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Uncle George's Halloween Party
Author: Julie Hoverson
System: Call of Cthulhu
The Hour of Oor Discontent: A generic scenario. There is nothing in UGHP which is year or place specific, though it does need to be Halloween. Nominally it is current day in Massachusetts.
- originally published in Issue #12 of Serendipity's Circle
There is nothing in UGHP which is year or place specific, though it does need to be Halloween. Nominally it is current day in Massachusetts.
Tone: The tone should be as unsettling as possible - the scenario involves the players trying to avoid some eerie creature while trying to figure out what they may have done, and some of what they discover may be very disturbing. If you play out the Prologue (the party itself), it should be as banal and lighthearted as possible, to make the rest of the scenario particularly horrible by comparison.
20 years ago, a wild young couple, Harv and Edie Voortman, were desperate to have a son. They turned to black magic to fulfill their desires. The spell they found which would give them what they wanted required a sacrifice. Human sacrifice. They found a runaway who no one would miss - six runaways, in fact, and brought them back to the remote hunting lodge where the couple were employed as caretakers.
On the night of the vernal equinox, they performed the ritual and the sacrifice. Nine months later, on the night of the winter solstice, Edie gave birth to a son. They named him Norm, but he was far from the norm - huge and misshapen.
Since that time, Harv and Edie have continued on as caretakers at the lodge, housing Norm in the basement room of their own tiny cottage. On his 13th birthday, Harv started teaching Norm to hunt. Three years later, almost to the day, Norm brought home his first dead hiker. Since then, Harv and Edie have got used to his little games and as long as he keeps them in his room, they don't try to stop him.
The couple have, however, locked Norm in his room during tonight's Halloween party. It's one thing for him to range far and wide to bring home victims, and another entirely to hunt so close by. By comparison to their wild selves of 20 years ago, Harv and Edie are now boring and middle aged.
The PCs have been invited to Uncle George's Halloween Party at his newly bought property in the boonies west of Boston - the very hunting lodge Harv and Edie look after. Uncle George is some sort of distant relation or old friend of the PCs, a man in his seventies but very spry and extremely wealthy.
The party includes a bunch of the locals - the children like the traditional Halloween games (bobbing for apples, pin the skull on the skeleton, etc.) set up in the basement, and the teens spend most of their time outside in the smoking area or trying to sneak one of the alcoholic beverages Harv is passing around to the adults. Uncle George is videotaping various events, such as the contests. He keeps walking up to people and asking them to "do something interesting for posterity".
The PCs now have a chance to get to know each other, and to know Uncle George. This is also the time to make them acquainted with Harv and Edie. Harv and Edie have agreed to stick around tonight and look after the arrangements for the food and such, so George can spend his evening playing little jokes on the PCs. George is almost as known for his practical jokes as for his obsession with ghosts.
George is obsessed with contacting ghosts, so (as usual at his parties) he has arranged for a seance which will begin at midnight. By 9:30, everyone has left except the PCs, Uncle George, and the medium, Castrini. If there are very few PCs, you should add another NPC or two to bring the party up to at least five people plus George and Castrini. You may also choose to have a couple of NPCs around simply so they can be killed off horribly later.
At 10 p.m. George announces it's time for ghost stories to set the mood for the seance. He gives everyone a chance to tell a spooky story (give the PCs a chance to play this out), then his turn comes and he begins with a warning about Bigfoot sightings in the area. He even has a newspaper clipping about it, as well as a clipping about his real story - the massacre.
He tells a tale of a massacre which occurred 20 years ago in this very building, passing the newspaper clipping around to prove the truth of his statements. He ends his tale with an elaborate practical joke, which startles Edie so badly that she faints.
Then, since midnight is fast approaching, George announced that the seance will begin shortly. Immediately as it commences, the action breaks and everyone blacks out. The PCs "come out of it" at 1 a.m. and have no idea what they've been doing for the past hour. The caretakers have been brutally murdered in the kitchen and there is blood everywhere, including on the PCs, and Uncle George is missing. There are various weapons lying around the bodies.
During the seance, the PCs are possessed by the massacre victims who then turn on the ones who killed them - Harv and Edie. George is not possessed and witnesses the events which transpire. Rather than interfering, he speaks with the spirits and finds out their goal, then sets out for the caretaker's house, both to avoid the ickiness of the killing, and to see if there might be any hint of the caretaker's involvement in the events 20 years ago.
