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Beyond the Bridge: The House

This was a RPG adventure spanning four play sessions, set in the Beyond the Bridge Hotel. It was not only heavily influenced by Silent Hill, but could almost be called a tribute to it. By this time I would have played the three first games in the series and was just playing the brand new fourth game.

I used original rules of mine, designed with this game in mind. They did the job, but didn't make a huge impression, and I haven't used them since.

(Over the winter of 2009-2010 I re-ran the game for a different group. There were small tweaks to puzzles and other plot elements, but the events mostly followed the same pattern.)

Dramatis Personę

Principal cast:

Howard Goldman - Historian and congressman
Stephen John Humfleet - Small town vet
Jeff Tomb - Young circus artist

Supporting cast:

Joanna Stern - Young, beautiful woman, possibly dead
Jack Brown Eagle - Young Native American from the early 20th century, also dead
Frank Sinclair - Retired major of the US Army and a WWII veteran
Stella Brighton - A waitress at the hotel, former heroin addict

The "Stuff of Dreams":

"Screamer" - Pierced with a blade and hands locked in iron boxes, he screams
"Scalpel" - Towering figure with blades for fingers, he has no face or voice
The Dreel - Slithering, humanoid creatures with sharp teeth
Lancers - Black as night, they have no heads and their hands are like sharp spears
Dancers - Like rotting humans they dance and howl, bags over their heads
"Easter Bunny" - Mysterious leaver of gifts
The Shaman - ?

Episode 1: Clûstor

Played: 5 September 2004

Saturday morning, August 28. Howard Goldman, a congressman and scholar of history in his late fourties, wakes up in the Beyond the Bridge Hotel, a small resort by Lake Pahooney, in the middle of the great Pahooney Woods. He is here to "get away from it all" for a while. It is well past the main holiday seasons, and the place is rather quiet. Too quiet, now. And dark... Howard fears the dark, ever since a ghostly encounter in a dark basement as a child. The lamp he had left on is off. He tries it, gropes for other lights, but nothing happens. The power appears to be out. He manages to find a few candles, then opens the curtains. A little light streams in, but not much. It is almost dark outside, and a thick fog lays all around the hotel. But this is not what draws his attention... There are thick iron bars outside his windows. They look old, rusty. He scrambles into the main room of his suite. Windows here are the same. He looks at his watch. It is 9 am...

Outside in the hallway it is silent. No one is about, and all the lights are out. He makes his way to the lobby, the doors of the main entrance are locked. All the windows are barred... Two other people are now making their ways out of their rooms, also with candles. These are Stephen Humfleet, a vet from a small town, and Jeff Tomb, a young circus artist, born in Canada. They appear to be the only living souls in the hotel. Together they decide to investigate further. Howard heads to search the hotel's office. He finds a flashlight, and a corridor leading to living quarters for the staff. At the other end of the corridor he glimpses something... Like a burned corpse, walking. He is not overly alarmed, as he has had encounters with ghosts before. He follows it into a room... only to find a young, beautiful, blond haired woman sitting there. "Who.. who are you?" Both are equally surprised. The girl, Joanna, apparently does not know where she is and why. She says she remembers a hospital, and a fire... "I... I think I am dead..."

Be that as it may, Howard is not the kind to leave a young woman on her own. She gladly continues with them. Around the hotel the four find mysterious notes, apparently torn from the same sheet of paper. "They make the world look right way round", "I made a long journey and saw something neat" and "5 17 Have a snack, 12 19 Double back." There is also a rather unsettling little poem: "Scalpel, Screamer, Injun Dancer; Slithering Dreel and Darkling Lancer. When moon is dead they laugh at you. If I am crazy, you are too!" Suddenly, while they are conducting this search, they hear a loud banging on one of the side doors, accompanied by a beastly scream...

