Antioch, CA, a city of about 100,000 in the San Francisco Bay area. Mr. Verity meets the team in a sleepy old-fashioned coffee shop catering to truck drivers and retirees. He lays out your next assignment as follows:
“A local medical doctor and hobbyist paranormal investigator named Randy Harb has been raising awareness of a phantom hitch-hiker story. According to reports he claims to have assembled, several motorcyclists have picked up a young woman thumbing it on Highway 4, in the vicinity of the 160 off-ramp. She wears motorcycle leathers herself and carries a helmet, and directs them to a residential address in Antioch. When they drop her off, she vanishes into thin air. The bikers then knock on the door of the home she directed them to, at which point an elderly man or woman informs them that their daughter died in a bike accident twenty years ago. Harb only has second-hand accounts, as you’d expect in this variation of a classic urban legend. However, two motorcyclists have disappeared in the past six weeks. Harb has been going on forums speculating that the woman’s ghost has turned vengeful and taken them.
“More likely an Esoterror cell has piggybacked on this legend, staging the disappearances. They might be faked, or the cell might be taking and killing innocent bikers. We fear that they are attempting to, or have already, summoned an Outer Dark Entity. An ODE called either a Wayfarer or, more recently, a Vengeful Hitcher, appears in several case files. It appears by the side of the road, flagging down drivers. It then devours them, takes their vehicles, and uses them in other kill-kidnappings. A Wayfarer’s activities parallel those of a serial killer, except that it is physically quite competent in resisting apprehension.
“Your mission: find the cell, if any. Learn whether Harb belongs to it or is being used by them, as amateur paranormalists so often are. Stop them from summoning the Wayfarer if they have not done so. If they have, find and destroy the creature. Then shut Harb up and veil this out.
“Take care not to activate currently unrelated public fears. Two potential panic vectors concern us here. One, the mysterious plague that wiped out Antioch’s original inhabitants during the gold rush. Two, concern arising from the city’s unusually high population of registered sex offenders. These may interact unpredictably in relationship to the phantom hitch-hiker legendry, perhaps altering the Wayfarer’s capabilities. Exercise all due caution.”
The Esoterrorists are occult terrorists intent on tearing the fabric of the world – and you play elite investigators out to stop them. This is the game that revolutionized investigative RPGs by ensuring that players are never deprived of the crucial clues they need to move the story forward. Purchase The Esoterrorists in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.