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Genius Loci Notes



City: Any


  • Telephone rings in the dead of night. Answering reveals only static and pops. Sense of a presence is palpable.
  • Automobile is vandalized, tires slashed. Messy smear across windshield, a finger-painting in blood. Resembles many-eyed dragon.
  • Basement floods. Investigation reveals tampered pipes, but no forced entry.



City: Any


  • (vehicle) Steering wheel jerks from control of operator
    Check: Drive Auto (Regular)
    Fail: Crash, all occupants take 1d6 damage
  • (foot) Heavy, bound stack of newspapers falls from window
    Check: Dodge (Regular)
    Fail: 1d4 damage
  • (foot) Loud noise draws investigator below ground, perhaps to basement. As investigator descends, lloigor pushes
    Check: STR (Hard)
    Fail: 1d4 damage
  • (foot)
    Check: POW (Regular)
    Success: Investigator feels eyes on their back. A stranger glares at the investigator
    Check: Psychology
    Success: Investigator gets strong sense they were about to be attacked
When confronted, the stranger turns and walks away.
If chased, stranger is a simpleton and cannot remember or explain his behavior.


City: Danvers

Type: School


Danver's State Lunatic Asylum

City: Danvers

Type: Hospital




  • While descending stairs, an investigator is pushed from behind by an unseen force.
    Check: DEX (Regular)
    Fail: 1d4 damage
  • Investigator passes a patient who is scrawling with chalk on the wall tiles. The image is that of an obcene creature, a dragon-like toad with a multitude of eyes. A short time later, pass another patient drawing the same creature on a sketchpad. Again, an orderly is spotted wiping bloody smears in the image of the same creature off the wall.
    Check: Sanity (0)
    Fail: 1d2 Sanity point loss
  • A random investigator is overcome with a bout of weakness and chills, not unlike the flu.
    Check: CON (Regular)
    Fail: Lose 5 CON (return after a rest away from the asylum)
  • In a shallow pool of fetid water something reptilian and much too large for such a small pool slithers and submerges out of sight. It is only a moment's glimpse and examination of the puddle reveals nothing, yet the surface of the pool ripples as if something had disturbed it.
    Check: Sanity (0)
    Fail: 1 Sanity point loss
  • A hulking patient ambushes one of the investigators, slamming them against a wall or table. He grips the victim by the shoulders and screams What do you know? What do you know?. Orderlies quickly intervene, hauling the patient out of sight. No apologies or explanations are given.

Peabody Institute of Danvers

City: Danvers

Type: Library



Danvers Historical Society

City: Danvers

Type: Historical Society


Danvers Town hall

City: Danvers

Type: Town Hall


Danvers Herald archives

City: Danvers

Type: Newspaper



Salem News archives

City: Salem

Type: Newspaper


Salem Hospital

City: Salem

Type: Hospital


Philips Library at the Peabody Essex Institute

City: Salem

Type: Library


Info Snippets

Topic: Danver's State Lunatic Asylum


Erected in 1876 for 1.5 million dollars. 200 Acre campus, 2775 patients. Staff listings, financial records, other paperwork.

Skill: Accounting, Library Use

Hathorne Homestead

Land was homestead of Judge John Hathorne, lead magistrate of Salem Witch Trials, who executed 24 individuals. Only executor to never repent.

Skill: History, Law, Library Use, Occult


Asylum is overcrowded residence of last resort for unstable, indigent citizens of Massachusetts

Skill: Library Use

Dark Reputation

Quickly gained dark reputation after construction. Unusually high rate of accidents and fatalities. No investigation on record.

Skill: History, Law, Library Use

Appointment of Shine

Original superintendent, Warren A. Herrick, M.D., died on the job after falling down a flight of asylum stairs in 1890. Dr. William Shine was appointed as his successor the same year. After his appointment, incidents fell dramatically.

Skill: Library Use

Amphitheatre Construction

Distribute Handout 3

Alongside article is photo of laborers at the water's edge, holding fragments of a large stone disk. Fragments suggest symbol of a flame bound by the outlines of a star.

Check: Cthulu Mythos (Regular)
    Symbol is an elder sign
Check: Occult (Regular)
    Symbol is a mystic sigil of unknown significance

Skill: Library Use

Topic: Doctor Shine


Distribute Handout 4

Skill: Library Use


Salem native, Shine ran the Asylum from 1890 to 1915. Lifelong bachelor, very kind. Died of natural causes in 1916.

