For anyone interested, here is the log of our adventures:
Game 01: The Tick (Haunt 45)
Game 02: All's Well That Ends Wail (Haunt 08)
Game 03: Well, Well, Wail... (Haunt 08)
Over two and half years since the last game, I returned to that house on the hill with a new group of companions.
This session report will contain spoilers for the haunt in question. I will clearly note where and when the spoiler-filled Haunt sections start. 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.
Vivian Lopez (me)
Professor Longfellow (Neil)
Zoe Ingstrom (Max)
Brandon Jaspers (Lolai)
The motley quartet arrived at the mysterious and forsaken mansion, brought together by their common interest in the occult and supernatural. One would imagine that Professor Longfellow would have acted as a chaperone for the two youths in the party but the truth was that he was only interested in exploring the feared house without any concern for who he traveled with. No protest was raised when young Zoe immediately ran off on her own and disappeared through a door in the Foyer. She came across a lost dog in the old Abandoned Room. As she pet it, she felt as if there was an unearthly air that threatened to rip open, revealing a hideous version of our world that lies just out of sight.
The boy, Brandon, acted next. Seemingly running after Zoe, he made a turn and instead burst through the opposite door in the Foyer. His youthful zeal in exploring the forbidden residence only enhanced his carelessness and the boy found that there was no room beyond the door but a Coal Chute. Brandon could not stop himself before slid down into the darkness of the basement.
Vivian was eager to discover the secrets of the mansion herself so she bolted up the stairs to the second floor. She spent time poking around inside of a strange Research Laboratory while Professor Longfellow decided to take it slow and carefully check out the mansion. He turned to the first door on his left and decided to investigate the Ballroom.
As time went on, Zoe explored more of the first floor finding all sorts of strange things such as a Crystal Ball and a Holy Symbol. These objects seemed more important than the other oddities found around the mansion; they seemed more like Omens of horrible things to come. After finding a Safe that she could not open in a Graveyard, she inadvertently entered a Collapsed Room and plummeted to the basement. Professor Longfellow donned a Mask he discovered and used the knowledge it gave him to open the safe Zoe had discovered. He found a Lucky Stone and an Idol, feeling that these might keep him safe in the increasingly oppressive atmosphere of this old abode.
Vivian discovered a Girl on the second floor. The stranger joined her in her exploration of the manor. They found a Closet in the Organ Room and inside, after some time rummaging, they obtained an Angelic Feather and an Axe. They then traveled farther on the upper floor only to discover a Vault. Inside it, they found Dynamite and a Sacrificial Dagger. Strange items, indeed, but seemingly locked away with a purpose.
Meanwhile, in the basement, Brandon got lost in the dark until Zoe found him to share her candles. The young boy seemed to be fearless as he wove his way through the labyrinthine lower level of the house. After discovering a Spirit Board in a strange Pentagram Chamber, he began to feel as if something was trying to communicate with him. He felt there was some otherworldly force that was speaking directly to him, if only he could hear the message.
Feeling safe and confident on the third floor, Vivian and her girl companion were surprised when a Mystic Slide seemed to appear out of nowhere, causing the women to fall through the walls of the house before landing in the basement. Only Professor Longfellow remained outside of the basement, having gone up to the upper floor. If only he had been acting responsibly, perhaps he would have been able to intervene when little Brandon discovered a dusty Book with a sinister purpose in the Furnace Room.
The HAUNT Begins! To avoid SPOILERS, scroll down to the Summary section.
The forbidden knowledge that Brandon found in that blasphemous tome changed him fundamentally, both physically and mentally. He now understood the truth behind the farce which we call “reality” and the thoughts now running through his head originated from a mind that could not be described as human. Everything he had seen so far in this house started to make sense. Each and every room had a purpose and now that he was in possession of this book, he knew what his purpose would be: he would bring forth a Demon Lord to take its rightful place as ruler of this pitiful world of humans.
