The Thing in the Sugar Shack

An M EPIC Shotgun Scenario

Silently you
Slip through the wood
Graceful, you move
Beneath every bloom, I know it’s you

Table of Contents

SUMMARY
A DEATH VINE from space recruited a cult in rural Quebec using parasitic POLLEN. These BROTHERS must sate its endless hunger for meat.

M EPIC INVOLVEMENT
Section head Pierre Demassard briefs Officers at the EPIC office in the Quebec underground, beneath the Guy Favreau Complex.

Two days ago, dairy farmer David Olmstead reported a cattle mutilation in the backcountry outside Voyageur to the Forest Ministry . The cow was “melted and ripped in half”.

(The photos show a cow with skin and musculature dissolved by digestive acid. Parts are missing, torn away like taffy.

The body is flecked with orange pollen.

The last photo shows drag marks into the woods, made by a barrel shaped object)

This hit our desk today. The Olmsteads aren’t answering phone or email. Get down there, identify and contain any supernatural threat. You’ll find Enfields, shotguns and radios in the locker. Take the work truck.

VOYAGEUR
Voyageur, Quebec: population 300. Primary language French. Early Spring, the forest roads are frozen and muddy.

POLLEN in the air. Out of season, not coming from the trees. (One CON save per day of exposure. Drift traceable to FRANK’S SUGAR BUSH through meteorology)

The town co-op markets and sells syrup and milk from surrounding farms. Co-op head Arlou Sadie hasn’t heard of any cattle mutilation, but mentions the Daviscourt and Lumier farms have not sent milk, despite the season turning. Farmhand Marie Falling Drum assured him it was trouble with the roads.

(Arlou isn’t a cultist, but the syrup is POLLEN tainted. This can be backtraced to Frank’s.

The Daviscourts, Lumieres and their cows were fed to the DEATH VINE. Their ABANDONED FARMS now host cultists)

Two police officers: Absentminded Sergeant Joe D'artagnan and cunning Patrolman Edwina Lavosier. Joe greets Officers, but quickly delegates to Edwina. She’ll accompany them to the Olmstead’s.

(Edwina is a BROTHER)

The town vet has antibiotics.

The hardware store sells respirators.

OLMSTEAD FARM
The Olmstead Farm has a farmhouse, a cowshed, a storage shed, and a fence.

It was inhabited by David and Jo Olmstead, and their son Tim. None are present.

The snow is covered with POLLEN. (CON saves every 3 hours, or every hour in the house or barn)

The fence is crushed. There are bootprints of four people, and drag marks from a barrel shape.

The barn is empty, doors torn open. It’s full of POLLEN, and smells like digestive acid (from the SYMBIOTE).

The mutilated cow is gone.

The farmhouse door was breached by a shotgun at close range.

The second floor is dusted with pollen. There are no bloodstains. The footprints from outside are visible in the pollen.

This all happened last night.

(Four BROTHERS and a SYMBIOTE snuck up. The Symbiote broke the fence and tore the doors off the barn, pacified the cows with pollen, then ate them. The cultists breached the house and sprayed pollen. David and Jo were fed to the Symbiote. Tim was taken alive).

DEATH VINE
The space seed landed a month ago. Astronomers observed, but assumed the meteorite burned up in the atmosphere. (Said observations pinpoint FRANK’S SUGAR BUSH). It germinated the Death Vine.

The Vine‘s body is mostly stomachs and pollen glands, buried underground. The purple “flower” and vines are exposed. The flower is moist with acid, which softens prey for internal digestion. The vines end in giant hands. It is largely immobile. It communicates with worshipers by grasping their hands. It tells them it’s hungry.

POLLEN
A biologist or similar can discover that the “pollen” is actually a neural symbiont, which binds to the brain when inhaled.

The Handler makes a secret CON save when the Officers inhale it (frequency determined by intensity of exposure). A failed save advances the stage of infection.
The patient automatically fails HUMINT tests against BROTHERS.
As above, but the patient must test SAN every time they take hostile action against the BROTHERS, SYMBIOTES or DEATH VINE. Lose 1 WP and 1 SAN on a failure.
As above, but the loss is automatic, no SAN test.
As above, but the loss is 1D4 WP and SAN.
Physical changes begin.

A gas mask or respirator protects against inhalation.

Physical Changes
The hands turn green, neural connections pushing through pores. The face grows purple flowers. The patient can share information directly with other changed subjects, by holding hands. This costs 0/D4 SAN and is addictive. It’s possible to force information out of unwilling participants through an opposed POW test.