Skill: Library Use, Persuade, Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate


Prior to appointment, Shine was a medical doctor and world traveler. Credited native populations for having valuable knowledge.

Skill: Library Use, Persuade, Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate

Brighter Reputation

Shine turned things at the Asylum around, going from high accident rates, lax discipline, and low recovery rates to a model treatment center.

Skill: Library Use, Persuade, Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate


Donated all personal and professional papers to the archive at Salem Hospital.

Skill: Library Use, Persuade, Fast Talk, Charm, Intimidate

Shine's Papers

Check: Law, Persuade, Charm, Fast Talk (Regular):
    Gain access to Salem Archives

Inconsquential accounts of travel and adventure

Check: Library Use
    Distribute Handout 5

Berger Background

Formerly had tenure at State Lunatic Asylum in Austin, Texas. Known as a genial and professional practictioner. No controversies.

Contributions to professional journals and conference attendance has dropped in recent years. Professional contacts have slipped.

Unmarried, no local family. Has quarters in the asylum.

Skill: Library Use

Hathorne Background

Hathorne Hill is former homestead of the Judge

He sent nearly 20 witches to their deaths. Only executor to never repent.

Originally from Salem, he moved to the hill in 1690. The hill was known as "witches' ground" where the "natives" trucked with devils and spirits.

An ancient stone disk with Pagan markings once sat atop the hill. The disk was revered by the indigenous peoples who spoke of one who "came from the sky" and placed the stone, stamping out an evil spirit that haunted the hill.

Hathorne removed the disk and claimed the land for god. The fate of the disk is unknown.

Prior to building his homestead, he was known as a tough but even-handed magistrate, but afterwards he became vindictive and made many enemies.

Skill: Library Use, History


Visiting Danvers State Hospital

Check: POW (Regular)
Success: Experience visceral sensation of dread, lose one Sanity
Success (Extreme): Feel that the asylum is aware of presence and hostile to visit. Each vacant, starting window appears to be a cold, soulless eye boring into their most private thoughts A leaden gloom siphons happiness and hope.

Enter central administration building

Strong, antiseptic odor and freshly mopped floors

Grillwork covers all windows. Listless, gown-clad patients slump in wooden chairs or shuffle about aimlessly. A severe looking desk nurse shows visitors to the office of the asylum superintendent Dr. James Berger.

Check: Spot Hidden (Regular)
Success: Nurse's left ear chewed or torn away

Dr. Berger is a stern, unfriendly man in his late thirties, dressed in a white lab coat, carrying a clipboard.

His office has numerous framed diplomas/certifications, a large desk, several heavy-looking filing cabinets and a strange painting of St. George and the Dragon. In this version, the dragon is mauling St. George, his eviscerated horse laying nearby. The painting is unsettlingly gruesome.

If asked, Berger explains it was a gift from the patients for his caring stewardship of the hospital.

There is also a framed Salem News photograph of a younger, happier Berger shaking hands in front of this building, with a smiling, bespectacled older man. The caption reads

Dr. James Berger takes over Danvers State Asylum from Dr. William Shine

Asking for Larry Croswell, Berger informs investigators that the patient is most excitable and assigned to the facility's J Ward, reserved for the most violent male patients. No visitations are allowed.

Check: Law, Medicine, Intimidate, Persuade (Regular)
Fail: Skip "A Short Visit"

A Short Visit

Berger begrudgingly allows a short visit. Two surly orderlies escort the investigators through the locked wards to Croswell.

Check: Psychology (Regular)
Success: Notice that all the patients in the wards are visibly terrified of the two orderlies.

Upon reaching J Ward, the investigators senses are assailed. Shrieks, sobs, and laughter echo through the hallways. The stench of urine and feces is pungent, unhidden by the strong smell of cleansing agents.

Doors are all metal in this ward. Many of the patients are missing fingers, hands, or whole limbs. One figure behind a metal door stares at the investigators with raw, weeping, empty eye sockets.

Even among the less afflicted, long scars and gouges pockmark flesh. If asked, the orderlies curtly explain "Results of infection or self-mutiliation"

Check: Spot Hidden (Regular)
Success: Notice puffy red scar on the wrist of one of the orderlies that vanishes up his coat sleeve. If characters observe the orderlies further, more marks and disfigurements will be seen
Check: Sanity (0)
Fail: 1d2 Sanity points

Croswell is in cell J-12, looking haggard. He has no disfigurements as displayed by the other J-Ward residents. Croswell is heartened to see friends, but uncomfortable with the nearby guards.

