Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 110

Purgatory House

a Pick-Up & Play Haunted House Role-Playing Game

Written & Designed by Robert Turk


Illustrations by Sean Baygents, Dean Bragg, John Donald Carlucci, Tony
Steele, & Rebecca Baygents Turk
Edited by Bart Sullivan & Rebecca Baygents Turk

Playtesting by Chad Boyer, Robin Chadima, Jaime Flatt, Allisha Flatt, Bailey
Flatt-Vincent, John Gard, Greg Gray, Richard Hopkins-Lutz, Andy Hopp,
Aurora Hopp, Eric Langdon, Tristan Langdon, Thaddeus Papke, Maryanne
Rose Papke, Keyleth Ranger, Shoshanna Ruth, Jessie Shanks, Elyse Slye,
Bart Sullivan, Dave Thornton, Daniel Voyls, William Wise, Jayson Yee, &
David Zelasco

Special Thanks to
James "Shaky" Ferguson & Ray "Ravenwolves" Smestad

Copyright © 2018 by Robert Turk


All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be
reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written
permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book
review.

ISBN: 978-0-692-05929-6
Printed in the United States of America
First Printing, 2018

Published by Wicked Clever


www.wicked-clever.com
Inquisitive Tourists
Thomas R., Neal Tanner, Erik Ingersen, Jeffrey N Smith, Harriet Coffin, Aljen, Boris,
Shane Lacy Hensley, Charles F. Hayes, Roberto "Sunglar" Micheri, Ana Russey, Joey
Thomas, Sören Kohlmeyer, Erin Regan, Fiona KT Howat, Bethany Cai, Drew Walker,
Hong Kong Republic, Kristen Litton, Michael Noorman, Daniele Di Rubbo, Nicola
Urbinati, Michele "Snake" Gelli, Thorkwin, Giulia "JuJu" Cursi, John "Shadowcat"
Ickes, Robert Waldbauer, Bodri Takonyweaver, Patrice Mermoud, Michael P. Charlton,
Łukasz Korzeń, Orlon the Dog, Anthony Knight, Krystal Klaus, Steve V., Scott Hooker,
David Johnson, Orko the Inquisitive, J. Carter, Aaron Griffin, Andrew Doyle, Lauren
Darrell, Charley Brandum, Matt 'Haxar' Shaw, Wedji Tucheeks RULZ, Matthew R
Martinez, Missy Ciavarelli, Richard Hopkins-Lutz, Jonathan "Buddha" Davis, Dr.
Mindflip, David Jenks, Theranis God-Sworn, Rich Fowler, Sergio Saenz, Michael
McFarland, Jeanine Carbonaro, R P Steeves, David Standley, ScholarX, Dane
Asmund, Jim Ryan, Don Bleeker, Robert E Gallasch, Jonathon Dyer, Jodi Porteous,
Chris Cooper, Chuck McGrew, "filkertom" Tom Smith, Mattia Davolio, Vishion, Foster,
Daniele Sanna, Nicolas Gulix Ronvel, Markus Raab, MM Mastor Castor, Konrad
Sobanski, Mark R. Lesniewski, Casey Kirkpatrick, Mateus Augusto Mapski, Haley
Williams, Peter "Chewie" Underwood, C. Henson, John Allen III, Dean Morris,
Giovanne Costa, Shem Bingman, Christopher Allen, & Deivah

Unfortunate Casualties
Andy Hopp, Nancy Hutchins, Jeffrey James, Tony Tucker, Drew Wallace, Brandi
Laubscher, Thaddeus "Gatharion" Papke, gizmo_ult, Darren G. Miller, The Robichaud
Family, Steve Sick, Stuart Thaman, Matthew McHale, David Connell Olsher,
Katherine O, Dominic, W. David Lewis, Robbie, Charlie Rose, Jon Cohn, Pip, Heather
Rasinski, Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr., Richard Newby, Erich McNaughton, Jennifer
Fuss, John Coates, Cam, Russell Reed, Gordon Cranford, Steve Mains,
GmGerrymander, Eric Blair, Timothy Beem, Amy Lee Trog, Mr Bodewell, Luis Pavel,
Morgaine Barkefors, Aaron Campbell, Shannon Rhoads, prince thadius, Aybars
Yurdun, Jason Corley, James Fairchild (Prof.Z), Spencer & Piper Zito, Edouard
Contesse, Joseph D. Stirling, Jasen Johns, Ian Lemke, Brian Rodman, Dan & Emily
Alban, Jean Rosnick, Dante Warborn, Jeanne Lark Wilkins, Chris George, Elyse Slye,
Keith A. Garrett, Kylan & Dawn, Dan Judd, Eric Arthen, Randy Hunt, Malechus, TB,
David Robertson, Jennifer Clark, Crimson Moons, Kimberlie, Holly Budd, Picnicman,
Wesley Newman, Jerry, Timothy Paul Geary, W Douglas Bramlett, cotton mashlin,
Markus Plötz, Linda, Jim, Kenton, Bill "teh bunneh" Keyes, J Brad Woodfin, Jesse
Mungle, Paul & Deanne Charlton, Allisha Fox, Hans Hagen, Maxjanzar, Chris Snyder,
The Sparkles, Kathleen J. Nelson, Casper Smitty, Paul Major, Tadgh (Lyon) Pound,
Mark W., Thomas Ashley Roberts, Ron "Lone Wolf " Smay, Michael Koorey,Kier Duros,
Nicholas Bowman, Travis & Susan Fessler, Kim Queisser, Brian "Mudzgut" Reames,
Brueske/Voyles Family, & Veronica Lockheart

Professional Investigators & Occult Scholars


Snookie Mookie Wookie, George D. Stefanowich, Tyler Brunette, Ospprod, Michael
Moore, Chad Eberle, YorkusRex, Josh Cole, Jim "Destroyer" Bellmore, Jack Gulick,
Chris Weaver, Brett & Kelly Sherrick, Brian Baygents, Gregory Dunn, Ronsley G.,
Joshua Langley, R. Grim, Ken Osiecki, Elle Mannion, Scott "Scott308" Peterson,
Bentley Burnham, Daniel Ley, Kyle R Ripley, Chad and Keyleth, Frank Russell &
Danielle "Akyla" Thomas

Tormented Souls
Melissa Powell, Shoptroll, Coen Jans, Jun Mcinteer, Daniel Sabiston, Danielle L.,
Rodnock Sticklefink, Inspector Butters, & Jayson “Harlequin” Yee

The initial publication of this book was made possible by the generous
support of the patrons listed above and other unnamed, but absolutely
appreciated supporters. Thank you, all.
WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THE HOUSE...

It lurks atop a hill, behind a rusting gate, squatting


amidst decades of weeds and neglect. Broken windows
fracture the facade like jagged, rotting teeth. It
watches, waiting, warning us not to venture in.
Especially after night falls. It creeps into our
dreams. An unspeakable horror chasing us through a
maze from which we can never escape.

There are stories about the House. About the witch who
lived there. About the couple who bought it and then
mysteriously died. About the old man who murdered his
wife and children. About the young woman who poisoned
her abusive husband. About the lights that flicker in
the windows on All Hallow's Eve. About the kids who
went exploring and were never heard from again.

No matter the city, no matter the year, the House is


there. A blight on our subconscious, a foundation of
the neighborhood. Occasionally it is torn down, to
make room for condominiums, to put an end to the
vandalism and drug deals. But it creeps up somewhere
else again, in a slightly different shape, on a
slightly different street.

There it slumbers, hungrily waiting for another


foolish soul to climb up the hill, cross the weed-
choked yard, and slip inside.

Then the House wakes up…


And it feasts.

3
Contents
♠ CONTENTS ♠ ♠ Glossary ♠

Introduction ......................... 6 Player Character (PC): a victim


trapped in the House that is
Ch 1: Characters & Gear ....... 9 controlled by a Player of the
Creating Characters ....... 10 game.
Sample Gear .................. 12 Dealer: the person in charge of
running the game.
Ch 2: Playing the Game ....... 15 Turn: the short term actions,
Basics of Blackjack ......... 16 narration, or Test of a single
Performing Tests ............. 17 Player Character.
Rising Tension ................ 18 Round: once through every
Using Traits .................... 21 Player's turn.
Shades of Despair .......... 22 Trait: defined features of a PC.
Jokers ............................. 23 Test: a hand of Blackjack to
The End Game ................ 25 determine success or failure of
an action.
Ch 3: Running the Game ..... 27 Hit: take another card.
Going Outside ................ 28 Stay: keep your current hand.
Unstoppable Horrors ...... 29 Bust: get more than 21 in a
Campaign Play ............... 30 Blackjack hand.
Meddling Kids Mode ....... 32 Survival Deck: used for Survival
Alternate Rules ............... 34 Tests.
House Deck: used to create the
Ch 4: Rooms & Obstacles .... 37 House map and for resolving
House Charts .................. 40 Simple Tests.
Alphabetical Listing ........ 42 Jokers: specially marked cards
that trigger various game
Ch 5: Scenarios .................. 85 effects.
Trick or Treat ................... 85 Rising Tension: a mechanic
River Brook Asylum ........ 88 whereby failing a hand makes a
Ghouls Gone Wild ........... 90 Test subsequently harder.
“House of Death” ........... 92 Reel: the time between one
Hell House Hunters ........ 94 shuffle of the Survival Deck and
Murder Hotel .................. 95 the next.
Master Of This Manor ..... 98 Doom Rating: how many Reels
Gangster's Treasure ..... 101 the PCs have been inside the
VIP Characters .............. 103 House for and how hard it will
be to escape in the end.
Blank characters sheets are Token: a small coin or marker
provided at the back of the book for keeping track of Reels and
and may be freely scanned or Exhausted Traits.
photocopied for personal use. Shade: the ghost of a dead PC.

5
PURGATORY HOUSE is a What You Need to Play
horror themed, haunted house
role-playing game for three or ♠ One copy of this book
more players.
It is a rules-light, infinitely ♠ Three to seven players
replayable, single session game (eight or more is possible, but
that spans the course of three makes the game much longer)
to four hours and requires little
to no preparation before the ♠ Two standard poker decks
game can begin. (with Jokers)
In this game, one of the
players will become the Dealer ♠ Copies of the character
and assume the role of an evil sheets or the pre-generated
haunted house and the horrors characters found in Chapter
that lurk within. Five of this book
The Dealer is responsible for
building a spontaneous maze of ♠ One small token, chip, or
rooms, controlling the monsters, coin per player
interpreting the obstacles that
appear, and moderating the ♠ Three more tokens per
successes and failures of the player, if people prefer not
other Players. to write on their character
The other Players take up sheets
the roles of ordinary people
who have become trapped ♠ Pencils and paper
inside the House and are now
trying to defeat the horrors Optional Supplies
they uncover and ultimately
escape with their lives. ♦ Creepy music
Unlike many traditional role- ♦ Candles or dim lighting
playing games, there is a ♦ An exorcist
definite end and clear winners ♦ Extra Jokers
in Purgatory House. The Players
that escape the House alive will Only the Dealer, the person
win the game. who will run the game, needs to
However, if a character dies read this book, but they should
they are not eliminated from read most of it before playing.
the game. Instead the dead The Dealer needs a solid
character becomes an in- understanding of the rules and
corporeal spirit known as a options herein, and should be
Shade. They will then haunt familiar with the possible rooms
their chosen victim, for good or and obstacles that could
ill, till the bitter end. appear.

6
What is a Role-playing Game?

Role-playing games, also known But what turns the child-


as RPGs, are exercises in group hood pastime of playing
problem solving, shared story- pretend into a game for grown-
telling, and imaginative ex- ups? What makes it different
ploration. They are games of from improvisational theatre or
playing pretend. campfire tales? The rules do.
Role-playing itself is a staple Every game needs a system
of the modern childhood, from of rules to determine the
playing with dolls and action success or failure of a player’s
figures to imagining yourself as actions and the repercussions of
the main characters from your those actions. The core rules of
favorite TV show. Purgatory House are based on
This game, however, is the classic card game of
intended for adults. Blackjack.
In a role-playing game the Purgatory House has been
players assume the role of a designed to be suspenseful and
unique character, like in a challenging, yet easy to pick up
movie or a play. However, there and play. The rest of this book
are no set lines, no scripts to will lay out the rules of the
follow, and usually no real game and provide a wealth of
world sets or props to interact examples to get you started.
with. Instead the stage is your
imagination and the action Please Note: The primary goal
happens inside your mind. of any game should be to have
In Purgatory House, the fun. If something is preventing
Dealer will describe to the you from embracing that fun,
Players what is happening and feel free to eliminate it.
the Players will narrate what It is perfectly acceptable to
their characters do in response. try new things, alter rules, or
This game tries to recreate discard a rule altogether if it
the experience of a haunted doesn’t work for your group.
house horror story, so it helps
to think in terms of such movies
when describing the action.
Terrible monsters, odd camera
angles, dim lighting, creepy
music, innocent victims in dire
peril, jump scares, and sus-
penseful builds are mainstays
of the horror genre.

7
Chapter 1:
1. Characters & Gear
Characters & Gear
All of the Players (except for the ♠ Maybe they are school-aged
Dealer) need a single character kids daring each other to spend
that they will narrate and control. the night in a haunted house.
These characters are generally
everyday people who have ♠ Maybe they are escaped
become the victims of the House. convicts on the run from the
The Dealer does not have law who think they have found
one specific character, per se. a hidden shelter to hole up in
Instead they control the actions for a while.
of the House itself, the traps
and tricks within it, and all of its ♠ Maybe they are assorted
horrible inhabitants. townsfolk seeking a missing
Players can create a unique child.
character or may chose to use
one of the many sample ♠ Maybe they are a team of
characters provided with the ghost hunters filming a new
starting scenarios in Chapter 5. television show.
Creating a character from
scratch should only take about ♠ Maybe they are a new
five to ten minutes, as there are family who has bought the
relatively few choices to make. property for a steal and are
spending their first night inside.

What makes ♠ Maybe they are even secret


government agents sent to
a good PC? investigate the strange phe-
nomenon known as the House.

Think about your favorite horror All of the above are valid
movies or books. Usually, the characters for Purgatory House,
heroes are ordinary people in but ultimately you will want to
unfortunate circumstances. make one that is fun for you to
play and explore.
♠ Maybe they are college Whomever they are, most
students undergoing a sort of characters in the game are
fraternal hazing or enjoying destined to meet their fatal
their spring break. end. The House is never a
pleasant or forgiving place.

9
The Dealer should decide Step 1: Concept
(with input from the rest of the
Players) roughly where and Every Player Character needs a
when the House will manifest. short two or three word Concept
Sample scenarios are that generally defines who their
provided in Chapter 5 as a character is. This usually takes
starting point, though this the form of a broad but
selection may place limitations descriptive generalization.
on the types of characters the Examples include: Nerdy
Players may create. Bookworm, Charismatic Salesman,
If the group prefers, the Catty Cheerleader, Horror Author
characters do not all need to Youtube Celebrity, Geeky Gear-
follow the same theme, but it head, Apathetic Sheriff, Homeless
should make sense that they Drifter, Naive Ghost Hunter, etc.
can end up in the same House Each Player should also
together. come up with a name for their
Perhaps one Player wants to character. This is usually a
be a lost boy scout, another straightforward task, though
wants to be a Youtube host, and many players skip this step and
a third wants to be a criminal come back to it as the final
hiding out from the law. This is finishing touch. You should also
perfectly acceptable. determine your character's
Players may also choose to approximate age and their
play facsimiles of themselves apparent gender.
and react to the events of the
story as they would do in a
similar real-life situation. This Step 2: Traits
option is probably best reserved
for more mature players who Next, each Player must define
are comfortable with exploring three Traits that dictate special
their own demise and personal intrinsic qualities that their
psychological horrors. character can use to survive.
After the scenario has been These Traits should be a few
chosen it is then up to the words at most and can be
individual Players to determine whatever makes sense to the
who their character is and what Player. The Dealer should help
they can do. These details are define Traits as needed.
noted on the character sheet. Examples include: Flexible
The Dealer always has final Gymnast, Fast Runner, Smallest in
say on what makes sense for a the Class, Cool Under Pressure,
character and if a particular Expert Marksman, Skilled Swimmer,
Concept, Trait, Fear, or piece of Unflappable Optimism, High Tech
Gear works for the game. Gizmos, etc.

10
After all three traits are All Player created gear
defined, the Player should should fit into one of the
assign them a value as follows: following categories.

♦ One Trait is noted as +/-3 1) The Gear is something you


♦ A second Trait as +/-2 wear.
♦ The final Trait as +/-1. This item (such as a jacket,
backpack, watch, etc.) may be
used to avoid a single hand of
Step 3: Fear Rising Tension in a Survival Test.
You may chose to do this after
Next, the Player should decide any failure in the Test and thus
on a Fear, or something that Rising Tension does not apply
haunts their character's darkest for the next hand of the Test.
nightmares. This should be If you bust on a Test in
listed as one or two words and which this Gear was used, it is
is limited to something that destroyed and may not be used
might be found in a haunted again.
house, such as: Darkness,
Snakes, Tight Spaces, or Zombies. 2) The Gear is something small
but useful.
This item may add a -1 to all
Step 4: Gear Tests where it is relevant to the
situation at hand (ie. A flashlight
Finally, each Player should in a darkened room).
choose one piece of Gear that
they have with them. 3) The Gear is something easily
While most characters carried in your hands.
might carry several common If this is a weapon (an axe,
items, this piece of Gear is the shotgun, or holy symbol vs.
only equipment that provides a demons), it allows you to redraw
mechanical effect to the game. a single card in any Survival
All Gear must be approved Test with a Monster. You must
by the Dealer to make sure it redraw the last card given to
fits within the scope of the story you, and you must take the
being told. Other possessions second result.
may be added to the narration If this is a utility item (fire
without mechanical effect if it extinguisher, first aid kit, camera,
makes sense to do so. etc.) you may use it for a redraw
Players may pick from the in any applicable Tests.
sample Gear provided on the If you bust on the Test after
next page or create new Gear using this Gear, it is destroyed
using the following guidelines. and can not be used again.

11
Sample Gear Holy Symbol
A mystical symbol protects
Baseball Bat you from dark magics. You may
You are carrying a sturdy ignore one busted Test against
wooden or metal baseball bat. ghosts, witches, demons, or
This weapon allows you to other magical effects and
redraw the last card given to therefore not take any damage.
you in a Survival Test against You do not need to redo the Test
Monsters in close quarters. If which is negated bythis piece of
you bust on a Test in which this Gear, but the item becomes
weapon was used, it has broken useless after being used in this
and must be discarded. manner.

Dejavu Multi-tool
You have had a psychic You are carrying a general
premonition. You may discard purpose multi-tool. This tool
this piece of Gear after another gives you -1 to your total hand
Player has failed a Test. They value on any Tests to disarm
may redo that entire Test from mechanical contraptions. If you
scratch, reversing any Rising bust on the Test in which the
Tension or damage taken. tool was used, even in Rising
Single Use Only. Tension, this piece of Gear is
destroyed and must be
Dynamite discarded.
You have a stick of dynamite
and a way to light it. You may Pistol
discard this item to completely You are carrying a small
destroy a mechanical obstacle handgun, such as a revolver or
or obstruct an exit. No Test pistol. You may use this weapon
required. Single use only. to redraw the last card given to
you in a Survival Test against
Flashlight Monsters at a distance (ie. not in
You have a high powered close quarter combat). If you bust
flashlight with a limited battery on a Test in which this weapon
life. You may shine it in the eyes was used, it has broken and
of any Monster to force the must be discarded.
Dealer to begin a Survival Test
in Rising Tension. If you bust on Running Shoes
a Test in which you used the You are wearing a pair of
Flashlight, it is discarded and trusty sneakers. You may gain
may no longer be used. Other- -1 to your hand total on all Tests
wise you may use it 3 times to jump, climb, or run away. If
before the batteries die. you bust on the Test in which

12
this piece of Gear was used, pursuing Monster. No Test
even in Rising Tension, it is de- required. Single Use Only.
stroyed and must be discarded.
Switchblade
Shotgun You have a small, sharp
You are carrying a loaded knife. You may use this weapon
single barrel shotgun. Discard to gain -1 to your hand total on
this piece of Gear to auto- any living Monster in close
matically defeat a single quarters combat. If you bust on
Monster or disperse a swarm of the Test in which the knife was
birds, bats, or instects. No Test used, even in Rising Tension, it
required. Single Use Only. is destroyed and must be
discarded.
Skeleton Key
You are carrying a key that Throwing Stars
opens any lock in the House. You have deadly throwing
You may unlock or lock any stars in your possession. These
door, cabinet, box, diary, etc. weapons give you -1 to your
that you discover. However, a hand total on any Survival Tests
Simple Test is required to do against a Monster or breakable
this if you are being chased by object at a distance (ie. not in
a Monster or a Horror. close quarters combat). Once you
have used this ability three
Smelly Overcoat times, regardless of whether
You are wearing a shabby the Test succeeded or not, you
old coat in desperate need of must discard this piece of Gear
washing. You may use this and may no longer gain the
piece of Gear to avoid one attack bonus.
round of Rising Tension for any
Test against any non-swarm Two Way Radio
Monster or Horror. If you bust You are carrying one half of
after using this piece of Gear, it a pair of Walkie Talkies. If you
is destroyed and must be are ever separated from the
discarded. group, you must declare which
character holds the counter-
Smoke Bomb part. You may then use the
You have a small explosive radios to communicate with
that creates a lot of smoke that characer at will. You may
when detonated. You may also discard this piece of Gear
discard this piece of Gear to to distract a pursuing Monster
obscure a room in smoke for a and lead them off in the wrong
single round and allow ALL direction. You may do this a
Players there to escape from a single time only.