Upstairs is the retaurant and kitchens, as well as more rooms. For some reason, the door to room 16 is barred with many bolts, chains an locks... They don't need to be warned against trying to enter this room. After passing it by Howard notices he is leaving a trail of footprints. Dark red... Looking back he sees a puddle of what appears to be blood under the door of room 16... No exits from the place can be seen. But back dowstairs, in room 5 they find a mysterious block of stone. There are two depressions on it, and a sphere of the same stone rests in one. They move the stone into the other depression... But nothing happens. Room 5... Could the numbers on the note refer to rooms? They head to room 12, Howard's suite. There, the congressman almost trips over a similar slab of stone. 17 and 19 are upstairs. (The small hotel only has twenty rooms.) They already looked into them earlier, but a more thorough search now reveals two more of the stone slabs and spheres. Jeff, almost by chance, surprisingly finds an Uzi submachine gun, laying on a bed... There is no ammunition, though...

With hard work they haul them all to the main lobby. This must be a key to something, but they can't figure out what they are supposed to do. They try placing the spheres in the depressions in many different combinations, but nothing appears to happen. They are getting hungry, and head for the kitchens to pillage... Quite by chance they discover another slab. "Have a snack", of course... Now they try switching the order of the spheres in the order of the note, then going back again. But still nothing happens. They sit down, stumped. Quite by chance, Jeff almost sits upon another torn piece of paper. The first line of the message: "I love mirrors". They now try the same routine of switching spheres, but in reversed order.

"Did you hear that?" Joanna suddenly exclaims. "It sounded like it was upstairs..." They clamber up the stairs. Howard feels as if someone is following them. He looks back to see the same, or a similar, burned corpse following them. But no one else appears to see it, when he points it out... They leave it behind, and don't see it again... The door of room 17 is now open... Inside they find a pair of binoculars. Looking outside, the mist seems thinner through them... They see a few cars, trees... and a figure walking along a road. It is big, at least seven feet tall, and it appears to have no face. From both hands, like long fingers, extend two blades, like swords... Maybe it is good that they are locked in this building?

Back downstairs they suddenly hear the elevator moving! They wait anxiously as the doors open. Out crawls, or slithers a ghastly small figure, vaguely humanlike. It appears to be slimy, and its teeth are long... It charges towards them without hesitation... Thinking quickly they manage to run, leading it, and trap it into the office, tie the doors shut with sheets. After the confusion they notice that Joanna is missing. Shaken, they go back upstairs, looking for more food, and a drink... They are just sitting in the restaurant, as something enters... It is black as night, and has no head, or even neck. But what catches their attention is its arms... They are many feet long, and thin, ending in sharp points. It moves them back and forth, like thrusting spears. It charges towards them...

Episode 2: Gûðplega

Played: 12 September 2004

Startled, the three try to run. Jeff, though young and agile, in sudden shock stumbles to the floor, while the others head for the kitchen doors, drawing the creature in pursuit. Through the kitchen they run, into the storage beyond and close the door. The creature is just outside, banging on the wooden door. It will not last long... There are stairs here leading to the downstairs storage, and Howard leaps down them. He must arm himself, he thinks. There was a fireplace in his suite... He remembers seeing a poker... Stephen stays behind, looking around the room for something useful. To his surprise he finds an old revolver, rusted, but loaded. He fires one shot at the door. The banging continues and in a moment the creature stumbles through the door. He fires another shot or two, hitting the creature. Blood is spattered but still it charges onward. Stephen slips through a door behind him, into the main corridor of the second floor. He heads back toward the restaurant to see what happened to Jeff.

Meanwhile, as Jeff finds a note on the floor where he stumbled. "I found something under the table. Did you?" In part because of the note, in part to hide himself from the creature now passing into the kitchen, he crawls under the nearest table. To his surprise he finds a full magazine. He tries to attach it to his Uzi, but it takes a long time with shaking hands and no knowledge about guns. He finally succeeds, though, and stumbles out again, and runs into Stephen, and Howard coming up the main stairs wielding a lethal poker. Howard now hides in the men's bathroom, while the other two lure the creature out, back through the kitchen. A bullet from the Uzi quickly catches its attention, and it races back through the storage and the shattered kitchen door, into the restaurant and then the corridor, until suddenly, as the two young men turn, ready to fire, the congressman creeps up behind it and plunges the poker through its body. It keels over, and lays on the ground. They gather sharp knives from the kitchen to finish the job.

