One of my favorite places for inspiration is the news (or, if you prefer, the “news”). There’s always some weird-ass-shit happening that sparks my creativity or inspires me to take my game places that I’d never expect. Whether it be a creepy killer, the discovery of a new species in the Amazon, or the latest UFO sighting, I’m always on the lookout for a real-life event that I could insert into an on-going campaign or create the basis for a sweet convention game/one-shot.
This week, I stumbled on this piece at CNN about a mummified cat in the walls of a 17th century house. Archaeologists posit that the cat was walled into the house to ward off evil spirits. The cottage’s location – near Britain’s most famous witch trials – have people speculating whether the residents practiced witchcraft.
The section of my brain devoted to coming up with awesome game ideas flickered. Where did that cat come from? What sort of dark ritual could have taken place there? Or, most intriguingly, who was that cat?
Archaeologists touted the discovery of the 17th century like finding a “mini-Pompeii.” They’d never seen a structure like this so intact! As they unearthed all the treasures hidden within the cottage, a small secret room was discovered. Walled off, with no apparent access point, the room contained a small pedestal table. Atop the table were the remains of a single mummified cat.
The party, made up of members of the archaeological team, locals from the British countryside, and maybe an occult expert or two (like Dean and Sam from Supernatural?), observe escalating badness surrounding the team who unearthed the mummified cat:
Tragic mishaps that cause gory deaths.
Townspeople start whispering about ancient curses as sightings of a red-eyed black cat stir hysteria.
A sense of ominousness descends upon the party as a Long-Dead Evil endeavors to settle grudges that bristled for hundreds of years.
Investigation reveals that, in the 1600s, a young woman was assaulted by the mayor of the sleepy village. She turned to the dark arts for revenge. With the help of a local witch – who was, according to legend, at least 150 years old – she trapped her assailant in the body of her tomcat and holed him up in her quaint cottage…
The question becomes: Who is responsible for the grizzly murders? Is it the young woman, struggling to keep her secret from beyond the grave? Or the mayor, enacting revenge after years of feline confinement?
So, what do you think? How do YOU think the cat ended up in the wall of the cottage?