The Spectral Bride

This visit to Vestitas is another ghost story. The river between Grey Harbour and Brandt’s Landing is just lousy with ghosts.

Summary: A ghostly bride haunts the chapel where she was killed on her wedding day, before she could be married to her beloved. Now she tries to kill anyone who resembles her groom, thinking it’s him and hoping to marry him at last if she can make him into a ghost as well.

Discovery: If the players are sided with the Inquisition or have infiltrated the Ecclesiarchy, they may be informed by their contacts that the preacher at the church in this town has vanished. The story is the talk of the town, so if players wander in and ask around for rumors, it’s an Easy(+30) Inquiry check to learn of the preacher’s mysterious death. It’s an Ordinary(+10) Psyniscience test to detect that something Warp-related is going on in the chapel.

Exploration: Any male in the party might randomly be selected as resembling the bride’s groom. Determine it with a die roll, just pick the male with the highest Fellowship in general or Charm specifically, pick a woman if you want. Regardless, do not tell the players who has been selected, and if the groom is ever alone in the chapel (even just for a moment), ask them to make a Challenging(+0) Awareness check. The result does not actually matter, because they are seeing an apparition of the bride out the corner of their eye and it is physically impossible to focus on it with any amount of physical perception, but calling for the Awareness check will help hide this fact. The bride will whisper into the groom’s ear phrases like “you finally came back” and “soon we’ll be together forever.” Other characters may make Very Hard(-30) Awareness checks to try and hear the whispers, but like the Awareness check to see the bride earlier, the Awareness check is a red herring and they cannot actually succeed.

Making an Ordinary(+10) Psyniscience check when inside the chapel will detect the presence of the spectral bride. If the character making the check is trained, they will also now be able to hear her whispers to the groom and the bride’s form will be revealed. She is clearly dressed in a wedding gown, which is barely singed even though her flesh is horrifically burned and melted. Once revealed in this way, the spectral bride can be attacked, although she is incorporeal and thus immune to most attacks (as per the incorporeal trait). If the bride’s form is revealed to anyone other than the groom, she will attack them immediately, but will not pursue if they flee to another room. If the revealed bride is left alone in a room, she will vanish and characters must succeed on another Psyniscience check to reveal her again.

The chapel contains a small study with a bookshelf full of dataslates that contain the town’s archives. If the characters come here looking specifically for information on the ghost bride, it is a Difficult(-10) Logic check to find the bride’s identity, which includes the fact that she was trapped in the chapel during a fire some thirty years ago, was interred in the catacomb beneath the chapel, and that her groom (her real, actual groom, not the party member she’s mistaken for her groom) escaped the blaze and left town out of grief. The town’s archives do not record the groom’s fate, however he perished in an unrelated shipping accident in Grey Harbour ten years ago, twenty years after his bride’s death. If the characters ask a contact in Grey Harbour to dig this up, any contact with with access to Ecclesiarchal funerary records should be able to do so. Having a name to go off of, any character with access to Grey Harbour’s Ecclesiarchal records needs only a Routine(+20) Logic check to retrieve the identity of the groom and the location of his remains at Grey Harbour.

Upon identifying the fate of the spectral bride, a Challenging(+0) Scholastic Lore (Occult) or Forbidden Lore (Heresy) check will reveal two ways of dealing with her: Either destroy her with something that can damage incorporeal creatures, or else reunite her bones in the catacomb beneath the chapel with those of her lover in Grey Harbour.

Confrontation: The spectral bride has a starting Disposition of 25 towards anyone but the one she believes to be her groom, with whom she has a 55. Her personality is unhinged, and every time anyone denies that her “groom” is not actually her groom or tries to explain that she is dead, she reacts poorly and tests Disposition. If the Disposition check fails, she attacks the speaker (even if it’s her groom). Even if it succeeds, she will simply insist that the speaker is wrong, vehemently if it is not her groom, and if it is her groom, she will try to convince him that he’s forgotten or ask why he’s lying. She is convinced her groom still loves her and worries if he is being coerced, if he is ill, or if he can’t recognize her for some reason.

If the groom starts to play along, the bride will try to convince him to have an improvised wedding at the chapel’s altar, attempting to draft anyone who appears to be Ecclesiarchy into serving as the priest to marry them. If the only Ecclesiarchy character is the groom, she’ll try to convince the groom to act as priest and groom simultaneously. If no one is Ecclesiarchy, she’ll tell the groom to just imagine a priest’s presence. At the end of the ceremony, the groom must kiss the bride. If he continues to play along, the groom must succeed on a Challenging(+0) Toughness check or else take 1d10 Toughness damage when kissed. The bride will continue making out with her groom, grappling him and refusing to let him go until she has drained away all of his Toughness and killed him.

If her remains are united with her real groom’s, she will be exorcised and fade away. Complicating matters somewhat, however, she will shut and lock the doors if her groom attempts to leave the chapel after arriving. The doors are standard armour 4 wooden cover, so not terribly difficult to break down, although the bride will reveal herself and attack anyone who attempts to destroy the door or otherwise create an exit after she’s trapped the groom inside. She will make no effort to prevent people other than the groom from leaving.

Rewards: Resolving the spectral bride situation one way or another has no particular impact on the village mayor, but if the players decide to throw a coup while they’re here (there’s not very many PDF around to stop them), they can install any Highborn as the new ruler. Anyone installed as ruler gains 1d10 Influence, and anyone associated with the new ruler gains 1d5 Influence.  The town can provide anything that’s common or cheaper, any solid projectile weapon or service that’s average or cheaper, any medical care, low-tech weapon, or basic armour or drugs and consumables that are scarce or cheaper.

 

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