Terror Rabbit Ventures

Terror Rabbit Ventures is the umbrella under which Matt Steele orchestrates his evil schemes to take over the world…Narf!… and to expand the world of role playing games into immersive experiences. It’s also a resource for other Game Masters and Players.

Dead of Winter Horror Invitational

An invitation-only weekend of horror Role Playing Games. Held in the haunted Cary House Hotel nestled in the Sierra foothills in the heart Gold Rush country. A truly frightening immersive experience.

Matt Steele ~ Game Master at Large

A GM since 1976, Matt’s run hundreds (maybe thousands) of game sessions. He’s best known for horror games such as Call of Cthulhu, from which his long-suffering Players gave him the moniker Matthulhu.

Retroville

Welcome to Retroville – an immersive weekend of Retro-themed Role Playing Games in a retro location.

Contact


Matt Steele aka Matthulhu
Aether Mail: terrorrabbit@me.com
Wireless: 831.566.1170

Upcoming Rabbit Appearances


July 23rd, 2017: Endgame 3d6 Con
Endgame game store
921 Washington St
Numenera: The Skein of the Blackbone Bride

October 13 – 15, 2017: Big Bad Con
Walnut Creek Marriot
2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek

Numenera & The Strange (Halloween Edition)

Feb 16-19, 2018 DunDraCon
San Ramon Marriot
Games TBD

May 25-28, 2018 Kublacon
Burligame Hyatt Regency
TBD

Groovy Game Spaces


Endgame Oakland An Awesome SF Bay Game Store. In-store game space included + the Endgame Cafe – their attached coffee shop – open late!

Infrno – Find. Connect. Play. An online community for RPG enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table along with all the tools you need to get your game on from any place, at any time.

What is a Terror Rabbit?

The Terror Rabbit is dedicated to taking table-top Role Playing into new dimensions through hosting thematic, immersive gaming events. With a strong emphasis on story over mechanics, The Rabbit pushes to escalate the fine art of Game Mastering.

Immersive events put Players and GM’s in an environment (location) that emphasizes the theme of the event – and keeps them there. These limited participant events differ from traditional game conventions in several ways:

1. Terror Rabbit events are thematic. Horror, Science Fiction, Retro games, etc.

2.The events take place at a location that enhances the theme. Remote haunted hotel for horror, old style roadside motel for Retro game event, etc.

3. Events are exclusive. There are a limited number of attendees. Think of them as “boutique gaming events”. This promotes the immersive experience. It also means that it’s not a big crap shoot to get into games. At game conventions, you usually get into games via a complex lottery system. You can go to a convention for 3-4 days and only get into 1-2 games. Very frustrating to spend $500+ and only play in 2 games.

4. Because of the limited number of attendees, the caliber of GM’s and Players is higher than at conventions. At a convention, the GM may be sub-par. If you haven’t played with them, you never know. Experienced Players at conventions seek out the good GM’s. So their games tend to be filled and people will wait to see of there’s an opening. Conventions don’t pre-screen to get good GM’s. The Rabbit does.

Matt Steele – The man behind The Rabbit

For a horror guy, it’s a bummer to find out that your Chinese astrology sign is the rabbit. Not very scary. I like the seeming contradiction of the cute, fluffy bunny played against horror. I’ve owned two rabbits, and I assure you, they are brutal, vicious creatures.

Leaping from Steve Jackson’s basic games like GEV and Ogre, I started running RPG’s in 1976. Star Wars had just come out and so had Traveller. I’m a bigger fan of sci-fi than fantasy, so it was natural for me to take up Traveller. Since I was in high school, I was lucky enough to connect with some college gamers, one of whom was studying to be an astrophysicist. Try running a Traveller game for that guy! Another had just graduated, got a job and spent all of his income on new games. We tried everything that came out.

As a horror GM I’ve run games of Call of Cthulhu, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Unknown Armies, BRP, The Void, Fear Itself, and Nemesis. I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t remember them all. I also run games with a dark, humorous or sci-fi bent including Gamma World, Feng Shui, Paranoia, Traveller, Doctor Who, InSpectres, Star Trek, Cyberpunk 2020, and my infamous BRP based B-Movie series. More and more I’m gravitating toward simple systems that promote story telling above mechanics.

Testimonials

  • Matt as GM

    Thank you, Matt, for all the prep and for running such a dark and devious game. It was great fun.

    David Ackerman-Gray

  • I look forward to the next gaming fun!

    Jenna Sterling

  • Thanks again to Matt for the games on Sunday. “After the Horrorcaust” was particularly enjoyable, and it did a good job of evoking the feeling of really bad film making.

    Luke Miller

  • Dead of Winter
    It was awesome! I played in four epic games, and dropped by Endgame (www.endgameoakland.com) to buy Cthulhu (www.cthulhutech.com) Tech before I got home. I’ve already made myself a four day weekend for next year.

    Jill Stapleton

  • …a big thank you to you, sir, for working your ass off to get this thing off the ground, and continuing to keep it running while all the various…adventures were going on. Can’t wait ‘til next year, and looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Badger McInnes

  • Terror Rabbit Ventures Presents
  • Location of Terror
  • Games & Schedule
  • Registration
  • Contact Terror Rabbit
  •  

In the Dead of Winter, weary Travelers roll off the highway into a historic Gold Rush town. On the recommendation of friends, they stop at the lone hotel. The desk clerk is friendly, and asks if they are there to the ghost hunt.

The lobby is a throwback to a time when millions of dollars in gold bullion flowed through it and the ground floor was a counting house. You can almost hear the ghostly sounds of bankers, gamblers and con-men bustling about.

The Travelers shake their heads. ‘No, they don’t believe in ghosts.’ When they decide against the ancient elevator, a cold chill passes through them as they climb the stairs. Someone mentions it and is shushed with withering glances. Upstairs,  the hallways seem to stretch forever as they make their way to their rooms. As they pass Room 201 they are nearly overcome with the scent of lavender, though the flowers at the top of the stairs were clearly daisies.

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The hotel creaks restlessly. In the dead of the night the Travelers wake to the shouts of a mob in the streets.

Staggering to the windows they see the silvery moonlit outlines of three men swinging by nooses from the tree across the street. The men kick their lives to an end. Suddenly the Travelers remember, this town used to be called Hangtown, where murdering thieves were strung up following quick trials. But that was 1849 and it’s 2014 now. From the street, the crowd turns as one and looks up at the travelers, their faces ghostly pale.

Welcome to the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational – an immersive weekend of horror role-playing at the haunted Cary House Hotel in Placerville, CA which opened in 1857. December 11-13, 2016, Matt Steele will host this unnatural event in Sierra foothills. The focus of fear will be on the ground floor, near where Prospector Stan died at the feet of the woman he loved, shot by the gambler that she favored. Attendance will be limited to 35 victims.

The Hotel’s history is one of glory and horror as would-be US presidents spoke and hardened teamsters died of influenza. Spirit remains have been found in rooms on the second and third floors as well as the lobby. Will you become a silvery ghost during your visit in the Dead of Winter?

The Travelers throw on clothes and dash downstairs. As they hit the landing overlooking the lobby, they jolt to a stop. The smell of rotgut whiskey, mine dust and sweat nearly bowls them over. A shout at the front door draws there attention. Dressed for the Old West, the desk clerk who checked them in points up at them, ‘There they are.’ he says. The ghostly crowd flows in from the street. One of the Travelers spots a noose and then another.  A finely dressed man next to her, a gambler by the look of him, leads the lynch mob. He draws a pistol and fires  the muzzle flash blinds the Travelers.

When the Travelers clear their eyes, the desk clerk, dressed as he was when he checked them in asks, “Are you folks all right?”.

The always original Historic Cary House Hotel is a calm and quiet sanctuary among the Sierra foothills. Known as the “Jewel of Placerville” and complete with spectacular period pieces and antiques dating back to 1857, the experience is matched by exceptional service, dedication to detail and a friendly, comfortable environment.

Located in the heart of Gold Country, more than 90 million dollars in gold bullion passed through the doors of the Cary House. Frequent guests included Buffalo Bill, Mark Twain, Lola Montez and John Studebaker – who was a shopkeeper in town.

Horace Greeley spoke from the balcony in 1872 when he ran unsuccessfully ran for president against Ulysses S Grant. A plaque honoring his reinsman, Hank Monk adorns the dining room. Monk drove the congressman’s coach to the Cary House from Carson City Nevada in just 10 hours.

But let’s not forget that this used to be Hangtown. Main Street rooms have a view across the street where the infamous hanging tree once stood. It is likely that as many as 20  desperadoes met their end swinging from a tree in Hangtown. Strange cries, sobbing and screams have been heard from the Hangman’s Tree Bar. One person claims to have seen green light through the floorboards above the location where the tree stump remains. The bar has no basement. The apparition of a tall man with a tall hat dressed in dark 19th century clothing has frequently been seen. One psychic made contact with the spirit and learned it is the hangman’s assistant who cared for the tree and prepared the noose.  (The Hangman’s Tree building is in the process of being restored, so who knows what condition it will be in come December.)

Back at the Cary House, psychic Nancy Bradley took 50 people through the hotel and discovered spirit remnants in nearly every room of the 2nd and 3rd floors. Ghost hunter Jeff Dwyer visited the Cary House in 2008 with a team of paranormal experts. In the long dark corridor next to the meeting room the team heard a high-pitched whistling, though no one was in the hall to make the sound.   Who knows how many spirits wander the historic halls? Will you be adding to their numbers during the Dead of Winter?

Not only are the Cary House and the Hangman’s Tree haunted, but just 2 blocks away, the Cozmic Cafe, built in 1859 out of local stone is the site of multiple hauntings. Virgil and Alice are just two of the spirits. Some are trapped in the mine that extends into the hillside behind the place. Others died in the dumbwaiter, or were crushed by hydraulic mining equipment. People have heard  shouting in the mine shafts which cease when staff arrives.

The 2nd floor is haunted by a prankster sporting a handlebar mustache and straw hat who moves glasses, spills water and sends menus flying. If you want to meet Alice, go to the 2nd floor bathrooms, where she might be glimpsed cleaning.

Ghost hunters have recorded a bunch of EVP here.

Heck, even the Chamber of Commerce is haunted by a black clad and top hat wearing ghost named Darrell, who was one of the Hangtown’s  hangmen.

Is it a game if your life and sanity are at stake?

It’s 2017 and we’ve got everything this year from Creature Features and Terrified Schoolgirls to The God of War and various versions of the Afterlife – horrifying. We got some folks running games at DoW for the first time, a slew of DoW regulars, and some irregulars. In each session there’s a good mix of hard-core horror and slightly lighter fare, or at least games posing as lighter fare, and an ungodly amount of Lovecraftian styles in all kinds of different settings.. We’ve got folks coming down from Seattle, up from L.A., and out from Wisconsin.

6/25/17 I’ve put up all of the games for everyone to check out. I’ll ping the mailing list and then sometime in the next few weeks (on a weekend that’s not a holiday weekend) I’ll announce general registration.
Once I’ve got everyone registered I’ll open up game reg.

Game reg still works the same as last year. GM’s get first chance to register (as their reward for running) and therefore the first picks of games they want to play. I’ll Email GM’s daily, in groups of 5, in order of registration. Then groups of 7 for Players.

