This has been a busy year here at the Red Room, with six books published by Postmortem Studios – Orpheum Lofts, The Memorial, The Sisters of the Seven Sins, Welcome to St. Cloud, Postcards from Avalidad and As Above, So Below -, a few interviews to independent role-playing game designers (Brian Shutter, Gavriel Quiroga, Liam Thompson, Venger Satanis, James ‘Grim’ Desborough and Chris Miller) as well as some other assorted articles, including the one about Giallo in Alarms and Journeys magazine issue 10. And next year may be even busier! Right now I have four new books already written and waiting for layout: the upcoming Postcards Companion an alternative setting location for Postcards from Avalidad and two Double Feature horror scenarios.
The Double Features are intended to emulate the Grindhouse phenomenon of the 1970s in a role-playing framework. There are now four of those short scenarios, prepared to be paired up in two volumes:
Double Feature Vol. 1
Sexual Holocaust: The fictional town of Hammettville, New York, is shaken by a series of gruesome and mysterious murders. The victim are all members of a S&M private club.
Brides of the Vampire: An anthology of plot hooks, set in different time periods, introduced along one character’s story, an old Eastern European vampire.
Double Feature Vol. 2
The Devil’s Country: A story within a story scenario about a movie cast and crew about to shoot a spaghetti western. Players start out as movie industry people, later slipping into their film characters in a western town situated outside our own reality.
Resort of the Dead: A George Romero/ J. G. Ballard crossover about a Zombie Apocalypse set in a formerly luxurious – but now decaying – summer resort in Portugal, during the 1980s.
Cards on the Table (working title): This is a mini-setting for Postcards from Avalidad. It adds the city of Lisbon, Portugal’s capital, to the Avalidad game world. Lisbon of the near-future is a new entry in the infamous list of gambling and vice cities of the world, such as Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Macao, Monaco and Singapore. There are several tie-ins to the original storyline through factions in the core book and plot hooks which require the characters to travel to the Iberian city. There’s also enough information to make Lisbon an alternative location for an Avalidad on-going plot.
Then there’s Nouveaupunk: Chronicles of the Belle Époque, the second campaign setting for James ‘Grim’ Desborough’s retroclone role-playing game *Punk. This one is still unfinished, but it will probably by completed early next year. And what is it about? Well, it takes place in the time period known as Belle Époque, dated between the early 1870s and 1914, at the beginning of World War I. It is neither the right time nor the right mood for Steampunk or Dieselpunk, but it is the era of Art Nouveau, an international style of art and architecture which had particular influence in the decorative arts. As it also uses the *Punk system, we called it Nouveaupunk.
This is where Umberto Eco’s Simone Simonini crosses paths with Jacques Tardi’s Adèle Blanc-Sec, Edgar Allan Poe’s Chevalier Auguste Dupin and Maurice Leblanc’s Arsène Lupin, amidst anarchist bombings, the echoes of the Dreyfus affair, the catastrophic side effects of secrets societies conspiring in the shadows and the mysterious results of experiences conducted by mad geniuses. Not quite pulp, not quite historical… but Nouveaupunk. Among the main inspirations for Chronicles of the Belle Époque there’s The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec, a series of mildly Lovecraftian French graphic novels of the 1970s, by Jacques Tardi (also the 2010 movie adaptation by Luc Besson), Umberto Eco’s The Prague Cemetery (2010) and Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Rogêt and The Purloined Letter, featuring gentleman detective Auguste Dupin.
And there are still other plans… After finishing Chronicles of the Belle Époque I’ll move to an Atompunk setting, partly inspired by Grim Jim’s wonderfully insane ’45 – Psychobilly Retropocalypse. Already on the works is a dark, low-fantasy, high-debauchery campaign setting co-written by myself and Sílvia Clemente. Other partnerships may happen in the future, but that obviously relies on other people’s availability so I can’t add much about it. I’ve been thinking about a few more projects, but it’s too early to mention them.
After five months and twelve play sessions, the first season of Welcome to St. Cloud came to a timely ending yesterday, on Halloween night. I’m pleased to report that, after all that time, we’ve barely scratched the surface of St. Cloud’s mysteries
SPOILER ALERT: even though no two playthroughs should be alike, the report includes information best kept hidden from players.
But before I get into the scenario’s events, the cast should first be listed: Silvia Clemente played Jessica Bishop, the local psychologist; Iola Yolska was Cynthia, the Woodrows (the most powerful family in town) youngest child; Ana Miguéns took the role of Gary McKay, a drunken journalist too curious for his own good; Manuel Sousa starred as Peter Anderson, son of Jim Anderson, St. Cloud’s clinic owner, he himself a doctor, recently returned to his hometown from New York. Pedro Franco joined us later in the role of Jean-Michel Dubois, a Canadian private detective.
