Many people forgot about Call of Cthulhu but that changed half a year ago with an announcement of an RPG survival horror game. Whether the game will succeed or not is still unknown, and for us, it doesn’t make a big difference. We hope that it will do well, but that isn’t up to us.
An excellent this about this announcement is that it will get more people interested into the lore and hopefully into role-playing board games based on the same lore. Role-playing Call of Cthulhu games have been around since 1981, and they include a various setting for two or more players.
The hunted hospital – Back to the board
Call of Cthulhu board games is exiting due to extensive work that was done to create them. The hospital scenario is one of the first role-playing Call of Cthulhu games, and it is set in the 1930s in the small Texan city. But the beauty of excellently written board games, like this one, is that it can be adapted to the present day with an hour or two worth of work.
The story of this game follows you and at least two more players on your trip through Texas. You have to stop as you see a man in the dark and it turns out that his friend lost consciousness due to a car crash. You take them to the hospital, and there the game starts.
Every Call of Cthulhu game will force players to investigate, run and fight against the unknown supernatural enemy. But stories aren’t that simple and whether the enemy is evil or not is always inconclusive. In this scenario, the enemy is a ghost of a man that died a year ago, and you and your friends will have to uncover the reason behind his actions, and you will also have to find a way to survive.
People still play and write new Call of Cthulhu games because they force people to make some hard choices and even that doesn’t guarantee the survival. You can do almost everything right and still fail to survive the scenario, and that is what keeps us playing role-playing games.
This is a short d20 Call of Cthulhu adventure for 3 or more investigators. The adventure is set in Texas in the early 1930’s. With minor modifications, the story could be moved to the 1920’s or to the modern day.
The Investigators are in a minor car accident and have to rush an injured bystander to the local hospital. Arriving at the hospital, the investigators find themselves involved with a year old murder – and a ghost out for revenge.
General Hospital is a small hospital located on the edge of Jasper, Texas. Jasper is located in the piney woods of east Texas. The hospital is rather unremarkable. However, there are also reports of someone – or something – wandering the patient’s wing.
Exactly one year ago, Elvis Green was brought to General Hospital with a gunshot wound. Sheriff Carter, who brought Green in, said that he had been shot resisting arrest. Carter was investigating the disappearance of a 4- year-old girl and he wanted to talk to Green. Green ran from the Sheriff and was shot.
Dr. Cleave, the physician on duty, operated on Green in an attempt to save his life. Cleave, who had lost his twin sister when she they were 6, intentionally botched the operation. Green died from internal bleeding two days later – in the West wing. Since the mutilated body of the missing girl was found shortly before Green died, there wasn’t an investigation of his death.
On the year of the murder, Green’s spirit has returned to exact vengeance on Dr Cleave, Sheriff Carter, and the town of Jasper.
The following events occur in the order given. The pacing of the events should be handled by the Keeper to keep the game moving but do not overpower the players. They should have time to investigate.
The sequence is set such that the events will happen in the order listed if the investigators do nothing to move the story along. Their actions may change how things happen.
Below is a suggested hook to get the group of investigator’s involved in the mystery. Use this or create one that better fits your campaign.
Late one night, the adventurers are driving along a dark two-lane highway. As they round a corner, an elderly man standing in the road startles the driver. He is waving his handkerchief to get the party to stop.
The man says his name is Elwood Barber. He is a farmer that lives outside of Jasper. This evening, Father Gideon from the local church, came to visit Elwood. After supper, they were sitting on the front porch, when Father Gideon passed out.
Elwood quickly loaded Father Gideon into his truck and was driving him to the hospital. However, as he rounded the corner, he lost control of the truck and wound up in the ditch. Elwood has been standing on the road about fifteen minutes hoping to flag someone down.
The truck is front-down in the ditch and its front axle is broken. Father Gideon is the passenger side of the truck’s cabin. A quick examination reveals that Gideon is very pale and his breathing is shallow. A Heal check (DC 15) will show that Gideon is unconscious – actually, he’s slipped into a coma. A second successful Heal test (DC
20) will reveal the coma.
Elwood Barber is also looking a little ashen and pale. In all the excitement, a successful Spot check (DC 25) is required to notice.
Arriving at the Hospital
Jasper General Hospital is located on the north edge of town. It’s a large single story building with two wings; parking is in the rear. Nurse Todd will meet the party when they bring in the unconscious priest. She will be sitting at the reception desk.
Nurse Todd will give the priest a quick examination and then help the party move him to Room 1. During this time, Elwood Barber is starting to feel woozier. A successful Spot check (DC 20) will reveal this.