Uncle George reaches the caretakers house just before 1 a.m. While looking around, he hears a horrible crash in the basement and looks out the window to see a dark shape loping toward the Lodge. Panicked, he phones the PCs and warns them that he has seen Bigfoot heading their way. It is just after 1 a.m. The shape is Norm, who somehow sensed his parents' death and wants revenge.
The object of the scenario, therefore, is to piece together what happened (and come up with some way to avoid prosecution by the police) at the same time as trying to kill or evade Norm. The PCs also begin to have flashback memories of the events preceding the caretakers' deaths - memories which include chasing the hapless caretakers around the lodge with weaponry and then hacking at them. These flashes should make the PCs as uncomfortable as possible, since it appears that they killed a couple of innocent people.
The PCs will have to overcome Norm to survive. He is not quite human and should be difficult for them to kill (though by no means unstoppable). Norm's greatest weapon, however, is fear - the PCs have no idea what they're up against (Uncle George thinks it's Bigfoot). Norm is not very intelligent, but is cunning and sadistic and has hunted humans before.
Timeline for Uncle George's Halloween Party|
7:00 p.m. The party starts
10:00 p.m. Ghost stories
Midnight The seance commences
1:00 a.m. The scenario truly begins
The lodge is an hour drive out into the country west of Boston, deep in the heart of Massachusetts. It's an average-sized building deep in the woods, with its own dirt and gravel road leading to a parking/turn around area at the bottom of a hill. A set of uneven wood stairs runs up the steep side of the hill to the lodge.
The lodge has two floors set upon a high, stone, semi-exposed cellar level. All the wood (outside and in) is knotty pine, and the building is well weatherproofed. Inside, the fittings are also knotty pine, with animal skin rugs and heads mounted on the walls. In the main level, there is a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a den. There are two bedrooms on the topmost floor, one on either side of the top of the stairs. The basement has a storage area with lots of shelves and a suspicious looking room with a drain and a hose fixture (for cleaning dead animals).
All the doors in the lodge are sturdy pine, and the windows are mostly composed of lots of small panes - in the 50s, when the place was built by a wealthy war profiteer, it was very difficult to get large pieces of glass this far into the country safely.
The scenario starts at a party given by George Winthrop, known to his friends as Uncle George (GM's decision how the PCs know him - if even one is related to him, he would be happy to invite their friends). He has just bought a new hunting lodge-style house out in the country and is having a Halloween party to inaugurate it. He asks only one thing of his guests - that they come in costume. He tells them in advance that the party will involve a seance, though he will not reveal any of the house's macabre history.
If PCs look into the history of the house in the short time they have between the arrival of the invitation and the night of the party (three days), they will find out about the massacre 20 years ago (any details they get from the newspaper reports are left up to the GM). Since the case was never solved, the file is still technically "open" and the police will not talk about it.
There are several comments which come up during the party (drop these into conversation as appropriate):
Harv and Edie are serving snacks and drinks during the party, dressed in costumes which are essentially brown bathrobes over their street clothes. They say they couldn't think of anything else easy, so they came as druids.
George mentions that smoking should be restricted to the smoking area outside, which is a patio-like area next to the house. He says that since the fall has been so dry in this area, they have to be careful about fire.
Out in the smoking area, the teens are telling tales about the massacre. They don't have the real details, but think that anywhere between three and 12 people were killed, and that some were found dragged off into the woods and eaten, etc. They will shut up around adults, but the PCs may be able to eavesdrop on parts of the story.
Someone might overhear Harv and Edie having an argument about something (Harv: "it's not like anything's gonna actually appear - seances aren't for real, fer heaven's sake"), which they break off the moment they realize anyone might be around.
Edie and Harv refuse to talk about ghosts. If pressed, they may mention that they were employed here at the time of the massacre, but had been away for several days visiting relatives ("thank the heavens we din't come back earlier - we might have been killed, too!") and didn't return until after the event.
If anyone brings up the massacre to him, Uncle George mentions that the lodge has been uninhabited since then ("probably why I got it so cheap") and that he's hoping the seance tonight will convince the spirits to speak and tell what really happened - after all, it's Halloween. Beyond that, he will change the subject, saying that "all will become known". About 10, Uncle George announces coffee and ghost stories, to set the mood for the seance. He takes everyone into the study and puts out all the lights, leaving only the fire in the fireplace to light the room. Harv and Edie make themselves busy in the kitchen. He has special film in his video camera for taping the storytelling.
