It is late afternoon when
your National Express coach pulls into a small West Country village.
It's a still several hours from your destination - you've been
travelling all day and you're very tired. The coach stops and
Dave, the driver, gets out, swearing quietly.
He walks to the back of the coach and you see smoke billowing
up as he opens the engine cover. He swears again, rather more
loudly. A couple of the villagers are coming out to see what
the commotion's about. One of them is a vicar, a tall, grey-haired
chap with small round glasses and an overbite. He talks for a
moment with Dave and Dave comes back into the coach.
Basically, the coach is shagged. It'll take a fair few hours
to fix and they can't get a replacement coach here before tomorrow
The vicar introduces himself as Reverend Toby McVey. He's afraid
that Lower Walsherham is rather off the tourist trail and they
don't have any guest houses. But some beds can be put up in the
community centre for you - hardly perfect but it's all they can
do. Dave is resigned to spending the night fixing the coach.
Unless they want to stay up all night, the PCs will be similarly
resigned to sleeping in the community centre.
As the PCs leave the coach, a tall, wiry man in oil-stained overalls
and a baseball cap and sporting a mullet arrives and speaks with
Dave. He walks off and a few minutes later comes back with a
tractor. This then tows the coach away in the direction of the
garage (PCs who don't witness this won't have any idea as to
where the garage is).
Lower Walsherham is a small
village in some quite picturesque country. The road the coach
arrives by goes over a bridge crossing a small stream. The village
consists of a main street with a community centre and church,
a village shop, doctor's surgery, and café. There is the
inevitable pub a short distance away. The buildings are mostly
of stone with slate roofs, except from the modern whitewashed
brick of the community centre. It is a clean and generally pleasant-looking
place, with lots of window boxes and flower beds.
1 COMMUNITY CENTRE &
This is a modern single-floored
building of white brick. A small community centre is attached
to an equally small church building, of the same modern design.
A large pair of double doors leads into the church with a smaller
pair leading to the centre. The building is fronted by a well-tended
lawn and flower beds.
Reverend McVey will make PCs welcome on the first night, apologise
for the Spartan conditions and the lack of tourist facilities
in Lower Walsherham, and generally try to make the PCs feel at
During the night, the PC
who makes the highest Listen check will wake up and hear muffled
voices from behind the back wall of the function hall. One voice
will be lower and louder than the other - this is Jerry Vyne
as he argues with reverend McVey.
1 - Church. This is a single
largeish room, evidently for a very small congregation. A table
with a cloth over it serves as an altar and the seating is provided
by plastic chairs arranged either side of an aisle. Each chair
has a battered old Book of Common Prayer. The room is plain and
unassuming - though it is clean there is little indication that
great attention has been lavished on it.
2 - Function hall. This is
used for keep fit classes, village gatherings, bring-and-buy
sales and various cult activities. There will be a camp bed set
out for each PC (with those for female PCs partitioned by a curtain)
along with a towel and bedding.
Paranoid PCs searching the
hall thoroughly will find dark stains and scratch marks around
one corner of the hall.
3 - Office. This is where
Reverend McVey and Jerry Vyne will be arguing on the first night.
If a PC gets into the church or the L-shaped corridor and walks
up to the door, they will hear two voices, one deeper and louder,
along with another they recognise as Reverend McVey. In the unlikely
event that they've already talked to Jerry Vyne, they may recognise
him as the other speaker.
I don't care.
They could have seen anything.
MCVEY - Look, no-one has
ever suspected, ever. We can't just have anyone who passes through
VYNE - We can and we bloody
well will. This is too important for you to get squeamish. You
don't even have to get your hands dirty, Reverend. I'll handle
MCVEY - Vyne
Vyne stomps out into the
church and leaves. He will bump into anyone in the church who
isn't hiding. He will say something like 'Up already?' with a
smile. If the PC comes up with a plausible explanation (they
were looking for toilets or something), he will leave them alone.
Otherwise he'll grapple them to the ground, knock them out and
stash them in the van he has parked outside. They might be found
by the PCs later if they get into/steal the van.
The office itself has a desk,
a table lamp, a couple of chairs, a filing cabinet, and a bookcase.
The bookcase has books on theology, history and biology. Carefully
going through the contents of the filing cabinet will reveal
a simple tally of dates and corresponding numbers. Each month
has a number listed beside it - numbers are mostly between 0
and 6 and there is no indication as to what they might signify.
The records go back for about fifty years.
