“From the Grave” by Shadow's Symphony, from “The House in the Mist” © 2011. Used with permission.

“Whatever you do … do it with something sharp.”
- “Rise of Nightmares” on X-Box 360.

Adventure Ideas: Page 3

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And even more adventure ideas for use in your games! Good for either playing at home games and RPG conventions. Enjoy!

Artwork by KrateworxDimensional Sonata

There is a legend that says Beethoven was a man possessed while writing his music. This rumor persists most often with his piece “Moonlight Sonata”. There may be some truth to this rumor.

The PC’s are called out to a house in the woods, whose owners claim it to be haunted. All the typical trappings and stories about ghost/spirit activity are present, but the twist is that the owners are classical music aficionados, and the ONLY time they witness any paranormal activity is when they play Beethoven music in the house! The activity at its most active when they play “Moonlight Sonata”, and it’s gotten to the point where objects are getting thrown around the house, sounds of sobbing or malicious laughter can be heard, things move in the shadows just outside the corner of your eye, and more.

The owners are too scared to go near their own home anymore, and they need help! The owners can even prove their claims to the group by playing a random piece of classical music, and sure enough ghostly activity begins to happen all over the house. If a medium is present, he/she will notice that the entities are not lingering within the house as they usually do, they are invading the house from the woods.

As the PC’s keep experimenting, they will discover that the louder the music plays, the most intense the activity in the house becomes. The house itself is in the middle of the woods and the owners are the original owners/builders and the only people who’ve lived in it. They're not particularly interesting people themselves; one is a classical music pianist and the other’s a music tutor. It’s when the PC’s think about and examine the woods themselves that things get interesting. What’s going on in these woods? Why does Beethoven’s music attract and agitate these entities the most? What else could the music be attracting to the house? What might happen if the group gets professional grade concert speakers and blasts Moonlight Sonata in the woods?

Suggestion Box Bonus: It’s been said that music mimics, transforms and creates “the rhythm of the universe”. You can use that theme here by saying that the mathematical rhythm of Beethoven’s work creates a sort of harmonic significance with this particular area. The land/woods itself has an unusually high and sporadic pattern of electromagnetic energy and other anomalies that can be detected easily with sensory equipment. In short, it’s a unique location and Beethoven’s music simply sings to it!

It’s this harmonic energy that allowing the weakened state between the walls of the dimensional worlds that neighbor our own which creates easier access for spirits and other more deadly creatures to find their way to our dimension. It may require the PC’s to perform some ritual to alter the land’s P.P.E. base, or perhaps there’s a “gatekeeper” that keeps creating a doorway when it hears the music. Killing/removing the gatekeeper “might” solve the problem.

Note: I chose Beethoven because I love his music (“Moonlight Sonata” in my opinion is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music ever written) and because you can find his music cheap and virtually anywhere. Playing his music during the game can add the greatest of ambience when done right. I would encourage you to have certain pieces of music trigger specific effects/events.

Alchemy, Homunculi’s and Golem’s, OH MY!!

The group has been investigating reports of bodies being stolen from any conceivable place that one can find them; the morgue, funeral homes, graveyards, etc. The group may be thinking ghouls are involved or perhaps zombies are being created for some evil purpose. But nay; it’s the work of alchemists going old school with new ideas.

Where you put it and how they find it is your call, but the group will eventually find a converted alchemist laboratory. It’s got all the trappings and belongings of old world alchemy materials with a lot of new scientific equipment crammed in with it. But the more interesting items in the room should be the arrays of glass jugs and jars that align the walls. Whoever closely examine a jar first gets the “boo scare” horror factor roll when something inside the jar of cloudy fluid jolts to life, as if trying to charge the PC! Fortunately, its trapped within the jar, and after a moment of struggle, it settles down and begins squiring about in the fluid.

Inside each jar is a homunculi of some sort, each one's unique to the next, but all are built out a variety of body parts: bones, organs, tissue, flesh, fluids and more (if it’s in a human body, it will be part of the makeup). After one of them wakes up, the rest begin to stir and squirm in their own jars. If the group leaves them alone, they will ignore the group (at first), but the moment a PC tries to grab, move, stir, spill, or do anything to disturb a jar with a homunculi in it, the entire army of creatures will begin a psionic onslaught the size of which the PC’s won’t believe!

Otherwise, poking around in the lab, either by hacking a PC and/or looking through a file cabinet, the group will discover that the creatures are being created as something along the line of “P.P.E.” batteries for alchemical uses. Judging by the plans and notes, all of the magic the batteries will be powering are dark in nature. The group should come to a realization that the lab and the batteries should be destroyed, but doing so will be difficult as the creatures will put up a memorable psychic battle, using illusions, dreams, mind bolts, and more to protect themselves. PC’s of good alignment may decide against doing this, but once it’s pointed out that these are not living creatures, and are in fact fabricated minor supernatural beings, they should lose their hesitation.

