The Malling

Posted: November 14, 2009 in Horror, RPG, Scenario
Tags: ,

For Hallowe’en I gave myself a treat by picking up Postmortem Studio’s “Blood!” RPG in PDF format. For six bucks I figured there was no way to go wrong with a horror RPG taking it’s pedigree from movies like Halloween, Candyman, Friday the 13th and such. I mean what’s not to like about a game with pages and pages of critical hits for items like knitting needles and belt sanders?

This has totally inspired me and I was hit with a concept for a horror scenario…one I call “The Malling!”

Setup/Group Template

I’m a big fan of the idea of the group template, something that I first heard of through Fear the Boot.  The concept is simple, it’s a guideline between the players as to what principles the group should adhere to when making characters.  That is, they’re all paladins, they all are members of the Justice League, whatever, and some details around that.

As this is meant as a one off horror game where the characters are unlikely to be seen again (or even survive, bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha) the template here is quite open.  The only requirement is that the characters have to have a reason to be in a fast food restaurant, in a city, near closing time (say midnight).  They could be cops grabbing a bite, teens after a movie, a family on their way through town, wage slaves who work there, anything.

Opening Scene/Stage 1

Action opens with the characters in the aforesaid fast food joint, Green Door Burgers.  The restaurant is attached to a large mall by way of a large opening that is covered by a door (either glass or metal slats, GM’s choice) when the mall itself is closed (like it is now).  There is a single entrance/exit to the parking lot in the typical “airlock” style.

As the characters are doing whatever they’re doing in the place, a strange looking person enters.  He walks with a shuffling limp and is dressed in dirty clothing.  He looks somewhat like a street survivor, but anyone with keen perception can tell something doesn’t quite add up.  Anyway, the man approaches the counter but instead of ordering he asks simply “Where is it?” in a harsh, raspy voice.  After asking a few times and not getting the answer he desires, he will pull a shotgun out of the baggy trousers he wears (ah! that’s why he was limping) and blow away the closest person.  Pandemonium should ensue.

The man will deal harshly with any heroes who try and take him on, both with shotgun and his maniac fury.  All the while he’ll be asking “Where is it?”  Even if no one comes forward to go after him, he’ll start taking out anyone else in the restaurant.  If the characters make for the door, then a second maniac will enter, this one armed with a chain saw, and will take a stance guarding the entrance.

The goal for this stage is for the characters to escape the restaurant into the mall, by whatever means they are able to use.  Should any of the characters think to try and phone for help, either land line, cell or police radio, the device will fail.  Either there will be no connection, or at the GM’s discretion, there will be hissing static, followed by the question “…where is it?…”

Stage 2

The name of the game at this point is “survive”.  Once the characters are into the mall, Shotgun will be joined by Chainsaw (if he’s not there yet) and optionally Shears (or Knife, or Belt Sander, whatever you prefer…oh and feel free to make any of them women, they don’t have to be men.  That’d be different too…I mean when have you ever seen a female Jason type?)

The mall doors are all locked and covered with metal crash doors, which means that basically the only way out is though the restaurant.  Feel free to have at least one maniac stand guard.  Or even have them appear from the restaurant as a surprise should they characters make a dash for it when they think the coast is clear.

All the stores within the mall are closed and locked up with the same kind of door types that separated the restaurant from the mall.  If any of the characters work in the mall they may have keys to the store.  Among the stores in the mall are a few promising ones for the characters.  These include: a sporting goods store (which stocks rifles, pistols, shotguns and ammo all under lock and key of course, as well as things like axes), a cutlery store filled with knives, cleavers and maybe a sword or two, and a home improvement store which stocks large numbers of tools which would all be good for injuring themselves and others.

Have the maniacs show up and disappear regularly, all the while tossing off their tagline of “where is it?”  It should be fairly clear that they’re looking for something, but what no one can be sure.  For the characters, the idea now is to find some safety and protection, something to help fend off those crazies.

Stage 3

Put it all together.

This is where the players have to work out exactly what the “it” is, and what to do about “it”.

Here are a few options, feel free to come up with your own…

  1. “it” is a cursed gem calling demons or else creating zombies (non-replicating) to release it into the world for some more sinister purpose…maybe it calls up Satan?  Just an idea.  Anyway, a good way to destroy it is through heat, like dropping it into the french-fry machine.  The gem is in a piece of jewelry back in the Green Door that someone was going to give their girlfriend, or that some girlfriend just received and locked up before her shift.
  2. Shotgun, Chainsaw and Vice Grips are all spirits of dead criminals, back from the grave and seeking the loot they’d stashed at the mall site before they were killed in a shootout 50 years earlier.  The best way to make them go away is to give them money, but what happens when they discover you can’t take it with you?  Or maybe they’re not dead, but rather the criminally insane, but still seeking their loot.  If that’s the case they just need to be hit enough times to fall down…right?
  3. “It” is a gateway to Hell that these tortured souls seek to return to; the gateway is hidden in the bowels beneath the mall.
  4. “It” is one of the characters who in reality has the power to shrive their souls and who they seek to destroy before that power can be tapped.  The character needs to realize they have the power, then learn how to use it and then actually use it to save the day.
  5. “It” is a cursed book that’s on sale in the occult bookstore in the mall.  By gaining the book these creatures could create more of their kind and wreak havoc.  The book may be destroyed by submerging it in running water (like the decorative fountain at the centre of the mall).  Once destroyed it’ll take the monsters with it.

One way to seed some of these things is to produce a bunch of seemingly random “things known” that are given to the players for their characters at the start of the game.  Call them rumors, or items or whatever.  Some apply to the solution, others are just random bits.

  • The occult store just got in a creepy new book
  • Jared is planning on giving his girlfriend an antique ring and it’s in his locker at the burger shop
  • They say that the mall is built on the the site of a stash of loot where a bunch of robbers were killed in the 20’s
  • They say that Mandy at the lingerie shop is a witch
  • They say the mall is built on cursed land
  • They say the mall was built on a graveyard
  • The mall used to be where a leper colony/prison/hospital was
  • There was an escape from the prison for the criminally insane out on highway 21 this morning

You get the idea.  Fill in a ton of “rumors” and the players will help fill out the story for you…

Stage 4


Based on which resolution is chosen the players need to play out the resolution to the story.  Obviously the means required will vary based on how you intend the story to be completed and will be more or less difficult.  It’s a lot easier to drop a ring into hot fat than to close the doorway to Hell.  Both, however, should require hard work while being closely followed by shotgun toting maniacs!

Have fun, and if you play this, or are inspired by it, I’d love to hear back and see how it went for you!

  1. […] it, then poof you’ve got a game!  I was so inspired by the rules that I posted a scenario (the Malling) back after having originally read them.  The game is also well supported with a number of PDFs […]

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