Convenience stores are small shops, usually positioned along busy roads or intersections. Most convenience stores also sell fuel for vehicles, and the convenience store sales supplement the primary income provided by gasoline. Convenience stores sell various goods and services, often unessential: newspapers and magazines; lottery tickets; drinks, such as soda, water, juices, and beer; light groceries, such as cereal, canned goods, eggs, and milk; money orders; toiletries and pharmaceuticals (painkillers, cold medicine, and so on); and car materials, such as maps and oil. They also offer junk food (chips, candy, and the like) and sometimes real food (hotdogs, wrapped sandwiches, or even a small deli or hot bar). One hallmark of modern convenience stores is the “slushie” machine – a rotating tumbler that freezes flavored water into a snow-like drink.
Convenience stores have reasonable daytime shopping hours, and many are open 24 hours (although even the all-night locations have locks on the doors). Gas stations are very safety conscious: Most have security cameras and mirrors (Easy security to bypass), and aisles generally do not extend above 1.5 meters to ensure the clerk has extensive visibility. Most stores do not keep large sums of money, and larger store chains have automated time-lock safes to ensure money is unavailable.
The first convenience store in the United States opened in 1927. They can exist any time after that, more or less unchanged from the modern counterpart. In an alternate world or steampunk universe, convenience stores might have a different feel, perhaps combining a tea bar with a “general store” of barrels with dry goods and hardware. In near-future settings they will sell appropriate refueling (such as hydrogen cell recharges), and the ATM or other modern features will be replaced with overpriced futuristic electronic services (such as an InfoNet station or scholarchip uploader). Regardless of the era, however, all convenience stores of a region should feel similar and offer the same type of goods and services.
Don’t Miss …
Tyler “Ty” Gassen founded the Gas’n Go six years ago with a simple philosophy: Provide quality fuel and goods for motorists at reasonable prices in a professional environment. Unfortunately, he has had a slight problem realizing this dream. Although no more or less strategically placed than any of the other convenience stores in town (of which there are many), the Gas’n Go has nevertheless become the nexus for an improbable amount of unusual activity. To date, the Gas’n Go has been the site of (among other events) 16 attempted robberies, five tornadoes, three fires, two hostage situations, and an incident involving a Yakuza member getting shot in the head, which sent his vehicle careening into the store. Fortunately, Ty’s great luck tends to counteract his phenomenal bad luck, so he usually ends up roughly back where he started, talking to reporters, sweeping up debris, or hiding the mysterious manila envelope from the Yakuza’s car. Because of an obscure state loophole, the Gas’n Go’s insurance can’t be raised or canceled unless the entire building is destroyed … which hasn’t happened yet.
Ty is excellent at sizing up a person’s desires and motivations, and he generally helps good folks in bad situations as best he can, by hiding them in the storeroom or office, giving them fuel or goods, or providing a distraction. However, he doesn’t fancy himself a hero and will not risk his life needlessly.
Ty prides himself on a well-stocked and diverse shop. In addition to common brands, he also stocks obscure and regional candies, beer, and cigarettes; he sells diesel fuel, and his magazine racks have comics. He also keeps a surprising number of odds and ends in his groceries and general merchandise sections (treat availability as being equal to a grocery store for most items, with + l to the difficulty of any Funds checks because of increased overhead). Ty also keeps a sawed-off shotgun (damage 6D; ammo 2) under the register, a schnauzer named Killer in the store- room, and silent alarm buttons by the counter and in his office that alert the police; unfortunately, given the nature of the Gas’n Go, authorities take an inordinate amount of time to arrive. His office contains a decoy safe (Moderate lockpicking to open) hidden behind a painting of dogs playing poker; it contains a few hw1dred dollars and a cheap gold chain. His real safe is hidden behind the hinged slushie machine (Difficult search to find; Very Difficult lockpicking to open). In addition to money and important documents, the safe contains all the unusual doodads and knickknacks he has accumulated from his store’s incidents.
The Gas’n Go is open from 7:00 A.M. through 11:00 P.M., seven days a week, 365 days a year. The store has a massive turnover rate in employees, although one recent hire, Almira Klakshae, has stuck around for six months and seems made of sterner stuff.
Things to See
+ Newspapers and magazines on racks
+ Waxed-paper cups of icy soda pop and frozen drinks
+ Bottles of juice, water, and soda pop
+ Small packages of various kinds of convenient foods (soup, stew, candy, chips, pretzels, crackers, beef jerky, sausage, etc.)
+ Paper towels, individual packages of toilet tissue, and small boxes of facial tissue
+ Individual packages and full cartons of cigarettes
+ Vehicle air fresheners in the shape of fruit, leaves, trees, or geometric designs, in a variety of fragrances (vanilla, pine, lavender, floral, new car smell, etc.) and matching colors (white, green, purple, orange, brown, etc.)
+ Bottles of suntan lotion and tubes of lip balm
+ Computer generated and scratch-off lottery tickets
+ Cleaning supplies, including a broom, dust- pan, mop, and bottles of chemicals
+ Detachable metal shelving on heavy metal aisle dividers perforated to hold the shelves
People to Meet
The standard clerks have 2D in all attributes (except possibly 3D in Physique or Presence), with up to two dice split among combat and defense abilities (brawling, dodge, melee combat, or marksmanship). They may also have up to 1D in lifting. Managers and owners usually have +1D in business. Sometimes employees or owners have a love and knowledge of cars (especially if the gas station has an attached garage); these folks have up to +3D in repair: land vehicles. Workers in poor or dangerous parts of town often have pips in streetwise, and most people who stick with the job for any length of time developed + 1D or more in willpower.
Tyler Gassen (Store Manager): Reflexes 2D, brawling 3D, dodge 20+2, melee combat 2D+2, Coordination 2D, marksmanship 2D+2, piloting 2D+1, throwing 2D+1, Physique 20, lifting 3D, running 2D+1, Knowledge 20+1, business 3D, scholar 2D+1, tech: computers 2D+1, Perception 2D+2, repair 3D, streetwise 2D+l, Presence 20+1, charm 2D+2, persuasion 3D, willpower 3D. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 2D. Body Points: 12. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ The players’ characters are pursued by some dangerous threat (gang members, locusts, Zombies, mecha sent by a dimension-hopping terrorist group), and they find themselves in a one-horse town … and the horse is gone. There’s only one place to make a stand against this trouble: the convenience store. Can they make do with the meager, eclectic offerings of the gas station and use its geography to their advantage?
+ The only lead the players’ characters have to solve their latest crisis is that a convenience store clerk in town has a vital clue. Unfortunately, there are 31 such stores in town. Can they circuitously track down the right person in time, before the Bad Guys find her?