Grave Secrets

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Details

Front Cover

Pages: 64-89

Author(s): Brian Courtemanche

Artist(s): Rick Sardinha, David Lee Ingersoll, David Grilla

Editor(s):

Setting: 1920s

Appears in: Terrors from Beyond

Summary

Investigators living or staying in a rural Rhode Island town find a neighbouring family wasting away from a strange disease.

Links

Link to outside reviews or helpful pages.

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

The Investigators are pregens with their own reasons for being in town. They are all expected to take an interest in the misfortunes of the Bell family, who are slowly dying off.

The "disease" is actually a death-curse laid on the family by one of its own. Everett Bell was an adulterer, engaged in an incestuous relationship with his sister Mercy. His wife Amy was too paralysed by shame to intervene, but finally took a stand when Mercy became pregnant, and persuaded Everett to end things once and for all by murder.

Mercy laid a curse on the family as she died, and has returned as a wraith through the lingering power of a Native American holy site on which the village was built. She is a spectre of pure malevolence, slowly draining the Bell children of life.

The local preacher plans to dig Mercy up and destroy her body in the belief that she's become an evil spirit through suicide (mostly true). However, this only works if the Investigators join the mob. They can also enlist the help of a local shaman to find and confront the wraith.

If they fail, the family and then the town will be consumed by the angry Mercy. If they succeed, various other bad things will happen, depending on what they choose to reveal to whom.

References

Player Handouts:

  1. Letter from a Friend (introduces the hook)

Locations: Stafford, Rhode Island

Creatures: Wraith

Tomes and Artifacts: Thaumaturgical Prodigies of the New-England Canaan

Comments

Contains the following:

  • Map of the town
  • Sidebar on consumption (tuperculosis)
  • Sidebar on Thaumaturgical Prodigies in the New-English Canaan [sic]
  • Image of exhumation of a woman in rural America
  • Image of pregnant female ghost with noose and skeletal foetus attacking sleeping child
  • Portrait of middle-aged woman

Keeper Comments

The pregen Investigators are mostly tied to the scenario well, including built-in reactions from NPCs, so adapting it for use of any other Investigators may be difficult. Kenneth Cook's connection is weak, and there is also little reason to involve him in the Bell family's problems, whereas all the others have personal pretexts for intervening.

The themes of the scenario (incest, child murder, and potentially child abuse) are relatively grim and not suitable for all audiences. The portrayal of Native American topics is clichéd (a lone shaman and what's essentially an Old Indian Burial Ground) and again, Keepers may want to adapt this for the tastes of their audience. The latter is not particularly necessary to the scenario, and it would be simple to add a few minor Native characters (or even adapt existing ones) for a slightly more nuanced portrayal.

The scenario is very detailed, but much of the detail is monologue and description. Specific facts are not always easy to find. Keepers may find it useful to write a brief summary of the actual information known to each NPC, and a summary of clues.

The POW-matching battle with Mercy is potentially very dangerous, but for a one-shot this isn't a big problem. Mathematically speaking, Mercy is liable to kill any single Investigator who confronts her, but two or three working alternately should be able to banish her.