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House in the Shade

© 2005 - Randal Snyder

The following adventure can be used by any kind of gaming group, however was intended for use by experienced characters.

Note: the maps provided here came from the Wizards of the Coast, Map a Week archive. They are reproduced here as a reference only.

Synopsis

An evil entity has entered our dimension through a rift in the fabric of time and has taken shelter in a small village a fair drive from any modern conveniences. You may substitute any names or locations that you feel is necessary.

The year is 1919, only months from the end of the Great War (WW1).

Background

Three days prior to the PCs arriving at Summitville, a shadow veil, an unspeakably evil creature, crossed into the material realm through a junction point at the sanitarium. It was able to break through into our dimension due to the overpowering sadness that lingered in the old field hospital.

Initially, the Shadow Veil found the sanitarium satisfactory, but soon tired of the empty building and attacked a mill worker that was returning from the pub in Brownsburg, two kilometers northeast of Summitville. Having had a taste of human flesh it sought out more prey, killing eight people in total.

The Village

Summitville is a small village north of London roughly one mile from any other collection of buildings. Between this and other small hamlets are farm houses and other residences.

The Sanitarium

During the war, Summitville was established as a hospital base and the sanitarium was the center of attention. It is now used as a meeting house though contractors have been visiting the facility to turn it into a manufacturing building.

Level 1: Originally used as the emergency rooms and triage, it was later converted to offices, break rooms and a cafeteria. Only the basic furniture remains.

Level 2: This level continued to be used for surgeries long after the majority of activities at the base ended in 1919. After the army decommissioned the hospital, they left the operating tables in place. The storage rooms on the top left of the floor plan had been used to stack the bodies before being shipped elsewhere.

Basement: The basement was where they stored most of their medical supplies and it also served as a bomb shelter. People who spent time in the basement alone often told stories of hearing voices and sometimes seeing figures moving down the maze like corridors. Rumors suggest that a nurse was raped and brutally murdered by a traumatized recovering veteran in one of the storage rooms. The rift in our dimension originated in the top right most storage room, the same place where the nurse was murdered only months prior. That room smells sweet, like bleach, and  many of the stones are blasted clean. Characters that touch any metal connected with the room will receive a harmless static zap.

Catacombs: This area had been blocked off, its door welded shut, but the Shadow Veil was able to break the door free of its hinges. Though incomplete, the catacombs were intended to expand the storage capabilities of the hospital. In addition, munitions were housed there. The body of the Shadow Veil's first victim will be found here.

The Cemetery

Though small, this cemetery has been in use by the Summitville residents for three generations. During the war, only civilians were buried there.

The Keep

As concerns about security rose, the mostly military village had a new landmark. The keep guards the main road into the town. At three stories, the keep has one of the best views of the town and the main road entering the village.

Grist Mill

The mill was built in 1902 after a fire burned down the original mill. It's current owner is Robert Grist, a local farmer and supplier of processed grains for the market. He employed five workers, three of whom lived at Lady Williams' boarding house (the Haunted House)

The Haunted House

The Haunted House is where the entity has taken residence. Owned by Lady Williams, it was handed down to her by her wealthy father and turned into a boarding house. Several mill workers lived there as well as the elderly Lady and two servants.

On the map, the house is the one between the Sanitarium and Keep and north of the road.

Introduction

The Narrator needs to think about how his party might get wrapped up in this little affair. If the party is made up of private investigators or law enforcement, then they will get a call asking for help. Alternately, universities and hospitals would have been contacted by local officials.

Otherwise, maybe a family member is one of the victims and the party member was asked to check in on them or collect their belongings. Alternately you can have there car break down on the other side of town.

Timeline

You can start this adventure either at the beginning of the timeline or near the end. The beginning timeline will allow the players to explore the town, meet the town’s inhabitants, and so on. In the middle, the Shadow Veil begins its rampage. Near the end, the military shows up to contain the situation.

Before the Shadow Veil…

Life in the village is very quiet with most of the activity coming from the boarding house (haunted house) and the mill. During the evenings, the boarding house was often a center of attention as the towns folk would sit on the porch listening to the radio to news or music while sipping tea or stronger drinks.

Day 1 – Shadow Veil arrives.
A freakishly strong thunderstorm rolls in dumping several inches of rain and zapping several houses and trees with lightning. Passive Perception 18 – The sanitarium has scorch marks on the corner. Further investigation shows that each corner is scorched.

