Halloween At St. Odilio's
Author(s): Jason Williams
Appears in: Halloween Horror Returns!
One of the storytellers participating in an Arkham Halloween fund-raiser event has sinister intentions, and when a bizarre "satanic" diary full of alarming references to the Dreamlands and the upcoming Halloween event is discovered by one of the Catholic organizers, the investigators are called in to put a stop to the evil plan, before it's too late!
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St. Odilio's, a small Catholic community participating in an Arkham Halloween-themed harvest festival for the week of Halloween (October 31) as a fund-raiser. One of the storytellers participating in the Halloween event has sinister intentions: a young man who has spent almost every night of his life in the Dreamlands until his dreaming form was destroyed. The dreamer will try to cast a powerful necromantic spell while festival-goers are listening to ghost stories in the local cemetery on Halloween, punching a hole into the Dreamlands at the moment when the veil between worlds is thinnest, and issue a dangerous prayer to awaken a powerful Dreaming god. The Investigators are called in by the Catholic organizers when the dreamer's "satanic" diary is discovered, so that the investigators can journey into the Dreamlands and interrupt the dreamer's plans. Though they are not yet able to identify or stop the dreamer, the PCs do obtain help and advice from an important denizen of the Dreamlands, and awaken to confront the unidentified dreamer in the cemetery on Halloween night. If the PCs are unable put the clues together, identify the evil young dreamer, and stop the dreamer before he casts the spell, the spell causes a zombie apocalypse and attracts the attention of a (literal) Deus ex Machina who stops the madness.
- Background information about the four story-tellers (not presented as hand-outs, but could be printed/copied, cut up, and used as hand-outs)
- Fragments of the story-tellers' stories (not presented as hand-outs, but could be printed/copied, cut up, and used as hand-outs)
- Some background information about dignitaries and V.I.P.s attending the fundraiser (not presented as hand-outs, but could be printed/copied, cut up, and used as hand-outs)
- Ghouls (friendly)
- Nightgaunts (friendly)
- Zo-Kalar (friendly)
- Several deities mentioned by name have important background roles but do not normally interact with the PCs:
Tomes and Artifacts:
- Artifact: The Three Diorite Cubes of Golthoth (loaned to the investigators)
- Tome: Untitled book read by the dreaming cultist in background details ("...One of those books was a hand written account from an individual who had physically entered the Dreamlands and returned after many years. He studied the book for many weeks and read of terrible spells one of which he believes will open a doorway between the waking world and the Dreamlands and allow him to return there....") Spells may include:
- The Golden Bough, full 12 volumes of the third edition set (referenced in background information only as a book the cultist was reading at the MU Orne Library)
- The monks of The Order of the Sword of St. Jerome assist the investigators with spells and skills they may be willing to share:
Campaigns / Scenarios:
- This scenario references Bless the Beasts and the Children from Adventures in Arkham Country as a possible prequel adventure.
Trivia: This scenario includes MANY shout-outs to various Lovecraft stories and Chaosium supplements and adventures, including:
- Many Lovecraft stories, especially The Doom That Came To Sarnath, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
- H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands
- Kingsport supplement
- Miskatonic University (Supplement) or Miskatonic University – A Handbook to the Pride of Arkham
- Adventures in Arkham Country
- Arkham Unveiled
The storytellers and possible suspects include these characters from one or more of the above sources:
- Agatha "Granny" Orne from Kingsport, both detailed in the Kingsport Kingsport:_The_City_In_The_Mists_(Supplement) supplement
- Joshua Pickman, graduate student in Physics at Miskatonic University, who is also working on a "hydrogen device" he hopes can be used on an upcoming Arctic Expedition
- Dr. Elliot Mills, Professor in the Miskatonic University Department of History, specializing in American Indian history and tribal lore (detailed in the Miskatonic University (Supplement))
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: 1920s Arkham and the Dreamlands, though it could probably be set in other locations and eras with minimal effort by ignoring or disguising the many references to classic Lovecraft characters, locations, and events.
Special Notes: Like many of these Halloween scenarios involving investigators a Halloween festivals, players could probably be encouraged to tell ghost stories of their own. Scenario includes Test Play notes at the end, describing how the keeper (author?) handled the PCs unexpectedly asking for writing samples (this is a nice inclusion!) There's no compelling reason explicitly given for the monks to send the investigators into the Dreamlands and make a trip specifically to King Kuranes, it's like something was left out. I suggest keepers have the monks specifically tell the PCs that, as former experienced dreamers, they know King Kuranes and believe that if any friendly being in Earth or Dream could tell the PCs who the villain is and what he plans, it would be King Kuranes.
Dependence on Halloween: Some. The scenario works on the (nicely explained) premise that Halloween is a time when the "veil" between the real world and the Dreamlands is thin, allowing Dreamlands spells to work in this world; the scenario could be moved to another date fairly easily by changing the nature of the fundraiser and choosing some other occult date to occur on, though. The scenario's author was careful to describe the Halloween activities in enough detail that a keeper and group unfamiliar with American Halloween traditions can visualize what the fundraiser participants are doing and why, so changing the date probably won't be necessary.
Sequel Plot Hooks: This scenario can open up many possibilities for investigators including future adventures in the Dreamlands, contact with the The Order of the Sword of St. Jerome, a connection to the Federal Government through the Secretary of War, and connections with many prominent people in the Arkham and Kingsport area (including the local Irish crime family).