Here's a spooky Pacific island military adventure set in 1941. It was originally for Savage World
s and then re-statted for basic OSR games.
THE ISLAND FIEND
Tannaroa is a small island, roughly kidney shaped, with a north to south length of five miles and an east to west width of 10 miles. It is a tropical jungle island with heavy rainfall throughout the year. The northern half of the island is dominated by jungle and cliffs a hundred feet above sea level. The island gently slopes towards the middle of the land mass; the southern half is only a few feet above sea level and terminates at a strip of beach on the southern end of the island. Tannaroa Village is located at the beach.
Freshwater is collected from the heavy rains in several natural cisterns and wells around the island and is fairly easy to find. The jungle is home to a number of wild boars, chickens, parrots, lizards, and a small population of boa constrictors. The primary food sources for the natives is fish and other seafood, domesticated chickens, domesticated goats, small family gardens, tropical fruit, and an occasional boar hunt for fresh meat although they are careful not to over hunt the boar population. Trade is also not uncommon as boats are sent to neighboring islands to share news and trade goods.
Life on Tannaroa is relaxed and pleasant for the most part. Native crime is rare and dealt with harshly by the villagers. The population spends most of the daylight hours hunting, fishing, foraging, and making repairs to their boats, homes, and implements of daily life. Nights are often spent round campfires and drinking a local alcohol made from jungle fruit and American beer and whiskey brought into the trading post. American cigarettes have become popular with the villagers and they have begun to buy and trade American goods with the neighboring islanders. The chief of the village is an canny old hunter and fisherman in his mid-60's, Chief Tanukko.
The island is currently being used by the US Navy as a minor refueling station, a fuel depot, and a relay station while keeping an eye on the Japanese Navy in the Pacific. It is staffed by a small unit of Navy and Marine personnel.
The one village on the island, Tannaroa Village, is home to over 200 villagers whose primary occupation is fishing, hunting, gardening, and support for the base. The village is composed of a number of quaint huts set around a village common and within sight of the beach. A sturdy trading post has been built by the American trader Jack Miller.
A missionary church was built here twenty years ago and is currently overseen by Father Joseph Kagen and Sisters Amelia and Sister Jennifer. Before two doctors arrived on a shipwreck several months ago the priest and sisters were the only modern medical providers for the village. The church provides a sturdy shelter during storms, reading classes for the children, and of course, religious services for the converted Christian population and several military personnel who attend services.
A small hospital is on the island. It was built several years ago by an English doctor whom died of an infection late last year. It is currently staffed by an American doctor and his assistant. They arrived nearly six months ago on a ship wrecked on the cliffs and have stayed on to treat sick natives, military personnel, and crew of the ships in the Japanese harried trade lane. A few of the island women have been trained as caregivers in the hospital.
The Player Characters are a unit or squad of soldiers on a layover of three days, waiting to be picked up by a Navy ship to take them to Pearl Harbor for rest and then redeployment.
They arrived early this morning and severe weather seems imminent and will most likely delay their departure.
They have been enjoying their first day of sun, surf, quiet, and the cute native women. Cold beer can be found at the trading post and life, for just a little bit, is quiet.
That all ends in the evening as they are summoned by Marine Captain Tyneberger to his offices at the Base on the other side of the Village.
Crusty and tanned walnut brown, Marine Sgt. Brogan is sent to pick the PC's up and the tight-lipped old soldier isn't saying a thing til the Captain gives the rundown.
Captain Tyneberger welcomes them into his office and waves them into wooden folding chairs.
Several cold beers are waiting for them as a sweating Tyneberger gives them a rundown on what has been happening the last few days here in paradise.
⦁ Five Days Ago: One of the Marines, Pvt Teddy Tedesco, drowned on the reef while on a midnight swim. His buddies brought him immediately to the hospital but it was too late to save him. He was buried in the cemetery next to the village.
⦁ Three Days Ago: The Marine's grave and a couple of the older village graves near his have been dug up and the corpses torn apart.
Pvt. Tedesco's body is missing.
The graves were clawed open as if by a beast. Boot prints (G.I. issue to all the personnel on the island) were found at the scene.
Captain Tyneberger and his Marines reburied the bodies and tidied up to avoid a panic and posted a watch each night on the graveyard.
Chief Tannuko, the head of the village, was told but kept quiet about the incident upon request by Captain Tyneberger..
⦁ Last Night: A murder happened on the outskirts of the Village, near the Graveyard. A young boy was found torn apart and partially eaten. The sentries heard a muffled cry and ran to the help of the boy but it was too late. Something big ran off into the jungle.
Everyone in the Village has been alerted and they are frightened.
As the PC's arrived this morning by ship, they could have no possible connection to the atrocities. Therefore Captain Tyneberger has ordered/asked the PC's to investigate the killing and the grave robberies.
They will be given (theoretically) all cooperation by every member of the Military and Chief Tannuko has assured the cooperation of his people. Tyneberger is sure that the American doctors, the priest and sister, and the owner of the Trading Post will be helpful as well.
The PC's are given free reign to investigate, ask questions, go where they need to (within reason: they will not be allowed to search private residences without good cause and not without military escort.)
Tyneberger suggests they meet with Dr. Winslow first as he is the lead doctor and handled the bodies involved in the incidents.
With a brisk salute the PC's are left to their tasks.
WHAT'S GOING ON
Dr. Henry WInslow does not exist.
He is, in fact, the infamous physician Dr. Herbert West, late of Arkham Mass, also known in some hidden circles as the Reanimator.