We followed the main plotline for this scenario, (Not) Wrapped in Plastic, which means that a substantial part of the events revolved around the disappearance of Lucy, the Anderson couple youngest daughter and Peter’s sister. The first season ended with part of the mystery behind Lucy’s disappearance – and subsequent murder – solved. But if this was the driving storyline, many other things happened in parallel.
The story kicked off days before Peter Anderson and Patricia Halley’s engagement party, during which there was a blackout, and Lucy was kidnapped from the Northern Hotel, where the party was taking place. The common element between the characters was, at first, the clinic: Peter was preparing to start his job, Jessica had been practising there for a short time and Cynthia, in constant conflict with her parents since returning home from college, had started therapy. Gary McKay has, for the moment, little or no relation to the others, but shortly after this introduction, a strange event, witnessed by all, created a link between the four: they found a man wandering about Lynch Bay’s beach. The man appeared to be around 30 years old and was dressed strangely in a 1970s style. McKay recognised him as Robert Carpenter Fogg, who had mysteriously disappeared since the late 1970s and, during the following days, Cynthia took him under her wing, trying to help him unravel the enigma, with McKay’s help.
Always a believer in a supernatural explanation, Cynthia had in Peter a strong opponent: the doctor will remain an advocate of a rational explanation for what happened. Romance almost blossomed between Cynthia and Robert. Or it did, in fact blossom, but she never wanted to talk much about it. But it was not only Robert who led Cynthia to suspect supernatural manifestations in town. During her first days in St. Cloud she had an encounter with the Blue Dog and visions about an enigmatic Tibetan hermit. Noah, the old Carpenter Fogg mansion’s gardener, reassured her about this case: the Blue Dog is a benign entity as well as the hermit. On the other hand, Robert’s recurrent indispositions, during which he vomited absurd amounts of water (which proved to be salty), worried her.
Meanwhile, another incident aroused the group’s interest: while working at the family business (Halley’s Department Store), Patricia found a video surveillance camera in the women’s dressing room. Aided by the player characters, Patricia investigated the case. They eventually discovered that it was her own father, John, who installed the device and collected videos of customers changing clothes. The case was not publicised, but after the shock of being confronted with his guilt John became distraught. Shortly afterwards all memories of what happened were erased from the his memory, while a strange joy and a will to sing the standards overcame the Halley patriarch. Luckily, his voice is wonderful, he sounds a lot like Sinatra.
Peter, always the rationalist of the group, later had his first real shock while confronting the mysteries of St. Cloud: his middle sister Donna was behaving strangely and, at some point, it became clear that her mind was – or seemed to be – somehow controlled by Linda Fox, a high school girl who has a crush on Peter. Though believing in drugs rather than spiritual possession, he still suspected Linda’s involvement in Lucy’s kidnap and murder.
While passing through St. Cloud’s Carnival, the supernatural once again manifested itself to the characters through Zoltar, the fortune-telling machine. In addition to advising Cynthia not to enter a certain house (the mansion adjoining Robert’s home, currently owned by an eccentric writer, Ronald Macey) and advising Jessica to be cautious around “men in black”. Zoltar also suggested that Donna was really being possessed by Linda.
The supernatural definitely entered the characters’ lives during a hunting trip organized by Quincy Forbes, manager of the Woodrow sawmill, during which Stan Keller, Quincy’s best friend, vanished. Stan, who had fallen through a hole in the ground, was eventually found, but it was already late in the evening. Now, everyone knows that it is not a good idea to stay overnight in St. Cloud’s woods! When they tried to return home, they got lost in darkness and were stricken with a sudden fear of the dark. They were saved by the intervention of Jules Montaigne, a Native American deputy, whose closeness to the woods is well known.
Then the engagement party raised the weirdness level in town. The storm that raged over St. Cloud during the day culminated in a blackout. At that time someone kidnapped Lucy. As usual, whenever something strange happens, suspicion falls on the Nielsen, a family of inbreds who reside at the foot of Frost Peak. Peter, however, had his own suspicions (almost certainties): for him the involvement of Linda Fox and Ted Woodrow – Cynthia’s brother and the doctor’s rival since high school days – will never be questioned. In the days that followed, packages with Lucy’s severed appendages (two fingers, one toe and an ear) were left at the Anderson’s porch, accompanied by ransom notes. The notes were vague enough, they were only a ruse, nobody was expecting the ransom to be paid and the girl was already dead.
