Playlists for a Night of Romantic Horror

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Appendix II of the illustrated Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual contains a list of classic Gothic and Romantic literary works, inspirational artists, and suggested movies. In that spirit, here is an essential playlist of ten songs that compliment the themes and motifs of Ghastly Affair:

  1. Sadeness (Part I) – Enigma
  2. Spellbound – Siouxsie and the Banshees
  3. Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
  4. Stand and Deliver – Adam Ant
  5. Bark at the Moon – Ozzy Osbourne
  6. Love Bites – Judas Priest
  7. Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler
  8. N.I.B – Black Sabbath
  9. Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
  10. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Iron Maiden

And here are fifteen classical works to play as you read the illustrated Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual. These pieces also make great soundtracks for Affairs.

Danse Macabre – Camille Saint-Saëns (Composer)
Der Erlkönig (The Erlking) – Franz Schubert (Composer)
Der Freischütz (The Freeshooter), Overture – Carl Maria von Weber (Composer)
Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden) op.7 no. 3 – Franz Schubert (Composer)
Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The First Walpurgis Night) – Felix Mendelssohn (Composer)
Mephisto Waltz – Franz Liszt (Composer)
Moonlight Sonata – Lugwig van Beethoven (Composer)
Night on Bald Mountain – Modest Mussorgsky (Composer)
Piano Sonata No 2 (Funeral March) – Frédéric Chopin (Composer)
Requiem in D Minor – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Composer)
String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor (Death and the Maiden) – Franz Schubert (Composer)
Symphonie fantastique – Hector Berlioz (Composer)
Symphony No 5. (First Movement) – Lugwig van Beethoven (Composer)
The Isle of the Dead – Sergei Rachmaninoff (Composer)
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor – Johann Sebastian Bach (Composer)

The Illustrated Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual Is Now Available!

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The long-awaited, illustrated edition of the Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual is now available as a print-on-demand book through Amazon and CreateSpace!

GhastlyAffairPlayersManualCoverPromoGhastly Affair is the Gothic Game of Romantic Horror, set in a macabre world of terror and desire. Play out stories of love and death, where deceased paramours won’t stay in the grave, cursed noblemen wander the moors as wolves, and young women are trapped in the dark halls of ancient castles. Beware the highwayman that terrorizes the roads, or take him as a lover instead!

Experience the Ghastly Age, a darkly romantic take on the years when the Marquis de Sade lost his freedom, Marie-Antoinette lost her head, and Napoleon lost an Empire. Aristocrats play twisted games of seduction and betrayal in glittering palaces, while ordinary people starve in the streets. Some take arms against the creatures of darkness, while other battle with words in the salons and coffee houses. Restless souls haunt ancient abbeys, while immoral Libertines haunt the ballrooms of High Society. Live a life of romance and horror in a time of revolution, war, and natural disasters.

The rules of Ghastly Affair utilize the familiar terms and concepts of Old-School Role Playing Games, but with a modern twist. Characters are defined by six Basic Abilities, a Character Class, and Level. The basic system is simple: roll a twenty-sided die to obtain a number lower than the rating of an Ability. Character Classes include such classic Gothic tropes as the Bandit, Grave Robber, and True Innocent. Each Class has its own flavorful array of Special Abilities and Weaknesses, and can also be customized with free-form, player-defined Assets and Afflictions.

Magic is dark and dangerous in Ghastly Affair. Magicians use Invocations to manipulate minds, perform Ceremonies to summon Demons, create Talismans that protect the wearer from harm, and employ Pacts that grant power at a cost. Mad Scientists invent strange drugs and bizarre machines that twist the laws of nature. Anyone can use a Magical Ritual to gain love or treasure, if they are willing to suffer the awful consequences. And the Devil himself waits for those desperate enough to barter their very souls.

The illustrated Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual contains all the information needed to be a Player in the Ghastly Affair RPG. It includes complete rules for creating and advancing characters, with nine Gothic Character Classes (and optional rules for playing Vampyres and Werewolves). Guidelines are given for situations ranging from flirting at the masquerade ball, to fighting supernatural horrors. Plus, extensive information on the culture, clothing, objects, and attitudes of the Ghastly Age is woven throughout the text. If you already have the Free PDF version, this illustrated, full indexed edition will be a beautiful and useful addition to your gaming table!

Coming Soon: The illustrated Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual, filled with advice on presenting stories of Gothic Horror and Romance, a full selection of Creatures and Adversaries, a detailed chronology of the Ghastly Age, and much more! Download the free PDF version of the Presenter’s Manual to help run you game until the release of the book!

Please note: Ghastly Affair emulates the shocking world of the original Gothic novels, and is therefore intended for mature readers.

