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Fill In The Gap


by Matt Turnbull
Nov 24,2005



Welcome to Fill in The Gap, a column devoted to individual, "one-off" scenarios, that any GM can run for his/her group.

This month's scenario takes advantage of one of my favorite dying trends out there - Reality TV.

If you need to know more about the FITG(Fill in The Gap) system/column, please check out the first (and second) of these monthly columns. Without further ado, I bring you today's scenario:


As always, if you're going to play in this scenario (run by your favorite GM) then please read no further, for fear of spoilage.

Today's is a scenario for four-six players. Keep in mind, that for today's scenario, they'll play as themselves!

The Premise

Outlaster! is a cheesy Reality TV show about several contestants trapped in ever-increasingly ridiculous situations in a deserted hotel. Each "episode" has a series of hardships befall the group that they'll need their ingenuity (and special powers) to overcome, then they vote people to "check out" of the hotel, leaving the game, until it comes down to a contest between the final two.

To begin this scenario, you write down each of the special powers (detailed in the characters section) and hand them out randomly to your players. You've got to make sure to let your players know that they're playing themselves, only with special secret abilities that they can choose to reveal or keep secret. All the characters are aware that the other players have been given powers, but don't know what they are exactly. If the players want to keep their "Special Power" actions secret, have them pass you notes to describe what they do if it involves the power, and try to sneak it in at a different time. Also, remind players to try to keep separate their player and character knowledge.

The point of this scenario is for the characters to be creative, and to use their powers to try to complete ingenuity puzzles, and win precious immunity from being voted to "check out" of the hotel. Simultaneously, they should be doing their darndest to social engineer themselves into useful alliances and sects to make sure that they're the ones who get to stay to the end.

In the Events section, we'll detail the various tasks they have to compete in. In the Setting section, we'll discuss the hotel set itself.

When running this scenario, hype up the cheesy announcer voice. Really go out there and make it authentically bad, it'll add to the fun and humor of the scenario, and lighten up some possible competitiveness.

The Characters

As earlier described, the characters are simply your players, with special powers. Below are the descriptions of the powers, be aware that there are some Powers that may not come up in play. To prevent hurt feelings, if you translate this into a specific system - even out everyone's stats pretty well.

Telekinesis. The player with Telekinesis can once every 5 minutes of real time (they should have a clock nearby they and you can inconspicuously check, and you should work out signals as to how to inform them that they're once again free to use their power) move, levitate, or otherwise control an object. It doesn't work on living matter, but it's quite strong. Let the player with telepathy be creative in their uses.

Super Strength. We're not talking Hulk strength here, but the player with Super Strength can lift several times their own body weight, and easily overpower any of the other contestants. As this is a reality show though, they won't win if they decide to go on a smashing rampage and kill the other contestants - depending on your players, it might serve well to remind them of that.

Precognition. The player can, once per task, either be given a hint by the GM as to how to successfully complete it - or transfer one fact from "Player knowledge" to "Character Knowledge", learning something that her character wouldn't know, but she as a player had figured out or knew.

No Power. One of your players gets a little bit screwed. No power for them, they'll just have to make do on their cunning and trickery. If you have a whiny player, don't let them get this one- there are a lot of players out there though that will enjoy the challenge.

Secret Vote. This player gets two votes. The players will be aware that there is always one extra vote in the pile, but as the GM (and spokesperson NPC) you can't reveal where the "secret vote" comes from. Turns out it's this player.

Animal Ken. This player can telepathically communicate with animals, and command them to do their bidding. This won't come up explicitly in every challenge, however there is a supply of cockroaches and rats in the hotel that this player's character is aware of, and can utilize.

The Setting

The setting for this scenario is the luxurious St. Germain Hotel, a 20-story hotel with roots that date back to the 1800s. The decor is modern and updated, and the rooms everyone lives in on the 20th floor are very posh, with all the modern accoutrements.

The other floors of the hotel will be described in the events section, as they are specifically set up for each task.

There are plenty of pieces of furniture of all sorts about for the telekinetic to use, and rats and cockroaches live in the walls on all floors, and can also be utilized by the Animal Ken player.