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Schedule

Friday, December 8, 7PM- ??? After you check into the hotel, come hang out just up the street at Powell’s Steamer Co & Pub. While I love the Cozmic Cafe, it hasn’t worked out most years, so I’m just gonna call it now. 425 Main Street, Placerville. I’m gonna try to grab dinner at the Cozmic Cafe, with its haunted mines.They were closed last year, but If you arrive before 7 (like me) we can try to dine in the mine – oh yeah.

The Cary House doesn’t have a single room big enough for us. So, 2 game tables will be in The Milton Room on the ground floor. The etched glass windows that line two walls depict the Gold Rush era.

Coffee & Tea are served in the Horace Greeley Room behind the Milton Room. There’s room for one game.

For GM’s who need to create a special ambiance or enjoy a private room, the 4th table will be in room 407 on the 4th floor – far from the others, where your screams will not be heard.

We still have The Study, the private room just off of the Milton room.

Game Schedule

Breakfast can be had nearby. There’s Zia’s Cafe, coffee shop, next door and sit-down places within a block or 2. Popular among DoW gamers, Original Mel’s diner a block away. I’m partial to Z-Pie’s gourmet pot pies.

Saturday, December 9, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

Announcements right after the 1st session, followed by a Dinner Break
For dinner, try Bricks or the Cozmic Cafe which sits over the entrance to an abandoned gold mine and is haunted by a plethora of ghosts. See the Location of Terror for more info.

Saturday, December 9, 7PM – 1AM Late game session

Sunday, December 10, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

Dinner Break – When them which gotta go…go.

Sunday, December 10, 7PM – 1AM, Late game session, for them what is hard-core

GAMES:

SATURDAY 11AM

1.Game System: Delta Green RPG
Scenario Title: Fields of Fire
GM: William Lee
Variations: N/A
Power Level: Experience Delta Green Agents
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: One night, in a small town on the California-Oregon border, a fireball fell from the sky and obliterated an apartment building, incinerating everyone within. Yet, one child walked out of the conflagration completely unscathed, then disappeared into the night. What caused catastrophe? Will it happen again? The Program requires you to identity, neutralize, and – above all – contain the threat.

2. Game System: Monster of the Week
Scenario Title: Creature Features
GM: Bryanna Hitchcock
Variations: 1 Luck
Power Level: Experienced Monster Hunters
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: We will make the characters and everything else about this Monster Movie turned RPG at the table.
Description: In Creature Features, players create their own group of Monster Hunters, including anything from a family to an ancient order to a corporation. You’ll develop your characters and team with important past events and relationships. Most of the session will involve a custom mystery made for your group at the table. Creature Features usually has a horror/adventure feel, with some comedy and potential romance.

3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: X Marques the Spot
GM: Leon C Glover III
Variations: 1820s
Power Level: Minimal Mythos Exposure
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: The British government has granted the Thames Spice Trading Company letters of marque applicable to the Laccadives Islands.  As part of the most successful Thamses Spice Trading Company crew, you will be the vanguard of this expedition aboard the refitted Repulse-class “Kismet Aglow”.  The charter is to dislodge the Danes, establish a permanent trading post with a deep water harbor, survey local spices and secure access to local spice production.

4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
Scenario Title: The Wraith of Loch Tay
GM: Dovi Anderson
Variations: Mayhaps
Power Level: Iron-Age Smallholders
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: A family scarred by the ravages of five relentless winters prepares to hold fast yet again within the timbered walls and thatched roof of their stilted crannog.

5. Game System: Resolute, Genius, Adventurer
Scenario Title: The Dunlap Horror
GM: Matt Armstrong
Power Level: Pulp Hero (Above average humans
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: 1935, Dunlap, California. Dunlap is a sleepy little cattle town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is the sort of place where you know your neighbors, you don’t lock your doors at night, and where nothing strange ever happens.  But a team of operatives from the Special Projects Division of the Global Detective Agency are out to learn what can hide in even the most idyllic of settings.

SATURDAY 7PM

1. Game System: DREAD Variant
Scenario Title: Ya bro, but FUCK the volcano god tho#
GM: Arthur Stone Wallis
Variations: Character Sheets Completely Different
Power Level: Baller az shit, bitch!! / U.S. Government Agents
Number of Players: 5
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: “Spring Break 2017 Rulez! WOOOO!!! BUT FUCK ALL VOLCANO GODS! #springbreak #volcanogodz”

This was the last text message received by any of the so-called “baller boyz on da yacht” as they neared the largely unexplored Ping islands off the coast of Tuvalu. It is surmised that they were either lost at sea, or (unlikely) made it ashore to one of the islands. The ill-fated band failed to make their rendezvous with the rest of Pennsylvania State University’s Spring Break South Asia tour, and are presumed lost at sea.

Unfortunately, one of the members of the group was Brad Lee Toomey (AKA “MC BLT”), and the son of Junior Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA). Due to the influence of the honorable Senator, a search party has been hastily assembled. It is unlikely to find anything, but this might be a good chance to represent your department and secure a little grant money.

2. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: Sate the God of War
GM: Aaron Teixeira
Variations: Some modifications for 2050 setting
Power Level: Astronauts
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: The first Mars Mission was twenty years ago. Your team is part of an exploratory expedition to the Isidis Planatia, set up base camp, reconnoiter the 3.9 billion year old impact crater for signs of life, water, and significant mineral deposits, then reach the extraction point for the long ride home. But the Red Planet has taken a full third of the Brave men and women sent to its surface. Will it take you as sacrifice too?

3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: Three Nights of the Magdalene
GM: Josh Clark & John Castillo
Variations: Slight alterations to 7th ed.
Power Level: Terrified Schoolgirls
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: It’s a hard-knock life for the girls at the Magdalene Laundry.

4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
Scenario Title: The Forbidden Isle
GM:Chris Ory
Jim Mathews: I do what I want.
Power Level: A boatload of winners
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Players will work with the GM before the event to create characters specifically for the game
Description: The Hawaiian island of Ni’ihau is known as The Forbidden Isle, but certainly not for any strange or nefarious reasons. It was purchased for sum of $10,000 by Elizabeth Sinclair in 1864 from Kamehameha V, King of the Hawaiian Islands, for the purpose of raising sheep. Private ownership has remained in the family and, handed down throughout Hawaii’s political history to her descendants. Care of Ni’ihau currently sits in the hands of brothers Bruce Robinson and Keith Robinson. As legend goes, King Kamehemeha sold the island on one condition, that the new owners always protect his people. The family has kept this promise by keeping Ni’ihiau as the last preserve of traditional Hawaiian life and culture. 150 years later native life on the island remains isolated from the outside world and its native inhabitants live as they did when Elizabeth Sinclair signed her pact with the first Hawaiian King. Tourists have never been allowed on the island until now. For the first time in generations the Robinson family is allowing a small group of lucky contest winners to visit the pristine shores of Ni’ihau. You are one of the lucky few. Pack your bags and get on your sunblock because you are going on an all expense paid vacation to a place that has been untouched by the modern world in over a century and a half.

5. Game System: A Penny For Your Thoughts
Scenario Title: Welcome To The Afterlife. Please Take A Number.
GM: Ash Cheshire
Variations: Making it more spooky with ghosts
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Created during play
Description: You are dead. You know this because the cheerful face on the waiting room screen has informed you of it. You are dead, sitting in a waiting room, being told by a cheerful face on an old television that eternal rest will be yours shortly. But you don’t feel restful. You feel quite restless, in fact. You don’t remember who you are — or — were? You don’t even remember how you died. Have a seat. Take a number.

SUNDAY 11AM

1. Game System: The Void
Scenario Title: Where No Man Has Gone Before
GM: Jim Mathews
Variations: Star Trek Conversion
Power Level: Trained Personnel
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: Congratulations on your first junior officer posting aboard the Starship Enterprise. The ship is about to go to the dark edges of the universe, where no man has gone before. Your job is to get the mission done while making the senior officers look good.  Yes, Kirk is a womanizer, McCoy is an addict, and Spock is an anti-social schizophrenic, but hopefully they won’t get you killed… or worse.

2. Game System: LAFFs (House Rules)
Scenario Title: Night In The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History
GM: Duane O’Brien
Variations: Yes
Power Level: Less Than You’d Like, More Than You’d Think
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: “The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History has a secret. Gee. Figure that out all on your own, did you? Why do you think we have so many security guards here, kid? Every weekend there’s some cultist who thinks they’re gonna be the next Wil Whateley trying to make off with the ancient obelisk of whatsit, or some group of make-believe Sherlocks trying to get the dust of somesuch so’s they can stop something “Unspeakably Evil,” or one of them there Fishmen leaving their mucus all over the crown of whoozit. Thing is, that stuff don’t belong to them. It belongs here, and it’s gonna stay here. Got it?”

3. Game System: Fear Itself
Scenario Title: The Gift
GM: Alexis George
Variations: None
Power Level: 20th Century Socialites
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: 1915, Manhattan. Thomas Strange’s midnight soirees are nothing short of mythological in reputation, and of course you’ve merited an invitation. Dressed in only your smartest dinner attire, you wait in the smoking lounge, as the sounds of a new record spin on. Any old time you want me, I am yours for just the asking darling. Any old time you need me…

Preferred Day & Time: Any time that fits.

4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: Eyes of the Abyss
GM: Badger McInnes
Variations: Luck Points
Power Level: Seasoned, weathered cowpokes
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: Twenty-one years ago, you and five others attempted to save the citizenry of Bannack, CA, from a mysterious malady that threatened to destroy the entire town.

You failed. The town burned. The living screamed and bled. Visions and sounds and smells of what happened in Bannack have haunted you ever since.

Now, in 1891, one of the few survivors of that horrifying, scarring night has contacted you. She fears what happened in Bannack is happening again, in another town she has made her home. Annabelle Chandler begs you to help her once more. Dare you stare into the eyes of the abyss again?

5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: The Desperate search for HWH
GM: Jill Stapelton
Variations: None
Power Level: Kick Ass Investigators
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: San Francisco, 10/29/1857: Business partners offer $50,000 reward for safe return of HW Halleck. Halleck was declared missing two weeks ago on 10/15/1857. He was last seen at a business meeting at 300 Main Street, Placerville, California. His return is desperately sought by his wife, young son, and business partners. Parties interested in seeking the missing man are encouraged to contact Mr Trenor W. Park at 628 Montgomery Street, San Francisco.

SUNDAY 7PM

1. Game System: VOX
Scenario Title: Inverse
GM: Matthew Grau
Variations: Real Life
Power Level: Yourself
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: Tonight the lights went out. Something has descended on this quaint mountain town, the night a smothering blanket that chokes out the air. The reflections in the mirror have all fled and the birds lay stiff and dead in the streets. The moon is gone and the sun is not rising. You can feel the darkness sucking at your soul, giving life to a shadowy other. The world is turning inside out and you seem helpless to stop it. Survival may not be what it seems.

Trigger Warnings

It is possible that any (or none) of the following may be present in the play space during this game:

  • Offensive imitations
  • Claustrophobic or nyctophobic reactions
  • Feelings of isolation and despair
  • Feelings of victimization
  • Cursing or crude language
  • Sexist or ableist language
  • Gender inequality
  • Unfair discrimination

These things are not specially written into the narrative, but the unpredictable actions of players within the theme and fictional space may bring them about.

