Bad Credit

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Adventure

Strange happenings in Sunnydale; ever since the opening of a new shopping mall near the school some of the teenagers from Sunnydale High have started behaving oddly. Are the two connected, and what sinister purpose could be behind it all?

The Story

A typical day at Sunnydale High; or not so typical as it turns out. Huddled in the library for their usual confab, the Scooby Gang are at a bit of a loss – there’s nothing odd happening. Vampire activity is at an all-time low, leaving Buffy bored out of her mind. Talk turns to a new club that has started at school that none of the gang seems to know what it is for. Cordelia claims it can’t be for popular kids, because she hasn’t been invited to join; nor can it be for smart kids because Willow has not been invited either. The teachers at Sunnydale High seem to like the club, even if they aren’t sure exactly what it is about, because its members are uniformly neatly-dressed and polite. Xander notices that a few jocks who usually bully him mercilessly are members of the club, but since joining they have invariably been friendly, if a bit standoffish, with him.

While the odd behavior is curious, the Gang don’t think the club is worth investigating so after school they instead decide to check out a new shopping mall that recently opened near the school. The mall, a sprawling crystal palace boasts a number of well-known brand stores and an equal number of niche shops, offering just about anything a person could want. The mall is surprisingly packed for a mid-week afternoon; quite a few adults on top of the teenagers from the afterschool rush.

Cordelia is in her element, hitting all the designer shops, while Buffy, Willow and Xander can only window shop and dream of buying what they wish they could afford. While Buffy is pining for a particularly expensive outfit in one store the trio are approached by Mr. Simons, the mall’s manager. Simons explains that the mall is having a grand opening promotion and offers the three credit cards that will be accepted at any store in the mall. Buffy and Xander sign on immediately, but Willow is sceptical. She asks how they can be issued cards without a credit check, or with the fact that they are all underage, but Mr. Simons brushes off her concerns and encourages the gang to go shopping and enjoy themselves.

Buffy and Xander both take full advantage of their sudden spending capability, Buffy hitting clothing and jewelry stores and Xander aiming for electronics and collectibles. Willow is still suspicious but tags along, noticing that many other teens from school are also shopping with the mall credit cards.

As the week progresses the Gang notice that more and more students seem to be joining the new club. Buffy and Xander ignore this and are instead focused on return trips to the mall, with Willow reluctantly in tow. Still unwilling to put her credit card to the test, Willow instead begins to notice that a lot of the kids from the new club are at the mall, but they seem to spend all their time in a part of the mall that is behind closed doors. Attempting to check out this mystery section of the mall, Willow is intercepted by Mr. Simons who tells her it’s a members-only area for the kids from the club and then sends her on her way encouraging her to use her card and do some shopping.

Willow is finally able to convince the others that there is something up with the club and the mall. The Gang decide to investigate, and after closing hours on Friday they sneak into the darkened mall. Breaking into the closed-off section the Gang discover that it seems to mostly consist of classrooms. Suddenly they are confronted by several of the teens from the club, who are not as polite as they are at school these days; in fact they are acting quite aggressive towards the trespassers. The Gang are shocked when they discover that the teens possess some kind of super strength, and coupled with their sheer numbers it looks like the Scoobies don’t have a chance. Only the timely arrival of Angel allows the Gang to escape.

Back at the Library the Gang fills in Giles on what they have discovered. Examining the mall credit cards, Giles discovers they are enchanted. Looking over copies of the papers Buffy and Xander signed when they took the cards, Giles discovers that it is some kind of magical contract that binds the people who sign it to the agreement, though he cannot work out the details of what the contract fully entails.

The mall is the key, so as soon as it opens Saturday morning the Gang head back there in the hopes of uncovering what is going on and stopping it before the stipulations of the contracts Buffy and Xander signed take effect…

The Plot

Mr. Simons is a demon and he is using the credit card contracts to trick Sunnydale High students into losing their souls. When the victim spends enough with the card to hit the limit their soul is forfeit, and so is their body. Simons is trapping the souls, and using the bodies as husks into which he is transferring Vampires. Inhabiting the husks lets the Vampires go out in daylight with impunity, and gives them a disguise. The secret classrooms in the mall are there to teach the Vampires how to blend in and not attract suspicion.

The Player Characters need to discover the truth about what is going on, defeat Simons and his Vampire minions without harming the student bodies the Vamps are possessing, and free the trapped souls of the students who have maxed out their cards.

Cast (Season Two)

Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Angel (David Boreanaz) - Character Sheet (PDF)

Adventure Notes

The adventure was inspired by (and is a combination of) the plots of the Scooby-Doo live action movie (2002) and the Archie's Weird Mysteries episode "Mega-Mall of Horrors" (2000).

Details for exactly what the demon's ultimate plan was, and how to stop him and undo the magic done to the students, were intentionally left vague so the players wouldn't be contrained or railroaded into a single solution to the plot. In the version I ran at a gaming convention the players discovered the magical vessel the students' souls were trapped within and figured that breaking it would free them. They were confronted at the mall by Simons and the assembled Vampire-host students, so the group lured them into the mall's main atrium before shattering the vessel with the souls. The freed souls returned to their bodies, forcing the Vampires out. Now surrounded by the revealed Vampires the player controlling Buffy had her use a crossbow to shoot out the mall skylight, flooding the atrium with sunlight (the confrontation at the mall was happening on a sunny Saturday afternoon). This dusted all the Vampires, and also nearly took out Angel, whose player had him quickly get to cover. With the Vampires defeated the Gang turned their attention to the demon Simons, who was swiftly defeated by everyone's favorite Vampire Slayer.