Who's That Knocking?
Author(s): Garnett Elliot
Appears in: Bride of Halloween Horror
College Media Arts major Alan Breen decides to get some live footage for a “shaky-cam” horror movie he’s filming. He invites a group of college students (and the PC’s) out to an abandoned farmhouse he’s rigged with cameras and shotgun mikes for a Halloween party. Aided by a crew of fellow students/actors who share his vision for guerilla filmmaking, he plans to put the partygoers through a series of staged, “horrific” events, and add the footage to scripted scenes. The resulting opus, Who’s That Knocking?, will become a hit at the independent movie festivals, with fame and offers from established studios are sure to follow. Or so Breen thinks.
Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
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Under the pretense of an invitation to a Halloween party, incompetent and irresponsible film-maker Alan Breen has tricked the PCs into unwittingly co-starring in his latest half-baked "guerilla" film project, a "shaky cam" film he calls Who's That Knocking? What Breen doesn't know is that his film location is the site of a real haunting, and not all of the cheap scares being staged for the night are under Breen's control. To survive the night, the PCs must uncover Breen's secret horror film project, discover the cause of the real haunting, and put the evil spirit to rest before anyone else gets hurt.
- two or three newspaper and library book clippings
Locations: Modern USA
- Haunted farmhouse in Murril County, "Anywhere" USA
- An open well, ramshackle farm buildings, and other hazards of a poorly-chosen party site/film location
- Dangerously inept film makers
- Depressed party-goers
- Fake devil-worshippers with irritated eyes
- Startled Raccoons
Tomes and Artifacts: (none)
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
List dedication, trivia, images, anything else of note.
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: The "shaky-cam" film style and other such film-making references will probably date this film to the 2000s, though there may be enough parallels to the ultra-low budget exploitation film to justify setting this in the late 1960s or early 1970s with some creative rewriting of the technology involved. The scenario's premise is probably also similar enough to the plot of House on Haunted Hill (1959) to set the scenario in the 1950s (or earlier) and turn Alan Breen into an eccentric millionaire who promises the party guests money if they spend the night in a "real" haunted house, for twisted reasons of his own (and a similar adjustment could probably place the scenario in the Gaslight or Dark Ages within a framework loosely inspired by Poe's "Masque of the Red Death" adjusted so the Prince Prospero is faking a haunting at the masque until the real spooks appear). The default location of "Murrin County, Somewhere in America" could just as easily be any isolated location in the world with a population of people who can be convinced to show up at a party at a ruined farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.
Special Notes: At a glance, the scenario seems a bit "railroady" at times; keepers who play the scenario too close to the playbook may find players getting annoyed by (for example) not being able to leave the farm or explore more than a couple locations without falling down wells or through floors, and not having a clear and intuitive way to defeat the ghost (as written, the keeper may need to give some hints through "psychic visions" about how to use the mirror or newspaper clipping to repel the ghost, or use fire to end her reign of terror). A creative keeper might want to flesh this scenario out with better clues and more compelling reasons for the PCs to stick around and put the spirit to rest, with more interesting things to discover or do (or more rewarding ways to encourage them to get back to the main plot) when wandering off the scenario's beaten track.
Dependence on Halloween: Almost non-existent. You can substitute any convincing reason to get a handful of unwitting college students (or the equivalent) to drive all the way out into the middle of rural Nowhere and spend the night in a creepy old haunted house while some jerk tries to scare them for laughs, and not have to change more than a half-dozen words of the scenario as-written.