The Reunion

“She was fearless and crazier than him. She was his queen, and God help anyone who dared to disrespect his queen.”
–Amanda Lawler from the film “Suicide Squad” 2016. Romanticizing and normalizing an oft-potentially fatal abusive relationship of codependence and Stockholm syndrome

TRIGGER WARNING: This scenario deals with matters of abuse, psychological predation and has no happy ending. No matter what, the PC’s cannot save the day, stop the madness or have any sort of victory, even pyrrhic. They are merely unknowingly hopping on the merry-go-round in hell for a few spins and hopping off, left to deal with what they have seen. Not all stories have a happy ending, and not all are about you. The players will be creeping into a very personal and eternal hell for a couple. Some people are just damned, and still others don’t even deserve their damnation. This is one of those cases.

Keepers information: Eight years ago, the alcoholic Bobby Henderson murdered his wife and then killed himself. He was a hateful, abusive alcoholic that physically and psychologically tortured his wife, who stood by him because she was cursed with clinical depression and low self-image her entire life and honestly believed she deserved it. Because of the strong emotions tied up in the event, the two come back as ghosts. They have no memory of their deaths. Instead they manifest of places of strong memory for the couple with people there to observe them. Again and again the husband grows more agitated, the wife more anxious until he kills her and then himself. The method changes every time to suit what’s available, as this is a crime of passion but it repeats again and again. This will continue for all of eternity. They are both damned and this is their hell. They spend eternity coming into existence at high school functions, the bar where they met, the church where they were married, their first house and their places of work. Normally they are not directly noticed or interacted with, but with the strong memories and first hand acquaintance of a high school reunion, the players get unknowingly swept up in the ritual for a time and then return to normality afterwards, left to live their lives with the knowledge of what’s happening to those poor souls for all of eternity.

Getting the PC’s involved: The year is 2017 and they’ve all been invited back for 20th high school reunion. None of them are locals anymore, having moved far for their new families or jobs.

At approximately 7pm, everyone gathers in the lobby of the Fighting Rebels auditorium to gather their name badges, as everyone has gotten fat and bald how else would one recognize the tax attorney as the 15 year old pill popping purple mohawked anarchist. One thing that strikes all of the players as odd, is there is a group of seven crows on the tree in front of the auditorium. This is odd as the valley is not known for large groups of crows, and that crows aren’t usually nocturnal birds. While they’re getting their assigned “Hello, My name is” badges, they run into Susan Henderson `nee Cooper. They.. vaguely recognize Sue. She was so much fodder to fill in the yearbook photos between pages 3 and 8. They have vague distant memories of Cooper sitting quietly in the back of some of their classes; shy and painfully obviously wracked with debilitating low self esteem none of them remember saying more than five words to her their entire high school career. But, that was twenty years ago after all, and they’re adults now so you greet each other as warm friends. With her, they meet her husband; Robert “Bobby” Henderson, inherited patriarch of the Henderson Motors Family of Dealerships; Southern Utah. Having already acquired a Redbull & Vodka he flashes a toothy veneered smile at them through the highball glass. A large gaudy gold pinky ring simultaneously matches the gold chain around his neck running through his exposed chest hair like a train track in the black forest, and dwarfs and outshines the small, ruddy, and well-worn wedding band on his ring finger. He extends his right hand for an oppressive, jerking and clamp-like handshake that would dislocate the shoulder of an elderly person.

The couple joins the players at their table as finger food and alcohol flow. Monopolizing the player’s attention the extrovert dominates the conversation punctuated by sheepish yes dears. Soon the yes dears cease to suffice for conversation, leading to an outburst from him about what a kill joy she is. How he can’t have a happy life at all due to that mopey bitch bringing him down all the time. She is embarrassed at having her being an abject failure as a wife and human being exposed and runs off from the table, he in turn leaves the table in a rage headed to the bar. If the players chase after her, she’s in tears and hating herself. She defends her husband as she obviously deserves all of it and she’s so unfairly lucky having such a wonderful man, in fact it’s horrible because her being selfish with someone she doesn’t deserve is robbing some poor woman who’s actually worth something from a wonderful husband. After a short spin of this poisonous circular logic she runs off and loses the players in the school halls. If they follow the husband he heads to the bar and starts slamming shots as if he was some sort of alcohol based fish and was currently in the process of air-drowning. He explains to the players that as a couple they can’t go anywhere, and that all their events are ruined like this. She destroys everything and he’s sick of being dragged down by her. Her outbursts have even negatively affected his career. The conversation ends when the players challenge his horrible world view and call him out, or the bartender cuts him off realizing that he’s violated Nevada serving laws some time ago. He too quickly loses the players in the halls. Searching for either of them ends in the girl’s room in the sciences hall. She is grasping at the dirty bathroom tiles ineffectually attempting to crawl as a pool of blood grows around her, looking at the players with a look of shock and confusion as she desperately tries to gasp air into perforated lungs that are filling with blood that is currently gurgling out of her seven stab wounds. He’s standing over her, his body locked by adrenaline and rage.His sleeves are rolled up, his gold cufflinks having tore the ends, blood spatter covering his suit and face. He maintains fixed glaring eye contact with the players, his mouth locked in a rock hard grimacing frown. His lips push themselves apart long enough to snarl out how she always ruins his life and she’s finally done it. It’s all over. There’s no way he can go on after this and he’ll never be able to explain it, and while keeping that eye contact jams the knife into his own jugular vein and then rips outwards sundering his jugular. As a fountain of blood shoots forth he maintains eye contact and defiant, self righteous rage on his face and falls to his knees.. then the blood loss takes its toll and he falls forward on top of the corpse of his wife. 1d4/1d12 san loss for witnessing this.

