Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Jail: Building Character and Eventually Causing Death

This particular jail is a mine. Perfect for PCs who've slighted someone such that they figure backbreaking work will help them gain character, and also eventually die. PCs start out with no gear. Any oddities not built into their bodies are also gone.


  1. The Mines: A warren of small tunnels. People have to hunch over to enter. Chintzy candle-lanterns provide meager light. There are pickaxes (d6) and a few pneumatic hammers (d8, two-handed). You can perform all kinds of Honest Work here. Working here for a week nets you a roll on the Random Finds chart.
  2. Barracks: bunch of triple-decker bunk beds. You can sleep here. There's little to no privacy, and hiding anything in or near your bunk will be tough. There are tables where people eat in a corner. Someone, somewhere in the dim is often playing a mouth harp.
  3. Mess: It's behind a stout metal door and iron bars, one way in and out. It's run by the Boss, Shady Topper. There are a bunch of yes-men and quasi-useless folk, as well as his muscle, the Tonic Boys, who actually go out into the rest of the prison (but sleep in the Mess).
  4. Spring: Water bubbles up from below. 150' of water down, there's a passage into the Underground, but it's a hard swim (STR save or die, advantage if you tie yourself to a stone first). Corpses have floated up before, and folks don't appreciate getting one of those in the prison's supply of free drinking water.
  5. Exchange: The only area seriously engineered by humans, you can see daylight through the bars in the ceiling. Soldiers (5hp, d8 muskets) lower hoppers on thin ropes to get ore, and then throw down rations, overseen on the jail end by at least four Tonic Boys. They take the food back to the Mess and dole it out to hard-working prisoners.

Cast of Characters

  • Boss Shady Topper. 9hp, fine saber (d8), 5 bombs (d12) to blow up food store if needed. 100 days of rations for the whole jail, a crate of booze. Wants to escape with a prisoner army, believes Honest Work will leave him with able-bodied soldiers.
  • 7 Tonic Boys. Knives and burning oil (d6). d6+1 hp. Want to be as drunk as possible.
  • 118 Prisoners in strung-out shape. Can get pickaxes (d6). d6 hp. Want to sleep, eat, escape, sometimes in that order.
  • Other unique Jail-related NPCs.
  • Ground-level soldiers. Unless an ore shipment is being picked up (every 2 months), there are only 11 of them. 6 hp, d8 muskets. Want to be somewhere else.

Honest Work

  • You can work hard for a day and earn enough ore for a day's ration.
  • You can push it (STR save) and earn d4 day's ration. If you fail the save, take d4 STR damage.
  • When you work a week in the mines, make a STR save. If you fail, lose d4-1 points from a random stat. Also, roll on the Random Finds table.
  • If you don't eat for a day, you get no benefit from a short rest and can't be taking a long rest.
  • If you don't eat for a week you take d6 damage to each stat.
  • Honest work in a prison mine is a slow death.

Random Finds

Either you did some Honest Work, or you had enough free time to be in the right place at the right time.
  1. Someone nabbed a little TNT from the boss. You now have a bomb (d12) which can defeat the Mess doorway or the iron bars at the top of the Exchange.
  2. You find a crevasse in the mines (or a map to one) that could lead out. Or to some underground hellhole.
  3. You dig up a few ancient casks of preserved booze! You can live the high life, make a few dozen prisoners your best friends / willing Detachment, placate the Boss, bribe the Tonic Boys...
  4. You wake up next to a corpse in the Barracks - he's still clutching a flask of poison! 4 doses, lethal if imbibed. 
  5. You dig up an d4 oddities!
  6. You knock some stone out and can see daylight! You can escape now, right now. If the Boss gets wind of the exit before you can escape, he could seal it off for his own Official Business or the like.

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