“The Haunting” is a ghost story with a zombie-liche in the basement. After traveling half the distance of Boston, the player characters show up at the Corbitt House and undergo various spooky conditions until they crawl into the basement and find the liche. Like many of Lovecraft’s stories, this is simply a horror story with a small bit of the Mythos sneaked in. There are cultists in the back story and the players can find an ancient book of evil magic, but really it’s a simple ghost story. Reminds me of the recent A Haunting in Connecticut film. I’ve read Lovecraft’s work, but don’t remember it well. I don’t even think I have any of it anymore on the shelves. I’ll look.
I have my doubts as to if I can run a horror game. I’m too goofy. To silly. In an unrelated web search, I see that the words Seelie and Unseelie, terms used to define helpful and hurtful Scottish faeries, are derived from the Old English sœl and gesœlig, meaning “happy” or “blessed” and “unhappy” and “unholy”. It can also mean silly, which defines my way or role-playing well. I can do serious, and I can do lethal combat, but I often fall into silly. Especially when I’m portraying any of the number of NPCs that a group of players meet. I don’t know how to do horror. We’ll see tonight.
Here are my notes for tonight’s game:
Intro: Asked to investigate Corbitt House by new landlord
Part One: Investigate:
Last residents, Vittorio and Gabriela Macario, are insane at the Roxbury Sanitarium. “evil presence in the house”, dishes and objects sent flying, dreams of a strange man with burning eyes
Timeline: 1918 – present (1920)
1917 family moved in and moved out after all getting sick at same time.
1909 another family moved in, and in 1914 the eldest boy went mad and killed himself, family moved out.
1880 a family of French immigrants moved in, parents dead from violent accident and children crippled; house stood vacant
1835 house is built and sold to Mr. Walter Corbitt. Former owner was plagued by sickness
1852 Corbitt sued by neighbors
1866 Corbitt dies. Second lawsuit waged to prevent body from being buried in house
Hall of Records
Executor of Corbitt’s will was Revered Michael Thomas, pastor of the Chapel of Contemplation & Church of Our Lord Granter of Secrets.
Chapel of Contemplation closes in 1912
Criminal actions taken against the Chapel in 1912 but not mentioned
Central Police Station
Police raid, suspecting chapel of abducting neighborhood children
3 cops & 17 church members killed by gunplay
54 members arrested all but 8 released
Pastor Thomas sentenced to 40 years, but escaped prison in 1917
Mr. Dooley can point out the Chapel of Contemplation
The Chapel of Contemplation
Ruins. Fall through floor and find skeletons and Mythos Book. SANITY CHECK.
Part Two: The Corbitt House
Locked. Front door four locks. Windows nailed shut. Side door locked.
Room 1: storage. diaries. SANITY CHECK
Room 2: storage: nothing
Room 3: storage
Room 4: Living Room. lots of crosses and religious gear
Room 5: dining room
Room 6: kitchen
Stairs lead up and down
Room 1: Bedroom. Macario’s room. Crosses
Room 2: Children’s bedroom
Room 3: Corbitt bedroom. When he spooks the room it stinks. Powers: loud thumbing; pool of blood; dripping on walls; rattling on window; impel bed to strike PC
Corbitt tries to convince PCs this is center of disturbance. Can kill by rattling draw PC to window then slam bed against him and toss him out window
Room 1: Locked from upstairs side. No lights. Brick and wood walls. Draw Map. Tools scattered around. Magic Dagger. Flies and attacks. SANITY CHECK. Attempts cost Corbitt 1 magic point.
Room 2: Empty room
Room 3: Wooden Crawl space. Rats. Clue scrawled on wall, “Chapel of Contemplation”
Room 4: Corbitt body. To animates costs 2 magic points. Animated body causes SANITY CHECK. May cast spells.
All I need do now is stat up Corbitt using the Vs. Monsters system and I’m good to go. How will I handle Sanity, a major component of the Call of Cthulhu game? Simple. I’ll add a Sanity stat to the character sheets. Sanity loss will mirror Health loss. Easy peasy.