A Chill Down Your Spine

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Details

MULA-The-Bride-Of-Halloween-Horror.jpg

Pages: 14

Author(s): Harris Burkhalter

Artist(s): (none credited, probably Harris Burkhalter)

Setting: 1990s, Anoka, Minnesota in October 26-31 of 1991, and the Dreamlands

Appears in: Bride of Halloween Horror

Campaign: (none)

Summary

Members of the Anoka County Historical Society are approached by a confused teen asking about the history of the area — he thinks he is seeing ghosts. His later disappearance and strange investigation leads to the dream work of Dr. Kline and his sole surviving patient. A clue lies on the grounds of a historic sanitarium, where a corn maze has been constructed. As snow begins to blow in the icy breeze, dream begins to merge with reality.

Links

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)

Members of the Anoka County Historical Society are approached by a confused teen asking about the history of the area — he thinks he is seeing ghosts. His later disappearance and strange investigation leads to the dream work of Dr. Kline and his sole surviving patient. A clue lies on the grounds of a historic sanitarium, where a corn maze has been constructed. As snow begins to blow in the icy breeze, dream begins to merge with reality. The sanitarium was the site of bizarre dream research by the deceased Dr. James Franklin Kline, who considered the mythos elements discovered in his research to be based in Freudian psychology; his experiments took the doctor and his patients on journeys into a Land of Forgotten Dreams in the Dreamlands, "curing" about half the patients by helping them to forget the causes of their illnesses. The grounds where the Corn Maze was built is a relic of this research, and festival-goers walking the paths of the maze are opening doors into the Dreamlands, allowing creatures of dream to enter the waking world, including Nightgaunts, who have dragged an imaginative teen dreamer into dream; the investigators should rescue the dreamer and close the gates of dream, while a blizzard threatens waking Minnesota.


References

Player Handouts:

  • Anoka Halloween Events Brochure
  • Haunted Places in Anoka article
  • Giant Bunny Press Clipping
  • Eric Green's Journal Entry
  • Spiritualist Arrives Press Clipping
  • Additional content found in the (errata and bonus content):
    • Four Pre-generated Characters
    • Photo of Kline's Sanitarium
    • Halloween Blizzard Weather Map
    • Mazes in Folklore
    • Location of Anoka County
    • Scenario Map (Map of Anoka, Minnesota)

Locations:

  • Anoka, Minnesota
    • Anoka County Historical Society History Center and Library
    • Main Street
    • Windego Park
    • Kline Sanitarium
    • Anoka City Library
    • Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center
    • Mercy Hospital
    • Oakwood Cemetary
  • the Dreamlands
    • Land of Zak or "Land of Forgotten Dreams", City of Zar

Creatures:

  • Nightgaunts
  • Ghoul (friendly by default)
  • "Kangaroo"/"Bunny" creatures (in background; dream creatures, these are harmless Dreamlands animals)
  • Dreamlands Cats (in background, friendly by default)
  • Ghosts and Visions (in background, non-hostile)

Tomes and Artifacts:

Organizations:

  • Anoka Society for the Paranormal (ASP)
  • Anoka County Historical Society

Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)

Comments

Trivia: The scenario is partly inspired by a real blizzard that hit Minnesota on/about October 31, 1991.

Trivia: Dr. James Franklin Kline was an actual person and his Sanitarium still survives in Anoka today, currently an apartment (as it was in 1991).

Trivia: Anoka, Minnesota is the self proclaimed “Halloween Capital of the World.” Boasting of the oldest continuous Halloween celebration in the United States, much of the modern celebration of the unofficial holiday can be traced back to Anoka. It started in 1920 when citizen George Green gathered the city leaders together to design a program to keep the kids of the town busy on Halloween, traditionally known as a night when mischievous children got up to all manner of vandalism, tricks, and other minor crimes. Green envisioned a parade, costumes, candy, and other festivities, all crafted to allow adults to keep and eye on their wayward young and prevent them from overturning outhouses or other nonsense. The resulting celebration has proven so popular, that generations later it has grown to a festival that draws thousands. (The character Eric Green in the scenario is, however, fictional.)