Players will have the freedom and are encouraged to come and go from their safe spaces as needed.

2. Game System: Boneslingers
Scenario Title: The Phantom Moon
GM: Damon Gregory
Variations: TBD if any
Power Level: Gunslingin’ Cowboy Zombies
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: It’s a big deal when a Boneslinger falls, specially when it’s at the hands of the Firebrands. A wrong that needs righting leads to a small town in need of big help. Someone has been stealing their horses and killing the men sent to search. They are begging. Please. They have money. Help.

3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: The Treaty
GM: Frank Figoni
Variations: None
Power Level: Regular Folks
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: In the midst of the greatest civil conflict of the 1800’s, agents from the United States War Department, Anthropologists from Harvard University, and local guides are sent to force a settlement with the aggressive Indian tribes of the Trinity River Valley in California.  Landing in Eureka by schooner from San Francisco nothing is what it seems.   Stories of unnatural acts and sins against God are whispered…  Something dark and menacing lurks in the forests of the lower Klamath…  Something ancient.

4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Name: Grumpy Old Delta Green
GM: Shannon Mac
Variations: Delta Green setting using CoC
Power Level: Old Fucks
Number of Players: 5-6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: Long ago you were the best of Delta Green agents. But time passed and you became old and feeble. Your handlers didn’t want any “geriatric misfits whose time passed 20 years ago”. Well fuck them, but yeah, maybe they’re right. One of you is mostly blind and another is on a walker and you’ve all had your share of wounds and mental issues. So maybe they have a point and it’s time to lay down and just die. Or, maybe it’s time to do something different and see what happens?

5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
Scenario Title: Deep Sleep of Dread
GM: Dave Sokolowski
Variations: none
Power Level: Modern
Number of Players: 6
Characters Provided: Yes
Description: Washington DC – Today. Congresswoman Denise Grey (D-NY) has fallen into a coma just three days before her speech to the UN on human rights. From this coma she continues to perspire saltwater, which covers her body, soaks the bedsheets and fills her lungs. At this rate, the doctors say she’ll be dead in less than a week, but missing the speech will also be a serious blow to the oppressed people she has promised to represent. She has many enemies and time is short.

You are a member of the Advocacy — a team of supernatural fixers, soldiers and researchers who work discretely to solve problems in and around the home of the world’s largest bureaucracies. You have the best technology and resources in the world at your hand, which is important because your adversaries don’t play by the rules and often don’t even come from this world.

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GM’s SUBMISSION SAMPLE

Game System: BRP (Basic Role-Playing)
Scenario Title:
Shady Hollow Motor Lodge
GM:
Michael Ripley
Variations:
Using sanity rules
Power Level:
Urban Professionals
Number of Players:
6 (Mandatory – Except Sunday Night)
Characters Provided:
Yes
Description:
What a freakin’ great weekend! Skiing, hot tubs, and sitting in front of a roaring fireplace drinking yourselves silly. None of you are looking forward to returning to the grind of your daily lives.
Preferred Day & Time
:
Saturday, December 12, 11AM – 5PM
Saturday, December 12, 7PM – 1AM
Sunday, December 13, 11AM – 5PM
Sunday, December 13, 7PM – 1AM
Note that the number of Players on Sunday varies based on how many die-hards remain for this session. So, games need to accommodate this factor.

The Travelers stare at the front desk clerk. Can he possibly be the same clerk that was handing them to a mob over 150 years ago? Maybe they’re not thinking clear, since it’s the middle of the night. But if it’s the midnight hour, why do they hear the sounds of horses and stagecoaches out front? Why is there a cowboy playing ragtime on the piano? The clerk smiles at puzzled faces of the Travelers – like he’s seen this before…

Just as last year, the fiscal cost for attending the 2014 Dead of Winter Horror Invitational remains: $60.00. The cost to your souls will vary.

I asked the hotel for more detailed information this year. So, room rates are a lot more specific. The rates per night vary depending on stays of 2 or 3 nights. Note that the rates below are for the full stay, not nightly.

The hotel costs are as follows: 3 Night Rates: Taxes not included.

Deluxe Queen $327 (Fri & Sat night only $258)
Deluxe King $357 (Fri & Sat night only  $278)
Queen or King Suite $387 (Fri & Sat night only $298)
2 bedroom Suites $477 (Fri & Sat night only $318) (sleeps 3/4ppl)
Master Suite $417 (Fri & Sat night only $318)

Tell them that you are attending Dead of Winter and they’ll set you up. Spirits in the room – no extra charge.

The rooms in the hotel are:
1 Double (our smallest room)
9 Queens
6 Kings
4 Queen Suites
2 King Suites
2 King Suites w/ Murphy bed
1 Queen Suite w/ Murphy bed
6 2 bedroom Suites
3 Master Suites
1 Bridal Suite
2 Pet Suites

So, register early to get the kind of room that you want.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve reserved 15 rooms, Can bump to 20 if need be. We filled 18 last year. GROUP BOOKINGS ARE CHARGED 45 DAY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL DATE, a 50% non-refundable deposit. You will be advised of this policy when they make their reservations. That’s October 28th, just before Halloween. If you reserve your room later, the 50% will be charged right away.

ALL ROOM RATES INCLUDE:
IN-ROOM COFFEE
LOCAL AND TOLL FREE TELEPHONE CALLS
WIFI
PARKING
MORNING COFFEE AND TEA SERVICE
10% DISCOUNT ON FOOD ITEMS AT OUR PARTNER RESTAURANTS
The restaurants are:

http://www.heydaycafe.com/

http://independentplacerville.com/

BUY A GLASS OF WINE GET ONE FREE AT THE WINE SMITH
ALSO LOCATED IN THE HOTEL IS A WELLNESS CENTER WITH REDUCED RATES FOR CARY HOUSE GUESTS
The Wellness Sanctuary and Spa, it’s advisable to book at least one week in advance:

https://www.facebook.com/PlacervilleSpa

A key element of the Dead of Winter is inhabiting a haunted hotel for the weekend. For the purpose of immersion, everyone attending must stay at the Cary House on Friday and Saturday nights and play through the Sunday morning session – no exceptions. This thing’s, an “all in” deal. Sunday night games and stays at the hotel are optional. Sudden blizzards preventing you from fleeing to safety are beyond the control of your host.

Attendance is limited to 35 people. This allows 5 games to run with 6 Players and 1 GM Saturday morning and night. 5 Games run Sunday morning. The number of games run Sunday night depends on the number of people who stay for that session, though for the past coupe of years, nearly everyone’s stayed for the final session and 5 games were run. As always, I’ll have a game prepped – just in case. Selection of attendees is at the sole discretion of your host, Matt Steele. If you’re on this site, you’ve probably played in a game I’ve run or been a fellow Player in a game I’ve played. You might just have a soul so tasty that Stan, the gunned-down spirit in the lobby, asked me to invite you.

To get in on the horror, pay by PayPal me at:

terrorrabbit@me.com

Or send a check payable to:

MATT STEELE
Dead of Winter Horror Invitational
101 Cooper Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Note that reg is 1st come, 1st in, so snail mail isn’t recommended.

I’ll need to know the following for everyone who registers. People move and have disposable phones and all, so even if you’re a regular, I’d like an update.

NAME:
ADDRESS:
PHONE:
Landline:
Cell:
EMAIL ADDRESS:
Will you be staying for the Sunday night session? Y or N

You can cancel your reservation and get a full refund until Halloween Day, October 31. After Halloween there will be no refunds. Signing up after Halloween is OK, but no refunds if you have to cancel. This thing’s gonna sell out, so I’ll be putting folks on a Wait List, first listed, first contacted to get in.

Note: GM’s don’t get free or discounted admission. Everyone’s basically chipping in to pay for the space. You are what makes this event happen. That’s super cool. GM’s do get early choices of games.

See the CONTACT page for Cary House reservation information.

For hotel reservations or questions:

Cary House Hotel
300 Main Street
Placerville, CA 95667
PH: 530.622.4271 or 866.906.5207
WEB: www.caryhouse.com
EMAIL: info@caryhouse.com
Tell them that you are with Dead of Winter in December when registering. Be sure to tell them precisely which type of room you want.

For questions regarding the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational:

MATT STEELE
831.566.1170
EMAIL: terrorrabbit@me.com

tweet #DeadofWinter
f
b: Dead of Winter, Terror Rabbit

TERROR RABBIT VENTURES PRESENTS

Duuuude! Welcome to Retroville – an immersive weekend of Retro-themed Role Playing Games in a totally retro location. Games are from the early years of the RPG movement, like Metamorphosis Alpha and Top Secret, ya know, old school ~ or ~ current games with a retro feel – Spirit of the Century: 30’s pulp, Macho Women with Guns: 50’s Sci-fi or 70’s… anything. C’mon you know you’ve been wanting to dust off those old games or run a Dukes of Hazzard adventure.

Time & Place TBD.

LOCATION

The Rabbit’s looking for a location for Retroville. Know of a cheap ’70’s Motel in the SF Bay Area? Tell me about it. Is there a totally retro location to play in, like an old railroad station, next to a Motel 6? This is the kind of place for Retroville. Send tips to flee@terrorrabbit.com or call 831.566.1170.

GAMES & SCHEDULE

Here are the kinds of games I want to run or play at Retroville:
Gamma World ~ 2nd Edition
Cyberpunk 2020
Metamorphosis Alpha
Morrow Project
D&D ~ 1st Edition ~ White Box
Traveller ~ Original Black Box Edition
Top Secret
Star Trek ~ FASA Version
Paranoia ~ West End Games ~ 1st Edition
DC Heroes
Doctor Who ~ FASA Version
Space 1889
Some early edition of Star Wars

or how about…

Hollow Earth Expeditions ~ ’30’s Pulp Adventure
Godlike ~ WWII Superheroes
Cthulhu Dark Ages
BRP ~ The Land That Time Ignored
Unhallowed Metropolis ~ Steampunk Horror
Deadlands
Conspiracy X ~ We all want to play it as The X-Files
Space 1999
All Flesh Must Be Eaten ~ ’50’s style
Trail of Cthulhu ~ Shadows Over Filmland
7th Sea ~ Pirates!
Feng Shui ~ ’80’s Kung Fu Fighting! Fast as Lightning!
Send me your ideas. I know you have ideas ~ and other thoughts.

REGISTRATION

Registration is not yet open.

CONTACT THE PAST

For questions or comments regarding Retroville:
MATT STEELE
831.566.1170
EMAIL: terrorrabbit@me.com

  • Terror Rabbit Ventures is the umbrella under which Matt Steele orchestrates his evil schemes to take over the world…Narf!… and to expand the world of role playing games into immersive experiences. It’s also a resource for other Game Masters and Players.

    Terror Rabbit Ventures

  • An invitation-only weekend of horror Role Playing Games. Held in the haunted Cary House Hotel nestled in the Sierra foothills in the heart Gold Rush country. A truly frightening immersive experience.