If the party has missed Elwood’s problems, he will collapse into a chair in Room 1. Nurse Todd will put Elwood in room 10. Unlike Father Gideon, Elwood is just exhausted. Estelle will put him to bed. She will also shoo anyone out of the Elwood’s room, saying he needs his rest.
After taking care of Elwood, Estelle will tell the party she is going to get the Doctor and admittance forms for Father Gideon. Some of the party should remain with the Priest to be able to pick up on the next event.
Nurse Todd returns and helps the party fill out the admission forms. It will take about 5 minutes to complete the forms.
Have the party make a Listen check (DC 20). The party members who succeed will hear a muffled scream coming from down the hall. If they leave the room immediately, they will see what appears to be a patient leaving Elwood’s room and entering the one across the Hall. No Sanity check is required for this sighting.
If no one makes their Listen check, Nurse Todd will go down to Elwood’s room after she’s done with the paper work. She will invite one of the investigators to accompany her.
If there is a player character in Room 7, he will meet the investigators as they come out of the Father Hennessey’s Room.
He will have heard the scream. If the party failed their
Listen check, it will be this character that sees the ghost go into Room 4.
If the party members enter Room 4, they will see only Mrs. Dahl who is sound asleep. If they wake her, she will not know anything about the incident.
When the party enters Elwood’s room, something doesn’t feel right. Players with the Sensitive feat should make a test (DC 15). A player that passes this test will feel cold when they enter the room.
A character that makes a successful Listen check (DC
25) will hear the faint sound of water (blood) dripping on the floor.
Elwood is lying on the bed, with the woolen blanket pulled up to his shoulders. His face is ashen and has a horrible grimace on it. Pulling back the covers will reveal that
Elwood has quickly bled to death from a small incision on
the left side of his chest. The blanket and covers are stuck together and make a wet parting sound when they are pulled back. The bed is covered with blood and some is dripping on the floor.
Upon a successful Spot check (DC 10), a bloodstain can be found on the floor next to the bed. A subsequent successful Cthulhu Mythos check (DC15) would identify the pattern as a marred Elder Sign.
A successful Heal check (DC 15) or a Spot check (DC 20) will reveal that the wound on Elwood’s body is a surgical incision.
Nurse Todd will approach the bed if no one else moves. She will quickly check Elwood’s pulse and then go for Doctor Cleave, leaving the party behind
The Doctor Arrives
Doctor Cleave will arrive shortly and examine the body. He will pronounce it dead at the time he arrives. He will then ask the party what happened to him. Doctor Cleave will ask if anyone did any unofficial operations on Elwood. After the questioning, Dr. Cleave will insist that the investigators return to the lobby to wait for Sheriff Carter. Dr. Cleave will remain behind.
Nurse Todd will have called Sheriff Carter.
As the group leaves Room 10, each one should make a Spot check (DC 15). Those passing the test will see the Ghost enter Room 9.
Meet the Sheriff
Sheriff Carter will arrive in about 20 minutes. He will be greatly put out for being called at this time of the morning. He dressed in a hurry and did not have a chance to tuck in his shirt.
Sheriff Carter will question the party members about what has happened. Though he sounds like a dimwitted oaf, the Sheriff is quite bright, and good at his job. He is not overly suspicious of the party; people die in hospitals all the time. However, he will be wary if anyone tries to pull a fast one.
During the questioning, Dr. Cleave will enter the lobby.
The First Real Clue
After questioning the investigators, Sheriff Carter will question Nurse Todd. Nurse Todd will reveal that the wound on Elwood’s body looks exactly like that on Elvis Green’s body.
Have the players make a Spot check (DC 20). A success will mean that the player sees a quick reaction on Dr. Cleave’s face. Doctor Cleave will go to his office, to work on papers. He will actually be making an entry in his journal.
After the questioning and any investigation that the players want to do, Enrique will come running into the room. He will be out of breath and almost hysterical.
Nurse Todd will fetch Doctor Cleave.
Between gasps and sobs, Enrique will describe seeing the Ghost enter Room 4. The figure looked familiar to Enrique, so he followed it into the room. He found Mrs. Dahl dead in the same manner as Elwood.
If questioned, Enrique will be able to describe the figure well enough that Nurse Todd, Dr. Cleave, or Sheriff Carter will recognize it as Elvis Green.
Nurse Todd, Sheriff Carter, and Dr. Cleave will run to Room 4.
