Spooky November is coming up, so I thought that I’d write an appropriately spooky one-shot adventure issue for it! Any questions, comments, or other feedback is heartily welcomed! And please, share how it went if anyone winds up running this issue!
The Mystery of the Macabre Mansion!
“The Mystery of the Macabre Mansion!” is a spooky-themed one-shot issue that can be played with any group of heroes, be they canon heroes such as the Sentinels of Freedom or heroes of your players’ creation, or any combination thereof. It is written to challenge 4 heroes, but it can easily be adapted for 3, 5, or 6 heroes — see “Playing with Other Numbers of Heroes” at the end of the issue description. The issue is designed to be played in the Sentinel Comics Universe, but can also be set in your own homemade universe, provided you transplant the characters, locations, and other elements in it into your world.
Game Moderators Only!
If you currently are — or will soon be — a player in an SCRPG campaign run by a GM who could potentially run this issue for your group, read no farther!
Page numbers referenced in this issue description refer to the SCRPG Core Rulebook.
This issue features a villain disguised as a ghost. Ask your players if any of them has a phobia of ghosts before running it.
The villainous group known as the Slaughterhouse Six (see pages 388-401) formerly included an exiled Magmarian who went by “Fred.” Fred needed to consume special “magma crystals” from his home of Magmaria in order to survive. He was able to substitute other crystals and precious gems for them whilst on the surface, but they weren’t nearly as filling. Before Fred had parted ways with the Six, he had told them the locations of several underground deposits of magma crystals which were near the surface, so that they could help him to unearth them and feed upon them.
But as mentioned, Fred is no longer a part of the Slaughterhouse Six. However, Glamour — the Six’s leader — had kept the coordinates of the whereabouts of the deposits, just in case. A little over a month ago, she had decided that it would be a worthwhile job for the Six to try and uncover one such deposit and fence the resulting crystals, which they hoped would fetch them a large sum on the black market precious gem trade.
Their only problem was that the nearest deposit was situated right underneath the mansion of Professor Heinrich McAllister, a reclusive historian. Not to be deterred, the Six stormed the old man’s mansion, captured him, and began the mining operation to extract the crystals from the earth underneath Prof. McAllister’s house.
The Six knew that the job would take a while, so they donned costumes of frightening monsters in order to deter any intruders who might come calling on McAllister without giving away their identities.
This issue consists of 4 scenes, which are briefly summarised below:
- Social Scene: A Twilight Summons — The issue begins with a scene in which the heroes are summoned to the home of Prof. McAllister’s sister, Geneva, where she asks them to go to her brother’s manor and find him.
- Action Scene: Monsters of the Mansion — After the heroes arrive in the mansion, a scene begins in which they are accosted by the various disguised members of the Slaughterhouse Six.
- Montage Scene: Exploring the Mansion — After defeating those villains, the heroes spend one scene exploring the mansion before they discover an underground mining cavern.
- Action Scene: The Magma Mines — There they do battle with the mastermind Glamour and her minions and free Prof. McAllister in the final scene.
A Twilight Summons
It is a dark evening, and a storm is brewing. Begin the issue in some convenient location where all the heroes are, such as their headquarters, one of their homes, a mall, a diner, or a pub. You can either let the heroes have any conversations they like before the plot starts, or you can throw them right into it with the arrival of Dr. Geneva McAllister’s summons.
Either way, when you feel the time is right, a stiff-looking man in an antiquated black suit with a white cravat appears before the heroes. He hands them an envelope with a wax seal on it, and says: “You are cordially invited to the abode of Dr. Geneva McAllister.” He then leaves. The letter inside the envelope reads:
I desperately need your help. I would be eternally grateful to you if would come to my home to discuss a grave problem with me.
An address a little ways outside of town is also written on the reverse side. When the heroes look up from the letter, the man is gone.
If the heroes accept the invitation and travel to said address, they arrive before a modest manor house. Knocking on its front door causes it to swing open, where they see the same man as before. He gestures for the heroes to follow him, and silently leads them into a room adjoining the entry corridor.
