Day 4 - A Module That Takes Place Underwater or in the Air: "Deep Shit" by Jeff Barber
"Deep Shit" is a Blue Planet 1st edition convention scenario set on the water world of Poseidon:
A secret underwater lab on the exoplanet Poseidon has gone silent. The last transmission indicates the on site security chief went mad and began to slaughter everyone on the station. A team of commandos from Global Ecology Organization (GEO) has been sent in to investigate why. They will have to deal with storms, the station’s defenses, and a renegade genetically enhanced super soldier.
Written by Jeff Barber of Biohazard Games (also previously a founder of Pagan Publishing), "Deep Shit" is somewhat analogous to Jeff's previous Pagan underwater scenario, "Grace Under Pressure" (co-written with John Tynes in The Unspeakable Oath #2 from 1991), but differs from its predecessor in some significant ways. Run many times throughout the 1990s, Jeff also ran "Deep Shit" in April 2017 for the Role-Playing Public Radio crew; the podcast presents the entire four-hour scenario, from start to finish.
Why I Love "Deep Shit"
This four-hour, timed convention scenario is full of action and suspense, and somewhat mimics the structures of the films Aliens and The Abyss. The PCs are GEO super soldiers who drop planet-side through a brutal storm (a la , and, like the Colonial Marines, must determine the nature of the silence from the scientific research station.
Unlike Aliens, the PCs have no advance intelligence about what could be causing the radio silence, and the entire facility sits on the ocean floor (like GUP). The super troopers are probably a bit more powerful than Colonial Marines, too, but as they explore the research stations to determine what's happened to its scientists, the mystery of what happened only deepens when some of the PCs begin to succumb to the madness that infected the security chief....
Jeff runs a tight convention game: he gets the game up and running and done within four hours, all the while leveraging sound effects and music, props and lighting to ratchet up the tension throughout the scenario. Even in what appears to be a conventional bug-hunt-meets-Cthulhu set-up, Jeff also manages to surprise the players with unexpected twists and turns in the development of the PCs' mission.
I don't want to spoil the scenario further, so feel free to check out the RPPR podcast if you'd like to learn more.
Three Runners Up
I'm limiting myself to three, otherwise I'll just end up recreating my favorites list with each day's entry:
- "Can Seapoint be Saved?" by Bob Waldbauer (TSR, July 1983 in Dragon Magazine #75): a short adventure for 4th-7th level PCs tasked to vanquish the pirates threatening the town of Seapoint for their sea-caves lair
- "Grace Under Pressure" by John Tynes and Jeff Barber (Pagan Publishing, 1991 in The Unspeakable Oath #2; reprinted in The Resurrected, Volume 1: Grace Under Pressure in 1993): a fabulous underwater scenario, GUP would have been my #1 choice for this today if I hadn't played "Deep Shit" too
- "The Plight of Cirria" by Grant and David Boucher (Dungeon Magazine #9, Jan/Feb 1988): an 8th-12th AD&D adventure in which a female cloud dragon hires a group the PCs to discover and recover her male mate, who, as it turns out, was imprisoned on a cloud fortress by an evil archmage....
My other posts in Kellri's 18 Day Module Challenge:
- Day 3: A Fabled City of Brass by Anthony Huso
- Day 2: Masks of Nyarlathotep by Larry DiTillio
- Day 1: Empire of the Ghouls by Wolfgang Baur
- Day 0: These are a Few of My Favorite Things...