Day 3 – First victim disappears.
John Daily, just a few hundred yards north of Summitville, found three sheep dead in their pen.

Harlow Murry, a local mill worker did not show up for work and did not seem to have slept in his bed. His friends find out that he left the pub in Brownsburg late the previous night. Browns burg is about one mile south west of Summitville.

Day 4 – Second and third victims disappear.
Sam Dagwood, a farmer south of Summitville, never arrived home after dropping off a load of grains at the mill late that evening. His tractor is found on the side of the road and had broken the trailer’s axel.

School girl, Sarah White, never arrived for dinner after leaving a friend’s house just before dark.

Day 5 – Second and third victims found in woods.
The bodies of Sarah White and Sam Dagwood are found in the woods north of town near John Daily’s farm. Only superficial wounds visible. Rumors of vampires, poison gas, or plague begin to spread. Police begin investigation and hold John Daily for questioning.

Day 6 – Victim four killed
Mrs. Mary Daily staggers naked through town and collapses dead. John Daily released. Town evacuated for fear of contagion. Police set up roadblocks, quarantine towns folk at a local school. Law enforcement contacts other agencies for help including hospitals, military, and private firms.

Day 7-12 – More animals found dead.
The Shadow Veil has taken residence in the boarding house and is beginning to bring its victims back as mindless animated dead. Victims of the Shadow Veil are reanimated and brought to the boarding house.

Belongings of a hunter found in the woods, body not found.

Day 13 – Military arrives
The military rolls in with large trucks and camps just outside of town, but sends troops in for a scouting party. The scouts are armed with rifles, pistols, and wear gas masks.

 

Confronting the Shadow Veil
The veil is a creature of dark energy whose purpose is to feed off of positive energy. It is starving in this material world with few real sources of food. People provide just enough nourishment for it to survive. The longer the Shadow Veil is without proper feeding, the more violent it will become.

The veil appears as a dark shadow or cloud that is only vaguely transparent and hovers slightly above the ground. It has no natural form, but often mimics the shape of those it hunts. Thus if it is hunting a human, it will assume a humanoid appearance. It can move up walls and across ceilings without any impact on its movement. However, due to the nature of water, it cannot cross it, but it can cross bridges or other solid surfaces that overhang water.

Shadow Veils are creatures tuned to the negative energy planes and are able to drain a person’s life energy through touch and bypasses non-magical armor. A character can try to resist the drain with a contest of Focus and Combat Rating.

In addition, they have the natural ability to reanimate their victims’ corpses. Reanimated corpses are mindless and are unable to deviate from its given task unless directed by it’s controller. The Shadow Veil is able to possess the corpse and accomplish tasks as if it were using the corpse physical body, but the veil’s mental attributes. The veil must touch the corpse in order to possess it. While possessing a corpse, the Veil is able to do anything the corpse originally could do including use weapons, open doors, etc. The Veil retains its life draining ability while possessing a corpse. The Veil does not take any damage while possessing a corpse.

Living creatures can be possessed also, but the Veil must touch the creature and the Veil rolls a Focus contest against the target’s Willpower or Intellect, which ever is higher.

A Shadow Veil takes instantaneous damage from non-magical weapons. Blessed or magical weapons cause normal damage.

If the Veil is wounded beyond x3 SN or incapacitated, it will flee, seeking easier prey. It may possess a corpse in order to prevent taking further damage.

If the Veil is knocked unconscious, it fades into oblivion and returns to it’s native plane of existence.

Though intelligent, the Veil is unable to communicate in any way that humans can rationally understand. Instead it sends subconscious messages in the form of feelings. An Empathy test T# 12 will perceive the emotional message. If the creature chooses to attack a character with emotions, the target must roll a Focus test T# 12 or suffer from deep feelings of dread or confinement. This attack causes 3d5+6 instantaneous damage. Characters that fail the Stun Roll are panicked for the duration of the incapacitation. A result that causes unconsciousness means the character fainted.

Shadow Veil Traits
Agility 8
Heath 5
Intellect 10
Strength 5
Willpower 9

Prec/Rctn 9
Resilience 5
Focus 9.5
Toughness 7

Skills:
Combat 4
Unarmed Combat 4 (8)
 

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