Halloween in Dunwich
Author(s): Oscar Rios
Appears in: Halloween Horror
All your lives you’d had four favorite days during the year: Christmas morning, the last day of school, your own birthday and Great Grandpa Silas’s Halloween party. The trip to the remote farm in Dunwich was a long one, the roads poor, but your family wouldn’t miss this for the world: a family dinner, birthday cake, cider, pumpkin-picking, a hayride, ghost stories until midnight - and the unexpected horror a nearly forgotten family secret....
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Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only
Players should not read any further.
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The adults at Great-Grandpa Silas' Halloween party have all fallen into a magic slumber after drinking cider poisoned by a ghost from Silas' past, and the investigators - pre-gen creepy kids - are the only ones who can stop the ghost's evil ritual and save the family before dawn.
The party starts off with the arrival at the farm, a short series of "chores" for the kids to do (some of these are like little mini-games, some of these grant little rewards, others set the kids up with stuff that should help them complete the adventure successfully), and the introduction of a mysterious woman at the party (actually the ghost of Silas' mother, a witch who tried and failed to sacrifice him as a toddler), leading up to ghost stories around the fireplace; the PCs could optionally tell some stories of their own, but the centerpiece is Great-Grandpa Silas' ghost story, which provides some clues to solving the adventure for anyone paying attention. At midnight, a spell the ghost cast on the hard cider kicks in, rendering all the adults unconscious. From there, the kids must escape from evil spirits and before dawn prevent the ghost from completing a ritual that will sacrifice all the adults.
- Six pre-gen kid investigators
- The Scattered Notes #1
- The Scattered Notes #2
- Ghost Story (not presented as a handout, but it's probably not a bad idea to print/copy it, cut it out, and hand it out to the players)
- 1920s Dunwich, October 30-31
- Animated Scarecrows
- Hobgoblins (a form of Poltergeist)
- Living Cornfields
- Ghost of the Witch
- Avatar of Nyarlathotep (off-screen, unless something goes wrong)
Tomes and Artifacts:
- potentially, Enchanted Jack-O-Lanterns (cause damage to ghosts)
- Enchanted Dagger (causes damage to ghosts)
- possibly the Witch's crumbling journal (the scenario doesn't mention any tome-like qualities to this, though a keeper could probably add the mythos gain, sanity loss, and perhaps a spell or two to it with little trouble)
Campaigns / Scenarios: (none)
Comments to Keepers about this scenario; Possibly how to run it successfully. Keep general DISCUSSION on the talk page.
Setting: Nominally, 1920s Dunwich; the scenario fits Dunwich the best but could probably be moved around to anywhere in backwoods Lovecraft Country and probably elsewhere without too much trouble; the scenario could also probably be set anytime within a few decades of the 1920s without looking strange.
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. The scenario includes several delightfully morbid pre-gen kid PCs (all suitably creepy enough to be kin of someone from Dunwich, and to this editor they all seem like they would be a blast to play in a full campaign!) One of the few sources of trouble for this adventure, unfortunately, might be the dialogue: lines by Great-Grandpa Silas and other characters are written in dialect, and can be a bit hard to follow ("Welcome back ta the farm! Ah’m ah hopin yer ready for ah good time, cause ah’ve gots plenty planned fer ya ta do taday.") It could probably be fun to imitate the accent, but I'd advise keepers who have trouble reading it to translate it into standard English. Otherwise, between the nice pre-gen characters and a fairly complete and detailed scenario, this seems like it should be a good way to introduce a group of beginners to Call of Cthulhu.
Dependence on Halloween: Fairly heavy. This scenario would not be the same with Halloween elements stripped out, but in the backwoods Dunwich setting, with these characters, Halloween comes off looking a lot like a quaint, atmospheric, weird, and vaguely creepy Addams-Family-style rural family tradition that should be pretty easy for someone without much "Halloween buy-in" to work with. The scenario describes all the little Halloween traditions and activities well enough that someone unfamiliar with Halloween should be able to follow along without getting lost.
Sequel Plot-Hooks: Nothing explicit in the scenario itself, but the adorably creepy pre-gen characters are well-enough written and unusual enough, they almost invite further adventures just to see what happens to them next (the characters are all born Mythos investigators with plenty of plot-hooks to launch a campaign with!)