A Ghost Story
by Heidi Hooper
© 1995 Alliance LARP, Inc.
It is a dark and stormy night. No, really. The players are traveling and an inn ahead looks inviting. The marshal should talk to the players and let them decide when and where they are traveling. The module can take place anywhere within the boundaries of the duchy of Ashbury, but should be hours from any town.
The Grinning Bear Inn is connected to an old farmhouse, much of which looks abandoned. The party arrives at the Inn and are offered rooms for a reasonable fee. The tavernkeeper is named Jherik and his wife's name is Beatrice. Their last name is Collins, but they won't tell the player that. ("Oh, just call me Beatrice.") They are basically farmers who have some rooms to let in order to make a bit more money on the side. They have a ten year old daughter named Dinayra (named after the then-current Baron of Blythedale).
The wife's part can be removed if there are not enough NPCs.
Jherik should haggle with them but a going rate would be a silver per room. Food is extra! The entire group can have four of the rooms but two of the rooms are being used by the carpenters right now, so that doesn't leave much left. He will give them a key ring with the keys on it.
As the rooms are being prepared, the party can sit and talk and have a hot drink. At one point the tavernkeeper should comment to his wife that he had lost his spare set of keys.
Some workers are in the corner talking loud enough for the party to overhear. They are discussing how the big treasure had to be hidden there someplace behind one of the walls. They will do more searching that night. The carpenters will stop talking if they notice the players overhearing them but it is important that the players do hear them.
Their names are Boris, Grizelda, Uther and Benjamin. Benjamin is the leader. Late at night a few weeks ago, he saw a man walk towards the old house. He overheard him saying that he had to "hide his precious jewel" -- and then he climbed up the wall as if he was a spider or something! The man went into a window in part of the abandoned section.
If questioned, they will make up stories, deny everything, and lie. If Charmed, they will quietly admit it only to the person to whom they have been Charmed but the Charm will be broken if the player tells the other players. Only Benjamin has the entire story; he has told his three other thieves that he overheard someone talking about his precious jewel hidden away in the abandoned part of the building but he hasn't mentioned anything else about the man.
By the way, they really are carpenters by trade, although they have adventuring skills as well.
Their story is that they are carpenters hired to fix the upstairs. The roof leaks in spots and the walls need reinforcing. The tavernkeeper will agree that these are the people he hired a few days ago to do the work. If asked he will admit that they were traveling carpenters on their way to the next biggest city or town so he had never met them before but they had the tools and seemed to know what they were doing and after all, there really was work to be done and they really are doing it.
The carpenters leave to go to their room before the party does.
Also in the room is the tavernkeepers' little girl Dinayra. She should be played like Wednesday Addams -- sort of macabre and obsessed with death. She will say thing to the party like "it was nice knowing you."
If questioned further, she will say "Want to hear a ghost story?" and then will tell a tale about a beautiful young maiden who was dreadfully murdered along with some of her family on the night before her wedding. The ones who resurrected who remembered their death told the tale of the gruesome murder, although they could not identify their killer. No one could find her body of her fiance's nor did they resurrect anywhere. The grieving family sealed off the rooms in which she lived and allow no one to go there, but every year on the anniversary of the death, strange noises are heard and she is seen running down hallways, trailing blood. It is said that if her killer can be brought to justice by midnight on the anniversary of her death when there is a full moon, then her spirit can finally rest.
Right around this time, the rains stop and a lone wolf is heard howling in the distance. If the players look outside, yes, there is a full moon, and yes, it is around 10:15 -- close to midnight.
Just about that time, the little girl's parents will notice her and shoo her off to bed. If asked about the ghost, they will turn pale and refuse to speak of it, coyly saying "Is our little girl frightening you with her ghost stories again? Such an imagination. I hope she hasn't scared you away. She does that to all the guests!"
The party is shown to their rooms for the night. They are very small. There are other doors down the hall but they are locked. The party is given a key to their own rooms so they can lock themselves in.
If the party is quiet enough, they will be able to hear the carpenters talking. They can sneak up and listen at the carpenters' door. If they look out into the hall, they will see them move wood and bricks to another room. The thieves have keys to all of the rooms (they stole them from the tavernkeeper -- it's his extra set).
If the party checks the other room, they will see bricks as well as other carpentry material, wood, and such.
When the party looks into the room with the carpenters, they see a normal room with a hole in the wall. A passageway is visible through the hole. If the carpenters hear the party approach, they will attempt to close the door and hide their work.
If surprised, they quickly pull out measuring tape and paper and pretend they were working. They will fuss at the players for making them lose their concentration. If asked about the hole, they will blame wood rot.