West is continuing his decades long experiments with reanimating the dead. His reanimated subjects, even those whom are freshly dead, still suffer from psychosis and other mental abberations. Despite years of research he has not been able to overcome this flaw in reanimation but he obsessively continues to experiment.
In early 1941, six months before the adventure begins, West was on a ship with his assistant, Dr. Wolpeski. They had spent the last five years fleeing from authorities in the United States and Mexico and had embarked on a tradeship named the Silverfish to Australia. The ship was driven into the Tannaroan cliffs during a violent storm. Rescued by the marines, sailors, and villagers, the two doctors have remained on the island. Not wanting to push their luck due to their status as fugitives they have laid low on the island taking over the the hospital and acting as respectable but aloof medical men until it becomes easier to continue their journey.
West has been able to control his urges and had confined his current work to animal experimentation at a hidden cave laboratory in the cliffs to further refine his serums. That all changed five nights ago when Pvt Tedesco drowned on his midnight swim. The next night West gave into his urges and dug up and reanimated the corpse which promptly went berserk and broke free of the laboratory and fled into the jungle. The next night the reanimated Tedesco dug up is grave in horror. In a maddened rage the brain damaged walking corpse opened a few other graves, tore the withered corpses apart, and fled back into the jungle. Last night he killed and devoured a child.
SIDEBAR: The Serum
An evilly glowing viscous fluid, injected into the veins of the deceased. Herbert West has spent decades experimenting and refining his great discovery: the reanimation serum; the fluid that brings the dead back to the world of the living.
Unfortunately he can't get the damn thing to work quite right.
The reanimated do not retain all of their higher brain functions. In fact, the less 'fresh' the corpse the worse the reaction is. Early versions of serum produced violent animalistic reanimated corpses. West later tried to refine the serum and its doses but the results were uneven as many of the corpses only blinked, gave horrible expressions, or cried out before sinking back into the oblivion of death. West has since gone back to the stronger earlier version of the serum which produces the psychotic effects but he is more than willing to inflict them on the world to study them and hopefully find out what is wrong with the formula and hindering his 'great work.'
The subjects appear to be dead: their skin is pale, blood is pooled as there no heart beat, they foam at the mouth, and any wounds they have at death are not healed. Most are unpleasant to look at.
Private Tedesco's formula was different than the standard reanimation serum. It was created with less than perfect laboratory conditions and substandard chemicals due to primitive conditions on the island. It was the only batch of its kind created while West was waiting for his chemicals to arrive from Jack Miller at the Trading Post and he had been anxious to try it on a human subject even though he has made more of the standard serum with the ordered chemicals. West used the opportunity to reanimate Tedesco as a field test for the non-standard serum. Tedesco took over an hour to reanimate, a length of time West had not seen in years, and when reanimated has exhibited greater strength and toughness than many of the subjects of the past. Tedesco also lacks the fear of fire that the typical reanimated subject displays. Considering it a failure, West threw out the experimental batch and will return to using the normal serum.
The normal reanimation serum works as follows:
Reanimation occurs within 2d6 rounds of injection and the subject doesn't come back with the same amount of Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma that it had in life. The degree of liability loss depends on how long the subject has been dead. The less fresh the corpse, the more the brain is deteriorated.
Less than five minutes:
Int, Wis, Chs drop to 8 unless already lower.
Five minutes to an Hour:
Int, Wis, Chs drop to 6 unless already lower.
Longer than an Hour:
Int, Wis, Chs drop to 4 unless already lower.
The reanimated also gain the following Special Abilities:
⦁ Bite and Pummel attack, 1 each per round: 1d3 damage each.
⦁ Necrophage: The reanimated can only heal lost hit points by eating fresh meat, preferably living meat. Every 2 hit points eaten returns 1 hp to the reanimate.
⦁ Undead: These reanimated do not need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. They are immune to disease and poison. They are subject to charm and sleep spells. +2 ro AC.
⦁ Weakness (Fire): These reanimated have an instinctive fear of fire. If confronted with a source of fire torch sized or larger they must make a Saving throw or be unable to approach within 10' of the source of the fire.
Those with more than 4 in Intelligence may try to use some use of abilities they had in life, although they are still dangerously psychotic and barely able to pass for human even in disguise. They may, with penalties assigned by a DM attempt to ride a horse, drive a car, pick a pocket, etc They will never be able to cast spells.
There may be a compulsion in some reanimated to try to talk to loved ones, take momentos, to try to sleep, etc. They do not need to do these things but it is possibly a left over instinct from their former lives buried in their damaged brains. This behavior will usually only be exhibited if exposed to the stimulus, such as a glass of wine on a table or encountering a woman who looks like a daughter, etc. The act will be a sloppy parody of normal behavior.
Above all else, remember that the serum is a plot device, a tool for you to use as you see fit to have a good time. Roll with it.
The village is located several hundred yards North of the beach just to the East of the center of the Southern shore of the island. It sits on a strip of grass and flowers, roughly a half mile wide, separating the beach from the jungle.
The heart of the village is the communal area. Here are two large cisterns of community water gathered from the rains, a large community garden, and large fire pits for community cookouts and celebrations. Buildings are on all sides except for the South, which is open to the beach.
Surrounding the communal area in a horseshoe formation open to the South is the three most prominent buildings in the village: the Church on the West, Miller's Trading Post on the North, and the Hospital on the East. The Chief's hut and the huts of wealthier citizens are also located here, between the three main buildings Other huts radiate out in this pattern.
