There is a crimson lake somewhere in Southern Siberia, where misshapen monstrosities are said to cross over from another world. You, a cynical paranormal detective with minor psychic abilities, were sent by an influential group of scientists and scholars to investigate this phenomenon. Last episode, you arrived at an abandoned Soviet military base near the crimson lake and met up with Dr. Sergei Roerich - a highly respected scientist sent by the Russian government to investigate the reports of malformed entities sighted near the base. From your investigations, you learnt that an old Soviet scientist named Grigori Sokolov had once conducted unethical human experimentation in this base. You also found some missing pages from his journal and learnt that Sokolov had invented a drug that can artificially develop extrasensory perception and amplify existing psychic abilities. You then learnt how the lake had first appeared in Sokolov’s dreams before physically manifesting less than a mile from the base. How there are reports of similar lakes appearing in other dark corners of the world, places where the fabric of reality is at its thinnest, places that serve as gateways for eldritch nightmares and worse to cross over to this world.While you were conducting your investigations, the base was attacked by a pale humanoid abomination with twisted outstretched limbs. You helped the soldiers kill the nightmarish entity by restricting its movements with telekinesis. Though you decided to keep your psychic abilities secret from Dr. Roerich. After this incident, you examined Sokolov’s experimentation room and found a small metallic device of unknown purpose. You also examined the chemicals and documents in the experimentation room, but found nothing of interest. Afterwards, you agreed to accompany Doctor Roerich and eighteen of his men through the frozen forest on the way to the lake. Your head felt strange as you walked through the forest. It almost felt like you are in a dream - where the sense of time and place is different.On your way to the lake, your group was attacked by several misshapen shadow creatures with twisted razor sharp claws. -------------------------------Continued from: >>2026567
>>2042035>>2044029Despite their horror, the soldiers are quick to regroup and defend you and Dr. Roerich from the shadow monsters. All of them were trained soldiers, their confidence bolstered by the fact that they had managed to kill the pale monster back at the base. You are not particularly skilled with the gun, but you have other weapons to aid you in battles. You use telekinesis to restrict the movements of the shadow monsters, realizing that psychic attacks are more effective against these nightmares. Yet more monsters keep coming out of the woods. A soldier screams in agony as he is eviscerated by long twisted claws. The monsters almost feel like automations, moving from one kill to another without any sign of hunger or pain. You are left bleeding from your nose from the stress of keeping the monsters at bay. The soldiers rain bullets from their automatic rifles whenever the shadow creatures are slowed from your efforts. In the end, four soldiers are left dead before the last of the monsters is killed. >Cont.
>>2047010You almost collapse from exhaustion after the fight. Only fourteen soldiers are left alive, not counting you and Doctor Roerich. “Good work, men. The Lake should be close. Be on your guards, things can get worse from here!” You can hear Roerich breathing heavily as he addresses the soldiers. Somehow it feels like his voice is coming from a faraway place, even though he should be standing right next you. Your head feels strange - it feels like you are stuck in two places at the same time. One of those places is the now familiar frozen forest in Southern Siberia. The other is a darker, more twisted world only visible through a red tint. You are suddenly overwhelmed by nightmarish otherworldly visions as you try to make sense of a world that makes less sense each passing moment.You absentmindedly touch the small metallic device you had found in Sokolov’s experimentation room. Your mind feels clearer all of a sudden. You find it easier to focus and sort through your strange visions. In your visions, you see a pale smiling man with malformed limbs covered in a white robe. You gasp in horror when you realize that he is looking at you, even though he has no eyes. Your visions then show you another part of the forest, where black wolves made of dark shadows hunted in packs. You see malformed giants lumbering through the woods, massive tentacles reaching towards the sky, distorted shadows of another world, pale children with red eyes, and He Who Should Not Be. >Cont.