13
Chapter 2:
2. Playing the Game
Playing the Game
♠ Basic Setup ♠

1) Remove all Jokers from both decks and place them to the
side. Put one Joker on the table in front of the Dealer.

2) Shuffle the two decks individually (do NOT shuffle them


together). Place one deck (the Survival Deck) in front of the
Dealer and the second deck (the House Deck) off to the side,
but still within easy reach.

3) Lastly, count out a Token for each Player and place these in a
pile near the Dealer.

Once characters have been It is usually best to start the


finalized and gear has been action away from the front door
selected you are ready to play. of the House. Pick up when
The Dealer should begin by things start to turn sour, once
describing the exterior of the the Players are deep inside the
House and the events leading House but don’t yet realize that
up to the current session. they are truly trapped.
Dark and stormy nights are a The Dealer narrates a
classic of the genre, but are by description of the starting room
no means necessary. Some- and what the characters have
times the scariest stories start encountered within. The Players
out as completely mundane take turns describing what they
events. say or do in response. The
Once the scene is set, the Dealer replies, and so on.
Players should then take turns Not all rooms must have a
introducing who their character life-threatening obstacle, and
is and why they went into the clever Players may be able to
House to begin with. avoid any obstacle they do
The Dealer then flips over encounter by narration alone.
two cards from the House Deck Anytime a Player wants their
and compares those cards to character to do something
the charts on pg. 40 to dangerous, fights or flees from
determine which Room and a monster, or tries to escape
Obstacle will appear. from a trap, they will have to

15
perform a Test to see if they ♠ Card Values ♠
succeed or not.
All Tests are resolved by a ♦ Numbered cards are worth
hand (or hands) of Blackjack their numbered value.
(also known as 21), and any Test ♦ Face cards (King, Queen, and
can cause damage to an Jack) are always worth 10.
unlucky character. Sometimes ♦ Aces are worth either 1 or
the Players may want to 11, and can change value
attempt something that is not as needed.
inherently deadly, such as
hiding in a cabinet, climbing a ♠ Players are each dealt one
broken ladder, or barricading a card face up and the Dealer
door. This is resolved by a gets one card face down. The
Simple Test. Dealer may look at their face-
Once a character engages down card at any time.
with a deadly obstacle though
(ie: a zombie attacks, a character ♠ A second face-up card is
tries to dive through the swinging dealt to all Players and one
blades, someone opens a puzzle face up to the Dealer.
box, etc.), a more dangerous
Survival Test has begun. ♠ Starting with the Player to
the Dealer’s left, that Player
may choose to hit (take another
The Basics of card) or stand (keep their total).

Blackjack ♠ Repeat this process until the


Player goes over 21 (a bust) or
In Purgatory House, the core chooses to stand. Play then
mechanics are based on the passes clockwise to the next
classic game of Blackjack, but Player.
our rules go beyond the simple
basics by employing Traits, ♠ Once all the Players have
Fear, Gear, Jokers, Group Tests, chosen to stand (or busted), the
Interupts, and Rising Tension. Dealer reveals their face-down
Before these more com- card and attempts to get the
plicated rules are explained highest total value, without
though, it helps to know how to busting, by taking extra cards.
play Blackjack in its most
common form. ♠ Those Players who have a
higher total than the Dealer
♠ The goal of Blackjack is to get win. Those who have busted, or
the highest total value on your end with a lower total than the
cards without going over 21. Dealer, lose.

16
Performing ♠ If both the Dealer and the
Player have 21 the round is a
TESTS tie. All cards are discarded and
new cards are dealt to each. A
Player may always refresh an
♠ Survival Tests ♠ Exhausted Trait on a Natural 21
(see Refreshing Traits).
Once a Survival Test has begun,
each Player involved must ♠ If the Dealer has a Natural 21
declare how they are at- (an ace and a face card) and the
tempting to overcome the Player does not, the Dealer has
obstacle before them. This can already won. The Player has no
be anything that makes sense, chance of success this round
such as shooting a monster with and suffers from Rising Tension.
a gun, running away from a The Dealer retrieves the Joker
swarm of bats, or biting their card (if it is in front of another
tongue to escape mind control. Player) on a Dealer's Natural 21
A Player is not required to and then deals out new hands
make narrative use of their as detailed below.
character's Traits to perform a
Test. If they do relate the Test to ♠ If the Player has a Natural 21
a Trait, however, the Player will and the Dealer does not, the
be able to Exhaust that Trait to Player wins the Test and the
adjust their final total. Dealer narrates how their
success plays out. The Player
♠ Survival Tests always use the may also refresh an Exhausted
Survival Deck for a resolution. Trait (see below).

♠ To begin a Test, the Dealer ♠ If neither shows 21, then the


deals one face-up card to every Player must decide whether to
affected Player and one face- stand or hit, or to add or
down card for themselves. They subtract the value of a relevant
then deal a second card face- Trait to their total. Repeat until
up to each Player and a face-up the Player goes over 21 (a bust)
card for themselves. or decides to stand.

♠ Things to Remember ♠

♦ Players are always trying to beat the Dealer, never each other.
♦ Players’ cards are always dealt face up.
♦ The Dealer’s first card is always dealt face down. All of their
other cards are dealt face-up.
♦ A bust by a Player ALWAYS inflicts damage to their character.

17
A bust may be mitigated by Dealer should narrate what
Exhausting a Trait even after happens if the Player wins the
the total shows more than 21! Test, but the Player narrates
what happens if they bust and
♠ If a Player busts, they have thus take damage.
failed horribly and they suffer
significant damage.
♠ Simple Tests ♠
♦ Damage is represented by
crossing off both a Trait and Simple Tests are used when the
its associated value on a challenge is not a matter of life
Player's character sheet. This or death. Perhaps a character
loss is permanent and cannot wants to hide before a Monster
be refreshed. enters the room, or they are
going to try to climb back up a
♦ The Player then narrates trapdoor chute. Maybe they
how their character failed need to barricade a door or
and how the new damage want to slice through some
manifests. lingering spider webs.
In a Simple Test the cards
♠ Once a Player stands, the are dealt from the House Deck
Dealer flips over their hidden instead of the Survival Deck.
card. (Note: A character’s Traits Traits may be used as normal to
may not be used once the Player modify the Player's total and a
has chosen to stand.) bust still inflicts damage.
While a success means that
♦ If the Dealer has beaten the Player manages to succeed
the Player’s total already, at whatever it was that they
the Dealer wins the hand were trying to do, a failure on a
and the Test proceeds to Simple Test just means that
Rising Tension. they do not succeed and will
have to try again later if the
♦ If the Dealer has not opportunity still exists.
beaten or tied the Player's Simple Tests do not trigger
total, they must attempt to the Rising Tension mechanic.
do so by taking more cards.

♦ If the Dealer busts, the ♠ Rising Tension ♠


Player has won the Test. No
penalty befalls the Dealer. Once a Survival Test has begun,
the focus of the action and the
♠ A Survival Test continues story is squarely on the Player
until a Player wins or busts. The caught in the Test.

18
In most cases, a Survival Test ♠ The Player may still choose to
continues on until there is a hit and stand as they wish,
definitive resolution; success or assuming they have not already
damage. gone over 21 with their first
Each failed hand should be three cards. They are also still
narrated by the Dealer, in order able to Exhaust any unused
to ramp up the tension and Traits to modify their final value
keep the game exciting, but the as normal.
character(s) will continue to Successes and busts follow
struggle without reprieve until the same rules as above, but
they either beat the Test or they each failure compounds with
are totally defeated. the previous ones and adds
Once a hand has been failed, another card to the initial draw.
new cards are dealt to the A Player that fails twice will
Dealer and all failing Players; begin the third round of a Test
however, each round of a Test with 4 cards, the fourth round
becomes considerably harder with 5 cards, and so on until
with every additional failure. they beat the Dealer in a hand
Only after a Test has been and thus succeed in the Test or
completely resolved can the until they finally bust.
focus move on to the rest of the
characters in play.
♠ Interrupting ♠
♠ Once a Player fails the first
hand and moves on to the next It is possible for a Player not
one, they automatically receive originally engaged in a Test to
three starting cards instead of declare an interrupt and join in,
their normal two. but only if the original Player
has a matching pair (a split) for
♦ The Player will get one their first two cards.
card face up and the Dealer The Interrupting Player must
gets one card face down. Exhaust one of their Trait values
to join in on a Test, and inter-
♦ The Player gets a second rupting may only be done on
card face up, and then the the first hand of a Test, never on
Dealer gets a second face-up Rising Tension.
card as well.
♠ When a Player interrupts, the
♦ Finally, the Player gets a matching pair is split between
third card face up. The the two Players and a 2nd card
Dealer does not get a third is dealt to the Interrupting
starting card, and thus has a Player before the Dealer’s
significant advantage. second card is drawn.

19
♠ Focus then shifts to the Trait, but have managed to
Interrupting Player alone for a pull focus and give the
single hand (no Rising Tension) to others a chance to flee.
determine if they successfully
drew attention away from the
original character. ♠ Ties ♠

♦ If the Interrupting Player If the Players and Dealer tie, the


succeeds on their Test, they struggle continues on with
draw focus and beat the neither side having the ad-
obstacle. vantage. The current cards are
discarded and the hand is
♦ If the Interrupting Player played again without triggering
fails, then they are out of Rising Tension.
the Test and narrative focus
returns to the original
Player. The Dealer then ♠ Group Tests ♠
draws a new face-down card
before dealing a new face- Occasionally a Test may affect
up card to both the original all the characters in a room (ie.
Player and themselves. poison gas or a crumbling floor). In
this case, every affected Player
♦ If the Interrupting Player participates in the Test using
busts, they are damaged by their own cards against the
the obstacle and lose their Dealer.

20
The Dealer still only has one set may not adjust the card values
of cards and compares results with a Trait. (Ie. You cannot
with each Player individually. It change your mind and use a Trait
is possible in Group Tests for once you see what the Dealer has.)
some victims to succeed while
others fail. ♠ Players should note their
In a Group Test, the Dealer Exhausted Traits by crossing
must hit if their total is 16 or out just the number portion of
less and must stand if it is 17 or the Trait. As there are chances
above. to refresh Exhausted Traits
during the game, many Players
♠ Fear ♠ prefer to simply cover up these
Traits with a token of some sort.
If a character’s Fear matches
the obstacle they are facing,
then they are unable to use any ♠ RefreshinG TRAITS ♠
Traits or Gear to affect the final
outcome. Any time a Player achieves a
Natural 21 (an ace and a face
card or a 10) they may refresh
Using Traits an Exhausted Trait. They should
uncross/uncover the Trait and
are now able to use it again on
♠ ExhaustinG TRAITS ♠ any future Tests.

In any Test (except those involving


character's Fear) a Player may ♠ Losing Traits ♠
adjust the final total of their
hand up or down by the value of Once a Player busts, they must
a single relevant Trait (+/- 3, +/- cross out both the value and
2, or +/- 1). text for a Trait. This Trait is
totally gone and may not be
♠ Regardless of if the Player used again in the game.
succeeds or fails on the Test, Losing a Trait represents
they must note that the Trait damage sustained by the
value has been Exhausted and character and should be role-
may not use that Trait again played as such.
until it has been refreshed. If a character ever loses their
last Trait, they have died. The
♠ A Trait may be used even Player then narrates their
after the cards show that a character's horrible demise and
Player has busted. Once a will become a Shade at the
Player stands, however, they start of the next round.

21
♠ Shades of Despair ♠ Note that the Shade does
NOT have to be evil. They may
Once a Player Character has try to help their victim avoid
lost all of their Traits, they the same fate that befell them.
should narrate how their If a Shade’s victim also dies,
character is consumed by the they will both then haunt the
House. They are not out of the choice of the newly expired
game, however. Instead they character.
must pick one card from their
final hand to keep as a new ♠ A Shade may swap out the
Shade of Despair. card that they hold in exchange
Shades are completely in- for the last card dealt to their
corporeal and cannot be seen or victim of choice. They must do
affected by anything in the this before any subsequent
House. They also have very cards are dealt to that Player.
limited ways to interact with the
physical world. ♦ When they swap cards,
They can however whisper the Shade may narrate a
horrible or encouraging things visual or mental appearance
to a single PC victim chosen at of their Shade that any
the time of the Shade Player may see.
Character’s death.
♦ The Shade then takes the
card which was replaced as
their new Shade card.

♦ Each Shade may only


swap one card per Survival
Test, regardless of Rising
Tension.

♦ If the haunted character


still fails the Test, the Shade
may not swap out another
card for the new hand of the
more difficult Test.

♦ If a Player is haunted by
more than one Shade, each
one may swap out a card
during that Player's Tests.
Shades may swap the card
played by another Shade.

22
Other Rules

♠ Reshuffling ♠

When you run out of cards in


either deck, reshuffle it. Re-
shuffling the House Deck is no
big deal, but a reshuffle of the
Survival Deck entails special
rules and must be tracked.
The span between one
shuffle of the Survival Deck and
the next is known as a Reel.
A game usually lasts for a
number of Reels equal to the
number of Player Characters. If
you are playing with only two If a reshuffle should happen
characters though, it is best to in the middle of a Test, do not
play for a full three Reels. reshuffle the cards currently in
the Test back into the deck.
♠ Once the last card of the Leave them on the table until
Survival Deck has been dealt, the Test is finished and then
check the location of the Joker, discard them normally.
on the table.

♦ If it is in front of the ♠ Jokers ♠


Dealer, place the Joker in
the Survival Deck before Jokers have different functions,
reshuffling. depending on their location
during the game.
♦ If the Joker is in front of
another Player, return it to ♠ The game begins with one
the Dealer without shuffling Joker, face up on the table by
it into the Survival Deck. the Dealer. Anytime a Player
Character takes damage, the
♠ Keep track of how many Joker is passed to that Player.
times the Survival Deck has
been reshuffled by sliding a ♦ If a Player holds the Joker,
token or some other marker to they may return it to the
the center of the table. These Dealer during any Test to
tokens will represent the Doom replace the last card dealt
Rating of the House. to them with a new card.

23
♠ At the end of a Reel, before obstacle, all Horror Jokers are
the Survival Deck is reshuffled, immediately shuffled back
if the Joker is in front of the into the Survival Deck and
Dealer it goes into the deck and the Doom Rating is increased
a new Joker is placed in front of by one.
the Dealer.
♠ If a second Joker is drawn
♠ If the Joker is in front of a while a Horror is still in play, all
Player at the end of a Reel, it is Survival Tests against said
returned to the Dealer but not Horror suffer from automatic
shuffled into the deck. Rising Tension.

♠ When drawn from the ♦ The next Test against the


Survival Deck, Jokers summon Horror will start with three
Unstoppable Horrors. cards in the Player’s hand
instead of two.
♦ When a Joker is drawn, a
Horror has awoken and it will ♦ This effect compounds for
appear at the start of the each Joker drawn while the
next round. Horror is still in play (ie.
hasn’t killed anybody yet). The
♦ Unstoppable Horrors are third time a Joker is
unique monsters that drawn while an Unstoppable
CANNOT be defeated. They Horror remains in play, all
can only be escaped from Tests against the Horror will
for a moment or two and start with four cards, and so
will pursue the characters on until a character dies.
until it manages to kill one.
You will most likely need to
♦ Horror Jokers are placed in use the Jokers from both the
the center of the table until Survival and House Decks.
they manage to kill off a If you are playing with more
character. than four Players, feel free to
also use any extra distinguish-
♦ Once a character has able cards as Jokers, as it does
been killed by a Horror, the not really matter if the backs of
Horror vanishes until the the Jokers are different from the
next Joker is drawn from the rest of the deck.
Survival Deck. If you do not have enough
cards to substitute for Jokers,
♦ If a Horror is in play when you can simply cap the stregth
a character is killed, whether of the Horror at the number of
by a Horror or from any other Jokers you do have.

24
The End Game For example: If the deck has been
shuffled through three times and
Once only one Player Character only one PC remains alive, that
remains alive, or the deck has Player must succeed on three Tests
been dealt through a number of to escape the house. If two PCs are
times equal to the number of still alive, they together have three
Players (ie. the Doom Rating) the total Tests to defeat.
game enters its final scene.
It is now possible for the ♠ The end game Survival Tests
survivors to escape from the should reflect the actual escape
House alive, but the struggle is from the House. If a Player
not over that easily! busts on one of these final
Tests, they take damage as
♠ Once the final scene has normal and may keep trying to
begun, the Players should escape, if they still have Traits.
narrate how they attempt to
leave the House and must ♠ If all of the characters die
SUCCEED on a total number of during or before these final
Survival Tests equal to the Survival Tests, the Players have
current Doom Rating of the lost the game and the Dealer
House to actually escape. has won.

♠ The Dealer continues to draw ♠ If the remaining characters


new Rooms and Obstacles from succeed in reducing the Doom
the House Deck for the Players Rating to zero by defeating the
to encounter as they attempt to final obstacles or Horror, they
escape. have fought their way free from
the House and remain alive for
♠ Alternatively, if there is an yet another day!
Unstoppable Horror in play, the
final Tests can be done against
said Horror.

♠ Ideally, the remaining Tests


should be split as evenly as
possible among the living
characters.

♠ For each successful Test,


remove a Doom Token from the
pot. Group Tests only remove
one Doom Token, and then only
if every Player succeeded.

25
Chapter 3:
Running
3. Running the Game the Game

In most modern role-playing The Dealer does need to


games the job of the person resist the urge to stonewall the
running the game is to keep the other Players or limit their
story flowing and ensure that options. The deck is already
everyone is having a good stacked in the Dealer’s favor;
time. that is just the way the game of
This should absolutely be Blackjack works.
the first priority of the Dealer in If a Player wants to do
Purgatory House as well. Unlike something original to try and
most other RPGs though, the overcome an obstacle, the
Dealer’s second priority is to Dealer should find ways to say
KILL THE CHARACTERS! “Yes” to the attempt. Let the
The rules in Purgatory cards determine if they are
House are very straightforward successful or not.
and there is no real room for Lastly, the Dealer should
pulling punches to favor the encourage everyone to get in
efforts of the Players. If they on the action. Take their
fail in a Survival Test, then the suggestions on how rooms and
tension rises and things should obstacles manifest. Listen to
get worse for them. the Players to figure out what
If the Players bust on a Test, makes them jumpy.
then things should get really Try to keep the Players'
bad! They have lost a Trait, are attentions focused on survival
one step closer to death, and and lead them away from
there is no way around that. attacking each other.
The Dealer is the one that Egg the Shades on to darker
helps keep the tension up and utterings and remind them that
makes things scary. They need they too are characters and not
to be able to improvise, think just a game mechanic.
on their feet, roll with what the Ultimately, when the final
cards give them, and have a curtain closes and the credits
good grasp of pacing. start to roll, make sure every-
If you are playing in a place one pauses for a moment,
where the lights can be takes a deep breath, and then
adjusted, consider turning them has a good laugh about all of it.
down. Maybe light some In the end, scary stories are
candles and put on some soft supposed to be enjoyable. They
creepy music as well. help us cope with mortality.

