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We’d been thinking about running another event for years. People kept pushing us to run a sequel to Dick Britton and the Voice of the Seraph, our 1930s pulp action-adventure. We didn’t want to do that; when we run an event we tend to throw all the tropes for that genre into the pot for that one event, so it would be a difficult act to follow. That event has become something of a legend and we were afraid we couldn’t match it.

So we thought we’d look at running something different. We’ve had a few ideas floating around for a while; amongst them was something set in a British country mansion, with butlers and fine dining and the like.

Inspiration

Then Rachel and I went to a Cthulhu LARP event run by Disturbing Events in the wonderful Northmoor House on Exmoor. We fell in love with the house instantly. It was rambling and ramshackle, but more importantly, it was scary. Wandering alone along creaking corridors armed only with a candle was terrifying. The house scared us more than anything the game did. We had to use it.

It’s a place which is not ashamed of having had the corners knocked off; unlike other houses which have been done up for rent, it’s comfortable with being slightly foxed. It’s also full of paintings, books and decorations that could suit any period from the Victorian era upwards. And it’s surrounded by woodland with crooked, creepy trees.

So we wrote this event, a creepy ghost story, to suit the house, because the house would do a lot of the work for us.

The Lodge

Happily, the house also came with a separate lodge – the old gatehouse, just next to the entry to the driveway. Disturbing Events used the lodge as changing rooms for their players, so that from that point on the players would all be in character all the time. We thought this was a great idea, so stole it (and added a few bits and pieces of our own – see Crossing The Threshold).

The Main House

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Northmoor has 14 bedrooms – it sleeps 28 at a push, and has a ridiculous collection of reception rooms and cellars and a labyrinth of corridors and stairs. Many of the bathrooms have vintage fittings – baths with claw feet, for example – and there’s a walled garden and tumbledown buildings outside. The Lodge, down the road, is where the Art Department and the kitchen staff slept; the in-house staff all slept somewhere hidden away within the main house.

Room Names

What we didn’t realise was that Northmoor had its own names for rooms; we pasted our own labels over the top of the existing room names. Our room names were spices – Cinnamon, Anise etc.  It was a very late decision, and I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t had time to think of better connections between the room names and the people in them. But after the event I realised that Audrey, the character whose mother had died in a tragic car accident, had been staying in the room called ‘Cardamom’, and that made me happy. 🙂

Here are a few photos of the house.