    Dead of Winter Horror Invitational

  • A GM since 1976, Matt’s run hundreds (maybe thousands) of game sessions. He’s best known for horror games such as Call of Cthulhu, from which his long-suffering Players gave him the moniker Matthulhu.

    Matt Steele ~ Game Master at Large

  • Welcome to Retroville – an immersive weekend of Retro-themed Role Playing Games in a retro location.

    Retroville

  • Matt Steele aka Matthulhu
    Aether Mail: terrorrabbit@me.com
    Wireless: 831.566.1170

    Contact

  • July 23rd, 2017: Endgame 3d6 Con
    Endgame game store
    921 Washington St
    Numenera: The Skein of the Blackbone Bride

    October 13 – 15, 2017: Big Bad Con
    Walnut Creek Marriot
    2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek

    Numenera & The Strange (Halloween Edition)

    Feb 16-19, 2018 DunDraCon
    San Ramon Marriot
    Games TBD

    May 25-28, 2018 Kublacon
    Burligame Hyatt Regency
    TBD

    Upcoming Rabbit Appearances

  • Endgame Oakland An Awesome SF Bay Game Store. In-store game space included + the Endgame Cafe – their attached coffee shop – open late!

    Infrno – Find. Connect. Play. An online community for RPG enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table along with all the tools you need to get your game on from any place, at any time.

    Groovy Game Spaces

  • Matt as GM

    Thank you, Matt, for all the prep and for running such a dark and devious game. It was great fun.

    David Ackerman-Gray

  • I look forward to the next gaming fun!

    Jenna Sterling

  • Thanks again to Matt for the games on Sunday. “After the Horrorcaust” was particularly enjoyable, and it did a good job of evoking the feeling of really bad film making.

    Luke Miller

  • In the Dead of Winter, weary Travelers roll off the highway into a historic Gold Rush town. On the recommendation of friends, they stop at the lone hotel. The desk clerk is friendly, and asks if they are there to the ghost hunt.

    The lobby is a throwback to a time when millions of dollars in gold bullion flowed through it and the ground floor was a counting house. You can almost hear the ghostly sounds of bankers, gamblers and con-men bustling about.

    The Travelers shake their heads. ‘No, they don’t believe in ghosts.’ When they decide against the ancient elevator, a cold chill passes through them as they climb the stairs. Someone mentions it and is shushed with withering glances. Upstairs,  the hallways seem to stretch forever as they make their way to their rooms. As they pass Room 201 they are nearly overcome with the scent of lavender, though the flowers at the top of the stairs were clearly daisies.

    .

    The hotel creaks restlessly. In the dead of the night the Travelers wake to the shouts of a mob in the streets.

    Staggering to the windows they see the silvery moonlit outlines of three men swinging by nooses from the tree across the street. The men kick their lives to an end. Suddenly the Travelers remember, this town used to be called Hangtown, where murdering thieves were strung up following quick trials. But that was 1849 and it’s 2014 now. From the street, the crowd turns as one and looks up at the travelers, their faces ghostly pale.

    Welcome to the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational – an immersive weekend of horror role-playing at the haunted Cary House Hotel in Placerville, CA which opened in 1857. December 11-13, 2016, Matt Steele will host this unnatural event in Sierra foothills. The focus of fear will be on the ground floor, near where Prospector Stan died at the feet of the woman he loved, shot by the gambler that she favored. Attendance will be limited to 35 victims.

    The Hotel’s history is one of glory and horror as would-be US presidents spoke and hardened teamsters died of influenza. Spirit remains have been found in rooms on the second and third floors as well as the lobby. Will you become a silvery ghost during your visit in the Dead of Winter?

    Terror Rabbit Ventures Presents

  • The Travelers throw on clothes and dash downstairs. As they hit the landing overlooking the lobby, they jolt to a stop. The smell of rotgut whiskey, mine dust and sweat nearly bowls them over. A shout at the front door draws there attention. Dressed for the Old West, the desk clerk who checked them in points up at them, ‘There they are.’ he says. The ghostly crowd flows in from the street. One of the Travelers spots a noose and then another.  A finely dressed man next to her, a gambler by the look of him, leads the lynch mob. He draws a pistol and fires  the muzzle flash blinds the Travelers.

    When the Travelers clear their eyes, the desk clerk, dressed as he was when he checked them in asks, “Are you folks all right?”.

    The always original Historic Cary House Hotel is a calm and quiet sanctuary among the Sierra foothills. Known as the “Jewel of Placerville” and complete with spectacular period pieces and antiques dating back to 1857, the experience is matched by exceptional service, dedication to detail and a friendly, comfortable environment.

    Located in the heart of Gold Country, more than 90 million dollars in gold bullion passed through the doors of the Cary House. Frequent guests included Buffalo Bill, Mark Twain, Lola Montez and John Studebaker – who was a shopkeeper in town.

    Horace Greeley spoke from the balcony in 1872 when he ran unsuccessfully ran for president against Ulysses S Grant. A plaque honoring his reinsman, Hank Monk adorns the dining room. Monk drove the congressman’s coach to the Cary House from Carson City Nevada in just 10 hours.

    But let’s not forget that this used to be Hangtown. Main Street rooms have a view across the street where the infamous hanging tree once stood. It is likely that as many as 20  desperadoes met their end swinging from a tree in Hangtown. Strange cries, sobbing and screams have been heard from the Hangman’s Tree Bar. One person claims to have seen green light through the floorboards above the location where the tree stump remains. The bar has no basement. The apparition of a tall man with a tall hat dressed in dark 19th century clothing has frequently been seen. One psychic made contact with the spirit and learned it is the hangman’s assistant who cared for the tree and prepared the noose.  (The Hangman’s Tree building is in the process of being restored, so who knows what condition it will be in come December.)

    Back at the Cary House, psychic Nancy Bradley took 50 people through the hotel and discovered spirit remnants in nearly every room of the 2nd and 3rd floors. Ghost hunter Jeff Dwyer visited the Cary House in 2008 with a team of paranormal experts. In the long dark corridor next to the meeting room the team heard a high-pitched whistling, though no one was in the hall to make the sound.   Who knows how many spirits wander the historic halls? Will you be adding to their numbers during the Dead of Winter?

    Not only are the Cary House and the Hangman’s Tree haunted, but just 2 blocks away, the Cozmic Cafe, built in 1859 out of local stone is the site of multiple hauntings. Virgil and Alice are just two of the spirits. Some are trapped in the mine that extends into the hillside behind the place. Others died in the dumbwaiter, or were crushed by hydraulic mining equipment. People have heard  shouting in the mine shafts which cease when staff arrives.

    The 2nd floor is haunted by a prankster sporting a handlebar mustache and straw hat who moves glasses, spills water and sends menus flying. If you want to meet Alice, go to the 2nd floor bathrooms, where she might be glimpsed cleaning.

    Ghost hunters have recorded a bunch of EVP here.

    Heck, even the Chamber of Commerce is haunted by a black clad and top hat wearing ghost named Darrell, who was one of the Hangtown’s  hangmen.

    Location of Terror

  • Is it a game if your life and sanity are at stake?

    It’s 2017 and we’ve got everything this year from Creature Features and Terrified Schoolgirls to The God of War and various versions of the Afterlife – horrifying. We got some folks running games at DoW for the first time, a slew of DoW regulars, and some irregulars. In each session there’s a good mix of hard-core horror and slightly lighter fare, or at least games posing as lighter fare, and an ungodly amount of Lovecraftian styles in all kinds of different settings.. We’ve got folks coming down from Seattle, up from L.A., and out from Wisconsin.

    6/25/17 I’ve put up all of the games for everyone to check out. I’ll ping the mailing list and then sometime in the next few weeks (on a weekend that’s not a holiday weekend) I’ll announce general registration.
    Once I’ve got everyone registered I’ll open up game reg.

    Game reg still works the same as last year. GM’s get first chance to register (as their reward for running) and therefore the first picks of games they want to play. I’ll Email GM’s daily, in groups of 5, in order of registration. Then groups of 7 for Players.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    Schedule

    Friday, December 8, 7PM- ??? After you check into the hotel, come hang out just up the street at Powell’s Steamer Co & Pub. While I love the Cozmic Cafe, it hasn’t worked out most years, so I’m just gonna call it now. 425 Main Street, Placerville. I’m gonna try to grab dinner at the Cozmic Cafe, with its haunted mines.They were closed last year, but If you arrive before 7 (like me) we can try to dine in the mine – oh yeah.

    The Cary House doesn’t have a single room big enough for us. So, 2 game tables will be in The Milton Room on the ground floor. The etched glass windows that line two walls depict the Gold Rush era.

    Coffee & Tea are served in the Horace Greeley Room behind the Milton Room. There’s room for one game.

    For GM’s who need to create a special ambiance or enjoy a private room, the 4th table will be in room 407 on the 4th floor – far from the others, where your screams will not be heard.

    We still have The Study, the private room just off of the Milton room.

    Game Schedule

    Breakfast can be had nearby. There’s Zia’s Cafe, coffee shop, next door and sit-down places within a block or 2. Popular among DoW gamers, Original Mel’s diner a block away. I’m partial to Z-Pie’s gourmet pot pies.

    Saturday, December 9, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

    Announcements right after the 1st session, followed by a Dinner Break
    For dinner, try Bricks or the Cozmic Cafe which sits over the entrance to an abandoned gold mine and is haunted by a plethora of ghosts. See the Location of Terror for more info.

    Saturday, December 9, 7PM – 1AM Late game session

    Sunday, December 10, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

    Dinner Break – When them which gotta go…go.

    Sunday, December 10, 7PM – 1AM, Late game session, for them what is hard-core

    GAMES:

    SATURDAY 11AM

    1.Game System: Delta Green RPG
    Scenario Title: Fields of Fire
    GM: William Lee
    Variations: N/A
    Power Level: Experience Delta Green Agents
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: One night, in a small town on the California-Oregon border, a fireball fell from the sky and obliterated an apartment building, incinerating everyone within. Yet, one child walked out of the conflagration completely unscathed, then disappeared into the night. What caused catastrophe? Will it happen again? The Program requires you to identity, neutralize, and – above all – contain the threat.

    2. Game System: Monster of the Week
    Scenario Title: Creature Features
    GM: Bryanna Hitchcock
    Variations: 1 Luck
    Power Level: Experienced Monster Hunters
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: We will make the characters and everything else about this Monster Movie turned RPG at the table.
    Description: In Creature Features, players create their own group of Monster Hunters, including anything from a family to an ancient order to a corporation. You’ll develop your characters and team with important past events and relationships. Most of the session will involve a custom mystery made for your group at the table. Creature Features usually has a horror/adventure feel, with some comedy and potential romance.

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: X Marques the Spot
    GM: Leon C Glover III
    Variations: 1820s
    Power Level: Minimal Mythos Exposure
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: The British government has granted the Thames Spice Trading Company letters of marque applicable to the Laccadives Islands.  As part of the most successful Thamses Spice Trading Company crew, you will be the vanguard of this expedition aboard the refitted Repulse-class “Kismet Aglow”.  The charter is to dislodge the Danes, establish a permanent trading post with a deep water harbor, survey local spices and secure access to local spice production.