27
Going Outside IT is Even More
♠ Dangerous Outside ♠
Inevitably, the characters will
at some point try and escape Perhaps there is something
through a window or at least prowling around the outside of
look outside to see what is in the House, such as zombies,
the yard beyond. wolves, or soldiers lost in time.
If the End Game has begun, The characters won’t even
letting the Players open an make it across the yard without
exterior door or window is being accosted by some sort of
totally acceptable as they try to adversary and forced into a
make their final escape. Prior to Survival Test.
that point though, going out- There might be poison gas
side can prove problematic and billowing across the grounds, or
derail the adventure. the landscape has become
Simply telling the Players overgrown and virtually im-
that they can’t leave, or that passable.
the doors and windows won’t
open no matter what they do, is
anticlimactic. The House has The Fog
ways to keep them where it ♠ Confuses Them ♠
wants them.
So how should you deal with There is a thick fog that
characters who try to jump out encases the estate and makes
of a window? Some possible it impossible to see more than
options are provided below: a few feet in front of you.

28
No matter which way they Unstoppable
go, the characters will get
turned around and ultimately
Horrors
end up back at the House.
There might be something When a Joker is drawn from the
terrible in the mist as well, such Survival Deck, it summons an
as the hungry spirits of former Unstoppable Horror that will
victims who stalk the grounds, arrive in the current room on
seeking to feed off the warmth the next Round.
of the living. These Horrors should be
thematically appropriate to the
House and need to convey a
Windows & Doors sense of power and over-
♠ Loop Back TO ♠ whelming dread. These unique
the House monsters will pursue the
characters relentlessly until one
The characters never actually of them dies.
get outside because each exit Unstoppable Horrors cannot
leads to an entrance some- be stopped. They cannot be
where else in the house. killed by weapons or obstacles
When a character climbs and will shrug off any attempts
out a bedroom window, they to damage or restrain them.
find themselves climbing into That said, Players should be
the dining room. Trying to exit allowed to avoid them by using
through the front door brings clever solutions, or by simply
them back inside through the running away as fast as they
back door, and so on and so can.
forth. For the overall enjoyment of
Looking through the exits the game, it is important that
they might see freedom, but these Horrors be given ample
actually using the passage narration to reinforce their
brings them right back inside. game mechanics. These are the
ultimate bad guys, the eternal
evil of the House given full
Windows & Doors physical form. It is not enough
♠ are Impassable ♠ for the Dealer to tell a Player at
the end of a successful Survival
For whatever reason the Test, “You can’t hurt it.”
previous owner of the house Instead the Dealer might say
boarded and bricked everything something like, “The monster
up. There is only one way in or retreats under your barrage of
out; the front door, and it is gunfire but you soon run out of
securely locked. bullets. Riddled with bleeding

29
holes, somehow the creature rises Campaigns should be or-
again. It grins at your puny efforts ganized around a specific
and lumbers towards you once theme and have an end goal
more. Now would be a good time to that the Players are trying to
run!” uncover and defeat.
The only time it is ac-
ceptable, or even possible, to ♠ Maybe the characters are FBI
kill an Unstoppable Horror is agents, and the Houses are
once the End Game has begun. actually the result of leftover
Then, if the Dealer thinks it hallucinogenic contaminates
makes for a better conclusion to from a new drug craze, or are
the story and the Players have a the hidden hives of a growing
particularly effective plan of alien conspiracy.
attack, the Unstoppable Horror
can be defeated by the Players ♠ Perhaps the characters are
on their final Survival Test to Ghost Hunters following a
escape the House. string of connected demonic
Not every session needs to Houses until they finally en-
trigger Unstoppable Horrors. If counter the head demon and
the Players are suffering end his reign of terror.
enough without one, feel free to
let it lie. ♠ Maybe they are kids trapped
Sample Horrors are included in a group nightmare while
with each Scenario in Chapter 5 their homes and families are
to serve as a starting point for corrupted by the incursion of a
new, more terrifying ideas. dark dimension.

Mechanically speaking there


Campaign Play is no need to use the House
Deck unless you really want to,
Purgatory House can be played and there is certainly no need
as a multi-session campaign for each room of the house to
game with some very simple have an obstacle.
changes and a bit more Using the House Deck for a
preparation on behalf of the pickup game provides structure
Dealer and the Players. and a frantic pace, both of
Instead of a once in a life- which can be handled by a
time trip to a House, campaigns skillful game master.
should focus on a group of In a campaign game, it may
people who regularly explore, be better to plan out each
investigate, or seek to destroy House and what horrors you
various haunted locations. want the characters to face
before play begins.

30
31
You also do not need to play giving Players more ways to
with the Jokers or keep track of approach a particular obstacle
how many times the Survival or uncover information about
Deck has been reshuffled. the story.
The game proceeds at the Individual powers can also
story’s pace and ends when the be used to replace more
Players have achieved the mundane Traits, giving Players
objectives they set out to the +/- to a Test when they use
achieve, just like a regular RPG. a power and Exhausting the
Horrible things should Trait as normal.
appear when they make the
most sense for the story at
hand, not simply because the Meddling Kids
deck demands them.
Important or recurring ad-
Mode
versaries can be built like
characters and given Traits to Purgatory House was designed
affect their Test totals. This to be a horror game with deadly
makes them MUCH more consequences, thus the core
dangerous and powerful, so theme of the game may not be
consider this option carefully suitable for a younger or more
before implementing it. sensitive audience.
Lastly, in a Campaign game, It is entirely possible, how-
players expect mechanical ever, to play this game in a
growth for their characters. At goofy, light-hearted, mystery
the end of each story arc, hunter manner that does not
characters should be allowed to involve character death at all.
gain a new piece of Gear or Instead, it can be run like a
raise a Trait by +/-1 to a cartoon, family movie, or a kids'
maximum of +/-4. mystery novel. One of the
staples of such genres is that
the supernatural can usually be
♠ Psychic Powers ♠ explained away as a misunder-
standing or a trick.
In the base game, characters This is not to say that every
are assumed to be normal, vampire has to be Old Man
everyday people. If you want to Smithers in a mask, but the
introduce psychic abilities, stories should not revolve
sorcery, or super-powers as around an existential threat to
options for the characters, the world of the characters.
however, feel free to do so! Monsters might be spooky,
Mostly these special abilities but they are not terrifying and
will simply alter the narration by absolutely defeatable.

32
♠ In the Medding Kids Mode, the ♠ The game ends, and the
Players should not encounter mystery is solved, when the
any Unstoppable Horrors. Players have acquired a number
of Jokers equal to the number of
♠ Jokers instead represent Clues Players. If you are playing with
that the Players solve to un- less than three Player
cover the mystery of the House. Characters, the game ends
Clues do not need to be when three Clues have been
challenging mental puzzles. solved.
They could also be hidden
objects or secret passageways. ♠ Due to the non-fatal nature of
the Meddling Kids Mode, Players
♦ A Joker is placed into the do not take damage or lose
House Deck each time that Traits when they bust on a Test.
deck is reshuffled.
♦ Instead, simply mark each
♦ When a Joker is drawn bust with a token beside the
from the House Deck, there Player's character sheet.
is no obstacle present in
that room. Instead, the ♦ Traits and equipment are
Players encounter a Clue still Exhausted and used as
and can attempt a Simple normal, but once a Player
Test to try to solve it. has busted three times their
character Panics!
♦ When a Player solves a
Clue, place that Joker face ♦ A character who Panics
up in the center of the loses control of themselves
table. (This replaces the Doom completely (perhaps by
Tracker of the House.) A new running wildly through the
Joker then goes into the house pursued by a monster).
House Deck and the deck is
reshuffled. ♦ A Panicked character may
not engage in any further
♦ If the Players fail to solve tests until they witness one
the Clue, the current Joker is of their friends successfully
returned to the House Deck, beat a Test or solve a Clue.
along with any previously
discarded cards, and the ♦ Once a Test is beaten or a
House Deck is reshuffled. Clue is solved, the Panicking
Character resets their bust
♦ The Players can try again counter to zero, refreshes
to solve a Clue the next all of their Traits and may
time a Joker is drawn. act normally again.

33
Ramping Up Case of the Gangster’s Treasure)
(or Down) the starts with the Players as kids
Difficulty and only gives them two Traits,
eliminating the +/-3 Trait
completely.
♠ Inevitable Horrors ♠
♠ Removing a Trait increases
Some scenarios may require a the difficulty and makes it
Joker to be placed in the deck easier for characters to die.
at the end of every Reel,
regardless of damage taken by ♠ Changing the +/-3 or +/-1 to
the Players. This makes the +/-2 increases the difficulty
scenario considerably more slightly.
challenging, and can be used in
custom scenarios to make them ♠ Changing the +/-2 Trait to a
more deadly. +/-3 or +/-1 makes the game
slightly easier for the Players.

♠ Dealer Busts ♠
Character vs
In the base rules, if the Dealer
busts there is no effect beyond Character
the Player(s) winning the Test.
As an option though, Dealer At its core, Purgatory House is
busts can inflict damage on the supposed to be a game that pits
House itself. the Player Characters against
This should manifest as the horrors of the House, not
collapsed rooms in previously against each other.
explored parts of the House, the It is almost always in the
dissipation of persistent threats best interest of everyone’s fun
(such as poison gas), or the for the Dealer to diffuse and
destructive elements spreading redirect any conflicts between
(such as fire, floods, or bugs). Players or their characters.
That said, situations may
arise where all other options
♠ Altered Traits ♠ have been rejected and the
only answer is to have two PCs
Another way to make the game struggle against each other.
more or less difficult is to The following rules cover
change the number (or value) of how to handle that hopefully
Traits a character has available. rare and unlikely possibility,
One of the sample scenarios while preserving the Player vs.
later in the book (The Mysterious Dealer core mechanic.

34
♠ When one PC wants to act ♦ Players must announce if
directly against the interests of they have busted. If a
another and cannot conceive of Player busts on this Test,
an alternate course of action, they lose the struggle and
this triggers a PVP Challenge in- take damage as normal.
volving the affected characters.
♦ If only one Player beats
♦ The Dealer deals one card the Dealer, that Player wins
face down from the House the PVP challenge.
Deck to all Players involved
in the challenge, plus one ♦ If both Players fail against
face down to themselves. the Dealer, a new hand is
dealt with the Players in
♦ A second face-up card is Rising Tension.
dealt to each Player and
lastly to the Dealer. Players ♠ If the Dealer busts, or if both
may look at their own cards Players beat the Dealer, the
at any time. Player with the highest total
hand is the winner. Ties are re-
♦ If a Player is dealt a dealt to everyone as normal
Natural 21 (ace and a face) without Rising Tension.
they must declare that they
have it immediately. ♦ The winner of the PVP
Challenge narrates their
♦ If only one Player is dealt desired outcome.
a Natural 21, they win the
PVP challenge outright and ♦ Damage is only assigned,
may aso refresh a Trait. as always, if a Player busts
on their Test during the PVP
♠ As in a Group Test, the Players Challenge.
are still trying to ultimately
beat the Dealer, not each other. Please Note: Shades may act
However, they are attempting against the interest of their
to beat the Dealer by a larger chosen haunt at will. This is not
margin than the other Players. the same as PC versus PC
interaction. These rules are for
♦ Starting with the Player on the times when one character
the Dealer’s left, each wishes to throw another in the
Player must chose to hit, way of an obstacle against their
stand, or use Gear/Traits will, or when one character
before the Test passes on to may become possesed (though
the next Player, clockwise still very much alive) and turns
around the table. against the others.

35
Chapter 4:
4. Rooms & Obstacles
Rooms & Obstacles

Each time a character exits a possible in this system for a


room into an unexplored part of House to have more than one
the House, the Dealer should of the same kind of room or for
draw two new cards from the rooms to loop back to previous
House Deck, then compare ones in strange ways. When
each card to the Room & this occurs, the Dealer should
Obstacle Charts on pg. 40 to do whatever works best for the
determine what terrors unfold. particular House and the pro-
Not every room must have gression of the current story.
an obstacle, if the Dealer It bears noting that while
prefers to give the Players some any domicile could theoretically
breathing room, but there is become a Purgatory House, the
often more than one room and descriptions that follow are
obstacle in play at any given based on old Victorian Manors,
time, especially when the European Medieval Castles, and
characters have split up. the sprawling Great Houses
If an option indicated by the built around the start of the
chart would be too silly in a 20th Century.
particular moment, or stretch Haunted houses on the
the credibility of the setting too whole tend to possess the
far, feel free to pick another weight of history. Many people
option on the chart. The easiest have lived and died in these old
way to do this is to move one homes, and many lost secrets
space away in any direction. still linger within them.
Since this is a haunted
house, the orientation of the
rooms does not have to make ♠ Doors ♠
any logical sense. You might
end up with a stairway from a It is up to the Dealer to decide
chapel going to a second floor how many doors there are
pool, or a sauna off of the leading out of any particular
kitchen. Part of the fun and room.
challenge for the Dealer is Most rooms should have at
figuring out how and why the least have one new exit in
rooms appear as they do. addition to the door the Players
If the House Deck runs out came in through, although
of cards, simply reshuffle it and many rooms may have even
keep drawing as normal. It is more options.

37
For closets, saunas, vaults, ♣ Group Effect (Clubs)
and attics, the one door in may These obstacles affect every-
be the only way back out again. one in the room and trigger a
This forces the Players to Group Survival Test. These
backtrack through the House, obstacles can usually be
which can be a very useful disabled or defeated. They
tactic for building dramatic normally only trigger a single
tension, especially if they are time and are not revisited for
being chased by a Monster or future trips through the same
have a Persistent Obstacle in room.
the path behind them.
Special Effects
Obstacles are broken down into Some rooms and obstacles
four categories: break from or add to the stand-
ard rules. These are noted on
♠ Persistent (Spades) the charts and explained further
These obstacles cannot be in the detailed listings.
defeated but can be escaped
from. A successful Survival Test
versus this obstacle means that Matching
the character manages to ♠ Room & Obstacle ♠
escape it. These obstacles will
remain in the room and will If the suit (symbol) of a room
affect anyone who enters that and obstacle drawn together
room in the future. match, that obstacle is auto-
matically harder to defeat.
♥ Monsters (Hearts)
Monsters will pursue the ♠ Spades spread from room
characters from room to room in to room each round.
an attempt to kill them, not
stopping until they themselves ♥ Hearts have two health
are incapacitated (usually as the and thus need a total of two
result of character fighting back successful Survival Tests to
and succeeding at their Survival eliminate.
Test). Monsters may only attack
one Player at a time, however. ♦ Diamonds do 2 points of
damage instead of 1 on a
♦ Isolated (Diamonds) bust.
These obstacles usually only
affect the first Player to trigger ♣ Clubs start all Players
them. Subsequent contact with (except the Dealer) in Rising
the individual obstacle by any Tension against the current
other Player is ignored. obstacle.

38
♠ Making a Map ♠ ♠ Nightmare House ♠

The Dealer should make a Option: Instead of making a


simple map as the game goes map, the only rooms that are
on, so that they can recall the fixed in space are the ones with
order of the rooms and where characters currently in them.
the Persistent Obstacles or Each time the Players pass
persuing Monsters are. through a doorway, they open
One way to do this is by up an entirely new room,
noting the first few letters of regardless of what was there
the room name and drawing before.
arrows leading out from it. If playing with this option, it
As doors are opened and is usually more fun for the
new cards are drawn add them Dealer to keep the layout a
to the map. Stairs can be repre- secret until someone back-
sented by a zigzag line going tracks through an already
up or down to a new floor. opened doorway.

39
Rooms of the House

♠ Spades ♠ ♥ Hearts ♥

A) Vault A) Crypt
2) Slide 2) Staircase
3) Boiler Room 3) Closet
4) Hallway 4) Hallway
5) Elevator 5) Gym / Bowling
6) Library 6) Armory
7) Bedroom 7) Bedroom
8) Laboratory 8) Dining Room
9) Pantry / Larder 9) Foyer
10) Balcony 10) Chapel
J) Music Room J) Master Suite
Q) Servants' Quarters Q) Bathroom
K) Atrium K) Drawing Room

♦ Diamonds ♦ ♣ Clubs ♣
A) Torture Chamber A) Kitchen
2) Tunnel 2) Staircase
3) Wine Cellar 3) Workshop
4) Hallway 4) Hallway
5) Observatory 5) Pool
6) Dressing Room 6) Sauna
7) Bedroom 7) Bedroom
8) Laundry 8) Cell / Dungeon
9) Study / Office 9) Billiard Room
10) Living Room 10) Lumber Room
J) Gallery J) Ballroom
Q) Studio Q) Nursery
K) Basement K) Attic

indicates special rules in effect

40
Obstacles

♠ Spades ♠ ♥ Hearts ♥

A) Double Trouble A) Safety


2) Bats / Birds 2) Beast
3) Quicksand 3) Ghost / Wraith
4) Flood / Water 4) Alien / Creature
5) Toxic Pool 5) Snakes
6) Unbearable Noise 6) Rats
7) Total Darkness 7) Living Art / Robot
8) Swarm of Bugs 8) Demon / Goblin
9) Vicious Vines 9) Doll / Clown
10) Poison Gas 10) Skeleton / Zombie
J) Thunderstorm J) Creepy Children
Q) Poltergeist Q) Evil Woman
K) Hungry Walls K) Doctor / Madman

♦ Diamonds ♦ ♣ Clubs ♣
A) Safety
2) Secret Passage A) Cave In
3) Trapdoor 2) Crushing Walls
3) Swinging Blades
4) Illusion / Nightmare
4) Earthquake
5) Revolving Wall 5) Spider Webs
6) Cage / Coffin 6) Arrows / Darts
7) Flesh Eating Curse 7) Choking Dust
8) Bear Trap 8) Hypnotic Music
9) Temp. Blindness 9) Mad Symbols
10) Accelerated Age 10) Electricity
J) Possession J) Crumbling Floor
Q) Will-o-wisp Q) Stampede
K) Puzzle Box / Orb K) Fire

indicates special rules in effect

41
Alphabetical Listing of
Rooms & Obstacles

Accelerated Age Alien / Creature


(10♦, Isolated) (4♥, Monster)

“The room around you fades away, “An unnatural form lurks before
and instead you see the rest of your you. Not a man, not a beast, but
life unfold before you. There is something altogether foreign and
sorrow, loss, and pain. Words strange. There is no time to
spoken in anger, friendships contemplate its lineage, no time to
shattered, and the cold dark weight pursue a rational discourse or
of time pressing ever in on you. You pleasant greeting. Despite the
watch as your hair turns gray and unusual visage you have stumbled
then white. Your skin grows on, the look in its eyes is crystal
wrinkled and old, your posture clear. This creature has but one
becomes hunched, and your teeth thing on its mind… Murder.”
clatter out of your head and to the
floor. You try to scream ‘This is not This obstacle is a horribly
me! I have a life yet to live!’ but a unnatural alien or monster. It
darkness passes over your eyes, might bear some more familiar
the reflection is gone. There is features, but the sum of its
nothing left but worms and dirt.” parts creates something not
entirely of this world.
This obstacle often takes the It doesn’t carry any
form of a mirror but can be any weapons, but it doesn’t really
reflective surface, including a need them anyway. Claws,
pool of water or even the bowl spines, razor sharp teeth, or
of a silver spoon. As soon as a poisonous secretions are more
character looks at their re- than enough to bring its victim
flection, they are trapped in a down.
life-draining illusion.
If they succeed on the
Survival Test, they break free of Armory (6♥, Special)
the mirror’s magic. It darkens,
cracks, or even shatters in The particulars of this room
response. varied from era to era, but one
If the Player busts, their thing remained the same,
character visibly ages at least weaponry. Whether those
20 years and they lose a Trait as weapons took the form of
damage. swords and shields, primitive

42
spears and bows, high-powered Any small projectile is suitable
hunting rifles, or anything in for use here, be that arrows,
between is up to the Dealer. throwing stars, poisoned darts,
or bullets.
• Special: After defeating the The end result is always the
obstacle in this room, one same though, those who
character may take a single succeed pass through un-
weapon piece of Gear that they scathed. Those that bust take
could reasonably find within. damage.
The Players may ask to take This trap only triggers on
more than one weapon, but only the first group to enter the room
one item here is Gear and will and then it is spent. It will not
give a mechanical bonus. retrigger on subsequent trips
The rest might be rusted through the room.
beyond repair, or they might
only be replicas. Whether the
Players know this as they stock Atrium (K♠)
up is entirely up to the Dealer.
Atrium, conservatory, green-
house, or winter garden; this
Arrows / Darts was a room for growing plants
(6♣, Group) and bringing a sense of the
outdoors inside.
“Everything here looks normal and Living or dead, in neat little
safe… Until you are about halfway beds or run rampant over the
across the room. The first indication walkways, this room that once
that something has gone wrong is a held life holds only danger now.
soft strange sound, nothing more As the atrium was usually
than a puff of wind. Then another filled with windows, this room
whiff and another, followed by a most likely gave a good glimpse
whole cacophony of small, sharp to the outside world, as well.
projectiles flying through the air.” Perhaps there was a water
feature here, such as a small
Anyone who wishes to pass fish pond or a waterfall or even
through this room must succeed an overhead irrigation system
in a Survival Test to do so. full of leaks.
The characters can duck, Thus two primary needs of
dodge, and dive for cover, but growing plants were easily
as the assault comes from both filled, water and sunlight.
sides of the room. Using a shield Nutrient rich soil, that is another
will only protect one flank and thing altogether. Though it has
still leaves the character open been said that human blood is
to the attack. rather nutritious.