>>2047020You vomit as you try to escape the nightmarish visions. Like a madman, you hold on to the small metallic device, desperately using it as a totem to separate the horrors of the dreamlands and reality, and to stay sane after seeing things that should not exist in this world or any other. “Are you okay, detective?” The commander of the soldiers asks as he notices you vomiting. You murmur that you are okay and tell him not to worry about you. You drag your feet and try your best to keep up with the rest of the group. “There are new paths in the forest,” Dr. Roerich says in a baffled voice, “Paths that were not there when we last visited.” Somehow, you know all of these paths lead to the lake. Yet different horrors awaited you in each of these paths. What do you see at the end of the path you take?>The pale smiling man with malformed limbs covered in a white robe>Wolves made of shadows that hunted in packs>Malformed giants lumbering through the woods>A metallic construct of enormous size>Massive tentacles reaching towards the sky>Distorted shadows of another world >Pale children with red eyes
>>2047034>A metallic construct of enormous size
>>2047846This is likely the last or the penultimate battle of the quest, failed rolls here will lead to bad endingsYou follow the snow covered path through a frozen wasteland that feels both otherworldly and strange. It feels like a dream. And like a lot of dreams, you are sure that there will be a monster at the end of it. In the end, you find a metallic construct of enormous size waiting for you at the end of the path, just like you had foreseen in your visions. You can feel that the lake has chosen one of its most powerful spawns to defend itself. Its four red eyes moved in a fashion that reminded you of insects. You hold on to the metallic totem, forcing yourself to stay lucid in spite of the nightmare that stood before you. You know that it will take every last ounce of your psychic powers to defeat this abomination. Yet even that may not be enough. But you have made peace with your death. Even if you die here, it will all be worth it if you could somehow stop the blood lake from bringing more horrors into this world. You prepare your mind for what may be the last fight of your life. >Roll 1d20 to check if you survive
Rolled 20 (1d20)>>2048725Rolling
>>2048725Looks like we are a fucking Jedi
>>2048757>>2048759Wow, our dice luck is on a whole another level this thread!You used your psychic abilities against the metallic construct. Your attacks are highly effective as you successfully sever the psychic link between the lake and its metallic guardian. The automaton stops moving, as if it was a puppet with its string cut off. You and Roerich exchange a silent look as you reach the crimson lake. Neither of you expect to return from this mission alive, but you have made peace with your deaths. Even if you both die here, it will be worth it as long as the lake ceases to exist. “I haven’t been entirely honest with you, detective. I knew Doctor Sokolov, in fact I was one of his students back in the academy,” Doctor Roerich says in a voice filled with regret, “I was the one who helped him secure the funding for his research after General Vasiliev died. I thought he would unlock scientific secrets that would help the country. I never expected for something like this to happen.” Dr. Roerich then pulls out a syringe and a small bottle from his pocket. You notice that it’s labeled Drug-XVII. He gives you a meaningful look, “I read Doctor Sokolov’s journal and found this among his chemicals. If his experiments with psychic powers brought this lake to our world, perhaps it can be sent back as well. I wanted to fight it myself, but it seems you will be better a choice. The Lake will likely send more of its minions after is when you try to seal it, the soldiers and I will do our best to hold them off. If I have to die to atone for my sins, then so be it. I wish you good luck, detective.” >Roll 1d20 to check if you are successful in erasing the lake from this reality
Rolled 10 (1d20)>>2048772Rolling...
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>2048772
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>2048772I will save us
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>2048797
>>2048788>>2048789>>2048790>>2048797>>2048798>>2048802Your mind goes blank as you inject the drug into your veins. You breathe heavily as you feel your psychic abilities grow beyond their normal capacities. You see otherworldly colors and non-Euclidean shapes you could have never even imagined before, you hear ethereal songs and haunting screams from other worlds, you realize ancient secrets that would have turned you insane under normal circumstances. It almost feels like you were blind and deaf your entire life - and your mind has just been set free from its limits. You sense an enormous evil presence in the direction of The Lake. You realize The Lake is alive, it has always been alive! And it is only the shadow of a far more powerful entity that exists in another world. A twisted nightmarish horror that seeks to corrupt one world after another. You cannot kill this eldritch entity, but you can at least stop it from leaking into this world. You hold on to the metallic totem to focus your newfound powers to seal the gateway between this world and the other. You use every fiber of your being to force The Lake to leave this world. The Lake resists, you bleed from your eyes from excruciating pain. From a distant faraway place, you hear Doctor Roerich and the soldiers fighting against monsters sent by the lake to defend itself. “Don’t let those things pass, let the detective do his work!” You hear Doctor Roerich scream with his dying breath as the last of the soldiers is ripped apart by nightmarish horrors. You will die if you continue to fight the lake, but you are too far gone to care about that. Your conscience fades as you feel the lake collapsing on itself, the fabrics of reality correcting itself. The monsters it spawned disappearing along with it. Yet it does not die, death as a concept does not exist for it. The Lake is forced to retreat from this world, perhaps never to return ever again. You look down to see the broken body of a man with blood dripping from his eyes. You see that the man has your face. >Epilogue
