The Lost Manuscript of Callie Evernight
The Gamebook – A Reminder
In our game, the player character has been trapped in a book of folk horror short stories by cult author Calliope (Callie) Evernight.
The book has been infected by the Corruption. It is trying to escape into the real world. Callie has also been trapped in the book.
She is trying to stop the Corruption escaping and it is the player’s job to help her.
How It Works – A Reminder
We are imagining that Callie has written a book of short stories.
These a folk horror stories, inspired by rural folklore, myths and legends.
The stories themselves are not part of the game.
Each level of the game takes place in the world of one of the stories. The Player has to complete a different quest in each level – explore the environment, talk to the characters, find clues, collect key objects, and then escape to the next level.
Here are some folklore ideas that you can use for inspiration.
Remember, you need:
- A setting, an environment
- A character or characters
- A story:
- A disruption in the characters normal life that launches them on an adventure
- Something the character wants
- A fatal* challenge in the middle (*not necessarily literally fatal, just fatal to their cause)
- A resolution: do they get what they wanted?
Inspiration from Local Folklore
Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Europe, older than Stonehenge. It’s speculated that it was used for various rituals, ceremonies, or astronomical purposes.
Located in Wiltshire, Avebury village lies within the stone circle.
Older than Stonehenge, Avebury’s massive stone circle was possibly a site for druidic ceremonies. There are myths of sacrificial rituals and some say the stones are petrified villagers.
An ancient and stylized chalk figure, believed to be almost 3,000 years old. Its purpose and significance remain a mystery.
Found on the upper slopes of White Horse Hill in the English civil parish of Uffington.
This ancient chalk figure might represent a Celtic deity, with folklore tales of it coming to life to gallop across the downs.
The largest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe. Its purpose remains unknown, with speculations ranging from a burial site to an astronomical observatory.
Positioned in the Wiltshire countryside, close to Avebury.
With no burial remains inside, theories about Silbury Hill range from it being a site for druidic ceremonies to an ancient representation of the Earth Mother.
A Neolithic tomb or barrow, consisting of a large mound with a stone-lined passage, sided by chambers. It was in use for 1,000 years.
Situated near Silbury Hill and Avebury.
Beyond its known use as a Neolithic tomb, legends say it’s haunted by spectral figures, especially during Winter Solstice.
A story about local smugglers who tried to retrieve hidden barrels of French brandy from a village pond, and told authorities they were trying to rake in a big round cheese (the moon’s reflection) when caught.
Originated from various ponds and small lakes in Wiltshire.
Beyond the smuggling story, the moon’s allure in this tale has birthed legends of it holding magical properties, affecting those who gaze upon its reflection in the waters.
An iconic monument of concentric circles of massive stones. It’s believed to be a burial ground, ceremonial site, or calendar.
Located on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire.
Myths range from the stones being healed giants, to Merlin transporting the stones from Ireland with magic.
A Neolithic passage tomb, named so because of legends of the Devil’s mischief. Local tales say it’s where the Devil flung stones at passing parishioners.
Located near the village of Fyfield in Wiltshire.
Beyond being a passage tomb, it’s believed to be a site where the Devil would appear during the pagan era, and tales persist of ghostly apparitions and eerie voices.
Created in the 18th century, this chalk figure is newer than the Uffington White Horse but still shrouded in tales of folklore and mysticism.
Found on a steep slope of Pewsey Hill near the village of Pewsey.
Alongside its historical roots, local tales speak of the horse being a guardian of the village, with mysterious incidents happening to those who disrespect its presence.
Legend tells of a young girl named Sally who was murdered in the woods. Travelers have reported eerie feelings and strange occurrences in the area.
Located in Brown’s Folly, near the town of Bathford.
Sally’s restless spirit is said to haunt the woods, and travellers have reported strange visions, disembodied voices, and an unease when traversing the area.
Wiltshire is renowned for its mysterious crop circles, appearing overnight in vast fields. Speculated to be the work of aliens, ancient spirits, or pranksters.
Numerous reports across the vast fields and downs of Wiltshire.
Beyond extraterrestrial theories, some believe the circles are created by Earth’s natural energies or are modern renditions of ancient ritual symbols.
Often referred to as “Britain’s Roswell,” this incident took place in late December 1980. Military personnel from the RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge bases reported unexplained lights and a possible UFO landing in the forest.
Rendlesham Forest is situated in Suffolk, between the twin military bases of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge.
Alongside the UFO sighting, there have been theories about time distortions, cover-ups, and even claims of an ancient buried object affecting magnetic fields.
Black Shuck is a legendary ghostly black dog that has roamed the coastline and countryside of East Anglia for hundreds of years. Sightings of the creature are seen as an omen of death.
The ghost dog is primarily associated with Norfolk, Essex, and Suffolk.
While seen as an omen of death, some tales suggest the ghostly dog protects the innocent and only threatens the wicked. It’s believed to have inspired Sherlock Holmes’ “The Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Over the past few decades, there have been numerous reports of a large feline creature in Cornwall. Sightings have been accompanied by discoveries of livestock mauled to death.
Bodmin Moor is a granite moorland in northeastern Cornwall.
