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(location) Trail Service


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Background: When he was a lad, John "Sig" Sigmundson ran off to sea. He spent many years as a sailor, each voyage he hoped bringing him closer to the fortune he'd read about in adventure books. Finally, he and his shipmates found a buried pirate treasure. After it was all divided up, Sig was still not a rich man. You'd have been hard-pressed to call him well-off. But it was still more money than he'd ever had at one time before, and likely as much money as he'd ever have. So Sig retired from the sea and returned to his hometown.


As it happened, the owner of a way station that had originally served coaches and carriages on the way West was retiring, and was willing to let Sig buy him out. Sig looked at a map, consulted with the county board, and saw potential there. He modernized the place, gave it a new coat of paint, and renamed it "Trail Service." It's been over ten years now, and while times are tough, Trail Service is doing just fine.


Facilities: Trail Service is a combination gas station, garage and greasy spoon located on the outskirts of a large rural town halfway between where the player characters came from, and where they're going. It's open twenty-four hours, and is right on the blacktop, so it gets a fair amount of business.


There are two regular gas pumps, and one for diesel fuel, and there are the usual assortment of other petroleum products for sale. This is a "full service" station, though what "full" means depends on what attendant is on duty.


The garage will hold three normal-sized automobiles; larger vehicles will be worked on outside.


The "cafe" has an U-shaped counter that seats sixteen people on stools, and five booths that are meant for four people each. There's almost always room to sit somewhere. A display along one wall has pictures of the town's past and Sig's travels; on the opposite wall is a shelf of candy and travel necessities for sale.


John "Sig" Sigmundson: As mentioned above, is a former sailor, as can be deduced from his rolling walk, his anchor tattoo, and his habit of cursing up a blue storm (but never in front of a woman.) He's broad in the beam, and getting thick in the middle; most of his once-blond hair is thinned out. He's a blustery man, who shouts at his employees a lot, particularly the attendants. Sig enjoys sitting back on a stool, smoking a clay pipe and slowly sipping coffee while giving orders, but can do almost any job that needs doing around the Trail Service, and is his own bouncer.


Sig lives in the shack back of the Trail Service, but somehow always manages to be in the building somewhere when player characters visit, no matter what time it is.



Beatrice "Bea" Riggs: The night waitress/cook. Bea is somewhere in her fifties, but has aged badly. She has a permanent sour look on her sharp face, and the red in her hair is an obvious dye. Bea is sharp-tongued, short-tempered, and only a fair cook, but has an excellent memory and never makes a mistake in an order. A fiercely independent woman, she's not told anyone about her recent dizzy spells.



Kenneth "Ken" Drummond: The day cook, he learned his trade in the Army, but his fare tastes better than that might imply. He's only fifty, but already completely bald. Ken's a jovial sort who often tells tall tales of his war exploits, and is known to be very handy with a knife.



Bradley Kinnon: The garage's head mechanic. He's in his thirties, a lanky fellow with a mop of brown hair greased back unstylishly. He's pretty good at his job, but slower than most people like. Bradley's a shy person outside of the garage, and collect pinups.



Day Waitresses: Generally younger and prettier than Bea, they work shorter shifts and fewer days a week. The Trail Service is a little rough, but families often come in, so it's not a male preserve.


Station Attendants: Mostly young men, the older ones taking night shifts. Sig tends to have a high turnover in this job, with a running betting pool on whether a particular attendant will quit or be fired.


Customers: The local customers tend to be older men who sit at the counter smoking and making their coffee last as long as possible while gossiping and reminiscing about "the good old days." They're joined by single travelers and truckers. Families and traveling groups take the booths.



Campaign Use: A way station for player characters going from one exciting city to another. The locals can be comical and welcoming, or surly and sinister as needed for the game. It's a good place to have a automobile break down, as there's a garage handy. Some plot seeds:


Sig is hailed by the postman, who has a package for him. It seems that one of Sig's old shipmates has died, and left him a curious statuette. A player character with the proper skills recognizes the statuette as special in some way, and there's some question as to whether the friend's death was natural...


If there's a doctor in the party, have them arrive at night, when Bea's undiagnosed medical condition suddenly kicks in. The nearest hospital is nearly thirty miles away; what to do?


Gangsters build a roadhouse not far away from the Trail Service. They decide the small business is too much competition and start a campaign to drive Sig out of business.



Thoughts, comments?

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Re: (location) Trail Service


Great write up for NPC's and location. Rep to you!!


The only thing I could think of is Bogart in move Petrified Forest. SEE the movie it is great. Have mobsters on the run take the place over with the PC's inside.

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Re: (location) Trail Service


Oooo! Oooo! Ideas forming...


I can see the Trail Service set in a location that is near a particularly spooky national park (such as Yellowstone, or any other National Park for that matter), with Rangers popping in from time to time for a bite to eat, some gasoline, or to fix a broken vehicle.


Re-Occuring Character


Harrold "Harry" Cross: A local park ranger. Even though he was rejected by the military (which doesn't gain him any credit with the local vets), Harry has quite the soldier build for a man in his late 30s. His appearance is fairly neat for a bachelor, but you can tell that he's never been married. He has closely cut blonde hair, blue eyes, and a baby face.


Harry stops in the Trail Service cafe whenever he gets a chance. It gives him a chance to get away from work and relax a while, away from his bosses, who don't see him as much of a help either. Problem is, no one seems to believe the stories Harry tells, the odd lights at night, the strange humanoid creatures that venture out of the caves at the base of the river, the underground worms that can eat bears.


Campaign Use: Whenever the player characters need a guide into the local park, Harry is always there to offer his services. It gives him a chance to get away from all the harrassment. Harry can be used as a vehicle for hooking the heroes into an exploration adventure. Little does everyone at the Trail Service know, but Harry knows the location of the cave entrance to Inner Earth.


Jak :ugly:

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Re: (location) Trail Service


Thoughts' date=' comments?[/quote']

Definately does not have a juke box. Sig only turns on the radio if requested, or to catch the news.


Sig buys fresh food supplies as often as possible; not only does it make the cooked food better, it means he isn't going to have as much problems when the electricity goes out and the fridge/freezer stops. The place is out at the end of the power line, so blackouts are not infrequent.


Sig tried raising vegetables out back, but what he knows about farming can be written on the head of a pin. No-one who's worked for him for long knows any more, so the idea is a bust. There's some stuff growing out back, and maybe some of it is edible, but....


More ideas if I think of them.

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Re: (location) Trail Service


I should mention that the "cafe" area is actually quite small--everything fits in barely, but a normal conversational human voice can be heard throughout the entire room and the kitchen, and there simply aren't any dark corners to hide in.


(Yes, the Trail Service is based on a real place from my childhood.)

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