Lucy’s disappearance became the centre of attention from here on, but other enigmas, most of them already mentioned, got mixed up with the main investigation. And no matter how much Peter insisted on rationalising the facts, the inexplicable kept happening, as Lucy’s image started to disappear from all the existing photos, and even the memory of the young girl threatened to fade from the minds of locals. Peter’s insistence on retaining memories of his sister seemed to fight the trend and, after young Anderson’s death was proven, suddenly all the pictures returned to normal and the St. Cloudians remembered the young girl once again.
Cynthia and Jessica continued to try and explore the supernatural angle and brought psychic Dr Clarence Meadows to town. The psychic died of cardiac arrest when he tried to give a spiritual reading in Peter’s sisters’ bedroom. On the rational side, Colonel Black’s theory that most of the strange happenings in St. Cloud are due to the introduction of hallucinogenic drugs into the town’s water supply by an outsider, Glenn Cleveland, a drug dealer and leader of a pseudo-mystical cult, was frequently recalled. Although various tests made to the water (and also blood tests) indicated that the theory was misleading, some believed that the drugs were just innovative and difficult to detect.
Meanwhile, Walter Fox took the unusual step of hiring a private detective to investigate the case. Peter believed that hiring Canadian Jean-Michel Dubois was nothing more than a ploy to cover up the involvement of Walter’s daughter, Linda. But the doctor was wrong, Walter is Lucy’s real father, the fruit of an affair, one of Angie Anderson’s many extramarital relationships. Detective Dubois himself was quickly added to Angie’s conquests shortly after his arrival in town. The Canadian had a sexually prolific encounter, but nothing came out of it from an investigative point of view. Dubois was also keen in investigating the Glenn Cleveland angle, but by combing through the outsider’s cabin in the woods he concluded that there was little going on there, other than raves, orgies and drug abuse.
Jessica and Dubois visited the residence of horror novel writer Ronald Macey when he left home to be interviewed by local DJ, Jane Webber. Macey had joined the list of suspects for his eccentric behaviour, but also because Gary McKay, who once had an affair with Ronald’s late wife, Susan, believes the writer killed his wife. Cynthia, who had always suspected Ronald, followed Zoltar’s lead and refrained from visiting the house. Luckily for her, because both Jessica and Dubois found a scene worthy of a horror film: trapped by a black, dense substance that covered the outside of the house as soon as they entered, they glimpsed bizarre scenes inside: among other unpleasant surprises, they came across Susan’s mummified corpse and Gary McKay hanging in the attic. When they come out of the house all seemed to have been the result of an illusion. The fact that Gary was alive proved that it had been so. However, Gary himself began to doubt his own sanity when he was visited by Susan, who claimed to have staged her own death, and promised to reveal secrets about the town she has been investigating for the last decade.
And so we arrive at the outcome, having skipped a lot of details in the way. After Lucy’s memorial service, events precipitated:
Robert Carpenter Fogg continued to suffer his salty water vomiting events and Cynthia accompanied him to the Carpenter Fogg mansion, worried about his health. Jessica and Dubois visited her later and had an encounter with the mysterious Blue Dog, an “old friend” of young Woodrow. This time, as they followed the dog, the two found themselves in a strange landscape, a mountain where a stream runs from the foothills to the summit, and where a hermit waited for them with binoculars that allowed them to see beyond the illusions surrounding reality. Peering through the binoculars, Dubois saw indistinct figures in the midst of a pagan ritual, raping, killing and mutilating a young blonde girl.
The landscape faded soon after, and Dubois and Jessica chatted with Cynthia about what happened. During their conversation, Robert left the house unannounced. Minutes later he was seen by Peter – who had given a ride to Lynch Bay to a newly-arrived small circus troupe of four weird people: Rasputin, Rachid, Madame Margaux and the Piccolo Diavolo – undressing and entering the water. Several fishermen tried to rescue Robert, but achieved nothing, he had already disappeared. Peter warned Cynthia about it. Later she found a message left alongside Robert’s clothes: “I’m sorry but I can’t stay. I’m going back home. Goodbye!” Cynthia considered following him ‘home’, but after a few drinks in the company of Gary McKay she gave up the suicidal plan.