George invites everyone still present to tell a ghost story. The PCs are given the opportunity to share some tales. George's story will be the last. He tells his story with an air of complete solemnity.
"First, I'd like to warn you all to be careful when leaving tonight - if you want to leave during the night at all - this is Bigfoot country. There are unsubstantiated reports of over twenty people missing out in this general part of the hills in just the last five years. Who knows how many more have disappeared without anyone realizing? This shows up in all the papers every once in a while, whenever another group of hikers goes missing - here's the latest incarnation of the article..." he pulls out a pair of folded clippings and opens up one of them to pass around. The clipping has an "artist's rendition" of Bigfoot, and a photo of a recently vanished young woman, Lisa Trent. The article is from a real newspaper, not a tabloid.
"This, on the other hand..." He opens the other clipping, which is considerably older. "This is why we're here.
"Twenty years ago last spring, this place was the scene of a terrible tragedy. In this very room six people were horribly slaughtered by a killer who was never caught.
"The six teens were a group of runaways who somehow made their way out here and decided to party in the lodge. They broke in and started their own little orgy of drugs and sex, which anyone who watches trashy horror movies knows is just asking for it." He pauses for any laughter to die down,
"Apparently, they'd been here for a couple of days before the killer found them. Whoever he was, he must have been most unusual, since he dragged the two girls outside and shot them, while the four young men were tortured to death. Most killers take their time with the ladies."
He pauses to take a sip from his brandy, then continues, "Harv and Edie, who were the caretakers even back then, had been away on a visit to relatives, which is why the kids could get away with 'squatting' for so long. They returned late one night to see that one of the basement windows was broken. Rather than investigate, they went on to their own house out back and called the police - and rightly so, as it turned out.
"When the police arrived the next morning - after all, they weren't going to come all this way at night for a break-in which may have been days old - they uncovered a bloodbath. All six of the teens were dead and satanic symbols were painted all over the walls of this very room. Body parts were strewn about, and the bodies of the two girls were found in the bushes outside the lodge.
"Now, the killer was never found. It was suspected that he was another teen, that he was a drug dealer (the group was heavily into marijuana), that he was a drifter, some even speculated that the killer was Bigfoot himself. Since there was never a repeat of the event, the killer essentially just vanished.
"This is one reason for holding the seance tonight. If it is possible to contact the tortured souls of the murdered teens, we may be able to find out who it was, at least if they knew their murderer."
He paces, letting a solemn moment pass, then seems to remember something, "Oh, and one final thing - there's now a spray which can make blood glow in some sort of black light - I don't pretend to understand how it works, but I have managed to get ahold of the right machine," he pulls an odd-looking apparatus out from behind the sofa, "and this room was thoroughly sprayed just this morning. The blood may be a bit old, but we might still see something - I haven't dared try, yet." George moves a thick metal screen in front of the fireplace to obscure the light and then a click is heard. The apparatus begins to glow and weird symbols start to appear covering the walls of the room. Pentagrams, zodiac signs, and mystical formulae are scrawled about, all with evidence of dripping and thick clotting of the "paint". After a moment, Edie opens the door to the room (shocking everyone with the sudden light from the hall), screams, and then faints. George breaks out in hysterical giggles, and will eventually admit that the bit with the light was all a joke. He doesn't actually have the equipment he talked about, just special clear fluorescent paint and a black light. He apologizes to Edie, and to the PCs, but is very full of himself over the great gag he pulled.
As soon as the ghost stories wrap up, Uncle George announces that the psychic is ready and the seance is about to begin. [The psychic can be one of the PCs, if they have the appropriate mediumistic abilities.] The psychic, Castrini, is a dark man with a Mephistophelean beard and mustache wearing a velveteen turtleneck and slacks in a dark burgundy color. He is arrogant and snooty.
Castrini has everyone sit down around the table and hold hands. George scurries about lighting candles and putting out lights. Harv and Edie bow out, saying they'll wait in the kitchen to serve dessert after this. They seem very edgy about the whole seance idea. Anyone else who balks is also invited to leave the room, since George really wants to contact the spirits and he believes that having a skeptic or "non-believer" in the room will disrupt the flow. If a PC leaves the room, it won't get him out of the events that follow. Everyone in the lodge will be taken over or knocked out.
George seats himself directly across from the medium and makes introductions. He announces (with apologies) that Castrini knows nothing about the history of the lodge, since he was not given the address ahead of time, and that therefore this could not be a scam on the medium's part.