One of the notes the group finds should also worry them into action, for there is another lab located in the city/area, where the alchemists responsible for these batteries are creating a giant golem! And by the look of the notes, they should be near completion! Where is this lab? How will they find it? Who will try to stop them from doing so? Is the golem completed? If so, Golem’s are said to be nearly indestructible, so how do they stop it?

Note: I encourage the GM to look up Jewish folklore concerning golems as they are very unique and deep rooted in it. I’d go so far as to use the Jewish process of creating one and therefore only the Jewish method of stopping them would apply. In this case, all golems are brought to life by inscribing the Hebrew word EMET (meaning “truth”) on its forehead, but one could stop and destroy the golem by removing the first letter of this word, changing it to MET (meaning “dead”). It’s up the PC’s to figure out how to remove the letter (I’d say covering it with cement or clay or something that would fill in the chiseled letter entirely would work).

Take me out at the ball game.

Summoning Other Gods imageNote: The College World Series takes place here in Omaha, NE, so creating an adventure based on it seemed ideal for the local game conventions. The year I first used this, the championship games of the CWS involved long time rivals and some foul weather, creating a great atmosphere for an unexpected BtS setting.

The CWS has been going on for the last two weeks, and it’s down to the last two teams. Both teams are not only really good, but are really hated rivals of one another that goes back for decades. Both teams are 1 and 1; next game is winner take all. However, every game played this year has gotten more heated and agitated over the two weeks and a lot of fans (and even a few staff & players) have committed acts of violence against each other, the fighting, level of violence (and the damages) are escalating. The news plays it out as a simple heated rivalry that’s getting out of hand, but the Lazlo members will recognize that something more is at work here.

How they discover it is up to the GM or the player actions. Perhaps a PC attends a game to cheer on their old college team and feels the rising temper and anger, perhaps the reports of the tempers flaring and escalating violence caught their attention enough to research, or perhaps a latent psychic had a premonition of some sort. Whatever the reason, they will feel “something in the air” when they get within a block or two of the stadium. For those that go inside, the closer they get to the field, the stronger the sensation of a presence of “anger” and “hatred” can be felt. Psychics will get a x2 boost just by being in the stands, signaling that something horrible is lurking and seems to be conducting the aggressive behavior of the crowds, and seems to be revving up for the final big game.

Getting into the stadium to deal with the presence will be difficult at best. During the day, people are being watched closely and padded down by police if they appear suspicious (wearing long coats to hide things under in the summer is ALWAYS suspicious looking) and attending a game has the obvious risk of lots of collateral damage to the crowds. At night it isn’t any better as armed guards patrol the grounds (people try to break in at night every year it seems). And worst yet, the presence can’t be felt when the crowds are gone. Note: This may give the impression that something big is trying to get to earth and needs the energy of the crowd to do it or something like that.

So what do the PC’s do? Wait for something to happen and try to thwart it? Disable the stadium so the games are delayed, if not cancelled all together? (a difficult, but not impossible solution), what are they even dealing with? And why does it seem to want to cause a riot at the stadium?

My optional suggestion: The presence wants a riot as the potential energy (especially if people start killing each other) will get it to Earth. During the two weeks leading up to the final game however, entities, Banshee’s and other type of supernatural beings will probably be attracted to the stadium, giving players more crap to deal with. I would encourage getting the players to attend the last game and get tickets that let them sit up in the front (maybe have them find a shady scalper or get their tickets through unsavory means for the fun of role playing it out). Another option would be to get them to infiltrate the stadium as vendors (they can hide their weaponry in food storage areas). Either way, they should be close to the field when the trigger is pulled.

The two mascots will be jeering and jumping at a near fever pitch by the middle of the game, and eventually one moves too far around the field and collides into the other mascot (right in front of the PC’s). The fallen mascot loses his temper and goes off on the other who “hit” him. This may look comical when you think of it, but the crowd is in the wrong mood for comedy, and instead an instant riot towards the field begins… and the players are sitting between the masses and the mascots! Once the crowd has swarmed the mascots, they will begin turning on each other. And with a supply of baseballs balls, baseballs, benches and other dangerous objects, this can become a killing spree in a matter of minutes!

