Today I had plans for the evening but I was itching to get some gaming in so I called in the surviving members of my game group, MerkabaZA and Dandelion. The original plan was to play another session of LNoE, as that went well in our first try previously.
One hour before the game was to start, the delivery man showed up at my door with my copy of Betrayal at House on the Hill! Seeing the chance to actually get it played in the same day, I tore it open and read through the rules as quickly as possible. I got through them and punched out all of the pieces just in time for my guests to arrive.
None of us had ever played the game before and I was the only one who had any familiarity with it thanks to videos from The Gamers Table and Table Top. I explained what the game was about and, with great interest, we started our first adventure.
This session report will contain spoilers for the haunt in question. If you do not wish to be spoiled--and you really shouldn't spoil it--I suggest you stop reading once the Haunt is triggered and skip down to the end. I will clearly note where and when the spoiler-filled Haunt sections start.
Darrin "Flash" Williams (me)
Peter Akimoto (Dandelion)
Professor Longfellow (MerkabaZA)
The three explorers entered the old, decrepit mansion without knowing what to expect. The Professor was interested in exploring a place with such a colored history while Flash and Peter were in it just for the thrills. Professor Longfellow joked, somewhat cruelly, that Peter looked more like a midget than a child. Peter didn't honor the barb with a reply.
Not caring to stay and chat, Flash decided to head straight for the grand staircase leading up to the second floor. While he became witness to a series of strange events, Peter also climbed up to the second floor. The young boy started to explore the home in the opposite direction of Flash. It was there that he discovered a strange little girl who tagged along with him. She said her name was Amy and he felt like he knew her from somewhere before...
The Professor was content to check out the ground floor. He wished to methodically study the strange house before moving on. He found nothing of use to his research but the strange sights he witnessed led him to believe that the house held more than just a dark history.
Meanwhile, Flash began to discover strange items that served as an omen of dark things to come. The Crystal Ball and Spirit Board he found sent chills down his spine, but he did not know why. What he also didn't know was that little Peter was also finding strange items on the other side of the mansion. It seemed as if the mysterious girl was leading him to some unknown destination. He found a strange Ring that gave him clarity in his mission. Then the Holy Symbol he came across seemed to be a sign from above to justify his actions.
A loud crash echoed from the first floor as the Professor became buried under the debris of a collapsing wall. Flash ran down to investigate and came across the Professor. They both tried to free him but to no avail. Looking for any tool to help extricate his friend, Flash ran into the adjoining abandoned room. As he frantically rifled around the darkened room, he nearly screamed as he turned and came face to face with a disheveled Madman giggling at him.
Dressed in a tattered women's dress, the Madman pointed and him and chuckled.
The HAUNT Begins! To avoid SPOILERS, scroll down to the Summary section.
Flash stared suspiciously at the man and asked, "What do you want?"
The Madman grinned, "There are no clocks in here."
Flash nodded, hoping to just avoid further contact with the crazed man but suddenly a thought came into his mind. He looked around the room and noticed that there were no clocks. In fact, he didn't recall seeing a single working clock as he went through the large house. If that was true, then what was that incessant...
"Tick, tick, tick..." the Madman said with a wide smile. "He put it on you, like he put it on the others."
Frightened, Flash reached to his back pocket. He felt that his wallet was missing but there was something else in its place. A device. A ticking device.
"The little man wants more blackened bones for his collection," the Madman whispered before letting out a sickening laugh.
Peter was now clear on his mission. He remembered those he had led to the house on the hill before, blood sacrifices for his dark desire to see the great explosion and the great fire that would follow. The last sacrifice he brought to the house, a small girl named Amy, nearly ruined everything he had worked so hard for. She tried to stop him and he had no choice but to set off the device he had secretly attached to her. The blast obliterated the girl and the force of the explosion knocked out Peter. He must have stumbled his way out of the house as he was found miles away and taken to the university hospital where they had mistaken his short stature for that of a child. Without remembering who he was and what he was destined to achieve, he escaped from the hospital and befriended the curious Professor and his equally curious pupil, Flash. Not knowing why he needed to bring the two to the ancient house on the hill, Peter felt compelled to pique their interest in joining him at the supposedly haunted manor. He also didn't know why he had to secretly attach those strange devices to his companions but it was yet another compelling force in his heart.
