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ID: 812


December 31, 1969, 7:00 pm

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Cheka Man

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Chateau Darque


The air is chilled and causes goosebumps, while not a sound stirs across the glass smooth surface of the water. The Inn rises three stories above the bank of the river, a single lantern lit on the quay.

The Chateau is located on a small sandbar island near the middle of the river. It is well away from any other settlement and the inn itself stands alone on the island. Asingle wooden pier reaches out into the water where passengers can disembark. A single lantern hangs from a pole lighting the end of the pier.

The pier leads to a large walkway that in turn leads to the Chateau Darque. A large sign depicts a woman in profile, but her face obscured by a ladies fan. Beneath it read Chateau Darque: Vacancies.

The Chateau is an older building, but built in a grand style. THe entire front is a screened in veranda with large carved pillars holding up the next floor. Crawling plants like ivy are respendant about the place. It might appear that the island is trying to swallow the Inn but failing. The lights burn in each window and there is the sound of merriment inside. A stevedor meets them at the door and apologized for not waiting at the pier, he hadnt expected anyone to come so late. He will dash off to fetch their luggage at once.

Inside the Chateau is full of gaity and light conversation. The carpet is thick and opulent, with deep red with gold trim being common. All of the furniture is dark wood, upholstered in black leather with large brass buttons. The majority of the guests are dressed out in black, with the ladies sparkling in sequins and jewels while the men are dapper in smart vests and embroidered tunics. If questioned any of the guests respond that it is traditional to dress all in black when staying at the Darque, it is the vogue thing to do.

There is much drinking and merriment, with many of the guests regaling any who will listen with stories of their exploits. some of which might sound very familiar to the PCs, along the lines of old tales and heroe’s songs. If some of the PCs feel like getting fiesty with members of the opposite sex, unless completely horrid, their efforts should yield the encounter that they are looking for.

The Inn also has a fully stocked larder with a group of skilled chefs. The Library is full of books, all of them quite old and priceless if sold. Some are first printings or even originals with illustrations by long dead writers and magi. Everyone is helpful and very kind. All sorts of games are to be played in the parlor and the billiards room. There is a large ornate pool table, dart boards, as well as ample supplies of dice and decks of cards, the game of true gentlemen. If played, no one knows the currently popular games but the older games are very popular and very well played.

Eventually, one by one, the PCs will be divided up, wander off exploring the magnificent old inn, and fall asleep. In the morning they will find the Inn reduced to moss covered timbers that show the signs of being burned some time ago. If they search further they will find the bones of many people, some of whom are still wearing pieces of jewelry or other items of value that wouldnt rot or waste away. This should work best if the item in question can be easily placed to a certain guest that the PCs spent some time wite, such as finding the ruby necklace that Vandine the singer wore wrapped around the neck of a withered skeleton.

The Chateau
The Darque was opened nearly two hundred years ago by an entreprenureal woman named Chelsea Darque. It was built at great expense to be a retreat for the wealthy and those who wanted to escape the tedium of day to day life. Located out on an island it was well insulated from outside interference. Only a single pier and ferry served the island, moving in supplies and guests.

One night, when the Inn was full, there was a horrible accident. A fire started, and quickly enveloped the structure. The ground floor was swallowed quickly leaving no escape for the guests. A few tried to leap from the roof, but found only a more sudden death on the decorative rock gardens around the building. As the story goes there were no survivors, all were burned alive inside of the magnificent building.

The island, now largely forgotten, is haunted by the ghosts who perished in the flame. After sundown, the Inn appears, the roof becoming solid as the building reconstitutes itself from the roof down. Once the last rays of the sun have faded, the guests begin to arrive, they simply appear on the dock, oblivious to the fact that no ship delivered them, and no luggage comes with them. 

The PCs are in no danger here, the ghosts will not harm them as they in fact crave human attention. If the PCs attempt to steal the treasure off of the corpses, the ghosts will become hostile until the treasure is returned. Should the PCs perform a ceremonial burial of the dead, especially if one of them is a cleric, the dead will consent to the taking of the jewels they wore in life.

Once a year, on the anniversary of the fire, the building burns down. The ghosts and any visitors are harrowed by memories of being burned alive. The ghosts wish this could be forgotten but with an altered sense of time, they have no idea when the next fire will be.

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Comments ( 6 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Monument
July 26, 2005, 14:12
I like the concept, the ghostly tavern.

You know what's cool about this setting? You can insert it as a simple flavor encounter, and then hook all sorts of things in there after the fact.

My guys would find no END of things to suppose about a place like this. It would be something mysterious and intrigueing that simply MUST be investigated further.

I would probably insert this into the middle of a river journey(they do a lot of river travelling), and just have it "be there", especially when they are off on something else. They would stay the night and wake up and be like, "what the...??" and they'd want to return to figure out what the hell happened.

You know what would be cool? Some sort of ethereal travel scenario. The house burned down with someone in it with important information or something of intrinsic value that would have gotten destroyed in the fire(scroll, map, etc). That item can ONLY be found by going ethereal and joining the ghosts on that plane, where the house has REAL substance, as it stood before it was burned down.

They go back to the house, spend another night of revelry, and wake up in the morning to find it gone, and some guy standing there requesting of them that they go find something specific in the house or something, but in order to actually bring it back, they have to visit the ethereal plane and actually grab it from there.

You know why I like this setting? A plot instantly popped into my head for this specific setting, at least the rough concept. If you don't mind, I'll work up something more specific, or heck, you can run with this. (I don't know what the etiquette is for using someone else's settings,etc as a basis for another entry.)
Voted manfred
July 27, 2005, 6:45
Well, the house is always real, it is just a _bit_ different at night. It is mixing of the "ghostly" and "real" that can get weird. (They sure wake up hungry in the morning... especially bad if they were sailors running out of food.)

So it can be diffilcut for them to get something "ghostly" and be able to keep it outside of the house. A simple (but possibly too annoying) option would be to copy the scroll or book on real paper.

Given that the inhabitants percieve takers as thieves, and act appropriately, they better do some bargain. And interring may not be enough... a service or yet another quest may be asked for. And what if the spy asks for hard currency, especially one that does not exist anymore? Of course for the real thing, winning in the game room will get you only the ghost stuff... unless there is some unbeatable master of a game. It could take real money or other item of value to exchange for a real item.

Actually, the PCs could really spend here some time, get into all conversations, and hear all the chit-chat (parts of it may be highly relevant, even after centuries!). They could even become addicted on it, and have diffilcuty going away.


I can well imagine, that after properly burying a few guests (hardly all in a single day), the evening would start as usually, but culminate into a great farewell party, and saying goodbye to the departing ones... that could lie down into their graves, or depart walking on the sea, vanishing in the distance, or on a ship that arrives to fetch them finally.

The other guests will return to their somewaht distorted routine.


How about a lone fisherman or sailor, shipwrecked on the island, that embraced all the house has to offer? He could oppose the party in its plans, whether he is still alive (and hiding somewhere on the island) or he is dead, but a different ghost from the others.

Options abound in this setting.
July 27, 2005, 17:53
Ooo, creepy!

I'm thinking this would be a great idea for a really late-night session, when no one's suspecting a twist in the plot. The valuables appearing on corpses idea is especially effective - I can just see the look on the PCs faces when they're told that the pathetic charred corpse is wearing the same heavy spectacles as that genial, cultured old man at the table in the corner who was so helpful to them...
Voted Cheka Man
May 2, 2007, 14:08
Only voted
Voted valadaar
May 2, 2007, 14:36
This one is inspired!
Ancient Gamer
May 2, 2007, 18:08
Dang, didn't I comment on this one ages ago?

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