After catching their breath they notice the door of the elevator is open. There is another note on the floor... It is almost nonsense, without punctuation, referring to monsters inside and outside, and a wish to escape. The writer is wounded, and will rest in his room. It also speaks of a key in the basement... They haven't seen a basement entrance, but proceed now to look for one. They don't find an entrance downstairs, but they find something else: a generator. It is out of fuel, though. For lack of better ideas they gather bottles of strong alcohol from the nearby bar. The generator starts, but they don't know how long it will last. Lights work now, which makes the job easier. Having another look in the elevator they discover, to their surprise, that there is another button, marked basement. They push it, the doors close, but the elevator starts moving up! Then it stops, where the third floor would be if the hotel had one, and the doors open to reveal a short corridor. There is a door on both sides, and one at the end. The rooms on the sides are filled with corpses, apparently burned. The door at the end is covered with strange, carved symbols. The door is locked, but the lock is easily shattered with a shot from the revolver. The room revealed behind is large, and empty, except for a statue at the further end... A loud banging and screming can be heard from behind the wall.

Jeff and Stephen approach the statue, while Howard stays behind, to "guard their back". The statue is like a classical marble statue in style, but the character it portrays is strange, like a Native American woman. In its hand it holds an hourglass, and on its face is a golden mask. Jeff grabs the mask, and peers through its eyeholes. To his surprise the world looks upside down. Stephen turns the hourglass over. At the very same moment the wall behind is shattered, and the statue falls over. A creature leaps through... It is human in shape, but its eyes and mouth are like gaping black holes. It screams constantly. A long, sharp blade is thrust through its chest, and its hands are locked inside small, rusted iron boxes... Stephen fires a shot at it, but it doesn't seem to care. They all run as fast as they can, back to the elevator, and reach it just in time. As the doors close there is a loud klong as an iron-clad hand falls upon it...

But now there is no basement button. Instead there is a button which reads "Attic". They press, and, not entirely surprisingly, the elevator moves down, past the ground level. The basement is not very large, and filled with useless junk. But there is a small key cupboard... It is empty. There is a note. It seems like nonsense, but when read backwards reveals that the writer borrowed the key. But it also says there are too many of "them", and his gun is empty... They head back up. Just as they leave the elevator, the power suddenly goes out again. They head for the generator room. There is still fuel left, but the machinery has been broken. Intentionally. They now try to find the room of whoever wrote the notes. Soon they discover a locked door... They use the last bullet in the revolver to break the lock. There is dead man sitting in a chair. He has bruises and slashes all over his body, in his hand is a semi-automatic pistol. It is empty, but they take it all the same. (They may use bullets from the Uzi, as they both use the same 9 mm rounds.) They look for the key, and find it in his pocket. There is nothing else they can do now, but try the key to the front entrance... It fits, and turns. Outside they see only the dark and the mist. They step through...

...only to step into the lobby of the hotel. It is the same, but different. The furniture is broken, there is a thick layer of dust and dirt... They look around. The creature they locked into the office is gone, so are the sheets they used to secure the doors. They hear a howling and stomping from the bar... They see something there, jumping, dancing, about. It's like a human, but looks rotten, and it has a bag over its head. Silently they walk away, and go upstairs. The door of room 16 is the same. No, there are more chains and bars than earlier... The bloody footprints left by Howard are still visible. Heading back towards the restaurant, they stop to examine the elevator, when suddenly an arrow strikes the wall next to them. "Who are you?" a voice calls, warily. A figure approaches, a young, handsome man, Native American. He's dressed in a fine suit, but it looks very old fashioned. They introduce themselves, and assure him they don't mean any harm. They ask whether the man, who introduces himself as Jack Brown Eagle, is a guest at the hotel. "What hotel?" the man exclaims. "This is, or was, Pahooney Mental Institute. I was a... a prisoner here for several years. But the asylum burned down... I... I should be dead!" And when exactly did this happen? "In 1912." Just then they hear the howling, stomping creature approaching up the stairs. Another, similar, is coming down the corridor behind them...