    4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
    Scenario Title: The Wraith of Loch Tay
    GM: Dovi Anderson
    Variations: Mayhaps
    Power Level: Iron-Age Smallholders
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: A family scarred by the ravages of five relentless winters prepares to hold fast yet again within the timbered walls and thatched roof of their stilted crannog.

    5. Game System: Resolute, Genius, Adventurer
    Scenario Title: The Dunlap Horror
    GM: Matt Armstrong
    Power Level: Pulp Hero (Above average humans
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: 1935, Dunlap, California. Dunlap is a sleepy little cattle town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is the sort of place where you know your neighbors, you don’t lock your doors at night, and where nothing strange ever happens.  But a team of operatives from the Special Projects Division of the Global Detective Agency are out to learn what can hide in even the most idyllic of settings.

    SATURDAY 7PM

    1. Game System: DREAD Variant
    Scenario Title: Ya bro, but FUCK the volcano god tho#
    GM: Arthur Stone Wallis
    Variations: Character Sheets Completely Different
    Power Level: Baller az shit, bitch!! / U.S. Government Agents
    Number of Players: 5
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: “Spring Break 2017 Rulez! WOOOO!!! BUT FUCK ALL VOLCANO GODS! #springbreak #volcanogodz”

    This was the last text message received by any of the so-called “baller boyz on da yacht” as they neared the largely unexplored Ping islands off the coast of Tuvalu. It is surmised that they were either lost at sea, or (unlikely) made it ashore to one of the islands. The ill-fated band failed to make their rendezvous with the rest of Pennsylvania State University’s Spring Break South Asia tour, and are presumed lost at sea.

    Unfortunately, one of the members of the group was Brad Lee Toomey (AKA “MC BLT”), and the son of Junior Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA). Due to the influence of the honorable Senator, a search party has been hastily assembled. It is unlikely to find anything, but this might be a good chance to represent your department and secure a little grant money.

    2. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Sate the God of War
    GM: Aaron Teixeira
    Variations: Some modifications for 2050 setting
    Power Level: Astronauts
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: The first Mars Mission was twenty years ago. Your team is part of an exploratory expedition to the Isidis Planatia, set up base camp, reconnoiter the 3.9 billion year old impact crater for signs of life, water, and significant mineral deposits, then reach the extraction point for the long ride home. But the Red Planet has taken a full third of the Brave men and women sent to its surface. Will it take you as sacrifice too?

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Three Nights of the Magdalene
    GM: Josh Clark & John Castillo
    Variations: Slight alterations to 7th ed.
    Power Level: Terrified Schoolgirls
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: It’s a hard-knock life for the girls at the Magdalene Laundry.

    4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
    Scenario Title: The Forbidden Isle
    GM:Chris Ory
    Jim Mathews: I do what I want.
    Power Level: A boatload of winners
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Players will work with the GM before the event to create characters specifically for the game
    Description: The Hawaiian island of Ni’ihau is known as The Forbidden Isle, but certainly not for any strange or nefarious reasons. It was purchased for sum of $10,000 by Elizabeth Sinclair in 1864 from Kamehameha V, King of the Hawaiian Islands, for the purpose of raising sheep. Private ownership has remained in the family and, handed down throughout Hawaii’s political history to her descendants. Care of Ni’ihau currently sits in the hands of brothers Bruce Robinson and Keith Robinson. As legend goes, King Kamehemeha sold the island on one condition, that the new owners always protect his people. The family has kept this promise by keeping Ni’ihiau as the last preserve of traditional Hawaiian life and culture. 150 years later native life on the island remains isolated from the outside world and its native inhabitants live as they did when Elizabeth Sinclair signed her pact with the first Hawaiian King. Tourists have never been allowed on the island until now. For the first time in generations the Robinson family is allowing a small group of lucky contest winners to visit the pristine shores of Ni’ihau. You are one of the lucky few. Pack your bags and get on your sunblock because you are going on an all expense paid vacation to a place that has been untouched by the modern world in over a century and a half.

    5. Game System: A Penny For Your Thoughts
    Scenario Title: Welcome To The Afterlife. Please Take A Number.
    GM: Ash Cheshire
    Variations: Making it more spooky with ghosts
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Created during play
    Description: You are dead. You know this because the cheerful face on the waiting room screen has informed you of it. You are dead, sitting in a waiting room, being told by a cheerful face on an old television that eternal rest will be yours shortly. But you don’t feel restful. You feel quite restless, in fact. You don’t remember who you are — or — were? You don’t even remember how you died. Have a seat. Take a number.

    SUNDAY 11AM

    1. Game System: The Void
    Scenario Title: Where No Man Has Gone Before
    GM: Jim Mathews
    Variations: Star Trek Conversion
    Power Level: Trained Personnel
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Congratulations on your first junior officer posting aboard the Starship Enterprise. The ship is about to go to the dark edges of the universe, where no man has gone before. Your job is to get the mission done while making the senior officers look good.  Yes, Kirk is a womanizer, McCoy is an addict, and Spock is an anti-social schizophrenic, but hopefully they won’t get you killed… or worse.

    2. Game System: LAFFs (House Rules)
    Scenario Title: Night In The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History
    GM: Duane O’Brien
    Variations: Yes
    Power Level: Less Than You’d Like, More Than You’d Think
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: “The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History has a secret. Gee. Figure that out all on your own, did you? Why do you think we have so many security guards here, kid? Every weekend there’s some cultist who thinks they’re gonna be the next Wil Whateley trying to make off with the ancient obelisk of whatsit, or some group of make-believe Sherlocks trying to get the dust of somesuch so’s they can stop something “Unspeakably Evil,” or one of them there Fishmen leaving their mucus all over the crown of whoozit. Thing is, that stuff don’t belong to them. It belongs here, and it’s gonna stay here. Got it?”

    3. Game System: Fear Itself
    Scenario Title: The Gift
    GM: Alexis George
    Variations: None
    Power Level: 20th Century Socialites
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: 1915, Manhattan. Thomas Strange’s midnight soirees are nothing short of mythological in reputation, and of course you’ve merited an invitation. Dressed in only your smartest dinner attire, you wait in the smoking lounge, as the sounds of a new record spin on. Any old time you want me, I am yours for just the asking darling. Any old time you need me…

    Preferred Day & Time: Any time that fits.

    4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Eyes of the Abyss
    GM: Badger McInnes
    Variations: Luck Points
    Power Level: Seasoned, weathered cowpokes
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Twenty-one years ago, you and five others attempted to save the citizenry of Bannack, CA, from a mysterious malady that threatened to destroy the entire town.

    You failed. The town burned. The living screamed and bled. Visions and sounds and smells of what happened in Bannack have haunted you ever since.

    Now, in 1891, one of the few survivors of that horrifying, scarring night has contacted you. She fears what happened in Bannack is happening again, in another town she has made her home. Annabelle Chandler begs you to help her once more. Dare you stare into the eyes of the abyss again?

    5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: The Desperate search for HWH
    GM: Jill Stapelton
    Variations: None
    Power Level: Kick Ass Investigators
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: San Francisco, 10/29/1857: Business partners offer $50,000 reward for safe return of HW Halleck. Halleck was declared missing two weeks ago on 10/15/1857. He was last seen at a business meeting at 300 Main Street, Placerville, California. His return is desperately sought by his wife, young son, and business partners. Parties interested in seeking the missing man are encouraged to contact Mr Trenor W. Park at 628 Montgomery Street, San Francisco.

    SUNDAY 7PM

    1. Game System: VOX
    Scenario Title: Inverse
    GM: Matthew Grau
    Variations: Real Life
    Power Level: Yourself
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Tonight the lights went out. Something has descended on this quaint mountain town, the night a smothering blanket that chokes out the air. The reflections in the mirror have all fled and the birds lay stiff and dead in the streets. The moon is gone and the sun is not rising. You can feel the darkness sucking at your soul, giving life to a shadowy other. The world is turning inside out and you seem helpless to stop it. Survival may not be what it seems.

    Trigger Warnings

    It is possible that any (or none) of the following may be present in the play space during this game:

    • Offensive imitations
    • Claustrophobic or nyctophobic reactions
    • Feelings of isolation and despair
    • Feelings of victimization
    • Cursing or crude language
    • Sexist or ableist language
    • Gender inequality
    • Unfair discrimination

    These things are not specially written into the narrative, but the unpredictable actions of players within the theme and fictional space may bring them about.

    Players will have the freedom and are encouraged to come and go from their safe spaces as needed.

    2. Game System: Boneslingers
    Scenario Title: The Phantom Moon
    GM: Damon Gregory
    Variations: TBD if any
    Power Level: Gunslingin’ Cowboy Zombies
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: It’s a big deal when a Boneslinger falls, specially when it’s at the hands of the Firebrands. A wrong that needs righting leads to a small town in need of big help. Someone has been stealing their horses and killing the men sent to search. They are begging. Please. They have money. Help.

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: The Treaty
    GM: Frank Figoni
    Variations: None
    Power Level: Regular Folks
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: In the midst of the greatest civil conflict of the 1800’s, agents from the United States War Department, Anthropologists from Harvard University, and local guides are sent to force a settlement with the aggressive Indian tribes of the Trinity River Valley in California.  Landing in Eureka by schooner from San Francisco nothing is what it seems.   Stories of unnatural acts and sins against God are whispered…  Something dark and menacing lurks in the forests of the lower Klamath…  Something ancient.

    4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Name: Grumpy Old Delta Green
    GM: Shannon Mac
    Variations: Delta Green setting using CoC
    Power Level: Old Fucks
    Number of Players: 5-6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Long ago you were the best of Delta Green agents. But time passed and you became old and feeble. Your handlers didn’t want any “geriatric misfits whose time passed 20 years ago”. Well fuck them, but yeah, maybe they’re right. One of you is mostly blind and another is on a walker and you’ve all had your share of wounds and mental issues. So maybe they have a point and it’s time to lay down and just die. Or, maybe it’s time to do something different and see what happens?

    5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Deep Sleep of Dread
    GM: Dave Sokolowski
    Variations: none
    Power Level: Modern
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Washington DC – Today. Congresswoman Denise Grey (D-NY) has fallen into a coma just three days before her speech to the UN on human rights. From this coma she continues to perspire saltwater, which covers her body, soaks the bedsheets and fills her lungs. At this rate, the doctors say she’ll be dead in less than a week, but missing the speech will also be a serious blow to the oppressed people she has promised to represent. She has many enemies and time is short.

    You are a member of the Advocacy — a team of supernatural fixers, soldiers and researchers who work discretely to solve problems in and around the home of the world’s largest bureaucracies. You have the best technology and resources in the world at your hand, which is important because your adversaries don’t play by the rules and often don’t even come from this world.

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    .

    GM’s SUBMISSION SAMPLE

    Game System: BRP (Basic Role-Playing)
    Scenario Title:
    Shady Hollow Motor Lodge
    GM:
    Michael Ripley
    Variations:
    Using sanity rules
    Power Level:
    Urban Professionals
    Number of Players:
    6 (Mandatory – Except Sunday Night)
    Characters Provided:
    Yes
    Description:
    What a freakin’ great weekend! Skiing, hot tubs, and sitting in front of a roaring fireplace drinking yourselves silly. None of you are looking forward to returning to the grind of your daily lives.
    Preferred Day & Time
    :
    Saturday, December 12, 11AM – 5PM
    Saturday, December 12, 7PM – 1AM
    Sunday, December 13, 11AM – 5PM
    Sunday, December 13, 7PM – 1AM
    Note that the number of Players on Sunday varies based on how many die-hards remain for this session. So, games need to accommodate this factor.