43
Attic (K♣, Special) • Special: After defeating the
obstacle in this room, one
Nestled under the eaves of the character may take a single
roof, not easily accessible to piece of Gear (such as a weapon)
everyday guests, attics were a that they could reasonably find
place to store more than just here.
boxes of baby pictures and old
clothing, they were a place to
store memories. Balcony (10♠)
Often filled with cobwebs
and piles of mouse droppings, A tantalizing moment of outside
they were unfinished, dusty, air, the glimpse of freedom far
and forgotten places. below, a tortuous taunting—you
Small windows, high above are not enclosed by the walls of
the ground below, provided the house, but you have not
scant light to see by, and bare escaped its clutches either.
boards laid haphazardly over Balconies provided a rather
ceiling joists created a maze strange dichotomy, being both
treacherous to traverse. a part of the house and yet
Dangerous things waited in outside it as well.
the attic, but useful things as They might have been
well. Hidden in the shadows, wracked by foul weather, crum-
over behind the old steamer bling roof tiles, slick concrete, or
trunk, or tucked safely beneath rotting wooden floors. There
a dust covered blanket. was no safe way down from up

44
there, only the promise of a The basement was the
dizzying fall and a swiftly kingdom of cobwebs and the
broken neck. creepy, crawling things that
possessed a million legs.
Perhaps the stone walls
Ballroom (J♣) echoed back to stories of
catacombs and crypts? Perhaps
Usually the largest room of the the shadows that lurked in the
house, but also one of the corners whispered to our
emptiest as well, the ballroom primitive instincts to be wary of
was a cavernous space of wolves and bears?
outdated finery. Perhaps we simply know the
Crystal chandeliers were a things in our own lives we would
staple of ballrooms, as were want to keep buried down there,
thick rich curtains, gorgeous and fervently hope that we
hardwood or marble floors, an don’t accidently wake any of
alcove for musicians or a grand them up.
piano, and benches against the
walls for resting guests.
Ballrooms were places of Bathroom (Q♥)
magical frivolity and forgotten
mirth, at least while they were This room has taken many
teeming with people. Absent a forms through the ages, though
party though, they just seemed the advent of indoor plumbing
lonely and cold. cemented it as a requirement
for decent living. At the bare
minimum, a bathroom would
Basement (K♦) contain a toilet and a sink, even
if the room was just tucked into
Like the attic, the basement an unused alcove beneath the
was a place to store things. stairs.
Unlike the attic, they were the More elaborate bathrooms
things people didn’t necessarily might have had a shower or a
treasure. white porcelain clawfoot tub.
Musty, dark, and damp, the The floor was often tile, though
basement rested below the wood, carpet, cork, and even
living spaces of the house like a polished stone have been used
cave where past evils festered to varying effect.
and rotted. A guest bathroom was often
The ceiling was usually orderly and neat, with thick
lower and crisscrossed with wire towels and artisanal soaps. The
and pipes while the floor was family bath was usually a much
often simply stone and dirt. more chaotic affair. The master

45
bathroom might have been a Bear Trap
luxurious place with a sunken (8♦, Isolated)
tub, dual sinks, large windows,
and candles everywhere. “There seems to be nothing
dangerous about this room… And
then you try to walk across it. The
Bats / Birds sudden clang of metal on metal
(2♠, Persistent) crashes through the air as the floor
sprouts teeth and attempts to
“All round the room they wait, devour your ankles. The force
watching you with cocked heads behind the mechanical jaws is
and curious little eyes. At first, they deadly, most definitely capable of
are so still that you might even rending flesh and breaking bones.
think they are stuffed. Not a single These are the sorts of traps that
one moves. Not a single one calls could bring down a bear.”
out. Then, on some silent cue, they
take flight as one being. Beating This obstacle doesn’t have to be
their wings in your face, clawing at a literal bear trap, but it can be.
your hair, they fill the air with Instead this represents any
panicked noise, flapping darkness, sharp obstacle that rises from
and a million scratching streaks of the floor to savage the feet and
burning pain.” legs of passing characters.
Once the traps have been
A flock of small flying creatures triggered for the first time they
assaults any who enter this are harmless from then on out.
room. Beaks peck at eyeballs,
teeth and claws scratch at the
skin, and sharp shrieks assail Beast
the ears. (2♥, Monster)
Characters, with the right
tools or strategy, can chase “Glowing red eyes in a mountain of
them away for a moment’s fur. The unbridled savagery of the
reprieve, or dive for cover and natural world. The primeval fear
wait until they settle again. But that has stalked mankind for ages
loud noises or violent actions now stalks you here. The beast
risk drawing their attention doesn’t wait for your intentions to
back to the perpetrator. become clear. It is hungry, and you
There is no reasonable way, smell like supper.”
short of setting the room on fire,
to completely eliminate this Wolves, bobcats, crocodiles,
obstacle and the flock will rouse lions, and bears; these are all
and resume their attack if any beasts that feast on the flesh of
characters return to this room. man. Enlarged and enraged

46
through the lens of fear, one Billiard Room (9♣)
such animal lingers here.
This is a master killer even Also known as the game room
among its own kind, a truly or smoking room, the Billiard
great specimen of predatory Room was originally a place for
death. There is no reasoning gentlemen to retire after dinner
with such a beast, no distracting away from the company of
from its only purpose—to eat. women and engage in conver-
The only real options are to sation, cigar smoking, and
run away and hope it eats social gambling.
someone slower than you, or to A pool table was common,
face it down and try to kill it as were stuffed hunting trophies
before it kills you first. on the wall, comfortable lounge
chairs, a table for card games,
and even dart boards.
Bedroom (7♠♥♦♣) In more modern settings this
room might contain a big screen
Bedrooms were a private place television for sporting events or
to sleep, which most often old school pinball and arcade
meant they contained at least games.
one bed.
They also tended to follow
an internal decorating theme, Boiler Room (3♠)
which could vary widely from
the rest of the house. Also known as the Furnace
Whether a non-descript Room, the Boiler Room was the
guest room, perfectly arranged; mechanical heart of an old
the morose private sanctum of manor house.
a ancient widower; or the bright Here one would find the
and cluttered refuge of under- equipment, such as a gas fed
age siblings, bedrooms were furnace or a coal powered
the most numerous room in any boiler, that heated water and air
house. before sending it to various
Other furniture might parts of the house through a
include a dressing table, a tangle of pipes and ductwork.
wardrobe, a writing desk, a This was often where the
toybox, a rocking chair, or a central electrical works for the
chest of drawers. Bedrooms house would be located as well,
were a perfect place to discover such as individual breakers for
mirrors, diaries, old one-eyed various rooms and the main
teddy bears, music boxes, and switch which would shut down
jewelry. power to the house entirely.

47
Cage / Coffin wood, broken furniture, and clouds
(6♦, Isolated, Special) of choking dust. When the air
finally clears, the room is im-
“Without warning, you find yourself passible. The way back is blocked
suddenly surrounded. You aren’t completely by the rubble. It would
sure if the floor gave way and take hours to clear a path, and you
dropped you inside, or if something can’t linger in wait for other
fell on you from above, but one dangers to find you here. There is
thing is clear; like a wild animal only one way to proceed, and that
caught in a hunter’s snare, you are way is forward, deeper into the
trapped! Panic floods your brain as madness of this horrible House.”
you struggle against the confines of
your containment. You must break Part (or all) of the room caves in
free, and soon, or you will certainly and blocks passage backwards
die here.” through the house. Characters
in this room will need to test to
This obstacle can be like a cage avoid being crushed when the
with bars or solid walled like a Cave In happens.
cabinet or a coffin. Regardless
of the form, it traps the first • Special: Characters choose
person (or persons) to enter the which door to escape through
room inside it. after the Cave In occurs. Cross
this room, and all entrances to
• Special: Characters trapped it, off the map. They are no
inside the cage can Test to longer accessible.
break free or their fellows can
Test instead to break them out.
No matter who does the Test, if Cell / Dungeon (8♣)
the result is a bust, the
character trapped inside the Whether a small one room
cage will be the one who takes prison cell or a collection of
the damage. stone walls broken up by floor-
to-ceiling metal bars, this was a
place to put the people you
Cave In would rather forget about.
(A♣, Group, Special) Dungeons were dark, damp,
cold, and uncomfortable with
“It starts as a groaning, creaking spartan furnishings, if any at all.
noise. An ominous sign of the This was a place for rats, for
danger yet to come. Then a low sickness and filth, and for the
rumble fills the air, cracks spread moldering bones of the un-
through the plaster, and the ceiling fortunate souls who died here
gives way in a torrent of splintered long ago.

48
Chapel (10♥) However, before the Players
can attempt to do this, they
A literal sanctuary in a maze of have to stop choking and gather
depravity and darkness. This their wits about them.
could have been a small, quaint If the characters make no
temple; an empty prayer room efforts to negate the dust, it will
with just a rug on the floor; an trigger again the next time they
altar to any one of a plethora of enter this room.
gods, decked out with the
crumbling remains of ancient
offerings; or it could have been
an actual family church,
complete with pews, pulpit, and
baptismal waters.
There might even have been
stained glass windows, religious
texts, and statues or paintings
of a holy bent.

Choking Dust
(7♣, Group)

“Motes of dust float lazily in the air,


catching the light like slow, errant
snowflakes in no hurry to join the
blanket of powdery white that
covers everything the eye can see.
But this is not snow. As you move
through the room, the dust stirs up Closet (3♥)
in clouds and swirls, stinging your
eyes, filling your mouth, and Closets were small enclosed
threatening to choke the very life spaces for storing things, such
from your lungs.” as clothes, brooms, linens, or
sports equipment. They rarely
As opposed to poisonous gas, had more than one door in or
this powder or dust can be out of them, but could serve as
blocked with a little effort from an adequate hiding spot if one
the characters. Covering the kept very quiet. Of course, the
nose and mouth renders it skeletons found lurking in such
ineffective, as would dousing spaces might be far worse than
the room with water so that the whatever else waits in the room
dust could not rise. beyond.

49
Creepy Children Crumbling Floor
(J♥, Monster) (J♣, Group, Special)

“It is an unnatural sight, the pair of “There is little warning of what is


identical twins sitting on the floor about to happen, just the creak of
playing together as if completely an old house settling. Then the
unaware of the danger they are in. sharp crack of splintering wood as
Their clothes are outdated, their the floor gives way beneath you.
song no longer sung on school- Everything is sucked down into
yards, their eyes hollow and empty. tumbling oblivion, chairs, tables,
They stop their game and turn carpeting... and you.”
towards you in perfect unison. They
smile and extend out their hands, This is a Group Survival Test
and it is then that you notice the with a single hand (no Rising
blood on their lips and the dead Tension). Those who succeed
thing they have been playing with. manage to dive off the floor in
You want to scream but no sound time and remain in the original
comes out. You want to run… but room.
will they follow you?” Those who fail are dropped
into a new room with a new
Demonic, slavering monsters obstacle. Those that bust take
might give rise to an immediate damage from the fall.
flight-or-fight panic, but some-
thing about children being • Special: Draw the new room
children in the middle of and obstacle that the falling
madness and danger is bone characters will face next, but
chillingly terrifying. narrative focus should shift to
They don’t even need to be other Players (if any) after this
violent or angry, though they Test and leave the falling ones
might bear the signs of violence in suspense.
done to them. They could be
mere ghostly forms or still living
flesh and blood. Crushing Walls
Children will rarely initiate a (2♣, Group)
direct attack on the characters.
They simply need to linger in “It is almost imperceptible at first.
wait and react to what the The human brain simply can’t
Players do. comprehend a room changing its
At some point the veil of size, and for a moment it seems as
innocence will drop though , the if you instead are growing. It
morality will vanish from their quickly becomes clear that this is
eyes, and they will start to play not the case, though; the room
in their own horrible way. itself is shrinking! The walls are

50
closing in at a steadily increasing Regardless of where the
rate, threatening to squish you, and crypt was, the air was often cold
everything inside you, into human and stale. There were no
flavored jelly.” amenities here for the living,
just old memories of the dead.
Two options present themselves
with the appearance of this
obstacle. The characters can Demon / Goblin
attempt to escape the room (8♥, Monster)
without getting squished or
attempt to brace the walls with “The first thing you notice is the
something strong enough to eyes; glowing, wicked eyes, filled
stabilize them. more with mischief than with hate.
Since this is a Group Test, There is a cunning in those eyes, a
everyone will need to pass it for dark and dangerous intelligence
anyone to successfully stop the that seems to relish the idea of
momentum of the squishing. If slowly stripping the flesh from your
they do, then the walls are bones and driving you mad with
braced, and the room can be whispers and lies. Shaped vaguely
passed through freely (though like a man, though smaller and
the brace will groan under the distorted, with gangly limbs
strain and threaten to give way at stretched well beyond what is
any moment). normal or right, the worst thing of
If some characters pass and all about this underworld imp is not
others fail, those that pass the eyes however. It is the
manage to get out of the room chittering, soulless laugh.”
before being injured. Those that
bust are injured as the contents The most important facet of
of the room crush together. this monster, be it a demon,
goblin, imp, etc. is the cruel
intelligence that it possesses.
Crypt (A♥) This is not a mindless,
raging beast, but something
This room was a tomb, a that can think, plan, and react
memorial filled with bodies and to what the Players do.
bones. A crypt would usually lie That said, these creatures
below the ground, with skulls are also usually violent, spindly,
grinning out as decoration from and possibly frail. Often they
dirt and stone walls, but it could shun clothing, appearing com-
also be an above-ground pletely naked, with strangely
mausoleum with bodies laid colored skin and a repugnant
reverently on marble slabs or lingering odor of brimstone,
sealed in ornate stone coffins. filth, and decay.

51
Drawing Room (K♥) rectangle with individual place
settings. Armless high-backed
Also known as the parlor, the chairs stood on either side with
size, furnishings, and formality an armchair at either end.
of this room have changed If the dining room was used
throughout the past few by the entire household,
centuries, but the purpose of servants included, then long
the room has remained much benches on the sides would be
the same. more common than chairs.
This was a comfortable, yet Side tables served as places
stylish room for receiving and to hold dishes, water, and wine.
entertaining public guests. Lighting was provided by wall
After dinner, ladies would sconces and chandeliers or by
withdraw to the Drawing Room candlelight for a more formal or
for socializing while the men intimate affair.
smoked and played games in The ceiling in the dining
the Billards Room. room was usually high and the
This room was also used as decor traditionally leaned
a waiting room for business towards a more masculine
purposes, a viewing room for style, perhaps with wood
funerals, and a reception area paneling and muted patterns.
for weddings. There was often at least one
At a bare minimum, this door reserved for the sole use
room would have several small of the serving staff.
tables, a multitude of chairs, It is only in more modern
and perhaps a couch or two. times that the dining room has
Most often there would be a been placed adjacent to the
fireplace in this room, a fancy kitchens, as these rooms were
chandelier, and rich curtains. formerly situated on completely
As this was one of the few different floors.
rooms in the house that a
casual guest would see, it was
also the repository for the Doctor / Madman
household’s status symbols, (K♥, Monster)
such as fine art and expensive
furniture. “There is something wrong with
the gentleman before you. His
posture is off, his clothes are in
Dining Room (8♥) disarray, and the gleam in his
crooked smile says that he isn’t
The primary feature of a dining quite all there. He studies you for a
room was the table. Usually this long moment with a detached
took the form of a long demeanor, as if you were a strange

52
bug or an unexpected side effect of mad scientist with a rusty
a scientific experiment. And then scalpel and wild, white hair.
his mouth splits open in a wide, This obstacle can be used
rictus grin. There is no reasoning signify any sort of dangerous
with the madness within; you are man with a manic edge to his
either his victim or his doom.” actions, though.
Perhaps instead of a doctor,
Doctors are a staple of the a dark priest or a toothless old
horror genre, from the masked grave digger may be more
plague doctors of the seven- suitable to the scenario or the
teenth century to the modern situation at hand.

53
Dolls / Clowns This obstacle can manifest
(9♥, Monster) as either or both; a perversion
of childhood innocence now
“You spy an innocent plaything gone horribly wrong.
sitting there, a little girl’s beloved
toy. A precious china doll with
perfect blond curls, a dainty, rose Double Trouble
print dress, and a miniature sized (A♠, Special)
ladies' straw hat. You have seen
plenty of dolls before, this one or • Special: This room is extra
others like it. Some open and close dangerous!
their eyes, some make tiny crying Draw two new obstacles
sounds, some even give a little from the House Deck. Players
burp after feasting on a plastic must now face a Survival Test
bottle. But you have never seen against both or suffer the
one turn its head the wrong way consequences.
around, rise on its own, and waddle Deal two separate hands to
towards you with glowing green each Player encountering the
eyes. At least, you hadn’t see that obstacles but only one hand to
before now.” the Dealer. Players must
succeed on both hands, one at
For whatever reason, a large a time, to overcome these
portion of the population finds obstacles and will take damage
dolls and clowns to be ab- if they bust on either hand.
solutely terrifying. If a Players fails, but does
For clowns, perhaps it is the not bust, each failing hand will
painted smiles, the enormous be played again and is subject
predatory hair, or the silent to Rising Tension.
tomfoolery that radiates from As the Dealer is facing
their very presence. There is multiple hands (even if there is
something deeply troubling only one Player in the room), they
about a clown; a sense of are bound by the Group Test
wrongness in the back of our limits for this Test.
mind that whispers, “This is not
a normal human being."
The same can be said of Dressing Room (6♦)
dolls. They are tiny, unblinking
replicas of mankind. Dolls have A coat closet, a locker room
long been seen as a vessel for beside a gym or pool, a lady’s
dark forces, be it through boudoir, or a gentleman's
sympathetic magic such as changing room, this was a
voodoo or as a vehicle for place for putting on, or taking
demonic possession. off, makeup and clothes.

54
It might have been an Electricity
oversized walk-in closet with (10♣, Group)
racks of clothing and rows of
shoes, or a more formal room “There is a soft sizzle in the air, and
with chaise lounges, com- you can feel the hairs on your arms
fortable settees, and mirrored and the back of your neck stand up
dressing tables. at attention. The sharp scent of
Most importantly it would ozone fills your nostrils, giving but a
have had mirrors of some sort, a moment’s warning before your
place to sit, and sometimes muscles go tense and the sting of
included sinks, toilets, and a an electric current races towards
shower or bath tub. your heart.”