Angie, who harassed Dubois again during the funeral, waited for him for a second meeting at the Xanadu Motel, and confessed that she was the one to blame for her daughter’s death. Keeping onion rings in his coat pocket could, somehow explain the detective’s popularity among women… The detective tried to persuade her to point out other culprits, but Angie talked only about the cult led by Glenn Cleveland and, feeling unwell, entered the toilet, where she attempted suicide again.
Peter confronted Dubois about what happened in the motal, mostly interested in how involved his mother was in Lucy’s murder. Angie was, in meantime, hospitalized in Everett. Sheriff Steele, distraught and even thinking about resigning from his post, proposed to Peter that all this affair should be covered up and forgotten. Peter, until then a fierce critic of Steele’s work, comforted the law officer and urged him to keep up the good work.
Meanwhile Reverend Sanders, in desperation, seeks out Jessica: he claimed to be being pursued by a circus troupe because of a crime committed in Europe, two decades earlier. Sanders, with whom Jessica had a kind of open relationship, asked the psychologist for help and took refuge in her basement. He later handed her a strange shopping list, which suggested the practice of magical rituals.
Dubois, contacted Fox to tell him about the outcome of the case, and was hired by the businessman for a new mission: to find Glenn Cleveland. After saying goodbye to Jessica, Dubois left St. Cloud in search of the drug dealer. Peter also left town in the company of his fiancée, Patricia, and his sister Donna. His plan, to spend a season in New York and then get married in Las Vegas, before returning to St. Cloud to take over the clinic.
WELCOME TO ST. CLOUD CAN BE PURCHASED HERE
In Avalidad there are urban legends about Agartha, an underground town inhabited by mutants and other outcasts. It is not a myth. As Above so Below is an adventure for the Postcards from Avalidad game setting. It includes statistics for Actual F*cking Monsters and *Punk, but usable with any system. Available now from DrivethruRPG and Postmortem Studios.*
*Print version from Lulu.com will also be available soon
A Nightmare Railroad for four players and one Game Master, based on ideas taken from the Giallo Trilogy, Welcome to St. Cloud and Postcards from Avalidad by Miguel Ribeiro, published by Postmortem Studios.
[PHOTOS BY SÍLVIA CLEMENTE]
This Old House is tribute to the following films: Evil Dead, Gothic, Poltergeist, Dead Alive aka Braindead, The Exorcist, Ghoulies, A Chinese Ghost Story and, of course, The House franchise. Massive thank you to House Of Hell, the Fighting Fantasy game book by Steve Jackson, published by Puffin Books.
Readers beware: the following contains some brutal description, scenes of violence and other horror elements some readers may find disturbing.
To get hold of these books and much more content Look out for “Grim Jim” Desborough in the following places:
Printed books can be found directly on James Desborough’s author’s page at Lulu.com, offering all manner of print options, Or Drivethrurpg if you want pdf. To buy them direct from James: Post-mort.com
Don’t worry if you don’t have four players, the game master can play the other characters. The only person who needs to read this text is the person running it. If you’re playing this tale of horror, I beg you: read no more. You will ruin all the fun and excitement!
The only way to escape the house is to cure it of its ills. Not every spirit within these walls wants to be here. They long to be freed from the creatures that inhabit this abode. These being can be anything you wish and they can also conjure up all sorts of events. Some may be real, others pure illusion. As quickly as an event can happen it can end.
The element surprise is your friend:
– There can be houses around, however entering those will only lead you back to the House.
– There are no neighbours.
– There are no telephones.
– Mobiles don’t get reception here.
– Characters are completely cut off.
This house has many secrets, you must discover them. The players can be part of its past, present or future. Perhaps they regress into the house’s past. Are they haunted or perhaps just suffering from déjà vu as soon as they enter the door? You can roll on the random possession table below. You can set the house up in any time period you wish. Upon entering the property the players get a feeling of peace and contentment, which may well soon turn into dread and fear.
In The Beginning
One of the players is particularly sensitive as to what is going on with this house. It could have been part of the reason drawn to it in the first place. Trying to ignore these feelings makes them more intense towards what mysterious are locked inside:
• A little bit of déjà vu.
• Shivers, tingles, gooseflesh.
• A lot of small insects crawling about.
• Taps shooting out gunk, goo, and brown slime.
• Pictures’ eyes moving.
• Creaking, low murmurs, groans.
• Thuds, bumps.
• The insects start to swarm and become more frequent.
More strange occurrences:
• Music playing for no reason.
• Lights turning on / off.
• Feelings of being watched.
• Power cut(s).
• Louder Bangs, Crashes and slams.
• Fissures and cracks in walls.
• Bleeding portraits.