Castrini brings out an ornate black and gold carved candle, lights it, and requests that everyone hold hands, remain silent, and clear their minds. He then begins a chant or prayer in Latin. If anyone can translate Latin, it is a (non-Catholic) request to "open the door, clear the way, show the road, grant the sight". [If a PC medium is used, they can decide how the seance begins.]
The candle on the table flickers wildly, and all the other candles go out. The medium flings up his arms, dragging the hands of those next to him up with them. His hands clutch very tightly. Suddenly, the last candle goes out and everything goes black.
During the Intermission
Everyone present is possessed by the victims of the 20 year-old murder, brought back by the seance. The spirits quickly realize what has happened and seize their chance for revenge - brutally taking out their frustrations on the bodies of their murderers - Harv and Edie. Uncle George, who is essentially immune to ghosts, is not possessed, and goes looking for the video camera the moment he realizes what was happening (to document the existence of spirits). He gets back to the kitchen just in time to catch the end of the bloodbath and will eventually be able to show the PCs what happened (though not soon, since the camera's battery quickly runs out and there isn't a VCR around). George could hear the accusations the ghosts were screaming as they chased the caretakers around, and (sick to his stomach at the gore) went off to the caretaker's house to find evidence. Just after he got inside, he heard a terrible crash in the basement (Norm getting loose) and saw something big setting off across the grass toward the lodge. He locked the door and has been worrying that he forgot to lock the back door of the lodge when he left. The windows of the caretaker's house are all barred, so he feels safe.
As they come to, decide which of the PCs have taken damage. One has a bruised leg [D], one has a scratched arm [C], and one has a hank of Edie's hair tucked into a pocket [A]. See the box "The Memory Flashes" for details.
The players "come to". They are all in the seance room, and the clock is striking one. The room is still dark, lit only by the ambient light coming through the hall door (which was not open when they blacked out). Uncle George is missing. Everyone present is covered in blood and gobbets of unnamable tissue. There is a bloody track leading out into the hall and on into the kitchen.
In the kitchen, they will find the bodies of Harv and Edie, hacked to bits and strewn all over the place. From the story George was telling them earlier, it appears that this death was similar to those of the victims 20 years ago (though there are no symbols on the walls). If the PCs don't think of it, Castrini may suggest that somehow they summoned the spirit of the killer and he took the opportunity to kill again. They should also notice that there are a number of used implements around the room equal to the number of people present. There is no weapon which might indicate Uncle George was involved. The weapons include a pair of scissors, a cleaver, a butcher knife, a saw, an icepick, etc. The PCs may each even have a bloodstain on their hand which somehow matches the shape of the handle of one of the weapons.
Uncle George is nowhere in the lodge, which might lead the PCs to suspect he was taken out into the bushes and shot (like the girls 20 years ago). This concern will be dispelled when George phones the PCs - as soon as he sees the lights come on in the lodge.
The Phone Call
Just they are beginning to understand the gravity of their situation, the phone rings. It's George, calling from the caretaker's house. His first panicky words are "Is the back door locked? I'm not sure if I locked it - go check! Hurry!" He won't say anything else until they assure him that all the doors are locked - he will just keep insisting and getting more and more hysterical.
Once the lodge appears to be secure, George will calm down and tell them a few things: "I'm in the caretaker's house - it's all right, all the windows here are barred, so I'll be safe, but you had better be careful because I think I saw Bigfoot heading your way!"
At this point (for maximum dramatic impact) something (Norm) thuds heavily against the front door and begins to try and break in through the small window up at eye level. The little panes of the window break easily, but don't do Norm much good, since they're too high to reach the locks through, even for his long arms. Norm can't reach any other windows of the main floor from here, though he may simply try and beat the door in for a while.
If, despite the distractions, the PCs continue to speak with George, he will continue (once reassured that they are all right): "While you were all in a trance, you were talking... well, screaming really... about what happened twenty years ago - and said something to the effect that Harv and Edie were involved, so I came out here to find if there was any proof. I haven't had a chance to look much yet, since almost the minute I arrived, there was this crash in the basement and then I saw Bigfoot running your way. Well, it looked like Bigfoot... it was something big, anyway, and I definitely saw it." The conversation shouldn't go on too much longer before he breaks in: "Wait! Have you locked off the basement? Bigfoot could get in through the basement windows, even if it can't reach the ones on the main floor! Go check!!"
A crash of breaking glass below makes it obvious that something has managed to get into the basement. If they hurry, the PCs should be able to lock the basement door (if they haven't already) before Norm can make his way through the basement in the dark and up the stairs.