The huts are tall and roomy with thatched roofs. Many of the Westerners such as the Doctors and Jack Miller live in plank board huts with thatched roofs.
The church is a large plank building with rows of rough pews, an alter with a large crucifix behind it, and a small piano and bench in a corner. It is lit with oil lamps. A storage room is attached to the back of the building and contains tools and lumber for repairs, a number of hymnals, spare bibles, schoolbooks, pencils and notebooks, candles, and other items for church and school use.
Father Kagen lives in a modest native hut behind the church.
The two Sisters share another native hut next to Father Kagen's.
Miller's Trading Post
Miller's trading post is the second largest building in the village. It is a large single room structure with a solid roof. The majority of the inside is packed with tables and cabinets stuffed with bolts of cloth, beads, thread, rope, tools, ammunition, knives, axes, batteries, flashlights, wire, barrels of oil, dry and canned foods, salt, herbs, as well as a vast amount of other knick nacks, junk, and individual useful items.
In one corner is a bar with an old fashioned cash register and a cluster of four small tables and chairs. A large mirror is on the wall behind the bar. A variety of alcohol, cigarettes, tobacco, candy, and gun line the bar and the walls behind. Miller is usually behind the bar the sailors and Marines on the island use the post to send regular mail, as a lounge/bar, and as a place to hang out and get a taste of home.
The trading post also serves as a post office for the island, sending mail out via civilian plane and ship as well as military ships.
Miller has a number of contacts in the black market in the trade routes. For the right price he can often place orders for unusual items which do not appear on ship cargo manifests. It may not always arrive thanks to the Japanese, but the order can be placed.
The largest building in the village the Hospital is a single story white washed building with planked floors, a sturdy roof, and electricity from a generator. During the daytime and storms the generator will be off and oil lanterns will be used for lighting.
An intercom connects the reception desk with the doctor's office, examination room, the surgery, and the ward.
A small room with a few chairs, a couch, and a desk for the hospital receptionist.
The ward is a roomy area containing a dozen beds with mosqito netting and privacy curtains. The walls are lined with shelves and drawers filled with sheets, bedpans, etc.
Dr's Winslow and Wolpeski both have writing desks and files in this room. It is crammed and cluttered with various notes, journals, books, photographs, specimin jars, and a number of filing cabinets. The door to this room can be locked. The only keys to this room are with the two doctors.
Locked in his desk Winslow/West keeps a spare .45 revolver and twenty rounds of ammunition, two spare bottles of his current reanimation formula, and his private journal.
This small room is a private room with a cushioned table, a table of examination instruments, a wash basin, and cabinets of towels, hospital gowns, and other items. The door to this room can be latched from the inside.
This room is dominated by a large wooden table with padded straps. Over the table is a large electric light. A table of gleaming surgical instruments sits next to it. Another table for blood pressure and vital sign equipment sits on the other side. Cabinets line the walls filled with surgical apparel, antiseptics, towels, spare instruments, and bottles of ether to use as an anesthetic.
A section of the surgery is curtained off as a scrub room. A large wash basin is located here on a table with antiseptic soap and towels.
The entire room smells of disinfectant.
Any extra items such as spare bandages, sheets, towels, tools, etc are stored here. A pair of mop and buckets and a few brooms are located here as well.
The Doctors share a large planked hut located beside the hospital.
The Graveyard is located two hundred yards to the Northeast of the village. The cemetery is not more than twenty years old. It consists of 32 graves with wooden head markers or crosses and is surrounded by a rickety wooden fence. A variety of flowers bloom on many of the graves and many carved wooden and metal trinkets are hung from the markers, cross, and fencing. Several windchimes are attached to the trees outside of the fence.
The empty grave of Pvt Tedesco lies in the back Northeast corner. It has been filled back in. The disturbed graves were those next to the Pvt's. They too have been refilled.
To the East of the village, about a half mile away lies the American military base, sitting not more than a hundred yards from the beach.
As Tannaroa is a hastily flung together as an emergency landing and refueling station it has been staffed with a minimum of personnel. Currently two officers command a force of nine marines and ten navy sailors. Their job is to guard the small landing strip and fuel depot and to help load and unload supplies on ships and planes which dock at the island. They also are to report any unusual activity in the area.
The center of the base is a large 100 foot by 100 foot tarmac square.
There is a large water tank located at the edge of the tarmac.
A large generator located in a building attached to the Officer's Offices supplies electricity.
Dirt paths, driven by the jeeps, lead West to the Village, South to the dock, and East to the air strip and hanger.
A number of sandbags have been piled around the base perimeter to provide some cover in case of attack.
A fairly large shack, both Captain Tyneberger and Sgt. Brogan both have small desks here. The walls are surrounded by file cabinets containing orders, manuals, and lists pertaining to the fuel and supply dumps. A small table is in one corner with a lamp and a coffee pot and cups. Next to this is the base radio. A large aerial is attached to the shack.
Tyneberger and Brogan bunk here. Their rooms are separated by a thin wall and each has his own door and window. Personal effects and other objects are in each men's room.
The nine remaining Marines are quartered here.
The ten Sailors are quartered here.
A sturdy steel building with one heavy locked door.
Due to wartime shortages and the relatively out of the way location of Tannaroa, weaponry has been given out sparingly to the base. The armory consisting of the following:
⦁ Two crates containing six Mk II grenades in each crate.
⦁ 20 Steel helmets
⦁ 10 M1 Garands (for the Marines) with 40 strip clips.