Once entering the grounds, their only mission is to escape its prison. Secrets will come to light, the main one being: it’s been the ruin of many. The house exists in its own nexus; in a trans-dimensional state. This is due to incomplete rituals of magic, taken place over the years. Again, evidence for this will become apparent.
Knocking sounds, screams, and sensations of hot and cold, ancient bones and skeletons, symbols hidden within the walls or, perhaps, certain decorations.
Their wards are in certain rooms of the property. These rooms are quiet. A successful Spirit check will pick up on these signs and portents that have been placed.
When it comes to the inhabitants of this property, you have no real idea where are the people. A handwritten note is the only sign that anyone other the characters have been here. Of course there’s food: perhaps all the ingredients for various meals or a well-stocked freezer of delectable cuisine has been provided. So, at least, they won’t starve to death during their visit.
Manifestations Table (roll 1d8):
1. Shadows crawl all over the ceiling; they become a beast with glowing eyes issuing out the following words: “Be gone you are unclean. Are you ready for your cleansing?” Creatures dripping with buckets of blood throw them upon the players.
2. Skeletons with rotting flesh appear dancing and swinging to the melody of Cocoa Cabanas. The vocals and the music are a distorted reminiscent of that of The Misfits. The skeletons seem to multiply.
3. The first line of Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel is repeated over and over. The vocal gets faster and slower, doors slam in time. After 30 seconds this fades. The word “Friend” issues a rumbling and you hear booming knocks from the door. The door slams and footsteps rush forward. You hear screaming sounds.
4. Violent apparitions fill the house, shadows from depicting terrible events. You can hear soldiers marching. Nothing visible, but bombs start falling. The house starts burning. This lasts for hardly any time and then falls silent ‘till they hear knocking once more.
5. Strangers call round at inopportune moments. These are incarnations of the spirits.
6. Strange heads float around engulfed in mystical flame speaking in foreign tongues.
7. Strange creatures start to surround the house. They can appear in various forms, sometimes human, sometimes animal.
8. Zombie outbreak. The undead can take control of all objects. Their forms and shapes are grotesque. Flesh hangs off their bones. Even when destroyed these beings’ innards can reach out to consume. They are also capable of intercourse and can give birth.
DURING THE GAME
The phone may ring. When this happens, it triggers one of the following:
1. An attacking spirit.
2. An attacking spirit
4. Ornaments flying about.
5. Creatures run through walls.
6. Insane creatures attack.
7. Innocent spirits scream for the light.
8. Insect infestation.
9. Zombies rise from the garden.
10. Ghostly fires.
Go all out and include undead cultists rising from the depths. Some can be illusion, some can be real. This is a house of horror. Corpses buried in the walls, smoke and stench, even trees outside may be able to drive your players into fits of despair and outrage, or give the impression that’s what is going on. Electrical appliances may have a will of their own here. Kettles whistling, exploding, unexplained fires from electrical sockets seem to start for no good reason. The power is located in the garage, but even without the fuses this place is still very much alive. You must ensure the horror, while the characters fight the enemy and do their best to survive this ghastly place.
They will discover more about the house’s past, present and future and, eventually, may be allowed to leave, or will just become another one of its victims. Utilise these ideas as you see fit.
Perhaps during the day the signs and sensations are not quite as strong. You could have animal bones scattered in certain areas, or let the characters uncover something in the garden, such as human skull with a large hole in it, another turning up later, that’s been smashed in half, perhaps a burial chamber within the walls of one of three buildings.
What is This Place?
The house, as I imagine it, it’s quite average: a few rooms upstairs, front back garden (overgrown). All in all, looks just like a vacant place that is just need of some care and attention. You can make it as large as you wish. Just remember the more rooms it has, the more you have to include. It’s possible that this could be just a one-shot or an on-going saga. For a never-ending story, as one player dies, another comes on to the familiar scene. Backgrounds are important for this reason. A spouse, a relative, perhaps a friend who knows they were going there, and haven’t heard from them, so they come looking.
What will they find?
Just another well stocked house filled with darkness, endlessly existing with its hideous secrets. Note that running away from the house is impossible. Players always find themselves returning to it, until the mysteries have all been solved. This is due to a curse that was placed upon it long ago. Clues to this will become apparent as long as players investigation checks are all good.
Why would anyone want to visit an abandoned old house?
1. An inheritance: you have been bequeathed this property by a dead relative; it needs a lot of cleaning up.
2. Tempted by greed: you have heard rumours of treasures buried here.
3. A storm beats down, the bridge is out: This is the nearest place to shelter. Dare you enter?
4. Simply curious: it’s as if you’re compelled by an urge to investigate.
5. Cause for concern: After not hearing from a relative/ friend for some time you are eager to find out what’s wrong. The address you have is for this place.