    Games & Schedule

  • The Travelers stare at the front desk clerk. Can he possibly be the same clerk that was handing them to a mob over 150 years ago? Maybe they’re not thinking clear, since it’s the middle of the night. But if it’s the midnight hour, why do they hear the sounds of horses and stagecoaches out front? Why is there a cowboy playing ragtime on the piano? The clerk smiles at puzzled faces of the Travelers – like he’s seen this before…

    Just as last year, the fiscal cost for attending the 2014 Dead of Winter Horror Invitational remains: $60.00. The cost to your souls will vary.

    I asked the hotel for more detailed information this year. So, room rates are a lot more specific. The rates per night vary depending on stays of 2 or 3 nights. Note that the rates below are for the full stay, not nightly.

    The hotel costs are as follows: 3 Night Rates: Taxes not included.

    Deluxe Queen $327 (Fri & Sat night only $258)
    Deluxe King $357 (Fri & Sat night only  $278)
    Queen or King Suite $387 (Fri & Sat night only $298)
    2 bedroom Suites $477 (Fri & Sat night only $318) (sleeps 3/4ppl)
    Master Suite $417 (Fri & Sat night only $318)

    Tell them that you are attending Dead of Winter and they’ll set you up. Spirits in the room – no extra charge.

    The rooms in the hotel are:
    1 Double (our smallest room)
    9 Queens
    6 Kings
    4 Queen Suites
    2 King Suites
    2 King Suites w/ Murphy bed
    1 Queen Suite w/ Murphy bed
    6 2 bedroom Suites
    3 Master Suites
    1 Bridal Suite
    2 Pet Suites

    So, register early to get the kind of room that you want.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve reserved 15 rooms, Can bump to 20 if need be. We filled 18 last year. GROUP BOOKINGS ARE CHARGED 45 DAY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL DATE, a 50% non-refundable deposit. You will be advised of this policy when they make their reservations. That’s October 28th, just before Halloween. If you reserve your room later, the 50% will be charged right away.

    ALL ROOM RATES INCLUDE:
    IN-ROOM COFFEE
    LOCAL AND TOLL FREE TELEPHONE CALLS
    WIFI
    PARKING
    MORNING COFFEE AND TEA SERVICE
    10% DISCOUNT ON FOOD ITEMS AT OUR PARTNER RESTAURANTS
    The restaurants are:

    http://www.heydaycafe.com/

    http://independentplacerville.com/

    BUY A GLASS OF WINE GET ONE FREE AT THE WINE SMITH
    ALSO LOCATED IN THE HOTEL IS A WELLNESS CENTER WITH REDUCED RATES FOR CARY HOUSE GUESTS
    The Wellness Sanctuary and Spa, it’s advisable to book at least one week in advance:

    https://www.facebook.com/PlacervilleSpa

    A key element of the Dead of Winter is inhabiting a haunted hotel for the weekend. For the purpose of immersion, everyone attending must stay at the Cary House on Friday and Saturday nights and play through the Sunday morning session – no exceptions. This thing’s, an “all in” deal. Sunday night games and stays at the hotel are optional. Sudden blizzards preventing you from fleeing to safety are beyond the control of your host.

    Attendance is limited to 35 people. This allows 5 games to run with 6 Players and 1 GM Saturday morning and night. 5 Games run Sunday morning. The number of games run Sunday night depends on the number of people who stay for that session, though for the past coupe of years, nearly everyone’s stayed for the final session and 5 games were run. As always, I’ll have a game prepped – just in case. Selection of attendees is at the sole discretion of your host, Matt Steele. If you’re on this site, you’ve probably played in a game I’ve run or been a fellow Player in a game I’ve played. You might just have a soul so tasty that Stan, the gunned-down spirit in the lobby, asked me to invite you.

    To get in on the horror, pay by PayPal me at:

    terrorrabbit@me.com

    Or send a check payable to:

    MATT STEELE
    Dead of Winter Horror Invitational
    101 Cooper Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    Note that reg is 1st come, 1st in, so snail mail isn’t recommended.

    I’ll need to know the following for everyone who registers. People move and have disposable phones and all, so even if you’re a regular, I’d like an update.

    NAME:
    ADDRESS:
    PHONE:
    Landline:
    Cell:
    EMAIL ADDRESS:
    Will you be staying for the Sunday night session? Y or N

    You can cancel your reservation and get a full refund until Halloween Day, October 31. After Halloween there will be no refunds. Signing up after Halloween is OK, but no refunds if you have to cancel. This thing’s gonna sell out, so I’ll be putting folks on a Wait List, first listed, first contacted to get in.

    Note: GM’s don’t get free or discounted admission. Everyone’s basically chipping in to pay for the space. You are what makes this event happen. That’s super cool. GM’s do get early choices of games.

    See the CONTACT page for Cary House reservation information.

    Registration

  • For hotel reservations or questions:

    Cary House Hotel
    300 Main Street
    Placerville, CA 95667
    PH: 530.622.4271 or 866.906.5207
    WEB: www.caryhouse.com
    EMAIL: info@caryhouse.com
    Tell them that you are with Dead of Winter in December when registering. Be sure to tell them precisely which type of room you want.

    For questions regarding the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational:

    MATT STEELE
    831.566.1170
    EMAIL: terrorrabbit@me.com

    tweet #DeadofWinter
    f
    b: Dead of Winter, Terror Rabbit

    Contact Terror Rabbit

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  • Dead of Winter 2010

  • Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

    Hello world!

  • Dead of Winter
    It was awesome! I played in four epic games, and dropped by Endgame (www.endgameoakland.com) to buy Cthulhu (www.cthulhutech.com) Tech before I got home. I’ve already made myself a four day weekend for next year.

    Jill Stapleton

  • …a big thank you to you, sir, for working your ass off to get this thing off the ground, and continuing to keep it running while all the various…adventures were going on. Can’t wait ‘til next year, and looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Badger McInnes

  • Somehow it was impossible to get a picture of Matthew Grau in focus while he ran his soon to be released game, CHTHONIAN STARS at Dead of Winter. I don’t know why that is, but I have my suspicions. {Cultist!} Chthonian Stars is due out April 2011. I’ve seen an advanced copy. OK I ran a game with it, and it looks to be my favorite game for 2011. Mr. Grau gave me the formal scoop on it.

    Chthonian Stars: The Cthulhu Saga I
    2159 AD. It is a good time to be alive. The nations of the world still exist, but they have become more civilized, and we have expanded into the rest of our solar system. But, alas, it is not to be our time. Something approaches, a thing on an orbit from far away. Seemingly a large shard of dark matter, this object is known in obscure prophecy as the Chthonian Star. It is awakening things long thought lost or dead, things that have slumbered awaiting its return.The Unified World Council sends out special teams of sanctioned Wardens, whose job it is to ascertain the new threats to human life, to learn everything they can about them, and fight them wherever they are found.

    Chthonian Stars is an original Lovecraftian horror setting for Traveller.

    This Core Setting Book:
    •    Provides a detailed exploration of our fully colonized solar system, only a few hundred years in the future.
    •    New optional character design rules, including advantages and disadvantages, as well as career half-terms.
    •    Introduces new rules for fear and madness, as well as optional rules for character survivability.
    •    Brings to life many familiar Lovecraftian horrors for Traveller, as well as a host of new and original ones.
    •    Details more than a dozen new spaceships.
    •    Includes three ready-to-run adventures, to get groups running quickly.
    •    From the award-winning team that brought you CthulhuTech.

    Chthonian Stars pass through Dead of Winter

  • Mike Muldoon graced us with his flaming Mohawk presence at Dead of Winter 2010. He and I dealt with a cursed skull in Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game.  Then we faced the challenges of living in a planetary landfill in Duane O’Brien’s bizzare HoL game. In between he gave all of the folks the lowdown on INFRNO, his project to connect table top RPG players around the world. INFRNO’s a project very close to me heart. That is to say, I wanna connect with other gamers and Muldoon and I work out of NextSpace, a coworking space in downtown Santa Cruz, CA. That means I’ve had some small influence on it along the way. Hell, I’m the first registered user. Anyone want to play games they missed at Dead of Winter? Let’s meet on INFRNO and play. Shoot me an Email so we can set it up.

    Chief Experience Officer Matthew Grau and
    CEO & Founder Mike Muldoon explore HoL at Dead of Winter.


    Here’s the official scoop:

    “Infrno is an online community for role playing enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table with video conferencing and shared whiteboard, along with all the tools you need to find players of your caliber, connect with them, and get your game on from any place, at any time.”

    INFRNO Burns at Dead of Winter


  • These people are crazy enough to go to a decrepit, haunted hotel in the Santa Cruz mountains in the Dead of Winter and tempt fate by playing horror games all weekend. Thanks to Nicole Brennan for taking the pic. “Hiding” in the woodshed and therefore not in the pic are, Wayne Coburn, Elisabeth Brewer, Duane O’Brien, Chris Ruggiero and Nik Gervae. Some of these folks have been willing to write about their experiences, post pictures and put it out on the internet. If you missed it, read all about it from:

    MATT ARMSTRONG ~ Resident Archaeologist with a great layman’s description of our hobby.

    SHANNON MAC ~ #1 Dead of Winter Cheerleader elevates DoW to his #1 event of the year.

    KAREN TWELVES ~ Woman of Mysteries puts the first two DoW’s in perspective. Awesome!

    MIKE MULDOON ~ Infernal Man of INFRNO posted pics from HoL. Even GM Duane O’Brien was nauseous.

    Sean Nittner ~ Powerhouse behind Big Bad Con takes his reviews seriously. Check out his multiple posts here, here, here, and here.

    Dead of Winter Reviews 2010

  • My life as host of the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational is a difficult one. I’ve created an event I want to attend and that makes it a blast. Trouble is there were 19 great games this year and I only got to play in 4 of them. Choosing was brutal.

    Saturday began with Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game. I played in the original last year and couldn’t resist stepping into the sequel. Grau didn’t disappoint. He did a recap for new Players and the horror of the previous game came flooding back to me. Last year my P.I. character acquired a cursed skull. This year we had to get rid of the thing.

    Not easy when soooo many bad people want it – including our employer. Why didn’t we just destroy it? Yeah, not possible. The game opened with the moral dilemma of having to defend ourselves against possessed teenagers. Ugly choices. As the story progressed the skull was making us all paranoid and creating delusions, so we passed it around to minimize the sanity loss. Sharing is caring. A stellar group of players made for good cooperative and Player vs Player action. The finale’? Let’s just say we handed Grau the possibility of another sequel.

    Saturday night was Duane O’Brien’s HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) game.
    Duane started the game by dumping an actual bag of trash on the table to simulate the environment we were in. Believe it or not, it went downhill from there. At one horrifying point one of the characters (represented by a donkey) was overrun and trampled by wastems (goo filled creatures that are also the food on HoL). Every moment got more disgusting. So much so that I decided to role-play eating coffee grounds by putting tea leaves in my mouth like chewing tobacco. Baaaaad idea. The ending was filled with all kinds of madness and my character (one-hit wonder country singer Clint Roper) nearly got himself decapitated. Gruesome. HoL is a horrible place, but the game lends itself more to over-the-top madness than horror. Still, the nasty reveal at the end brought the horror crashing down on us.