In the room is Dr. Geneva McAllister, an elderly, dignified woman wearing slightly-archaic dress and sitting on a fancy sofa; she is the sister of Prof. Heinrich McAllister. There is fancy seating aplenty for the heroes.
When the heroes enter, Geneva greets them thank her attendant Pierre for seeing them in. Geneva then engages the heroes in conversation, guided by the following points:
- Her brother Heinrich is a very reclusive man, and does not often admit visitors. Nonetheless, she and he still corresponded with one another with moderate frequency via letters and over the phone. But she hasn’t seen him or heard from him for a little over a month now, and is worried that something ill has befallen him.
- In fact, no one has seen or heard from him for that same time, not even his small circle of associates.
- Further, there have been rumours that strange, preternatural monsters have been sighted on the grounds of his mansion. And since Heinrich is a noted historian who has meddled with artefacts from ages past that may have best been left alone, Geneva can only fear the worst.
- Geneva is desperate to discover if her brother is safe, but fears that due to her age, she would surely perish if she attempted to confront the monsters. She has heard of the heroes’ exploits, and so is beseeching them to travel to her brother’s mansion and ascertain his situation.
If the heroes accept Geneva’s plea, she thanks them, gives them the address of her brother’s mansion, and wishes them the best of luck.
Monsters of the Mansion
When the heroes enter the mansion of Prof. Heinrich McAllister, they are soon confronted by the Hippo disguised as a wolfman. After defeating him, they fall prey to a trap which splits them up and deposits them all into separate rooms, where they each face a different costumed member of the Slaughterhouse Six.
Running the Scene
(G) (G) (G) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (R) (R) (R)
(Because this action scene features two waves of fighting and forces the heroes to be split up and tackle foes separately, it utilises a prolonged scene tracker.)
It has become night by the time that the heroes arrive at the mansion of Prof. Heinrich McAllister, and the storm has become a howling fury. The professor’s residence is larger than his sister’s. It is a forbidding gothic structure built from stone with a large oaken front door. The grounds that surround it are overgrown with twisted flora, and are encircled by a stone wall, with the only point of ingress being a wrought-iron gate.
The front door is unlocked. If the heroes all enter the mansion through it together, they are confronted by the Hippo — see the Foyer section below. If any of them enter the mansion through some other, less conventional means, such as flying, phasing, teleporting, or blasting their way in, they’ll find themselves in a small hallway. Run the Foyer encounter there instead. If the heroes split up, have the largest group encounter the Hippo, and the rest stumble into the various other rooms where the other villains await.
All of the villains in this scene are minor — that is, they lack any upgrades or masteries, as their numbers make them plenty threatening. Additionally, all of these villains will be dressed in elaborate costumes in order to appear as frightening monsters. During the course of the heroes’ battles with them, you ought to describe the costumes slowly getting blasted off and revealing the villains’ standard attire underneath as they take damage. Then, if the heroes become noticeable curious about what’s going on, give them the opportunity to pull the rubber masks off the villains after they’ve been defeated (or before, if they’re clever enough to find a way to do so). Or, if the heroes don’t seem to be catching on, simply describe the masks getting knocked off the villains when they get knocked Out.
Each of the following minor twists are keyed to one of the mansion’s rooms. If a hero takes a minor twist whilst moving from one room to another (see below), the twist can come from either room.
Burst of Flame (Alter): A concealed device causes a gout of fire to explode from the summoning circle. Attack one hero in the alter location using your Mid die.
Noxious Fumes (Apothecary): A burst of fumes erupts from the bubbling cauldron. Hinder one hero using your Max die.
Shocking Arc (Laboratory): One of the strange machines discharges an electrical arc at a hero. Hinder one hero in the laboratory location using your Mid die, and Attack one hero using your Min die.
Troublesome Spooks (Suite): A pair of minor spectres (really drones disguised by Glamour) manifest to cause trouble. Add 2 minions to the suite location.
Annoying Poltergeists: Spooks have +1 to Hinder Actions.
Blade Trap: A large scythe-like blade swings down from a ceiling or wall at a hero. Attack a hero using your Max+Min dice.
