There’s a secret scratching beneath the surface of this town. A secret that Annie Bishop and “Big Al” Halifax are going to split open for the whole world to see. A secret powered by my completed EXUVIAE rules, within two and a half hours and with no preparation whatsoever.
Annie Bishop works the taxidermy store at the top of town. It’s a stuffy job, but she’s got the stomach for the work and the intermittent deliveries of Big Al. So, Big Al pulls up outside her house one morning, having “hit something” on the freeway again, but there’s something up with this moose. Intricate patterns have been carved into its skin — though clearly not by any knife or claw that Al’s familiar with. He hauls the carcass into her house — the symbols are weirdly familiar both to south American ancient cultures, but also European and Asian paganism too — though what’s less than familiar is the fact the moose’s liver has calcified into a lump of granite.
The two are both hot up on their conspiracies — Annie reads a ton of occult books and their authors tend to take too much seriously, and Al is a regular listener of those radio stations where you’re allowed to speak out against the vampire lizards. This stoneliver is clearly a sign: and probably tied to the fact that the florist opposite Annie’s taxidermy shop was broken into a few days back, but still no cops have turned up to turn the place over.
So the two hit up the florist: Al taking his usual subtlety with a heavy kick to the door. Inside is dark, and the place stinks of rotting lilies and bloating flesh. There’s a body on the floor and someone rooting through the pockets, but this guy stands up and holds his hands into the air.
But then, see, the body on the floor, it sits bolt upright. Al spooks, throws his wrench at the guy with his hands up — guy whose head snaps back with a flailing proboscis. Annie flees the scene, but is barged to the floor by some heavy who steps into the doorway.
The clearly-not-a-corpse has gotten to its feet by this point and grabbed Al, who stares transfixed at the empty eye sockets of the thing. By the time he breaks free, a steady stream of mosquitoes pour from the sockets, and Annie’s looking through Al’s truck for something to lever open the nearby hydrant.
Except that she sees someone over the road and is promptly interrupted by her mother, who’s not only clearly friends with the brute who knocked Annie to the floor, but also friends with Al’s ex-wife who also crosses the road. The brute grabs Annie, Big Al runs into the brute’s mate out the back of the shop, and the pair wake up tied to chairs in a dockside warehouse.
This first act of the game led to the players uncovering almost half as many truths as they needed to win: and after escaping the warehouse and resting up at Al’s contact, they researched an abandoned truck-stop at the edge of town. Eventually leaving that in flames and with the corpse of a hybrid human insect in the back of a truck, the pair fled along the coast road to Annie’s father, where they eventually learned the truth of her mother’s involvement…
EXUVIAE is currently in the run-up to a Kickstarter later this year. I’m organising artwork, layout, printing, &c. However, if you want to get access to the beta reader rules then send me an email at SEANatBOOKSEANSMITHdotCOdotUK.