Note to GM:
At this point, there are several things to keep hitting the PCs with - any time the PCs begin to seem blase about the current murder, hit them with a memory flash, and any time they get too wrapped up in the problems with their personal involvement, have Norm break a window or do something to bring them back to the current problem. It's a balancing act, so keep it moving. Also, if they seem disinclined to consider the legality of their situation, have the psychic bring it up - they are very prime suspects in a murder, and ghostly possession is hardly a legal defense.
The Memory Flashes
The following are flashes of memory which have been written out so you can photocopy this bit, cut them up, and hand them to your players at appropriate times. Please note that these all avoid making any statement as to whether the PCs specifically did the murders or not - they certainly chased down the victims. Letters ([A], etc.) indicates the memory involves a specific PC. Any memory which indicates some physical sign (being scratched, etc.) should be substantiated by the particular PC's current condition. Entries which don't begin with a letter can be assigned to anyone. These are not listed in any specific order of when they took place, as the memories shouldn't be coming back in any particular order.
you fling open the door of the kitchen, surprising Harv and Edie. they seem to realize something's wrong and start to move away when you go over to the knife block and slide out a carving knife.
you are running through the study after Edie. she is bleeding from a cut on her head and is screaming hysterically.
you are holding an icepick and trying to get through the kitchen door. Harv is on the other side.
[A] - you have Edie by the hair and [B] is coming toward you brandishing a cleaver. Edie twists out of your grasp and flees, and you thoughtlessly pocket the hank of hair which came away in your hand
[C] - you've got Harv cornered in the kitchen. he lashes out at you with a butter knife - the only tool left, since you all have the good knives. he scratched your arm, but you barely notice.
you are in the kitchen where [C] has Harv cornered. you savor the moment as you run your thumb across the edge of the butcher knife you are holding.
[D] - circling around through the house, Edie runs into you as she flees the kitchen. she seems relieved for a moment, but screams when you raise the poker and smile. she manages to avoid most of the blow as she runs, but you clipped her.
Harv is blocking you from reaching Edie, yelling at her to get out of the house, and brandishing a chair. you advance on them, weapon ready, keeping their attention away from [A] who has circled round and is coming in the back door behind them.
you advance on the bathroom, where Edie may be hiding. just as you're about to open the door, you hear her sobbing coming from the kitchen. you smile and turn to go after her.
[D] - you feel a pain in your leg as Harv hits you with a chair. while he tries to get back into a position to swing again, you smack him hard with the poker. he staggers, and his arm hangs limply.
Note: all weapons used are either blunt or edged - none of the ghosts would use a gun even if a PC has one, since they wanted to make Harv and Edie's deaths as gruesome and slow as the ones the ghosts suffered.
Norm will keep trying to get into the lodge. Since they were attending a party, any weapons the PCs might have with them will probably be locked away in their cars at the bottom of the hill, so they will have to make do to try and stop him. If they are armed, they will not logically be carrying large amounts of ammo with them, so they will have to be very careful with each shot. He can be hurt by "conventional weapons" but is really tough. They may also try and get over to the caretaker's house to reach Uncle George, especially after his second call: "Hello? Are you all right? I'm in the window, can you see me? (He's waving a flashlight in the window.) I've found some very weird stuff here. Edie kept a journal and it says some ... things. There's some sort of ..." The phone is cut off with a thud. George dropped it and the connection broke. There is no indication at this end what the phone number of the caretaker's house is, so they will have to wonder what happened and wait until George calls back again.
The PCs' best chance to get over to the caretaker's house is to lure Norm to the front of the lodge with some sort of diversion and then run like hell out the back toward the house. They could conceivably get to the cars (and their weapons) the same way, but the cars are both much more awkward to reach than the other building, and they offer very little protection once anyone does reach them. (see below)
If Norm gets into the main floor of the building, the PCs can hide in the bedrooms upstairs, which have basic bolt locks. They can also prop the doors shut with furniture.
When Norm comes across the bodies of his parents in the kitchen, he will go completely berserk and attack anyone and anything in reach, including the house itself - screaming, throwing furniture out the windows, and ripping the doors off their hinges.
If they're very clever, the PCs may even trap Norm in the lodge and make their way out back to the caretaker's house, which George has mentioned has bars on the windows.