⦁ 15 M1903 Springfield Rifles.
⦁ 1500 rounds of ammo for the rifles..
⦁ 10 1911 Colt .45's with 20 magazines and 300 rounds of ammo.
⦁ Two .30 Machine guns and 2000 rounds of belt fed ammo.
Captain Tyneberger will not condone the PC's running all over the island firing shots and blowing things up with hand grenades. They will each be issued one rifle and one sidearm with two reloads each and the PC's will be expect to use them cautiously.
Both he and Sgt. Brogan have a key to the armory.
Build like a sit down hotdog shack complete with wooden stools. The inside contains a grill, a stove, a stocked freezer, a stocked fridge, and a lot of cabinets with canned food, condiments, baking goods, plates, cups, and other eating necessities. It gets its eletricity from the generator at the Office.
Filled with blankets, spare clothing, spare paper, spare batteries, spare water drums, and any other spare thing they can cram into it.
This consists of two jeeps and a flatbed truck parked at the side of the tarmac, near the supply shack. They are covered with tarps when not in use.
The dock is a sturdy wooden platform on the beach with an actual dock running fifty feet out into the sea where the reef drops steeply. It is mainly used for smaller boats and to anchor seaplanes.
Situated five hundred yards from the Base.
Fuel is pumped into barrels and transported via flatbed truck to the airstrip, the dock, or beach. The small depot consists of four large tanks holding a total of 2 million gallons of fuel (roughly 5,625 tons.)
They are buried underground and have a manual pump system to bring the fuel up and into the large 100 and 50 gallon steel drums which are stacked neatly nearby.
A small freight ship will use 10 tons per day while a large container/cargo ship will use 200 tons of fuel per day. The depot is mainly used for small refuelings to get ships or planes to a larger station.
(If the PC's manage to catch this thing on fire and it explodes it will be a major fireball/explosion and bad news for anyone with a 300 hundred yards of the tanks (5d6 fire damage for 2d6+6 rounds, Save for half.) However, due to the tanks being underground it will not destroy the nearby base. It will shake everyone out of their bunks and chairs and the massive boom and fireball will be seen from the Village a half mile away.)
Five hundred yards of cleared grass and compacted dirt. The airstrip is built for small ships such as scout planes, fighter planes, and civilian models in need of a refueling on their way to their major destination. Lights are wired and powered by a generator in the hanger.
Sitting next to the airstrip the 'hanger' is an open air shack with tarps to pull down against bad weather. A number of tools, a few common parts, wheel blocks, ropes and anchors, wiring, a couple of old parachutes, several barrels of fuel, and other bits sit here. A generator is here to supply power for the few runway lights.
The majority of the island is covered in a lush tropical jungle of tall trees, vines, ferns, grasses, and flowers wet with the frequent rains. A number of trails are cut through the jungle by the natives but it is not difficult to get turned around and lost in the thick undergrowth, especially at night. A number of deep ground level cisterns have been formed over the centuries making natural waterholes with the heavy rains.
The most notable fauna on the island are wild boars, snakes, many types of birds and parrots, and a huge variety of lizards, spiders, and bugs. Mosquitoes are a common pest, especially after the rains.
The most dangerous animals are the boars and the occasional boa constrictor in the deepest parts of the jungles. Children have gone missing in the past.
Another hazard, although rare, are traps set by hunters to snare small animals and boars. Pitfalls, snare traps, and spikes are but a few of the possible obstacles to be encountered by PC's blundering around the jungle without a native to guide them.
Pvt. Tedesco hides out in the thickest part of the jungle near the cliffs during the daytime. At night he is drawn to the village by a murderous craving.
Along the southern border of the island is a rather pleasant strip of beach. A number of islander boats are dragged onto the sand and nets and other fishing equipment stored under the overturned craft.
During the day the beach is filled with children playing, mothers washing clothing, men fishing, and boats bobbing along to net fish and other sea life. Coconuts from the nearby jungle are gathered and prepared here as well.
The cliffs stretch across the northern length of the island and stand nearly 100 feet above the sea. The natives of Tannaroa consider the cliffs taboo and will not come to them unless it is a burial ceremony. Even these are conducted quickly and the islanders flee from the cliffs.
The ceremony consists of bringing the corpse, wrapped tightly in cloth and weighted down, to the cliff edge. The Chief says a few words to the spirits, incense and food is burned as offerings, spirits and juices are left on the cliff edge, and the corpse is then flung to sink among the rocks below the cliff.
At the base of the cliffs is the wreck of the tradeship 'Silverfish', the vessel which brought West and Wolpeski to the island. There is nothing of value left aboard the broken ship. Everything of use was washed out to sea or sunken in the wreck. The twisted stern can barely be seen above the crash of waves on rock.
Halfway down the cliff, hidden from above by an outcropping, is an opening to a cave system in the cliff. These caves may have been known to the islanders in their distant past but none now remember of its existence. A small path leads down to the opening.
The cave was discovered by West not long after the shipwreck. Exploring the island for a suitable location for his hidden laboratory he spotted a path leading down which led to a small opening in the side of the cliff. This leads to a large cave chamber and another smaller cave further in.
The caves are a perfect hiding spot. The natives avoid the cliffs except for funerals, the entrance is not easily spotted from the waters where the rocks and surf make approaching difficult, and the Marines and Sailors have no interest on anything near this side of the island.
West and Wolpeski managed to construct primitive tables and shelves for lab use. The medical supplies, chemicals, lamps, oil, and other necessary objects were lowered with pulley and rope.
