On a small suburban estate, a new set of houses have been built on what was previously open land. A while later, a young couple who have moved into the end house in the row are being driven to distraction by a series of strange occurrences in and around their house.|
The PCs may get involved in a number of ways. They may be friends or neighbours of the couple, or either of the couple may get drunk or stressed and say more than they intended in the local pub. The couple may also hire parapsychologists or PCs with a reputation for sorting out supernatural problems to investigate.
If the PCs investigate the house's history they will find that before the land was open, there was a manse on it. Comparison of the maps of the time with the site today shows that the couple's house is built on what was the north east corner of the manor, which covered the land that most of the rest of the street was built on. The last owner of the manor was a selfish and unpleasant man who died without heirs or family. Due to rumours of his dying curse none of the local aristocracy was prepared to buy the manor or pay for its upkeep, and eventually it was pulled down.
More recently the open land was the only play area around for the local children, and the building of the new houses was fiercely protested. Once it became obvious that the houses were going to be built regardless of the locals' wishes most people gave up. However a few of the children hold grudges against the houses and the people who moved into them. If the PCs investigate this they will find that it is a red herring and that, apart from refusing to talk to the new residents, the locals haven't really taken any action against them. There could be several reasons for the hauntings.
1. The Servant
The miser who owned the house pressed his attentions on a serving girl who, being lower class and female, was not in a position to resist. When she became obviously pregnant, he threw her out. The villagers and her family wanted nothing to do with a girl who carried a bastard child, and she was forced to become a beggar. Due to her malnourishment, the child was born prematurely and died. As she could not get to the churchyard, she buried her baby in the family graveyard at the manor, by the north east corner of the house. When the graveyard was deconsecrated and the bodies moved, the child's body in its unmarked grave was left behind, and the building of the houses disturbed it. The hauntings centre around one area of the house at ground level, near where the child's body lies. The only way to lay the ghost is to bury the child in a proper grave. Once this is done, the mother's ghost will rest and the hauntings will stop. In the case, the hauntings will be sightings out of the corner of the eye, and other subtle effects designed to draw attention to the child's body. The ghost will not interact with the characters and cannot speak.
2. The Miser
The miser haunts the site of his old manor. The hauntings are worse in the couple's house, for it is near to his original resting place, but most of the street are actually affected by them. Most of the residents keep silent, either through fear of ridicule, uncertainty of what they can do, or the fact that they aren't sure if things are really happening, or if they are just having bad luck. Most of the residents would actually be relieved to find out that there was a cause for all the problems they have had. The hauntings are spread out, covering the whole area of the manor, and are obviously malevolent. People may have been hurt, shoved down the stairs by invisible hands, scalded when cold water suddenly boiled, and are badly scared. How the PCs deal with the ghost is up to them, but proper exorcism will lay it. It is also stupid and vicious enough to attempt to take on creatures, so a PC mage should not have trouble with it. Use the stats for the Hsqwr from the main rulebook for it.
3. The Fakes
The couple are a pair of paranormal sceptics who are trying to set the PCs up for an embarrassing fall. They have faked the hauntings and the evidence extremely well. At the GM's discretion, if the PCs have made a name for themselves the sceptics may be working for the media. Should this happen, then if the PCs do not rumble the scam then they will be slated in a newspaper. If they do, no article whatsoever will be published.
They are extremely experienced, and publish the results of their investigations under pen names, meaning that research on their real names (which they are using for this scam) will not immediately reveal their profession. Also, both have genuine jobs which will check out when researched. The blood sample they took from "the blood that ran down that wall" will prove to be human and have come from several people, none of whom are the couple in the house. They chose the house because of its history, which they have already thoroughly researched, which makes it a convincing site for a haunting.
GM's Notes You can mix these threads together, having both a real ghost and the sceptics, but the scenario can quick become very complicated if you do. Alternatively, if you have a large proportion of parapsychologist characters in your group then with a small amount of alteration each possibility could be run as a separate scenario. In this case I suggest you run the sceptics second or third so that the PCs actually have a reputation that they can try to destroy. Remember that the sceptics aren't stupid, and presented with overwhelming evidence of the supernatural they will concede that it exists and work with the players to solve the scenario.
This adventure is likely to take one evening if you are only running it with one thread, but if running more it will depend on just how many swerves you throw the players. Ideally it shouldn't earn them that much AP (between 1 and 4 with a 1 or 2 bonus for good roleplaying). It isn't intended to be extremely complicated, and will probably act more as a filler between campaigns.