Rotating Wall: A section of wall — and the semicircular area of floor next to it — spins 180°, carrying one character from each side of it to the other side. Switch the locations of two characters.
The mansion’s foyer is a large room dimly lit a chandelier. A very large set of stairs takes up most of the room, and it is furnished by pieces of antique furniture and paintings.
Mere moments after the heroes enter the room, they hear a booming howl, then see a huge 7-foot-tall wolfman charging down the stairs at them, though he is in reality simply the Hippo (see page 396) in a costume. The Hippo takes the first turn in this action scene, unless one of the heroes was particularly prepared for a confrontation. The Hippo doesn’t speak; instead, he merely imitates wolfish growls whilst slashing at the heroes with his fake claws. His primary goal is to drive the heroes away; if they appear to retreat, he’ll get in one more swipe before disengaging.
If the heroes knock the Hippo Out, soon after a trapdoor opens beneath their feet, and they plummet down into it. (You should let only one hero at most avoid falling into the trap by using their powers or quick thinking.) Beneath the trapdoor are pneumatic tubes; each hero falls into a different one and is carried into another different one of the mansion’s rooms, where a different villain awaits each one of them. It is up to you to decide which hero faces which villain, based on whatever criteria you like. The rooms are the Daemonic Alter, the Haunted Suite, the Mad Scientist’s Laboratory, and the Witch’s Apothecary; they and their associated villains are all described below. Similarly to the Hippo, the villains’ goal is to drive the heroes off; if they appear to leave the mansion, the villains will fall back.
In the unlikely event that the Hippo singlehandedly manages to knock all of the heroes Out, each one will wake up in a different room to face its villain. All the heroes will have Recovered up to the top of their Red zones; they’ll be able to access their most powerful tricks immediately, but they won’t have much Health.
The heroes start the second half of this scene separated, but they can regroup during the fighting. Each of the different rooms with a villain in it in the mansion is a different location, but due to the mansion’s winding corridors and numerous other room in between them, a hero most make a successful Overcome roll to reach another group of characters. The villains, however, already know their way around the mansion, and can move from one location to another simply by taking Boost or Defend actions (except for Desert Eagle and Re-Volt, who can move about for free due to their Flight and Intangibility powers, respectively), as per the normal rules. If any of the villains manages to knock all the heroes they’re currently engaged with Out, they will move to another location with heroes and keep fighting.
This room is carved from an ominous red stone. An idol made from the same material depicting a grinning devil rests at the top of the alter. Numerous candles made from red wax are burning about the room, and an arcane summoning circle is inscribed on the ground in the centre of the room. (All of the decor is fake, which a hero who is knowledgable about real magic could notice.)
Soon after a hero arrives at the alter, a puff of crimson smoke (caused by a hidden mechanism in the floor) appears on the summoning circle, and Desert Eagle (see page 392) is left standing there when it dissipates. Desert Eagle is dressed as a red-skinned daemon with large horns, pointed fangs, and leathery, bat-like wings. His Energy Bolt Launchers have been disguised by Glamour’s tech to make it appear that he can blast infernal energy from his hands. He doesn’t really speak, but rather only utters gibberish intended to sound like diabolical incantations.
This room is a master bedroom coated in a very thick layer of dust. The windowpanes are broken, and the room is illuminated by an eerie bluish light that has no discernable source. A number of portraits of stern individuals gaze down from their places on the walls.
Soon after a hero arrives in the suite, Re-Volt (see page 394) materialises in the centre of the room, but he is disguised as a transparent, skeletal ghost with a tattered white cloak and clinking chains hanging from his wrists. The combination of Glamour’s illusion tech and Re-Volt’s innate intangibility makes his guise rather convincing, although neither of them could manage to make his electrical attacks appear as anything else. He rebukes the hero for disturbing his eternal rest.
Mad Scientist's Laboratory
This room is full of various bizarre scientific instruments. Beakers and vials full of colourful liquids, devices arcing with electricity, and strange machines that emit intermittent whirs and flashes of multicoloured light are strewn all about it. An operating table takes up the centre of the room. The only source of light is the bizarre machines.