"As the fallen leaves career before us – crumbling ruins / of summer’s beautiful halls – we cannot help thinking of / those who have perished – who have gone before us, blown / forward to the grave by the icy blasts of Death." - Robert Chambers, 1802-1871

“When your sister rides a tank down the main street of the world’s Halloween capital, there is not much higher one can go.” - Garrison Keillor

(At end of scenario), "For more information, please check out the following websites and resources:"

  • Anoka County Historical Society- http://www.ac-hs.org/
  • Minnesota Reflections Digital Library- search "Kline Sanitarium" for picture http://reflections.mndigital.org/
  • Lewis, Chad and Fisk, Terry. “The Minnesota Road Guide to Haunted Locations.” Unexplained Research Publishing Company: Eau Claire, WI, 2005.
  • Keillor, Garrison. “Halloween Capitol of the World.” The New York Times. Oct 31st, 1991.
  • Nord, Mary Ann. “The National Register of Historic Places in Minnesota: A Guide.” Minnesota Historical Society Press: St Paul, 2003
  • Rath, Jay. “The M-Files: True Reports of Minnesota’s Unexplained Phenomena.” Wisconsin Trails: Madison, WI, 1998.
  • Pre-generated characters, maps, pictures, and bonus handouts available soon at Yog-Sothoth.com!
    • The scenario's author has provided the bonus material (here) and (here).
  • Special Thanks to the Playtesters and Editors: Sam Friedman, L.C., and “Weird” Dave Olson.

Keeper Comments

Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.

Setting: Modern Anoka, Wisconsin, late October 1991; probably difficult to change the setting to other eras or other locations without considerable rewriting, due to the way that Anoka landmarks and history are woven into the story.

Keeper Notes: There don't seem to be any hostile creatures in this scenario, and so there's almost no combat unless the investigators really force it (the creatures actively involved are, arguably, only trying to help their victims; the other creatures just appear in the background). This seems like it might be a nice scenario to introduce players new to Call of Cthulhu and other RPGs to this style of game, and in fact may work better for them than for players with some experience in hack-and-slash genres of RPGs, though keepers should be advised that I'm not convinced about some of the sanity rewards for the conclusion of the scenario, and should be encouraged to consider carefully whether punishing investigators for allowing Dreamlands creatures to escape would send the right message, and some reward for giving Myrtle Larson a happy ending should be encouraged. The scenario includes quite a bit of background information for keepers (including much more information in the errata and bonus material) is also available), as well as advice and plot-hooks for sequels. There are references to more than one "mythos tome", but details are really only provided for one of them (that should be enough for the scenario, but if the others come into play, keepers may need to detail them). The descriptions of the Dreamlands location(s) could probably use a little attention from keepers familiar with the style of Dreamlands stories from Dunsany and Lovecraft, etc.

Dependence on Halloween: Moderate; Halloween occurs in the background due to the date of the blizzard, and is the reason for the corn maze which plays a role in the scenario's plot, but Halloween itself is not a focus of the scenario. Enough information is provided for groups unfamiliar with Halloween to figure out how it is being celebrated by the locals in ways that pertain to the plot, though. It would be difficult to run the scenario around a different time of year and omit all Halloween references without a considerable rewrite of the plot, in any case.

Sequel Plot Hooks: "Future adventures may take the investigators deeper into the Dreamlands or perhaps the sinister true reasons for George Green’s creation of the Halloween festival in Anoka. For instance, is it possible that Anoka is an area prone to dreaming? Perhaps a strange new city appears; Lake Wosmee, a bucolic rural American town seemingly stuck in the 1950s. What horror lives in the lake that could threaten even the Waking World? And who created it? Could George Green have encountered the apparition of Jack O'Lantern, an aspect of Nyarlathotep hoping to increase public acceptance of the occult by linking it to consumerism and greed for reasons known only to the Great Old Ones?"