Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Scooby-Doo and the Halloween Horror

This is the narrative of a game played for Halloween at Wycombe Warband as an introduction to 7TV2 for multiple players. The game was played with the 7TV2 rules from Crooked Dice using the Scooby-Doo Programme Guide for Mystery Inc and open casting rules for the villains.

Tonight's TV listings
It’s Halloween and mysterious things are happening as usual at Crystal Cove. Sheriff Stone has been plagued by calls about ghosts and evil spirits, and has asked Mystery Inc to help so as to get rid of some of his less likely cases and reduce his workload. He’s more concerned about the farmer’s daughter, who has been reported missing, and he intends to get down to Abner’s pumpkin farm to search for her as soon as he can.

Mystery Inc are interested in Abner’s farm as well. Fred knew Abner’s daughter from junior school, and he recalls her telling the tale that the farm is haunted by a giant pumpkin monster at this time of year. It’s probably just a publicity stunt so that they can sell more Halloween pumpkins, but it’s fair to say that stranger things have happened in Crystal Cove.

The Casts
Fred (Co-Star, 5)
Daphne (Co-Star, 4)
Velma (Co-Star, 4)
Shaggy (Co-Star, 4)
Scooby (Co-Star, 4)
Mystery Machine (Vehicle, 4)
Sheriff Stone (Extra, 3)
4 x Deputies (Extra, 2)
Police Patrol Car (Vehicle, 3)
Cameraman (Extra, 1)
TOTAL 39 points

The Scarecrow Witch (Co-star, 6)
Jack O'Lantern (Co-Star, 4)
The Reaper (Co-Star, 5)
The PumpKing (Co-Star, 7)
8 x Pumpkin-Headed Scarecrows (Extra, 1)
5 x Corn Dolls (Extra, 1)
Farm Truck (Vehicle, counts as Land Rover, 4)
TOTAL 43 points (but the truck is part of the scenario and I would let it be driven by either cast)

And… Action!
Cue music… Scooby-dooby-doo, where are you…

All is quiet on Abner's pumpkin farm
It is night time and apart from the sound of occasional vehicles moving along Highway 432 and the creaking of the windmill in the light of the full moon, all seems quiet on Abner’s farm.

"Are you sure we can park the cars like this, Sheriff?"
The police, accompanied by Mystery Inc, arrive at the entrance to the farm.

"Daphne, these aren't yours are they?"
Leaving the Mystery Machine parked at the edge of the highway, keeping close together, they all cautiously advance along the farm track.

“Whatever you do, don’t split up”, Fred advises. “You know what happens to us every time we do that”.

The police are wary of something ahead of them in the fields, but it turns out just to be an old scarecrow. Nothing to be worried about, surely.

Fred’s eyes are drawn to something on the ground at the side of the track – a clue! As he bends down to pick it up with a stick, the gang gather round to look. Fred appears slightly embarrassed.

“Er… It appears to be a pair of ladies’ underpants,” he stammers. “I wonder how they got here?”

Velma cleans her glasses to get a closer look, and takes the stick from Fred, who is very happy to hand it over.

“Size 8, 60% cotton, off-white with well-worn elastic. Pumpkin-stained, with traces of straw caught in the fabric, some from quite long ago. They’ve been on and off a lot and from the smell I’d say they haven’t been here more than 14 hours.”

“Definitely the Farmer’s daughter”, Fred nodded. “I remember her from Junior School”.

The cameraman begins to wonder if he is in the right place
As the cameraman films a long-distance shot of the gang, the villains make their entrance.

There's something coming through the corn...
What’s that coming through the fields? Is it a monster?

Er, no – it’s two monsters.

The Scarecrow Witch advances slowly through the corn.

"Whoops! This mud is really slippery!"
Yes, there is definitely something moving in the corn, and it’s not a scarecrow, or at least not a normal one. The police are having some difficulty though. One of the officers has trodden in something unpleasant, slipped and fallen to the ground, while the others are trying very hard to make out what it is approaching them.

“Freeze, or we’ll shoot”, shouts Sheriff Stone. There is no response, and so the police open fire, while the gang hang back, all but Fred still examining the clue.

All ready for a quick getaway... almost.
At about the same time, as Act 2 starts, the farm truck is finally fully- loaded with pumpkins.
“Well done, men”, the villain currently known as Jack O’Lantern says, rubbing his hands together. “No-one will guess the goods are stuffed inside those pumpkins. Surely nothing can stop us now!”

