Author(s): Simon Yee
Artist(s): Simon Yee
Appears in: Bride of Halloween Horror
Campaign: Secrets of Japan
The investigators are invited to a Halloween party at an occidental learning annex for a night of fun and cultural exchange. A Japanese professor thinks it would be a fun learning experience to bring a holiday from the west to the land of the rising sun. Unfortunately everyone gets more than they bargained for!
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
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The investigators are invited to an exotic, Halloween-themed party at the Occidental Annex at the Japanese Izu Community College, a building that was the site of a decades-old tragedy in which a man, driven mad by strange visions of an eldritch otherworld, and hallucinations of ominous writing on his family's faces and voices whispering instructions for reaching the strange world, killed his family and himself in a particularly grisly way. The dormant nightmare is revived when a professor tells the group about this legend while sharing ghost stories, unleashing Yokai spirits into the Annex and threatening to open a mystic gate to the realm of Umetokai. The investigators must find the real source of the disturbances and banish it from this world, or be forever pursued and haunted by spirits....
- Professor Shimano's Ghost Story of Jubai ("Jubei Kaidan", not presented as a handout but easily copied/printed and cut out for this purpose)
- Maps of the three floors of the Occidental Annex (ground floor, upstairs, basement)
- Maps of the Izu Community College grounds, "Izu Prefecture"
- Two or three nice illustrations of Yokai spirits and a portrait of a friendly NPC
- Izu Community College
- Izu Occidental Annex (English studies lab), ground-floor/upstairs/basement
- Izu Prefecture (college grounds, park, pond, etc.)
- Izu Torii Gate
- Umetokai (a sort of Dreamland)
- The Book
- Yokai Spirits (some are friendly by default)
- Dismembered Boy
- Burlap Sack
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl
- The Faceless Relatives
- The Angry Shadow
- Bleeding Heads
Tomes and Artifacts:
- "They Faced the Enemy by Themselves" (probably destroyed if the scenario is completed successfully)
- Unnamed 16th-century scroll describing how to find Umetokai (mentioned only in background information and in the professor's ghost story)
- Shinto Torii Gate
Campaigns / Scenarios: Secrets of Japan
Comment: The scenario uses the spelling "Jubei" in the text, and "Jubai" in the title. I believe "Jubei" is right spelling, but I'll use "Jubai" for the name of the page, as this is how it appears in the contents, Chaosium's website, and promotional materials.
Trivia: The title "Jubei Kaidan" roughly translates as "Jubei's Ghost Story" ("kaidan" translates roughly as "mysterious legend of an apparition(s) from old times", "Jubei" being the name of this legend's main character)
Trivia: "In Japan, losing face is by far the worst thing that can happen… more than death itself." (This quote from early in the scenario is, of course, a pun....)
Trivia: This cinematic scenario resembles horror movies like Ju-On (2002), Hausu (1977), One Missed Call / Chakushin ari (2003), The House Where Evil Dwells (1982), Hellraiser (1987), The Eye (Hong Kong/Singapore, 2002), and of course the various Yokai Monsters... films (1968-1969). These sorts of films might be a good place to look for any optional research into setting the mood and atmosphere of this sort of story.
Dedication: "First off, I would like to thank my wife, Danielle, and the folks at RPG-SanDiego for their support of my habit. Big thanks to Oscar Rios for planting the seed for this adventure without thinking he planted a seed to begin with. There are not too many scenarios that take advantage of the Secrets of Japan Setting and I hope this work inspires people to take another look into the fantastic supplement. The scenario is loosely structured to allow players a certain amount of freedom so I hope it is not too confusing on how it is formatted and structured. I purposely did not do pre-generated characters because I hope players would make their own and get familiar with the settings diverse opportunities. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed this adventure."
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
According to the scenario's author: This scenario is meant as an adventure for Call of Cthulhu: Secrets of Japan (SoJ), and uses information found in that Call of Cthulhu supplement book, with reference page numbers. The adventure can be geared toward new or more experienced players since most of the encounters/situations are generated by the book called 'They Faced the Enemy by Themselves.' As the keeper you can select the choices and adjust accordingly to the group experience level. Keep in mind that the monster (the book) is not limited to the confines of the house and if the players move to another location the book can follow.
Special Notes: As usual for this sort of Halloween scenario featuring the telling of ghost stories, the PCs might be encouraged to contribute their own ghost stories. It's not explained explicitly, but the book begins appearing in the scenario after the professor tells the ghost story, acting as a monster and attacking isolated characters, and this is how investigators may encounter/obtain this book (I don't think it's ever explained where the book has been hidden all this time). It seems like there should have been a couple NPCs included who were explicitly descended from Jubei for the book to kill and deface, so that the Book has a chance of opening the gate without the suggested option of having investigators being related; a keeper may wish to provide such victims (perhaps one who doesn't realize he/she is related, and another who is aware and shows up to warn everyone just before the lights go out?) The scenario after a certain point has a sandboxy quality to it that will probably demand some preparation in advance by keepers uncomfortable with improvising.
Dependence on Halloween: Minimal - Halloween simply serves as a backdrop for the telling of ghost stories which gets the scenario's action started. It might be a little trouble to invent a way to start the scenario that would be a little more traditional to the Japanese ghost story source material. Fortunately, enough information is provided to explain how the holiday is being celebrated in this unique context (the kitschy foreign holiday is being fondly adopted by the school as part of a kind of cultural exchange), the celebration itself is unobtrusive and makes no real demands on the players or keeper, and shouldn't require any experience, interest, or "buy-in" for Halloween to run the scenario as-is.
Dependence on Secrets of Japan: Minor. The scenario makes use of the Secrets of Japan supplement; the scenario includes monster stats and enough information to figure out most ideas unique to that setting so the scenario doesn't seem to require the supplement and can be run without it, though some references to conceits of that setting (such as Yokai spirits and Shinto Torii Gates) may make more sense with the help of the supplement.
Sequel Plot Hooks: Finding the scroll mentioned in the ghost story may fuel a future adventure. The scenario's author took extra care to seed connections to Secrets of Japan organizations and subplots into the backgrounds of NPCs and the college, and so the college staff and the college itself may provide some links to future adventures as well (for example, the college's library funded by occult organizations, the Shinto Torii Gate in front of the campus, and NPCs with interests in the occult and horror or interests in strange experiments seem to be begging for return appearances in future scenarios).