4 - Museum. This is an L-shaped
corridor with exhibits in dusty glass-fronted cabinets. From
the door into the entrance hall to the door into the office,
the exhibits are -
A collection of fossils found
by Victorian archaeologist Patrick Carruthers. There are ammonites
and several dinosaur teeth, plus several others that cannot be
identified. Above the assembled items is a sepia photograph of
Carruthers, a rugged-looking fellow in leather outdoors gear
wielding a pick. The caption notes that he was a well-respected
scientist and adventurer before he was lost on the countryside
around Lower Walsherham in bad weather.
A set of period photographs
of Lower Walsherham. It hasn't changed much over the years.
A number of books and texts.
A couple are records of births, deaths and marriages - there
are mostly illegible with old and damp and of no use. The only
readable item is Carruthers' journal. The journal can be read
Study time 4 hours. DC - . San 0/D2. Mythos +1.
This is the journal of Victorian
archaeologist Patrick Carruthers. It describes how he found some
curious fossilised remains associated with much later Stone Age
ruins. As the journal continues the language becomes ever more
feverish and broken. Legible lines from towards the end of the
book include -
"I am convinced that
the settlement here was controlled by some outside force that
required sacrifice so regularly that it was as if they believed
they were feeding it directly
"The phonetic translation
could be Va'Gar or veh-Gurr, which remained consistent from the
Stone Age up until the days of the English Civil War
"...It must have a fresh
water home, it must be fed for it cannot find the food it needs
on its own. I can only hope it has not seen me, too, with its
three great eyes
More period photographs,
including one of an unnamed fisherman and his son. The caption
notes that they were lost, feared drowned, on Walsherham Water
during the 1930s.
Parts from a German bomber,
thought to have strayed off-course during a raid and shot down
near the village in 1941.
Nothing in the cases is less
than fifty years old.
5 - Men's toilets.
6 - Women's toilets.
7 - Entrance hall. There
is a large noticeboard announcing various events.
Examining it with care will
reveal there is a bring-and-buy sale in a fortnight and three
town meetings scheduled for next month. Apart from this the hall
contains some folding chairs, a table, and a couple of pot plants.
3 JERRY VYNE'S HOUSE
This is a three-floor house,
ramshackle and run-down with an overgrown front garden with rusting
car parts scattered around. The back garden is so unkempt it
is like wading through a jungle.
Only the living room, the kitchen, one of the bathrooms and the
cellar are used. Everything else is abandoned - the furnishings
are covered with mouldering sheets and there is dust everywhere.
The furniture looks very old - much of it has been ruined by
mice and damp.
The living room is where
Vyne lives. The curtains are drawn and the place stinks. There
is a sleeping bag on the couch and microwave food packaging all
over the floor. There is a television in one corner and a table
covered in papers. The papers are in handwriting too cramped
to be read but one legible word, written larger than the rest,
The kitchen is in a similar
mess. The back door leads out onto the garden and is left unlocked.
Convenience food packaging spills from the bin onto the floor
where it is rotting. There is nothing in the sink, suggesting
that the occupant doesn't use cutlery.
There is a door leading down
from the kitchen to the cellar. It's locked and can be picked
(DC18) or forced (DC15). The cellar is too low-ceilinged to stand
up in and smells of someone unwashed. In the cellar is Daisy,
a young woman in her late teens or early twenties with lank,
dirty blonde hair, dressed in the greying rags of a t-shirt and
jeans. She is barefoot and chained to a water pipe. The padlock
on the chain can be picked (DC15) or smashed, but Daisy is weak
and has to be helped (Daisy and her helper move at half-speed)
if the PCs want her to go anywhere.
If none of the PCs have tangled
with Vyne yet, he'll pull up in his van (Listen check DC12) as
the PCs get Daisy out of the cellar or while they're looking
around the house. If the PCs don't get the hell out of the house
(probably through the kitchen door) Vyne will catch them and
open fire with his shotgun, using spells if the PCs put up a
fight. If he sees Daisy is free he will body warp, attack her,
and possibly let the PCs escape as he pauses to eat her (San
D3/D6 to witness).
Vyne leaves his keys in the
van, since no-one in town would dare try to swipe it. The PCs
can use this to escape Lower Walsherham. If Vyne's van is currently
at the bottom of Walsherham Water, Vyne will have acquired a
dilapidated estate car from one of the other villagers.
