GRAPE Expectations.
Copyright 1998 By Scott Gray.
GRAPE Expectations is an adventure for GRAPE: Generic Roleplaying All Purpose Engine, though it can be played with other game systems. See the main page to learn GRAPE rules. This adventure, like GRAPE, is distributed free of charge. You may give out copies, so long as the text is not modified and no fees are charged for the copies distributed.
The Genre:
      GRAPE Expectations is about family life in urban America. The PCs are relatives, in-laws, or family friends. There should definitely be some friction between the characters. The majority of characters should get on each others' nerves enough to keep a steady stream of light comedy. For an excellent example of the genre, please see Mad About You.
The Event:
      The central NPC in GRAPE Expectations is Shannon. She has a close relationship with as many characters as possible. She is pregnant with an as-yet unnamed baby; another source of family conflict. At game start Shannon's contractions are 15 minutes apart. The family panics, packs her bags, and everyone climbs into Uncle Mort's van to go to the hospital (Mort is also an NPC).
      Uncle Mort's van is 17 years old. The van makes a squealing-coughing noise, and with a dramatic "phumph" stops with smoke pouring out of it. While Uncle Mort is calling AAA, and trying to deal with his van, let the PCs fight and scream about what to do next. No taxis stop. Taxi companies send cabs that don't come, or which others take. Eventually, Shannon (who should be the only one acting sane) says that she'll go by subway to the hospital.
      The PCs are carrying Shannon's bags, Mort is left with his van, and everyone heads into the subway. A car stops and everyone gets on. That is, everyone except Shannon, who somehow got left outside the door when it closed and the train zoomed off. Presumably, the characters now want to find her (and to assign blame for losing her). Lots of witnesses have seen her, and there are ways to track her; let the PCs devise the means, and be generous in assisting them.
Where's Shannon?
      After missing the train, Shannon figures that the rest of her family and friends will make it to the hospital and meet her there. So, she simply climbs on the next train. However, the train Shannon climbed on is an express train to the end of the line, so she misses the stop for the hospital. When Shannon gets off the train, her contractions are stronger and closer together, so she decides she'd better call one of the family or friends (if not a PC, another friend of the family).
      Shannon finds herself without change (the PCs have her bags), so jumps through some hoops to get change. She tries to ask people getting onto and off of the train, and is yelled at by a street person that "this is my spot, and you look like you got money, sister." Finally, she gets 35 cents from a street musician, and when she uses the pay phone the phone eats her change.
      Shannon eventually trades her sweater to the street person for change, and leaves the train station in search of a reliable phone. She walks a few blocks and finds a shopping mall. She wanders in, looking for a phone, which she finally finds in the food court. She tries to call Uncle Wallace and learns that she doesn't have enough change. So, she tries to reverse the charges, and Wallace answers "Bah, Shannon wouldn't call me collect. Who is this joker?".
      Shannon is desperate for the extra dime so she can call Wallace. She looks around her, and makes a desperate move -- she takes a dime out of the tip jar for one of the restaurants. As she does so, Officer Angus Donnelly sees her, and detains Shannon.
      Shannon is left in the security office for a while. Her contractions are getting closer together. She explains this awkward situation to Officer Donnelly, who drives her to the nearest hospital -- not the same one that the PCs are at. She is quickly rushed in, and sees a doctor; she is not registered or checked in (calling every hospital and giving her name doesn't help). Every time she tries to get a doctor or nurse to call her family, they take the number down and promise that it's taken care of -- but it isn't.
      Shannon's adventures should be modified depending on where the PCs look. If the PCs decide to try a nearby bus stop, for example, they should hear a story about the crazy fat lady who was trying to ride for free.
      If possible, the characters arrive just as the baby is born. It's a boy. Shannon names the boy Angus, after Officer Donnelly.