6. A cry for help: upon gazing at an old picture you hear a voice in your head, crying for salvation. You look to a house across the street and it’s exactly the same as the one in the picture. You hear the voice again, this time coming from the house.
7. Where did everybody go? You have been summoned to an address, unfortunately it looks nobody is there.
8. Meet the neighbours: having just moved into the neighbourhood, an invitation comes to your door; there is to be a party to welcome you. The address for the gathering is here.
9. House sitting: bills have started piling up and earning some extra cash is a priority. A job offer comes up; just stay a week until the owners come back, $150.00 for each of you and all expenses reimbursed. You must keep receipts for anything you purchase. You will need to stock the fridge. The whole house is yours to mind for seven days.
10. A simple bet that you lost: one night, that’s all. Just one night? I dare you!
Characters are relatively normal people with the following attributes:
Mind – Knowlege
Body – Physical
Spirit – Inner self
Mask – Profession
You can pick what you like here. The idea is your players are just average folks off the street.
The house is quite large, though dilapidated. A ragged looking driveway with old withered trees on either side leads up to the building. There is a garage attached to the house and two other out buildings. The garage appears empty but there is a hidden library, if investigated properly.
The kitchen is plain ordinary. There is a note welcoming you, and apologies why hosts aren’t there. One of the drawers contains various keys. Nothing indicates what opens what. One is of large size; one is of a small size.
The garage contains various rusted garden tools. A lawn mower, a chain saw and various other implements (e.g. hoe, rake, shears and a hedge trimmer).
One of the out buildings has a strong padlocked gate. Players can attempt to break it. They will find keys if they search the other out building, the largest. In this one, everything is rusted, dusty and stinks of damp. There is, however, a trap door bolted and tough to break. This is located under a heavy filing cabinet. If players don’t investigate thoroughly they may hear a knocking, scraping sound, like nails on a board. This sound increases in its intensity. Characters may well hear voices in the walls, see shadows in the upstairs windows.
What’s in this place?
Use the d100 table. You can flip these around at your leisure. It gives you an idea of what you could include:
1. Ancient photographs.
2. An old book of magical rituals.
3. Animal Bones.
6. Letters of correspondence that include information on the player characters.
7. A locked chest with a symbol upon it. One of the players might recognise it.
8. A map. An X marks a spot in the garden
9-15. A silver skeleton key.
16-21. Apparitions; roll on the d10 Possession table.
22-25. An ancient religious symbol that will stop the effect of possession for 1d4 rounds.
26-32. A cauldron of awful things that look as if they’ve been there for years.
33-44. Various id’s and passports.
45-55. A voodoo doll.
56-65. A book of ancient verses in Aramaic.
66-76. Creatures that move and twist, screaming vengeance.
77-87. Old photographs of Native Americans.
88-90. A set of ancient African swords and blow-guns.
91-95 Petrol for the mower in the out building.
96-99. Shot and shells
00. Pictures of the players and their families, with their faces scrawled out in red and black crosses.
An ancient text is also hidden if the players investigate further, one clearly written in blood. REVENGE!
They may be tempted to destroy the house. Attempts to do this will always end in disaster. It makes spirits possess it stronger. Characters can attempt to resist the entities by passing spirit checks. If those checks fail, they must roll on a d10 table. Possessions last for minimum of d4 rounds and the severity depend on the length of the possession. At the end of each possession the characters will not be aware anything has happened.
1. You start to fly around the room screaming “Get Out”.
2. You vomit flies profusely.
3. Your eyes roll back into their sockets, your face turns into that of a ravenous beast and you laugh manically.
4. You start speaking in an ancient language. Lights flicker, doors crash and bang.
5. Voices fill your mind and you have vivid hallucinations of sacrifice and bloodshed.
6. You resort back to childhood, screaming for your parents.
7. You levitate outside grabbing the key and opening the door.
8. You scream at the top of your lungs: “Mercy don’t lock the children, please, not the children!”
9. Panicky and frightened, you hide and whimper, as blood starts pouring from your nose and mouth.
10. You’re copiously sick, bile seems to just flow out of your mouth, and you start to choke.
Using the old house in the Quintet of Horrors presented by Miguel Ribeiro:
1. Postmortem Giallo: Orpheum Lofts: The Lofts was a magnificently large apartment block, luxurious and expensive owned by the notorious Paul Abramowitz. The Old House has been in the Abramowitz family for generations. It’s been left to go to ruin. Paul initially got hold of the house through his deceased father’s inheritance. It’s located a few miles from Orpheum Lofts and relatively secluded. He has been known to encourage local down-and-outs to stay there, offering carefully chosen homeless folks to stay in the Old House, knowing full well it will take the victims for its own. If you wanted to you could have all intensity locked inside one apartment within the Loft themselves. A doorway could simply appear that seems to be a never-ending corridor with doors on either side, each one unable to open. Then suddenly one door does and you are in what appears to be another apartment. The Sound of Silence by Simon Garfunkel begins to play.