Purchase on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Ghastly-Affair-Players-Manual-Daniel/dp/1535235063

Or get it directly from CreateSpace:
https://www.createspace.com/6416247

See the Downloads page for Character Record Sheets and Quick References for Ghastly Affair.

Great Stuff From Other People

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If you like what you see on the Engine of Oracles, here are some other Gothic and Horror gaming blogs and projects I recommend:

Over at “Ynas Midgard’s RPG Blog” the author is developing Grim Tales, a dark fantasy campaign based on European fairy tales and folklore.

Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque” is a Gothic feast run by an expert on the genre. One of the original blogs blending OGL gaming with authentic Gothic sensibility, from someone who really knows what he’s talking about. The highly recommended free downloads are stuffed with dark goodness.

Tales from the Haunted Jukebox” is a gem of a blog that presents the world of 50’s horror novelty songs as an RPG setting! It’s teenage werewolves, rock and roll ghouls, and hot-rods driven by Dracula! A truly great idea that deserves some exposure. Also from the same author is “Great & Small”, a game of animal fantasy in development. The “Creepy Crawlies” setting of the game is a Gothic world where nocturnal animals protect humanity from the real monsters that lurk in the darkness.

Wine and Savages” is filled with Gothic and Regency-era materials for the Savage Worlds system. The authoring is currently developing “The King is Dead”, a darkly romantic Savage Worlds setting that takes place is an imaginary 18th-century setting where vampires rule as nobility. The “VARGR” adventure has been released for the setting already.

The “Aeons & Auguries” blog is a great source for ideas and Old-School style random tables. The recent series of posts inspired by the “Xor” setting, first proposed on the “Elfmaids & Octopi” site, presents a cornucopia of body-horror and bio-mechanical nastiness reminiscent of David Cronenberg movies like “eXistenZ” and “Videodrome”.

The Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual – An Update and Art Preview

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GhastlyAffairPlayersManualCoverPromoGhastlyAffairFullPagePromo01GhastlyAffairFullPagePromo02GhastlyAffairFullPagePromo03

 

The long-awaited release of the illustrated Ghastly Affair Player’s Manual is close at hand! In a few short weeks you’ll be able to relax with a copy on your favorite chaise longue, while you imbibe an ancient vintage from the skull of a former lover. Or you could just get together with some friends and play the game instead! Until then, enjoy this preview of the cover, as well as three of the gorgeous full-page illustrations by artist Stacey Kaelin.

Ghastly Affair is the Gothic Game of Romantic Horror, where players live shocking stories of desire, death, and the supernatural against a dark and decadent backdrop of elegance, depravity, and social upheaval. Experience a time when a lady’s hand fan is a weapon in High Society, and monsters of every kind await the unwary.

Images marked “Copyright, Stacey Kaelin 2016” are used under license from the artist. See more of Stacey’s work at: http://www.sakaelin.com.

The light is more lovely for the darkness around it.

Carmilla Karnstein for the Ghastly Affair RPG

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Fitzgerald, funeral from Carmilla
Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” is among the all-time great Gothic stories, a gorgeously atmospheric tale of predatory desire and deadly obsession. Carmilla herself is among the best-imagined literary vampires, who continues to inspire new works to this day. Here she is brought to beautiful (un)life for use in Ghastly Affair, the Gothic Game of Romantic Horror!

Carmilla
The obsessive lover, and bloodthirsty killer, of lonely young women

Full Name: Mircalla, Countess Karnstein
Aliases: Carmilla, Millarca (her aliases are always anagrams of “Mircalla”)
Class: Everywoman (Aristocrat) / Vampyre
Level: 5 / 10
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: A stunningly beautiful young woman with large dark eyes, fine features, thick golden-brown hair, and a slim figure. Her manner is graceful but languid. She has extremely sharp, cat-like fangs that she does her best to avoid showing.
Age: About 20 (apparent)

Charisma: 20 Intelligence: 14 Wisdom: 12
Strength: 8 (22 when she uses her Inhuman Strength) Dexterity: 10 Constitution: 8
Perversity: 15
Assets: Incredibly Beautiful
Afflictions: Obsessive

Speed: 9 (10 in wildcat form)
Hit Points: 60
Attacks: 1 (bite or punch – Carmilla dislikes changing into Vampyric Form to use her claws, but may attack in wildcat form)

