Anyway, I had an adventure idea that I had some trouble with based on this Washington Post article.
The players get a call for help from a friend who has joined this community, asking for help. The people here do not trust the police or government, but are scared, and this person got help from the players way back. (Possibly a former NPC or PC?)
It seems people are going missing. First it was hikers, hunters and an ATV driver. Not super unusual except for the number: You break your leg in the woods without having told anyone where you are going, well, chances are they might find your body in a decade or two. However, then they find a truck by the side of the road. AR-15 assault rifle still attached to the drivers seat, keys still in the ignition, seatbelt still done up and doors locked. Between when the players are called in and when they arrive someone has gone missing from their home. They were cleaning their weapons, all of them spread out at the table, like Mal did on Firefly, but then vanished.
On the plus side, the players won't have to deal with any police or government forces, as the locals don't trust them and don't want them around. However, the players are themselves outsiders with no authority and people are scared, armed and distrustful of outsiders.
What I don't have is why the newcomers to the region are being targeted? The Aryan Brotherhood had a compound there for a long time, and they weren't attacked by ghosts. So what has this new group of outsiders done to be targeted? My current idea is a wife who's husband spent their life savings on land here and survival supplies, then forced her to retire her with him against her wishes. She dies, and has returned to target all the men of the region, possibly (in classic ghost fashion), not realizing that he died in the same accident as he did.
I posted this to a few places on Google+ and got some outstanding feedback.
At the Suppressed Transmissions group I got two responses:
The first from Helen Calder who said it sounded to her more like a "clan of enraged Sasquatches" and elaborated:
and "As If" suggested that there had been something imprisoned in the Aryan Brotherhood compound that has now broken free, and Carrie Schutrick who then suggested that whatever broke free is targeting people that are similar to those that imprisoned it.here are some who regard them as nature spirits that are corporeal only some of the time. That's the reason some people give for the lack of bodies. There are a lot of stories of people confronted with them being either unable to lift their weapon/camera and a few of people firing at something that they shouldn't be able to miss but not finding a corpse or blood.
At That's Gameable! David Jacobs game me the following, which I'm going to repost verbatim:
Several of these ideas could obviously be combined into one, and I'd love to see other suggestions.It's a bit outside their historical range, but the Dane-zaa Indians believed in the wechuge, a cannibalistic phenomenon similar to the wendigo.
People or objects could be imbued with power through pacts with ancient animal spirits. These spirits were so powerful and dangerous, though, that the Dane-zaa observed taboos to keep the spirits in check. If somebody (usually an oblivious outsider) broke a taboo, then the unleashed spirit could become "too powerful" and possess the shaman or owner of the object who was party to the pact, and the latter would become a wechuge. The wechuge, possessed by the ancient spirit, would start to hunt people, using their greed and desires to lure them to their doom.
The taboo in question might be something relatively innocuous, such as (in an example I read) using flash photography, which resembled sufficiently the flash in the eyes of an eagle spirit that the old man being photographed had made a pact with, that he ran and hid, lest the eagle spirit be unbound and turn him into a wechuge.
With all these (predominantly white) survivalists flocking to the area, it's easy to imagine one of them violating a long-forgotten taboo in the deep forest, and an unwitting local, whose lands boast abundant fish and berries, becoming possessed by an unusually hungry and wily grizzly spirit.
So, what could be used to ensnare survivalists? Food? Guns? Anonymous sex in the woods? Insatiable curiosity?