This past month has been a killer. Work has been kicking my ass and not even taking my name. Work just grinds its heel into my testicles and leaves me whimpering. I think I am on top of it now. I had the misfortune of having two audits scheduled around the same time. I must have angered the gods. The audits have gone fine, exceptionally well overall, but fuckn' hell it takes me down.
But fuck them, time to get back into a gaming groove. I've been watching random weird shows on YouTube lately, not that there is anything else on there. I'm a paranormal show junkie. Love them. Although I would put my ass in the camp of 'you are full of crap' I'm still fascinated by it all. I would love to see something that would convince me to pull up stakes from Camp Full of Crap and join the much more interesting, Camp Holy Shit This is Real.
Despite all the creaky noises, unintelligible radio static and ghosts farts they capture, these shows give me ideas. They usually tell the story of why places are haunted and that is where the gold is. And you damn well know there is going to be a fucking sacred Indian burial ground nearby.
The stories are about murders, lost dreams, and usually just plain misery of some sort served up in various ways. There never seems to be a haunting in the Happy Miller House where ghosts sing songs, do nice things, massage your feet and fetch an ice tea from the fridge. Ghosts general seem to be of the dickhead variety.
But the dickhead, unwise, twisted and vile are characteristics that make up antagonists in game. I'm not sure I've ever read an adventure where the kind and friendly Millers are big boss at the end of an adventure. Sure there are some that appear that way and end up being spawns of the dark gods, but I am not talking about them...am I?
So here we are at the haunted house of farmer Johnson. His three bedroom house is haunted by shadow people and a feisty ghost in the kitchen who likes to open cabinets and turns off the stove. Shadow people are sort of the equivalent of orcs in ghost world. They are everywhere and they are always dickheads. Now what is haunting the house is only mildly of interest. Why they are there is the meat.
We find out fifty years ago Great Farmer Johnson was married to a Hungarian gypsy woman named Betushca, a rotund woman with a gift of channeling the spirits. They had nineteen children, one day two of the youngest died when one of the other children was possessed by a spirit Betushca had channeled, and the child threw boiling water on the two sleeping children. Grief stricken by not only the deaths, but by the possession of their other child and a possession that Betushca caused. A darkness was planted in her. She became non responsive except during periods of uncontrollable rage and crying. One night Betushca awoke and took a knife to kill her possessed son seeing no other way. Before she could complete the task, Farmer Johnson shot and killed her.
Grim? A little. I made this one up to make my point. This story becomes the vehicle for the adventure. It grounds the supernatural events so they make sense. Give them purpose. The two shadow people could become the dark spirits Betushca attracted that feed off the misery. And the ghost in the kitchen could be Betushca herself trying to right the wrong she caused. She opens the cabinets to alert anyone in the house that the shadow people are here. And she turns off the stove so no one will get hurt, residue memory leftover from the death of her children.
Now I have a setting, Farmer Johnson's House. I have some critters, the shadow people/dark spirits. And I have a twist, Betushca trying to warn others and right her wrong. And what an adventure designer needs to do is develop the current situation. Why do the adventurers need to adventure here. Maybe Farmer Johnson the Third is living at the house and one of his children has become a homicidal monkey. The local priest is terrified to enter the house. The last time he was there he was attacked by a shadow person and got a boo boo on his back. FJ the 3rd needs help, and the adventuring party is brave and has a reputation of kicking the asses of dickheads, alive and undead.
Or some other hook to grab the adventurers attention. The more you blend the adventure in with the history the more interesting the adventure. If you get a chance watch some weird ass paranormal shows on YouTube and write an adventure.