Daisy is the best source
of information the PCs can get on what is happening in Lower
Walsherham. She knows that something is dominating the villagers,
making them go along with things they wouldn't normally dream
of doing. The thing, named V'Garr, lives in Walsherham Water,
although Daisy has never seen it. It feeds on newborn babies
and the villagers conspire to produce lots of children and feed
it to the creature. All the village women (although not including
Daisy herself) produce children for the sacrifice. Reverend McVey
and Jerry Vyne are primarily responsible for ensuring things
go smoothly, but Daisy thinks Vyne would do it regardless of
whether V'Garr was tampering with his mind. Everyone in the village,
especially McVey, is terrified of Vyne, even more than they are
Daisy is twenty-one years
old. She shook off V'Garr's influence and tried to escape, but
Jerry Vyne ran her down and brought her to his house. She's been
in the cellar for two months, being fed off leftovers. She doesn't
know why Jerry hasn't killed her, but she suspects it's so she
can be fed to V'Garr as an extra-special sacrifice.
Daisy doesn't know how long
this has been going on in Lower Walsherham, for her earlier years
seem dreamlike and fragmented. But she's sure it's been going
on a very, very long time.
The garage is a rectangular
fenced area with a single large corrugated iron shed along one
side. This is where the National Express coach is being kept.
Dave actually managed to perform most of the repairs before Jerry
Vyne killed him sometime during the night.
The fence can be climbed
or the padlock holding the front gates closed can be picked (DC
18). The door into the garage isn't locked, but the large double
doors at the front must be opened from the inside.
Beside the garage is a pile of scrap metal. On this pile is the
dismembered body of Dave (San 0/D4), recognisable from the 'Hello,
my name is DAVE' badge still pinned to the front of his bloodsoaked
uniform. Searching the body nets the keys to the coach's ignition.
Searching the body after failing the initial San check costs
an additional 1 San for each round the affected PC is in contact
with the body.
The garage is a single large room, mostly taken up by the coach.
The coach still needs repairs made (DC 18, remember PCs can take
20) but is good to go after that. There are a few tools lying
around, like large wrenches and screwdrivers, along with some
canisters of fuel, but little else of use.
5 DOCTOR'S SURGERY
The surgery is located above
a small reception area and waiting room. There is no receptionist
and no patients waiting. The PCs can walk right into Dr O'Connor's
surgery, up a short flight of stairs. The surgery is a small
room with an examination bed, a screen on castors, and several
shelves and cupboards. Dr O'Connor sits in a chair, staring
out of the window, initially oblivious to the PCs. Dr O'Connor
is bald and loose-skinned, as if he was a plump man who suddenly
lost a lot of weight.
O'Connor's patient records reveal that most appointments (about
80%) are for women, with no complaint details given. Cathy Deiss
has been in several times - careful examination of the records,
which go back maybe twenty years, show she has been in hundreds
of times. Thirteen of those times have the word 'Delivery' instead
of complaint details.
Dr O'Connor's mind has been shattered by his contact with V'Garr.
He will only speak to the PCs if they address him directly and
he will keep drifting off. He knows that the village women produce
huge numbers of babies which are then fed to V'Garr, but will
keep drifting off-subject. He also knows that there are some
children who were allowed to survive and are being raised in
the village school, but he will only mumble this information
if directly asked about any surviving children.
The café is small but homely. Cathy Deiss, a plump and
unflinchingly jolly woman, serves above-average home-cooked fare
to villagers and hungry PCs. She is happy, polite and friendly.
If at all able, she will slip in a mention of her daughter, Vicky,
who is seven. Cathy is massively proud of Vicky and can't help
telling people about her. Vicky is currently at school, and will
be at school at all times.
Cathy Diess has produced thirteen children, of which twelve were
fed to V'Garr. One, Vicky, was allowed to survive and is living
at the school. This is a source of immense pride to Cathy. Her
mention of her daughter should serve as one of the indicators
that there is something wrong with the children in Lower Walsherham
and, once the PCs have discovered what V'Garr lives off, that
there might still be some children to be saved.
The sign outside this unassuming single-storey brick building
reads 'Lower Walsherham Academy'. It is surrounded by very neat
gardens with lots of flowers. There is never any sign of any
children or teachers around it.
In reality, the school is a prison/dormitory for the seven youngsters
who have survived V'Garr's predations and are allowed to survive
in the hope of breeding an obedient new generation for V'Garr's
benefit. PCs who rescue these children will have done something
remarkable, but doing so will not be easy. Should the PCs look
like they're going to escape with the children, the children
themselves can form the primary obstacle - they do not want to
leave and will try to make sure the PCs are punished by the big
friendly monster in the lake.
