Estate House, Free RPG, Ghastly Affair, Gothic Characters, gothic game, Gothic Gaming, Gothic Horror, Gothic Literature, Gothic Romance, Gothick, Great House, Haunted House, Manor, Mansion, Non Player Characters, NPC, role-playing game, Romantic Horror, rpg
The suggested inhabitants of Highdark Hall are sketched out in a relatively system-neutral format, to be further developed as you need. Use all of them, some of them, or none of them, as you wish. If you want characters to be completely different, feel free to change them. The Presenter (or Game Master) can also use the list of suggested inhabitants as the basis for creating Secondary Player Characters, or even pre-generated Player Characters. Of course, Players who portray residents of the house should be able to specify new names and characteristics instead of the suggested ones. It is suggested that Lord Nathaniel and Lady Constance remain NPCs, however.
The Suggested Classes are for the Ghastly Affair role-playing game. The Professions of Everyman characters will be indicated in parentheses. A “below average” Ability translates to an 8, an “above average” ability a 12, a “high ability” a 14, and a “very high” ability a 16. Perversity is also indicated for Ghastly Affair.
Certain readers will no doubt detect some homages and allusions in the descriptions. The characters have also been given characteristics intended to result in explosive interpersonal conflicts that will drag in the Player Characters.
The Altumber Family
All the Altumbers except Henry (the Foundling) are comfortable in High Society. As Aristocrats, all (except Julia and Juno) are familiar with proper etiquette, horseback riding, drawing, and dancing. The men all know how to hunt, shoot, and use a sword. Constance and Georgina know how to sew and embroider; Julia and Juno are currently being taught.
Nathaniel John Altumber, Lord of Highdark. 36 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Impeccably dressed, wears elaborately knotted neck cloths.
Physical Appearance: Tall and handsome, with dark hair and eyes.
Personality: Commanding and imperious.
Abilities: High Charisma, Strength, and Constitution. Perversity: 13
Other Characteristic(s): Amateur Geologist. Has an affection for Orphans. Afraid of Parasites. Hates Rats. Compulsive Gambler.
Notable Possession(s): A journal filled with records of bets, and scandalous secrets about other members of the aristocracy.
Suggested Class and Level: 9th Level Everyman (Aristocrat)
Constance Rosalind Altumber, Lady of Highdark 34 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: A cloud-like mass of curly black hair, and eyes so dark they look nearly black.
Physical Appearance: Olive-complexioned; appears more Mediterranean than British.
Personality: Publicly respectable and sophisticated, but actually perverse and thrill-seeking.
Abilities: High Charisma, Intelligence, and Dexterity. Perversity: 14
Other Characteristic(s): Accomplished Liar.
Notable Possession(s): A set of man’s clothing, and a pair of beautifully decorated pistols she keeps hidden in her room. She has cut many notches into the handles of the pistols.
Suggested Class and Level: 9th Level Libertine (Lady Constance has “Aristocratic Skills” instead of the usual “Dueling” Special Ability)
Harold Manfred Altumber Son and Heir. 18 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Always carries an eccentrically twisted black walking stick with a silver knob.
Physical Appearance: Tall and handsome, with heavy eyes and romantically tussled hair, but a slight limp.
Personality: Initially charming, but also possessive and cruel.
Abilities: High Charisma. Perversity: 14
Other Characteristic(s): Good Painter. Loves the Occult. Afraid of Obscurity. Despises Traditional Morality. Determined to keep Georgina and Henry apart.
Notable Possession(s): His walking stick. “The Grimoire of Nethesius”, a book filled with Magical Rituals and containing a poem supposedly written by the Devil. An unfinished portrait of Georgina.
Suggested Class and Level: 1st Level Everyman (Aristocrat)
Georgina Augusta Altumber. Eldest Daughter. 16 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Always wears a jeweled cross.
Physical Appearance: Pretty, with black hair and large, deep-brown eyes.
Personality: Kind and caring, but naive. Cries easily.
Abilities: Very high Charisma. Perversity: 4
Other Characteristic(s): Great Pianist. Afraid of Rats.
Notable Possession(s): Her cross. “Artemis”, her long-hair calico cat. A dried flower given to her by Henry, that she keeps in the pages of her Bible.
Suggested Class and Level: 1st Level True Innocent (Georgina has “Aristocratic Skills” instead of the usual “Redemption” Special Ability)
Julia and Juno Altumber, Twin Daughters. 9 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Identical, and always together. Tend to finish each others’ sentences, or speak at the same time.
Physical Appearance: Long brown hair and brown eyes.
Personality: Mischievous, and strangely cheerful at inappropriate times.
Abilities: Above average Dexterity. Perversity: 14
Other Characteristic(s): Good Singing Voices. Love Dairy Products. Afraid of Pure Salt. Hate to be Bored, and will do anything to avoid it.
Notable Possession(s): “Poppy”, a porcelain doll that they claim is alive, and blame for all their mischief.
Suggested Class and Level: 1st Level Everywomen (Aristocrats)
Henry Peak, a Foundling taken in by Nathaniel. 16 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Intense stare.
Physical Appearance: Muscular, handsome and dark-complexioned.
Personality: Passionate and intense, prone to holding grudges. Perversity: 11
Abilities: High Strength, above average Wisdom and Charisma.
Other Characteristic(s): Horse Whisperer. Bad Manners.
Notable Possession(s): Amulet against the Evil Eye. A lock of Georgina’s hair that he keeps on his person at all times.
Suggested Class and Level: 2nd Level Gypsy
The Mistress and the Governess
The Mistress and the Governess take their meals separately from both the Family and the Servants. They eat at the same time as the Family, but in a different room. Neither are ever invited to attend Constance’s toilette. Both have Middle Class accents. Mary can function passably well in High Society, but Jenny hates it.
Mary Ravenscroft, Lord Nathaniel’s Mistress. 21 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Straight, jet black hair and pale skin.
Physical Appearance: Average height, pale, and beautiful.
Personality: Extremely intelligent, but sometimes morbid. Vocally critical of societal limits placed on women.
Abilities: High Charisma and very high Intelligence. Perversity: 12
Other Characteristic(s): Brilliant Conversationalist. Disowned by her Family. Prone to fits of Melancholy
Notable Possession(s): A set of Alchemical, medical, and scientific treatises. Mad Inventions: three doses of a perfume that allows her to Beguile others; a small metal canister that will allow her to have a Shocking Grasp three times before it stops working.
Suggested Class and Level: 3rd Level Mad Scientist.
Jenny Rye, the Governess. 20 years old
Most Memorable Characteristic: Always looks dignified, but never arrogant.
Physical Appearance: Average height and attractive, with light brown hair.
Personality: Plain-speaking and forthright.
Abilities: High Intelligence and Wisdom. Perversity: 6
Other Characteristic(s): Amateur Poet. Well Educated. Brave (except when facing a Crowd). Attracts Misfortune. Afraid of Crowds. Hates Liars.
Notable Possession(s): Her diary, where she recounts everything she has experienced at Highdark Hall.
Suggested Class and Level: 3rd Level Everywoman (Governess)