Everywoman Special Abilities: Profession (Aristocrat), Avocation (Actress), Affection (Young Women), Inheritance (The ruined village and castle of Karnstein), Social Contacts (A team of servants bound in Dark Devotion who aid in her schemes)
Vampyre Special Abilities: Assume Vampyric Form; Revenant Immunities; Rise From Death; Supernatural Combatant; Vampyric Powers: Hypnotism, Inspire Dark Devotion, Inhuman Strength, Unnatural Charisma, Inflict Love, Transform Self into Cat, Bond With Victim, Create Vampyre, Walk Through Walls, Walk Through Shadows
Everywoman Weaknesses: Phobia (Funerals), Prejudice (Peasants)
Vampyre Weaknesses: Blood-Lust; Vampyric Debilities: Affected by Holy Symbols, Cannot Enter Homes Uninvited, Must Rest in Original Tomb (1 hour per day), Permanent Fangs, Haunted, Hunted, Obsessive Love, Vulnerable to Iron, Vulnerable to Holy Water, Obsessed with Anagrams (can only use aliases that are anagrams of “Mircalla”)

Typical Equipment Carried: A lovely dress. Antique jewelry. A valise (with dresses, chemises, a hand mirror, combs, and other small personal items)
Residence: Her tomb in the deserted village of Karnstein, in Styria (southeast Austria). A household with a lone young woman.

Background:

  • 1678: Mircalla Karnstein is born in Castle Karnstein in Styria. The Karnsteins are already renowned for their bloodthirsty natures and infamous crimes.
  • 1698: Mircalla, Countess Karnstein is killed by a Vampyre in her family castle, and cursed to become one herself.
  • 1718: The Village of Karnstein becomes plagued with Vampyres. The Baron Vordenburg, a Demon Hunter who had been living in Moravia, takes it on himself to destroy all the Vampyres of Karnstein. Unfortunately, the Baron had actually been Mircalla’s lover in his youth. Unable to bring himself to destroy her body, he instead destroys the monument over her tomb, and thus obscures the site of her burial. In his old age, however, he becomes overcome with guilt and records the actual location of Mircalla’s tomb for posterity.
  • 1798: The village and castle of Karnstein are now completely deserted.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes: Carmilla affects a weak and helpless demeanor to worm her way into households, but if cornered at night, she is a truly fearsome opponent. A favorite scheme is to find an estate or castle housing a beautiful but lonely young woman, and then fake a carriage crash nearby. She will then have one of her servants (masquerading as her mother) beg the owner of household to take Carmilla in as she recuperates. During the day Carmilla moves slowly but gracefully, and speaks as if half-asleep. She can fly into sudden rages, however, if she encounters a funeral, feels a peasant is being insolent, or thinks that someone is about to discover her true nature. While she had a male lover before her death, she now strongly prefers attractive young women as both victims and objects of affection. Carmilla will kill any convenient woman merely to satisfy her hunger, but the one women chosen as her beloved will be showered with affection and grandiose declarations of eternal love by day, even as she become the Vampyre’s prey at night. Carmilla is always being stalked by some Demon Hunter or distraught father, but has so far managed to kill, corrupt, or elude every one. She avoids assuming full Vampyric form, preferring to feed while in the shape of a wildcat. She is very sensitive about her permanent, cat-like fangs, and will try everything within her power to silence anyone who calls attention to them.

Carmilla in Your Game: It is Carmilla’s curse to always the cause of her love’s destruction. A beautiful female True Innocent would be in particular danger from Carmilla, as the Countess could not help falling into deadly love with such a young woman. Despite her need to rest at least an hour a day in her tomb, Carmilla’s ability to Walk Through Shadows means could be encountered in places as far away as Vienna, Venice, Prague, Munich, or Buda. Since she is always being Hunted, PCs who face Carmilla should be able to obtain aid against her. They might come into possession of the original Baron Vordenburg’s papers, or even meet one of the Demon Hunters descended from him! Note that the PCs will most likely be encountering Carmilla before the events described in the eponymous novella (set circa 1848). If they actually destroy her, assume that Le Fanu wrote “Carmilla” based on stories he heard about the PC’s experiences!

Source: “Carmilla” by Sheridan Le Fanu

Lord Ruthven – The Original Aristocratic Vampyre

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Lord Ruthven is the original literary Vampyre aristocrat, created by John Polidori as a direct parody of Lord Byron. He is also a product of the same storytelling contest at the Villa Diodati that inspired Mary Shelly to write Frankenstein! Relatively young, and not particularly powerful for his kind, Lord Ruthven makes a good early antagonist for characters not yet ready to confront the likes of Carmilla Von Karnstein or Count Dracula. He he is written-up for use with Ghastly Affair, the Gothic Game of Romantic Horror.

