The Midnight Sun

Saul McBee thought he’d hit it rich. Somewhere in the Yukon’s remote north, he’d staked a promising claim - six months of hiking through the bush and he’d finally hit paydirt. Or so he told his fellow stakers, a day’s trek from the pickup point.

McBee was a newcomer to their crew, an American to boot and a royal pain in the neck, constantly complaining about the cold. He’d lost parts of his own gear more than once and had to borrow from the others. The five of them had been staking claims for years in the remote Yukon wilderness, with little luck. When Saul wouldn’t shut up about his payday, they were furious. They demanded a cut. Saul refused. Tempers flared. One thing led to another, and in their rage no one could say who’d struck the killing blow. But Saul McBee was dead, and something would need to be done about it.

In the Yukon wilderness, far from civilization, it isn’t unheard of for stakers to go missing. Saul McBee would be just another newcomer who didn’t make it back. But there would be a search. The crew had to ensure that nothing was found.

A veteran staker, John Bell knew of an old steamboat wreck. Bell’s crew dragged McBee’s frozen corpse to the banks of the Peel River and aboard the rusted hulk. They scavenged wood and coal and lit the old boiler, then stuffed McBee in.

The sizzling and crackling noises soon turned to screams. The dead man McBee called their names, cursed them, begged them for more fuel, more warmth. Shawn Hanley, the youngest of the crew, threw open the boiler door to see for himself; the thing that was Saul snaked fiery tendrils around him and left a dessicated, frozen husk behind. That was the last time any of them opened the door.

But the thing that was Saul continued to speak to the men. It promised them riches, would tell them where to stake and where to dig if only they’d keep it warm. Bell’s crew did as they were asked, reluctantly at first, but as the thing’s tips panned out they grew more eager. Bell and another man went to the rendezvous as planned, knowing there’d be a search if they didn’t. Bell spun a story about how the other men had found a claim and insisted on remaining; a strange explanation to be sure, but it would buy them time.

It has been weeks now since they lit the boiler. Bell’s crew tend the fire, partly so the thing will lead them to fortune, and partly because they fear what it will do to them if the fire goes out. They rotate in and out in pairs, not willing to leave any one man alone with the thing that was Saul. People are beginning to ask questions; Bell’s crew insist that both McBee and Hanley are alive and well, though neither has been seen or heard from. The RCMP are putting together a missing persons case. M-EPIC has taken note as well; the case bears many of the hallmarks of cult activity. It is imperative that when the RCMP look into Bell’s crew, they find nothing out of the ordinary. Time is short.


John Bell is a veteran staker and sole owner/proprietor of Bell Prospecting and Surveying. The company is not doing well and Bell struggles to provide for his wife and toddler daughter. In fact the company is already bankrupt, and the thing that was Saul represents his last lifeline. He is a desperate man and will do anything to keep hold of it.

Troy Connelly is a geologist from Newfoundland who came west looking for work and adventure. He laughs and tells jokes and drinks heavily because if he didn’t he’d have to think about what happens next.

Jason Reeve lost his oilfield job to the 2014 recession, and his Fort McMurray home to the 2016 wildfire. He is exceptionally loyal to Bell, who he feels gave him a break by hiring him.

Cameron Pretzger is the youngest member, a Dawson native who went to school with Shawn Hanley. He is looking for a way out but doesn’t dare tell the rest; he’s just as afraid of Bell as he is of the thing in the boiler.

Two men rotate to Dawson or Whitehorse to get supplies, the other two remain in the barge. When they return, two go out to stake claims while two remain in the barge. No one is left alone with Saul. As Connelly and Pretzger are the obvious leads to pursue, it is suggested that they be in on a supply run when the investigation begins. Connelly could be coerced with drink, and Pretzger will talk if he’s promised immunity; he did after all help murder Saul McBee. Neither man will easily volunteer anything unnatural, only half-believing it themselves.