Regardless of what happens, Norm will have to be killed. He will not stop attacking until he is dead, though he will be sidetracked for a while when faced with the bodies of his parents. It is even possible that a PC with a good acting skill and a brown bathrobe can pretend to be Harv or Edie for a moment, though this will mean actually getting within arm's reach of Norm.
Norm may come up with any of the following ways to attack the lodge (not only these or necessarily in this order):
Getting in through the basement windows (as mentioned earlier).
Throwing something in through a main floor window to break it and then climbing up and in.
Climbing up the chimney to the roof and trying to reach down into one of the upper floor windows.
Getting back into the basement and trying to find a way up through the floor.
Climbing the tree outside the study window and trying to get in (it's far enough away that this will be difficult)
While in the basement, he disables the generator, which will leave the PCs in the dark.
If someone is standing in front of a window (for instance, trying to see Uncle George at the caretaker's house), Norm will hurl a tree limb in through it, which, even if it doesn't hit the PC, will shower him with glass and chunks of the frame.
The Stairs to the Parking Lot
If the PCs decide to try and get to their cars and back:
When the PCs arrived, the stairs were marked by jack-o-lanterns which gave enough light to get up and down them. There are 47 steps down the hill to reach the cars, and after the main part of the party wraps up (about 9:30), they are no longer lit. It will take someone at least three minutes to cross the lawn, run down the stairs at breakneck speed and reach the cars - and there should be a healthy chance that they will hurt themselves (twist an ankle, fall) on the way down, since the stairs are steep, have no handrail, and are very uneven. It doesn't help that there's almost no moon tonight.
Coming back will take at least twice as long, since up is much slower, and the chances are the PCs will be loaded down with useful items they've taken from their cars. If they fall on the way up, tell them they hear the sound of something small dropping, but can't tell what it is and make them worry for the rest of the night what they lost.
As the PCs go either way, if someone isn't keeping Norm's attention, he can be a serious danger here. He has other ways he can go around the stairs and down through the woods to reach the parking lot even if the PCs are keeping a careful eye out. He also has broken into cars before, and knows just how to hit them to get them to open.
If someone decides to drive away, they will run into an Oldsmobile a couple of miles along the road which has turned over in the middle of the way. It contains the bodies of a couple of partygoers who went off a bit tipsy, hit the bank of the road wrong, and flipped over. They've been here for some time, so the PCs should be able to reason that this is not the work of "Bigfoot". It is, however, a serious roadblock, and with the thick trees around, there is no way to get a car past the dead Oldsmobile.
The Caretaker's House
If the PCs get to the caretaker's house, either to find out what George was talking about or to find out what has happened to him, they can go through the house and find a few things. (Norm will most likely continue to attack the lodge.) The house has two rooms, the bedroom and the main room (which has kitchen accouterments along one wall). There is a root cellar/basement with an outside door and a tiny attic storage space.
In the house, the following items can be found (all paperwork is found in the attic):
Several quotes are very pertinent, as listed below. Also, tucked inside the book are the original parchment and the ad for the caretaker's position at the Lodge. Edie's handwriting is pretty awful, so anyone trying to read it will have to make pertinent skill checks to find important information with any speed.
The dark guy at the wax shop gave me a parchment. Some of the junk on it doesn't make much sense, but he says it'll work. It better. Where do I find hensbane?
Got the job - nice place, if you don't like company. Gues it works fine.
(One page says only) HUMAN SACRIFICE?????
Harv says fine. We'll get a runaway. no one will care anyway, and it's our future. Norm wants him so bad. Got the right stuff for him.
He wouldn't come alone. well, the more the merrier. hope its a boy... Maybe it'll be two or three? Ouch.
What a weird trip. The thing was there, sucking it up. we got the girls out, just in case it messed things up. The thing - I don't know what happened next and Harv won't say, but I think it worked.
Hooray, I'm nauseous!
The Parchment: is covered in weird symbols. If someone can translate Latin, the instructions say to gather a set of herbs (but do not list them), to make incense and burn them on the vernal equinox (March 21) at midnight over a human sacrifice (of the appropriate sex for the kind of baby you want) to call down the spirit (but does not say what the spirit is). The spirit will grant fertility. Harv and Edie wanted a boy, so they removed the girls from the area early and shot them.
The Baby Scrapbook: contains Polaroids of Norm from birth (12 pounds) on upward. There are outlines of his feet, and hands, which are large, misshapen and mismatched. There are size and weight listings which seem enormous for the associated age. The date he was born was the winter solstice (December 21).