Mrs. Dahl is lying on the bed, with the woolen blanket pulled up to her shoulders. Her face is ashen and has a horrible grimace on it. Pulling back the covers will reveal that she has quickly bled to death from a small incision on the left side of his chest. The blanket and covers are stuck together and make a wet parting sound when they are pulled back. The bed is covered with blood and some is dripping on the floor.
Upon a successful Spot check (DC 10), a bloodstain can be found on the floor next to the bed. A subsequent successful Cthulhu Mythos check (DC15) would identify the pattern as a marred Elder Sign.
A successful Heal check (DC 15) or a Spot check (DC 20) will reveal that the wound on Mrs. Dahl’s body is a surgical incision.
If Dr. Cleave fails his Sanity check, he will return to his office and kill himself.
Nurse Todd will follow the Doctor and will find his body. This will cause her to confess. Sheriff Carter will then arrest Nurse Todd for accessory to murder.
If the party dispatches the ghost, Nurse Todd will confess to them what she knows. Sheriff Carter will arrest Nurse Todd and Dr. Cleave.
Experience and Sanity Awards
If the investigators manage to uncover the evidence of Dr. Cleave’s crime and turn it over to Sheriff Cleave before Dr. Cleave commits suicide, they will score 1,000 XPS.
If the investigators dispatch the Ghost and/or uncover the evidence of Dr. Cleave’s crime, they will score 750 XPS.
If the investigators do not uncover the evidence of Dr. Cleave’s crime, they will score 500 XPS.
The arrest or suicide of Dr. Cleave and the arrest of Nurse Todd will satisfy the ghost. Elvis Green will not return. Sheriff Carter will clean up the mess, but he will suggest that the Investigators leave town as soon as possible.
Elvis Green was a drifter and handyman. He came into town about a month before his death and began working out at the Meacham farm west of Jasper. Elvis was an odd sort, and he was often found loitering around the school. When Sarah Angees was reported missing, Sheriff Carter immediately thought of Elvis, and went out to the Meacham farm.
He found Elvis working on a tractor and when the Sheriff went to ask him questions, Elvis began to run across the field. Sheriff Carter had to use deadly force to stop Green’s flight. The Sheriff saw that Green was grievously wounded, so he took him into General Hospital. During the admission process, Carter explained to Dr. Cleave about why he went to see Green.
When Doctor Cleave operated on Green to repair the gunshot wound, he intentionally did not close up the wound. Two days later, Green died from a massive loss of blood.
On the day after Green was brought in to the Hospital, the mutilated body of Sarah Angees was found buried in the hay in the Meacham’s Barn.
Elvis Green has returned on the anniversary of his death to exact vengeance on those who murdered him. The ghost appears as an ashen-faced man dressed in a hospital gown. The gown has a very large and wet blood stain on the left side of his chest. Elvis appears solid but close inspection (Spot vs. DC 20) reveals that his bare feet do not touch the floor. Elvis does not react to light or sound. Elvis Green only manifests himself between sunset and sunrise.
He is set on killing Estelle Todd and Dr. Cleave, as they were the ones who conspired to murder him. He also blames the hospital staff and Sheriff Carter for not doing anything to help him. He haunts the patient wing of the hospital as well as Operating Theater B. He won’t be seen in the other areas of the hospital.
The ghost never makes a sound.
If Dr. Cleave commits suicide, the ghost of Elvis Green will appear next to his body and laugh – though no one without the Sensitive feat will be able to hear him. After a few minutes, the ghost will disappear.
And, for the record, Elvis Green did kidnap, molest, and dismember Sarah Angees.
Dr. Adam Cleave
Dr. Adam Cleave, M.D., has been the presiding physician at Jasper General Hospital for fifteen years. In that time, he’s lost a few patients, but there was only one that he had a hand in dispatching.
When Elvis Green was brought in and Dr Cleave heard Sheriff Carter’s story, Dr. Cleave intentionally did not sew up the incision made when he operated. As a result, Elvis Green bled to death over the next few days.
Doctor Cleave has been tormented by what he did over the past year. Though he has not gone over the edge yet, he is very close. Shortly after the murder, Dr. Cleave began to keep a journal. He hides this in the bottom of a potted plant in his office.
If Dr Cleave suffers sufficient sanity loss or is confronted by the evidence of his journal, he will commit suicide with his Webley. He will be rather matter of fact about this – no running and screaming.
Sheriff Tiberius “T” Carter
Sheriff Carter has been the Sheriff for over thirty years. He’s a large man with a prodigious gut. He is prone to swagger and chew tobacco. In all respects, Sheriff Carter is the perfect Hollywood Sheriff as seen in Live and Let Die.