Alongside physical sightings, there are tales of ghostly big cats, possibly spirits of animals that were hunted or sacrificed in ancient rituals.
In 1612, twelve people from the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire were accused of witchcraft and brought to trial. Ten of them were found guilty and hanged. The trial is one of the most famous witchcraft trials in English history.
Pendle Hill is located in the east of Lancashire.
Beyond the historical trials, there are tales of ghostly apparitions around Pendle Hill, with claims that the spirits of the accused witches still haunt the area, especially on the anniversary of their executions.
In the 12th century, two children with green-hued skin were found by the villagers of Woolpit in Suffolk. They spoke an unknown language and would only eat raw beans. Eventually, their skin lost its green tint, but their origin remained a mystery.
Woolpit is a village in the county of Suffolk.
Theories about the children range from extraterrestrial origins to them being victims of arsenic poisoning, which might have caused the green hue.
Hooves in the Hallow
The imagined story
This is the outline of one of the stories that we are imagining is in Callie’s book. It is all your ideas put together.
A group of young archaeology students is exploring a neolithic site. One student, Arthur, is obsessed with a fabled white horse in Hobbes Hallow. The teacher and the other students ridicule him. The story explains that “Hobbes” is sometimes an old reference to a devil or a mischievous spirit in English folklore. The story also explains that Hallow refers to something being sacred or holy. Some people call it Hobbes Hollow, but the name is Hallow.
The legend says that the white horse is near a rune stone. Arthur follows clues and goes looking for it on his own.
He is certain he found the site – all the clues fit. There is a stone, but it’s worn smooth. There is no horse. The site is a bit treacherous, and, in his search for the horse, Arthur falls and hurts himself. He drops his phone over the cliff. He can’t walk. He crawls to the edge of the cliff. He has a small torch which he shines down, but its too far down to see anything.
In the middle of the night, Arthur hears hoofbeats. Tension rises. Then he sees indistinct white shapes. Finally, he sees an apparition of a white horse.
The next day, the other students find and rescue him. He tries to tell them his story, but they say he was concussed and either dreamed or hallucinated it.
In the days that follow, Arthur hears hoofbeats approaching. It gets scarier and scarier. Then he sees the horse. By its actions, he deduces that it’s trying to show him a particular piece of paper from his collection of stuff about the mythical white horse. It’s a sketch of the rune stone. When he picks it up, the ghost horse runs off in a particular direction, through the walls. Arthur realises it’s the direction of Hobbes Hallow.
Arthus goes back to the Hallow. The horse is there. Arthur roughly recarves the runes on the smooth rock. The horse rears and whinnies and then leaps into the stone. In the wildness of the incident, Arthur is knocked on his back. When he gets up, he sees that there is now a chalk figure – the fabled while horse.
Arthur is vindicated and gains some minor fame for his discovery.
How it will appear in our gamebook
Illustration: The white horse, in the style of the Uffington white horse, with animated shadowy Corruption coming and going.
YOU are the Player. You already know from what you have played before that you’re trying to find Callie and to stop the Corruption. You already know that it is vulnerable to light and music. You have already been to the story about Wayland Smithy, but you didn’t achieve anything.
Text: You find yourself at the site of the white horse. Arthur is using weak light from a small torch to fight to keep the Corruption at bay. It is an endless struggle. As soon as he removes some, more grows back elsewhere.
Text: Arthur gives you the outline of his story, but he is quite terse as he has to concentrate on keeping the Corruption off the white horse.
Text: Arthur is terse. “Don’t you think if there was I’d be using it to clean the Corruption from my white horse. All I have is this small torch, and even that isn’t enough.”
Text: Arthur tells you he did have his mobile, but he dropped it over the cliff. “The only other sound is the hoofbeats of the white horse. Does that count?”
Text, animated, changing between two versions (as author Callie fights the Corruption):
Don’t get too close to the white horse. The Corruption will get you.
You have to risk it. Look at the hooves.
Option: If you choose to look at the hooves, you see that they have horseshoes.
Text, animated, changing between two versions (as author Callie fights the Corruption):
The horseshoes are wrong. Ancient horses shouldn’t have them.
The horseshoes are the key. You need them.
You look at the runestone. The carved runes are clearly recently done.
You can ask Arthur about them:
He will explain that part of his story.
You can copy the runes:
A sketch is added to your inventory.
You can trace them with your finger:
Text: The horse appears. It is wild – rearing it’s front legs and striking them on the ground.
Illustration: The white horse, in the style of the Uffington white horse, animated rearing and striking its hooves on the ground.
Sound effect: Hoofbeats, but in a particular rhythm, like the drumbeat of a song.
Text: You need the horseshoes.
Option: Try grabbing them. The horse is too wild.
Option: Ask Arthur for help. The white horse he was working on is clean now because the rhythm of the hoofbeats is driving away the Corruption. Arthur, using his archaeological knowledge, tells you to take the horse to Wayland Smithy.
Text: There is some challenge of how to get the horse through the portal. Ride? Lead? Ask Arthur for his advice…
But you get through and arrive back at Wayland Smithy. Here you will be able to get the fabled smith to replace the horseshoes so you can have the magical ones. These can then be used with other items to make music that will destroy the Corruption.