EpilogueIt has been six months since the Russian government sent another team to investigate the disappearances of Dr. Roerich and his men. They found a total of twenty five dead bodies scattered throughout an abandoned military base and its surrounding forests. In spite of extensive search, they found no trace of the so-called blood lake mentioned in rural legends. Yet sometimes, villagers in the mountain villages still report seeing strange nightmarish entities roaming in the darkness. Things that escaped before reality managed to correct itself through the sacrifice of a certain detective. There are also the reports of similar places appearing in other dark corners of the world, places where the fabric of reality is at its thinnest, places where paranormal horrors from other worlds are said to lurk beyond the shadows. But those are fights that must be fought by someone else. The End
>>2048826After CreditsThat's about it for the first episode of Paranormal Horror Quest. I wanted to complete each episode in a single thread, but this one went a bit longer than I had expected. To anyone curious, the lake was a living entity that served as a gateway to another world - a world inhabited by nightmarish horrors that defy the laws of our world. Sokolov's experiments had helped the lake physically manifest in our world. Since this was the first episode, I tried to develop the quest lore and do some worldbuilding before we moved to the quest proper - although it might have made the quest slower in the beginning. If we managed to successfully search Sokolov’s experimentation room, we would have learnt about different entities that came out of the lake and how to defeat them. We would have also found chemicals that would have helped us during the last fights. Next thread will likely take place in December, where we'll follow a different main character in a different quest setting. Anyway, I have some questions for you guys. >Which quest setting do you guys want to visit next episode? I have outlines for each of the remaining eleven settings, but knowing which ones are more popular should make preparations easier for me. >Since we are done with The Lake in Southern Siberia, can you guys suggest some new quest settings that can take its place in the next version of the CYOA image?>How can we improve the Perks and Abilities mechanics? Also, did the main character feel too overpowered this time? If yes, should we follow a weaker protagonist in the next episode? >Did anyone notice the references to other fictional works in the quest? Aside from the obvious nods to Lovecraft and other mythos writers, I tried to include references to real life conspiracy theories, Slavic folklore, internet horror fiction, and other paranormal stories to build the atmosphere and make the quest more engaging to attentive readers. >To those who played Haunted House Quest - did this quest feel too similar? In both cases we followed a cynical world weary detective who lost his faith in a benevolent higher power. I tried to make the paranormal threat very different from the last case, though not sure if I succeeded.>What are your overall thoughts on the quest so far? How can we make the future episodes better?
>>2048827Just wanted to say i really enjoyed the quest.I followed both threads and it was a really interesting experience.its a shame that the detective died in the end though.Will our next character be related to him?
>>2048833Right now, I'm planning to use different protagonists each thread. The players will get to vote on which character to follow at the beginning of the next episode. However, we might also revisit the characters and plot elements from this episode in one form or another in later episodes. For example, Sokolov's journal in this episode briefly mentioned the 'Modern Prometheus Project' - which was the main plotline of the Haunted House Quest I ran as a prototype for this quest. We might see more extensive references to this episode in future threads as well. >That reminds me, we never gave our detective a name. What do you think we should call him if he is mentioned by other characters in future episodes?
>>2048827Hey, Really enjoyed reading, only got here at the end for a single vote then missed the rest. The story was really engaging.>I'd like to see one of the African ones, either the Desert or the Fog next time, I've not seen much horror stuff done with the region.>For settings, a Ghost Ship maybe? Like the Mary Celeste and similar stories.>The MC felt powerful, but he was facing something that was also powerful. Lower points characters would be interesting but would have to be dealing with a similar level of threat. The actual system was fine, but there probably need to be more options going forward, because if we keep doing one-shots it might get stale otherwise (Easy to tap out the combinations that feel unique.)>I feel like I recognize the lake (at least the picture) from the SCP foundation. I picked up on the nods to MKultra and stuff like that. If it all comes together you could end up writing a fairly engaging little horror universe. >I wanna put my vote in for something like Sergei Gogol (If the guy is Russian, i don't remember noticing his nationality) or some other combination of horror writers names.
>>2050445Ghost ship sounds really cool
Thanks for the run, OP. I didn't get to participate in this thread, but loved the concept. I vote the village or the forest for next session, love folk horror.