Terrain limits the Officers’ approach to the air; luckily the Whitehorse division has an ageing AStar 350 Eurocopter on loan from the RCMP. Bell’s men will fire on any Officers who disembark within sight of the barge. They will also hear any helicopter within about 5 kilometers that loiters long enough to unload passengers. Unless their plan is to storm the wreck and take it by force - achievable if the Officers are better equipped and have the advantage of numbers - the Officers should disembark outside of hearing range and approach overland.

The Handler is left to adjudicate conditions on the ground, but assume that Bell’s crew is inexperienced at fortifying against intrusion. The Handler is also left to adjudicate whether all four men are at the barge, or if the other two are absent and return later; the latter is suggested for the possibility that their sudden return might be an interesting complication.

Bell’s men are armed with hunting rifles and shotguns. Bell will fight to the death, but the rest of the men will surrender with a successful Persuade roll each. If taken alive, both Reeve and Bell will look for an opportunity to gain the advantage and overpower the Officers, enlisting the aid of Pretzger and Connelly if able.

If the boiler fire isn’t regularly tended, the thing in the boiler will force its way out and seek a source of warmth - likely, something living. Simply waiting it out is not an option; Saul McBee continues to burn even when submerged in the icy water of the Peel River. A permanent solution is necessary.


Smouldering, screaming corpse
STR 15, DEX 12, POW 16, other stats don’t matter
SKILLS: Seek Warmth 80%
ATTACKS: Fiery Tendrils 60% (sets alight up to three nearby targets, 1d6 fire per turn on hit, DEX x5 to put out)
Consume Warmth 75% (treat as a Pin; inflicts Lethality 10% each turn as the target’s body heat is sucked out)
ARMOR: Transcendent (takes no damage from regular attacks, cannot be extinguished; successful hypergeometry attack destroys it if the operator passes an opposed POW x5 test; a fail inflicts 1d8 damage akin to a really bad case of brain freeze.)
If destroyed with hypergeometry the Thing in the Boiler explodes in a burst of searing flame; treat as a 10% Lethality attack with a 5m kill radius
SAN: 0/1d6 (additional 1/1d6 if it explodes)


Thomas Anawak is a hunter with a drinking problem who lives off the grid near Peel River. He is also the grandson of an Inuit shaman. He has been unable to sleep for weeks, kept awake and driven slowly mad by what he calls “the midnight sun”, which he sees whenever he closes his eyes. He knows that something burns within the boiler, and knows how to end it, but will share little more than that; he knows enough about spirits to fear speaking aloud about them. Anawak has approached Bell’s camp several times, each time driven off by gunfire. He remains determined; it is likely that the Officers will cross paths with him while approaching the barge or if they search the surrounding wilderness.

Anawak is eager to help but isn’t much use in a firefight; if present during an armed confrontation he takes a bullet in the gut and bleeds out. This is the only circumstance under which he will tell anyone else how to perform the ritual.


After Bell’s crew is dealt with, Tom Anawak (or whoever is performing the ritual in his stead) waits until dark and lights a bonfire; a clear sky is necessary as the aurora must be visible. The operator drums to draw the thing that was McBee out of the boiler.

Once in the open, the operator must speak a chant in an old Inuit dialect - for a non-native speaker this is an INT x5 test or the thing becomes hostile. The operator then slits their own throat - Tom Anawak uses a ceremonial bone knife - in order to show Saul’s spirit the way to the afterlife; as the operator dies, the flames consuming Saul’s corpse rise into the sky and join with the northern lights.

It is possible to perform this ritual without requiring the operator’s suicide, but is more difficult; sacrificing another human instead requires a ritual activation roll and the expenditure of 12 WP. The sacrifice must be a human; an animal is not sufficient.

Using hypergeometry to destroy Saul is also possible, but dangerous - see above.

It may be possible to contain the thing that was Saul without destroying or banishing it, but doing so will be both extremely dangerous and difficult. The Handler is encouraged to entertain any plan the Officers devise, so long as it is stressed that such a plan is not a permanent solution.


This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Will Roy.

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