Session 0 and Introductory Scenario

Paper Chase

After greetings and light conversation, the players rolled up characters and settled into a party of three distinguished women: Violet, the shy and bookish librarian; Sage, the tough and reliable gardener; and Millicent, the wealthy and seemingly dangerous dilettante. These three ladies are members of W.I.S.H. (Woman Investigation Society House), a society for the investigation of the extra-normal – men are welcome but women are at the forefront.

Having earned a reputation for exploring the strange and unusual, WISH was contacted by Thomas Kimball, a 30-something year old bachelor who resides by himself in a home he inherited from his uncle. This uncle, Douglas Kimball, disappeared mysteriously a year ago. The nephew Kimball has experience a burglary – and a strange one, at that. No door or window was forced open during the burglary and only a half dozen or so of Douglas’s books were stolen. Thomas would like WISH to investigate the burglary and perhaps discover the whereabouts of his uncle. He has offered $10 (roughly $200 in today’s cash) as payment for the job. The investigators heartily accepted the job so the campaign started in earnest.

Mr. Kimball provided the party with a photograph of his uncle, which showed a man balding with white hair, average height and wearing round spectacles. He also offered to let the investigators take a look around his house for clues, which they accepted eventually. But first, they conducted research at the local library.

At the library, the investigators spent a few hours researching old newspaper articles. They found a Daily Gazette article dated over ten years ago concerning the alleged sighting of a band of people, apparently unclothed, cavorting in the cemetery near the Kimball house. The constable was summoned and the cemetery searched, but no sign of the strangers was ever found, though misshapen footprints gave mute evidence of their presence.

The party then decided to investigate the Daily Gazette, where they were able to persuade the editor, Artie Maloy, to look through the newspaper’s morgue. In the morgue they discover a journalist’s notes that contain a never-published statement concerning the cemetery. The statement, from Mrs. Hilda Ward, an insomniac neighbor (now aged 64), claimed that for over 20 years she had seen “Devil Spawn” stalking about the burial ground. Though human in outline, she claimed they had canine features, hooved feet, and were covered with mold. The journalist who interviewed Ms. Ward noted that, “Mrs. Ward has since moved to Detroit, and none of the other neighbors have ever seen, or will admit to having seen Devil Spawn.”

The investigators next checked in with the local police. There Millicent turned on the charm and convinced the dopey desk sergeant named Arnie to answer some questions about the case. Arnie remembers that a missing person report was filed for Douglas Kimball and his photograph was circulated far and wide, but the man was never found. He also mentioned that the cemetery is in a quiet neighborhood and nothing out of the ordinary has recently been reported. Sometime back, though, perhaps six or seven years ago, there were reports of some strange noises coming out of the cemetery at night. Patrols made a point of passing by for a few weeks but nothing was seen or heard. “It was quiet as a grave!”

After the visit to the local precinct, WISH called it a night. In the morning, they returned to the Kimball House where Millicent and Sage carried out a search of the place and Violet went to the cemetery – which happened to be the place where her parents are buried.

In the Kimball House, Sage and Millicent focused on the study, as the rest of the house has been “moved into” by Thomas Kimball. They found the location where the books were stolen. Additionally, they found no method of entry but Sage did notice that the study’s windows are loose with age and a determined effort could easily open them from outside. Sage took a peek outside and noted some interested herbs growing below. Finally, the two sleuths found Douglas’s journal in which the last entry cryptically mentions “reaching a decision” and “joining with my friends below”. Earlier entries seem to hint at a network of tunnels beneath the cemetery, inhabited by mysterious “creatures” that Douglas saw moving about at night.

In the cemetery Violet strikes up a conversation with the groundskeeper, one Melodius Jefferson, a rather bedraggled looking middle aged fellow. The topic of Douglas Kimball is breached and Melodius points out Douglas’s favorite tombstone – where he spent reading books days on end. Mr. Jefferson bids Violet a good day and moves on to the other side of the cemetery, leaving her to take a seat on the tomb contemplating the mystery. It’s while she is doing this that she notices strange tracks around the tombstone, which look to have been made by man-sized feet that end in cloven hooves that lead up to the door of a nearby stone mausoleum.

It is here that we leave for the session.


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