The Basement. In the basement are the remains of some of Norm's victims. He is responsible for the "Bigfoot" deaths and disappearances. It smells very bad and should be difficult for anyone to deal with. The trapdoor to the basement from the main floor is under the couch, and no smell can be made out from above. If a PC insists on poking around, one of the more intact bodies is obviously the girl from Uncle George's Bigfoot article - Lisa Trent.
HARV & EDIE VOORTMAN - At the beginning of the game, the caretakers, both in their early forties, seem like an imperfect update to the classic painting "American Gothic". They are wearing brown bathrobes over their regular clothes, which are basic 90s "white trash" garb - an oversized sweatshirt over leggings for her and a football team T-shirt (a little too small) and camouflage pants for him.
Harv is bulky and brooding, though he can be effusive and enthusiastic at times, if a bit crude. He obviously dominates Edie, but is also protective of her. If someone seems to be annoying her or getting her too upset, Harv will step between them and invite the offender to "make something of it". He is a tall man who has obviously gone to pot - overweight and combing his dark hair across his bald spot.
Edie is thin and nervous. Her hair is an unnatural shade of peach and she's missing a molar back on the upper right side which shows when she laughs (which is a little too often and a little too nervous). Her hands shake at the party since she can't smoke in the lodge. If asked about kids, she will admit she's got a son who's a bit "wild", but he's at that age... Edie tends to trail off in the middle of sentences.
Twenty years ago, Harv and Edie were "wild" themselves. They were a pair of drug taking runaways who'd met their perfect soul mates in one another. Nothing mattered but them and their love. But despite trying constantly, they just couldn't seem to have kids. Both were devastated, and since they were broke and neither could go back to their families for any help, they couldn't afford the exorbitant costs of the burgeoning fertility clinic business.
So, they turned to alternatives for help - namely to witchcraft. It was at an occult store in New York that a strange dark man told Edie of a sure cure for childlessness. By this point Edie was desperate to do anything to have a baby, since she was beginning to feel Harv's interest in her wane. The man gave her a parchment and a grocery list and told her that everything must be followed to the letter or the spell wouldn't work. He also told her that they had to get a place out in the country somewhere, where they could raise a kid without outside interference. He even handed her a classified ad which advertised a job opening for a caretaker for a remote hunting lodge in Massachusetts, and suggested that it would be a great place to raise a child.
Surprisingly the fake references Edie wrote up got them the job, and she settled in to get the components for the spell. These were fairly simple, animal parts and herbs, mostly. It was when she finally read the instructions on the parchment itself that she realized what she'd got herself into. The spell required a human sacrifice - someone of the same sex as the child was desired to be. Edie balked, but when she told Harv about it, he seemed unworried. He suggested they just go and pick up some teenage druggie at the bus depot and do him - after all, kids today aren't raised right. It's better to be dead than living like that anyway, and they should know. Edie demurred, but he finally talked her around. After all, this was their CHANCE.
In fact, they went a bit overboard. When they offered a kid food and shelter for the night (in a Vermont bus station, and in disguise), he accepted, but turned out to be traveling with a group who all wanted to come along. Edie and Harv figured the more the merrier. They took the kids to the hunting lodge, fed them and gave them drugs to keep them quiet. They kept them content this way for four days, hoping that that would be enough time to obscure any connection as well as to wait for the vernal equinox - the specified night for the ceremony.
Finally the specified night arrived. Early that afternoon, Edie gave the increasingly restless teens a drugged meal and tied them all up once they were unconscious. Harv then carried the two girls out and shot them, since they had decided they wanted a boy. By the time night came, the boys were all awake and aware, and Edie and Harv went methodically about their business of mutilating and killing the four boys in the manner prescribed on the parchment - or as close as they could get.
The problem was that Harv and Edie had a lot more enthusiasm than actual occult skill. They summoned up an ancient fertility spirit with the spell - something the parchment hadn't gone into in detail - but they were unable to control it. So the spirit made Harv and Edie fertile, but also twisted their offspring. Nine months later, when the child was born incredibly huge (right around the winter solstice), it nearly killed Edie and left her unable to have any more kids. It didn't help that they decided to have the birth at home, just in case.
