos ahead of the SEALs and are sweeping towards them. Engaging without support is not going to go well.
Event X1: SEALs refuse advice
At some point, the SEALs are going to dismiss or ignore whatever the PCs advise, especially if it’s something obviously occult like “bunch up and draw an Elder sign” or makes no military sense. They might run when they should stay put, pick a different route, or refuse to engage a target.
Event X2: Invisible Obstacle
The SEALs locate an obstacle on the ground that the PCs, through the Reaper’s cameras, can’t see. Maybe a minefield or other traps. This is to throw off any PC plans going too smoothly.
Event X3: The Village
The path back to the boat takes the SEALs near (but not through) a small village. One of the shoggoths may break away from the pursuit to go and investigate it (and its inhabitants). Humanitarian PCs might use the Reaper’s Hellfire missiles to interfere or ask the SEALs to intervene. Less humanitarian PCs might request the Reaper’s cameras turn away.
Event X4: The SEALs lose it
Hunted by men and monsters, low on ammo or carrying wounded, the SEALs might (understandably) freak out. Possibly panic and run off, freeze up, or consider eating a bullet. It’s up to the PCs to try and talk them out of it.
Event X5: The Hotels adapt.
The shoggoths may clue on to the fact that they are being observed from above and start using creative means to elude the drone’s sensors, or mess with the SEALs’ communications. Attacks by the shoggoths are probably presaged by “Teke-lili! Teke-lili!” echoing over the radio.
Scenario ends when the SEALs get back to the boat and speed away, or they all end up dead.
Possible Sanity losses
From Helplessness, likely at multiple points throughout this scenario.
For ordering the SEALs to attack Tangos who haven’t spotted them yet.
For witnessing deaths from violence/Mythos violence.
For witnessing Shoggoths on screen once the sun comes up.
This was an entry to the 2015 shotgun scenario contest. Written by Scott Butler.