Lord Ruthven
High Society seducer, and cold-blooded killer

Full Name: Lord Ruthven (his true full name is unknown)
Aliases: The Earl of Marsden
Class: Libertine / Vampyre
Level: 2 / 4
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: A well-dressed but distressingly pale man, with black hair, and dead gray eyes.
Age: Late 20s (apparent)

Charisma: 17 Intelligence: 11 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 12 Dexterity: 11 Constitution: 9
Perversity: 18
Assets: Master of High Society
Afflictions: Compulsive Gambler

Speed: 9
Hit Points: 25
Attacks: 1 (dagger in human form, teeth and claws in Vampyric Form)

Libertine Special Abilities: Disguise (+1) | Dueling (+1/+3) | Fraud (+1) | Sneak (+1) | Seduction (+1)
Vampyre Special Abilities: Assume Vampyric Form | Revenant Immunities | Rise From Death |Supernatural Combatant | Preternatural Powers: Hypnotism, Inspire Dark Devotion, Inhuman Strength, Unnatural Charisma
Libertine Weaknesses: Faithless Lover | Fascinated By Innocence
Vampyre Weaknesses: Blood-Lust | Vampyric Debilities: Cadaverous Skin Color, Strange Eyes, Obsessive Love, Restored by the Moon

Typical Equipment Carried: A set of clothes in the latest style. High boots. A fine hat of beaver fur. An ataghan (long, curved Turkish dagger). A walking stick. 1000p in bank notes.
Residence: London, but enjoys traveling to Italy and Greece.

Background: Lord Ruthven’s actual background before 1812 is unknown. Nothing about any personal history he reveals will stand up to investigation. He will claim various titles to impress women, but none of them can be verified. All anyone will ever be able to uncover is that he seems to owe considerable amounts of money to various creditors, all of whom believe different things about his actual identity.

  • January 1812: Lord Ruthven appears in London. He makes the acquaintance of a young man named Aubrey.
  • June 1812: In debt, Lord Ruthven leaves England for the Continent. He is followed by Aubrey, who decide to make the trip his Grand Tour. Lord Ruthven visits every gambling house he can along the way.
  • Early July, 1812: Lord Ruthven arrives in Rome, where he begins the seduction of a Countess’ daughter.
  • Late July, 1812: Aubrey quarrels with Lord Ruthven about the latter’s dishonorable intentions towards the Countess’ daughter, and leaves for Greece. Lord Ruthven secretly follows him.
  • August 1812: Under cover of night Lord Ruthven murders Aubrey’s beloved, a young Greek woman named Ianthe. He is surprised by Aubrey, who does not recognize him in the darkness of a hut where the two accidentally meet. Lord Ruthven is about to kill Aubrey when he is surprised by villagers bearing torches. He flees into the night. Later, Lord Ruthven appears and tends to Aubrey as the young man lies delirious in bed.
  • September 1812: Lord Ruthven and Aubrey wander Greece, visiting ruins.
  • Late September, 1812: Lord Ruthven and Aubrey are ambushed by bandits during the day. Lord Ruthven is mortally wounded, but he makes Aubrey promise to expose his body to the moonlight after death. He also makes Aubrey swear not to reveal his crimes, or the fact of his death, for a year and a day.
  • January, 1813: Lord Ruthven appears again in England, and begins using the title “The Earl of Marsden”. When Aubrey sees him, Lord Ruthven reminds him of his solemn oath. Lord Ruthven begins the seduction of Aubrey’s sister.
  • Late September, 1813: Lord Ruthven marries Aubrey’s sister, making Aubrey so furious and distraught that he bursts blood vessel in his brain, and dies shortly thereafter. Lord Ruthven murders his new wife, and leaves for the continent.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes: Lord Ruthven is an aggressive seducer of women, who takes great delight in corrupting innocent maids and happily married women, but is bored by wanton ladies. He appears to take little actual pleasure in life, but acts with desperate intensity. He can nonetheless be quite charming when he cares to, and will appear to be a great friend. In fact he is a heartless manipulator, and will eventually betray any companion. He especially loves to kill those beloved by his misguided associates. Lord Ruthven loves to lavish gifts upon criminals, drug addicts, and others despised by society, but will not show the least charity to the guiltless poor.

Lord Ruthven in Your Game: Lord Ruthven is likely to be found haunting London High Society (the “Ton”), but could also be encountered at parties in Rome or Venice. Travelers to the ancient ruins of Greece could find him there, apparently sight-seeing (but actually looking for his next victim). Any True Innocents will naturally be singled out for seduction and eventual murder. If any of the players have actually read Polidori’s “The Vampyre”, have Lord Ruthven initially use a new alias. The ideal time for PCs to encounter Lord Ruthven is after October of 1813. If PCs encounter and destroy him before 1812, however, that just means that John Polidori’s tale was inspired by a story he heard regarding the “real” Lord Ruthven!

Source: “The Vampyre: A Tale” by John William Polidori

Ghastly Affair 4 x 6 Inch Character Card Now Available For Download

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This double-sided card unchains you from the game table! Its small size saves space, and facilitates live-action style play. It’s a full character record sheet for the Ghastly Affair rpg, designed to be printed on a standard 4 x 6 inch blank index card. Despite its portable size, there’s plenty of space to write. Take pictures of the front and back of your completed card with your mobile device – it should remain readable on most phone and tablet screens. Worry about your character’s dark schemes and desperate desires – not where you’re going to put your character sheet!