Sheriff Carter is prone to be rough with suspects, but this is not unusual in 1930’s Texas. He loves his job and is
the news of Bonnie and Clyde Barrow with great interest.
Sheriff Carter believes that Green killed the girl and regrets that he didn’t get a chance to die in prison.
Estelle Todd, R.N.
Estelle Todd has been a nurse at General Hospital for ten years. She has always worked the night shift – she enjoys the hours and not having to deal with all the people. She is the head nurse and also assists in surgery for emergencies. .
Nurse Todd assisted Dr. Cleave when he operated on Elvis Green. Nurse Todd noticed that Dr. Cleave didn’t close up as normal. Nurse Todd has been indoctrinated that Doctor’s know what’ they are doing. And she thought Dr. Cleave knew what he was doing.
When Elvis Green died, Nurse Todd knew the cause, but she didn’t want to sully the good doctor’s name. And the pervert deserved it, didn’t he?
Elizabeth Dahl, the wife of the hospital’s Pharmacist, admitted herself this morning with a pain in her abdomen. She had an emergency appendectomy in operating theater B just before lunch. She is now resting in Room 4.
Enrique Gomez is the night janitor. He is responsible for keeping the place tidy and keeping the coffee pot in the cafeteria full and hot (see 0). Enrique is a “heard but not seen” character for most of the adventure. He’s always in a different room from the party members.
The following descriptions correspond to sections on the Jasper General Hospital map.
There are currently 3 cars in the lot and an older ambulance near the Emergency Room doors. The cars belong to Nurse Todd, Dr. Cleave, and Elizabeth Dahl.
This area is about 20’ square with tables and chairs for people to wait. Two pay phone booths (the closing kind) are against the north wall by the business office. There is
a single reception desk just in the middle of the room. Nurse Todd works here nights. Nurse Marlene Schirmer handles reception duties during the day.
There is a telephone on the reception desk that connects to a switchboard in the business office. The operator (Sarah Johns) is only on duty during the day. The desk is full of normal office items.
The business office is about 30’ long. There are four desks here for the office staff plus a switchboard for the operator. In addition, there are 12 4-drawer filing cabinets. The eight of the filing cabinets contain patient records while the other four have business records.
Each desk has a typewriter, telephone, and office items.
File Cabinet 6
In the top drawer of cabinet 6 is the patient file for Elvis Green. It is not very thick and lists Dr. Cleave as the attending physician and Nurse Todd as the primary nurse. The official listed cause of death is “complications resulting from gunshot wound”. Sheriff Carter signed the death certificate.
A successful Spot check (DC 25) will reveal that the corner of an old newspaper is sticking out of the left side drawer of the second desk.
The front page of a year-old copy of the Jasper Tribune is in the drawer. The headline and lead story are about the finding of Sarah Angees. The article includes information about Elvis Green and Sheriff Carter.
Taped to the side of the switchboard are commonly used numbers. This list includes the police station, the fire department, and Sheriff Carter’s home phone.
Doctor’s Office 1
This is the office of Doctor Cleave. He keeps his personal medical records as books here. There is a large couch along one wall and a large desk in the middle of the north end of the room. There are various potted plants scattered around the office.
In the top right drawer of the desk, Dr. Cleave keeps his Webley revolver. It is loaded.
A successful Spot check (DC 20) will uncover a file folder containing clippings from various newspapers about the Elvis Green incident. A subsequent successful Spot check (DC 20) will uncover that some of the news clippings are from another event of fifty-two years ago – the disappearance of Dr. Cleave’s sister.
A thorough search and a successful Spot check (DC 24) will reveal that one of the plants can easily be removed from its pot. Under the plant is a copy of Dr. Cleave’s Journal (see 0).
Doctor’ Office 2
This is the office of Doctor Applegate. He is the attending physician for the day shift. It is similar in layout to Dr. Cleave’s office; without the plants.
The cafeteria and kitchen can handle about twenty people. During the evening, sandwiches are available in the icebox (yes, a real icebox) and an institutional coffee pot is always full. Enrique Gomez, the night custodian, keeps the kitchen clean and keeps the pot full.
This room is full of custodial supplies and office supplies. Along one wall are a washer and dryer as well as shelves full of bed linens. The autoclave is also in here.
This room is laid in a similar fashion to the Storage room. In place of the washer and dryer is a pair of electric refrigerators for storing medication. Enrique also has a few bottles of homemade beer hidden in here.
The door to the pharmacy is locked. The lock is not difficult to pick (Open Locks DC 15).
A successful search (Spot, DC 20) will reveal that five or six packages of prescription sleeping pills are missing. These have been taken by Dr. Cleave to help him sleep.