There is the sound of timely gunfire from outside.

“You”, Jack snarls, pointing at one of the pumpkin-headed scarecrows in the barn, “Get that truck on the move. The rest of you come with me – we’re going to find out what’s going on outside.” And as they leave the building, they see the police car appear around the corner of the farm track, and realise they must act fast.

"I tell you it's an old woman! Who else would wear a hat like that?"
Meanwhile, back in the cornfield, the Scarecrow Witch unexpectedly puts his handy disguise kit to use.

“Hold your fire, men”, Sheriff Stone calls, suddenly becoming aware that their target is actually an innocent old lady out for a stroll under the full moon on Halloween, and nothing at all suspicious. “It appears to be an innocent old lady out for a stroll under the full moon on Halloween, and nothing at all suspicious”. His men lower their weapons, but don’t look particularly convinced.

Seeing a different sinister figure moving through the corn on the other side of the track, Sheriff Stone orders his men to shoot at this new target instead, and The Reaper is mercilessly gunned down before he can even wave his scythe in their direction. Then, as the attention moves back, the Scarecrow Witch has a sudden attack of stage fright and finds himself temporarily unable to act, much to the director's annoyance.

"Sheriff, we appear to be on fire."
Undeterred, and ignoring the hammy acting of the Scarecrow Witch, Fred moves towards another clue he has spotted in the middle of the cornfield.

But before the police can open fire again, there is a minor technical mishap with the special effects as a pyrotechnics canister malfunctions. Sheriff Stone and his men find themselves unexpectedly on fire.

"Ouch! Fire! Hurts!"
The cameraman is perfectly positioned for a great shot of the burning policemen, though it only lasts a short while before one of them has to seek medical assistance off-camera.

Vegetables on the attack
The villains, realising that time is running out, and that they are likely to be a lot more effective attacking in numbers, go on the attack. Not before time, flanked by more pumpkin-headed scarecrows, the PumpKing makes its appearance.

“Raaarrrgh!” it growls, as only giant vegetable monsters can.

Thinks... Whatever you do, don't split up...
Sheriff Stone and two of his remaining deputies, having put out their burning clothes, face the threat of the giant vegetable.

Fred, meanwhile, investigates the second clue, relieved to find it is not another item of ladies’ underwear.
“Hmmm,” he ponders. “A gas station receipt for diesel fuel. Enough to fill the tank of a large farm truck for a long journey with a full load of pumpkins. I wonder what that can mean?”

And while Daphne, with an uncanny sense of what needs to be done, runs back to the Mystery Machine, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby ponder why Fred might have been so concerned earlier about the party not splitting up.

Scarecrows in attack formation
It doesn’t take too much pondering. Five corn doll scarecrows appear in the field on the other side of the track to the PumpKing.

“Oh-oh”, says Velma
“Roh-oh”, says Scooby
“Zoinks”, says Shaggy

[In vegetable voice] "We have them now!"
The PumpKing looks threatening as it momentarily poses for the shot before the action.

"Who do you think you are, Starsky & Hutch?"
The deputy driving the patrol car grasps the urgency of the moment, and in a Dukes of Hazzard-like manoeuvre, screeches the vehicle to a halt immediately in front of the farm truck.

Unfortunately the farm truck is bigger and tougher than the police car. Its pumpkin-headed driver stamps on the gas. For a moment, the wheels of the truck spin wildly, and then the truck rockets through the police car, which is written off and knocked aside, its driver thrown clear as the damaged truck barges past.

In moments, the unfortunate driver is surrounded by Jack O’Lantern and his henchman.

"Yikes! I'm sure I had some nerve gas somewhere..."
Meanwhile, the corn dolls close in on Velma, Shaggy and Scooby from one side as pumpkin-heads attack from the other, and a chaotic punch-up ensues. In the confusion Shaggy searches his pockets desperately for something useful.

“Hey, Scoobs, what’s this?” he says, pulling a cylindrical object from his pocket in a scatter of Scooby snacks. “Your old flea powder. Hold your breath!” The flea powder canister explodes in a cloud of foul-smelling noxious gas. The scarecrows falter as the vapour weakens their resolve.

But Shaggy is now in big trouble, attacked on all sides by spooky scarecrows with blunt agricultural implements.