Soon after a hero arrives in the laboratory, Ray Manta (see page 400) jumps out from behind one of the larger machines. He is dressed as an archetypal horror mad scientist, complete with a buttoned-up white lab coat, long black gloves, wide opaque purple-tinted goggles, and poofy white hair. All of his gadgets have also been modified so as to fit with his costume’s aesthetic. He merely cackles madly.
This room appears to be the domicile of an evil sorcerer. A large black cauldron bubbling with some greenish liquid fills the centre of the room (and is the only source of light), while drying herbs, straw effigies, and jars full of bizarre spell components line various shelves. A open skylight in the ceiling lets the rain in.
Soon after a hero arrives at the apothecary, Kismet (see page 398) flies down through the skylight on a broom. She’s dressed as a witch, with long black hair and a purple-green-and-black wide-brimmed hat and dress. She uses her luck powers under the guise of casting “hexes” and “curses.” She vocalises fake incantations whenever she does so.
The scene ends when all of the present members of the Slaughterhouse Six are defeated. Any heroes or groups of heroes who are still separated from the others can now slowly take their time to find their companions without need for any Overcome actions. If any heroes don’t express a desire to rejoin their companions and simply explore the mansion instead, they coincidentally bump into the other heroes whilst doing so.
If all of the heroes are knocked Out before all of the villains, the heroes will wake up imprisoned in the same cage as Prof. McAllister in the mining zone. A hero will have to succeed on an Overcome action to free them all before they can start the final scene. Further, any villains who weren’t knocked Out will join Glamour and her minions in the final scene, but they keep whatever Health value they had at the end of this scene.
If the Scene Tracker Reaches the End
If the scene tracker reaches the end and any villains remain undefeated, they discretely slip away by use of secret passages that are hidden all throughout the mansion (behind book cases, grandfather clocks, portraits, fireplaces, and the like). Those villains will join Glamour and her minions in the final scene, but they keep whatever Health value they had at the end of this scene.
With all the villains either defeated or having slipped away, the heroes are free to explore the mansion and search for the missing Prof. McAllister.
Exploring the Mansion
After having defeated the villains and subsequently regrouped, the heroes will likely want to explore the mansion to find Prof. McAllister. They are relatively free to do so; with the villains no longer around, nothing in the mansion or on its grounds is particularly hazardous. However, the characters won’t find anything of note on any of the above-ground floors — just antique furniture and the professor’s historical writings. In order to find the professor, they’ll have to go down to the basement.
Have the heroes describe a few panels of how they’re going about their search. If none of them mention checking the basement or something similar, have any hero or heroes with particularly highly-rated powers or qualities related to perception (e.g., Awareness, Alertness, etc.) notice a faint orange light and the sounds of machinery coming up from the stairs on the ground floor leading to the basement. Either way, peeking down there will show them Glamour’s mining area, as described in the next scene.
As normal, the heroes can take any montage scene actions during this time that they can justify, such as Recovering Health, helping another Recover Health, or Boosting (see page 171).
The Magma Mines
The heroes have found Glamour’s underground mines, where she’s extracting precious magma crystals. They’ll have to fight her and her various human and robotic lackeys in order to free Prof. McAllister. And just as the battle is beginning to get heated, a Magmarian ambush force enters the fray.
Running the Scene
(G) (G) (Y) (Y) (Y) (Y) (R) (R)
One side of the mansion’s basement is entirely non-existent, as it opens up into Glamour’s mining area. The mine is a very large cavern, with copious glowing orange magma crystal formations extruding from the rocks. Heavy mining machinery and smaller mining tools such as picks and shovels litter the area, as do many carts and boxes filled with rock and crystal. Several human workers are milling about the area, in addition to a number of humanoid robots. There are also some smaller tunnels that branch off from the main cavern.