The opening to the caves is a six foot tall by three feet wide crack in the cliff face approximately fifty feet down cliffside. The West and Wolpeski have built a crude door frame and a tent flap to close the entrance from the elements.
The main cave is a rough rectangle shape 30 feet long and 20 feet wide. The ceiling is a near uniform fifteen feet in height.
Two crude wooden tables sit in the middle of the cave. Along the walls are makeshift shelves holding a number of chemical racks, beakers, test tubes, bottles, chemicals, hypodermics, gloves, towels, hacksaws and a few legitimate surgical instruments as well as a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff. Several bottles of the glowing serum are stored in this area.
A small wire cage sits on one of the tables, which is covered in deep scratches in the wooden table planks. It has been used to hold reanimated animals until dissection for study.
On the same table are a number of texts: anatomy, chemistry, and other technical books. West has a notebook here with his animal testing results. Anyone who compares this to his journal in 'Winslow's' office can easily see it's the same handwriting.
In the back left corner a natural outcropping serves as a table for a large wooden bowl which serves as a basic sink. Several buckets with ropes for dipping into the water below the cliffs are nearby.
A firepit with a rack for boiling water and for heating chemicals in a small iron pot are in the opposite corner.
A rough five feet tall by two feet wide crack in the center of the back wall leads to the smaller cave. It is an oval chamber with a length of ten feet, a width of no more than six feet at its widest, and a height of eight feet. Two short length of heavy chain are attached to spikes hammered into the rock of the back wall. West intends to use this for holding human subjects until they can be dissected for study.
The animal corpses and future human corpses are to be dumped over the edge of the cliff path onto the rocks below.
A number of events will be going on during the adventure.
Pvt Teddy Tedesco will continue to stalk the Village and Jungle at night. It is possible that he may pick off lone Marines in ambush attacks.
If the PC's encounter him there will surely be a fight. He will also try to ambush them if possible. He is also looking for West and Wolpeski and will do what he can to kill them, including a possible breakin and fight at the hospital if he sees them enter or leave the building.
The PC's may will probably decide to investigate or even get a native to try and track the fiend in the jungle. Tracking Teddy's military boot prints in the village will be confusing when his tracks cross with other soldiers. A few of the villagers working at the base may have military boots themselves. Throw them at the PC's as suspects to keep the tension flowing.
If the PC's take off into the jungle by themselves they can blunder into combat with a wild boar or a boa constrictor or set off a hunter's trap. Injuries will be treated by Dr. 'Winslow' and Wolpeski of course.
West is trying to cover his tracks but his madness is a factor in his actions. If Tedesco keeps killing people he will be the 'medical examiner' and their bodies will be give to his care. He won't be able to stop himself. He will inject them with serum and take notes. If he can he will abscond to the cave laboratory with one or two for examination and claim the bodies were stolen out of the hospital. (See the Sidebar "What Will West Do?" for more information.)
Wolpeski is another problem. His addiction and his growing madness are liabilities to West. If Wolpeski starts cracking under pressure West may kill him in the cave and then reanimate him for study.
The villagers are another factor. If they will, for the most part, stay in their homes and defend their families while the killings start. Once a few more happen Chief Tannuko will organize at least a dozen hunters to stand watch with torches in the Village to guard his people and to avoid a complete panic.
Do what you can to keep the adventure moving:
⦁ Keep throwing clues at the PC's.
Physical clues such as the boot prints and tissue clinging to victims, etc; clues from NPC's with suspicion on the doctors, the other soldiers, etc; false clues thrown out by West to avert suspicion; etc
⦁ Don't forget the bad weather, the plot device for keeping the PC's on the island for a while.
It's storm season, winds are high, rains gust and blind a person making activities such as climbing on cliff paths treacherous, and fighting knee deep in jungle mud while a bloody fiend is trying to bite your throat out surely calls for some modifiers from the Game Master!
⦁ Keep animating those bodies to escalate the tension and the urgency and horror of being trapped on this small island where you can die and come back at any time. If a PC is killed get his body animated and on the move again to face his old friends!
SIDEBAR: What will West Do?
West will be trying to avert suspicion away from he and Wolpeski, but his obsession and madness will keep pushing him to take chances. Over the decades he has become lax with how own personal safety. Why not? He can heal himself with spare body parts and serum injections and he's handy with his sidearm. He is truly arrogant and insane.
He will use his medical authority with Captain Tyneberger and the others to come up with any number of 'plausible' explanations for those ignorant of medical knowledge. "Jungle fever" to explain the reanimated's foaming at the mouth and raging attacks. Perhaps some unknown "jungle or island disease, caught from an animal perhaps". He will make all sorts of excuses and wild guesses to muddy the investigation and throw suspicion away from him.
Any corpse brought to him, he will reanimate to study the reactions. He will do this in the cave if he can steal the body; if he can't he will reanimate the corpse at the hospital when he has privacy and turn the corpse loose. He can then study it in the field and it might make more corpses available for reanimation and study.
If the PC's become a nuisance or openly suspect him of being involved with what's going on he will not hesitate to poison them either by food, drink, or forcible injection when alone. Sickened or dying he can make up any excuse as the resident doctor on the island.
If tissue or other samples are brought to him for some sort of tests, he can read the results any way he wishes to keep himself in the clear or throw the blame on anyone he can.
