The mansion is sagging and mildewed, growing out of the ground at the apex of the hill like a gnarled tree surrounded by broken glass. The three boys, not a day over ten, comfort each other by kicking stones, calling out, and consequently hushing each other, as they climb the steep gravel driveway to the house. A place of legend to the local school children, the boys swap rumors in hushed voices as they mount the steep hillside at dusk. “I heard that it was haunted!” Chester says, turning backwards to talk to his friends as he climbed. Lee looks nervous as he talks, and he shoves a hand into his backpack, where his stuffed seal, Seamore, has been secreted away. “My mom says there’s no such thing as haunted! My mom says this house is just a pile of old boards that should get torn down and turned into a K-mart.” The third boy is easily a head taller than his classmates, and a possible a victim of early puberty. He replies in a warbly voice, “Your mom doesn’t know the first thing about haunted! I saw a video about haunting, and my sister says this place is definitely haunted, because it is an old house where people died back in olden times.” The briar off the path rustles, as if a predator lay just behind, in wait for an easy meal.

Lee glances into the briar with alarm. “Do you think there are wolves in this forest?” he asks, his voice betraying his anxiety and poor shape. “Probably,” shrugs the giant, “but who cares? Wolves are just dogs. I bet if I saw one, I could kick it over that tree!” He spins in a circle, performing a grand gesture as he kicks a pinecone tumbling into the shrub. The briar shakes, and a rabbit comes running out straight toward the boys. Lee lets out a sigh of relief big enough to betray his fear to Chester. “Of course, a hungry wolf is something else,” says the boy with a wicked grin, changing his gait to a backwards skip. “I heard that wolves will come out of the hills if they’re hungry enough, and they will attack kids.” The autumn air is frigid, and the trees, a forest of pine and oak, quite unnatural to the region, shed their leaves with every breath of air.

As they approach the dying house, the boys can see the distinct spires that make the building a landmark to the region. As is normal, the windows are dark, and at this distance, the boys can see some have been covered over from the inside with paper, others from the outside with boards. The only light burning in the house is from a tiny window so high up on the roof that it has to be in the attic. Bruce, the giant, squeezes his pillow and adjusts his thick glasses, as he does when nervous. He stops in the middle of the path, and the others stop in time, turning to face him. The sound of shifting gravel is silenced, and he adjusts his breathing, putting on confidence like a coat. “This place is totally haunted.” He pulls a dart gun out of his back pack, and cocks a smile. Chester giggles and screams “Let’s play Ghost Hunters!”, and draws his own toy pistol out of his pocket. “No fair!” says Lee. “You guys didn’t tell me you were bringing guns! I have the new one! The big one! I do! Mom said I had to leave it at home!” Sucker-tipped darts fly at the child, striking true.

Explore a house of nightmares and dreams in a single episode horror role-playing game shaped by the characters themselves. The players take on the roles of young boys at a slumber party, and everyone has secrets to hide, but this Old Mansion seems to have a few secrets of its own…

Daniel Weishoff from GoodIdeaGames has come on board for an Ingenero scenario based on this supernatural horror theme.

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