Workshop 001: The Haunted Attic

It's Interactive Sunday, and it's time to get these RPG Writing Workshops underway. Join in! Our first exercise is dead simple: we’ll be describing a room, with a body or two. Please read the orientation article before you proceed!

The context is a haunted-house fantasy/horror adventure. The house is the final resting place of a family murdered more than a century ago. You’ll be writing the entry for a single room which shares the space with a few dozen others. We can suppose that the others are just as cliché-ridden as this one. This is a systemless module so there are no statblocks or rules, just general references.

Optional Fact

The room has a single door leading down into a corridor below, a pull-down stairway. Opening and climbing that stair is how the PCs will enter the room (it’s the only way in or out). The GM is presumed to already know about the door from the text on the module floorplan, so you needn’t mention it, but you can refer to it if you’d like.

The Facts of the Design

  • The room is an attic.
  • The room’s contents are mostly junk of little value or interest (specify as needed or leave vague).
  • There is a chair here.
  • Abigail Whitehouse died in the chair.
  • Abigail was 91 when she died.
  • Abigail died happy and satisfied.
  • The attic had been her favorite hiding-place as a child.
  • Abigail had just finished murdering her entire family.
  • She had her hound with her.
  • Her dog’s name was Bo.
  • Before passing, she fed Bo some flesh from the body of her murdered granddaughter.
  • Bo otherwise had no food.
  • Bo had no way to leave the room.
  • Bo fed on Abigail’s body before he died.
  • Her body is on the floor.
  • Her body is dry and misshapen from the passing years.
  • Signs of Bo feeding on her are visible.
  • His body is on the floor.
  • His body is dry and misshapen from the passing years.
  • He is curled up next to her body.
  • Abigail’s ghost will awaken if the PCs explore the attic junk.
  • Bo’s ghost will awaken only if Abigail’s ghost feels threatened.
  • Abigail’s awakened ghost will be visible in the chair.
  • She’ll look at her corpse first, and express sadness for Bo.
  • She’ll look to the PCs next and respond if spoken to.
  • She doesn’t mind confessing to her crimes.
  • She doesn’t mind describing her crimes.
  • She ignores other lines of inquiry.
  • She cannot harm, or be harmed, physically.
  • She is vulnerable to psychic and magic attack.
  • If she feels threatened she will rouse Bo’s ghost.
  • Bo cannot be harmed physically.
  • Bo is incorporeal but can “bite” with cold, causing potentially-lethal injury.
  • The cold of Bo’s bite can cause paralysis.
  • Bo is vulnerable to psychic and magic attack.
  • Bo believes he is still hungry, and can be distracted by meat.

Exercise Goals

Write a brief entry (200-300 words at most) imparting all of the supplied facts. The standard rules (click here if you need refreshed) apply. Write with the Game Master of a traditional fantasy/horror RPG as the target audience. Engage the Game Master’s enthusiasm for running this room in a way that the players will find entertainingly creepy and evocative. Use any format, tense, perspective, structure, etc that might serve these purposes.

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Deadline had been 2:00 AM, Mountain (Colorado) Time, 5/16/2018. This exercise is complete. Click Here for the final results!