Parks provide urban denizens an escape from the sprawl of asphalt and concrete that binds them, whether it is a quick walk in the local city park or a camping trip to a state or national park. They are places dedicated to preserving one bit of nature for the enjoyment of the citizens. In a typical adventure, this happy, shiny fun is bound to be shattered by the intrusion of villains bent on crashing the party.
Parks come in many sizes. In cities, they can be as small as one street corner or as large as several blocks, such as Central Park in New York. In rural areas, nature preserves can be a couple hundred hectares, encompassing a forest or lake, or a vast tract of tens of thousands of hectares holding entire mountain ranges, wetlands, or wildlife sanctuary. (For suggestions concerning forest and meadow locations, see their entry herein.)
Urban parks are convenient places for characters to have meetings with illicit informants who desire a public place where violence would be too conspicuous. The advantage of a city park is that is can be well trafficked and yet still have spots which that secluded (some secluded enough to server as locations for dumping a body after a murder). Although regardless of how public or isolated the location in the park, people still disappear from plain site and secret rendezvouses can be discovered without warning.
In park settings, often the innocent bystanders prove useful plot devices. Especially since parks almost always have some kind of play area, hordes of children that frequent these could to be taken hostage, witness to a horrible crime, or obstacles in gun fights and car chases. It adds a nice touch of guilt when little Timmy ends up in the hospital because some trigger-happy character used a hand grenade near the monkey bars. Moreover, these children attract scores of vendors whose stands can provide a splatter of color to any vehicle ripping through the place in hot pursuit.
Also, these places make great areas to assemble huge crowds for festivals, sporting events, concerts, protests, political rallies, and an assortment of other gatherings. Introducing mayhem, which most characters are prone to do simply by being present, can produce several noncombat problems to deal with. These might include fires, riots, stampedes of people, medical emergencies, and so on.
While parks can have a wide assortment of amenities, a typical example of a city park generally includes a baseball diamond, playground, restrooms, picnic benches, and a monument or fountain. An average size would be about four city blocks, generally in a square or rectangular configuration. In addition to this, parks may have tennis courts, basketball courts, a soccer field, lake, bike paths, a stage, and so on.
Placement of playgrounds and such frequently falls close to the borders of the park. This leaves a lot of wide-open areas for moving around near the middle, with the center of parks existing as the favored location for monuments and fountains. The layout generally has a number of sidewalks or paths crisscrossing the area, and they may border the park as well. Stages and baseball diamonds typically face the inside of the park.
Monuments in older parks are usually statues of historical significance, often of military heroes or politicians, or are simple markers with plaques commemorating things such as battles, foundation of a town, sponsors of the park, and the like. Both types are generally sturdy enough to force a fast-moving vehicle or horseman to make way. In recently built parks, artwork includes mural boards and sculptures in traditional or abstract designs, and their resilience as obstacles varies based on their materials (from 1D Toughness for wood to 4D for metal structures).
Rural state and national parks often encompass one large, continuous geographic area, like a large forest, mountains, swamp, or similar territory. They feature campgrounds, nature trails, picnic areas, and sometimes a nature center or museum focusing on the local sights, sites, and environmental issues.
Most are relatively safe, but getting lost or cut off by bad weather is possible. The more sizeable national parks, such as Yellowstone, may include the appearance of bears, deer, moose, wolves, or even a mountain lion. Other parks may have different types of animals, depending on the climate and location, but seldom is the animal population dense enough to provide large or numerous encounters. Some parks do allow hunting, which could provide problems for characters wandering around without a caution-orange jacket.
Things to See
+ Swings with plastic seats and metal chains on a swing set
+ Metal merry-go-round set in a circle of sand several centimeters deep
+ Sand in a sandbox bordered by wooden railroad ties
+ Metal slide ending in a circle of sand several centimeters deep
+ Sports equipment (baseball bats, baseballs or softballs, footballs, soccer balls, basketballs, tennis rackets, tennis balls, etc.)
+ Statues or sculptures made of granite, marble, metal, or plastic
+ Chain-link fences
+ Wooden picnic tables and benches
+ Small gardens of flowers
+ Signs indicating the park regulations
People to Meet
Most pedestrians have the typical 2D in attributes, with a couple of skills at +1D. Children have 1D to 2D in their attributes, and few have skills above 3D, with the exception of athletes and various enthusiasts (such as skate-boarders), who may have 4D or 5D in an appropriate specialization. (See the ”Apartment” entry for suggested characteristics for a child.) Campers and hunters may have +1D to +2D in survival and perhaps a combat skill. Police officers often frequent city parks due to the children and to display their presence to the public openly. State and national parks have park rangers, skilled in medicine and survival but otherwise similar in game characteristics to police officers, though they are few in number and do not respond as quickly as their urban counterparts.
Hunter: Reflexes 2D, Coordination 2D+1, marksmanship 3D, piloting 2D+2, Physique 2D, lifting 2D+2, running 2D+1, swimming 2D+1, Knowledge 2D, medicine 2D+1, navigation 2D+2, Perception 2D, hide 3D, search 3D, survival 3D, tracking 3D, Presence 1D+2. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 11. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ The players’ characters track a dangerous gunman into the local park. After loosing him for a few minutes through some trees they encounter him at the edge of a playground. He is squatting down and talking to a little girl, and he apparently has her ball. One wrong move and the situation could turn very bloody for Molly and her second- grade class.