He will ask for privacy if the players do not. The orderlies unpleasantly agree.

Croswell says:

  • Something is wrong here, prisoners are terrified of the staff and especially Dr. Berger
  • He was consigned to J Ward because he wanted to leave, though he originally checked himself in.
  • Before his banishment to J Ward, he befriended a patient named Andrew MacBride, who is in H Ward. He says "MacBride is as touched as the others, yet he also seems to know what's going on"
  • Dr. Berger threated Croswell that "He is in for quite the experience when the sky prepares to welcome the new moon"

If a player checks the lunar calendar, they find that the new moon is just a few (~3) days away.

Afterwards the orderlies come back, and escort the players to the office. Berger refuses to discharge Croswell under the pretense that he's delusional and dangerous.

Unwanted Attention

Check: Spot Hidden (Regular)
    Notice a stranger hovering just at the edge of your vision. If looked at or approached, figure disappears quickly.
Check: INT (Regular)
    Spy was member of asylum staff

Caught the spy

Denies knowledge or involvment in anything

Check: Psychology (Regular)
    Determine that was a lie

Spy turns to veiled threats, warning

  • "Let things be"
  • "Stay away from Danvers if you know what's good for you"
Check: Intimidate (Extreme)
    Reveal that Dr. Berger ordered them to follow

Runs as soon as possible

Visit from MacBride

Page: 48

Wake to find hulking, shadowy figure looming above bed.

"You listen to me. I'm Andy MacBride. They know I'm out and about. They want me to fix it so you won't come around the hospital no more. But instead, I'm telling you what I shouldn't. So you listen good! There's something terrible at that hospital. It's always been there. It's a power that lives in the walls and the halls and the gardens. Dr. Berger is going to sacrifice your friend Larry to the thing at the next dark of the moon. Larry don't have much time!"

He then slips into the night.

Within a day, distribute Handout 6

On visit to police or newspaper:

Check: Law, Persuade, Charm, Fast Talk (Regular)
Success: MacBride slit his own wrists and died from blood loss. He will be buried in potter's field atop Hathorne Hill because he has no relatives.

Dark of the Moon

Page: 49

Yard patrols recalled, grounds unguarded.

Enter ritual area using Stealth


Procession shuffles from J ward to amphitheatre, carrying blue-green torches

Check: Chemistry
Success: torches have been treated with copper sulfate and copper chloride
Check: Spot Hidden
- Celebrants are all from asylum
- Croswell is brought out, strapped to wheeled gurney and rolled to center of amphitheatre
- Berger leads the throng, face a mask of unholy zeal.

Berger shouts in unknown language, and crowd falls into a bestial orgy of violence. Orderlies and patients fall on each other, ripping flesh with their teeth, clawing at each others eyes. Participants shriek in an ecstasy of delight and pain. Berger does not participate, clapping his hands and laughing.

Check: Sanity (1)
Fail: 1d4 Sanity point loss

Celebrants descend on Croswell over and over again, punching, kicking, biting.

Subract 1d2 points from Croswell per round.

Investigators who intervene are attacked.

Check: Spot Hidden (Hard if in melee, Success if hanging back)
- Unearthly blue-grey glow emanates from depths of the reservoir.

After several rounds, a huge, dragon-like form breaks the surface of the water, its saucer-sized reptilian eyes impassively observing the carnage.

Check: Sanity (0)
Fail: 1d8 Sanity point loss

Eventually orgy ends. Participants struggle back to amphitheatre, and the creature sinks into the reservoir.

Air in a 10m radius, focused on center of amphitheater shimmers with unearthly bands of energy. A deep thrumming vibration pervades all.

Check: Listen, POW (Regular, Success if paying attention)
Success: Detect vibration

Each round for 4 rounds:

Check: Luck
Fail: Celebrant attacks, preventing fleeing.

Amphitheater erupts in blast of energy, causing 1d100 damage to everything within ten yards. Asylum celebrants are ripped apart at the molecular level, as is the amphitheater. Implosion creates a sinkhole that fills with water.

Check: DEX (Regular)
Fail: Knocked prone
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