Players dealing with a Stadium Riot: Per the “worst case scenario” info, the player’s best chance of surviving a Stadium Riot is as follows:
-Create a protective helmet: stuff crumpled newspapers or cardboard under a hat or empty popcorn tub or other type of container to protect their melon.
-Move away from mascots: While this is obvious in this case, in a given riot the team mascots are particularly vulnerable to attack.
-Watch for projectiles: bend the knees and keep your head low to avoid flying cans, bottles, pennants, water balloons, rocks, pipes, benches, seats, people and other objects.
-Move sideways through the crowds: Always avoid running forward (towards the center of the riot) or backwards (against the surging mob).
Note: If the player’s bring up these points, I would give bonuses to getting out safely. I’d say put their IQ and PP together and have them roll below the total to get out unharmed.

Once free of the riot, the PC’s could try to do something to stop the mob, like turning on the fire hoses (or the stadium sprinklers) or turn out the lighting if the game has gone on long enough to become dusk or dark. This could be enough to stop the evil presence from getting to earth if the PC’s can get the riot under control. If not, the players need to locate the source of the trouble and deal with it directly, which has probably taken physical shape at this point or is at least hiding nearby in the astral plane at this point.

He dies through the air, with the greatest of ease.

“Fearless Moe Jackson” is not only one of the greatest entertainers of the 21st century thus far, he one of the greatest daredevils ever seen. And you’re PC is one of the lucky bunch of Lazlo Society buddies that have all gotten tickets to his show when he comes to town next month! The same night the players purchases their tickets, while out “hunting”, they’ll spot a large dog (or something vaguely similar to one) in the shadows with tiny white glowing dots for eyes staring at them. As the PC’s try to get a closer look, the dog’s eyes suddenly flash like bright camera bulbs, blurring the player’s vision for a moment. When their vision returns, the beast is gone, vanished!

As Moe’s tour kicks off, he is performing all sorts of bizarre and dangerous stunts, each one is death defying and yet Moe keeps surviving them without as much as a scratch to show for it! However, the local newspaper in every city he visits have ignored the many coincidences (and wouldn’t bother looking into it even if they did notice) located in the back pages. It seems that the same night Moe visits a city, there’s a tiny article about some transient, homeless or some other “ignored and unknown” type being found dead. What’s puzzling however is that their deaths were similar to the stunts Fearless Moe had performed that night, or more appropriately what would have happened to Moe if his stunt had failed.

One of the PC’s gets a message from a Lazlo Society member, one who lives in a city Fearless Moe had recently traveled to. He sends a police report to the PC’s that states a homeless guy drowned to death… from inside his cardboard box, which was found as dry as a bone. One of the other homeless people questioned by the police stated that the deceased had spoken to him earlier that night, talking about how he saw a “big ugly dog that had these really bright eyes”, he went to sleep shortly afterwards and inexplicably drowned. Time of death states he drowned about 12 hours after Moe performed his “feature stunt”, being locked in a water tank for several minutes and “just barely” escaped drowning in it. Doing more homework will show a similar pattern of the other transients dying after the 13th hour of a feature stunt.

What do the players do? At least one of them is now marked for death. Rumor has it that Moe plans to perform a death defying stunt tonight that will burn him alive if he fails (a most painful way to go). Do they try to stop Moe from performing his feat? Is Moe making deals with devils? Or is someone helping him? Like his management or an overzealous fan? What happens if they find and kill the bright eyed dog? Will Moe burn to death without supernatural assistance? A death he doesn’t deserve if he’s truly not involved in the supernatural deal making. And if it’s not Moe making the deals, those who are responsible will not take the PC’s interference lying down. What do they do about it? And what all will the PC’s have to do to break this deal/pact/curse or whatever it is?

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out.

random BTS image by Stephen R. BissetteOne of the oldest buildings in the city collapses in the middle of the night (it was empty, so no casualties are reported). It takes the authorities two days to determine that the cause was from an unstable foundation, perhaps erosion under the concrete foundation or perhaps the concrete foundation itself was badly designed and it just took this long to collapse.

However, after being sworn to secrecy, the PC’s are sent in to examine the ruined buildings foundation as “consultants” to the police. They may wonder why they were asked to take a look, but they quickly discover that the supernatural was somehow involved. The will find the remains of THOUSANDS (perhaps millions) of squished and squashed earthworms under all the wreckage, a lot of large pieces of concrete that look as if large holes (or perhaps tunnels) were bored through the concrete and may have contributed to the buildings collapse. Finally during inspection of the bottom floor of the building, under a recently replaced carpet is a conjuring symbol of some sort.

The big clue besides the “conjuring circle” on the bottom floor is the tons of squished earthworms, dictating that they were probably conjured here to be used for summoning “supernatural burrowing worms” of some sort, which used the earthworms as its/their anchor(s). From there the creature(s) burrowed around within the foundation until the building collapsed, killing the supernatural worm and then crushing their earthworm’s anchors as they discorporate.

