The Smokestack Horror
Author(s): John Kennedy
Appears in: Halloween Horror 2.
High school can be rough, and even rougher if no one cares about you. There are those who are picked on everyday, and those who start fights in the cafeteria. And then there are the few who no one remember at all, the ones who sat in the middle of the classroom and who the teacher rarely called on. When one of them goes missing, few notice or care.
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Strange things begin happening in a Boston high school building after a student disappears following a confrontation with a gang of bullies. The PCs get involved as the bizarre violence and protests escalate, eventually discovering that the missing student was locked in the school's disused coal room where he inadvertently awakened a dormant horror unearthed in the coal, before dying alone and afraid as the monster, which feeds on pain and fear, possesses his body and begins influencing and attacking the students and teachers, culminating in cover-ups and interference from the mysterious Greenwood Foundation and confrontations with the gang and the monster at the school's Halloween dance.
Player Handouts: None, but descriptions of newspaper clippings and a transcript of a radio broadcast could probably be printed/copied, cut out, and used as hand-outs.
Locations: a High School in modern Boston, Massachusetts
Creatures: The Racked, The Darren (a corpse animated by the Racked)
Tomes and Artifacts: (none)
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
Trivia: United States "high school" refers to grades 9-12; most high school students would be 14-18 years old.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Modern Boston, Massachusetts, USA; the basic idea is simple and could probably be re-used in pretty much any other era or country with a little rewriting.
Special Notes: NPC's are in High School (grades 9-12 - i.e., most students would be aged approximately 14-18 years old); some of the slang and jargon involved in the background information and dialogue ("jocks", "nerds", etc.) may be peculiarly American and may require some translation outside the U.S.
The plot hooks to launch this scenario are a bit weak, and due to security concerns at modern U.S. public schools it may be difficult to justify a standard group of CoC investigators getting involved in this scenario, and this scenario may make more sense as a one-shot adventure for high school student pre-gens, or for pre-gen characters who are school employees, law enforcement, Department of Education employees, or working for other government agencies that might get involved after students and faculty start getting hurt in mysterious ways (Department of Health, OSHA, teachers' union, etc.)
Dependence on Halloween: the story's climax is set on Halloween during a school Halloween costume party, but it might be easy enough to replace the Halloween party with any costume party with minimal effort.
Sequel Plot Hooks: What is the Greenwood Foundation, and why are they censoring broadcasts, suppressing reporting, etc.?