The Ghastly Affair 4 x 6 Character Card is available in the Download section.

Remember to set your printer up for 4 x 6 index cards before printing.

Frankenstein and his Creature for the Ghastly Affair RPG

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Frontispiece to Frankenstein 1831

Next week is the 200th Anniversary of the famous night when eighteen-year-old Mary Shelly conceived the idea for her immortal novel “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”. In honor of that event (which also resulted in the creation of the first modern vampire tale), I present Victor Frankenstein and his Creature, described for use with the Ghastly Affair role-playing game! The descriptions are inspired primarily by the original text, so there may be some surprises for those who only know the cinematic versions of the two characters. For example, not only is Victor’s first language French, it is the primary tongue of his fast, agile, and eloquent Creature! Although Victor dies in the original novel (and the Creature proclaims that he will kill himself), here we’ll assume that both actually survived the events if the story to continue their battle.

Victor Frankenstein (1798)
The Modern Prometheus

Full Name: Victor Frankenstein
Aliases: Doctor Frankenstein
Class: Mad Scientist
Level: 7
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: Well-dressed, but sullen and wild-eyed. Prone to gnashing his teeth.
Age: 30

Charisma: 11 Intelligence: 19 Wisdom: 9
Strength: 9 Dexterity: 12 Constitution: 15
Perversity: 14
Assets: Talent for Science
Afflictions: Obsessive (currently obsession is destroying his Creature)

Speed: 9
Hit Points: 28
Attacks: 1 (pistol or dagger). +2 Damage Bonus

Special Abilities: Academic Credentials (University of Ingolstadt), Laboratory (Mobile), Mad Inventions (see below), Monstrous Servants (see below), Scientific Knowledge
Weaknesses: Attracts Angry Mobs, Incurable Madness (Manic-Depression with Hallucinations),

Typical Equipment Carried: 1 set of fine clothes. A personal journal detailing his pursuit of his creature (on many pages of which are also scrawled pleas for “William”, “Justine” “Henry” and Elizabeth” to forgive him). A loaded pistol. A dagger. A purse with 5,000p in local currency. Ointment of Close Wounds (7 doses). Magnetizing rod of Mending (7 uses). Powder that will Purify Food and Drink (7 doses). Eyewash of Nightvision (7 does in vial). Glass globe filled with a chemical that will emit Light when shaken properly (7 uses). Ointment of Ignore Pain (7 doses).

Residence: Originally Geneva – now of no fixed abode.

Background: Victor Frankenstein was born to a wealthy family in Geneva, the son of Alphonse and Caroline Frankenstein. As a boy he became fascinated with electricity after seeing a tree blasted by lightning. He read the books of ancient alchemists and magicians, hoping to replicate their abilities. A brilliant student, he studied chemistry at the University of Ingolstadt (home of the Bavarian Illuminati). There he isolated the force that animates all life, and discovered how he could bestow it upon dead flesh. He built a humanoid Creature from stolen corpses and animal parts scavenged from slaughterhouses, but fled from the laboratory in horror once it awoke. When Victor returned, the creature was gone. Returning to Geneva, Victor discovered his young brother William had been killed by the Creature, who also framed Victor’s beloved family servant Justine for the murder. The Creature confronted Victor in the mountains, and after relating the sad tale of his miseries among humanity, demanded that Victor create a female to be his mate. Victor consented, and after some wandering he retired to Scotland to build a female body. Overcome by fear of her potential for evil, however, he destroyed the female body before reanimating her. The betrayed Creature promised revenge against Victor, and murdered his creator’s friend Henry Clerval (a crime for which Victor was later detained in Ireland). Victor eventually returned to Geneva, where he married his beloved cousin Elizabeth. On their wedding night, however, Elizabeth was strangled by the vengeful Creature. Driven completely mad by the experience, Victor swore to chase the Creature and finally destroy him. Lured to the Arctic by his creation, Victor was found by an explorer’s ship. Delirious and overcome by the elements, he related his story to the ship’s captain, and apparently expired. Frankenstein didn’t actually die on the ship, however, but was brought to England instead. He and the Creature now chase each other across Europe. Frankenstein seeks to finally destroy the Creature, as the Creature plots to inflict ever more miseries upon his creator.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes: Victor is sensitive and well-spoken, but suffers from alternating fits of ranting mania and morbid melancholy. He sometimes talks to his dead family and friends as if they were there, and will insist that invisible spirits aid him. He is consumed with profound guilt and shame, and feels responsible for everyone his Creature has killed. Victor’s first language is French, but he also speaks fluent German and English. He speaks some Russian as well, but is not fluent.

