Creepy haunting effects--Need help



Aug 14, 2007 18:14:58
In designing several haunted houses as "dungeons" I've suddenly hit a block. I can't think of enough scary, creepy, or disturbing effects for them all. I don't need (or want) effects that are just ghostly; back in 2e Ravenloft there was a fan-made domain that was a haunted house that listed all manner of creepy things (cakes with candy headstones and you got acid burns where a white worm crawled out of the blister if you touched the cake, for example). I have official products, so what I'm looking for is fresh ideas. I don't care how odd or disturbing, I'm not being picky about this. But I must insist this be kept serious--dark humor is acceptable, joke suggestions are not.


Aug 14, 2007 18:31:43
Have a bathroom mirror function briefly as a doorway to another (perhaps hallucinatory) plane.

The PC's reflection suddenly grows a massive maw and the mirror opens wide and swallows the PC, who then finds himself in a surreal landscape. After a while, he returns to the area, maybe finding a mirror frame hanging in midair in the landscape. When he climbs back out, everything is back to normal, except that there is a pool of blood in the basin...

...and the blood is dripping upwards to make a slight puddle on the ceiling.


Aug 14, 2007 20:41:33
Ghostly children that at first try to play the cute and innocent card, but become increasingly menacing and wicked when you don't play freeze tag with them.

Of course they aren't kidding about the freeze part on corporal targets.


Aug 15, 2007 15:24:23
1) A freshly made table with all sorts of foods and drink that any PC would love to eat. After a couple of bites the whole meal changes to that of rotting meat (possibly infested with maggots), drink so old it has mold growing in it and rusted eating utensils.

2) The pitter-patter/laughter of children supposedly in the next room, but when checked reveals nothing.

3) a room with appendages nailed to the wall, in between painted pictures of whom they belonged to- an easel(sp?) in the middle of the room facing a chair with only the head and torso of some unfortunate soul.

4)Faces in windows on floors above ground level.

5)Waking up in a pool of blood.


Aug 16, 2007 8:38:16
Subtlety is sometimes the way to go. For example, the dining room is lit by a chandelier (not too fancy) with a dozen candles. When the party first enters, all twelve are dark.

Next time they enter, one candle is lit.

Next time, two.

Then three.


Each time an additional candle is lit, some additional detail of the room -- a message written in a dark corner on the wall, a small rip in a chair's cushion that has a clue hidden inside, etc --becomes visible, providing a clue to the adventure's plot. None of these become evident until the proper number of candles are lit up.

If they try to "jump-start" this eerie countdown by lighting the rest of the candles, they won't stay lit. If they step out of the room and then immediately enter again, the count stays the same; they have to investigate the last clue, before a new one is revealed to them.

If they blow candles out or remove them from the chandelier, they're back in place (with the proper number lit), next time they enter the room.


Aug 16, 2007 19:44:48
I like, I like. More, please.


Aug 16, 2007 20:04:20
do the old stand bys
1)any scratches on the furniture or the walls the pc make starts to drip blood.
2)the windows become unbreakable when they try to leave threw the front door.
3) when running from something either the hallway become super long or the stais turn into something like mush.
4) stuffed heads on the walls of deer and the like comes to life and start to growl and whimper
can't think of any more


Aug 17, 2007 2:45:41
Making characters face their worst fears has worked well for me in the past. Some sort of airborn terror drug while they sleep can lead to an interesting game night :D

If you're going for strait ghostly, children always terrify. A well placed wailing etherial child can raise some goose bumps. Vampiric children work well too; they throw players off guard.

Happy Haunting!


Aug 17, 2007 13:33:58
The PCs go down a hallway and into a room. As they're investigating the room, they hear giggling, whispering, and shushing noises coming from outside.

Sounds like a few kids having a joke at their expense.

As they get back to the door, it swings open and a terrifying expanse of void beyond starts sucking all the air out of the room. PCs, equipment, papers, and furniture go flying as the room depressurizes and each person grabs whatever they can to stay alive.

Then just as suddenly the door shuts.

Beyond, the corridor is entirely normal and nothing has changed.


Aug 17, 2007 15:28:37
Well, you might find some creepy things here, I know I did. A lot won't fit, because it's a house, but even tweaking it a little would work.


Aug 18, 2007 6:18:44
A Charlie Daniel's Band song called The Legend of Wooley Swamp always makes me think of RL. Nice ghost story.