Next to one of the cavern’s walls sits a metal cage. Within it stands Prof. Heinrich McAllister, an elderly, white-haired gentleman with prominent whiskers and wearing an old-fashioned suit. Also in the cage is a humanoid creature that seems to be made out of living lava—a Magmarian. If any of the heroes desire to free Heinrich and the Magmarian during the action, they’ll need to succeed on an Overcome action. Else, the two prisoners can simply be freed after the action with no Overcomes necessary. And finally, standing next to the cage is Glamour herself, overseeing her henchlings. (Unlike the others, Glamour simply wears her normal supervillain costume, not any sort of disguise.)
Once Glamour becomes aware of the heroes’ presence, she calmly warns them that they should back off and give up. If any of the heroes immediately respond with action, let them take the first turn. Otherwise, Glamour orders her minions to attack them, whilst she takes the first turn and launches a barrage of disorienting illusions with her How Can You Trust What You See? ability. During the ensuing battle, Glamour (tries to) stay behind her minions and cast illusions at the heroes. In addition, she monologues to the heroes while fighting, explaining to them the following points:
- She learned that a large deposit of precious gems was under the mansion from a former teammate of hers named Fred.
- After locking up the sole occupant of the manor, the Six began excavating the crystals.
- In order to scare away anyone who might come looking for the professor, they donned various frightening disguises.
- Glamour thought that her plan was foolproof, and she would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for the meddling heroes.
Heavy Machinery: One of Glamour’s minions climbs into one of the mining rigs to use against the heroes. Boost 1 villain minion using your Max die.
Minion Reinforcements: More of Glamour’s hired goons join the fray. Introduce a number of Mean Streets Pugilist minions to the scene equal to your Min die.
Second Wave: More Magmarians emerge from the tunnel to aid their compatriots. Introduce a number of Seismic Defender minions to the scene equal to your Min die. (This twist can’t be used if the scene is in the Green zone.)
Collapse: The fighting has caused a section of the rocky ceiling to collapse. Attack and Hinder a group of characters near one another using the Mid die.
The following threats are present for this scene:
- Glamour (see page 390). She is a major villain for this scene, meaning that she does have her They Are What You Fear upgrade (and accompanying extra Health) and Master of Enforced Order mastery.
- Mean Streets Pugilist minions (see page 414).
- × 2 Humanoid Robot minions (see page 410).
- If any of the villains from the 2nd scene weren’t defeated, they’re also here, with the Health values that they had at the end of that scene.
During the scene tracker’s turn when it first enters the Yellow zone, the ground of the cavern suddenly begins to rumble. An eruption of molten rock explodes out from one of the walls, leaving a tunnel in its place, and a group of Magmarians rush into the area. Introduce / 2 Seismic Defender minions (rounded up; see page 412) to the scene. The scene tracker then passes the next turn to the Magmarians.
After the Magmarians arrive, Prof. McAllister shouts to the heroes to not harm them, hurriedly stating that they’re only here to take the magma crystals back from the Slaughterhouse Six.
However, the Magmarians view both the heroes and Glamour and her allies as enemies, and will attack each equally. A hero can, however, use a successful Overcome action to make peace with them, after which they will only attack the villains (unless a hero harms one of them for some reason).
The scene ends if Glamour and her minions are defeated, and the Magmarians are either befriended or defeated. If the heroes are knocked Out by Glamour’s forces, they’ll awaken in her custody. Similarly, if they’re defeated by the Magmarians, they’ll awaken in Magmaria.
If the Scene Tracker Reaches the End . . .
. . . the cavern begins to shake and tremble from all of the fighting! Rocks and boulders fall from the ceiling, and the entire structure is on the verge of collapse!
If Glamour is still active, she uses her illusions to create a blinding flash of light. When the flash dissipates, Glamour, any of her remaining minions, and several crates of magma crystals are gone.
If only some of her minions or ally villains are active and Glamour’s been knocked Out, one of them gives the order to retreat, and then they all rush to a metal platform resting on the ground, and pull a lever, causing the platform to rise up and through a hole that opens in the ceiling of the cavern.