    Sunday morning brought me Jill Stapleton’s fantastic Call of Cthulhu game.
    San Francisco 1852. I played a local Sheriff’s Deputy. We had problems with Australian gangs, vigilante groups and spontaneous human combustion. A classic CoC game with a group of characters who are friends and go through tough times that test them all. They didn’t always get along as you can see as Matt DeHayes gives me the evil eye as a pants-wearing female journalist.  Jill really brought the period to life – even in a city all of the Players know quite well. Of course it was different in 1852 and she let us know just how different – and horrifying. We captured the bad guys by almost sinking their boat by filling it with water from a fire boat. A unique solution!

    I topped off the Dead of Winter in Karen Twelves’ Schizo experience.

    The most intimate and unique of the games, we sat at a small table and each Player had an MP3 player which fed us the voices in our heads. Tracks changed based on conditions of play. Karen had a chart which informed her about the track to be played and she handed us notes telling us when to change. Dice were kept in pill bottles as were jelly bean ‘pills’. As we lost more and more sanity we ate the pills. No more pills – no more sanity. The home-grown mechanics were simple and the role-playing dead on. Karen’s GM style and NPC’s were off the charts as she berated us in both roles and intentionally blurred the line of GM/NPC/Player. The voices in our heads influenced the game several times.  I hope Karen runs this for other people. It’s an experience not to be missed.

    Dead of Winter Games I Played

  • Noam Rosen, shown here with his best cheesy grin at Dead of Winter is a fellow gamer, GM and all around awesome dude. How awesome? He introduced me to Epimas. Huh? Epimas happens every December 24. Epidiah Ravanchol from The Forge runs a special deal where if you buy games for a friend, you also get the games yourself. Helluva deal! Noam went the full monty, ummm, the whole tofoose and bought me 12 games! Some rockin’ stuff including Apocalypse World, Blowback and My Life With Master. Some games I’d never heard of, but look really cool. Noam, you rock!

    Gamers Rock

  • The Wolf was in the house. That is to say that Sean Nittner talked up his new RPG/LARP convention Big Bad Con, October 7-9, 2011 in Oakland. I’ll be running a couple of games there. Sign up for the inaugural event.  Here’s what it’s all about:

    There aren’t enough good weekend long RPG conventions in the Bay Area.  My Answer: Big Bad Con!  I’ve talked to Japji Khalsa (of Kublacon), Chris Hanrahan (EndGame in Oakland), Doug Daulton (of Neoncon), Matt Steele (Dead of Winter) and tons of gamers and I’m convinced Big Bad Con is going to be awesome. I want to offer the best games to most gamers I can.  I’ve run Good Omens Con for four years as well as talked extensively with Japji as well as other gamers about what makes a con rock and my plan is to put on a con that doesn’t stop rocking till you pass out Sunday night.

    Yeah, plus he’s giving attendees a chance to participate in Gamers vs Gazebo Deathmatch and there will be the Big Bad GM competition. This thing’s gonna rock!

    Big Bad Con Blows the House Down

BIG BAD CON: October 14-16, 2016 at Walnut Creek Marriot
DunDraCon
: February 17-20, 2017 at San Ramon Marriot
KubalCon
: May 26-29, 2017 at Burlingame Hyatt Regency

  • Terror Rabbit Ventures is the umbrella under which Matt Steele orchestrates his evil schemes to take over the world…Narf!… and to expand the world of role playing games into immersive experiences. It’s also a resource for other Game Masters and Players.

    Terror Rabbit Ventures

  • An invitation-only weekend of horror Role Playing Games. Held in the haunted Cary House Hotel nestled in the Sierra foothills in the heart Gold Rush country. A truly frightening immersive experience.

    Dead of Winter Horror Invitational

  • A GM since 1976, Matt’s run hundreds (maybe thousands) of game sessions. He’s best known for horror games such as Call of Cthulhu, from which his long-suffering Players gave him the moniker Matthulhu.

    Matt Steele ~ Game Master at Large

  • Welcome to Retroville – an immersive weekend of Retro-themed Role Playing Games in a retro location.

    Retroville

  • Matt Steele aka Matthulhu
    Aether Mail: terrorrabbit@me.com
    Wireless: 831.566.1170

    Contact

  • July 23rd, 2017: Endgame 3d6 Con
    Endgame game store
    921 Washington St
    Numenera: The Skein of the Blackbone Bride

    October 13 – 15, 2017: Big Bad Con
    Walnut Creek Marriot
    2355 North Main Street, Walnut Creek

    Numenera & The Strange (Halloween Edition)

    Feb 16-19, 2018 DunDraCon
    San Ramon Marriot
    Games TBD

    May 25-28, 2018 Kublacon
    Burligame Hyatt Regency
    TBD

    Upcoming Rabbit Appearances

  • Endgame Oakland An Awesome SF Bay Game Store. In-store game space included + the Endgame Cafe – their attached coffee shop – open late!

    Infrno – Find. Connect. Play. An online community for RPG enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table along with all the tools you need to get your game on from any place, at any time.

    Groovy Game Spaces

  • Matt as GM

    Thank you, Matt, for all the prep and for running such a dark and devious game. It was great fun.

    David Ackerman-Gray

  • I look forward to the next gaming fun!

    Jenna Sterling

  • Thanks again to Matt for the games on Sunday. “After the Horrorcaust” was particularly enjoyable, and it did a good job of evoking the feeling of really bad film making.

    Luke Miller

  • In the Dead of Winter, weary Travelers roll off the highway into a historic Gold Rush town. On the recommendation of friends, they stop at the lone hotel. The desk clerk is friendly, and asks if they are there to the ghost hunt.

    The lobby is a throwback to a time when millions of dollars in gold bullion flowed through it and the ground floor was a counting house. You can almost hear the ghostly sounds of bankers, gamblers and con-men bustling about.

    The Travelers shake their heads. ‘No, they don’t believe in ghosts.’ When they decide against the ancient elevator, a cold chill passes through them as they climb the stairs. Someone mentions it and is shushed with withering glances. Upstairs,  the hallways seem to stretch forever as they make their way to their rooms. As they pass Room 201 they are nearly overcome with the scent of lavender, though the flowers at the top of the stairs were clearly daisies.

    .

    The hotel creaks restlessly. In the dead of the night the Travelers wake to the shouts of a mob in the streets.

    Staggering to the windows they see the silvery moonlit outlines of three men swinging by nooses from the tree across the street. The men kick their lives to an end. Suddenly the Travelers remember, this town used to be called Hangtown, where murdering thieves were strung up following quick trials. But that was 1849 and it’s 2014 now. From the street, the crowd turns as one and looks up at the travelers, their faces ghostly pale.

    Welcome to the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational – an immersive weekend of horror role-playing at the haunted Cary House Hotel in Placerville, CA which opened in 1857. December 11-13, 2016, Matt Steele will host this unnatural event in Sierra foothills. The focus of fear will be on the ground floor, near where Prospector Stan died at the feet of the woman he loved, shot by the gambler that she favored. Attendance will be limited to 35 victims.

    The Hotel’s history is one of glory and horror as would-be US presidents spoke and hardened teamsters died of influenza. Spirit remains have been found in rooms on the second and third floors as well as the lobby. Will you become a silvery ghost during your visit in the Dead of Winter?

    Terror Rabbit Ventures Presents

  • The Travelers throw on clothes and dash downstairs. As they hit the landing overlooking the lobby, they jolt to a stop. The smell of rotgut whiskey, mine dust and sweat nearly bowls them over. A shout at the front door draws there attention. Dressed for the Old West, the desk clerk who checked them in points up at them, ‘There they are.’ he says. The ghostly crowd flows in from the street. One of the Travelers spots a noose and then another.  A finely dressed man next to her, a gambler by the look of him, leads the lynch mob. He draws a pistol and fires  the muzzle flash blinds the Travelers.

    When the Travelers clear their eyes, the desk clerk, dressed as he was when he checked them in asks, “Are you folks all right?”.

    The always original Historic Cary House Hotel is a calm and quiet sanctuary among the Sierra foothills. Known as the “Jewel of Placerville” and complete with spectacular period pieces and antiques dating back to 1857, the experience is matched by exceptional service, dedication to detail and a friendly, comfortable environment.

    Located in the heart of Gold Country, more than 90 million dollars in gold bullion passed through the doors of the Cary House. Frequent guests included Buffalo Bill, Mark Twain, Lola Montez and John Studebaker – who was a shopkeeper in town.

    Horace Greeley spoke from the balcony in 1872 when he ran unsuccessfully ran for president against Ulysses S Grant. A plaque honoring his reinsman, Hank Monk adorns the dining room. Monk drove the congressman’s coach to the Cary House from Carson City Nevada in just 10 hours.

    But let’s not forget that this used to be Hangtown. Main Street rooms have a view across the street where the infamous hanging tree once stood. It is likely that as many as 20  desperadoes met their end swinging from a tree in Hangtown. Strange cries, sobbing and screams have been heard from the Hangman’s Tree Bar. One person claims to have seen green light through the floorboards above the location where the tree stump remains. The bar has no basement. The apparition of a tall man with a tall hat dressed in dark 19th century clothing has frequently been seen. One psychic made contact with the spirit and learned it is the hangman’s assistant who cared for the tree and prepared the noose.  (The Hangman’s Tree building is in the process of being restored, so who knows what condition it will be in come December.)

    Back at the Cary House, psychic Nancy Bradley took 50 people through the hotel and discovered spirit remnants in nearly every room of the 2nd and 3rd floors. Ghost hunter Jeff Dwyer visited the Cary House in 2008 with a team of paranormal experts. In the long dark corridor next to the meeting room the team heard a high-pitched whistling, though no one was in the hall to make the sound.   Who knows how many spirits wander the historic halls? Will you be adding to their numbers during the Dead of Winter?

    Not only are the Cary House and the Hangman’s Tree haunted, but just 2 blocks away, the Cozmic Cafe, built in 1859 out of local stone is the site of multiple hauntings. Virgil and Alice are just two of the spirits. Some are trapped in the mine that extends into the hillside behind the place. Others died in the dumbwaiter, or were crushed by hydraulic mining equipment. People have heard  shouting in the mine shafts which cease when staff arrives.

    The 2nd floor is haunted by a prankster sporting a handlebar mustache and straw hat who moves glasses, spills water and sends menus flying. If you want to meet Alice, go to the 2nd floor bathrooms, where she might be glimpsed cleaning.

    Ghost hunters have recorded a bunch of EVP here.

    Heck, even the Chamber of Commerce is haunted by a black clad and top hat wearing ghost named Darrell, who was one of the Hangtown’s  hangmen.

    Location of Terror

  • Is it a game if your life and sanity are at stake?