1 Entrance Hall. Decorated
with lots of children's pictures, most of them of a woman with
2 Annie's corner. This is
where Annie Shoesmith plans her lessons. She will be here if
the PCs enter the school during the daytime. She will politely
enquire what she can do for them and then try to get rid of them,
refusing them access to anywhere else in the school and becoming
more and more flustered until she is screaming at them to leave.
If the PCs get into the classroom, she will fly into a rage and
attack anyone threatening 'her' children with her teeth and nails.
Annie sits at a desk covered in lesson plans. She is in her late
twenties with shortish blonde hair, wearing a slightly frumpy
long skirt and blouse. She has a plain but friendly face, until
she goes crackers.
3 Classroom. Seven children,
aged three to eight (one of whom is Vicky Diess) spend their
days here. There is a large blackboard on one wall, a bookshelf
with lots of children's books, and lots of beautiful, expensive
toys like rocking horses, huge teddy bears, toy soldiers, building
blocks, and all manner of other delights. During the day sunlight
will be streaming in through the skylight.
The children are frightened of outsiders and will huddle in the
corner if the PCs enter. They will have to be cajoled into going
anywhere (Diplomacy DC 18). If this fails, or if the PCs are
in a hurry, they can carry off one child each (but have to drop
them to attack, etc.).
4 This section of the corridor
is the dormitory, with four sets of double bunk beds and washbasins.
5 Washrooms. These include
toilets, sinks, and a couple of shower cubicles.
Walsherham Water is a large
lake, its waters still and calm. Its banks are spiked with dead
trees, and the earth around it is black and dank. There is no
birdsong (Listen DC18). The only road out of Lower Walsherham
passes close by the lake, following the curve of its bank.
Walsherham Water forms the lair of V'Garr. V'Garr sits beneath
the centre of the lake, constantly hungering for infant flesh,
exuding a baleful influence that has corrupted generations of
villagers to do his will.
RED VAN MAN
If the PCs aren't getting
anywhere, Jerry will find them in his red van. He will tell them
that Dave hasn't been able to fix the coach, and that he can
give them a lift in his van to the nearest town where there is
a B&B and someone should be able to take them the rest of
If the PCs accept, he will show them into the back of the van,
then drive to the edge of Walsherham Water. He will get out,
leaving the handbrake off, and centrally lock the doors. He will
then proceed to push the van into the water.
The van will fill with water in three rounds, whereupon anyone
still inside the van will begin to suffer the effects of drowning.
PCs can kick out the windscreen (DC 18) or the back doors (DC
20). One PC can exit though either of these per round. Three
rounds of swimming will get them to the shore. The last one in
the water will feel something cold and sticky brush against their
leg and must pass a Str test - failure means they are dragged
beneath the surface for a moment by something clammy, seething
and strong, before kicking free (San 0/D3).
The temperature around the lake will now seem noticeably colder
than elsewhere. PCs who stand on the shore arguing about what
to do while soaking wet must pass a Fort save (DC 15) or become
fatigued with cold.
The ultimate aim of the adventure
is to find a motor vehicle and get out of Lower Walsherham. This
can happen in a few different ways:
Fix the coach in the garage
and drive it away.
Steal Jerry's van.
Steal the car Jerry acquires after his van ends up in the lake.
All these vehicles have enough
fuel in them to escape.
PCs who simply try to walk
for it will wander for a couple of hours then arrive back at
the village. They must pass a Fort save (DC 15) or become fatigued
by the wasted effort.
If the PCs drive towards
the road they arrived by, the bridge will be blown up. There
will be a sudden sharp crack, impossibly loud, and the old bridge
will disappear in a cloud of dust. When the debris clears the
shattered bridge and steep-banked stream will form an impassable
obstacle. Trying to jump it will result in a wrecked vehicle.
The only way out is along
the other road, past Walsherham Water. If the PCs have not yet
tackled Jerry, he will stride out into the road with his shotgun
ready and fire one shot at the driver before the vehicle reaches
him. If the driver tries to run Jerry over, Jerry will jump in
through the fractured windscreen and body warp the next round.
Jamming the brake on will cause him to fly back out through the
broken windscreen, along with anyone else on the vehicle not
passing a Reflex save (DC 18). Landing on the road after being
thrown through the windscreen does D4 damage (the vehicle probably
isn't going very fast at this point).