Episode 3: Sceadugenga

Played: 3 October 2004

Nowhere to escape, they brace up for the attack. Howard grabs the poker he is still hanging on to, and plunges it through one of the creatures, which keels over and lays, shaking, on the ground. But not before viciously clawing at him with its last strength... Jeff throws the knife he's carrying at the other. It hits the creature's shoulder, and stays there, protruding from the wound as the creature continues to move forward, still howling... Stephen grabs a nearby chair and tries to bash the creature with it, but, much to his surprise, he slips, and falls on the ground, flat on his back. The chair lands heavily on top of him. The creature, closing in on Jeff, however, takes a step backwards, and trips over Stephen's body! Jeff quickly takes advantage of the situation and leaps, landing heavily on the creatures head, crushing it to little pieces...Stephen, after gaining his breath, removes the bag from the other creatures head. It looks as though it has been flayed alive...

What now? To find a way out is their primary goal. So they embark on another search of the hotel. Walking into the restaurant on the second floor they suddenly see a shape crawling on the floor. It is Joanna! She is gasping, coughing. "I... can't... breath..." she gasps. They can't make out many words, except something about "fire"... Stephen tries to help her, but she is burning hot, too hot to touch. There is nothing they can do. She dies, right before their eyes. Howard, looking back, for a moment sees in the shadows what looks like a burned corpse, which vanishes into the corridor. Did he, for a shortest moment, smell smoke in the air? They cover Joanna's body with a table cloth and proceed downstairs.

They have not gone far when suddenly they notice a ripple in a wall. A hand comes through, followed by the body of a man, which seems to almost melt fromt the wall. He is elderly, and his clothes and looks are strange, like a prehistoric shaman... He cries, in a strange language: "Athakh? Bar khalal kathal!" What can they do to appease a prehistoric man? Howard takes a sweet from his pocket, hands it to him. The "shaman" throws it away, tries to grab him. Howard takes a step back, brandishing his poker. The man hesitates, then turns to grab Jack instead, and starts to drag him back towards the wall! Stephen tries to grip the Native American's arm, but slips. So does Jeff. The man reaches the wall, holding on to Jack with incredible strength, and begins to melt back into it! Jeff takes his Uzi and aims at the man. He misses, though, hitting Jack in the sholder. And at the same moment they are gone. They run into the room behind the wall, but, not surprisingly, there is no one there. And then they hear gunshots from the other end of the building...

They proceed in that direction, through the bar, and into a corridor which leads to a few more rooms. There are two of the small, slithering creatures here. Dead, apparently from gunshots. They look into the rooms along the corridor. In one they find a hammer, which Stephen holds onto. They open the last door, only to find a machine pistol (which Howard, an expert in history, recognizes as a German MP40) trained on them, held by a man. The man is old, but looks fit, maybe in his seventies, or even eighties. "Who.. who are you?" he inquires. "You're American, aren't you?" Yes, they assure him they are American. The man calms down, lowers his weapon. "What is going on here? There are Nazis everywhere!" Nazis? Does he mean the monsters which roam around the place? Anyway, what is he doing here? "I was on holiday, just for the weekend... Frank is the name. Frank Sinclair. Major Frank Siclair." He is the same, then, as the three others. Not dead, or from another time. And he wants to get out, just like the others. Where did he get the old MP40, by the way? "Took it off a Nazi, of course..."

They move out. "The Nazis had a secret base," the old man suddenly says. "Out there, in the jungle. They've got a secret weapon. It could help us escape." They are in the bar now. There is a door, leading to a terrace outside. Beyond the terrace is (or was) the hotel's garden... Is that what he means? The door is locked, though... Maybe if they used something heavy as a battering ram? There are no benches about, only small chairs. But Howard remembers there was a couch in his suite. They head that way. The sofa is indeed there. They begin to move it, but find something underneath. A piece of paper. There are markings on it, written with what appears to be blood. They are Greek characters, and spell out, literally: "the ki is in the seim pleis". The key is in the same place... Where was the key? In the pocket of the dead man... In room 4, not far away. The man is still there, sitting in a chair. Does the body look more rotten than before? Maybe. Stephen kneels down, and puts a hand in the pocket. There is a key there, but at the very same instant he lays his hand on it, the dead man moves, reaching for him, grabbing his shoulder!

