An idea for an adventure, based on an unrelated dream, is tweaked to fit the sci-fi horror setting of One Shot RPG.

Narrowing Down the Ideas

After giving the sci-fi horror RPG adventure ideas some thought, I’ve narrowed them down to three contenders. These specific ideas were chosen for two reasons. The first reason is that I felt like these three would best be able to fulfill the goals outlined for creating a successful one shot. The second reason is that I’m personally interested in creating them! Below, I flesh out one of the ideas, taking it from an unrelated dream and turning it into something that’s usable.

Not-Quite-Haunted House

As cliched as it sounds, the idea for this horror one shot came to me in a dream. It’s easiest to describe the dream as-is and then tweak it until it fits the One Shot RPG setting.

The Dream

The dream starts off with a couple who moves into an old house in a quiet neighborhood. The house was sold for a heavily reduced price, so the young couple couldn’t pass up the opportunity. After they moved in, they quickly discovered why the house was so affordable. Their neighbors, while nice, all assured the couple that the house was haunted. One set of elderly neighbors—who’d been living in the area for a long time—had a particular grim story to tell about the house.

The story is about a young woman who lived in the house, a woman that the locals thought was the devil incarnate. They called her “The Demon Woman.” When the young woman moved into the house, eerie things started happening in the neighborhood. Pets started going missing, small vermin were found without their heads, occult symbols were found painted on sides of buildings. The locals almost formed a mob to drive her out, but one young man convinced them to stand down.

The young man fancied the young woman, and he and a young couple from the neighborhood had befriended the woman. They knew that she wasn’t the possessed witch that the community was making her out to be. But the rumors continued, and the legend ends in tragedy. The story goes that the women was using her powers to seduce the young man, her rituals were to summon a demon to possess his body, so she could have him forever. One day she lured him from his house, brought him to her attic, and performed the ritual. But something went wrong and the ritual failed. The attic burst in flame and the two perished. Her spirit lingers, forever trying to seduce any young man that lives nearby.

The present couple didn’t believe in the supernatural, so a horror story like that didn’t phase them. But, the real estate agent did mention fire damage, and a quick Internet search did bring up some articles about two people perishing in a fire in the area, so there was some truth to the story.

However, after a few days, the couple began to question their disbelief. There was definitely something not natural about the house. Unexplainable events, noises, feelings, permeated the house. The wife began to get obsessed with the story and with finding clues about the incident. She would spend extended periods of time in the attic, where the tragedy is said to have taken place, to see if she could somehow view the events of the past. Eventually she, with help from the old couple, uncover an occult ritual, hidden in the house, that claims to bring spirits back into this world.

Meanwhile the husband had started to grow worried about his wife’s obsession. When the ritual was found, he was the one to suggest they perform it. He was skeptical that it would work—he barely believed that the house was even haunted. In his mind they’d try it and fail, snapping his wife out of the obsession. After some preparation, the two head to the attic and perform the ritual to unleash the spirit of the demon woman who haunts the house.

And the ritual worked.

Except the story of the demon woman wasn’t accurate. The neighborhood experienced occult rituals, animal cruelty, and an unholy seduction—that part of the story was true. But it wasn’t the woman who was the perpetrator, it was the young man. He was the one who was “possessed,” who manipulated the three others into doing his bidding. It was his idea to try to summon a demon in the woman’s attic. It was his spirit who lingered in the house, and it was him who was manipulating the wife to setting him free. And now he’s possessed the husband, free to continue his occult ways.

The dream ended with a focus on the old couple, who was the young couple who befriended the man and woman all those years ago. They were the ones who had been feeding the new arrivals stories about what happened. They are the ones who supplied the ritual that the wife found to unleash the spirit. They had been betrayed by the man, he ruined the friendship and sense of camaraderie the cult had. The old couple had been waiting for this moment, now that the man had a corporeal form again, it was time to end him for good. They broke into the house and started a fire as they made their way into the attic. They burst into the scene right as the possessed husband is revealed to be the one behind it all. Thy old couple apprehend the two and blockade the exit, trapping everyone inside the attic as the house burned around them. The four, and the spirit perish in the fire. They had finally found closure and got revenge for the young woman from the past, something they failed to do the first time around.

The tale of the demon woman finally ends—in another tragedy.

Was that a Real Dream?

Yes, that was an actual dream I had. It wasn’t quite as coherent as the story above and I’ve tweaked some details to make it have better continuity. But the dream had a skeptical couple in a haunted house, a story of an evil woman trapped there, mysterious happenings to reveal the haunting, the wife getting obsessed with unleashing the spirit, finding the ritual, the husband finally agreeing to perform it, finding out it was actually an evil man behind it all, the husband getting possessed, the old friends bursting into the scene, and them burning the whole house to the ground—themselves included. My dreams can be fun.

Tweaking the Dream

The dream would not fit the setting of One Shot RPG without some tweaks, but it’s interesting to see what needs to be changed to take an unrelated idea and transform it into a one shot adventure. The problem is that there’s no supernatural element in the setting, so the idea of ghosts, hauntings, demons, and possession is not a thing. What if instead it was a scummed that was behind everything?

What if the young man in the story is now a scummed? Perhaps when he was younger he was troubled, so he acted out against his neighbors, playing tricks such as the occult graffiti and the animal torture. He had his eyes set on the young woman, but due to societal expectations—perhaps she was an abundant and he was a human—the two felt like they couldn’t be together. She felt the same way, yet had problems with severe depression. She took her own life in the attic and the young man discovered her body and fled, never to be heard from again. The young couple later discovered the scene, and blamed the young man for pushing her off the edge. They didn’t want to admin the abundant took her own life, so they set fire to the attic to make it look like arson. They began the rumors of the haunting and her spirit. The young man was guilt-ridden, fast forward to the introduction of scum into the solar system, and it started to accumulated on the now old man. When he caught wind of the stories the old couple were spreading, he became enraged. The substance reacted and turned him into a scummed.

Scummed have a twisted worldview, so his plan to prove the stories wrong, to punish his once-friends for making those stories up, involves making the stories true. He uses his powers to make the house seem haunted to flush out the old couple and kill them, in the manner they said it happened. The party gets caught up in the scummed’s plans when they start to investigate the “haunting” of the house, which they expect is due to scum.

The party would play the role of the young couple who bought the house, experiencing and uncovering the hauntings, being fed information by the old couple, finding the ritual, encountering the scummed in the attic, and bringing him down.