But why? Who did this? Was it just a test for something more devious to be unleashed later? Are they planning to conjure the burrowing worms again for another building? Are they planning something as simple as black mail schemes? Are they planning to kill a lot of unsuspecting people in another building? Are they going to make enough giant worms to level the whole city? Are they doing it themselves or are they being manipulated or encouraged by other supernatural forces?

A man buys tools cheap at a pawn shop, including a clawed hammer. The hammer however is possessed by a Syphon Entity. As the man becomes a killer (using the hammer as the murder weapon no less), the characters get involved and stop him/ destroy the entity. However, when the group follows the paper trial as to where the hammer came from, they find that many of the old tools in the pawn shop are possessed by Syphons, hibernating in wait for their next victim. All are tools that can kill no less, like hatchets, saws, power drills, sledgehammers, and so on.
Why are so many Syphons in one place? Is the store owner some kind of ring leader of Syphons? Did someone sell the tools to the shop, knowing that the Syphons would spread around as tools are sold? Are the Syphons the by-product of a greater danger in the area?

Imagine a mental hospital, one that house many people that live in their own alternate realities (dimensia, delirium, schizophrenia or other psychosis). Now imagine all of the various psychic impressions being pooled within such a place. Now imagine that pool of "unreal" impressions attracting Haunting entities, and lots of em.
   What would/could happen in such a place? Would its resident's altered world become worse as the haunting entities take the persona of the fictional people in their world? Would alternate realities begin to clash with one another, especially within the Astral Plane? What kind of demented and bizarre haunting entities might be created from such minds? Would they became a serious threat to those who live there?

The Corpse Road

Corpse Road photoThis adventure was submitted by Raven Davenport on the House of BTS FaceBook page and was designed for two or more PC’s in mind, at any level, with at least one of the P.C.’s possessing the underused skill of Lore: Superstitions.

But first, a bit of background: “I was reading about Saint David's Day recently, and that lead me to read Wikipedia's article on Corpse Roads and Corpse Candles. Corpse roads are paths which are cut specifically for transporting the dead to graveyards. Corpse candles are unexplained lights seen along the corpse roads. Many practices are involved which are designed to prevent the dead from returning from the grave and other associated misfortunes. For example, these include making the paths straight to allow the ghosts clear passage and passing over running water which will supposedly block or at least slow upset ghosts who try to return. Specific stones are laid by the path so the corpses may be set down without touching the ground.

Hook: A friend and ally of the PC’s recently died. The Player Character's are in town to attend her funeral and the reading of her last will and testament.

Line: This friend and ally was a well-regarded and skilled hunter of cultists and supernatural monsters. She was also well regarded for her cleverness. Before she died, the ally had received a premonition about possible events after her death. She saw (or she was told) that her enemies would impersonate her and cause destruction in her name. To prevent this, she devised a strategy. In keeping with her own cultural heritage (pick one), she designed and built her own corpse road. In her will, she left specific instructions for her family and friends (the PCs) to carry her body along the road and perform certain tasks en route to her grave. She was not wealthy, but she will bequeath some tools to the PCs to help them in this task. If the PCs are neophytes, this will include weaponry with which to defend themselves and other tools/items. If they are experienced, the gifts will be superstitious trinkets and what little wealth she had to leave.

Sinker: She did leave behind some enemies who will try to steal her persona in one way or another. These monsters will be encountered en route, each more dangerous than the last. Perhaps a Haunting Entity will be first, and at the end, an illusion-casting Sowki (whatever would be a threat to the PCs if they need to fight their way out). The superstitions are working as the instructions are being followed. Mechanically, this can work like a saving throw that grows more difficult for the monsters with each marker passed on the road until at the grave site, the difficulty for impersonating her becomes 100%. A more combat oriented way would be to increase the Threat Level (and thus the power of psychic PCs) at each stage along the route, thus allowing the PCs to destroy the monsters at the grave site. Any undestroyed monsters will meet the P.C.’s at the graveyard for a final battle. If all the monsters were destroyed along the way, one more will appear the graveyard, perhaps a Tectonic Entity who possesses her corpse.

Alternate Sinker: If you like a twist in your stories, here’s one. The superstitions are *not* working. However, the ally knew this, and it is part of a ruse she’d set up to trap her old enemies. Only one of the P.C.’s, perhaps someone with Mind Block, knows about the trick, but he should not reveal it until the trap is sprung. His task is convincing the other P.C’s to continue with a strategy which doesn't seem to be working. After the road is travelled, and the corpse arrives at the graveyard, it should be placed inside a certain tomb. This tomb was built with either psi-device technology or certain wards designed to trap the supernatural creatures inside with her body.