Victor Frankenstein in Your Game: Victor could be a family friend of one of the Player Characters, arriving on their door bearing a letter of introduction (and with a mobile laboratory in tow). Alternately, they could encounter him at an inn, or in an academic setting. He will tell his story to whoever will listen. Since Victor went to University in Ingolstadt, Presenters who want to introduce some intrigue into their games could make him a member of the Bavarian Illuminati. Mad Scientists who want to learn the secret of reanimation might seek out Frankenstein. Perhaps Victor is himself creating another Wretch to help him destroy his first creature, and requires the aid of a Player Character Grave Robber. Maybe he has already created a a second (or even third) creature that has also gone rogue, and now Frankenstein has to contend with multiple monsters that hate him!

The Mad Inventions indicated are ones that fit in with Victor’s actions and character as described in the novel. If you would rather make a completely-deranged Victor into a terrifying Antagonist for the PCs, give him these Mad Inventions instead of the ones listed above:
Vial of a drug that allows him to Beguile (7 doses)
A salve that will Cure Light Wounds (7 doses)
A tube that shoots Lightning Bolts (7 uses)
Also, give him a 7th Level Degenerate (or possibly a new Reanimated Wretch) as a Monstrous Servant. In that case, Frankenstein’s original Creature might become a powerful ally for the PCs.


Frankenstein’s Creature (Reanimated Wretch) (1798)
Victor Frankenstein’s tragic creation, dark twin, and sworn enemy.

Full Name: The creature has no name.
Aliases: The Daemon, The Fiend, The Monster, The Wretch
Creature Class: Monster
Level/HD: 5
Appearance/Most Memorable Characteristic: An eight-foot tall man with yellowish skin textured like mummy’s, but shockingly fast and agile. His hair is long and lustrous black, and his pale, watery eyes are sunken in their sockets. His cheeks are likewise sunken, and his lips are a straight black gash across the face. His veins and ropy muscles are prominent under his almost translucent skin, and he appears to have no body fat at all. On close examination his facial features appear to be a grotesque parody of Victor Frankenstein’s.

Charisma: 8 Intelligence: 15 Wisdom: 10
Strength: 40 Dexterity:18 Constitution: 20
Perversity: 14
Assets: Resistant to Cold Weather
Afflictions: Obsessive (inflicting misery on Victor Frankenstein, obtaining a mate)

Armor Class: 6
Speed: 13
Hit Points: 30
Attacks: 1 (strangle, punch, or weapon). +5 Damage Bonus

Special Abilities: Difficult to Control, Fast Learner
Weaknesses: Emotionally Unstable

Typical Equipment Carried: A set of clothes re-sewn from smaller ones. A loaded musket. 3 loaded pistols. A knife. A haversack filled with preserved food. A pouch with bullets and wadding. A powder horn.
Residence: Wherever Victor Frankenstein is.

Special Abilities
Difficult to Control: Any attempt to control the mind or emotions of Frankenstein’s Creature through Preternatural Effects will result in the creature reacting in a random manner.
Fast Learner: Frankenstein’s Creature learns languages and other complex subjects in half the usual time. He needs only be shown an action once to remember how to perform it.

Weakness
Emotionally Unstable: Frankenstein’s Creature has great difficulty controlling his emotions. He can turn from despondent to furious in the course of a conversation. Canny opponents can manipulate him by playing on his feelings, although (as in indicated above) any attempt to do so through Preternatural means will almost certainly end in catastrophe.

Background: The Creature was awakened to life in Ingolstadt, but found himself abandoned and alone. His mind blank, he grabbed a nearby object and wandered off into the night. He eventually found himself hiding out in the hovel attached to a farmhouse inhabited by a family of French exiles. By watching them he learned to speak and read. When he tried to reveal himself, however, they rejected him and fled the farm. After learning to read he had realized that the object he took from the laboratory was Victor Frankenstein’s journal. Reading it, he realized what he was, and sought he creator’s home. In Geneva he found Victor’s young brother, killed him in a fit of rage, and framed a family servant for the murder. He confronted Victor in the mountains around Geneva, and told Victor that if he would create a mate for the Creature, the two of them would leave to live in the wilds of South America, away from humanity. The Creature followed Victor all the way to the Orkney Islands of Scotland to watch his mate being made. Frankenstein betrayed his Creature, however, and destroyed the female body before animating it. Enraged, the Creature set on a path of vengeance, killing both Victor’s friend Henry, and his bride Elizabeth. Intending to prolong and intensify Frankenstein’s suffering, the Creature then lured him to the Arctic. All along the way the Creature left Victor taunting messages and food. Frankenstein appeared to expire after being picked up by an explorer’s ship in the ice. The Creature has learned, however, that his creator did not in fact die on that ship, but has escaped back to Europe.

