At the Mines of Madness is the heart-warming tale of a band of paid vagabonds escorting a dragonshard caravan (takes place in Eberron, by-the-by) from one village to another, getting paid ten times what your common wage-slave would be raking in for a day of actual work. Of course, narrative shit hits the proverbial 0fan and they only get paid based on what they manage to pry off of dead things before hopefully managing to leg it back to civilization with their skin and psyche intact. To be fair, they'll end up getting "paid" a lot more this way for a lot less work, so...fuck 'em.
This is a kind-of one-shot adventure that I want to run around Halloween, just to shake things up a bit and try my hands at a focused genre that I dont see often. Or at all. As an opener, I want to take a que from one of those DMG2 chapter thingies where it talks about foreshadowing stuff in adventures and campaigns by making the players actually deal with it via other characters (and I hope to god thats what it was talking about). Like, give them a taste of what they might be up against, or at least to speculate wildly and try to guess if its out of a Monster Manual or if the DM "cheated" and whipped it up with Monster Builder.
As part of the prologue, I'm going to setup the battle-mat as if they are going to start out the adventure with combat. Since I do this quite a bit, its a fair cop. However, I'm going to have them each describe a commoner of whatever profession and background they can come up with on the fly. The catch is that this will be the character they play...
...for this part anyway. I mean, I'm not so mean as to have them all play minions. Thats more of a Rifts or Call of Cthulhu thing, and I'm not really into any of those things.
These commoners will be booking it through a forested swamp, in the dead of night. Their goal is to try and die last, though in all fairness they'll probably think that they just shouldnt die at all. Shit in one hand, I guess... Anywho, I will gradually pick them off in cliche horror fashion without revealing what is actually doing it. There will be signs, to be sure, and the winner will be rewarded in the third real encounter with an item that they wanted. I wont unbalance them, they'll just get something nifty first.
Mostly, I just hope to freak them right the fuck out with descriptive text and mysterious things in the woods. They'll bump into their former dead bodies later.