Autumn — the time of the Festival of the Dead, when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and prayers to ancestors easiest made. Pumpkin cakes are left in the Ancestors’ Niche in every house, and children tie black and orange ribbons to the doors and put candles in the windows of their houses so their dead ancestors can easily find their way home.
It is a quiet time, after the harvest and before the first snows of winter arrive. It can be a lonely time.
This Halloween adventure monograph is here just in time for your traditional Halloween Call of Cthulhu or Basic Roleplaying game! Here are nine numbing Halloween-themed adventures — winners and honorable mentions of the 2008 Chaosium.com Halloween Adventure Contest.
The Beloved Dead
Written by Sarah Newton. This year the tiny fishing village of Mormouth sits uneasy at Belomas, the quiet good cheer of previous years replaced by fear of strangers and the dark. Since the start of the Festival three villagers have died in horrible circumstances, their bodies found in the early morning drenched in water and lakeweed, their lungs filled with water, a look of stark terror on their faces.
Adventure by Ed McGlinn. Three years ago, something terrible happened. On Halloween night, Margot Alfredsen was brutally murdered. No killer was caught, and it was hoped that he had moved on. On Halloween night two years ago Bob and Janet Cawley were killed in the same fashion. But still there were no clues and no leads. Just last Halloween, Danica Andersen and Officer Lars Skoller were murdered, again in the same brutal fashion. Again, no killer was caught. Halloween is again approaching, and fear is gnawing at the pit of the stomachs of the good people of Jakob’s Bluff.
A Chill Down Your Spine
Adventure by Harris Burkhalter. Members of the Anoka County Historical Society are approached by a confused teen asking about the history of the area—he thinks he is seeing ghosts. His later disappearance and strange investigation leads to the dream work of Dr. Kline and his sole surviving patient. A clue lies on the grounds of a historic sanitarium, where a corn maze has been constructed. As snow begins to blow in the icy breeze, dream begins to merge with reality.
The Dragon and the Wolf
Written by John W. Thompson. A cool autumn wind shakes leaves from the trees as you enter the village of Wroxeter. It is said that this was once one of the largest Roman cities in Britain. Now, fragments of a great wall and some crumbling foundations are all that remains. Interspersed within and around these shadows of yesterday’s greatness is a humble village of just a dozen or so families. They watch you cautiously as you approach, men, women and even children with a bow or knife at hand, ready to fight. These villagers are hard, strong folk of Saxon heritage. These are the ones who stayed after the more fearful have fled to Shrewsbury. Yet, even in their eyes, you can see the hint of fear. This Black Wolf must be a fierce beast indeed to trouble these folk.
Earth: Rest Stop, Body Shop
Written by John D. Kennedy. Man has sought for centuries to determine it’s own worth. Philosophers and priests have spent countless hours arguing about man’s spiritual worth, or the worth of its deeds. The one question that few have touched upon however, is what is man’s worth—as resources. In the more remote places in the galaxy, there exists a predator which exists to use its prey to its fullest.
Adventure by Oscar Rios. For the Romans it was the end of the growing season and a time of harvest. It was a busy time, when those working the land gathered in the fruits of their labor and made ready for the long dark months of winter. It was an important time because if the growing season was poor those there would be many hardships ahead.
For the natives here in Britannia, it was all that and much more. To them this was a sacred time, the start of their New Year. It was also when those who had died during the year made their way to whatever afterlife these people believed in. A time when they believed that all manner of ghoulies and ghosties, and long legged beasties were free to enter our world.
Written by Simon Yee. Today is the Halloween party at the Occidental Annex in the Izu Prefecture. Professor Fumio Shimano is a well respected teacher at Izu College and is the head provost to the Occidental Annex. Shimano tries to celebrate western holidays to enrich his student’s cultural understanding and to let his foreign instructors feel more at home. The party starts at 7:00 pm and is expected to end at midnight. Everyone is encouraged to wear a costume and families with children are expected to leave at 8:00. The players are invited after the party to his presentation of a traditional Japanese ghost story.
Written by Nick Davison. The investigators are the cast and crew of a movie being made in the nearby Dockyard who are visiting Fort Amherst for a Halloween Horrors event. This is the set of their latest movie, The Zombie Army of Napoleon. The other characters are screen writer (John), an SFX technician (Fi), a stuntman (Brent) who is playing the zombie, and Bambi’s stylist (Georgio).
Who's That Knocking?
Written by Garnett Elliot. 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 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. Fame and offers from established studios are sure to follow.
Or so he thinks.