Personality and Role-Playing Notes: The Creature speaks in a startlingly articulate and eloquent manner that seems completely at odds with his monstrous appearance, and will pepper his speech with frequent literary allusions. He is consumed with self-loathing, and will hide his face whenever possible. Although he will sometimes speak of himself as the first member of a superior species, in truth, he wants nothing more than for someone to truly love him. He feels every slight and hurt deeply, but is quick to respond to overtures of friendship. The instant a friend proves untrue, however, the Creature will fly into a murderous rage, not caring who he hurts in his expression of anger. After such rage, he will deny responsibility for any consequences, and blame whoever made him angry. Above all, the Creature hates his creator, Victor Frankenstein. He does not want to kill Victor, however, but instead wants him to live and suffer in misery. The Creature is essentially Victor’s shadow-self, an inescapable reminder of his maker’s failings and vices. His emotional extremes of manic rage and bottomless despair mirror Frankenstein’s own. The Creature’s first language is very proper and aristocratic French, but he has learned every major European language.

Frankenstein’s Creature in Your Game: Whatever Frankenstein does, the Creature will oppose it. The primary obsession of the Creature is inflicting misery on Victor, but also still desires to have a mate. On the night of his creation the Creature left the laboratory with Victor’s notes, so the Creature could be spreading knowledge of the techniques to create more Reanimated Wretches like himself. If the Presenter is making Victor Frankenstein an Adversary for the the PCs, the Creature may decide to aid them. On the other hand, characters who align themselves with Victor will gain the boundless enmity of the Creature.

Items in a Cabinet of Curiosities

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Cabinet of Curiosities 1690s Domenico Remps

Cabinets of Curiosities, (also known as kunstkammers) were small private museums often found in wealthy homes (such as Highdark Hall) prior to the 20th Century. Typically housed in a single room, such collections could contain curios ranging from the delightful to the macabre. As discussed in the Ghastly Affair Presenter’s Manual, the strange Cabinet of Curiosities is a great place to begin a story.

Roll 1d10 times on each table (Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, and Artifacts) for every 10 foot square section of the Cabinet. Alternately, use the tables to help determine an object that a collector may commission the Player Characters to obtain on their behalf.

Animal Curiosities (d20):

  1. A horn grown from a human forehead
  2. Alligator / crocodile / python hide
  3. Bezoar stone
  4. Bones of a prehistoric animal
  5. Colorful eggs
  6. Crustacean shells (crab, lobster, crayfish, etc.)
  7. Deformed babies (preserved in jars)
  8. Dried seahorse(s), or starfish(s)
  9. Feathers from a tropical bird
  10. Human corpse(s), flayed, embalmed, and posed.
  11. Mounted bird(s)
  12. Mounted insects (butterflies, beetles, spiders, etc.)
  13. Narwhal tooth
  14. Paper wasp nest
  15. Preserved animal(s) (in jar[s])
  16. Seashell(s), unusual
  17. Skeleton(s)
  18. Skull(s) (human, animal, deformed)
  19. Taxidermied animal(s)
  20. Two-headed animal taxidermy

Vegetable Curiosities (d20):

  1. Bamboo sample
  2. Bottle gourd
  3. Cactus
  4. Carnivorous plant
  5. Coco de mer
  6. Dragon’s blood resin
  7. Dried Fungus
  8. Exotic Wood
  9. Frankincense (or myrrh) resin
  10. Hashish
  11. Leaf from every species of tree in the country
  12. Loofah sponge
  13. Mandrake root
  14. Opium
  15. Papyrus
  16. Pine cone(s)
  17. Pressed flower(s)
  18. Rose of Jericho (Resurrection Plant)
  19. Seeds
  20. Tagua Nut (Vegetable Ivory)

Mineral Curiosities (d20):

  1. Agate
  2. Asbestos cloth
  3. Bones encrusted with minerals
  4. Clay, exotic
  5. Coral(s) (shaped like a hand, or other object)
  6. Diamond
  7. Flint arrow heads
  8. Fool’s gold
  9. Fossil(s)
  10. Geode, split
  11. Gold nugget
  12. Hag stone (non-enchanted stone with natural hole)
  13. Hematite cube
  14. Jade sample
  15. Mercury in vial
  16. Meteorite
  17. Obsidian
  18. Opal
  19. Pearls, exotic (baroque, blue, black, etc)
  20. Petroleum in a vial

Artifacts & Relics (d20)

  1. African mask
  2. Ancient amulet(s) (Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, etc.)
  3. Bizarre painting(s), drawing(s) or print(s)
  4. Chinese acupuncture needles
  5. Document written in invisible ink
  6. Egyptian mummy
  7. Glass model of a sea animal
  8. Idol from the South Seas
  9. Indian or Aztec religious statue
  10. Iron maiden
  11. Microscope(s)
  12. Mirror(s)
  13. Mummified “mermaid” made from a monkey and fish stitched together
  14. Porcelain with glaze that changes colors in heat.
  15. Rare or strange book(s) (bound in human skin, on forbidden topic, written in an unknown language, etc.)
  16. Spyglass
  17. Strange cloth (changes colors from different viewing angles, unusual color, etc.)
  18. Torture instruments (pincers, skinning knives, whips, the pear of anguish, etc.)
  19. Wax anatomical model
  20. Weird Object (Hand of Glory, Imp Bottle, etc.)