2. Postmortem Giallo: The Memorial: a hospital of mystery intrigue. The house could be located in the grounds, or in a secluded area not to far away. However upon entry to The House the restless spirits dwelling within play havoc on the minds of your players. It’s as if nothing exists apart from the house. Otherwise, when you read the VIP lounge section you can find plenty of people who could have at one point owned/ inherited the House. Perhaps the House could have been used for respite care, a place where they “rehabilitated” patients. Those who have since (according to the records) been relocated, are now living independent lives. The reality is they have not. They have been buried in the murky depths.
3: Postmortem Giallo: The Sisters of the Seven Sins: the House is located near the covenant. There are various rumours that surround who actually own the property. This has caused a bit of feud. In order to quell this feud, Father Cabyde bought the property and uses it for his own amusement.
4. Welcome to St Cloud: the house could be just another cabin in the woods. Also, in St Cloud you will come across inbred with some peculiar appetites. They would make a great addition to The House. There’s plenty of wilderness where the House could be found just waiting to be discovered.
5: Postcards from Avalidad: in Postcards you will meet the Apostles of Pain; these beings (or the followers) would be ideal to include in the house. The house could make an excellent nightclub or if you wanted to include in the suburbs, as an urban legend that needs investigating; that would also work. Perhaps somebody from a corporation is on the hunt for an artefact they believe it’s located somewhere in the House. When using The House in the Postcards from Avalidad just be ware, the tech level can be rather high. In order to keep The House ideas on a low level of tech bring in malfunctions. The supernatural that dwell produce energy that interferes with the technology aspects those players may have. The House and its inhabitants can only be defeated by the player’s wits, intelligence and cunning.
Creatures (roll d8):
3. Wild gang of biker clowns
5. Maniacal Cannibals
6. Homicidal Inbred loons (with or without chainsaws)
7. Black Pig-faced bipeds
8. Two-headed obese ogres
[All of these can just be apparitions or physical entities]
Defending yourself (roll d12):
1. Candle sticks d4
2. Heavy book d4
3. Fire Poker d4
4. Kitchen knife small d4
5. Large kitchen knife d4+2
6. Garden tools d4-d6
7. Old wood axe d6
8. Revolver d6
9. Crossbow short d6
10. Rifle d8
11. Hedge trimmer d8
12. Chainsaw d12
Supernatural Damage (roll d12)
1. Madness induced, roll d6
2. Dribbling and frothing you can’t act for d4 rounds
3-4. you are in the grip of full blown hysterics D6 rounds
5-6. Everywhere you look you see dead people
7-8 Panic Ensues
9. Begging for mercy
10-12. Induces a possession
A few days ago I was interviewed by DM Bluddworth for his YouTube Channel Unscripted & Unchained RPG Review. We talked about my background as a role-playing gamer and my recent experience of publishing my own scenarios through Postmortem Studios. You can check out the interview here:
John Polack did a video overview of Postmortem Studios Giallo trilogy, Welcome to St. Cloud and Postcards from Avalidad for his Youtube channel Mr. Mean Speaks! Check it out!
A single drop of blood fell in the exact centre of the lake. It opened a wound in the crystalline waters. The wound rippled outwards in slow undulating cries of silent pain. Silence. The wound bled and the pond was dark red. An unborn child fell into the thick liquid, and drowned. He raised the weapon and shot the Asian man once, twice. He watched the man die at his feet. The dead lover smiled and lulled herself to quiet peace and forgetfulness. The blood was in his hands. A single droplet fell and hit the cold water. A sudden, blinding light filled all space around him. It wasn’t harsh and painful though, it was warm, comforting, loving. His light. He woke up and his conscious self was suddenly aware of all the small noises surrounding him. It took him a few seconds to place himself. He took a deep breath and tried to ignore the throbbing pain that still numbed his senses.
