Isle of the Dead (1984)

I really wish Pacesetter’s Chill had a better grip on itself. The core rules positioned itself as a sort of mostly serious Hammer horror simulator, but most of the adventures feel a lot more like Scooby-doo. Which is fine, I like Scoob and the gang. But I have never really been able to figure out what to ultimately make of Chill, probably because Chill didn’t either.

Anyway, this is Isle of the Dead (1984). You might think from this amazingly doofy cover that this is going to be an amazingly doofy B-movie romp. And it kinda, mostly is. Except it really takes itself too seriously. Which is a shame, because a pinch of self aware camp would have made this a gem.

As Chill adventures go, though, this is probably one of the better ones. It is set in an amusement park, abandoned since the 50s after a mysterious night of misfortune and death. Conveniently, the park is on an island in the middle of a lake, so you can’t just, you know, run away. And the place is packed with ghosts (and killer dolls, and a clown monster). You see, the owner was murdered by the guy who ran the wax museum to get out of a blackmail scheme and the wax museum guy threatened the sideshow guy to stay quiet, so the sideshow guy murdered the wax museum guy, who then possessed his dolls and murdered the sideshow guy. After this, the quickly increasing number of ghosts went about murdering everyone on the island. Ghost faction wars, targeting the colleagues and customers of their rivals. Silly. Yet never admits its silliness.

Anyway, cool thing structurally is that the module has events keyed to a timeline (with a literal drop-dead deadline for the players to figure out how to put the ghosts to rest) as well as location-based events, so there is a ton of stuff to do and experience. Its a great approach for a single location adventure.

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