Costumes and Disguises at the Masquerade Ball

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The people of the 18th Century delighted in Masquerade Balls. Sometimes the revelers would be dressed in fanciful outfits, and sometimes the mask would be their only disguise. The anonymity of the costume and mask seemed to melt away inhibitions, leading to numerous amorous intrigues. Cross-dressing (en travesti) was particularly popular, and many women took the opportunity to wear scandalously revealing clothes they would never dare attempt in ordinary life.

Presenters and Game Masters can use the following tables to randomly determine (or select) the costumes and masks worn by revelers at Masquerade Balls in their games. Players can use the tables as inspiration for the next Masquerade Ball their PC attends!

Male Costumes (roll d20)

  1. Chinese Mandarin
  2. Death
  3. The Devil
  4. Domino (black cloak)
  5. Dragon
  6. Egyptian Pharaoh
  7. En travesti – Laundress / Maid
  8. En travesti – Noblewoman
  9. En travesti – Nun
  10. Harlequin (Motley)
  11. Medieval Knight
  12. Medieval Nobleman
  13. Monk
  14. Native American
  15. Roman Senator
  16. Satyr
  17. South Seas Warrior
  18. Sultan
  19. Tree, or other plant
  20. Wildman

Female Costumes (roll d20)

  1. Bacchante
  2. Chinese Empress
  3. Columbina (the flirty servant girl of the Commedia dell’arte)
  4. Diana, Goddess of the Moon and Hunt
  5. Egyptian Queen or Priestess
  6. En travesti – Highwayman
  7. En travesti – Pageboy
  8. En travesti– Fop / Dandy
  9. Harem Girl
  10. Medieval Damsel
  11. Mermaid
  12. Nun
  13. Nymph
  14. Roman Matron
  15. Shepherdess / Milkmaid
  16. South Seas Woman
  17. Sultana
  18. Swan
  19. Sylph (with butterfly or dragonfly wings)
  20. Venus

Masks (Roll d20)

  1. Bauta (a full mask with a large nose, prominent brows and no mouth, but the triangular lower edge projects far forward and is open underneath. The wearer can therefore eat and drink without removing their disguise. Typically worn with the tricorn hat)
  2. Bird (Dove, Eagle, Hawk, or Owl)
  3. Bull
  4. Canine (Fox, Hound, Jackal, Wolf)
  5. Cat (House-cat, Leopard, Lion, Tiger)
  6. Colombina (a half-mask for women similar to a Domino, but covering the cheeks and ornately decorated)
  7. Devil / Demon
  8. Domino (the classic black oval mask covering the area around the eyes and nose)
  9. Dragon
  10. Equine (Ass, Horse, Unicorn, Zebra)
  11. Greek Comedy Mask
  12. Greek Tragedy Mask
  13. Green Man (or Wildman)
  14. Harlequin (a black half-mask mask with highly arched eyebrows and two horn-like bumps on the forehead)
  15. Larva (a full mask with all the facial features indicated, usually stark white, and possibly decorated)
  16. Moretta (a black oval mask for women, covering the face but without an apparent mouth. The mask is kept on by a peg held between the wearer’s teeth)
  17. Pantalone (a half-mask with a large nose and arched eyebrows, meant to represent a scheming old man)
  18. Plague Doctor (a full face mask with round eye holes and a long beak in place of nose and mouth)
  19. Skull
  20. Zanni (a half-mask with an absurdly long nose and sloping forehead)

Notes:

A costumed reveler at a Masquerade will generally either wear a matching mask, or else a simple Domino-style mask. If an attendee is not costumed, use the table to determine their disguise.

Many of the masks worn at Masquerades throughout Europe in the 18th Century were derived from those used in Venice during Carnival, and in the Italian Commedia dell’arte. In Venice such masks had specific cultural meanings, and the wearing of some (such as the Bauta) was regulated by custom and law. Party-goers elsewhere might freely wear any style of mask, however.

The mask might be worn tied to the face, or just as often be attached to a stick or baton so the disguise can be easily donned and doffed. Sometimes instead of an actual mask, the area around the eyes could be painted with burnt cork in a manner similar to a Domino.

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