I just started running The Haunting for a group during our lunchbreak.
There are three players, playing a Journalist, Mechanic and Parapsychologist. They are all seasoned roleplayers but the player playing the parapsychologist has never played CoC before.
I set the scenario up by making the landlord of the house, the journalist's editor. He wants the Journo and his 'ghost-hunting' friends to give the place a clean bill of health so that he can sell the cursed thing off. He mentions that the place has a history, but I maybe should have underlined it.
As I feared, the group asked no questions, did no investigation and set straight off for the house. To be fair, the landlord just asked them to look the place over, so it's not unreasonable.
During their exploration of the ground floor, they started to realise that they knew absolutely nothing about the events or history of the place. I got the Journo to make an idea roll to think of maybe researching the history in the sources listed in the scenario, but he failed. They continued to explore the house. They've gone through the ground floor and explored everything except the cellar, which they've mistaken for the kitchen larder. They decided that the junk-filled store room wasn't wrth the effort, so they haven't found the diaries. They are about to go upstairs and that's where we had to leave it. A pretty uneventful first session, but they didn't seem too concerned and we're playing again on Thursday.
Now, I don't mind the lack of investigation, that's up to them, what's bothering me is this: If the players don't bother with the cellar, Corbett [sic, see below] will surely just leave them be. He doesn't want to draw attention to himself, so as long as they don't explore the cellar, he's surely best just leaving them alone, isn't he? No bed/window shennanigans, no floating knife and no mind control. This'll make for a very dull introductory scenario. Obviously I'll try and draw their attention to the fact that the cellar door is actually a cellar door and not a larder door. Hopefully that will set things off. Trouble is, I don't want to do it in such a way that makes it obvious that it's important - more important than the bedroom.
I suppose my main concern is that they'll explore the whole house except the cellar and nothing will happen - which will be a massively unrewarding experience for all concerned.
I'm hoping that if one of them does end up going through the window and/or attacked by the floating knife, they might decide to tactically withdraw and do some research. I might, if they continue to wax lyrical about their lack of knowledge get them all to make idea rolls.
Any advice on how to play it on Thursday?
Being a resident of the West Midlands, UK I've relocated the house to Stoneleigh, a small village half way between Leamington and Coventry. Victor Macario has become Robert Macdonald and his wife has become Maimie. Corbitt has become Corbett and Roxbury has become the Warwickshire County Asylum, Hatton. A real just place a few miles up the road.