Carnival of Dread — Halloween Hootenanny XIV

Game summary for October 26, 2019, Carnival of Dread campaign, Dread Roleplaying Game, for Phoenix Gaming Club. Session included: Dale “Rusty” Gribble (Human played by Taylor Averdick), Johnny Rogers (Human played by Casey Scruggs as secondary), Mary Foster (Human played by Colby Westerfield), Princess Ashton (Human played by Kaliegh Averdick), Salem Jenkins (Human played by Andrew Renfrow), and Taylor Fox (Human played by Casey Scruggs). Game Master for this session was Charles Plemons.

A group of classmates decided to visit Merry Island amusement park before it shut down for good.  The park is located on an island only reachable by ferry.  The group were going on the next to last day of park operations would spend the night and leave the next day. 

The classmates boarded the ferry for Merry Island early in the morning and spoke a bit with Shannon the ferry operator.  They arrived on the misty island and headed straight toward Merry Manor to check in.  They put their stuff in the penthouse suite and went to meet with Herman Merryweather in the Towering Terror.  On the ride they saw a strange mine flooding with black fluid, and Salem thought she saw her friend who went missing 8 years ago, Janie Prescott. 

The group met with Mr. Merryweather and learned they are among the last groups to come to the park and that he is giving away $40,000 to whoever can get the eight Pieces of Eight coins scattered around the park, many of which could be found by solving riddles given by the animatronics.  He showed them a safe opened by inserting the coins and also produced one coin from behind Taylor’s ear and gave it to him.  They then went to ride the Captain’s Wheel (a Ferris wheel) stylized like a large ship’s wheel.

At the wheel, they activated one of the animatronics and received a riddle.  The group decided the riddle meant they should ride to the top of the ride, so they all piled in.  One of the doors flew open, and Salem flew out and hung on until Mary was able to drag her back in.  Once back on the ground, the attendant claimed to have not seen anything.  Princess answered the riddle question and received a Piece of Eight.

Next the group went to the Merry Carnival to play sideshow games.  Princess wanted a stuffed squid, and when Dale won he got a puffer fish for her instead, which she rejected.  They activated another animatronic, played the rifle game, and discovered the answer.  With another Piece of Eight, they moved along. 

Intrigued by the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride, they went to check it out.  They set out in the submarine and were attacked by a giant squid!  At first they thought it was part of the ride, but then it ripped the submarine apart!  They tried desperately to swim to the surface as the squid grabbed several to pull them under.  They rallied together to try and rescue their friends, and suddenly they all found themselves sitting on top of the submarine intact on a rail in a fake underwater scene.  Taylor thought he saw a vision of a squid dragging Janie off into the darkness.  

Spoked, they noticed the mist getting thicker, and they went to the New Years’ Cove to get some food.  The area was mostly empty, but costumed staff began pressing in excited and counting down from ten!  Fireworks shot off, and then the staff began exploding!  Much of the class ignited in flames!  The group started rolling around trying to put themselves out.  Meanwhile, Princess saw Janie and got up to run after her.  The exploded staff had dissolved into piles of black goo. 

They followed after Princess and found her at the Magical Merry-Go-Round carousel.  She was the only one willing to ride the ride, and she seemed to have some intense personal visions.  Afterward, she spoke to the animatronic and received another Piece of Eight.  Next, they decided to go the hotel and try to nurse their wounds.  In the hotel, they found no staff and black oily footprints heading to their room.  They went in and found it empty.  They changed clothes and tore up bedsheets to wrap their burns.  On the wall outside their door they found black oil on the walls forming words like “have fun.”

As they left the hotel, they saw something out a window.  Upon investigation, they discovered the rollercoaster was moving around!  They went to investigate and found it intact and normal.  They got another riddle and rode the ride.  The Barracuda rollercoaster whipped through the loops and turns and nearly threw some of the kids out.  They noticed a young girl in the front, and unable to rescue her, she fell out to the ground.  At the end of the ride they rushed to the spot only to find a pile of black liquid.  Princess answered the riddle and got another Piece of Eight. 

As they left, the Barracuda came to life and slithered after them!  The group ran in fear, and it caught and ate Taylor!  They ran into the park and ran into the wall keeping people out of The Crossroads.  They stumbled upon Johnny and told him what was going on.  The Barracuda pursued them, and they began to see the animatronics walking around covered in black liquid and encouraging them to “have fun.”

They ran to the Lightning Rod and decided to try and get the next Piece of Eight.  Rusty refused to ride, but the rest went up.  At the top, they could see the Barracuda circling around the ride like a hungry shark.  They heard a voice calling for help on the other side of the drop, and Johnny, Princess, and Salem unbuckled and linked hands to get around the side.  They found Janie strapped in and screaming as the ride dropped.  The group was nearly thrown free.  When they got to the bottom, Janie was gone, but a Piece of Eight was in Salem’s pocket. 

The group decided to return to the 20,000 Leagues ride because they did not get a coin there.  When they got there, they discovered Taylor’s corpse had been turned into an animatronic!  Pressing the red button caused him to tell them to have fun and spew black liquid.  Princess explored on her own a moment and was nearly captured by the squid!  The group decided only by riding the ride would they get a coin, so they rode it without incident.  They went in as a group, and several distracted the squid while Princess found a treasure chest containing a Piece of Eight.

The team ran over to the Mokotan in Motion and got into the boats looking for another Piece of Eight.  The animatronic gave them a riddle.  They rode through, and a bit of debris fell onto the track blocking the way.  They cleared the way and continued through.  They realized they did not really understand the riddle, so they listened to it again and went back through the ride.  They got out and examined one of the animatronics and learned the fisherman’s bait was a crucifix, the answer to the riddle.

With all of the Pieces of Eight, the group returned to the Towering Terror and Merryweather’s hidden office.  It was unoccupied, but the safe was there.  They inserted all the coins and got the $40,000!  Now, they just needed to escape the island. 

The classmates went back to The Crossroads and found a door behind a billboard.  Princess picked the lock, and the team went into the dark cavern of the underground rollercoaster.  They followed some strange lights and delved down to a pool of oily black liquid.  It began humming and called out to both Princess and Salem specifically and imparted to the group it was a kind of wishing well needing only the sacrifice of something valuable.  Salem was about to jump into the pool when Herman Merryweather arrived!  They talked to him and realized to their horror he had sacrificed Janie Prescott to the pool years ago and caused all this mess.  Salem dove in to sacrifice herself for the group, but the pool rejected her nobleness and spit her out.  The group fled as the pool rose up into a humanoid form and gave chase.  The Barracuda came writhing down the corridor from the other direction, trapping them between them!  They shoved Merryweather forward, and the Barracuda ate him.  Princess had a vision of Janie and learned more about the pool.  She realized it was a demon that people had sacrificed to for centuries.  It would grant wishes, but it would only accept selfish sacrifices.  Princess shoved Salem into the creature’s clutches to save her own life!  The pool flowed back down the hill, and the Barracuda collapsed.  Princess then wished that Taylor, Salem, and Janie could come back to them.  The rest of the group was delighted as the three rose up out of the oil seemingly restored to life!  As they walked away, only Princess noticed their eyes momentarily turn black and wicked smirks cross their faces before returning to normal…

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