The Disappearance of Jason Hexam

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The Disappearance of Jason Hexam
 Creator(s) Doc Bubonic
 System(s) Trail of Cthulhu variant (Gumshoe)
 Genre(s) Modern Mystery


The Hook

Jason Hexam, a renowned paranormal/fringe journalist, went missing. Hexam became famous for his daring forays into the strange and the unusual. His first book about his first experiences tracking down urban legends about local paranormal phenomena made him a celebrity. The first printing of his book sold out and now its currently on its third printing. As well making him a celebrity, the book also earned him a lot of money. With the money he received, he quit his day job and started a podcast. Those fascinated about his book were quick to follow his podcast, Weird World Now (WWN). Hexam’s podcasts reported on strange and unusual phenomena around the country. Paranormal stories, local folklore, odd customs, and other weird stuff get covered on the podcast. He tends to threw in bits about local culture, food, and whatever details his fans might find interesting. The podcasts drove up sales of his book and he gained a legion of followers. A week ago, Hexam tweeted out to his followers that his next podcast would be the most shocking one to date. Absolute mind blowing is how he put it in another tweet. No one heard anything from him since that time. The police refuse to investigate his disappearance because there’s no sign of foul play. Hexam’s reputation notoriety also made police think that his disappearance might be a publicity stunt. A small group of people believe that something has happened to Hexam and they plan to either find him or what happened to him.

Campaign Frame Notes

Pitch

Lovecraftian Twin Peaks

Setting

Modern day. A small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on the shore of Lake Superior.

Game Details

This is a single adventure, but I think it will take a while to finish the game. Characters should designed with this in mind. Style Purist. The game will have paranoia about peoples’ motives and an underlying uneasiness about what happened to the author.

Laws will be enforced. Any characters who flagrantly break the law will suffer the consequences of their actions. As long as a character has a good reason to have a hand gun with them, I’ll allow it. I don’t think firearms combat will play a major role in the game though.

Mythos

Only a small number of people know about the mythos. Most people will have never heard of the mythos or know anything about it. Scholars, cultists and other unfortunates do know about the mythos. For the game, I’m allowing characters to take the Cthulhu mythos ability at the start as long as there’s an explanation in the character’s background.

Investigators

The investigators come together because they all have a stake in finding out what happened to Jason Hexam and they are willing to investigate his disappearance. The reasons for them wanting to find Jason Hexam, their relationship to the man, and their professions are up to the players to decide. This is my first time running ToC, so I’m not sure what abilities will be needed. When the game gets going, I’ll adjust the adventure to make sure everyones’ characters are involved somehow.

Rules Variants

I will be using elements from another Gumshoe, game Fear Itself. I also changed some elements of the game to be more suitable to a modern day campaign and to fit in with this adventure. One additional aspect I’m bringing over from Fear Itself are the psychic abilities. Any player can have their investigator take one psychic ability. The points to buy a psychic ability come from the character’s pool of build points.

Character Creation Guidelines

Character creation guidelines are subject to change before the recruitment thread goes up, but for now here they are.

Profession

Every character will have an Profession. These are replacing the occupations from the ToC book. I have dropped several occupations, changed the name of another and added three new occupations:

Artist

Author

Clergy

Corporate

Criminal

Doctor

Journalist

Lawyer

Nurse

Parapsychologist

Psychic

Psychologist

Private Investigator

Professor

Scientist

Descriptions of the Professions.

Abilities

The abilities used in this game are mostly from the ToC book. Some are pulled from the book "Fear Itself," and some are created by me specifically for this game. All characters have 16 points to spend.

List of Abilities

Characters for this game can also take psychic abilities as well.

Psychic Abilities

The Connection

Every character has a connection to Hexam. This connection provides the entry into investigating this mystery. The connection will tie your character to Hexam and also tie into your Risk Factor (which replaces Drives from ToC)

Risk Factors

For this game Risk Factors from "Fear Itself" game will replace the Drives from ToC.

One recurring question bedevils any plotter of horror stories: why don’t they just run away? When the audience intensely identifies with characters in jeopardy, you want them to get out of danger. However, the characters can’t get out of danger, or your horror tale is over. However, because plot arises out of character, GMs need to enlist their players’ help in giving the PCs good reason to go down into that dark basement even when all external logic cries otherwise. During character creation, after arriving at the concept, each player chooses a risk factor. This is a basic component of the character’s psyche that motivates him to risk horrific encounters. When presented with a situation that triggers the risk factor, the character is obligated to plunge deeper into jeopardy, or suffer a loss of Stability.
- Fear Itself (page 10)


For this game all Risk Factors are all related to Hexam. The mystery of Hexam’s disappearance is the main goal for the group. Finding out what happened to him will be what keeps characters involved in the mystery and ready to face danger. While everyone’s goal is the same the reason for wanting to achieve it is different. Listed here are some possible Risk Factors, I will consider other possibilities for Risk Factors as long as they tie into finding Hexam.

Curious: Hexam is missing and you can’t help but investigate. Damn the risks, there’s something going on here and you’re going to figure it out!

Duty: Whether its because you were hired to find him or you feel its your responsibility to do so, you have a duty to find Hexam.

Greedy: You’ll take any risk if there’s a chance of significant profit in it. Hexam’s disappearance ties into your financial situation. Find out what happened to him to get your financial reward.

Protective: Thoughts of your own safety mean little to you when others are at risk. This is especially true of Hexam.

Skeptical: Hexam is obviously pulling some kind of a publicity stunt and you’re going to prove this by finding him.

The Story: You aren’t curious as much as you want to get the story and publish it. The only way you know you’ll get the story is if you find Hexam.

Game Links

Arthur County Wiki page