Stephen raises the hammer he was carrying, and strikes. But the head of the hammer comes loose, flying, grazing his own cheek. Howard acts quick, taking his trusty poker and driving it clean through the dead mans head. Pulling it out again, the whole head is ripped off, and flies into a corner. The body falls limp into the chair. After catching their breath again they return to the bar. The key fits. Frank states that he is staying behind. "I'm too old to go adventuring in jungles!" They take a roll of thread they've found, though, leaving one end with Frank, in order that they don't get lost. Outside it is a little lighter than inside, but they can't see far through the fog. First they follow the edge of the building, to see if they can get around this way, to the cars and the road away from here. But the garden, overgrown and indeed as wild as a jungle, gets thicker and thicker. Finally they see a high iron fence in front of them. No hope escaping them. They might as well look for the "Nazi base".

There is a small path which they now follow. They have not gone very long when they suddenly hear rustlings in the woods on both sides. They hurry on. Behind them, two of the slithering creatures leap out of the thickets and charge... They answer with bullets, Jeff wielding the Uzi and Howard the 9mm semi-automatic. A couple of hits to each creature takes care of them, although one of them gets too near and wounds Jeff in the leg. They are just turning and continuing their journey as another leaps out, immediately before them, and tries to claw at Stephen. The vet is only armed with the empty recolver, and he tries to strike the creature with its butt. Howard leaps forward with his poker, but slips, falls to the ground, taking Stephen with him. Bad luck continues as Jeff, firing with the sub-machine gun, takes a step back and trips over a strange object on the ground. It is a remote control for a VCR! Howard, however, has now managed to get back up and strikes down at the creature, impaling it on the ground.

Carrying on, they soon come to a clearing. There is a kind of altar here. What appears to be a human sacrifice lies on top of it... It is Jack Brown Eagle. There is a deep wound in the middle of his chest. He's dead. There is a small closet behind the altar. They pry open the rotten door, to find a chain saw! At the same moment, two things happen. Gunshots ring out, muffled by the fog, from the direction of the house. And on the other side of the clearing, there is a sound, like something big running in the thickets. They turn to run... A creature appears. The tall, faceless creature, with no face, and long blades for fingers. They run, and finally reach the door of the hotel, close it behind them. The creature is right behind them, but it does not try to follow them inside... Frank isn't there, the end of the thread is on the floor. They find him in the lobby. He is dead, pinned on a wall by the spearlike arm of a black, headless monster, also dead, from bullet wounds, slumped against the old soldier. They take him down and lay him on the floor. They also hack off the arms of the creature, thinking they may be useful as weapons, and also take his MP40. Now what? Get out. They try the new key in the lock of the main doors. It won't turn. What if they cut a hole through the doors with the saw? There is no fuel, though. They used alcohol once. They try it again, and, surprisingly, it works. They cut off the lock of the main entrance. The doors swing open. They step through.

Only to step into the hotel's lobby. It must be the lobby... The shape is the same. But it is rotten, covered in dirt. Where there were comfortable chairs and tables there are grim, rusted iron cages. There are dead bodies, hung from the ceiling...

Episode 4: Neorxenawang

Played: 16 October 2004

All around the building the scene is the same. Everything is covered in grime and rust. There is very little of the original furniture, and what there is lies broken in corners. Apart from cages of rusted iron and other strange, out of place objects and the occasional body the scene is rather bare. They head upstairs. Room 16 would seem to be the only lead they have, the only place they haven't examined. Where there were chains and bolts there are now living tentacles, or veins, with a large heart beating at the middle, like a living padlock... They attempt to cut the tentacles, stab the heart, but it is of no use. The flesh regenerates immediately.