It might simply be old wiring


Earthquake gone bad, a devious trap set for
(4♣, Group) the unwary, or a mystical
malevolent force that explodes
“There are no warning sirens before through the air, but no matter
the room starts to shake. With a what form it takes, the group
groan furniture topples over, the finds themselves fighting a fatal
chandelier swings back and forth, electric current when they enter
and various unsecured objects this room.
crash to the floor. Survival instinct This obstacle is not a
kicks in and reminds you that a persistent one, though. Once
doorway is the safest place to be in the group has completed a
a situation like this, if you can only Survival Test (success or bust)
reach one without being sliced the charge is spent and the
apart by broken glass or crushed to room is safe to traverse once
death beneath a heavy, tottering more.
bookcase.”

The main danger from this Elevator (5♠)


obstacle is in being struck by
falling sharp or heavy objects as Elevators, a marvel of interior
the room shakes. The effect engineering, served as an easy
itself can be localized to a single way to travel quickly between
room or can spread throughout floors. They were also often
the entire house. death traps liable to plunge to
In the case of the latter the basement at a moment’s
option, all characters should notice, fill up with poison gas, or
test no matter where they are in suddenly lose power and trap
the House, and damage should their helpless passengers
be reflected in every room. securely within.

55
Elevators usually had only a moment is enough. In a flash, she is
single door or a sliding metal up from the floor, her eyes wild and
screen and no door at all, plus a her hands tearing savagely at your
control lever to go up and down exposed throat.”
or a bank of buttons to select
various floors. A cackling witch, a seductive
It is often best to wait to sorceress, a sadistic nurse, a
until the doors have closed, and demonic girl that clawed her
a button has been pressed, way up from the depths of hell,
before triggering the elevator’s or even the cruel, heartless
obstacle against the characters mistress of a cold and lonely
inside. Certain buttons might orphanage; this obstacle covers
trigger other new obstacles as any sort of woman who harbors
well, and there is no need for evil intent. She might seem
all, or even any, of the options innocent or helpless at first, but
to lead to a new floor. that is just a clever ruse.
This obstacle should not be
used as a potential ally or a
maiden to be rescued. This is
cunning death with curves, a
true femme fatale.

Fire
(K♣, Group)

“As you open the door, bright red


and yellow tongues of flame burst
out towards you. The blaze feasts
hungrily on the inrush of oxygen
you have just provided. But oxygen
Evil Woman is not the only thing it craves. It
(Q♥, Monster) needs fuel; material to consume.
Your flesh will do quite nicely.”
“There is a lady here, slumped over
on the floor and obviously in some This room is on fire! Whether
sort of distress. Her hair hangs this is a natural blaze from an
down around her face, but you can overturned candle, a spark of
clearly hear the sobs of her crying. ash that leapt from the fireplace
You hesitate a moment, torn to the rug, or an unholy inferno
between your fear of the unknown summoned from the depths of
and the human desire to help hell, it will blister and burn a
someone in need, but that single body all the same.

56
Fires can usually be ex- Flesh Eating Curse
tinguished given the right tools (7♦, Isolated)
or a supply of water, and a
steady hand to wield them. But “There is a burning on your skin.
fires can also spread at the Not from fire, but from something
Dealer’s discretion. It might be else, something microscopic and
unwise to have a fire to spread unseen. You can only see its
too far though, unless the End effects, the spreading blackness of
Game has already started. dead flesh. The pain is almost
unbearable, and the image of
watching your body slowly dissolve
Foyer (9♥) is enough to drive anyone insane.”

The foyer, or vestibule, was Something in the room, when


usually a small room or hallway touched, begins to eat away at
just inside the front door. Often a character’s skin. This could be
it was an enclosed space, an air an object cursed with dark
lock meant to minimize heat magic, or it could be an
loss from the house, though this accelerated biohazard.
characteristic has fallen away in If the affected character is
modern architecture. quick enough, they might be
The foyer was also a place able to get it off their skin and
for hanging coats, hats, and clothes. Washing it away with
umbrellas, both for guests and alcohol or holy water would not
for the everyday use of the be an unreasonable idea.
home's inhabitants. If they are terribly unlucky,
The foyer provides a unique however, they might end up
challenge for the Dealer, as the losing an entire limb before the
front door should normally be curse finally fizzles out.
the easiest way to escape from
the House. It is on the Dealer to
find a reason why the Players Flood / Water
cannot simply open the front (4♠, Persistent)
door and escape.
Perhaps the door is locked “A torrent of cold, dirty water rips
and they must have a key; through the room, threatening to
there is something inside that knock you off your feet. Like a
they still have to do, such as raging river, it keeps on coming,
finding a missing child, team- though where the water started
mate, or treasure; or maybe and where it is going are a mystery
the door is simply false and yet to be solved. The first challenge
doesn’t actually lead to the is managing not to drown.”
outside of the House at all.

57
Whether the water comes from cold or rainy days as a place to
a busted pipe, the tears of the walk for exercise.
damned, or is conjured from an Furniture in the gallery was
evil spell, the danger this often sparse and consisted
obstacle poses is still the same. primarily of places to sit for
It threatens to wash away or conversation or to admire the
drown any who attempt to art. Benches, chaise lounges,
travel through this room. love seats, and armless chairs
Those who succeed on a were most common.
Survival Test manage to keep Many galleries contained at
their footing and find a way to least one large fireplace,
cross. though multiple ones spaced
Those that fail are caught in along the length of the hall
the current and must test again were not uncommon, either.
to escape. Those who bust The walls between windows
might hit their head or break a would invariably be hung floor
bone as they are thrashed to ceiling with large paintings
about. or decorative wood paneling.
It is up to the Dealer if the
current sweeps those who fail or
bust to another room, but the Ghost / Wraith
water should not continue on to (3♥, Monster)
flood the entire house. The
overflow inevitably finds a “A spectral form floats before you,
grate, a hole, or cracks in the transparent and immaterial, yet
floor and slowly seeps away. still quite convincingly there. A
shiver runs down your spine, faced
with the certainty of an existence
Gallery (J♦) beyond the grave. The figure floats
towards you and the room grows
Also known as the long gallery, colder. It smiles and like a moth
this room resembled a wide drawn to a flame seems to soak up
hallway usually with a high the warmth of your living flesh. It
ceiling as well. The Gallery often reaches out and its fingertips brush
stretched the entire length of your skin. As it does, the chill wind
the house and was normally on of death bites down hard into your
the topmost floor. very soul.”
Unlike a simple hallway, the
purpose of this room was not to Unlike a skeleton or zombie,
connect other rooms together, this obstacle represents the
but to serve as a space for incorporeal remnants of the
entertaining and displaying dead. This is not a monster the
works of art. It was also used on characters can fight with

58
physical weapons, as such together, even though they
things will simply pass harm- were rarely destinations in and
lessly through the wraith. of themselves.
Lacking a more esoteric or They might have been well
spiritual defense, the best and lit and lined with old portraits,
possibly only option is to run or have been cramped and
away as fast as you can. shadowy passages used only by
the servants of a household.
Often a hallway would have
Gym / Bowling (5♥) connected to a stairway at
some point, but it didn’t always
This room was employed for the have to. Some hallways simply
sole purpose of exercise and connected a handfull of other
indoor athletic recreation. inaccesible rooms together.
Usually the gymnasium took Furniture was wasted in a
the form of a large open room, hallway as these were not
though some Great Houses places to linger for long, though
would also contain a bowling a bookshelf, umbrella stand,
alley or a handball court. hall tree, or small writing desk
The floor was most often would not be terribly out of
polished hardwood, perhaps place there.
with a net strung across for Hallways do not always
badminton or tennis, and need an obstacle, though some
painted lines to mark out the encounters, such as swinging
areas of the court. blades, are quite suitable. The
While the furniture here Dealer can easily use the lack
would consist of, at most, of immediate danger to give a
benches against the wall, there false sense of security and
might also be punching bags, a respite; a tense pause before
boxing ring, weights for lifting, opening a door and stumbling
fencing gear, and gymnastic into another den of horrors.
apparatus such as a pommel
horse.
Often the gym would also Hungry Walls
have a free-standing shower (K♠, Persistent)
separated from public view by a
curtain or wooden screen. “Faces peer out of the paneling.
Hands reach out from the
wallpaper. A giant mouth opens up
Hallway (4♠♥♦♣) below the sconces and threatens
to swallow you whole. The very
Hallways were the arteries that walls of this room have become
connected the rest of the house animated and alive, as if filled with

59
a thousand trapped and hungry Hypnotic Music
souls. Their twisting limbs grab for (8♣, Group)
you, they pull at you. Another
conscript for the damnable horde.” “What is that tune? You swear that
you have heard it somewhere else
These living walls can cause before. It’s a simple melody, yet
damage or severe mental one that brings forth memories of
anguish, but the Dealer may innocence long since abandoned
also simply have them swallow and ignored. You close your eyes
up an unfortunate victim and and the music washes over you,
deposit them elsewhere in the wave after wave of mesmerizing
House. nostalgia. It reminds you of a
Players may be inclined to simpler time, a safer place, and you
try and fight off the living wall to wish for nothing more than to settle
rescue their friends, but the into the song and lose yourself to
walls are not a sentient monster peace once more.”
and cannot be subdued with
simple combat. • Special: If a Player fails this
The walls will continue to Test, they are entranced and
writhe, bite, howl, and manifest unable to do anything at all,
horrible humanoid appendages including defend themselves.
as long as the characters Continue the Test with Rising
remain within easy reach. Tension until they manage to
break free.

60
If there are any Monsters ready to devour you entirely; body,
chasing the characters they will mind, and soul.”
close the distance at a pace of
one room per hand. This obstacle happens entirely
If said Monsters reach the in the mind of the first
victims while they are still under character(s) to enter the room,
the hypnotism, the victims but that doesn’t make it any
automatically lose a Trait, but less deadly. All the rules of
break free of the spell. Then, of reality are broken and the
course, they have the Monster horror of the dream engulfs its
to deal with too. victim completely.
If a Player succeeds against Success on the Survival Test
the music, they break free and means that the character snaps
may act as normal. If they bust, out of the dream shaken, but
they take damage as they unharmed.
mentally expel the music from A bust means that they
their brain, but are free to act manifest sudden damage from
again. the results of the dream, but the
source of said damage should
remain invisible to any on-
Illusion / Nightmare lookers.
(4♦, Isolated)

“The walls of the room waver Kitchen (A♣, Special)


around you, melting away into
darkness like an oil painting left out The kitchen was the room
in the rain. You hear your mother’s where meals were prepared, but
voice calling from far, far away. not necessarily where food was
Lightning flashes overhead. A tree stored. The kitchen was usually
branch splinters in the wind and on the lowest floor of large
crashes to the ground. Your houses, sometimes even in the
mother’s cry becomes the howl of a basement, and often served as
wolf, and you take off running the dining space for the
through the forest in fright. Trees servants as well as their
whip past on either side, as more workspace.
howls rise up from the hills and join Some Great Houses had
the chorus of the hunt. The path several kitchens, each for the
becomes slippery, and you begin to preparation of different kinds of
slide. The forest thins, the wolves food. Kitchens were almost
draw back, but you cannot slow always tiled, and usually
your inevitable descent towards the contained at least an oven or
jagged maw that waits at the end of stove, a sink, and a work table
the path. The ravine opens up, or counter.

61
Gas heat started to be used Laboratory (8♠)
for stoves in the second half of
19th century, but usually food The laboratory was a room filled
was still cooked over coal or with strange equipment and the
wood. Electric ovens were not remnants of past experiments.
common until the 1930s. Depending on the house in
Homes in urban areas began question, you might find
to have water lines installed in bubbling beakers of foul
the late 1800s, but having hot chemicals, arcane machines of
water on tap is a relatively clockwork and electricity, or
modern invention. Pumps for empty cages and metal tables
water were installed in most with leather restraints. More
manor homes, but the water than likely there were stains on
was cold and had to be heated the floor, burn marks on the
on the stove. ceiling, and claw marks on the
Built-in cabinetry is a 20th doors.
century development. Before If a mad science sort of lab
then custom furniture, such as a doesn’t feel right in the context
baker’s cabinet or a Hoosier, of the scenario, a historical
were made to store pots, pans, possibility for this room is the
and cooking utensils. Dishes Still Room. This was the room in
and tableware were not usually a large manor home where
stored in the kitchen itself. Food medicine was prepared, caustic
only started being stored in the cleaning supplies were created,
kitchen with the advent of the and beer or wine was brewed.
icebox in the mid-19th century As doctors became more
and mechanical refrigeration common, the still room would
was uncommon before 1930. have been used mostly to make
It is only in modern times jams and jellies.
that the kitchen has been
located beside the dining room.
As kitchens were often noisy, Laundry (8♦)
smoke filled spaces, the well-
to-do wanted to keep their A damp, steamy room, where
guests isolated from such the dirty clothes and linens of a
chaos. household were washed and
dried. This room was also
• Special: After defeating the historically known as the
obstacle in this room, one scullery and encompassed the
character may take a single washing of dishes, cook pots,
piece of Gear (such as a weapon) and vegetables as well as the
that they could reasonably find preparation of fresh game for
there. roasting.

62
A water source was water out of wet cloth). There
essential in this room, as was a would also have been lines
large drain, and the sinks were hung for drying clothes and
often divided into pairs, one for surfaces for pressing sheets and
hot water and one for cold. tablecloths.
Floors were almost always
brick, tile, or concrete due to
the abundantly wet conditions, Library (6♠)
and it was usually set lower
than the rooms around it to Repositories of knowledge, and
prevent flooding to other parts a private place for reflection
of the house. and study, libraries were often
While in modern times this lined floor to ceiling with
room often consists of an shelves of books.
electric washing machine, a Comfortable chairs, desks,
clothes dryer, and perhaps a sturdy tables, a thick rug or
large sink, before the common carpet to dampen sound, and a
use of electricity there would source of heat, usually a
have been large copper pots or fireplace, were common fix-
kettles filled with boiling water tures, but the focus was on the
for washing, a tub for soaking books. Reading was enabled by
dirty clothes and linens over- natural illumination from
night, a smaller wooden tub for multiple large windows, but was
scrubbing garments, and a often supplemented by lamps
mangle (a device for wringing or candle light.

63
Books would have included It isn’t covered with cobwebs or
household ledgers and journals dust, but that could be due to any
in addition to popular works of number of perfectly normal
literature, science, history, reasons. It is a completely ordinary,
religion, philosophy, and art. totally harmless statue. Right up
Classical tomes in Latin or until the moment that it reaches
Greek were almost required, as out and clamps its cold iron hands
were massive leather bound tightly around your neck.”
atlases, and multiple copies of
the Bible. This obstacle represents an
Ladders were often needed adversary that was constructed
to reach the top shelves, and instead of born. This could be a
were frequently mounted on statue come to life through
wheels and attached to rails so demonic possession, a painting
they could be moved easily to turned into a dark portal that
throughout the library. allows the subjects in it to step
It bears noting that most through, or a high tech robot
households would send their with murderous intent.
books away to a bookbinder, The fact that it is not alive
who would have encased them (or undead) makes it impossible
in leather with gilt lettering and to reason with or even kill in the
decoration, therefore there was traditional sense. It has to be
often a common look to the completely destroyed to stop its
books on a particular shelf or single-minded pursuit.
throughout the whole library
itself.
Filing and organization of Living Room (10♦)
the library was often done
according to the whims of the The living room, unlike the
master of the household, so parlor, was a room for private
finding a particular book may relaxation and entertainment.
be challenging for someone This room would rarely be
unfamiliar with the details of a visited by household guests,
private library. and thus the focus was more on
comfort and function than on
presentation.
Living Art / Robot This room was also often a
(7♥, Monster) place for a home’s designer to
impose their personal tastes
“At first you don’t notice anything instead of being bound by the
amiss about the statue in the prevailing conventions of style
center of the room. It doesn’t and the social expectations of
breathe, or cough, or blink its eyes. high society.

64
Furniture often consisted of Mad Symbols
a sofa and chairs, coffee tables, (9♣, Group, Special)
bookshelves, rugs, and electric
lamps. Fireplaces were quite “It isn’t hard to see the writing on
common, as was the display of the wall. Or on the ceiling, the
personal art. floor, and every conceivable
surface in this room. You might be
able to decipher a single word here
Lumber Room (10♣, Special) or there, but on the whole the
rusty red script is illegible. You
The Lumber room was a large can’t even be sure what language
and often dimly lit space for the it was written in. The more you
storage of unused furniture. stare, however, the more it all
Historically, the furnishings, becomes clear. You can’t translate
especially in wealthy homes, the actual words, but somewhere
would be ornate, handmade, deep inside you start to
and well built. understand their horrible, obscene
When a particular piece of meanings. As that dark and
furniture no longer fit the decor forbidden knowledge solidifies in
of a room (which might change your mind, your grip on the
seasonally), it was generally not falsehoods of reality begins to
discarded or sold. Instead, it simply melt away. The true nature
would be set aside for future of the world is laid bare before you,
use. and it is terrifying.”
This room was rarely heated
or wired for electricity, was • Special: This obstacle affects
filled with headboards, tables, each character the first time
chairs, standing mirrors, and they encounter it. Success
the like, and would most likely means that the individual
be completely covered in dust resists the madness and does
and mouse droppings. not need to test again if they
It was a difficult room to re-enter the room. However,
navigate, as the things were any new characters that enter
cluttered and stacked one atop the room will need to test for
the other, but might make an themselves.
excellent hiding place. Failure means that a
character's mind is overcome
• Special: After defeating the with swirling madness and
obstacle in this room, one gibbering voices until they
Player may attempt a Simple succeed on a Test and push the
Test to break off a piece of mental intrusion out, or they
furniture to be kept and used as bust and go a little bit insane.
the “Baseball Bat” Gear item.