As the players back out of the restroom into the hall, they are surprised by Susan Henderson walking towards them nonplussed and unharmed. She is of fair mood, as if everything from the events at the table on had never happened. The husband soon stumbles forth out of the auditorium from the ballroom slurringly complaining about that “cocksucker behind the bar” that had unfairly cut him off. The players lose 1d6/1d20 Sanity and he explains that he thought this was Vegas after all. Peering back into the restroom reveals that it is perfectly clean as if nothing had happened in there. Observant players will notice that no one else at the reunion is interacting with the couple. They’re not invisible, they get “excuse me”’s or “Can you pass the salt” interactions, but as if highschool is repeating itself, they’re ignored and blend into the background for the rest of the class. If the players venture outside for any reason and make a spot hidden or idea roll, they will notice that there are now 8 crows as the eighth seems to have recently flown in to join them. Every time there is a death tonight another crow will join the flock, if attacked in anyway the crow targeted will just flap out of the way to another branch. They are functionally immortal. The drunken husband joins the group and quickly escalates to a fight with his wife again. This time it ends with him grabbing her by the hair and smashing her head through a plate glass window before taking a shard to jam into his own throat again. Nine crows. They return again. The couple keeps killing themselves and coming back all night long. The players can attempt to intervene, but no matter if they manage to stab Bobby in the course of defending Susan he will kill her then himself, and when they “reboot” he will have no wounds, while the players will continue to sport their black eyes and bruised knuckles. Allow the players to do their combat rolls, however Bobby can not be stopped. His success at killing his wife and himself is preternaturally predetermined. If any of the players die during combat, they repeat unharmed with the same starting stats from when they started the adventure. They will also die every time there is another murder only to repeat again. If, for example, Bobby kills Susan and himself my causing the basement boiler to explode and the player who has already died has learned their lesson and stays back out of harm’s way, a stray bolt from the wreckage of the boiler will shoot off and bifurcate that player’s skull. Their death as well is now a forgone conclusion with the events of the night. They are now part of the personal hell. They also get a crow on the tree when they truly die, but then they share the crow with the couple every go-round after that. There is nothing that can be done to stop the deaths. He will kill her and himself with whatever is on hand.

After the scenario has repeated several times the reunion wraps up to an end, with them playing a Not Forgotten video on the pull down screen via a PowerPoint tied to a projector screen with Sarah McLachlan playing. On this list:
· Carl Fisher, died junior year car wreck.
· Michelle Schmit, diagnosed with cancer in her late 20’s she went on to do a lot in local #LiveStrong campaigns raising a good deal of money for cancer research before her death 3 years ago.
· Susan Cooper murdered by her husband eight years ago.
· 1st Lt. Mike Abernathy: IED in Fallujah, December 2004.

Upon leaving any dead player’s bodies are discovered having od’d on cocaine in one of the bathroom stalls, or where their heart medicine finally quit warding off that heart attack behind the bushes out front. They show no signs of how they really died, but instead their ends have been edited in reality to have died in normal ways. It would appear that it was just their time. The crows also fly away en mass, on to the next manifestation. There is no stopping this. The remaining players are left with the knowledge that hell is real. That they have been there… and now have to go forth and deal with the desperate masquerade of living their normal lives. There is no way to regain sanity after the ordeal.

Susan Henderson,. Frozen shell of a life wasted
STR 80 CON 65 SIZ 65 DEX 65 INT 65 POW 65
Attack Damage Bonus: 1D4
Average Build: 1
Magic Point: 13
Move: 9
San Loss (in zombie form) 0/1D8

Robert “Bobby” Henderson,. Damned undiagnosed sociopath
STR 80 CON 65 SIZ 65 DEX 65 INT 65 POW 65
Attack Damage Bonus: 1D4
Average Build: 1
Magic Point: 13
Move: 9
San Loss (in zombie form) 0/1D8

Posted in CthulhuNow. Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post. Leave a trackback.

Leave a Reply