Masks of Halloween
Author(s): Oscar Rios
Artist(s): (illustrator uncredited, probably Oscar Rios)
Appears in: Halloween Horror Returns!
The town of Willowton, home of the "Haunted Tavern", was trying its hand at creating their own new tradition for Halloween: the First Annual Willowton Halloween Festival. When local pets, townsfolk, and visitors turn up missing, the prime suspect is the Ghost of Witch Virginia Black...
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The town of Willowton, home of the "Haunted Tavern", was trying its hand at creating their own new tradition for Halloween: the First Annual Willowton Halloween Festival. When local pets, townsfolk, and visitors turn up missing, the prime suspect is the Ghost of Witch Virginia Black, who the investigators will soon find is simply a local legend with no basis in fact. The real problem is caused when a disgruntled old man is forced to sell his farm to a family who uses the land "disrespectfully" as the site of the Halloween Festival. In drunken grief and anger, the old man prays to a strange ritual stone for revenge, and begins receiving sinister guidance from Jack O'Lantern, Pumpkin-King Avatar of Nyarlathotep, driving the old farmer to ritual sacrifice and unleashing a pumpkin-themed horror on the town....
- Halloween Festival Flyer
- Investigators' Map with Map Key (references on the key to site 13 should be removed by keeper)
- Legend of Virginia Black
- Nathaniel Johnson's Halloween Story about Jack O' Lantern
- Newspaper Article About Missing Pets
- Inquiry Into Destruction of Farm Equipment
- Diary Entry
- List of Useful Items (not presented as a hand-out, but could probably be cut up and used as hand-outs if the investigators begin searching the town for useful items after they are mentioned)
- These are not included in scenario and have no bearing on the scenario's plot, but I would suggest printing and handing out one or more of the following for optional color (all easily sourced and adapted from the Internet):
- One or two famous short stories by Edgar Allen Poe for the Dinner With Edgar Allen Poe activity, like "The Raven" and "The Tell-Tale Heart" and/or "The Masque of the Red Death"
- Perhaps Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
- A few generic, folksy, tourist-friendly stories about local hauntings for the haunted walking tour attraction, perhaps based on thinly-disguised local legends and ghost stories from your own home town adapted with references to the Witch Virginia Black and her lover Morton Black,
- A basic Corn Maze map of the sort that might appear in the 1920s.
Locations: Willowton, a generic harmless rural town in Lovecraft country or "Anywhere, USA"
- Jack O'Lantern the Pumpkin King, Avatar of Nyarlathotep
- Possessed Pumpkins (these just make background appearances for atmosphere)
- Old Man Johnson (drunk and madman turned cultist)
Tomes and Artifacts:
- Ritual Pumpkins (can be expected to be destroyed by the investigators)
- Enchanted Knife
- Ritual Stone (contacts Nyarlathotep; can be expected to be destroyed by the investigators)
- Elder Sign (interferes with and destroys the Ritual Stone, can be expected to be destroyed by the investigators)
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
Comment: The scenario contains three illustrations including one [stock?] photo of a scarecrow and two full-page maps, illustrator uncredited, but probably by scenario author Oscar Rios.
Trivia: Descriptions of a creature that supposedly destroyed the Kent farm match those of an entity called “The Haunter of the Dark”, which appears to be an Avatar of Nyarlathotep in the story "The Haunter of the Dark (fiction)".
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: The setting specifies specific dates in 1926, in a town called Willowton somewhere in Lovecraft Country, but nothing seems to specifically tie it down to this time and place beyond the decidedly post-1920s attitude to Halloween, so it should be easy to move the scenario to any other rural American setting in the 20th century.
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. In places, this scenario seems like it might be somewhat unpolished, specifically in regards to clues to how to stop Jack O' Lantern without resorting to mindless violence and things like stats for the "Enchanted Knife" and specifics on the stories that locals tell on the haunted walking tour; a creative keeper can fill in the blanks easily enough, but keepers who aren't comfortable with improvisation may need a little extra preparation for this. There are a number of weird formatting errors in this scenario, with fonts changing randomly in the middle of hand-outs, etc. Young or sensitive participants may be upset by the graphic descriptions of sacrificed and mutilated pets.
Dependence on Halloween: Moderate. There's enough information about the Halloween celebration that keepers and players unfamiliar with Halloween can figure out how it how it is celebrated in the United States, though, while a creative keeper could probably set the scenario on some other date, change the town festival and descriptions of how it is celebrated to any other celebration, and insert an alternative Avatar of Nyarlathotep with minimal work, if there is no particular interest in setting this on Halloween.