65
Master Suite (J♥) Music Room (J♠)

Different from an ordinary This was a room for playing


bedroom, the Master Suite music, but more importantly,
contained not only the for listening to the music being
bedroom, but also the dressing played. A grand piano or a
room, bathroom, and perhaps harpsichord would have dom-
sitting room for the head of the inated the center of the room,
house. perhaps with a cello leaning
There might be two against the wall as well. The
separate suites, one for a man floor would be marble or
and one for a lady, or a shared polished hardwood, and chairs
suite for a married couple, or cushioned benches would be
(depending on the era and the placed around the perimeter.
owner’s station in society). The walls were often
The suite possesed the ornamented with gilt frames
largest and most comfortable and moldings, while tall
beds, often hung with bed candelabras stood sentry in the
curtains, furniture for lounging, corners. The windows in this
private books and works of art, room tended to be large and
and large wardrobes or closets were often hung with light
for clothing. curtains. A common feature
There would often be a was a pair of pocket doors that
small fireplace in the master could be opened to allow the
bedroom. The bathroom was audience to spill out into an
more ornate with an eye adjoining room.
towards comfort, and it was not
uncommon to find a large claw-
foot or built-in tub for soaking, Nursery (Q♣)
perhaps with extra amenities
like heated jets, fancy soaps, Not just for a newborn baby or
and scented oils. toddler, the nursery was the
If the suite was shared by a enclave of all of the owner's
couple, then there might be young children in a household
separate sinks and individual and often included separate
towel bars for each. areas for sleeping, eating and
Personal items such as hand daytime play.
mirrors, brushes and combs, A bathroom was usually
pocket watches, jewelry, robes, attached to the nursery,
slippers, and sentimental containing at the very least a
treasures were most likely to be sink and small tub. A sleeping
discovered in the Master Suite. chamber for the nanny or
nursemaid would be found

66
nearby as well. The living Pantry / Larder (9♠)
quarters of a tutor or governess
would be located elsewhere in In a Great House there were
the house, however; well away several different rooms and
from the noise of the nursery. closets for storing food and
In addition to cribs or beds dishes. Though “pantry” is now
for the children, other furniture a general term, it originally
might consist of child-sized meant the room for storing
tables and chairs, a dresser, tableware, such as plates,
and an adult-sized lounger or glasses, and silverware.
rocking chair. Sometimes an The Butler’s Pantry was a
area in the nursery was also set specific pantry used for the
aside for schooling. cleaning, counting, and storage
The nursery was often of the expensive dining room
decorated in pastel colors or items, such as silverware and
floral wallpaper, or sometimes candlesticks. The account books
recreated a whimsical scene, for the domestic purchases in
such as an enchanted forest or the household were sometimes
under-the-sea. Common toys kept here as well, and if the
found there included rocking house had a butler, he usually
horses, doll houses, stuffed slept in this pantry to
animals, jack in the boxes, and discourage theft.
wooden blocks. The Buttery was used for the
storage of barrels, casks,
bottles of wine, and other
Observatory (5♦) alcoholic beverages. It was also
the room in which they were
Usually at the top of the house, poured or prepared before
this room was dedicated to the serving to guests.
observation of celestial events. The Larder was a room for
In certain Great Houses though, keeping food cold. Usually
it was also used to view the larders had small, open
surrounding landscape. windows covered with mesh to
A balcony or large windows allow air flow but discourage
were common, as was a central pests. The walls were often
large telescope or several tiled, the floor made of stone,
smaller ones. and the ceiling had hooks to
This room was frequently hang meat on.
devoid of furniture or decor- The Root Cellar was used
ation and lacked any lighting for storing fruits, nuts, and
fixtures. Occucpants would vegetables and was usually
have found their way up with built partially underground. This
lanterns or candles. room kept the vegetables from

67
freezing in the winter or unconscious also hold great
spoiling from heat in the possibility.
summer. Apples were ideally Laughing gas might make a
kept in a separate root cellar, victim unable to use focus or
so that they did not contribute use Traits on the next series of
to the quick rotting of other Tests. Or if the Dealer wishes,
vegetables. Sometimes bread those who fall prey to sleeping
and dairy products were also gas might wake up all alone in
kept in the root cellar. an unfamiliar room.
The Spicery was a small, This is a good way to split
dry room in the largest of up a group of investigators,
houses for keeping the salt, ramp up the terror, and force
dried herbs, and assorted them to face solo challenges
spices. while they struggle to get back
Any of these rooms might together.
be discovered in a House, each
with their own unique possi-
bilities and individual dangers. Poltergeist
(Q♠, Persistent)

Poison Gas “The hairs on the back of your neck


(10♠, Persistent) stand on end, but for a moment or
two, nothing actually happens.
“There is the tell tale hiss of air There is just that feeling of tension
being released from a pressurized in the air. An expectant pause. The
canister as a smoky haze begins to calm before the storm. Then a
fill the room. A bitter, chemical pictures shifts slightly on the wall.
smell tickles your nose and causes The lights flicker. The door slams
you to sneeze. The sneezing leads closed behind you. One by one,
to coughing and then to gasping for objects around the room take flight
breath. You eyes burn and fill with and launch themselves at your
tears, your skin begins to itch, and head. The wait is over. The angry
you struggle to find your way out of assault has begun.”
the ever growing fog of poisonous
gas.” A poltergeist is an unseen spirit
or other supernatural creature
While a caustic gas that causes that manages to affect the
physical damage to the skin, physical world through focused
eyes, or lungs is certainly a acts of rage and violence. It is
possibility for this obstacle, capable of hurling objects,
gases that induce a euphoric slamming doors, or pinching,
state (such as laughing gas) or punching, and tripping the
render their victims completely characters.

68
Usually poltergeists are not There might be wooden
capable of fine motor skills, benches by the walls, and
such as playing a stringed perhaps a wooden diving
instrument, fencing with a board, but no other furniture
sword, or aiming and firing a was usually present in the pool
pistol. Despite this fact, they area.
can still cause plenty of The pool is an excellent
damage. room for terrifying scenes. No
character in their right mind
should ever venture in, but all
sorts of horrible things might
creep out of the dark waters.
Sound bounces eerily off the
water and the lighting, if there
is any, would be dim and
shadowy at best.

Possession
(J♦, Isolated, Special)

“It starts as a tickle in the back of


your brain, that warning feeling
that something is not quite right.
You suddenly seem bigger than the
world around you, floating in your
own body, disconnected. Then a
searing pain slices through your
mind like vicious claws ripping at
Pool (5♣) the very essence of what makes
you, you. There is something else
Usually situated on the first inside your head with you… No,
floor or in the basement, many someone else! And whomever they
Great Houses contained an are, they are fighting to take over.”
indoor swimming pool. These
pools were tiled, surrounded by • Special: This is a single hand
ropes and railings, and had Survival Test. If the Player
wooden ladders to climb in and succeeds, they repel the
out of the water. invading spirit without further
The rooms themselves were consequences. If they bust then
often tiled, floor to ceiling, as they repel the spirit, but suffer
well and were lit by overhead damage. If they simply fail the
chandeliers or skylights. Test, they are possessed and

69
can try a new Survival Test (in The patterns on its sides start to
Rising Tension) on their next turn glow, at first with a dim and sickly
to break free. light and then brighter and brighter
Possessed characters will the closer you step. Voices begin to
actively make things more whisper all around you, ancient
challenging for the group. This chanting voices that beckon you
might mean “accidentally” ever closer still. You don’t speak
triggering traps, opening new their language, but you are filled
doors, or simply laughing with an overwhelming urge to
maniacally as they run off into reach out and touch the box.”
the dark.
Possessed characters will This obstacle represents any
NOT attack their teammates, cursed object that ensnares the
but they will also not jump in to character who discovers it and
assist on a split either. tries to do them harm.
If any characters have This could be an ornate box,
become Shades before this a glowing orb, an ancient book,
obstacle is encountered, the or even an unholy painting.
Dealer may allow one of them Characters that succeed on
to possess the living character their Survival Test break the
affected by this obstacle. spell, and the item then goes
If two or more Players dormant.
trigger this obstacle together, Characters who fail are
and fail, the Dealer could chose pulled closer and closer to the
to have those characters swap object, testing again with Rising
bodies (and characters sheets with Tension each time. Characters
physical Traits, but not mental who bust actually reach out and
Traits or Fears) until one of the touch the object and are
affected characters manages to rewarded with horrible mental
break free. images and soul searing pain.
This obstacle will only affect
a single Player. After one person
Puzzle Box / Orb encounters it, it will either
(K♦, Isolated) vanish, explode, or become a
harmless, mundane object.
“The box in the center of the room
seems harmless enough, even if it
is covered in geometric sigils and Quicksand
strange runes. You try to look (3♠, Persistent)
away, to see if there are other
dangers present here, but your “Floors are generally pretty solid
eyes stay locked on the box. You things. No matter if they are wood,
are unable to tear your focus away. dirt, stone, or tile, that is basically

70
the only requirement a floor must
have. The floor you are standing on,
however, is not solid. Somehow it
has become more like a liquid. It
looked solid, but looks clearly
aren’t everything. Someone should
put up a warning sign. The more
pressing issue at the moment,
though, seems to be the fact that
you aren’t really standing. Instead,
you are quite quickly sinking.”

While this obstacle doesn’t


have to be actual quicksand,
the principle is basically the
same. The floor takes on the
properties of a non-Newtonian
fluid and the more the Their tiny claws scratch at your
characters move, the more skin, their sharp teeth rip holes in
rapidly they sink. your clothes, and the sheer mass
Logically, if the characters of fleeing rodents threatens to
are on an upper floor, they sweep you away with them into
should sink down to the floor oblivion.”
below. But it is up to the Dealer
whether that is what actually • Special: This is a different kind
happens, if the characters fail of monster that will not chase
or bust on their Test. They the PCs or linger with them in
might also be sucked away to combat. Instead, the first time
another room or simply start to it is encountered, it attacks the
drown. person in the front of the group.
If that Player succeeds or busts,
the swarm moves on to attack
Rats the second person in the group,
(6♥, Monster, Special) and so on.
If a Player fails the Test,
“A squeaking, chittering, clawing, they are dragged along with
scrambling, rumbling noise grows the swarm and must test in
steadily louder and louder as you Rising Tension till they succeed
peer into the shadows to see or bust.
where the sound is coming from. The swarm of rats are not
Suddenly the answer becomes easily defeated or dispersed,
crystal clear. A horde of rats though fire or flood might do
swarms up and over your body! the trick. The rats will race

71
through the House in an shadows, mind alert for the sound
uncontrolled panic till they find of doom creeping up behind you, it
an exit or are destroyed. almost seems impossible that you
The Dealer should keep could ever receive a moment of
track of where the swarm is, as respite in this terrible place. And
Players must test again to yet, strangely enough, you do.
escape it the next time they Nothing jumps out from behind the
cross paths with this obstacle. furniture. Nothing grabs at your
ankles or shoots from the walls. For
the briefest of moments, you can
Revolving Wall relax your guard and finally catch
(5♦, Isolated, Special) your breath.”

“This room is quiet and still. No • Special: Nothing bad happens


shrieking banshees, no chanting in this room. The Players are
cultists, no swarms of biting flies. It able to barricade the doors for a
almost seems like a safe place to round, if they so choose, and
rest for a moment… and then the gain a moment of respite. Each
wall begins to spin.” Player in this room may refresh
a single Exhausted Trait.
• Special: If the Player succeeds The Safety only lasts for one
on their first Test against this round, and any Unstoppable
obstacle they see (or sense) it Horrors chasing the victims will
coming and step out of the way. be able to break through on the
The “wall” can then be treated next turn.
as a door into a new room. Other Monsters may be able
If they fail on their first Test, to batter the barricade down
however, they are whisked after a few rounds or may need
away to a new room and must to seek another way to reach
immediately face a new the characters.
obstacle there.
If they bust on the initial
Test, they are whisked away and Sauna (6♣)
immediately defeated by the
new challenge, thus taking The sauna, or steam room, was
damage and losing a Trait. made for experiencing heat and
steam for recreational and
therapeutic purposes.
Safety The sauna mostly died out in
(A♥♦, Special) Europe due to the spread of
syphilis, but was revived by
“Body tense to the possible death Finnish immigrants and became
trap that lies lurking in the increasingly popular after WWII.

72
There was a metal or stone- kitchens to keep warm and
work stove in a sauna, over woke early to get the house
which water was poured to ready for the family. Eventually
create steam. There only servants stratified through the
furniture in a sauna would be house based on their duties,
long wooden benches. and often ended up with shared
The walls were often quarters nearer to their actual
paneled wood, tile, or stone and work space.
the floor was usually wooden This room would have been
slats over stone or concrete. one of the small shared cells
There was rarely more than tucked under the stairs, beside
one door in or out of a sauna, the nursery, or next to the
and the lighting was sparse or stables. It could also be used to
non-existent, except for the soft represent a staff hallway and
amber glow of the stove. connecting sleeping rooms, or a
larger shared dormitory.
Servants rarely owned any
Secret Passage furniture of their own, had only
(2♦, Special) a few changes of clothes, and
slept in a small bed provided by
“As the dust settles and you have a the household.
moment to catch your breath, your
ears suddenly pick up a new sound
of warning. A door creaks open, all Skeleton / Zombie
on its own. A door that wasn’t there (10♥, Monster)
a moment ago.”
“Corpses shouldn’t move. Maybe
• Special: There is a secret door the freshly dead might let off some
in this room that opens up to trapped gas or stiffen as rigor
another room in the House. mortis sets in, but their heads
Draw an additional obstacle for should not turn. They should not
this room and play through that rise up again on their lifeless legs.
Survival Test. They absolutely should not shuffle
If the Players defeat the towards you. Corpses shouldn’t
obstacle without fleeing to a move… but evidently nobody told
new room, the secret door will this one about that.”
open and reveal a new location.
This obstacle represents the
clearly dead, and yet somehow
Servants’ Quarters (Q♠) undead, perhaps with missing
limbs, horrible wounds, rotting
In the first large manor houses, flesh, or nothing but bare,
servants often slept in the clattering bones. There are

73
many possible sources of such If the Player busts on the
unnatural animation; a voodoo Test, they take damage on the
curse, vengeful spirits, radio- way down the slide (or upon
active waste, or an alien virus. landing) and then face the
These creatures are almost obstacle in the new room with
always mindless, unable to be Rising Tension, as above.
reasoned with, and quite hard
to kill... for a second time.
Snakes
(5♥, Monster)
Slide (2♠, Special)
“Something brushes against your
The slide wasn’t so much a leg. But when you look down,
room in and of itself, as it was nothing's there. You hear a soft
an unexpected passage to hissing sound and turn towards the
another room. This could have noise, but again the threat slips out
been in the form of a coal or of view. You catch a glimpse of
laundry chute, a dumbwaiter, or something long and sinewy as it
an actual slide built into the slithers once more past your feet.
house for who knows what Taking an involuntary step back,
twisted reasons. you raise your gaze and come face
to face with a forked tongue flicking
• Special: The obstacle drawn out to taste the aura of fear all
does NOT happen on the slide around you. Lidless eyes lock with
itself. Instead, a new room card yours, and the fanged head pulls
should be drawn to indicate back to strike.”
where the slide goes and thus
the obstacle will happen there. Contrary to popular belief,
Those who enter the slide snakes are not slimy. They are
must make a Simple Test using usually dry, cold to the touch,
the House Deck. If they and capable of unhinging their
succeed, then there are no jaws to swallow prey twice the
repercussions. They slide safely thickness of their own body.
to the new room and encounter This obstacle could be used
the obstacle there. to represent a tangle of
If they fail the Test, they smaller, poisonous vipers or a
descend out of control and giant constrictor such as an
arrive in the new room at a anaconda. The first will do
disadvantage. They will face the damage via its sharp fangs,
new obstacle, but begin their while the second prefers to
Survival Test in Rising Tension slowly squeeze its prey to
with three initial cards. death.

74
Spider Webs These webs will firmly bind
(5♣, Group) those who fail the Survival Test
in their sticky threads, and a
“You might have first mistaken bust may mean that the
these sticky strands for old character does themselves
cobwebs, thinking you could just some sort of harm in trying to
brush them away without a care. escape.
But they cling to your clothes and If there is only one Player
tug at your hair with much more encountering the webs, the
strength than cobwebs ever did. Dealer can ramp up the
This is a fresh web you have narrative tension by leaving
stumbled into. An enormous net to them stuck and helpless there,
catch prey much larger than a mere while they move on with the
fly. A web created to catch action for the other Players.
something the size of you. And if In this case, the Dealer may
you are the fly, then the spider that want to hold the Survival Test
wove it must be huge!” and have a struggle to escape a
giant spider when the Player's
The terror in this obstacle turn comes around again.
comes not only from the
sensation of being trapped, but
also from the knowledge that Staircase (2♥♣)
where there is a web, there
must also be a spider. Staircases were the primary,
and usually the safest way to
travel between floors of the
house. In public spaces, these
would often be wide, curving,
and ornate with carved posts
and carpeted runners.
In private spaces, the
staircases were more strictly
functional, built to take up the
least amount of space possible,
and were sparsely decorated.
Servants’ stairways were
usually quite cramped and
possibly lit only by a high
window or a carried lantern or
candle stick.
Staircases, at the Dealer's
discretion, are often a room that
does not need an obstacle.

75
Stampede The best bet to survive this
(Q♣, Group) obstacle is to avoid it
altogether by climbing on, or
“At first it seems like only a rumble hiding behind, a sturdy piece of
of distant thunder, but then the furniture. Fighting off a herd of
floor begins to shake. The rumbles stampeding animals is fool-
becomes louder and louder, till at hardy and usually ineffective,
last the doors crash open, and a though fire or loud noise could
wild herd of charging animals burst possibly be used to steer the
through. Their eyes glazed over herd around or away from the
with panic, they take no notice of Players.
you, pushing, kicking, and jabbing
at you in indiscriminate haste. If
this keeps up, you are likely to be Studio (Q♦)
trampled to death.”
An artist studio was often a
While it seems unlikely that the chaotic workspace, spattered
Players would ever encounter a with old paint or dried clay, with
wild herd of rampaging beasts canvases stacked against the
in their own living room, the wall, and a multitude of easels
reality bending nature of a and cluttered tables.
haunted house makes this an Natural lighting was
exciting, if odd, obstacle to important, so large windows
face. The animals in question were common, as was a slop
should not be of a predatory sink for cleaning up and
nature, such as wolves or lions, washing brushes. Sketches,
but peaceful creatures that reference materials, paint, and
have turned deadly in an other supplies could be found
uncontrolled mob. here, as well as empty bottles of
Deer, donkeys, moose, pigs, both turpentine and wine.
wild geese, turkeys, or even
monkeys escaped from a lab
are possible, as are mutant, Study / Office (9♦)
zombie, or skeletal versions of
the same. This room was originally the
More exotic animals could private domain of the master of
be brought back to life via dark, the house and was where he
blasphemous rituals from would conduct his business
hunting trophies or stuffed affairs and maintain the records
replicas; and twisted, unnatural of the estate. Though no longer
hybrids could be the result of a barred to women, its purpose
demonic portal or a science has remained essentially the
experiment gone horribly awry. same throughout the ages.

76
Often there would be a large who escape. Instead it simply
central writing desk with a settles down to wait.
dignified chair, as well as The bugs can be anything
smaller chairs for guests. the Dealer likes, even a
Bookshelves would be present conglomeration of beetles,
and perhaps a globe or a map of cockroaches, and centipedes for
the house and its associated the creepiest effect.
lands. Flies are quite common and
There was usually a fire- disturbing, as they hint at
place here, and the decorations rotting corpses yet to be
leaned masculine. Polished discovered, and mosquitoes
dark woods, portraits of the might fit the theme if the House
family’s founding ancestor or a is located in a swamp.
famous conqueror, thick warm Wasps and bees are perhaps
carpets, and an assortment of the most deadly, and could
pipes for smoking were quite easily be found in an old rotting
common. House, but hold the danger of
leading to an almost comical
chase scene.
Swarm of Bugs Ants can be terrifying en
(8♠, Persistent) masse, but humans rarely
realize how horrible they really
“Crawling, flying, stinging; like a are. If this route is chosen be
living cloud, a mass of insects sure to showcase the bones of
overwhelms you. Their buzzing past victims, stripped com-
whine is merely an annoyance, pletely clean, to ramp up their
their tiny bodies squirming into horrifying potential.
your clothes and crevices a
disgusting distraction. The taste of
their chitinous shells as they fill Swinging Blades
your mouth is nauseating, but it is (3♣, Group)
the burning poison in their stingers
that can easily incapacitate you. “Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! Sharp,
Then they can feast on your flesh; polished death swings back and
bite by tiny, agonizing bite.” forth before you, slicing through
the air with a graceful ease. Just as
Much like the birds or rats easily, in fact, as it would slice
previously, the danger in this through your very flesh. There is a
obstacle is not the size of the sequence here though, a trick for
individual animal, but the sheer making it through unscathed. You
overwhelming numbers. think you just about have the
Unlike a Monster though, timing down…”
this swarm will not pursue those

77
A classic trap of haunted that triggers this obstacle
houses or ancient ruins, this rapidly begins to lose their
obstacle must be attempted by sight.
anyone who wants to cross this Success means that they
room. shake off the effects, but
The blades in question don’t damage from a bust could be
have to be actual arcing, razor caused in several different
sharp scythes swinging from ways.
the ceiling, though that is Perhaps the character will
perhaps the most familiar look. stumble into something and
They could also be injures themselves, perhaps the
sawblades running back and panic hits home in a minor
forth across the floor, or even heart attack, or perhaps poison
swords spinning around a burns their eyes and causes
central spindle. everything to look blurry for the
The important thing here is rest of their life.
that the obstacle can be passed Permanent blindness should
with careful timing and quick not be imposed by the Dealer
reflexes, or it can be failed with for a bust, but can absolutely
bloody, limb-severing con- be assumed by the Player if
sequences. they wish.