Eventually, the players must get into a fight with the carpenters. This can happen when the carpenters think they have an advantage. They are basically greedy bastards and they figure the players just want the treasure for themselves. They will not cooperate with the players at all. They will not acknowledge any noble title, saying merely "yeah, right, sure you are," if they're told.
This is a tunnel that leads to a long hallway. Four giant rats are down the hallway waiting to get the party from behind if possible.
Right after encounter four, a female "spirit" runs down the hall. Her expression says "save me!" but she makes no sound. It is obvious she sees the party but she doesn't speak to them. She goes through any obstacle in her path and runs out the door, immediately disappearing. Nothing affects her. She should appear and run down the same trail every ten minutes or so.
Soon after, walking fown the hallway in the opposite direction is a little girl "spirit" crying. She makes no sound but if questioned by the party will point to a key she is holding. She will walk through a wall and disappear but reappear ten minutes later.
There is also a large upright chest in the hallway covered in cobwebs. It is trapped with a Paralyze gas poison. Some of the treasure could be within.
The rooms in this area are not arranged in any specific order, so the players can decide for themselves where to go next.
There seems to be a room behind the wall, but no door. If the party takes the candles out of the candleholder, a wall opens up, leading to room two. If they take the candles into the next room and place them in the candleholders in there, the wall will close again.
This was once a fancy dining room but is now covered in cobwebs. There is a little bit of treasure in here but nothing of major importance.
This is a study, also covered with cobwebs. This room is filled with books. As the party enters, all doors slam shut, locking them in. Anyone caught in another room will be stuck outside.
The room smells of death. A heartbeat is heard. In this room, the players will find an invitation to the wedding of Margaritte Collins and Maximillion DeMinici.
If the party remains in this room too long, music and strange sounds will suddenly be heard. Wind flows through the room (fans on!). This will extinguish all candles.
Whoever is closest to the desk finds him or herself pulled to the desk, grabbing pen and paper, and writing -- even if they don't have the skill. They write "stop them" and "don't disturb the jewel" and "preserve the jewel." After these words are written, the person regains power and the doors will reopen if the players try.
Another person has a book fall at their feet. It is the story of Sleeping Beauty.
If the party tries to leave with any of the books, the books will begin flying off the shelf and hitting them (one point of damage each) and the doors will slam shut again.
Around this time, the poltergeists will appear. They cannot be seen by the players (headbands!) and will cause mischief. If the players try to talk to them, each will answer any three questions by taking an item if the answer is "no" or giving an item if the answer is "yes." After that, they will disappear and not come back.
A jar on the table has a Cause Serious Damage contact poison.
This was once a weapon storage room. The weapons are now rusted, old, broken, and useless.
In this room is a bed with a young woman "spirit" sleeping. She shows every sign of being alive and has no vampire bites in her neck. If anyone kisses her, she will then wake and try to Vampire Charm the person she has kissed, and will then lie and claim to be Margaritte Collins -- she has been kept here alive by the evil vampire DeMinici, who places her into some sort of magical sleep and then kisses her from time to time to awaken her. She says he has never made her into a vampire, wanting her to remain pure and innocent. No, she doesn't look like the spirit in the hallway and if asked about that, she will claim that the woman in the hallway is probably her Maid of Honor who was killed on that fateful night five years ago.
She will then travel with the party. Otherwise, she will attempt to get players alone, Charm them, and Drain them. She is a succubus and will attack if she has to.
The big bad vampire in the last room will send in his undead one hour and forty minutes into the module. After the battle is over, he will walk into the room. He will be very upset. "What have you done to my jewel?" he will say, referring to the woman in the bed. If told she was a vampire or succubus, he will act as if he was unaware and will pretend to be shocked, and will tell the party that he had obviously been Charmed by her. His plan is to make them think he is the innocent one and that the succubus was Margaritte who was the real vampire.
He will, depending on the way the party roleplays, try to kill them or scare them into leaving. He will toy with the party but will let them escape with their lives if they so desire. If killed, he will have on him the ward key and the key the little girl ghost was holding.
If midnight hits and time runs out, he will turn gaseous and escape. The party loses the bonus.
This room is warded. In this room is the vampire's coffin. His name is etched on the side of it: Maximillion DeMinici.
There is a keyhole leading to a small room off to the side. The key the little girl held (which is really in the hands of the vampire) opens this door which cannot be picked. (A Magic Key spell will work but not a Shatter or Destroy). Behind the door is the remains of the woman -- but preserved by some necromantic means.
The party must take the woman's body back to the tavernkeeper and his wife.
When confronted with the body of their daughter, the tavernkeeper and his wife will weep uncontrollably and thank the players for allowing her to be given a decent burial so that her spirit can finally rest in peace. They will reward the players with two fine horses that are worth the bonus money. They will insist that the players take their gift, as that would have been the girl's dowry anyway. The players can sell the horses at the next nearest town.