If he learns that Captain Tyneberger has been blocking his and Wolpeski's attempts at leaving the island he will kill the Captain at the first available opportunity with poison or even acid in the man's alcohol. He will then reanimate Tyneberger as a sort of revenge and turn him loose to cause more chaos. He will blame it on his 'jungle fever' or other 'mystery disease' theory to cover his actions.
And remember: any injuries the PC's suffer will most likely be treated by West and Wolpeski. They will be at the doctors' mercy. It would also be a good time to feed the PC's clues from Wolpeski and disinformation from both men.
Tannaroa Native (200 Villagers on the island)
The Natives are a friendly and hardworking lot. They live a simple life with a few comforts brought in by traders and the Americans. Most are simple fishers, gatherers, and hunters. A few work as laborers and handymen for the hospital and the Marine base.
They are a short, dark complexioned, wizened people dressed in loose, worn clothing and sandals. They smile a lot, sing, chant, and generally seem happy with their existence.
Attack Old Rifle, Machete, Fishing spear
Special Sneak in jungle/village 45%, Survival 65%, Track 55%
Chief Tannuko, 66
Tannuko is an unusually tall, tanned, and grey haired native. He is lean and hard as whale-bone and leather. A hunter and fisherman he has been chief of the village for almost twenty years. His wife died in a fishing accident years ago and he has two daughters who are married and living on neighboring islands. Tannuko is a tough and clever old man and respected by those under his charge. He is friendly with the Americans on base as well as those in the village. He will help the military personnel with any reasonable request as long as it does not endanger his people. He realizes that it is better to be under the eyes of the American forces than to be conquered by the Japanese.
He will do what he can to aide the PC's. He and half a dozen of his best hunters will aid them in entering the jungle, boatwork, tracking, etc. If the PC's find themselves in a very tough spot, perhaps in combat with a number of reanimated NPC's, Tannuko and his warriors may be used to aide the PC's in combat.
Tannuko does not trust Dr. 'Winslow'. He has seen the Doctor walking to and from the graveyard late at night over the past months as if searching for something. Tannuko has a sinister feeling about the man, but does not have enough proof to accuse him of anything, especially not murder and mayhem. He keeps a close eye on 'Winslow' and Dr. Wolpeski.
If the PC's are kind to him and his people he will volunteer this information to them.
Attack Old Rifle, Knife
Special Backstab (+4 hit, 2 dmg), Sneak in jungle/village 45%, Survival 65%, Track 55%, also speaks French
Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 14
Gear: Old watch, pack of American cigarettes, lighter.
Marine Captain Jonas Tyneberger, 46
Tyneberger was a promising officer until his alcoholism began to kill his career and is the reason he has ended up in command of the tiny base on Tannaroa. This has led him to drink even more. He hates his current assignment and is eager to 'get back into the real war.' Tyneburger is unintentionally condescending to the beliefs of the native people, believing them to be ignorant and superstitious compared to the Americans. Growing lax on discipline due to his increased consumption of liquor, he relies heavily on Sgt. Brogan to keep the troops in line and keep the base ready for ships and planes requiring a refuel and resupply.
Tyneberger has been secretly blocking Doctor 'Winslow' and Wolpeski's attempts to leave the island. He is paranoid of getting sick, especially jungle fever or malaria, and will not willingly let the only source of Western medicine leave his island. If the PC's gain his confidence, and he has been drinking, if the subject of the Doctor's come up he will confide that he will not let them leave.
The atrocities in the graveyard and the murders have taken him completely by surprise and spooked him. He has become a bit paranoid of his own men over this as he suspects one of them is the killer from the G.I. boot prints at the scene. He is on constant alert when around everyone but the PC's.
If confronted with Pvt Winslow's reanimated condition Tyneberger will go mad with fear and loathing. He will be a trembling wreck unable to give commands and all actions will be at a -2 penalty. Sgt. Brogan will have to take command.
If West discovers that Tyneberger has delayed his and Wolpeski's departure from the island he will be furious enough to try and kill Tyneberger, most likely with poison or acid in his drinks. He will then reanimate him for further study and dissection. If he needs a distraction he will loose the reanimated Captain in the Village.
Attack .45 pistol
Special: +1 hit/dmg melee, +1 hit ranged/AC
Str 13, Dex 13, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 13
Gear: Binoculars, dogtags, pack of American cigarettes, lighter.
Marine Sgt. Mac Brogan, 38
Brogan is a career Marine and a tough son of a bitch. He is a seasoned and wily veteran of the Great War, having fought in the trenches of France. He will take no lip about the Marine's and has been busted by the MP's a number of times in his twenty years of service for fighting. Realizing that Captain Tyneberger is on the edge of a possible alcoholic collapse Brogan looks out for the boys under his command and is eager to find the fiend responsible for the atrocities and murders.
If confronted by the true nature of the fiend Brogan will soldier on and attempt to kill the creature and any others encountered. He will assume command if Captain Tyneberger collapses and will keep the Marines and Sailors together as best he can.
Attack .45 pistol, combat knife
Special: +1 hit/dmg melee, +1 hit ranged/AC, also speaks French
Str 15, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 13, Wis 12, Cha 13
Gear: Flask of whiskey, dogtags, pack of American cigarettes, lighter.
Deployed on the tiny base to guard the depot and defend the island in the unlikely even of Japanese invasion. The Marines have a friendly rivalry with the sailors and a rare fist fight will break out, usually with no hard feelings once everyone sobers up. They've been pretty depressed since Pvt Tedesco drowned earlier in the week and the desecration of his and the other graves, not to mention the hushed up murders, have them hopping mad and ready to tear up whomever did the deeds.