He was in Avalidad. Aziz opened his eyes and surveyed his surroundings. His belongings were stacked away on a small table in the corner. He got up from the bed, his body completely sore, as if he had been severely beaten over and over again, and walked with some difficulty across the small room.
Aziz quickly found what he was looking for. He picked up a small blue object and held it inside his closed hand. After the biocomputer read his vital signs, it turned on and the image of a green-eyed blonde woman appeared next to him.
– Hello. Finally. What has been happening since yesterday? I have been able to re-establish my up-link to the communications satellite; I have already received… twelve messages from ‘you-know-who’ asking me what has been going on. It is 12.20 now. Please explain…
He stared at the image of a woman talking in front of him, slightly overwhelmed by the personal assistant’s verbal assault. He blinked, and gestured her to wait.
– Please, Nastassja, more slowly, I am still not well.
– I understand. Would you like me to open a communications channel now?
– No, not now, I’m going home. Inform ZoneSec of my present location and relay my audio and visual memories of what happened this last day. Here is the data.
He inserted the small crystalline object into an opening on his biocomputer’s side.
– Relay the data into to my office’s mainframe and to ZoneSec for analysis. Download all the information on the current process. Start a cross-reference of this data with the already gathered information.
– Accessing. Starting download. Estimating time for download and cross-reference. Five hours.
He put down the biocomputer, searched his bag for PainAways and took two. Grimacing from the pain he felt from every movement, he changed back into his own clothes, and hoped the painkillers would work fast.
– Transmission arrived. Sender: Kuan Peng.
His expression became much more serious, and he almost jumped towards his biocomputer, but was stopped by his sore muscles.
– Read it.
– Opening transmission. Text message “Ask me.” End of message.
– Reply. Text. Begin message. “This is more serious than you had told me?” End message. Send.
He paced around the small room and his expression grew more sombre. He glanced nervously to his Personal Assistant’s augmented reality image, anticipating and interrupting her words.
– Read it.
– Opening transmission. Text message. “Yes”. End of message.
He nodded, gathered his belongings, and left the room.
Aziz Crowe exited from the transport that had taken him to the City of Glass district. The streets, seething with life and movement deafened him for a moment or two before he managed to balance himself. He slowly walked towards home, closing his thoughts from all the activity that surrounded him.
‘This must be much more serious than I had anticipated. I made a mistake in underestimating its importance. There are several loose strands that I do not know how to weave together. And these others. The interest in this process seems to transcend ZoneSec.’
YOU CAN PURCHASE POSTCARDS FROM AVALIDAD AT POSMORTEM STUDIOS AND LULU.COM
After five releases – the Giallo trilogy, Welcome to St. Cloud and Postcards from Avalidad – there will be a pause… No, I haven’t given up, nor have I run out of ideas (not yet, at least). But James ‘Grim’ Desborough has his own game to finish: Wightchester is about to enter Crowdfunding stage. Since he’s the one doing his magic and turning my words into something you can work with, for a while the Red Room will appear to be quiet. Appearances can be deceiving, though. We will keep publishing interviews and some new content for the previous releases.
We’re working on a new game setting for *Punk and there are already two Double Features written and ready for layout. The Double Feature scenarios try to emulate the Grindhouse phenomenon of the 1970s in a role-playing framework. There are now four of those short scenarios, prepared to be paired up in two volumes. And perhaps more to come…
Sexual Holocaust: the fictional town of Hammettville, New York, is shaken by a series of gruesome and mysterious murders. The victim are all members of a sadomasochism private club.
Brides of the Vampire: a collection of plot hooks, set in different time periods, introduced along one character’s story: Nikolai Andreievich Petrov, an old Eastern European vampire.
The Devil’s Country: a story within a story scenario about a movie cast and crew about to shoot a spaghetti western based on a cursed movie script. Players start out as movie industry people, later slipping into their characters in a western town outside our own reality.
Resort of the Dead: a George Romero/ J.G. Ballard crossover about a Zombie Apocalypse set in a formerly luxurious – but now decaying – summer resort in Portugal, during the 1980s.
YOU CAN PURCHASE THE PREVIOUS RELEASES AT POSTMORTEM STUDIOS, DRIVETHRU OR LULU.COM
A systemless adventure context for modern, surreal horror in the Lynchian style. Presented with optional stats for use with Actual F*cking Monsters by Postmortem Studios.
A loving homage to Twin Peaks, David Lynch and other surreal modern fantasy/horror, St. Cloud gives you a bunch of people, with secrets, an unspeakable evil and a lot of options for a short campaign in a very strange place.