Being run over by the vehicle causes 2D10 damage (with an extra
2D10 for the rear wheels if the victim is Jerry and the first
lot of damage is low).
Careering past the lake causes
V'Garr to rise hideously from the lake. V'Garr is a titanic writhing
black mass of worms. Two massive yellow eyes open up to stare
at the PCs. Seeing V'Garr costs D2/D8 Sanity. V'Garr extrudes
a tentacle of seething wormlike darkness and uses it to batter
the coach or car. The following sequence assumes that the vehicle
is being driven at full speed. V'Garr automatically goes last
in the initiative count.
Round 1 - V'Garr's third eye opens and it casts Mindblast
Round 2 - V;Garr's tentacle attacks. Drive (DC 18) to avoid it.
Round 3 - V'Garr casts Suggestion on one of the PCs, trying to
force them to attack the driver.
Round 4 - V'Garr attacks again. Drive (DC 18) to avoid.
Round 5 - V'Garr casts Mindblast on another PC (this time, the
Round 6 - The road veers away from the bank of the lake and away
from V'Garr. As the PCs escape, V'Garr's eyes close and its monstrous
bulk sinks back beneath the surface of the lake.
If V'Garr hits the vehicle,
it will require a Drive check (DC 15) to keep on the road. If
the vehicle is hit twice, the front axle will snap and its will
go out of control, grinding to a halt as it swerves off into
the trees. In this case V'Garr will attack and eat all the PCs.
This can only be avoided if one of the PCs heroically distracts
V'Garr. V'Garr's slam attack is at +9 and causes 2D10 damage.
If one PCs keeps it occupied and lasts more than a couple of
rounds (V'Garr can occupy itself for a few rounds absorbing the
unfortunate PC if required), the other PCs can escape on foot
down the road. V'Garr will attack and cast spells on alternate
turns, attacking the distracting character and casting spells
at the rest.
If Daisy is alive and with the PCs at this point, she will do
her best to distract the monster. Witnessing her death at the
tentacles of V'Garr is good for D2/D4 Sanity.
V'Garr can be killed if the coach is driven into it at full speed.
This requires the coach to stop and turn around. V'Garr will
move towards the bank, closing in for the kill - the coach can
then be driven at full speed off the bank and into the mass of
V'Garr's body. V'Garr will explode in a storm of writhing darkness
that seems to blot out the sun and turn the whole sky dark, to
the accompaniment of hideous atonal screaming. This is the only
way in which V'Garr can be killed.
If the PCs all die, Lower Walsherham has claimed yet more lives
at the behest of V'Garr.
If they get away, they'll
probably be speeding along country roads in a stolen vehicle.
They get back onto the motorway after about half an hour and
begin to run low on fuel. They reach a motorway service station,
and are able at last to head back into the embrace of civilisation.
The PCs have 'succeeded'
if any of them survive the escape from Lower Walsherham. They
will have done particularly well if they kill Vyne and/or rescue
Daisy or any of the children from the school. Killing V'Garr
is very unlikely indeed but should it happen, the PCs can bask
in the knowledge that they have pushed back the darkness some
considerable way, at least in that particular corner of the West
Rescue Daisy: D3
Rescue any kids: D3
Destroy Jerry Vyne: D3
Destroy V'Garr: D6
JERRY VYNE: Use the 5th Level Cultist stats on
P. 189. Vyne replaces Point Blank Shot with Weapon Proficiency:
Shotgun and Precise Shot with Iron Will (giving him an attack
bonus of +3 ranged and a Will save of +4).
Vyne has a loaded pump-action shotgun and a van (later a battered
old car if his van is lost).
His spells are Contact V'Garr, Body Warping of Gorgonoth, and
Curse of the Putrid Husk. Vyne uses Body Warping to turn into
an utterly hideous, hulking creature. His skin splits to reveal
wet ribbed slabs of muscle, his face distorts into a bestial
toothed beak and his spine distorts to give him a stooped, loping
gait. This costs 0/D4 San to observe, and uses the stats for
a Leopard on P. 199 (except he counts as a Large creature, and
retains Vyne's Hp).
ANNIE SHOESMITH: Annie uses the 1st-level Cultists
stats on P. 189, except that her feats are Trustworthy, Martial
Artist and Weapon Focus: Unarmed (she only gains the benefits
of these last two if 'her' children are threatened and she becomes
enraged). Annie is unarmed. Killing her costs D4 Sanity.