Temporary Blindness Thunderstorm


(9♦, Isolated) (J♠, Persistent)

“Darkness creeps in at the edges “Winds whip at your clothing and


of your sight. A shadow falls over rain hammers your face. The crash
the room and everything dims, of thunder assaults your ears, and
slowly fading to black. Is this what the flash of lightning leaves
death is like; the end of the movie blinding streaks of pain in your
about your life? You blink furiously eyes. Though the source of this
and squint against the growing tempest might be unclear, the fact
veil, trying to force clarity to the remains that the natural elements
world again. But will it work? Or can indeed kill. And it seems like
will you be doomed to walk these you are slated to be nature’s next
haunted halls as sightless as a victim.”
worm?”
While a thunderstorm in-
Whether by curse, poison, doors may seem improbable,
possession by a wraith, or even their place in horror stories has
a blood clot caused by the a multitude of origins. Evil
continual frights, the character sorcery, demonic forces, or a

78
magical gateway unwittingly and cabinets or side tables to
opened are common, as are display sharp, dangeous tools.
scientific experiments gone Plus hammers, tongs, buckets,
awry. and rags to catch and clean up
There could also simply be bodily fluids, such as vomit or
a storm raging outside, and an blood.
open window or hole in the roof Ropes and pulleys hung
allows its full effects to be felt from the ceiling were
within. historically the most common
Whatever the case, form of torture, using body
characters can escape the weight to cause pain, though
room unharmed, if they are other implements might be
skillful or lucky, but it is unlikely present, such as a rack for
they can eliminate this threat stretching the body till the
entirely. joints pulled apart, or a water
No matter how much one trough for repeatedly sub-
rails against the weather, it merging the head of a prisoner
doesn’t really care about the to simulate drowning.
whims of man. The room was usually lit
only by candlelight, to amplify
the shadows and inspire fear,
Torture Chamber (A♦) though harsh overhead lighting
could be used in more modern
While most rooms of a house spaces with an alien or mad
focus on the comfortable living scientist feel.
for the occupants and guests,
this room had the exact
opposite function; to make Total Darkness
prisoners feel pain. (7♠, Persistent)
While not actually common
in historical Great Houses, the “There is the darkness that comes
torture chamber is a staple of on a moonless night, the darkness
horror movies and the fantasy of a basement room with a burned
of medieval castles. out bulb, or even the total dark of
Windows were unlikely to be a cave deep below the ground
present, the walls were often where sunlight has never crept.
shaped to reflect back sound, And then there is this. An inky,
and the doors were heavy and black void; a thick, viscous
thick to muffle the sounds of shadow; a hungry oblivion that
desperate screams. actively devours the light. This is
There would most likely be the darkness of the soul, made
a sturdy chair or long table with physical and real… and you are a
leather and metal restraints, warm and tasty imposter.”

79
This room isn’t just dark, it is makes the pain worse. A bubbling,
filled with the essence of boiling ooze nibbles at your feet
darkness itself. Flashlights, with a warning hiss, popping like
watches, cell phones, and the an angry blister and splattering its
like will work here, but their caustic spit.”
light cannot penetrate the
blackness for more than a few Only the truly stupid or suicidal
feet at most. The effect is not would go for a swim in this pool
so much of a fading battery, of acid or radioactive sludge,
but a swallowing of the light as but the gases that waft up from
if you were under the ocean or it are just as deadly as the
in a soupy black fog. source.
There is no tactile presence Partial blindness is a distinct
to the darkness, like there possibility, as are horrible
would be for smoke or mist, burns, the loss of appendages,
though the air might be colder or a persistent cough and
simply because it lacks the shortness of breath, especially
warmth that light naturally if one should accidently slip
brings. and come in full contact with
The danger here is this nasty, poisonous plash.
potentially threefold, and it is
up to the Dealer how the
darkness best manifests. Trapdoor
On a bust, the characters (3♦, Special)
might stumble into something
heavy, hard, or sharp and injure “The floor seemed solid enough at
themselves; they might go a first glance, but experience has
little bit insane being plunged shown that looks can definitely be
into absolute oblivion; or deceiving. There is no sound to
perhaps the darkness itself is a give warning, no indication that
sentient sort of thing and anything is amiss, and then a door
actively seeks to consume in the floor simply gives way
them alive. beneath your feet.”

• Special: This obstacle


Toxic Pool triggers a Survival Test with just
(5♠, Persistent) a single hand. If the victim
succeeds on their first hand
“Noxious fumes burn away the against the Trapdoor, they jump
membranes of your nose and lungs out of the way and do not fall.
and cause your eyes to water This trap should not be used to
under their baleful sting. You can’t voluntarily move to a new
help but cough, but that only room, though.

80
If they fail or bust, the you; every evil that lurks in the
character(s) drop suddenly House now knows exactly where
down a chute through the floor you are…”
down and land in a new room
with a new obstacle. The noise in this room could be
A bust equals damage from the screams of the damned. It
the fall and a lost Trait. could be a low frequency
Narrative focus should shift to rumble, or a piercing shriek. It
other Players before returning could even be a fire alarm. But
to this victim to draw their new the one thing it most definitely
room and obstacle. is, is loud.
It is the Dealer’s call
whether the Players can shut
Tunnel / Crawl Space (2♦) down the source of the noise or
must simply block it out.
There were many cramped and The characters will be
secret spaces in a Great House unable to talk to each other
that were used to store con- while the noise persists, and it
struction materials or access will most likely alert already
pipes, wires, and machinery for triggered Monsters or Horrors
repairs. to their present location.
Many times these spaces
were not tall enough for a man
to stand upright and had to be Vault (A♠)
traversed on hands and knees.
They were dark, dirty, With solid walls and a sturdy,
infested with spiders or vermin, lockable door the Vault was the
and did not provide enough most secure room in any
room for swift travel or a quick building.
escape. Sometimes lined with
shelves or with chests and
trunks stacked on the floor, it
Unbearable Noise was a room for the storage of
(6♠, Persistent) money, treasure, and other
valuable heirlooms.
“A terrible noise assaults your ears Rarely would there be more
as soon as you enter the room. than one door in or out of the
Your mind goes numb under the vault, and that door was often
onslaught, your head pounds, and guarded and bolted shut by
your knees feel weak. You struggle multiple locks.
to cope, to adjust, to stick your The vault could also double
fingers in your ears and push on as a safe room and thus would
through when a sinking feeling hits be lockable from the inside. In

81
such cases there might be a something more deadly, such
few sparse amenities, such as a as a pursuing Monster, can
cot for sleeping and a stash of appear.
nonperishable food and water
or wine.
Modern safe rooms might Will-o-wisp
also include equipment for (Q♦, Isolated, Special)
monitoring the house and
communicating with the “A glowing orb of light floats by in
outside world in order to call for front of your face. It is perhaps the
help. most beautiful sight you have ever
seen. Like an angel, you can feel it
smiling down on you with grace
Vicious Vines and comfort. You start to follow it,
(9♠, Persistent) and why wouldn’t you? In your
heart of hearts you know that
“You don’t notice the creeping nothing bad shall befall you while it
tendrils at first as they slither leads the way. The light at the end
silently across the floor. They wrap of the tunnel. The way out…”
around your legs and begin
writhing up your spine, before you Swamp gas, a witch’s spell,
finally become aware of the danger psychic projections, disem-
they pose. You are tugged bodied spirits, or capricious fae;
downwards with a surprising the light cares nothing for
amount of force, your limbs start to those it ensnares, it simply
go numb as the blood flow is cut seeks to lead them astray.
off, and the room begins to spin as
they squeeze out what is left of • Special: Success on the first
your air.” round of this Survival Test
breaks the spell and the wisp
This obstacle doesn’t have to disappears. If the victim fails on
be literal plant-like vines, the first round of the Test
though that should be the most against the Will-o-wisp, though,
common form. It could also be they follow it mindlessly to a
alien tentacles, animated new (or existing room) and
ropes, or deadly tendrils of encounter a newly drawn
sentient shadow. obstacle there. A second round
The obstacle also does not of testing with automatic Rising
need to be fatal in and of itself, Tension is then performed.
though it could break bones If the Player succeeds on
and crush the life out of a the second round, the spell is
character; it could also simply broken, but they may have to
hold them captive until test normally against the new

82
obstacle on their next turn as if racks, to keep the corks from
encountering it from scratch. drying out. Wine cellars were
If the Player fails versus the cold and damp, on purpose,
wisp, tension rises, and they and the floor was often gravel
move to another new room with on which water could be poured
another new obstacle. Repeat to help maintain a high
until the Player eventually humidity.
succeeds against the wisps or
busts.
A bust on the will-o-wisp Workshop (3♣, Special)
Tests means that a character
takes damage from the new Long wooden tables, anvils or
obstacle, but has broken free of forges, saws, and many other
the wisp’s control. hand tools comprised the
Depending on the obstacle, standard fare in a workshop.
they may now face another Windows for natural lighting
normal Survival Test (not in would be important, and heat
Rising Tension from the wisp) to was usually provided by a stove
escape. or smelting furnace. The floor
Players are NOT able to use was often uncarpeted for ease
any Traits against the will-o- of sweeping, and the walls were
wisp, and the Dealer should hung with supplies on shelves
narrate all success and failures or in cabinets.
for the victim while they are While a general space might
under the wisp’s control. contain a wide range of tools
A split on any of these Tests and projects, it was more
will allow another Player to common to have individual
jump in and try to break the workshops for the pursuit of
spell as normal. carpentry and woodworking,
blacksmithing, glassblowing,
stone carving, or other skilled
Wine Cellar (3♦) hand crafts. Each workshop
would have its own specialized
The wine cellar was a room tools and equipment, and often
used for the storage of wine. a dedicated craftsman and
Usually these rooms were apprentice.
windowless and dark, and often
they were built underground in • Special: After defeating the
order to control the humidity obstacle in this room, one
and temperature. Wine would character may take a single
be kept here in both barrels piece of Gear (such as a weapon)
and bottles, the latter stacked that they could reasonably find
on their sides, usually in dusty there.

83
84
Chapter 5:
5. Scenarios
Scenarios & Pre-gens

The House itself can take many missing. The police searched her
forms and exist in practically house and found a little girl’s hair
any scenario or era. The key ribbon and the charred remains of
things to remember are that a backpack in the fireplace;
the House is endless, it won’t circumstantial evidence at best,
let its victims leave, and it but enough to earn the crazy old
should be a worthy adversary. lady the electric chair.
Feel free to give each House The house has been empty
a style that is all your own and since then, boarded up and
works well for the rest of the crumbling, while it waits for an out-
players. For those in need of side buyer or the town finally has it
inspiration, what follows are condemned.
eight starting scenarios along It is a rite of passage for
with characters custom tailored neighborhood kids to squeeze
for each of them. through the rusty gate and creep
their way slowly up the drive to the
Trick or Treat taunts and cheers of their friends.
Classic Haunted House Nostalgia Some have even made it all the
way to the front porch before
Setting: Old Victorian Manor turning back and racing to the
PCs: Common Townsfolk safety of the sidewalk. But nobody
Alt Rules: None would ever be foolish enough to go
inside, certainly not on Halloween.
“October 31st, 1984. Halloween. That place is dangerous!”
Eager little aliens, witches, and
superheroes march door to door This is the default Purgatory
with pillowcases in hand. “Thriller” House scenario based on the
blares from every open window as classic movie-style haunted
parents stand sentry on well lit houses containing dark and
porches and pass out candy to the demonic forces. This scenario
revelers, trusting that their own allows for the most leeway in
wee monsters will be safe among character creation, as the
friends. Nothing bad ever happens Players can choose to play
on Halloween, not in this practically anything that makes
neighborhood at least. sense in a suburban setting and
Not since the crazy old lady at the characters do not need to
the end of the lane was arrested know each other from past
years ago after three kids went encounters.

85
The House itself is an old, If the Dealer prefers some-
rundown Victorian with a dark thing different though, the
past. This scenario has been Horror could be a demon lord
set intentionally in the 1980s to that the witch worshipped,
eliminate the possibility of cell come back again to claim the
phones and digital cameras and souls it was promised. Or it
to give the horror elements a could also be the lingering
nostalgic movie feel. spirit of the witch herself, angry
This House was formerly at the townsfolk for meddling
occupied by an evil witch who in her affairs and seeking
kidnapped children and sac- revenge from beyond the
rificed them to dark gods in an grave.
attempt to create her own It is advisable to give the
unholy child. She was arrested Players a round to describe how
and ultimately executed before they get into the House and
she was able to complete her what they are doing, then to
terrible plan. But how much of have them overcome by a
it did she actually manage? sleeping gas (or a blow to the
The default Unstoppable head) and wake up elsewhere in
Horror in this scenario is a the House, possibly trapped
monstrous baby, created from inside tiny coffins. This lets
the stitched together skins of everyone jump right into the
the kidnapped children and action from the very beginning
brought to life by the witch’s and sets the tone for the rest of
twisted magic. the adventure.

86
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY
Age: 35 Fear: Cramped Spaces
Traits: +/-3 Calm Under Pressure, +/-2 Trained
Marksman, +/-1 Judo Champion
Gear: Shotgun: Automatically defeat one Monster.
No Test required. One use only.

REAL ESTATE CLOSER


Age: 27 Fear: Rats
Traits: +/-3 Winners Never Quit, +/-2 Marathon Runner,
+/-1 I Need this Listing
Gear: Skeleton Key: Unlock/Lock any doors. Simple
Test to use if being chased.

HOMELESS DRIFTER
Age: 42 Fear: Thunderstorms
Traits: +/-3 Back Alley Brawler, +/-2 Avoids Drawing
Attention, +/-1 Cast Iron Stomach
Gear: Smelly Overcoat: Avoid Rising Tension once per Test
when applicable. Destroyed if you bust anyways.

FILM STUDENT
Age: 21 Fear: Clowns
Traits: +/-3 Quiet as a Mouse, +/-2 Knows All the
Cliches, +/-1 Anything for the Story
Gear: Stagecraft Manual: -1 to disarm/disable
mechanical traps.

WANNABE WITCH
Age: 16 Fear: Spiders
Traits: +/-3 Memorized Book of Spells, +/-2 Really Good
with Animals, +/-1 Took Seven Years of Ballet
Gear: Pentacle: Ignore first bust damage vs
supernatural Monsters or effects. One use only.

CHILD OF DIVORCE
Age: 11 Fear: The Dark
Traits: +/-3 Little League Slugger, +/-2 Robotics Club
President, +/-1 Smallest in my Class
Gear: Baseball Bat: Redraw vs humanoid Monster.
Destroyed if you bust when used.

87
River Brook Asylum video feed from the dining hall. We
Modern Day Investigation have also placed EMF monitors and
digital thermometers in the main
Setting: Abandoned Asylum stairwell, the most commonly
PCs: TV Ghost-Hunters reported location of White Lady
Alt Rules: None sightings. The sun is setting, and it
is going to get pretty dark in here.
“Built in 1877, the River Brook Time to switch over to infrared.
Asylum was a state-run facility that Wait… Did you guys just hear
at its peak housed nearly one that? It sounded like crying. Let’s
thousand patients. It was terribly go check it out!”
understaffed and plagued by
mismanagement, horrible living Everybody wants to be on the
conditions, and rumours of secret internet these days. This
experiments. The asylum was scenario takes a group of clever
closed down after a massive fire in entertainers and puts them
1917 that killed the majority of the face to face with the only real
patients and several of the staffers. haunting they have ever
It was briefly used in the 1950s actually encountered.
as the River Brook School for Not every character needs
Orphans & Wayward Boys, but to be an on-air persona though,
closed again under mysterious as others will be needed for
circumstances. Newspapers at the behind-the-scenes crew or to
time said the school was haunted. carry and set up equipment.
For the past 60 years, the The ghost hunters have
abandoned stone building has probably rigged some of their
been picked clean by scavengers own “ghostly” special effects to
and desecrated by vandals, despite catch on camera and may have
the “No Trespassing” signs and coaxed a girlfriend to play the
barbed wire fence that surround part of the “White Lady.”
the site. The Unstoppable Horror that
This is our one opportunity to is summoned when a Joker is
spend the night inside and try to drawn is none other than the
catch the rumoured paranormal White Lady herself, the ghost of
activity on camera. In particular, a former nurse from the
we are hoping to make contact Asylum. She will hunt the
with one of the former nurses, intruders down one by one and
named by the boys of the 1950s carve cryptic warnings in their
school as the White Lady. flesh as punishment for
Our cameras and audio re- disturbing her slumber.
corders have been set up Those who become Shades
throughout the sprawling estate may even have to deal with
and we will be monitoring the becoming her new “patients.”

88
TV SHOW HOST
Age: 27 Fear: Dogs
Traits: +/-3 The Show Must Go On!, +/-2 Strong Sense of
Dramatics, +/-1 Crikey! Look at This Beauty?
Gear: Flashlight: +1 vs pits, trapdoors, ambushes, &
obscured mechanical triggers

PARAPSYCHOLOGY TECHNICIAN
Age: 26 Fear: Dark Magic
Traits: +/-3 Probably Just a Short in the Wiring, +/-2
It's All Science, +/-1 The Truth is Out There
Gear: EKG Meter: May use before entering a room to
determine if the obstacle within is paranormal.

UNFLAPPABLE CAMERA OPERATOR


Age: 39 Fear: Falling
Traits: +/-3 They Never Even Know I'm Here, +/-2 I Can
Get the Shot, +/-1 Steady as a Rock
Gear: Video Camera: +1 to notice small details (zooming
in). Destroyed if you bust in Cave-In/Fall.

ASPIRING YOUNG ACTRESS


Age: 22 Fear: Bugs & Spiders
Traits: +/-3 Fake It Till You Make It, +/-2 It's Not Easy
Being Beautiful, +/-1 Faints on Cue
Gear: Spray Mace: Force living Monster into Rising
Tension. Destroyed if you bust when used.

SMARMY DIRECTOR
Age: 29 Fear: Losing Control
Traits: +/-3 This Will Look Great on Film!, +/-2 We Can Fix
That in Editing, +/-1 Trust me, This is Nothing
Gear: Director's Jacket: Avoid Rising Tension once per Test
when applicable. Destroyed if you bust anyways.

SKEPTICAL COSTUMER
Age: 25 Fear: Actual Ghosts
Traits: +/-3 Overactive Sense of Obligation, +/-2 Handy
with a Seam Ripper, +/-1 That's Just Makeup!
Gear: Sharp Scissors: Redraw vs things that can bleed.
Destroyed if you bust when used.

89
Ghouls Gone Wild been pulled from the wreckage and
Campy Spring Break Splatterfest dragged through the woods. You
wouldn’t have woken up, aching
Setting: Dilapidated Resort and disoriented, bound and gagged
PCs: College Alter Egos in this strange old house.
Alt Rules: Inevitable Horror Your girlfriend wouldn’t have
had her throat slit by the dog-faced
“You could have gone home for two hillbilly, and you wouldn’t have
weeks to lounge around on the screamed in terror while you
couch in your pajamas, meet up watched him eat her face off.
with old friends, and listen to your You wouldn’t be running for
parents pester you about your your lives right now, trying to find
future. You could have travelled to your way out of this nightmare. You
overcrowded beaches filled with wouldn’t be about to die.”
drunk revelers or taken a gambling
cruise down to Mexico. Instead you This scenario seeks to recreate
decided to rough it for week in a classic slasher horror movies by
cabin in the woods of upstate New trapping a group of young
York with a handful of your closest adults in the woods with the
friends and classmates. Carver Clan, a reclusive family
The first few days started off of cannibals, during a terrible
well enough with hiking, fishing, thunderstorm.
and drinking, free from all the Characters in this scenario
distractions of modern life. Cooking should ideally be college-aged
over an open fire by the lake out alternate versions of the
back and skinny dipping under the Players themselves, painted
stars. with as broad a brush as
But then the storm rolled in neccesary and imposing the
without warning, and lightning assumption that they know
struck a nearby tree, which took each other now, even if they
down the power lines as it fell. would not have in reality.
Braving the wind and the rain, you The House itself is a
all decided to make a break for it sprawling mountain resort in
and set off to find a hotel. upstate New York, closed many
None of you should have been years ago, but recently claimed
driving. You should have stayed as a squatting ground by the
put and waited for the storm to Carvers.
pass. Then you wouldn’t have had The action should start with
the accident. the characters tied up or
You wouldn’t have blacked out otherwise restrained in closets
when the van ran off the road and or coffins and possibly split up
down into a ravine. Your within the house. They might
unconscious bodies wouldn’t have be shaking off the effects of

90
drugs and at least some of keeps them around as drug-
them have just witnessed their dazed servants. The Goblin
friend's brutal murder. could be a wicked and stunted
They should not, however, Carver, while a cross-breeding
begin under the assault of a experiment might have created
Monster. The Dealer should the Creature.
allow the characters a chance To keep the tension high
to contemplate escape before and constantly building, this
springing the first obstacle on scenario uses the Inevitable
them. Horrors rule. A new Joker is
While there should be no placed into the Survival Deck
truly supernatural entities as each time it is reshuffled.
obstacles in this scenario, the When a Joker is drawn, the
members of the Carver clan are most dangerous Carver of them
numerous and can be used to all will be summoned; a large,
represent any Monsters from axe-wielding redneck named
the chart. Bubba.
For instance, if the Zombie He is strong, stupid, and in
is drawn, perhaps it is really a serious need of therapy. He will
Carver that has been horribly chase the characters through
burned or disfigured. Or maybe the resort, laughing maniacally,
Grandma Carver is an old shrugging off damage, and
Voodoo priestess who has savaging them all with his
enslaved past trespassers and favorite weapon.

