Horror Stories From The Red Room (Scenario)
Author(s): Simon Yee
Artist(s): uncredited, apparently Simon Yee?
Appears in: Horror Stories From The Red Room
Campaign: The Secrets of San Francisco
The investigators have been summoned to the Beaumont estate to research the life of an artist and his paintings for an upcoming auction. The four paintings were called Dreams from the Red Room, by an artist named Xavier Ignacio. There are three wealthy bidders who have expressed a deep interest in purchasing the whole collection, so the Beaumont estate wants to create a special catalogue that will showcase the meaningful value of these art pieces. The problem, and the reason the investigators are needed, is that Xavier Ignacio was not very well known and died in poverty at the age of 27.... The Beaumont estate would like the investigators to collect information and interview people who might know anything about Xavier Ignacio and his paintings. The investigation will end when the investigators return with a solid and well-researched story to fill the Beaumont estate Catalogue (or perhaps, information that would be embarrassing to Beaumont estate, thus ending the auction).
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
The investigators have been summoned to the Beaumont estate to research the life of an artist and his paintings for an upcoming auction. The four paintings (plus an unknown fifth painting) were called Dreams from the Red Room, by an artist named Xavier Ignacio. There are three wealthy bidders who have expressed a deep interest in purchasing the whole collection, so the Beaumont estate wants to create a special catalogue that will showcase the meaningful value of these art pieces. The problem, and the reason the investigators are needed, is that Xavier Ignacio was not very well known and died in poverty at the age of 27.... The Beaumont estate would like the investigators to collect information and interview people who might know anything about Xavier Ignacio and his paintings. The investigation will end when the investigators return with a solid and well-researched story to fill the Beaumont estate Catalogue (or perhaps, information that would be embarrassing to Beaumont estate, thus ending the auction).
The Investigators will, in the course of researching Xavier and his paintings, uncover the dark secrets about the "Red Room" circle, the role played by the drug "the Nightmare Opium of Leng" in the group's activities, the unearthly fates of the club's members, the inspiration for Xavier's bizarre Dreams from the Red Room painting series and the hidden fifth painting, Xavier's music, and more.
- Illustration: Ellen Beaumont
- Shopping List
- Maps: Beaumont Estate, first and second floors
- Handout #1: The Red Room
- Illustration: Clark Ashton Smith
- Map: Jeremiah Stanton's House
- Illustration: Marla's Transformation
- Illustration: The Fifth Picture
- Witnesses' Homes:
- Beaumont estate
- Jeremiah Stanton's house
- Marla Tibbs' house
- Terry Talbot's house
- Other homes:
- Clark Ashton Smith's house
- Henry Sheriff's house
- Randolph Hearst's mansion
- Randolph Coutts' house
- San Francisco Locations:
- Potsman State Hospital
- Medical Examiner's Office
- City Records Office
- Joplin General Store
- Creature from the Painting
- Living Flute of the Outer Gods
- Pure Heart Society of Benevolence cultists (non-combatants by default)
- Assorted Human NPCs (generally non-combatants by default: servants, guards, witnesses, etc.)
Tomes and Artifacts:
- Nightmare Opium of Leng
- Xavier Ignacio's Dreams from the Red Room Painting series
- Three (or more) cylinders of Xavier Ignacio's music
- Elder Sign (on brick wall in Terry Talbot's House)
Campaigns / Scenarios: The Secrets of San Francisco
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
- "I would like to thank my wife, Danielle Yee for editing this scenario and giving me invaluable feedback. Also want to thank my play testers Sam Carter, John Armstrong and Albert Park."
- This scenario was inspired by the following authors:
- "The worst of all the things that haunt poor mortal man,” said I; “and that is, in all its nakedness-- Fear that will not have light nor sound, that will not bear with reason, that deafens and darkens and overwhelms. It followed me through the corridor, it fought against me in the room...." —H.G. Wells, "The Red Room"
- "The seven grave men, including myself, had gathered as usual to exchange blood-curdling horror stories. We sank into the deep armchairs, covered with scarlet velvet, in the room which had been dubbed the 'Red Chamber' and waited eagerly for the narrator of the evening to begin his tale." —Edogawa Rampo, "The Red Chamber", (translated by James B. Harris)
- Cody Goodfellow, scenario "The Ferry Ride" (from The Secrets of San Francisco)
- H.P. Lovecraft, "Cool Air (fiction)" and "The Music of Erich Zann (fiction)"
- Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, "The Hell Screen" (Jigoku hen- Hell's Cataclysm)
- Maps of houses used - designs and information provided from R. J. Christensen’s This Old Haunted House, Too (Chaosium Monograph CHA0373).
- Some of the characters in the scenario (Randolph Hearst, Clark Ashton Smith, et.al.) were real people.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: 1920s San Francisco, California (could probably be adapted to other settings, but probably fits best in San Francisco, 1920s to present)
- Strangely, there are no descriptions for the first four paintings in the "Dreams from the Red Room" series, though a reference exists to the paintings hanging prominently in a room of a house the investigators search. Keepers may want to prepare descriptions of the paintings in advance.
- The rooms on the maps are numbered, but there are no corresponding map keys or numbers on the room information in the scenario; it seems these may have been lost somewhere in the translation from scenario submission to publishing. Keepers will have to read between the lines to piece the maps together with room descriptions.
- The reward offered by the quest-givers, $20 plus expenses, seems suspiciously low - presumably, this was intended to be $200 plus expenses?
- According to the scenario's author:
- "This scenario is written for 2-4 players with intermediate experience. Journalists, private investigators, antiquarians, professors in relevant fields, authors, and artists are probably excellent occupations for the players to portray in this investigation. Characters knowing the Chinese Language (either Cantonese or Mandarin), will have some advantages."
- "The scenario draws material from Chaosium’s Secrets of San Francisco, and it would be useful to have it for reference."
- "The structure of the adventure is non-linear and mostly investigational, with the possibility of having no combat if the investigators are very cautious. While the Cthulhu Mythos elements in the scenario are present for most of the significant encounters, the investigators will need to be too curious for their own good in order to discover them."
- "The scenario is very player-driven. How investigators interpret their findings from the various encounters, which all differ due to their own relationships and points of view, will dictate the ending of this scenario."
Dependence on Halloween: Unlike most other scenarios in the monograph series this scenario came from, there are no references at all to Halloween in this scenario.
Sequel Plot Hooks: None specifically; the connections the investigators make might lead into other scenarios set in San Francisco (see The Secrets of San Francisco); the list of names of members/guests of the "Red Room Cabal" might be expanded to include names of characters in future scenarios.