The heroes can try to escape, but the entrance to the cavern was closed off by one of the first tremors. Blasting or punching a way out won’t work, and it will likely just make the situation work. Only extraordinarily specific powers — like Intangibility, Teleportation, or Stone — should be of any use, and even then, they may only be able to save the hero who possesses them.
Assuming that the heroes have no way to escape, they are buried under a shower of rocks.
If the heroes successfully defeated Glamour’s forces, and defeated or made piece with the Magmarians, they are free to free Prof. Heinrich McAllister and the Magmarian imprisoned with him from their cage, if they’ve not already done so. Once freed, the professor gruffly thanks the heroes for their help, before explaining the situation with the Magmarians to them.
He says that, after the Slaughterhouse Six had imprisoned him in the cage and had been mining for a couple of weeks, the Magmarian had burrowed into the cavern and had tried sneak up to some magma crystals and carry them away, but it was seen by the Six and captured as well. During their imprisonment together, the professor had managed to establish a rudimentary form of communication with it. The Magmarian had told him that the crystals were the Magmarians’ food source, and that the Slaughterhouse Six’s seizure of the cavern had taken a toll on its community. That’s why the Seismic Defenders had entered the fray earlier — to try to drive the Six out and reclaim the cavern.
If the heroes knocked Out the Magmarian minions in the last scene, the Magmarian is unfriendly towards them, staying behind Prof. McAllister. It does warm up to them somewhat, though (pardon the pun), if they apologise towards it in a friendly manner.
Glamour and her minions can now be turned in to the authorities, but if the heroes go back up into the mansion to try to find the other villains, they’ll find that they’ve fled the scene, unless any of the heroes had managed to restrain any of them in particularly difficult-to-escape fashions.
With Prof. Heinrich McAllister freed, his mansion cleared, the Slaughterhouse Six routed, and the Magmarians possibly made into allies, the heroes have successful completed the issue!
If the heroes were defeated by the villains, they’ll probably wake up to find themselves in some sort of deathtrap. Have fun designing that and running it for your players!
Alternatively, if the heroes were defeated by the Magmarians, or if the scene tracker reached its end and the mining zone collapsed, the heroes and Prof. McAllister will awaken in the underground realm of Magmaria (see pages 426-427). The professor will manage to convince the Magmarians to let the heroes go, but only if they can track down the fleeing Slaughterhouse Six and recover the mined magma crystals.
Either way, a defeat for the heroes will inevitably lead to further adventure, as they seek to right their previous failures.
Playing with Other Numbers of Heroes
The default description of this issue presented above assumes a group of 4 heroes. However, you can easily play this issue with more or fewer heroes by making the small adjustments listed below.
Scene 2: Monsters of the Mansion
After facing the Hippo and falling prey to the trapdoor trap, send the 3 heroes to face only 3 of the villains: Desert Eagle, Re-Volt, and Kismet.
Scene 4: The Magma Mines
Add Ray Manta (in normal attire) to this scene, and remove all of the Mean Streets Pugilist and Humanoid Robot minions.
Scene 2: Monsters of the Mansion
Instead of having the Hippo face the heroes before all the other villains, spring the trapdoor trap on them right when they enter the mansion for the first time. It will send 4 of the heroes to the normal 4 rooms, and the 5th hero to an overgrown greenhouse where they’ll face the Hippo in his wolfman guise.
Scene 4: The Magma Mines
Add an additional Mean Streets Pugilist minions to the scene.
Scene 2: Monsters of the Mansion
Instead of having the Hippo face the heroes before all the other villains, spring the trapdoor trap on them right when they enter the mansion for the first time. It will send 4 of the heroes to the normal 4 rooms, the 5ht hero to an overgrown greenhouse where they’ll face the Hippo in his wolfman guise, and the 6th hero to a spooky crypt where they’ll face Myriad (see page 358) dressed as an Egyptian mummy and accompanied by a host of beetles. (Myriad isn’t a usual member of the Slaughterhouse Six, but he’s working with them just this once in exchange for some magma crystals, which will boost his mystical might.)
Scene 4: The Magma Mines
Add an additional Mean Streets Pugilist and / 2 Seismic Defender minions to the scene.