Uncle Timothy's Will

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Details

Name of Page

Pages:6-15

Author(s): Keith Herber

Artist(s): Earl Geier, Carol Triplett-Smith

Editor(s): John B. Monroe, Lynn Willis

Setting: 1920s

Appears in: Blood Brothers

Summary

A motley cast are summoned to the remote house of Uncle Timothy for the reading of his will, and find themselves spending several days there. As a thunderstorm rages outside, they soon learn that they have far worse problems than political disagreements and incompatible temperaments.

Links

Link to outside reviews or helpful pages.

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

 Spoiler Section (Highlight to Read)
The heirs-to-be are naturally required to spend the weekend at Uncle Timothy's house to be eligible for their share of a cool million dollars. A convenient thunderstorm also helps keep them in place.

The dying Uncle Timothy, a dabbler in the occult, planned to prolong his life unnaturally - starting with a ritual to turn himself into an immortal ooze, with the intention of stealing the hearts of his relatives to resurrect himself. The two servants are drugged and hypnotised into helping with his murderous scheme.

Essentially this is a suspense and monster-themed scenario, with enemies ranging from the two servants (relatively harmless once identified) to a horde of zombies, a summoned demon and Uncle Timothy himself. The scenario includes a rough timeline, escalating events from the first murder of an NPC to a potential climactic attack from Uncle Timothy, though the intention is that Investigators track him down first.

It's fairly easy for characters to be killed off in this scenario, between the quite dangerous antagonists, the relatively feeble Investigators and the unrelenting nature of the events. Six pregens are provided, with advice to make sure most of them survive at least the first half of the scenario.

The tone of the scenario is light horror, with characters nobody will be sorry to see killed off and fertile ground for backstabbing and leaving people in the lurch.


References

Player Handouts:

  1. Duncan Family History
  2. Page from Aboriginal Beliefs
  3. Excerpts from Timothy Duncan's journal
  4. Excerpts from the tome of Richard Duncan
  5. Page from Spirits of the Other World

Locations: Uncle Timothy's house

Creatures: Zombie, Demon, immortal sorcerer

Tomes and Artifacts: The tome of Richard Duncan (very few details

Comments

  1. House plan
  2. Map of house and grounds
  3. Image of Uncle Timothy attacking

Keeper Comments

The scenario is designed as a deadly haunted house story, with Investigators picked off one by one. It may work better with a smaller group and some of the heirs run as NPCs, allowing them to be picked off without excluding any of the players early on.

There are a couple of odd dangers in this scenario. A rusty nail can randomly give someone blood poisoning, though its effects aren't specified. A bigger issue may be the old shotgun, which will explode if not cleaned thoroughly; it's not usually something you have to check in games, and not a major feature of the genre either, so this could feel rather unfair to players caught off-guard.

Uncle Timothy's journal calls for three French rolls to understand it (one per paragraph). None of the characters (other than Uncle Timothy) has any French, rendering the entire handout pointless. There's no clear reason why Uncle Timothy would have written in French in the first place.

The scenario references "uncle Timothy's kiss" several times as though this meant something specific, but doesn't seem to specify what that might be. It may just be referring to his acidic touch, but this is unclear.

The scenario seems ambivalent about letting the characters locate the brewhouse. It seems to want the climax to consist of them finding the cauldron and destroying Uncle Timothy there. However, finding the brewhouse is insanely difficult; it requires five successive Track rolls (a skill which only one Investigator has, at 40%) to follow up a clue, or walking in the general location offers a 10% chance of being allowed to roll Spot Hidden. If the intention is to avoid them finding it to early, it might be better to find ways to drop in further clues later in the scenario, or even directly tie the difficulty to the stage of the scenario - an obvious explanation is that Uncle Timothy's activities, and perhaps the repeated visits of heart-carrying minions, have left more evidence.

The ending is relatively grim, since Uncle Timothy must be slowly cooked to death, and Keepers will want to adjust the level of description to suit their audience.

As an older scenario, the skills do not line up neatly with more recent editions, but this is easily dealt with.

The scenario refers to a seventh heir who didn't show up to the will-reading. This may be intended as a red herring, but is not otherwise addressed in the scenario. For one-shot play it may be easier to dispense with this to minimise confusion, as the scenario offers plenty to be going on with.