Patients continue making CON saves after they reach stage 5. After two critically failed saves, they become a SYMBIOTE.

Antibiotics
The pollen has a cell wall, and can be killed by antibiotics.

A dose removes the pollen from the patient’s brain, freeing them from its control, and kills the external growths. This costs 1 SAN for each level of infection - an automatic temp at stage 5. It drives Symbiotes and the vine berserk. They kill anything in reach - friend or foe.

BROTHERS OF THE VINE
The Brothers’ religion is based on free love, neural sharing, and feeding meat to the DEATH VINE. First they hunted animals. Then they attacked nearby farms, carrying off cows and humans alike.

They have fed
Sandra Lumiere
Sam Lumiere
Kit Lumiere
Jenny Daviscourt
Antoinne Daviscourt
David Olmstead
Jo Olmstead
to the Vine.

Their hands are covered in green fronds, growing from their pores. These allow them to commune with each other, SYMBIOTES, or the Vine.

Advanced stage cultists have growths on their face, feet and genitals - the densest sensory nerves.

There are 12 cultists - dairy farmers, syrup tappers and other forest dwellers. Of note:

Frank Lebarge
Founder and leader. Charismatic and likeable. Purple flowers on his face. Gives enemies a chance to join the cult before killing them.

Marie Falling Drum
Handsome metis woman, Frank’s devoted lieutenant. The one who does business with normal people. Shrewd, but can be baited into gushing about her love for Frank and the cult.

Edwina Lavosier
Cop coopted by cultists. Pretends to be helpful. Observes Officers. Delays them, increasing their exposure to POLLEN. Eventually feeds them to the cult.

Tim Olmstead
The teenage survivor. Pollen addled, not upset about his parents dying. He gets to shoot guns, feed a cool alien, and fuck women old enough to be his mother.

If purged of pollen with antibiotics: Edwina helps fight the cult. Tim is traumatized. Marie and Frank stay loyal to the Vine.

SYMBIOTES
Overconsumption of pollen triggers another transformation. Plant fibers replace human tissue. Vines take over locomotion, the limbs dangle vestigially. The eyes blink moistly inside the purple flower crowning the trunk.

Symbiotes communicate through nerves in their hands. They spit acid on prey and tear off gooey chunks - for nourishment, and to regurgitate for the Vine. They sense gravitational distortions created by living beings through special cells. Animals like cows mask the gravity signature of smaller creatures like humans.

ABANDONED FARMS
The Daviscourt and Lumiere dairy farms. Marie was a farmhand, now she’s the boss. The farmers and cows were fed to the DEATH VINE. POLLEN exposure provokes CON saves every three hours.

Each farm has a barn, milkhouse, sheds, and a farmhouse. 2 BROTHERS live at each, a single SYMBIOTE patrols between them. They maintain the appearance of normalcy if visited and claim the cows are inside until the weather improves.

FRANK’S SUGAR BUSH
The BROTHERS’ base of operations, reachable via dirt road from VOYAGEUR.

POLLEN exposure provokes CON saves every hour.

Home to 2 SYMBIOTES and 8 cultists. D4 cultists and D4-2 Symbiotes are gone at any given time.

Cultists patrol in groups of 4 with a Symbiote. They use rifles to fix targets until the Symbiote gets up close. They block roads and set up ambushes by felling trees.

The farmhouse basement closet holds personal effects of the cult’s victims.

The maples are freshly tapped with plastic tubes. There’s a crater at the edge where the seed landed.

The tube lead to the sugar shack, where sap is boiled into syrup. The DEATH VINE lives under the floor hatch. The ceiling vent spews pollen into the air. Exposure provokes a CON save every minute.

PROGRESSION
If things get violent, Edwina radios and says EPIC is killing everyone. Sûreté du Québec show up four hours later to arrest Officers.

The Forest Ministry can to fly Officers over FRANK’S SUGAR BUSH in the Cessna (getting permission to spray antibiotics will be harder). If they fly without special dust filters on the engine, the aircraft is disabled by thick pollen and crashes.

If the compound is sprayed, two SYMBIOTEs and half the cultists die fighting. The Vine rampages through the woods. Officers in a crashed plane are attacked by maddened survivors.

After a week, everyone in VOYAGEUR is pollinated. The cult operates openly. Holdouts are fed to the Vine.

