A Fantasy Core Adventure
© Jerry Harris 2014
(This link will take you to the Fantasy Core Index.)
Endless Night Notes
This adventure was somewhat inspired by the movie, Thirteen Ghosts, which I’m not really recommending. Great concept though, with everyone locked in a prison-like house, having to defeat the ghosts in order to escape. Given the appalling lack of traditional ghosts in this adventure, I obviously didn’t stay very close to the source material.
If you can believe it, this adventure started off being called The Haunted Dojo. It used a pagoda map out of a Dungeon magazine. I re-did the encounters and roughed out the adventure where the characters needed to cleanse the temple. Every time they defeated one of the ghosts, the gong in the foyer would ring out. Somewhere along the way, I decided I’d want to post it, so I’d need an original map. At that point, I decided to go with a more traditional haunted house.
From there, the main inspiration was from a computer game: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, specifically the Oceanside Hotel encounter. I will recommend this game. It’s a good time. The old haunted hotel is a unique challenge in the game. There’s nothing fight. It’s just a matter of finding clues and avoiding traps. The atmosphere is awesome. Play it at night, in the dark, you will jump. However, this adventure was going to need some monsters to fight.
From there, I ran through a couple of concepts. How about the house was the residence of an occult-obsessed serial killer? He was a mortician, who let’s say drummed up his own business at times. He took mementoes of his victims and that’s what did him in. He was killed by the ghosts of his 13 victims. The house would have to be cleared of the 13, then the party could face the mortician. Hey, that sounds good. Why didn’t I use that? It just fizzled for me.
Next inspiration was Castle Amber, as mentioned at the beginning. From there, I toyed around with the notion of a bunch of insane ghosts, family and servants. They were all demented in some way to begin with. Their undead existence would reflect their flaw, such as compulsive gambler, gluttonous hoarder, sex pervert, or renegade scientist. Some of this stayed, but Undead Downton Abbey (as sure as I post this, somebody will start on the manuscript), faded into the background a bit. I wanted ghouls, grimlocks, and gillmen fighting in the behind the scenes as bickering servant classes, but ultimately had to trim that down.
Inspired by the movie, Clue, I would have liked to have inserted a murder mystery into the house, unlocking a dark secret and the treasure. Of course, there’d be multiple possible endings. But in the end, it seemed a little too complex, maybe too subtle. I thought it’d be best to stick to the action.
So, where’d the Astral Plane stuff come from? It was definitely inspired by the Sandman comic book. Likewise, some of the spirits are clearly super-villain inspired. Elves and goblins fighting over the house took after several sources, like Thor and a Midsummer Night’s Dream. A couple of quests were added. One doesn’t just walk into a fey party after all.
There’s a little Lovecraft here and there, though I haven’t read much of his stuff. Carter the cat certainly came from the Dream Realms. Lastly, the more ambitious ideas I had about portals to dream kingdoms or distant foreign kingdoms for adventure quests (a la Castle Amber again) proved too daunting for me. I had to content myself with the psychedelic landscapes of the second floor.