The emergency room is kept quite clean and orderly; though it is rarely used. There are a few cabinets along the north wall where emergency supplies are stored and there is a pair of wooden chairs. Most of the area is open so as to not obstruct access to the operating theaters.
The doors to the emergency room are locked; a testament to how quiet Jasper is. There’s a hand-written note taped to the door that instructs people to see Nurse Todd in reception. There is also a crude map on the lower part of the note.
Operating Theater A
This room is a full equipped and up-to-date operating theater of the 1930’s. There is all the usual equipment available and in plain sight.
Operating Theater B
This room is similar to A. This is the room where Dr. Cleave operated on Elvis Green. The past month, the hospital staff have reported that the room is cold and some have the feeling that they are either being watched or are not in there alone.
Upon a successful Listen check (DC 20), the sounds of an operation can be heard. The noise is faint, but the voices can be plainly distinguished and identified as those of Dr. Cleave and Nurse Todd.
Upon a successful Spot check (DC 24), a small bloodstain can be found on the floor at the head of the operating table. A subsequent successful Cthulhu Mythos check (DC15) would identify the pattern as a marred Elder Sign.
Upon a successful Psychic Focus check (DC 15), a character with the Sensitive feat will get impressions that a murder was committed in this room.
This large room holds the steam and power plant for the hospital. There is a workbench with various tools and a folding table and chair. This is where Enrique spends most of his down time. There is a radio on the folding table tuned to a Spanish station.
This room is a combination locker area; break room, and materials storage. There is a large sofa similar to the ones in the Doctor’s offices as well as two cots. There is one dinette next to a cabinet with a hot plate and a sink. Along the north wall are cabinets filled with medical equipment and some minor drugs (the rest are in the Pharmacy).
All patient rooms are single occupancy with a medical bed, radio, wardrobe, toilet, and two sitting chairs. Each room also has a window to the outside with heavy curtains. Around the bed is a track for isolation curtains. A bedpan can be found under the bed. Unless otherwise noted below, each room is empty but prepared. Note that only rooms of interest are listed below.
This is the room in which Father Gideon is placed when he’s brought to the hospital.
Patient Elizabeth Dahl is staying in this room.
If there is a new player to be introduced in this adventure, he will be in Room 7 resting after having his broken leg set.
This is the room in which Elvis Green died. This room is currently empty.
Upon a successful Listen check (DC 20), the sounds of raspy and pained breathing can be heard. The noise is faint.
Upon a successful Spot check (DC 24), a small bloodstain can be found on the floor at the foot of the bed. A subsequent successful Cthulhu Mythos check (DC 15)
would identify the pattern as a marred Elder Sign. This is the same sign as in Operating Theater B.
Upon a successful Psychic Focus check (DC 10), a character with the Sensitive feat will get impressions that the room is occupied by a non-corporeal force.
This is the room in which Nurse Todd places Elwood Barber.
The Journal of Doctor Cleave
Doctor Cleave has kept this journal ever since Elvis Green died. The entries of interest are given below.
April 22, 1931
Today I killed a man. Sheriff Carter brought in Elvis Green, a drift er, two nights ago. Our trigger-happy Sheriff had
plugged Elvis as he was trying to get away. While I was scrubbing up, Carter let me know that Elvis was to be questioned about the disappearance of a litt le girl.
In surgery, something came over me. I had just finished removing the bullet from Green’ s chest and was ready to close up, but I didn’t. At least, I didn’t do it correctly. The wound was seeping – and it wouldn’ t close on its own. In a few days, Green would bleed to death.
I knew Sarah Angees, her mother works for the Pink Ladies here at the hospital. She reminded me of sissy so much. I even commented to Sarah’s mother about it. Hearing what that bastard was wanted for made me snap. That’s the only explanation.
Nurse Todd was assisting me. She didn’t say anything when I closed up, but I think she noticed.
September 22, 1931
Six months ago, I killed a man. I thought I had gotten over it, but lately my dreams have been troubled. I see Elvis Green in his patient’ s gown with blood all over it. He is chasing me. I hear his voice repeating, “ You killed me!”
I’ve had to steal pills from the pharmacy to sleep nights.
April 10, 1932
The nightmares have returned, but they’ re diff erent. Elvis is still chasing me, but now he says “ I want revenge!” I have to take the sleeping pills again.
April 22, 1932
There’ s been an incident in the Hospital tonight. A patient was killed. His body had the same wound as on Elvis Green. I know its Elvis. He’s come back looking for me. I won’t let him take me!