- Love all the neighbor ideas I read. Really great ideas on the teen in the car accident who was saved by Corbitt. Absolutely was planning to use a number of parent tropes, especially ones who simply don’t take the kids and their suspicions seriously. I was also thinking that maybe the hospital orderly is the older brother of someone the characters know. Maybe a bully or an older teen who they look up to. I am thinking of also tying in the nurse who witnessed the birth somehow so that her information can potentially be found easier by teens.
The orderly :
I'm not sure about the orderly being connected to the neighborhood. I don't think it's a bad idea per se but I prefer when plot elements have "their own life" and are not connected to the characters or people they know. I don't want to give my players the impression that they don't have to search too far to find clues.
Also, Tomaszewski was suspected of killing several pets, so if the kids know him one way or another, how could they not know about this?
I think he should remain a complete stranger. It will make him even scarier because the kids don't know him and how he will react.
In fact, I think this character should be vastly modified for your scenario. I don't think a bunch of teens could confront a man, make him run away and even jump to his death.
The nurse :
Ms Dunlap is also a bit problematic in your setting. How a group of teens could go to the sanitarium and ask about her? Why anyone would give them the answers they want?
I guess you could keep things that way and hope your players will be creative enough to find a solution.
An idea of mine : Ms Dunlap isn't dead at all. She was in the sanitarium for a while, yes, but she was then released when she "recovered"... Now she lives all by herself in an old shack outside of town. She doesn't take care of herself so she now has shaggy grey hair, dirty clothes... Nobody cares about her since she's harmless but everyone thinks she's still nuts. The kids in town have spread a lot of rumors about Ms Dunlap among themselves, one of them being that she is actually a witch.
First advantage of this solution, Ms Dunlap is alive and thus can deliver informations herself. No need to go to the sanitarium.
Second advantage, she could be a good red herring. The players might think she's guilty of something. Missing dogs, missing kids in Boston? Doesn't Ms Dunlap has a car and doesn't she leave town quite often?
Last advantage, even if they don't think she has a hobby of killing children, you could create a good atmospheric segment of your adventure because the young investigators will have to speak to scary lady or, worse, break inside her shack and search for clues.
- Really like the old lady with the three dogs (reminds me of old woman in A Fish Called Wanda). I am thinking I could use one of the dogs going missing as a secondary way to push the players to take action on Corbitt. Maybe even foreshadowing the fact that one of the dogs gets away from the old lady and seems very interested in Corbitt’s vegetable garden early in the scenario
Ahah, I didn't think about that film but yes I guess it's the lady of A Fish Called Wanda!
Yes, it's exactly how I am planning to use the dogs. If my players don't bite the plot hook (Or they just fail to spot the kid arm), they will eventually see the old lady knocking at their door, asking if they didn't see her precious little baby. And if they still don't care... Well maybe another puppy will go missing, I don't know. With three of them I could use one or two.
- Another NPC I am thinking of is the local gossip who knows everything about everybody and knows much about Corbitt’s story as a secondary way the players could gain knowledge that is in the newspaper handouts. Maybe the gossip’s daughter likes one of the players and can obtain the information that way.
I like that.
Or instead of a gossip, it's just someone who is quite obsessed with the local news. (S)he will always have a collection of newspaper articles and old books about the town History.
ows everything about everybody and knows much about Corbitt’s story as a secondary way the players could gain knowledge that is in the newspaper handouts. Maybe the gossip’s daughter likes one of the players and can obtain the information that way.
- Lastly I am thinking about an NPC who is another teen in their group who is really the leader of the group and thus tying in different kid archtypes. But he broke his leg and so can’t participate in scenario but could help them in some ways with advice if needed. Maybe he could also be used as a victim in some way down the road too.
Watch out they don't rely too much of this NPC, though. Idea rolls are a good way to help players when they're stuck. But this friend of their could be a victim, yes.
- I am thinking of starting the scenario not immediately with the initial event in the scenario. The idea would be to distract them from Corbitt initially. One possibility might be a day in the life of the kids, going to school, seeing Corbitt and other neighbors on way to school, then dealing with school, rumors, urban legends, bullies, girls, etc. In addition, I was thinking of introducing a couple of broader plot threads/rumors foreshadowing some mysteries to raise atmosphere and suspicion about the scenario. For instance, rumors of children disappearing in the Boston area over last couple of years. Maybe parents are wary and not telling them everything except to be safe and not talk to strangers. Also maybe something about a local teen hangout and haunted site in the woods where supposedly the remains of witches were buried in unmarked graves since they couldn’t be buried on consecrated ground. So it creates a certain amount of uncertainty about what the scenario is about and evokes some atmosphere before the Corbitt scenario would begin.
As a fan of IT, I like the idea of rumors of missing kids, but maybe the parents should not be too wary (Or else they might take the kids seriously when they start accusing Corbitt). I prefer the idea of a very peaceful neighborhood.
One idea for the bullies : maybe Corbitt himself could help the characters when bullies are after them. You know, like he gets out of a shop and find one of the players being beaten by older kids. He forces them to flee and drives the character home. Maybe with a few wise advices about how to stay out of such trouble.
Seize every opportunities to make Corbitt look like the friendliest person in town.
Uncertainty... I should work on that part. With a scenario called "Mr Corbitt" it will hard for my players not to imagine that they should investigate on the friendly neighbor. I was planning on using the introduction given in the book (Dinner... kid arm...). I even put together a fake movie poster as a way to tease the scenario to my players (I love to do that) and I used "Ce Cher Monsieur Corbitt" (That Dear Mr Corbitt) as a title. But now I'm starting to think it just screams "You must investigate Corbitt".
Edit :... Here we go. Now my adaptation is titled "Welcome to Whateley Circle". It's the name of the neighborhood where it takes place.
In all, really great feedback. Thanks everyone and keep it coming if you can think of anything else.
One thing to give some thought to is season of the year. With much of this story taking place outdoors (seeing things while playing, walking to and from school, running errands, etc) winter makes things very different from summer, even if it isn't yet snow-time. Also, what holiday is coming up? There's always one in the USA -- Easter (egg hunts, church), Fourth of July (fireworks/crackers), Hallowe'en (spooky stories and decorations, costumes) and Christmas (decorations, caroling door-to-door, church). Having all this breaking between Thanksgiving and New Year's could add a lot of texture.
Yes and more importantly : it will set how much time the investigators will have.
Summer break is ideal if you want the character to have all the freedom they'd need to investigate.