If things look bad, the Vine produces a skull-size seed for the cult to smuggle out. If the cultists are dead, it spits the seed into space.
NPCS

BROTHER OF THE VINE - Servitors of the Death Vine
STR 11, CON 11, DEX 11, INT 10, POW 10, CHA 10
HP 11, WP 10, SAN 44, Addiction: Communicating Via Neural Symbiosis
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Athletics 40%, Firearms 40%, Stealth 40%, Navigate 60%, Survival 60%
ATTACKS: Hunting Rifle (40%, D12+2, 5 AP) or Shotgun (60%, 2D10)
Big Knife (50%, D6, 3 AP)
Pollen Sprayer (50%, see POLLEN SPRAY)
POLLEN SPRAY: The cultists carry pollen sprayers that provoke two CON saves versus infection by THE POLLEN on a successful hit.
NEURAL SYMBIOSIS: The cultists can directly share information by linking hands with one another, or anyone else in fifth stage pollen infection.

SYMBIOTES - Once Human Servitors of the Death Vine
STR 18, CON 24, DEX 15, INT 7, POW 12
HP 20, WP 12
SKILLS: Alertness 10%, Athletics 75%, Stealth 60%
ARMOR: See PULPY MEMBRANE
ATTACKS: RIP AND TEAR (40%, 2D6)
PREDIGESTION (50% D6 and see PREDIGESTION)
GRAPPLE (60% and see ENVELOP)
POLLEN SPRAY (60% see POLLEN SPRAY)

PULPY MEMBRANE: The Symbiote’s fibrous body takes half damage from bullets and blunt weapons. Attacks aimed at the “brain case” where the vestigial arms meet the body ignore this resistance, but it takes a biologist to notice the weak point.

SUPERCONDUCTING FIBERS: A Symbiote gets two attacks per round. It can use the same attack twice, or two different ones.
PREDIGESTION: A successful acid spit attack reduces the target’s armor by the amount of damage absorbed.
ENVELOP: On the round after a successful grapple attack, a Symbiote can stuff any grappled victim with 8 or less HP into the purple flower on its head-hump. The victim takes 10% lethality damage per round from acid until they either die or escape (by passing an opposed STR test, or dealing at least 5 damage with an edged weapon).
POLLEN SPRAY: A Symbiote can spray a 5 meter radius cloud of pollen, provoking two CON saves from anyone who inhales it.

GRAVITROPISM: A Symbiote’s sense tissues can detect the mass of living things. It has a percentage chance to detect characters equal to their HP multiplied by 5.
NEURAL SYMBIOSIS: A Symbiote can directly share information by linking hands with anyone in fifth stage pollen infection.

SAN Loss: 1/D8

THE THING IN THE SUGAR SHACK - The Death Vine Zy‘tl q’ae
STR 36, CON 48, DEX 13, INT 5, POW 15
HP 40, WP 15
SKILLS: Alertness 10%
ARMOR: See PULPY MEMBRANE
ATTACKS: RIP AND TEAR (40%, 3D6)
PREDIGESTION (50% 2D6 and see PREDIGESTION)
GRAPPLE (60% and see ENVELOP)
POLLEN SPRAY (60% see POLLEN SPRAY)

PULPY MEMBRANE: The Death Vine’s fibrous body takes half damage from bullets and blunt weapons.

SUPERCONDUCTING FIBERS: The Death Vine gets one attack per round for each target within rach of its vines.
PREDIGESTION: A successful acid spit attack reduces the target’s armor by the amount of damage absorbed.
ENVELOP: On the round after a successful grapple attack, a DEATH VINE can stuff any grappled victim into the purple flower on its head-hump. The victim takes 15% lethality damage per round from acid until they either die or escape (by passing an opposed STR test, or dealing at least 5 damage with an edged weapon).
POLLEN SPRAY: In lieu of using its vines or acid, the Death Vine can spray a 10 meter radius cloud of pollen, provoking three CON saves from anyone who inhales it.
COMPEL WORSHIP: The Death Vine can compel anyone infected with its pollen to make a POW save. On a failure, they feed themselves to it willingly. It cannot do this if it’s been doused in antibiotics.

GRAVITROPISM: The Death Vine’s sense tissues can detect the mass of living things. It has a percentage chance to detect characters equal to their HP multiplied by 5.
NEURAL SYMBIOSIS: A Death Vine can directly share information by linking hands with anyone in fifth stage pollen infection.

SAN Loss: 1/D10

Credits

This was an entry to the 2020 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by mellonbread

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.