Attack Knife, M1 Garand rifle (if equipped)
Special +1 hit/dmg melee
Str 13, Con 13
Gear: Dogtags, knife, pack of American cigarettes, lighter.
Deployed on the tiny base to help guard the depot and help in the refueling of the occasional ship or plane. They are as mad as the Marines over the desecrations and the murders and are itching for a fight.
Attack Knife, Springfield rifle (if equipped)
Special +2 to swim checks
Gear: Dogtags, knife, pack of American cigarettes, lighter.
Father Thomas Kagen, 52
Kagen is a large, red faced priest with raw work-calloused hands. He is an engergetic American and is devoted to making the natives lives better with supplies, education, and regular sermons. He is respected and loved by the locals for his friendly demeanor and his willingness to work just as hard as those around him to bring in food and water as well as his hard work in making repairs to the dock and huts around the village. He is devoted to his flock and will do he can, short of killing, for their well being.
Kagen will do what he can to assist in finding the fiend and help with the wounded. If he discovers the unnatural state of the reanimated he will do what he can to destroy his body and lay them to rest.
Attack hammer, shovel
Special +2 Saves vs fear, also speaks French, Islander, Latin
Str 15, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 15
Gear: Bible, Catholic robes, overalls, carpenter tools, French cigarettes, matches.
Sister Amelia, 63
Amelia is French by birth and has been involved in missionary work in the islands for over twenty years. She is calm and steady having seen nearly every wondrous and horrible things man has to offer. She also served as a nurse in the Great War and has a bit of medical knowledge from that experience. She is the primary school teacher for the village youth.
Special +2 Saves vs fear, binds wounds with Int check (1d6 hp's), also speaks English, Islander, Latin
Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 14
Gear: Bible, Catholic robes,school books, rosary.
Sister Jennifer, 19
Jennifer is an American and Tannaroa is her first missionary assignment. She is learning quite a bit from Sister Amelia but is still a bit shy and slightly overwhelmed by the tropics, the exotic people, and the war.
Special also speaks some French, some Islander, Latin
Int 13, Cha 16
Gear: Bible, Catholic robes,school books, rosary.
Jack Miller, 39
Miller is a former pilot and sailor well travelled in the Pacific islands. His leg was severely injured in a seaplane crash in '36 leaving him with a bum leg and a need to walk with a cane. He settled on Tannaroa three years ago in 1938 after falling in love with it and the villagers on a two week layover on the island for rest and relaxation. He built and stocked the trading post with his savings and has made a tidy profit selling and trading beer and tobacco as well as basic supplies such as matches and oil to the natives of Tannaroa and the surrounding islands.
Miller has received a few black market orders from the doctors over the last few months; mostly chemicals and drugs. He has managed to acquire what they need and asks no questions, even about the cocaine ordered with the normal medical drugs. If the doctors come under suspicion he will reveal what he has been bringing in for them, although he will spin it as much as possible to try and weasel out of trouble with the Chief and the military officers. He will spend most of the adventure holed up at the Trading Post, drinking and pistol at his ready to defend himself and his property.
Attack Webley pistol, cane
Special: +1 hit/dmg melee, +1 hit ranged/AC, base move 9 (leg injury), Piloting, also speaks French and Islander
Str 13, Dex 15, Int 15, Wis 14, Cha 16
Gear: Worn white suit and fedora, Webley revolver, waking cane, pipe, tobacco, matches.
A disgraced doctor of Eastern European descent, West found Wolpeski doing back alley procedures in Chicago in 1933. Being of some skill Wolpeski was recruited by West for his experiments. Years of gruesome experimentation and horrific sights have eroded Wolpeski's sanity. He began to use sedative injections to sedate himself to sleep without nightmares of their work. West has been monitoring Wolpeski's injections while they have been on the island and keeps a close watch on Wolpeski for fear of him blowing their cover.
Wolpeski appears as a dapper and friendly gentleman in his early fifties with greying hair and beard. When angered his demeanor hardens and he can be a vicious killer if provoked.
Wolpeski spends most of his days at the hospital and a few nights a week at the cave laboratory with West. His nights off he spends in their hut, heavily sedated on injections.
Attack .45 revolver, operation knife
Special: Can heal 1d4 hit points to each character after a combat/damage round with an Int check, also speaks Polish.
Int 15, Cha 12
Gear: Medical bag, .45 revolver, operating knife, sedatives.
Dr. Henry Winslow, 55 (Dr. Herbert West)
West is obsessed with the reanimation of dead tissue with the ultimate goal of defeating death. His obsession led to decades of experimentation and ultimately to murder and madness. West disappeared in the years following the Great War. His death at the hands of his reanimated subjects was reported by his assistant, a madman who died years later in an asylum, his interviews and journals suppressed by the authorities. But West did not die, the madman hallucinated his death in a final break with reality as the tomb legions attacked the two men. Herbert West was gravely wounded but was in fact not killed. Because of the injuries suffered in the attack, and later incidents, he was forced to replace damaged body parts with reanimated tissue or organs to stay alive. This has left him scarred, necessitating the covering up of his body at all times by clothing and his wearing a glove over his left hand. He also wears glasses with a slightly smoky lense over the left eye. He explains these injuries away by claiming to have survived a fire at a younger age.
Regular injections of his serum and the reanimated organs have also slowed his natural aging but he is now addicted to his own serum and must have regular injections or suffer withdrawal symptoms.