Now that he was back in the house, and reunited with Amy, Peter recalled his holy mission. He found the room where he had started the work on his great device--the Big Bomb--and continued where he had left off weeks ago.
The Professor had finally climbed out of the debris. Now with Flash and his unhinged companion, "Dan", the two confirmed that they were indeed rigged with an explosive device. Dan, the Madman, informed them in his ravings that he watched Peter bring victims to the mansion on multiple occasions, blowing them up and chanting madly and he constructed some strange contraption on the second floor. A contraption, the crazy squatter elaborated, that featured a lot of explosive material.
Not knowing how long they had before Peter would detonate the bombs strapped to their bodies, they knew they had to remove the devices before they could even think about getting near the mad bomber.
Flash gave his Crystal Ball to the Professor who, confirming Flash's uneasy feeling of the object's supernatural properties, was able to use it to locate something they may need. He found a syringe filled with Adrenaline and gave it to Flash. He figured it would give him the clarity of mind to disarm the bomb but, to be safe, he should go to another room to try it. Dan followed him and insisted he knew which wires were safe and which were not. With the aid of the Madman, Flash successfully disarmed his bomb.
The Professor declared he would try to use the Crystal Ball to find something useful to stop Peter while also attempting to disarm his own bomb. If things go south, at least he wouldn't take out Flash with the detonation. Flash, on the other hand, decided that he and Dan the Madman would try to take out Peter the old fashioned way.
The unlikely duo ran to the second floor and found Peter on the Balcony, talking to some unseen figure while constructing a terrifyingly large bomb. Taking him by surprise, Flash wrestled with Peter and noticed he had a stick of dynamite at the ready for an attack. With Dan's help, Flash snatched the Dynamite away from his dangerous former companion, knowing he would use it against him if given the chance. Peter attempted fighting back but Flash and Dan got the better of him, seriously wounding the small man.
Finally disarming his own bomb, The Professor discovered a Revolver and started on his way up the grand staircase when he heard the scuffling and shouting finally stop.
"Flash?" he called out apprehensively.
"I'm ok, Professor," his pupil replied. "It's... it's done."
Peter lied sprawled on the stone tiles of the balcony in a pool of his own blood. His weakening eyes focused on the apparition of Amy while she slowly disappeared revealing the unfinished bomb--now nothing more than a collection of unusable junk--behind her. As the life left his body, he smiled at the sight of his creation.
With his final breath, he uttered, "The bomb... it's beautiful..."
End of the HAUNT.
For our first game of BaHotH, we had a blast. It was easy for all of us to pick up even though we literally just got the game. Sure, not everything was crystal clear to us but we did our best to figure them out. (As I'm tired while typing this up, I can't quite recall the questions I wanted to ask so I'll do so later). And Dandelion (Peter's player) forgot to use her Ring to attack Flash with Sanity at the end which might have led to a very different outcome as Flash couldn't spare his mental health.
We didn't visit the Basement at all so we had no idea what would be in store for us down there in the future. But that's the great part about this game as it will be different each time. And I also loved the atmosphere and story that the game's progress naturally creates. It was exciting having two secret tomes so you never know for sure what the traitor was up to and we didn't know how much the traitor knew of what we had to do.
However, we had a great time and we decided to play a second session immediately afterward.
Haunt 45: Heroes
A really well balanced game and it was fantastic fun to play through. Even though it was my firsts time playing it it was pretty quick and easy to get the hang of and the way your characters have to discover each room and what it holds in store for them is perfectly suspenseful in keeping with the overall theme of the game.
Looking forward to more sessions and the chance to pick up your serialization of the session reports in novel form