NORM - Norm is a nightmare. Twelve pounds when he was born, he is now over seven feet tall and weighs at least 300 pounds. No one has ever seen Norm but his parents and the hikers he's caught and killed (which gave rise to the recent rash of Bigfoot stories). Norm appears to be suffering from gigantism - his face is all out of proportion, with a bulging forehead and a huge jaw, but very delicate features, like his mother. His hair, what there is of it, is coarse like a horse's mane. His skin is rough and patchy, and he often has sores because he won't stop scratching and picking at itchy spots. Norm is extremely strong and cunning, but not very intellectually endowed. He is dressed in an inside out flannel shirt over a stained and torn T-shirt and loose sweat pants, all of which are too short, showing a considerable length of arm and ankle.
He knows how to hunt and kill (he's killed animals all his life and has stalked and killed hunters and hikers for fun ever since he got really big), but is also emotionally dependent on his parents. He somehow senses it when they are killed and freaks out, determined to kill all those responsible for his loss.
UNCLE GEORGE - George Winthrop is the last of a long line of Winthrops. He was born wealthy, but before the age of ten his family lost everything in the big crash (Uncle George is 75). He has since worked his way back to affluence and eventual wealth. Since he is so rich, and since he has no children of his own, George is doted upon by any members of his family who can stand his crackpot theories. Anyone hoping to eventually be written into his will (friends and family alike), tend to come running whenever he gives them an opportunity to get into his good graces (e.g., when he invites them to a party). George realizes that most people attend his parties for this reason, so anyone who seems to sincerely like him (rather than just hope to mooch off him) will quickly become a favorite.
George is obsessed with ghosts. Other aspects of the supernatural hold no fascination for him. George would be utterly convinced of the existence of ghosts but for one small drawback -- he has never, to his recollection, seen one. He desperately desires that one scrap of proof - a sighting all his own - to make his belief complete. To this end, George spends a lot of his time purchasing "haunted" houses and making investigations. Since he can get these properties reasonably cheap (if anyone tries to overcharge him for such a house, knowing his reputation, he will be more than offended), and since real estate is generally good for something, his hobby does not really lose him money. He is in contact with a network of mediums around the country, all for the purpose of holding seances at each of his new properties. Again, there is a problem. After most seances, George rationalizes away whatever happened, and thereafter never trusts the same medium again.
George has a deep psychological trauma related to ghosts - when he was a child, his mother (who dabbled in spiritualism) died during a harmless seance. George witnessed the event, even though he was supposed to be in bed, and saw something - whether it was her ghost leaving her body or something ghostly attacking her is uncertain because now, due to the trauma involved, he has a hysterical blind spot for the supernatural - he literally can't see ghosts. His mind simply ignores anything ghostly, despite his deep desire to see the supernatural. Somehow, this also protects him from ghostly influences and harm by ghosts, as if since he can't see them, they can't see him either.
George can, however, hear spirits. He figures the voices he sometimes hears are merely "gut feelings" and has never spoken of them - he also realizes that anyone who speaks of "hearing voices" is likely to be locked up. This has led him to choose a surprising number of truly haunted houses - any house he walks into and begins "getting that feeling again" is worthy.
George is not nuts. He is fully cognizant of the fact that unscrupulous relatives and such may try and have him committed if he appears to be incapable in any way, so he always treats his hobby lightly (in public) and never lets himself appear too involved in it. Somehow despite his morbid obsession, he himself is in no way morbid, devoted to the "clean" ideal of ghosts as those who have "passed on" rather than the "unpleasant" thought of the ghosts being people who were killed.
George is a spry (for 75 years old) man with a full head of utterly white hair and a thick mustache. He is wiry and reasonably fit. His gray eyes are generally merry and his face shows signs of laughing a lot. He is an optimist, but also has a strong tendency to eventually re-write his memories to suit himself.
Call of Cthulhu: Very simple. The fertility creature was Shub-Niggurath. The only question here is "why is an Old One letting something it spawned be raised by morons?"
The Parchment has a symbol on it, which may indicate some sort of origin. In addition, Edie's diary notes where she was when she got it. Of course, that was 20 years ago, so there may not even be a shop there any more. If your PCs take this personally enough, they could conceivably try to track down the "dark haired guy" who gave Edie the spell.
Whether the ghosts actually used the PCs' bodies to do the murders or not is up the GM and the tolerance level of the group involved. If your players are in for deep soul-searching, they may enjoy the thought of something that terrible happening to their characters. They will not find out the truth until they rescue Uncle George from the caretaker's place and watch his video tape. A version which will make them feel a little better (i.e., show them they didn't precisely do it), is where the tape shows them physically chasing down the two, and then, just as they were about to attack, the ghosts shot out of the bodies and the PCs, being so close, were merely spattered with blood.