There's nothing to it, they must search the hotel again for clues... Upstairs they find little, except an old baseball bat which they take with them. They head down by the stairs in the storage room. A quick peek into the office by the lobby: they see a skeleton, smallish, humanoid in shape. Could it be the creature they locked into the room? They continue through the storage rooms. The generator is still there, but smashed to pieces. They suddenly hear a banging noise from the south end of the building, and a woman's voice calling for help. It is coming from one of the rooms... The door is locked, so they use the chainsaw. The room is silent and empty, except for a strange table, with straps for limbs, and gruesome surgical instruments near it... The sound continues, from the next room down the hall! Again, nothing. Just a chair, with straps, and broken syringes on the floor.

And the calls for help continue... The next room down the hall is the last. But the door is made of metal. It has no handle or lock, but there are two square depressions. The monster they saw in the "attic" springs to their minds. And just at that thought they hear footsteps from the bar at their back... They peer in, and see the very same monster walking away towards the lobby. Howard hides in a cleaning cupboard with the chainsaw, while the others attract the creatures attention. When it is charging towards them, Howard leaps out of the closet, cleaving the thing in half... They cut of the iron box hands, carry them to the metal door. They fit perfectly into the depressions, the door opens... There is a cage in the room, hanging from the ceiling. A woman is sitting in the cage, sobbing. About thirty, she has short black hair, dressed in what once have been a goodlooking blouse and mini-skirt. Now she looks ragged, her makeup smeared...

They open the cage. (There is an electronical device on it. Much to their surprise they manage to open it with the remote they found in the woods.) Her name is Stella, she used to work at the hotel. Like the others, she is scared and confused, and gladly joins them. They continue the search. There is nothing downstairs... The corpse is still in room 4, but the head is nowhere to be seen... While they search they find several old newspaper scraps. There's one from the previous year, about a bloody murder in room 16, and another from the 1940's, about a beheaded man in the same room! There is another from the early 1900's about an insane asylum for "American Indians", which apparently burned down. This also refers to "cell 16"... They return to this mysterious room. The only idea they can come up with is to reach the room from outside. If only they could break through the bars... They decide to fetch sheets to use as rope.

But they haven't gotten far when Howard suddenly hears a strange noise from the upstairs lavatories. Like water splashing. He peers in. There is a bottle floating in one of the toilets, with a message in it. "Help me, I'm trapped! Down, down, down, I'll drown..." They proceed down, as the note suggests, to the downstairs lavatory. There is a pipe here, and a faint tapping is coming from it. They try to make a hole in the pipe, using the revolver as a hammer and a screwdriver as a chisel. The pipe is so corroded that they actually manage to cut through. Stephen feels inside... He pulls out an ampoule. It is labelled "16". A poison for the living defence of room 16? But the vet knows it is probably useless without a syringe to properly apply it...

Just then the door slams shut. Howard tries to open it, but it wont budge. And water begins to rush in through the hole in the pipe. The water level is rising fast... Must faster than it should with such a small hole. Jeff panics. His parents drowned when he was young, and he barely escaped himself. He strugles, slips, face down into the water... And he is sinking, downwards, sees mud, feels weeds brushing him. There is a pale corpse there, reaching towards him, dressed in decayed fur and leather, like a prehistoric shaman. And then Stephen pulls him out, he feels the hard floor beneath him. Howard is starting up the chain saw, cutting a hole through the door. They escape, the water flows out, vanishing through cracks in the floor. Where is Stella?

They head towards the room where they saw the broken syringes. And to their surprise find Stella there, sitting on the floor in front of torture chair. Her sleeve is rolled up, she has a syringe in her hand... Stephen rushes to stop her. She tries to strugle, but soon gives up, lies sobbing on the ground. "I'm sorry," she says. "He made me lock the door. He promised me this if I did it... Please, let me come with you..." They take her with them, but keep a close eye on her. Back upstairs, Stephen injects the heart with the fluid from the ampoule. The tentacles thrash about for a while, then fall limp. They cut up the thing into several pieces and lock each one in a different room. Better to play it safe... They open the door. Inside is a hotel room. Ordinary, clean hotel room. Even the lights work. However, there is no window. There is a door, though, in what should be the outer wall. They open it, step through. The corridor is behind them. It is the same room...