West robs fresh graves for subjects to reanimate. Intact bodies with no brain injuries or disease are desired. During a time of low deaths West will eventually give into his obsession and find a healthy living specimen to kill and reanimate. He prefers a powerful poison that will not damage the subject's brain. Unfortunately the results have all been the same: the reanimate subject exhibits various degrees of violent psychosis. No matter how he changes his serum the result is the same; failure to reanimate with the original personality intact.
West has been on the island for months experimenting on animals and is growing restless to obtain a fresh human corpse. He was formulating a plan to kill a young village boy when Private Tedesco drowned on the reef. He reanimated the corpse as soon as he and Wolpeski were alone with it.
Attack Colt 1911, operating knife
Special: +2 hit/dmg melee, +1 hit ranged/AC . Can heal 1d6 hit points to each character after a combat/damage round with an Int check, also speaks French, German, and Latin.
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 15
Gear: Medical bag, 10 doses of reanimation serum, Colt 1911 pistol, operating knife.
⦁ Steal Body Parts: If he has fresh body parts to work with and a dose of his reanimation serum to inject he can attempt an Intelligence check to heal himself. The attempt heals half of all hit point and ability score damage lost from the maximum scores. If the roll is failed he has wasted his time, serum, and the fresh parts. Each attempt takes 10 minutes to complete and cannot be reattempted without fresh body parts and a dose of serum. He can graft new flesh into and over wounds, burns, etc and can even replace missing limbs or damaged organs with this procedure. The use of this procedure leaves a nasty scar on the body which West does his best to hide with his clothing.
⦁ Slowed Aging: Repeated injections of his reanimation serum have slowed West's natural aging. In 1943 he is nearly 60 years old but, despite his scarring, doesn't look a day over 40.
⦁ Increased Strength and Constitution. His reanimated flesh also increases his AC by 2 points.
⦁ Addicted: West must have at least a dose of his serum daily or suffer withdrawal. His stats drop by two points each and all attack, saving throws, and ability score checks are at a penalty of four until he has an injection.
Private Theodore ' Teddy' Tedesco: Reanimated Fiend
Tedesco was a decent soldier and good guy in life, a kid from a small town in Minnesota who joined up to serve his country and escape the poverty he grew up in. He never suspected in his wildest dreams he would die swimming off of the shores of an exotic tropical island in the Pacific Ocean.
West had to wait too long to reanimate Teddy and he came back as a rampaging nearly mindless fiend. He recognizes his name and those he knew in life in a hazy, half-remembered way but the pain, frustration, and rage in his damaged mind soon take over causing him to attack in a gory berserk fury.
West used a modified version of his reanimation formula, an necessity given the limitations of a decent laboratory and supplies. After reanimation failed to occur for an hour West and Wolpeski believed the modified serum was a failure. They were wrong. Teddy reanimated at an hour and six minutes catching the arguing doctors by surprise. Teddy savagely attacked them and then fled the cave into the jungle.
An instinct in his mind led him to his grave and he tried to claw his way back into it. Unable to seek rest he tore his cheap wooden coffin to splinters in frustration and then dug up the other graves with his bare hands and ripped the corpses to shreds in a mad bestial rage.
Slinking off to hide in the jungle he has come out at night to watch the Marines guard the Graveyard and creeps around the Village, watching and waiting in the dark. When he saw the native boy sneak out of his sleeping parents hut and head past the Graveyard Teddy could not help himself and attacked the child, killing him and devouring part of the corpse. He fled to the jungle as the Marines approached.
Teddy will attack anyone he can get his hands and teeth on. Despite his reduced intelligence he is still a cunning hunter. He prefers to attack from ambush and will not attack large numbers of people unless he his backed in a corner and has no choice. He recognizes firearms and explosives as major threats to his being and will try to avoid damage from them if possible. If he gets his hands on firearms or explosives there is enough left in his mind to use them but he will not be able to reload a weapon.
He will recognize 'Winslow' and Wolpeski on sight and will try to attack and kill them as his first targets if he gets a chance. PC's may use this as an advantage if they can get the doctors to act as bait. Wolpeski will refuse but 'Winslow' may allow himself to be used in this way in an attempt to kill Teddy again to cover up his secrets.
Attack Bite/pummel (1d3+2) or club
Special: +2 hit/dmg melee, +1 hit ranged/AC
Str 16, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 4, Wis 4, Chs 4
⦁ Bite/pummel, 2 attacks per round, 1d3+2 dmg.
⦁ Undead: Does not need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. Immune to disease and poison. Subject to charm and sleep spells. +2 ro AC.
⦁ Necrophage: Does not heal. Every 2 hit points of live or extremely fresh meat eaten returns 1 hit point.
⦁ Weakness (Fire): If confronted with a source of fire torch sized or larger must make a Saving throw or be unable to approach within 10' of the source of the fire.
The Other Reanimated
Villagers and NPC's possibly reanimated by West during the adventure.
Attack Bite/pummel (1d3) or club
Int 4, Wis 4, Chs 4
⦁ Bite/pummel, 2 attacks per round, 1d3 dmg.
⦁ Undead: Does not need to eat, drink, sleep, or breathe. Immune to disease and poison. Subject to charm and sleep spells. +2 ro AC.
⦁ Necrophage: Does not heal. Every 2 hit points of live or extremely fresh meat eaten returns 1 hit point.
⦁ Weakness (Fire): If confronted with a source of fire torch sized or larger must make a Saving throw or be unable to approach within 10' of the source of the fire.