"Take aim carefully, now..."
Sheriff Stone orders his men to help.

“It’s a risky shot, men, so be very careful” he announces, and they all open fire in an explosion of lead. Missing the scarecrows completely, their first shot hits Shaggy in the backside.

“Oops”, says the deputy

“ZOINKS! That hurt!” cries Shaggy.

“I told you to be careful!”, said Sheriff Stone. “Let me show you how it’s done.” And so Sheriff Stone takes the risky shot instead, and Shaggy is hit in the backside a second time.

“Oops” says Sheriff Stone.

“ZZOOIINNKKSS!” says Shaggy, and falls to the ground.

“Rrraaagggy!” howls Scooby.

And the bad guys all sieze the moment and pounce in, and a massive punch-up develops again. Things are not looking good for Scooby-Doo, who disappears beneath a flurry of pounding farm implements, and like Shaggy is taken out of the game. Velma is lucky to get away without even losing her glasses.

Hissss..... Boing! Hisss....
The PumpKing, which is evidently not really a pumpkin at all but in fact some sort of large inflatable construction filled with pressurised gas and operated by several villains inside, has evidently sprung a leak, perhaps caused by a stray bullet that actually hit the correct target. The sudden release of gas allows the giant vegetable monster to leap into the fray, and it bounds into the surprised policeman with enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm, that is, rather than effectiveness. The police stand their ground as another big punch-up develops.

Woman driver
Meanwhile, somehow overlooked by the director and the TV cameraman, Daphne has managed to drive the Mystery Machine into the farm where she stops the escape of the farm truck by carefully crashing into it. She jumps out, but is not quick enough to grab the clue, so promptly jumps back into the dented van and drives off to comparative safety.

"Wha... How did that happen?"
As the dust settles on the massive punch-up on the farm track, the scarecrows look around for signs of Scooby-Doo, who was definitely taken out of the game but has somehow managed to get back in to it. It seems that in the confusion of the fight, in typical cartoon-fashion, Scooby-Doo must have crawled out of the bottom of the melee to make an unlikely escape into the field nearby, where he runs away to safety.

"Put your tendrils in the air!"
The police back away from the ineffective attacks of the PumpKing as the episode draws to a close.

“Freeze!” shouts one of the deputies, brandishing his gun at the rapidly-deflating giant vegetable, and, realising the game is up, a group of villains slowly make their way out, their hands in the air.

“Abner!” cries Sheriff Stone. “I never would have thought it was you!”

“Yes, Sheriff”, admits Abner the Pumpkin Farmer. “And I nearly got away with it despite those pesky kids!”

Later, in hospital, the gang visit Shaggy, who is recovering from his unfortunate bullet wounds. Shaggy is trying to understand Velma’s explanation of what happened.

“So what you’re saying is Abner dresses his men up as spooky scarecrows to scare people at Halloween because people will pay more for a pumpkin grown on a genuinely haunted pumpkin farm than they will for just any old pumpkin? And because of that he’s been arrested on minor charges of fraud and conspiracy to scare small children? And it turns out his daughter wasn’t missing at all but had simply shacked up for a few days with one of the farm hands she fancied who didn’t work over Halloween because he refused to wear a pumpkin on his head?”

“Yes” says Velma
“Yes” says Fred
“Res” says Scooby
“Er… are you sure we didn’t miss anything?” says Daphne.

And they all laugh. Daphne always found solving mysteries challenging and rarely understood the obvious explanations. Everyone knew she was only in Mystery Inc because of her good looks and impeccable fashion sense.


Closing music

End Credits

7TV2 cards for the villains created by the author and produced using Jorge Robles' excellent 7TV2 Studios Casting Agency 
Mystery Inc from Hasslefree Miniatures 
Pumpkin-headed scarecrows from Rapier Miniatures 
Corn Dolls from Crooked Dice 
Scarecrow Co-Stars from Conquest Games
PumpKing scratch-built from DAS clay, Milliput and Green Stuff by the author.
Clear bases from Sally 4th 
Scarecrows standing in fields from Bad Squiddo Games 
Pumpkins scattered in fields are painted putkha pods (used in flower decorations), purchased from Hobbycraft 
All terrain scratch-built by the author.

Thanks to all my players for their excellent senses of humour and original ideas and contributions to the screnplay. Which was, by the way, a minor victory to Mystery Inc.

No pumpkins were harmed in this production.