Their attention is drawn to a large mirror on another wall... They haven't seen a mirror like it in any other room here. They break the glass, remove the metal plate behind it... There is a large crack in the wall. They go through... It looks like the same room, there is a similar door where the outer wall should be. But this is dark, in shambles, like the rest of the hotel. They open the door... It leads to long corridor, then to another door. They come into a winding, cavelike passage, which they follow, for several hundred yards, until they see two exits, up and down. Sunlight is coming through both exits... They decide to go down, and find themselves in a cave. The exit is near. They are in the middle of a forest, it looks like early autumn, as it should. It is bright, although the sky is overcast. Snow begins to fall...

They follow a little path. Footprints can be seen in the snow, and droplets of blood. Before long they come into a clearing. There is an altar there, much like the altar they saw before. Next to it is a dais, with a throne on the top... In the throne sits the prehistoric figure that took Jack Brown Eagle. "Who are you?" they demand of him. "How can we get away from this nightmare?" The man laughs. "You want me to help you? You don't understand... I am a prisoner here, just as you are! But you have a chance," he says, in an almost sad tone. "You may find a way, but I am trapped in this nightmare forever..." They begin to walk away, the path continues on the other side of the clearing. But the shaman calls to them. "Stella! Finish what you began!" The girl stops, she looks ill. Suddenly she begins to shake violently. She is changing. Limbs and faces are growing from her arms. One monstrous shape looks like Joanna, the other like the Native American. Major Sinclair's face laughs at them from her belly... The creature charges...

The battle is hard and bloody. They begin by firing at it. Her own head is blown away. Howard starts up the chainsaw, he goes for the shaman who is laughing on his throne. The man is cut into two, but continues to laugh, even as he is rotting, fading away... The creature is clearly disturbed by the apparent death of its master. Stephen is spraying bullets with the MP40 they took from the old soldier, but the magazine is soon empty. He grabs now the arm-spear he took from a dead monster earlier, tries to plunge it through the creature... The half Indian viciously claws at Jeff, while the Joanna form attempts to do the same to Stephen. The major's head spits at the vet. It burns. Then Howard is there again, slashing at the half Joanna. The girl soon falls limp, one arm cut off. Howard takes the saw to the creature's waist, the major's head screaming... But he slips, falls to the ground, the saw cuts the spear that Stephen is attacking with. Howard now tries to cut the creatures legs... It falls over. Jeff throws a knife at the Indian's head. He misses, but quickly bends down to grab the knife, and cuts the throat of the remaining head... The creature thrashes about for a moment, spraying blood, then it is still...

After recovering for a moment, they continue up the path. Soon they see the hotel before them, its gardens and outside terrace. The door is open, there are no bars on the windows. They go inside. The place looks normal, but there is no one to be seen. Their luggage is in their rooms, just as they left it. Room 16 looks like any other room. There is a soaked note there, though: "I might sleep more peacefully for a while. But my nightmare is not over..." How long has it been since they have eaten? A day and a night? They head for the kitchens. As they enter, Stephen suddenly feels something grab his heel... A head is there, gnawing at his shoe. He kicks it away. They smash it into little pieces. They do not feel like staying here any longer, and head down, to the main entrance. The door opens. They step outside.

GM's Notes

The names of the episodes are Old English. Not for any particular purpose, it just had a nice exotic ring to it... Roughly translated, Clûstor = prison, Gûðplega = conflict, or 'game of war'; (ð stands for 'th'), Sceadugenga = monster, and Neorxenawang = paradise.

The idea of the old insane asylum was inspired by Hiawatha Insane Asylum for American Indians, in the small town of Canton, South Dakota, which was opened in 1903. It was closed in the 1930's after an investigation discovered many patients were not mentally ill at all. During the years, many patients were reported to have died due to lack of proper care. Their cemetery is now in the middle of a golf course.

All episodes were played by candlelight. (Since it was early autumn and we mostly played in the afternoon we had to use thick curtains...)

I made a little card deck of items for the game. Many of the items the players discovered during the adventure were randomly drawn from this deck. I also made props of all the notes they found, as well as newspaper articles. (Easy way to make paper look old: soak it in tea. The effect is pretty cool.)