91
“House of Death” be contestants in a life or death
Near-Future Reality TV competition for the amusement
of at-home viewers. The Dealer
Setting: 666 Hangman’s Rd. can decide whether they
PCs: Contestants actually volunteered for the
Alt Rules: No Doom Trackers show or are serving out a form
of capital punisment.
“You cheered as Margo kept her This is a more challenging
home in Divorce Papers, you scenario, thus there are several
tuned in like puppets for the changes to the base rules.
ventriloquist battles of Whose First, characters will not
Voice is it Anyway?, and you pitied begin with starting equipment.
the fools in Throwdown with T. They may be able to pick up
Now the Faux Cable Network pieces of Gear in various rooms
brings you the latest in thrilling of the House as indicated by
reality entertainment, House of the Room Chart.
Death: Season One. Second, there is no need to
Eager volunteers from across track the Doom Rating of the
the globe have come together to House. The winner will be the
compete in this brand new one last person alive and will be
night special event. But they have released from the House in a
only just been told that the house grand finale.
they are trapped inside has been Lastly, dead PCs do not
specifically designed... to kill them! return as normal Shades.
One by one, we will bid the Instead, they become ghosts in
contestants a bloody goodbye and the machine and are able to
watch the remaining few carry on swap a card out with any living
against unknowable horrors and PC who is facing a Test in the
impossible odds. same category as the one that
Will your favorite emerge killed them (Persistent, Monster,
victorious and win a lifetime of free Isolated, or Group).
therapy? Or will they succumb to Due to the competitive
the grim reality that we all wind up nature of this scenario, Players
as worm food in the end. may be tempted to attack each
Find out tonight on the one, the other directy. The Dealer should
only—House of Death!” try to steer Players away from
combat with one another and
This scenario takes the reality focus instead on the constant
TV show craze of the early 21st danger of obstacles.
Century and melds it with the PVP rules are included on
extreme bloodsport cliche of page 34 in the event that the
near-future dystopian fiction. Players insist on actively
All of the Player Characters will working against each other.

92
PERSONAL TRAINER
Age: 24 Fear: Zombies
Traits: +/-3 No Pain, No Gain, +/-2 Abs of Steel, +/-1 Runs
Three Miles Before Breakfast
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

TATTOO ARTIST
Age: 29 Fear: Blades and Scalpels
Traits: +/-3 It Just Hurts for a Little Bit, +/-2 Focus on the
Tiny Details, +/-1 Educated Symbologist
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

MUSIC PRODUCER
Age: 53 Fear: Isolation
Traits: +/-3 I'm Too Young to Die, +/-2 I've Heard Worse,
+/-1 Prescription Anxiety Medication
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

BANK ROBBER
Age: 32 Fear: Being Shot At
Traits: +/-3 Expert Safe Cracker, +/-2 Blends into a Crowd,
+/-1 Always Have an Escape Route
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Age: 26 Fear: Animal Predators
Traits: +/-3 Teacher Voice!, +/-2 Bodily Fluids Don't Bother
Me, +/-1 Arts & Crafts Master
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

CELEBRITY CHEF
Age: 37 Fear: Things with Tentacles
Traits: +/-3 Skilled with a Knife, +/-2 Calm Under Pressure,
+/-1 It's Just Food that's Still Walking
Gear: None. Must discover Gear during play.

93
Hell House Hunters or something. And once you’ve
Government Agents versus Hell been inside one, once you’ve seen
the nightmares I’ve seen, how are
Setting: Modern Day you supposed to walk away and
PCs: Government Agents not fight back?
Alt Rules: Campaign Option I’m not saying we're heroes,
it’s not like we are getting medals
“There are those that say what we for this crap, but just you wait.
do is bull crap, a waste of taxpayer When a House pops up in your
money. You know what’s a waste of neighborhood, and your wives and
taxpayer money? Studying UFOs kids start disappearing, swallowed
for sixty years! The threat ain't out up by the demons of Hell…
in the stars, it is right here in our Well, buddy, you are gonna be
homes and neighborhoods. damn glad that we're around.”
What about our Congressional
Oversight? Freedom of Information This is a present-day campaign
Act? Yeah right. Sure we got more setting that revolves around
questions than we got answers, but government agents fighting off
those answers we do got… you demonic incursions in the form
don’t want to know about ‘em. of Hell Houses. As a campaign,
It ain’t like the movies though. it will require a bit more
We ain’t operating on an unlimited preparation from both the
budget. Heck, we gotta basically Dealer and the Players, and
shoestring this crap together. You custom-made characters.
ever try taking down a Duke of Hell While the Dealer can use
with nothing more than some night the House Deck to generate
vision goggles, industrial fire random rooms and obstacles, it
extinguishers, an M16, and is also perfectly acceptable to
balloons filled with holy water? pre-plan the Houses that the
Didn’t friggin’ think so! We lost Players are going to have to
Shaky Ferguson to that Hell House, tackle each session.
too. Six years on the job and then Each House should grow
poof, swallowed up like he was progressively more challenging
nothing but a sardine. So don’t go and gradually build towards a
think we are living the high life. final showdown.
This ain’t James Bond, buddy. We In this campaign, should the
are government exterminators, Dealer allow it, psychics
nothing more. Cheap, expendable, contracted by the government
and invisible. are a perfectly acceptable
So why do we bother, huh? I character option as well.
dunno. Those damn Houses, they Having such abilities might be
could pop up anywhere. It’s like why they were recruited for the
the advance team for armageddon difficult job in the first place.

94
Murder Hotel Then, without warning, the
Steampunk Escapade lights exploded in a shower of
sparks and plunged your room into
Setting: Chicago World’s Fair utter darkness. Somewhere in the
PCs: Steampunk Guests hotel you heard a woman scream.
Alt. Rules: None Wrapping your dressing gown
tightly around you, you slipped out
“'Esteemed Visitor, into the darkened hall and reunited
You have been hand-selected with the other curious guests.”
to be among the first to experience
the fully automated wonder of This scenario takes place
Hotel Columbia during the World’s during an alternate reality,
Fair in Chicago this summer. This steampunk version of the 1893
historic home has been updated Chicago World’s Fair, officially
with all the latest modern devices known as the World's
including mechanical lifts, steam- Columbian Exhibition. While
powered baths, automated atten- loosely based on purported real
dants, and Tesla’s electric lighting. life events, this scenario is not
The very same Nicholas Tesla who meant to recreate the infamous
is providing all of the illumination murders of that summer, but to
for the Fair itself. be inspired by history and
You are invited to be our guest, create a new adventure.
free of charge, and enjoy all our As a steampunk setting, you
fabulous city has to offer. If you can play fast and loose with
wish to taste the fruits of actual history. The Players may
tomorrow, check-in is on July 4th, want to create time travelers,
prior to dusk. You will be able to tea barons, big game hunters,
watch the fireworks from our grand airship pilots, or even clock-
balcony. work automatons. As long as
Your Humble Host, they fit in a world of Victorian
Rev. Grigori Gray' Steam, these are all perfectly
acceptable.
Clearly, you couldn’t pass up an The characters should all be
opportunity like that! The auto- guests of the Reverend Grigori
mated brass desk clerk had keys Gray at his new, cutting edge
for each of you, drinks were hotel right on the edge of the
dispensed on the balcony by a festivities.
fizzing contraption of gears and In reality, Reverend Grigori
steam, and the fireworks were is a lunatic who has taken it
absolutely breathtaking. The beds upon himself to punish the
in your room were wonderfully soft, wicked of the world and has
and the bath was simply divine. All invited the characters here to
in all, it was the perfect vacation. murder them.

95
The mechanical Obstacles in animals, the Reverend’s loyal
the House should have a assistants, strange clockwork
decidedly overdone feel and creations, or even ghostly
theatrical bent. Creepy music apparitions.
might play when a trap is Mysticism is acceptable and
sprung, steam billows forth as appropriate to the setting, but
the tension rises, lightning actual magic or witchcraft
might strike inside or out, and should be avoided.
gears should clatter as pieces Should an Unstoppable
move into place. Horror be summoned, it will
The Reverend wants his take the form of the Reverend
victims to appreciate their himself in a custom mech-
impending doom and may even anized suit.
take advantage of various He has several versions at
obstacles as an occasion to his disposal, and all such
showcase an individual’s sins to creations will tower over the
the other guests. heads of mere humans.
Whether these sins are Each posseses unique and
factual in relation to the victim deadly weaponry, such as
is entirely irrelevant to the swirling blades, machine guns,
Reverend. Everyone has sinned or arcing Tesla coils. They are
at some point in their life, and also heavy, lumbering, and
thus deserves to be punished. slow moving, which may be a
Living obstacles can take boon to characters being
the form of natural or altered chased through the House.

96
TIME TRAVELER
Age: ??? Fear: Statues
Traits: +/-3 Keep Talking Till a Plan Forms, +/-2 Run, You
Clever Boy, +/-1 Never Get Attached
Gear: Chrono-Thingy: Allow anyone with you to redo one
entire Test per Reel. Destroyed if that Test still busts.

MEDICAL DOCTOR
Age: 26 Fear: Rabid Animals
Traits: +/-3 Don't Get Hysterical, +/-2 Medicine Can Solve
Anything, +/-1 Desensitized to Smells & Viscera
Gear: Doctor's Kit: Eliminate one physical ailment (bust
damage) on other person, one time only.

PROMISCUOUS SHOWGIRL
Age: 19 Fear: Heights
Traits: +/-3 It's All in the Choreography, +/-2 I've Done
Worse for Money, +/-1 Double-Jointed
Gear: Whale Boned Corset: Avoid 1 point of physical
damage from a bust. One use only.

AIRSHIP CAPTAIN
Age: 39 Fear: Fire
Traits: +/-3 An Aura of Command, +/-2 Steady in Battle,
+/-1 I'll Go Down with the Ship if I Have To
Gear: Remington Derringer: Deal one damage vs Monster
at Range (kills most.) No Test Required. 2 Shots Only.

EAGER REPORTER
Age: 23 Fear: Darkness
Traits: +/-3 The Scoop is What Matters, +/-2 Duck & Cover,
+/-1 Mean Left Hook
Gear: Lockpicks: Lock/Unlock any door, cabinet, etc.
Simple Test to use while being chased.

RIVERBOAT GAMBLER
Age: 22 Fear: The Number 13
Traits: +/-3 Fortune Favors the Bold, +/-2 Excellent
Swimmer, +/-1 Go Down Whistling
Gear: Lucky Hat: Avoid Rising Tension for one hand
per Test. Destroyed if you bust anyways.

97
The Master of Of course, that’s when the
this ManoR storm started, no warning at all.
Edwardian Vampire Tale One minute it’s snowing, and the
next it is like a hurricane out there.
Setting: Ravenwolf Manor Don’t worry, we are perfectly safe
PCs: Family and Servants inside. This house has stood for
Alt Rules: Vampires (See below) generations. We’ll just light some
candles, and Cook will keep the tea
“I weren’t the one to tell you this, coming.
could lose my position, rattling on Howling? From Lord Raven-
about his Lordship’s personal wolf’s quarters? No, I am sure that
affairs, but something ain’t right in is just the wind. But you might
this house. There are very strange want to keep that pistol of yours
things going on here. I ain’t seen handy. I don’t expect anyone else
his Lordship much, sleeps all day to turn into a monster, but in this
he does, and wanders around in a house, you can never be too
fit at night. I heard he painted careful.”
strange symbols all over his walls
and floor. But that’s none of my The scenario itself takes place
businesses, now is it? in a large British Great House,
There have been some odd shortly after the conclusion of
parties in this house, you know. WWI. The family has been slow
People coming and going in masks to adapt to the changing times
and robes. I’ve never seen and cannot accept their
anything like tonight though, and declining fortunes.
on Christmas Eve too! We’ve been Lord Ravenwolf, faced with
getting the festivities ready for the inevitable end of his
weeks now, everything had to be family’s standing and riches,
just perfect for Miss Ashley. It isn’t desperately sought salvation
every day a Lady of the House gets by any means possible. Upon
engaged, you know. the advice of the old family
It’s a pity about her dress, barrister, in reality an ancient
though. I don’t think we’ll ever get vampire master, he has agreed
all the blood out. Pity about Mr. to embrace immortality by
Hemsworth too, I guess. Though I becoming a vampire as well.
wouldn’t want a husband who Recently risen from the
sprouted bat wings and tentacles. dead, Lord Ravenwolf’s house
Perfectly understandable why is progressively becoming more
Master Stephan lopped off his deadly with each passing night.
head, even if it does put a rather He has not turned his family or
swift end to the engagement. Just staff into vampires yet, though
imagine what their children would he did convert his daughter’s
have looked like. most recent suitor.

98
Unlike the other scenarios in Any characters who die at
this book, Ravenwolf Manor is the Horror's hand, or at Lord
occupied and fully functional. Ravenwolf’s, can rejoin the
Obstacles encountered should game as Vampire Minions.
either be traps that have been Vampires Players do not use
set by Lord Ravenwolf and his the PVP rules against other
advisor, the results of truely Players, instead when they
dark and mystical occurrences. encounter (or are encountered
If the Madman is drawn, by) a still living character, that
that should be played as Lord character must undergo a
Ravenwolf himself, perhaps Survival Test as normal versus
discovered in the act of the Dealer.
feasting on a guest or servant. Vampires may swap out a
The Evil Woman is his wife who, Dealer’s card in this Test to
while not a vampire, has been help defeat the other Players,
driven insane by the unholy but they may not swap out a
events she has recently card with the Players like
witnessed around the Manor. Shades may normally do.
The Unstoppable Horror in Characters that die in
this scenario is Lord Raven- manners other than being slain
wolf's Vampire Master who now by a Vampire will become
seeks to turn the rest of the Shades as normal and may
family into his slaves and lay help or hinder living characters
claim to their estate. as they wish.

99
LADY ASHLEY
Age: 21 Fear: Creepy Dolls & Children
Traits: +/-3 Nerves of Steel, +/-2 A Little Blood Doesn't
Phase Me, +/-1 Full of Snark & Vinegar
Gear: Small Mirror: Reflect any magical obstacle back on
itself or identify one vampire. One use only.

MASTER STEPHEN
Age: 17 Fear: Pretty Girls' Attentions
Traits: +/-3 Skilled Fencer, +/-2 Why Not Cheat If I Can Get
Away With It, +/-1 Angsty Teenage Stubborness
Gear: Rapier: Redraw vs close Monsters. Discard if use on
a Test that busts.

DILIGENT SCULLERY MAID


Age: 14 Fear: Thunderstorms
Traits: +/-3 Knows All the Secret Places, +/-2 Hard Work
Never Hurt Nobody, +/-1 Don't Be A Sissy
Gear: Bag of Flour: Discard (throw it) to eliminate a
mechanical obstacle or distract a Monster for three rounds.

HARDENED COOK
Age: 39 Fear: Electricity
Traits: +/-3 Get Out of My Kitchen!, +/-2 Strong as an Ox,
+/-1 Anything Heavy is a Weapon
Gear: Stained Apron: Avoid Rising Tension once per Test
when applicable. Destroyed if you still bust.

GRIZZLED OLD GAMES KEEPER


Age: 63 Fear: Being Confined
Traits: +/-3 Not Going Down Without A Fight, +/-2 Skilled
Trapper, +/-1 Taught Your Father How to Hunt
Gear: Hunting Rifle: Redraw vs Monsters at a distance.
Destroyed if used on a Test that busts.

TIMID YOUNG FOOTMAN


Age: 15 Fear: Ghosts & Demons
Traits: +/-3 Prayer Will Protect Me, +/-2 Taller Than Most,
+/-1 Can Stand Still For Ages
Gear: Mother's Bible: Stun any supernatural obstacle for
one round. No Test Needed. Only works once per Monster.

100
The Mysterious Case In this scenario the Player
of the Gangster’s Characters should all be
Treasure elementary school kids in an
A Family Friendly Mystery era of the Dealer’s choosing,
though it is best to set the
Setting: Underground Bunker adventure in a time that the
PCs: School-Aged Children Players will be most familiar
Alt Rules: Meddling Kids with and can role-play well.
The House in this case is an
Everybody knows you aren’t old underground shelter that
supposed to go near the old house was at one point used by
in the woods next to the criminal elements and has been
elementary school. But there aren’t rediscovered by the characters.
any teachers watching today. It is This scenario makes use of
Saturday, and your friend, Tommy the Meddling Kids option from
Kessler, has gone missing. Chapter 3. Damage is not fatal,
He said he was going to the there are no Horrors, and a
house to look for hidden treasure. Joker is shuffled into the House
He said he saw some gangsters Deck at the beginning of each
hiding it there in the middle of the Reel to serve as a Clue.
night. Tommy tends to lie a lot. The obstacles uncovered
The house itself isn't anything can be traps left behind by
special. Just three empty rooms previous tenants, the effects of
and a missing front door. There are ancient wiring and broken
old newspapers on the floor and plumbing, or pranks set up by
squirrel nests in the cabinets. the missing class clown,
There is a trap door for an old coal Tommy.
chute in the floor, but nobody has It is also suggested that the
ever been able to open it. characters begin without Fears.
Evidently Tommy did, though. The first time a character takes
His jacket is tossed in the corner damage from a bust, the
and the trapdoor is open, creating obstacle that damaged them
a gaping hole in the floor. You becomes their Fear.
shout down into the hole for him to When a Clue Joker is
stop messing around, but there is resolved, the characters have
no answer. uncovered part of the ruse by
Down the old rickety staircase Tommy, or perhaps a piece of
you go, one by one, into the cellar. the hidden treasure in the
Poking around you don’t find bunker. Once a number of Clues
Tommy, the gangsters, or any sort equal to the total Players have
of treasure. Just old stone walls been found, the Players have
and three tunnels leading further found Tommy and completed
into the darkness. the adventure.

101
BOOKWORM
Age: 11 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 Quiet as a Mouse,
+/-1 I Read a Book on This!
Gear: Backpack: Avoid Rising Tension for one hand per
Test when running away or stuck. Destroyed on a bust.

LITTLE LEAGUE CHAMP


Age: 10 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 Louisville Slugger,
+/-1 Spring Training was Harder than This!
Gear: Baseball Bat: Redraw vs humanoid Monster.
Destroyed on a bust.

MAGICIAN IN TRAINING
Age: 11 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 What's This Up my Sleeve?,
+/-1 Now You See Me, Now You Don't
Gear: Frog in Pocket: Discard to escape/avoid damage
from a single Monster. May be used to negate a bust.

KID INVESTIGATOR
Age: 8 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 I Can Sorta Read Minds,
+/-1 Follow the Clues!
Gear: Flashlight: Blind Monster to cause Rising Tension on
the Dealer. 3 uses only.

KARATE KID
Age: 10 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 Black Belt Focus,
+/-1 I Can Break Boards!
Gear: Ninja Stars: +1 total on ranged attack vs Monster.
3 uses only.

JUNIOR INVENTOR
Age: 10 Fear: tbd
Traits: +/-3 None, +/-2 Squeezes into Tight Spaces,
+/-1 I Can Fix Anything!
Gear: Multi-tool: Redraw on tinkering/mechanical
challenges. Destroyed on a bust.

102
VIP CHARACTERS
The following characters have These can be placed, as is,
been designed in collaboration into practically any scenario. If
with the valued patrons of you want to simply grab a
Purgatory House. They should character and start playing with
serve as good examples of the no need to transfer details to a
many possibilities available in new character sheet, this is the
character creation. way to do it.

103
104
105
106
This Character Sheet may be freely copied for personal use.
Copies can also be found at our website: www.wicked-clever.com