Monday, June 5, 2017

Commentary On Adapting House Two The Second Story As Old School Campaign Jump Off Point

So I've been down all this last week with a wicked head cold, all of the while my fiancee has been home. While all of the horrid terrorist stuff happening in London she wanted an upbeat comedy adventure film.After making sure family on both of sides was safe & sound, I introduced her to House II The Second Story. This is a film with a pretty heavy set of cult classic credentials. 

Nothing like a bit of alternative dimension travel via crystal skull powered zombie cowboy action flick to get blood pumping. House II features one of my all time favorite part time adventurers Bill Towner (John Ratzenberger) whose always locating alternate universes, fighting evil cultists with his sabre he keeps in his tool box  or just fixing the wiring in your house. Bill has appeared in various OSR games including Mutant Future, Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts most recently as a fourth level mercenary with a favorite weapon of saber. Bill is simply an awesome NPC to use. He's a guy used to finding "one of those time-portal see these all the time in these old houses."

Pound for cheesy laden pound of overly fantastic Eighties heavy film, House Two the Second Story still packs in the meta adventure fodder ideas. Savaged by critics when it came out this film has at its center a relic that ties the entire affair together. The Wiley Crystal Skull sits in the center of the house right on the mantle display of the impressive faux Mayan fire place. The entire place is time/space portal to several alternative Earth time periods. "Gramps explains that the house was built using stones from the Mayan temple, and that its rooms act as a hidden doorway across space and time, with the skull acting as a key."

The Stimson house which bears a striking resemblance to the home 
at the center of events in House Two The Second Story.

Entire campaigns can be built around the recovery of the Wiley Crystal that was last seen someplace down around Arizonian border in 1870 or so. This is after the Slim Reeser massacre & shoot out. The skull is worth a cool 100,000 gold pieces and will open 1d4 random dimensional gateways. The skull is immune to many of the effects of magical spells with a forty five percent chance of spell resistance

Crystal Skull by Rafał Chałgasiewicz

When the skull is within the temple it has a chance of attracting the notice of any minor powers or gods who may send emissaries for the artifact. There are those who believe that the skull may not be Mayan in origin at all but an artifact of K’nyan. Still others believe the skull is connected with Vulthoom.

There are several passages in the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis for binding rituals for the powers of the skull but these will simply make adventurers targets for the demonic powers of the skull itself.  You can find out more about this connection between the Wiley Crystal skull & Necromonicon of Evil Dead Fame here.

 There is a small cult of dedicated modern Mayan style priests & Eagle warriors who control a small alternative dimension who seek the
Wiley Crystal Skull. They will stop at nothing to obtain it from the current owners. There are rumors of dimensional doorways leading from Hyperborea or Greyhawk that the skull opens. There are rumors of the skull having its own twisted and dangerous agenda for those under the influence of the artifact. Each day there is a 60% chance of another other worldly gateways opening within a twenty foot radius from the skull. The Wiley skull will extend the owner's life by 1d100 years if so chooses, even handling the damn thing has a 40% chance of turning the owner into a juju zombie like undead being.
The skull is still out there someplace possibly passing between owners out in the Old West of 1873. There are rumors of it turning up among various adventurer's belongings and reports of it having been seen at odd times in pawn shops, flop houses,etc. The skull could be trying to find a new familial guardian line and pop up in a Boot Hill/AD&D crossover adventure.

Slim Reeser didn't act alone & his gang operated along with the 'Wild Bunch' deep into the 1900's operating a profitable black market trade in ancient artifacts & relics. Indiana Jones & other adventurers are said to have crossed their path a number of times. Slim supposedly had a number of encounters with adventurers besides his hobby of murdering the McLachlan family line.
1d6 Random Encounters With Those Looking For Wiley Crystal Skull  Encounter Table 

  1. A group of 1d4 black magick cultists on a quest for sacrifices & the skull. They're more then willing to murder anyone in their way. 
  2. 3rd level mercenary treasure hunter who was a part of the old Reeser gang 
  3.  1d4 secret government agents hot on the trail of the skull armed with super science artifacts to handle the dimensional warping magicks. 
  4. A  Necronomicon occultist is searching for the skull & any of the McLachlan line. 
  5. 1d6 Deadites who are on a quest for the skull and likely to murder anyone where they stand. 
  6. A warped 6th level black priestess of some Lovecraftian goddess on a quest for the skull.
Please note that this blog post is not an attempt to violate the trademark or copyright of the film House Two The Second Story. This blog post is for entertainment,  informational, & educational purposes only.  All other ideas are  copyrighted to the original writer.

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