The Events

Task number 1 is a simple scavenger hunt throughout the hotel. However leave it to the cunning producers of Outlaster! to think of a terrible twist for the contestants. Instead of trying to get all of the items from around the hotel, they'll need to steal the items from each other! The characters don't know this however, they're simply given a list of items to look for, and the first person to collect them all wins. Each player is given the same list, and each item on the list is a piece of clothing that one of the other characters is wearing. After reading the list and reconvening or bumping into each other, they'll see what they need to do. No violence allowed against each other, they can use their powers though - adjudicate fairly in that regard based on however you decide to handle sneaking or dexterous occurrences. Another piece of advice for the players, is be sneaky about it. Make a deal or an Alliance to get the immunity, then gang up on one player to get their clothing. It's just a game, after all. Don't forget to remind the players to be tricky about their powers. The person with telekinesis could float an item out of one player's hands and into another's, throwing away consideration on them as having that power. The animal ken player could give his clothes to the rats to go hide for him, and prevent the others from getting them, or to try to scare someone with the cockroaches into leaving a piece of clothing behind. The player with super-strength could simply try to pick people up one at a time and delicately remove their clothes - but if they do that they might engender some bad-will for being voted out at the next task. Run a timer for this one, set it for 15 minutes. If the timer runs out without a winner, the winner is the person with the most items on the list. If there's a tie, no one gets immunity from being voted to Check Out.

After the first task, is the first voting session. No twists or gimmicks, introduce the "Secret Vote" here, as well as the winner of the first task's immunity from being voted to "Check out". The player who receives the most votes (no one can vote on a player who is immune) is out of the game, and not present for Task #2. And just so we're clear, all of the voting is totally anonymous.

Task number 2 is a wacky collection of riddles that lead to a celebrity, that the players may have to work together to figure out. The first one to figure out the puzzle has to run over and tag the GM (in real life) and then tell them the answer. If they get it wrong, they've automatically lost the task, and aren't allowed to talk or interfere - even with their powers. Try to keep sharp things out of the path between you and players after you've introduced the puzzle. Here's the puzzle: This man was out for a walk, in the pouring rain, wore no hat, and yet not a single hair on his head got wet - if you figure out how, you're on your way to identifying him. Another clue to this individual's identity - His middle name begins with the first letter of the word that is the answer to this riddle: Lionel's father had three sons, Snap, Crackle, and ?. Another clue, he's won as many Academy Awards as the number of animals of each type that Moses took on the Ark. Who is he?

After task number 2, there's another vote. You might at this point be down to the final 2, if so skip to Task #5. If not, then go on to task #3.

Task number 3 is a footrace, from the bottom floor of the hotel to the top! The players all run simultaneously - for all intents and purposes it's a roll-off to see who gets there the fastest unless they intercede with their powers. Super Strength means super strong legs, so that player can secretly multiply all of his running rolls by 1.5 (however that works in the system you've used.) Everyone else will need to be a little more creative about their power-usage. The precognition player (if they're still in the game) should get a hint from the GM about a special passageway she can use to cut down on time (give her a re-roll or two, or something of that nature.)

Winner of the race is immune during the vote as per the previous rules, and you may now be at the final 2. If so, head to task #5, if not, task #4 to pare down the final 3.

Task Number 4 is a contest where the players have to swim to the bottom of the crocodile infested swimming pool, one at a time, and collect an object. If a player gets bit by a crocodile, they lose the challenge (and will need to recuperate, possibly getting a penalty on their dice for the final task if they're not voted out.) The Super-Strong player and the Animal Ken player have clear and obvious advantages during this challenge, but the pre-cognition player should also get a boost by getting the optimal path to avoid the crocs, or you could reveal (if they're still in the game) another player's animal ability, and she could work out a deal with him.

The last vote. If it's a tie, force a re-vote. If it's still a tie, it comes down to chance. Assign a number to each player, and roll until it comes up on whatever dice you're using.

Task Number 5 - the showdown. It's down to two at the St. Germain, everyone else has checked out. Who inherits the hotel, wins the fortune, gets to see their loved ones again? (Whatever the prize is, you make the call - but make it ridiculous.) The last test is one of cunning and skill - Thumb Wrestling, best two out of three. No powers will help you here, make your players do it. It's anti-climactic, but Reality TV sucks, so there ya go. Once a player has won, they should be showered with affection and prizes! They also have to buy snacks for the group next week.

The End, and thanks for watching.

Let me know what you thought of this scenario by E-mailing me at Msturnbull@comcast.net

See you next month!

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