My online group decided to keep going with Monster of the Week, where the weeks are fast and the monsters are furious. This mystery owes everything to The Wraith, Blacktop Wasteland, Christine, Death Proof, Ghost Rider, Fast & Furious, and my childhood obsession with cars that drove by themselves.
This mystery can fit into a lot of different locations. I set our session in and around Reno, Nevada, but anywhere you have roads, parking garages, and junkyards will work fine.
Jeff “Bristle” Ellington, an up-and-coming street racer, dies in a firey crash following a drag race turned bad. His burning corpse crawls out of the wreckage of his Nissan Silvia and gets into the the car that ran him off the road. The black car blows out FLIR and dash cams during the subsequent police pursuit and escapes.
If the odd car isn’t enough, perhaps one of the hunters has a gambler friend or racing fan who bet on the race and saw the whole thing go down.
The Monster: Anthony “Ant” Montage
Type: Executioner. Ant’s vengeful spirit inhabits his resurrected black 1969 Charger (license plate BAD CAR). He will kill and reap the souls of Marlow’s street racing gang and won’t let anyone get in his way.
Powers: It’s a car. Because it’s an evil car, it will slowly heal cosmetic damage, reinflate tires, knit glass back together, etc.
Weaknesses: Bad Car’s main weakness is the photo of Anthony and Shelby, pregnant with their daughter, tucked inside the driver’s side sun visor. If the hunters can destroy that, the threat is over. Additionally, Bad Car cannot refuse a challenge to a drag race, and won’t endanger Shelby or Lotus until its vengeance has been fulfilled. As a demonic car, it runs on a mixture of gas and blood, but will possess/reanimate bystanders as needed to top itself off should it run low.
Attacks: Running people down (2-harm messy in close quarters up to 5-harm messy on the open road). Park on someone (2-harm immobilize, +1-harm over time, usable inside via seatbelt constriction). Death proof (reckless driving and collisions meant to shake and break anyone inside the car, 4-harm disorienting). Mesmerizing headlights (as vampire, see p.245). Hellfire underglow (3-harm area fire).
Armor: 1 (but only from outside the car). Harm Capacity: 10 ( tweak as needed).
Minion: Right hand. The car’s most recent victim’s corpse can be seen in the driver’s seat. Their zombified remains are mainly there to manipulate objects in the world you need thumbs for, like gas pumps and stuff. They’ll put up a fight but have no special defenses or attacks.
Bystander: Witness. Shelby doesn’t know a lot about what’s going on, but knows the details of her husband’s tragic death all too well. Usually seen with Lotus Elise Montage, her baby daughter born after Anthony’s death.
Bystander: Innocent. Ronnie, owner of Ron’s Salvage, is Shelby’s father. Ant’s Charger ended up there following the crash and subsequent investigation before regenerating and driving off by itself.
Case Marlow: The leader. Drives a 1970 Mustang. Personally ran Anthony Montage off the road on that fateful night.
Wynona Ford: Case’s right hand. C7 Corvette.
Dutch Messiah: The gang’s “slacker”, despite holding down a relatively stable job at the nearby gas station. Subaru WRX.
Janae Woodward: Wants Wynona’s prestige, but probably won’t survive long enough for that minimal characterization to matter. Drives a Focus RS.
Jeff “Bristle” Ellington: Victim.
Sheriff Langdon Castle and deputies Liberty Mills and Odelia Whinery are over their head investigating this ghost car malarkey.
The Open Road: Crossroads. Lonely stretches of highway. Tangles of exit ramps. Desert vistas. Anyone could be driving by.
Downtown Reno: Maze. Bright lights, strangers, parking garages, alleys, all-night diners.
Ron’s Salvage: Den. Canyons of rusted metal, floodlights and deep shadows, a few angry dogs. The Charger lairs here if it needs to lick its wounds. Ronnie doesn’t know his son-in-law’s car went missing.
Gas Station: Deathtrap. Cheap snacks, gas pumps, dumpsters, easy highway access. Maybe a parked semi or three. Dutch works here.
Summerville RV Park: Hub. Shelby and Lotus live here, not too far from her father’s business. Lots of gossiping neighbors, some race fans.
- Day: Bad Car spooks Janae Woodward in a Reno parking garage. She panics and speeds her Focus RS through the exit barrier and into a fatal t-bone with a bus. Her corpse reanimates and gets into the Charger, which leaves the scene.
- Shadows: Deputy Liberty Mills tracks the Charger’s information to Ronnie Declasse’s junkyard, where Bad Car crushes her against the front of her own squad car.
- Dusk: Bad Car waits for Dutch Messiah’s shift to end at the Exxon station near the highway. It lures the racer into the passenger seat, then immolates the gas station around itself, cooking Dutch and driving off unscathed.
- Sunset: Bad Car runs down bystanders at a street race when it murders the street racers’ leader Case Marlow and his right-hand girl Wynona Ford. It takes their bodies but leaves the rest.
- Nightfall: Sheriff Langdon Castle and Deputy Odelia Whinery are killed in the police chase, along with several other officers. Bad Car is eliminating any threats this time, not simply escaping.
- Midnight: Bad Car coerces Shelby and Lotus into the car before bursting into flames at the crossroads where Anthony died.