As Brandon stood in the blazing heat of the Furnace Room, not concerned with the effect it had on his physical body, he began speaking aloud to the Demon Lord lurking beyond… which garnered the attention of the other survivors in the house. Vivian, eavesdropping on Brandon from just a couple of rooms away, realized that whatever had happened to Brandon was caused by whatever book he was talking about in his ravings. Knowing that it was no joke, simply based on the legend of the house itself, she realized that there would be no saving their young companion. He either had to be killed before he completed whatever ritual he was ranting about or that fiendish book had to be dealt with.
With inhuman speed and vitality, Zoe and Vivian witnessed Brandon race out of the unforgivably hot Furnace Room and vanish around the corner. It did not take long to realize he must have gone into the creepy chamber with the pentagram on the floor. If a ritual were to be done, as Brandon’s altered voice had pledged, then that was the most likely location to hold it.
His senses heightened perhaps by the strange mask he could not remove from his face, Professor Longfellow realized that there had been a change in the very air of the house. Something was amiss and his instincts told him to go to the basement. There, he reunited with Zoe and Vivian to learn the about the fate of the fourth member of the party. They all agreed with Vivian that Brandon needed to be killed and the book had to be destroyed.
Without hesitation, Vivian raced into the Pentagram Chamber, interrupting Brandon in what was to be the final incantation. Utilizing power that seemed to come from the feather she discovered earlier, she attacked the transformed boy, injuring him greatly—but not enough to kill him. Professor Longfellow raced towards the sound of the struggle, picking up Vivian’s dropped dynamite on the way. Upon reaching the room, Vivian yelled for him to throw the explosives in. The Professor lit the fuse and did as ordered. Brandon, powered by inhuman speed, dodged away from the explosion but Vivian was not as lucky. The powerful blast crippled the brave woman and Brandon used the confusion it caused to finish his incantation.
With a final utterance of the profane words scrawled in the evil book, a portal ripped open in the room and out stepped a titanic monstrosity. The gigantic Demon Lord landed in the room precisely where Brandon had stood, fulfilling his purpose and crushing him into nothing. The elder god then fixed its dark eyes on the injured Vivian, recognizing her as the inferior being that had foolishly tried to stop the summoning ritual and wished to punish her for her insolence. With great ease, the monstrosity obliterated the weakened woman and turned its attention towards the other two humans.
Instead of fighting, Professor Longfellow snatched up the pile of dropped items from his dead companions, scooping up the book in the process, and ran from the room. Zoe, realizing what the Professor was up to, decided to stay and fight the demon to buy her ally some time but realized it was better to lure the monster to her rather than take it on directly.
The Demon Lord took the bait and Zoe, empowered by the omens the group had found in the house, managed to survive the brunt of the creature’s assault. Before the ancient beast could strike again, a voice called out from behind.
“Hey, ugly!” Professor Longfellow bellowed, holding the accursed tome over the bottomless Chasm. “You dropped something.”
The Professor loosened his grip and allowed the book to slip from his fingers, falling into the black void below. Before the Demon Lord could react, the power from the arcane manuscript began to waver and the creature’s hold on the physical world gave way as it was banished back from where it came.
The Professor and Zoe left the mansion, no longer eager to know the dark mysteries of the world. They returned back to their lives, praying that what they had experienced was merely a dream but knowing all too well the reality of the events they witnessed in the house on the hill.
End of the HAUNT.
After such a long time of not touching this game, I was thrilled to bring it to the table again. Although I played it for the first time with a new group, only one member had no experience with the game. That was the player who became the traitor and I think he was a little stunned (and possibly put off) by how easily he was defeated as he had no idea about what we had to do to win. Unfortunately for him, the layout of the house worked in our favor and ensured an easy win for the heroes after a little distraction.
The house this time around was HUGE. We got up to eight Omens before the Haunt was triggered and there was an extremely small stack of rooms left by that point. Just as luck would have it, everything the survivors needed to win was in easy reach. All it took was using Vivian to try to weaken and distract the traitor while getting the other heroes in position to finish the task.
Overall we had a good time (maybe not the traitor) and we’re talking about playing it again soon.
Haunt 08: Heroes (2)
Haunt 33: Heroes
Haunt 45: Heroes