    It’s 2017 and we’ve got everything this year from Creature Features and Terrified Schoolgirls to The God of War and various versions of the Afterlife – horrifying. We got some folks running games at DoW for the first time, a slew of DoW regulars, and some irregulars. In each session there’s a good mix of hard-core horror and slightly lighter fare, or at least games posing as lighter fare, and an ungodly amount of Lovecraftian styles in all kinds of different settings.. We’ve got folks coming down from Seattle, up from L.A., and out from Wisconsin.

    6/25/17 I’ve put up all of the games for everyone to check out. I’ll ping the mailing list and then sometime in the next few weeks (on a weekend that’s not a holiday weekend) I’ll announce general registration.
    Once I’ve got everyone registered I’ll open up game reg.

    Game reg still works the same as last year. GM’s get first chance to register (as their reward for running) and therefore the first picks of games they want to play. I’ll Email GM’s daily, in groups of 5, in order of registration. Then groups of 7 for Players.

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    Schedule

    Friday, December 8, 7PM- ??? After you check into the hotel, come hang out just up the street at Powell’s Steamer Co & Pub. While I love the Cozmic Cafe, it hasn’t worked out most years, so I’m just gonna call it now. 425 Main Street, Placerville. I’m gonna try to grab dinner at the Cozmic Cafe, with its haunted mines.They were closed last year, but If you arrive before 7 (like me) we can try to dine in the mine – oh yeah.

    The Cary House doesn’t have a single room big enough for us. So, 2 game tables will be in The Milton Room on the ground floor. The etched glass windows that line two walls depict the Gold Rush era.

    Coffee & Tea are served in the Horace Greeley Room behind the Milton Room. There’s room for one game.

    For GM’s who need to create a special ambiance or enjoy a private room, the 4th table will be in room 407 on the 4th floor – far from the others, where your screams will not be heard.

    We still have The Study, the private room just off of the Milton room.

    Game Schedule

    Breakfast can be had nearby. There’s Zia’s Cafe, coffee shop, next door and sit-down places within a block or 2. Popular among DoW gamers, Original Mel’s diner a block away. I’m partial to Z-Pie’s gourmet pot pies.

    Saturday, December 9, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

    Announcements right after the 1st session, followed by a Dinner Break
    For dinner, try Bricks or the Cozmic Cafe which sits over the entrance to an abandoned gold mine and is haunted by a plethora of ghosts. See the Location of Terror for more info.

    Saturday, December 9, 7PM – 1AM Late game session

    Sunday, December 10, 11AM – 5PM Early game session

    Dinner Break – When them which gotta go…go.

    Sunday, December 10, 7PM – 1AM, Late game session, for them what is hard-core

    GAMES:

    SATURDAY 11AM

    1.Game System: Delta Green RPG
    Scenario Title: Fields of Fire
    GM: William Lee
    Variations: N/A
    Power Level: Experience Delta Green Agents
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: One night, in a small town on the California-Oregon border, a fireball fell from the sky and obliterated an apartment building, incinerating everyone within. Yet, one child walked out of the conflagration completely unscathed, then disappeared into the night. What caused catastrophe? Will it happen again? The Program requires you to identity, neutralize, and – above all – contain the threat.

    2. Game System: Monster of the Week
    Scenario Title: Creature Features
    GM: Bryanna Hitchcock
    Variations: 1 Luck
    Power Level: Experienced Monster Hunters
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: We will make the characters and everything else about this Monster Movie turned RPG at the table.
    Description: In Creature Features, players create their own group of Monster Hunters, including anything from a family to an ancient order to a corporation. You’ll develop your characters and team with important past events and relationships. Most of the session will involve a custom mystery made for your group at the table. Creature Features usually has a horror/adventure feel, with some comedy and potential romance.

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: X Marques the Spot
    GM: Leon C Glover III
    Variations: 1820s
    Power Level: Minimal Mythos Exposure
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: The British government has granted the Thames Spice Trading Company letters of marque applicable to the Laccadives Islands.  As part of the most successful Thamses Spice Trading Company crew, you will be the vanguard of this expedition aboard the refitted Repulse-class “Kismet Aglow”.  The charter is to dislodge the Danes, establish a permanent trading post with a deep water harbor, survey local spices and secure access to local spice production.

    4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
    Scenario Title: The Wraith of Loch Tay
    GM: Dovi Anderson
    Variations: Mayhaps
    Power Level: Iron-Age Smallholders
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: A family scarred by the ravages of five relentless winters prepares to hold fast yet again within the timbered walls and thatched roof of their stilted crannog.

    5. Game System: Resolute, Genius, Adventurer
    Scenario Title: The Dunlap Horror
    GM: Matt Armstrong
    Power Level: Pulp Hero (Above average humans
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: 1935, Dunlap, California. Dunlap is a sleepy little cattle town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada is the sort of place where you know your neighbors, you don’t lock your doors at night, and where nothing strange ever happens.  But a team of operatives from the Special Projects Division of the Global Detective Agency are out to learn what can hide in even the most idyllic of settings.

    SATURDAY 7PM

    1. Game System: DREAD Variant
    Scenario Title: Ya bro, but FUCK the volcano god tho#
    GM: Arthur Stone Wallis
    Variations: Character Sheets Completely Different
    Power Level: Baller az shit, bitch!! / U.S. Government Agents
    Number of Players: 5
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: “Spring Break 2017 Rulez! WOOOO!!! BUT FUCK ALL VOLCANO GODS! #springbreak #volcanogodz”

    This was the last text message received by any of the so-called “baller boyz on da yacht” as they neared the largely unexplored Ping islands off the coast of Tuvalu. It is surmised that they were either lost at sea, or (unlikely) made it ashore to one of the islands. The ill-fated band failed to make their rendezvous with the rest of Pennsylvania State University’s Spring Break South Asia tour, and are presumed lost at sea.

    Unfortunately, one of the members of the group was Brad Lee Toomey (AKA “MC BLT”), and the son of Junior Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA). Due to the influence of the honorable Senator, a search party has been hastily assembled. It is unlikely to find anything, but this might be a good chance to represent your department and secure a little grant money.

    2. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Sate the God of War
    GM: Aaron Teixeira
    Variations: Some modifications for 2050 setting
    Power Level: Astronauts
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: The first Mars Mission was twenty years ago. Your team is part of an exploratory expedition to the Isidis Planatia, set up base camp, reconnoiter the 3.9 billion year old impact crater for signs of life, water, and significant mineral deposits, then reach the extraction point for the long ride home. But the Red Planet has taken a full third of the Brave men and women sent to its surface. Will it take you as sacrifice too?

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Three Nights of the Magdalene
    GM: Josh Clark & John Castillo
    Variations: Slight alterations to 7th ed.
    Power Level: Terrified Schoolgirls
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: It’s a hard-knock life for the girls at the Magdalene Laundry.

    4. Game System: NEMESIS/One Roll Engine
    Scenario Title: The Forbidden Isle
    GM:Chris Ory
    Jim Mathews: I do what I want.
    Power Level: A boatload of winners
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Players will work with the GM before the event to create characters specifically for the game
    Description: The Hawaiian island of Ni’ihau is known as The Forbidden Isle, but certainly not for any strange or nefarious reasons. It was purchased for sum of $10,000 by Elizabeth Sinclair in 1864 from Kamehameha V, King of the Hawaiian Islands, for the purpose of raising sheep. Private ownership has remained in the family and, handed down throughout Hawaii’s political history to her descendants. Care of Ni’ihau currently sits in the hands of brothers Bruce Robinson and Keith Robinson. As legend goes, King Kamehemeha sold the island on one condition, that the new owners always protect his people. The family has kept this promise by keeping Ni’ihiau as the last preserve of traditional Hawaiian life and culture. 150 years later native life on the island remains isolated from the outside world and its native inhabitants live as they did when Elizabeth Sinclair signed her pact with the first Hawaiian King. Tourists have never been allowed on the island until now. For the first time in generations the Robinson family is allowing a small group of lucky contest winners to visit the pristine shores of Ni’ihau. You are one of the lucky few. Pack your bags and get on your sunblock because you are going on an all expense paid vacation to a place that has been untouched by the modern world in over a century and a half.

    5. Game System: A Penny For Your Thoughts
    Scenario Title: Welcome To The Afterlife. Please Take A Number.
    GM: Ash Cheshire
    Variations: Making it more spooky with ghosts
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Created during play
    Description: You are dead. You know this because the cheerful face on the waiting room screen has informed you of it. You are dead, sitting in a waiting room, being told by a cheerful face on an old television that eternal rest will be yours shortly. But you don’t feel restful. You feel quite restless, in fact. You don’t remember who you are — or — were? You don’t even remember how you died. Have a seat. Take a number.

    SUNDAY 11AM

    1. Game System: The Void
    Scenario Title: Where No Man Has Gone Before
    GM: Jim Mathews
    Variations: Star Trek Conversion
    Power Level: Trained Personnel
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Congratulations on your first junior officer posting aboard the Starship Enterprise. The ship is about to go to the dark edges of the universe, where no man has gone before. Your job is to get the mission done while making the senior officers look good.  Yes, Kirk is a womanizer, McCoy is an addict, and Spock is an anti-social schizophrenic, but hopefully they won’t get you killed… or worse.

    2. Game System: LAFFs (House Rules)
    Scenario Title: Night In The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History
    GM: Duane O’Brien
    Variations: Yes
    Power Level: Less Than You’d Like, More Than You’d Think
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: “The Miskatonic Museum Of Unnatural History has a secret. Gee. Figure that out all on your own, did you? Why do you think we have so many security guards here, kid? Every weekend there’s some cultist who thinks they’re gonna be the next Wil Whateley trying to make off with the ancient obelisk of whatsit, or some group of make-believe Sherlocks trying to get the dust of somesuch so’s they can stop something “Unspeakably Evil,” or one of them there Fishmen leaving their mucus all over the crown of whoozit. Thing is, that stuff don’t belong to them. It belongs here, and it’s gonna stay here. Got it?”

    3. Game System: Fear Itself
    Scenario Title: The Gift
    GM: Alexis George
    Variations: None
    Power Level: 20th Century Socialites
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: 1915, Manhattan. Thomas Strange’s midnight soirees are nothing short of mythological in reputation, and of course you’ve merited an invitation. Dressed in only your smartest dinner attire, you wait in the smoking lounge, as the sounds of a new record spin on. Any old time you want me, I am yours for just the asking darling. Any old time you need me…

    Preferred Day & Time: Any time that fits.

    4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Eyes of the Abyss
    GM: Badger McInnes
    Variations: Luck Points
    Power Level: Seasoned, weathered cowpokes
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Twenty-one years ago, you and five others attempted to save the citizenry of Bannack, CA, from a mysterious malady that threatened to destroy the entire town.

    You failed. The town burned. The living screamed and bled. Visions and sounds and smells of what happened in Bannack have haunted you ever since.

    Now, in 1891, one of the few survivors of that horrifying, scarring night has contacted you. She fears what happened in Bannack is happening again, in another town she has made her home. Annabelle Chandler begs you to help her once more. Dare you stare into the eyes of the abyss again?

    5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: The Desperate search for HWH
    GM: Jill Stapelton
    Variations: None
    Power Level: Kick Ass Investigators
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: San Francisco, 10/29/1857: Business partners offer $50,000 reward for safe return of HW Halleck. Halleck was declared missing two weeks ago on 10/15/1857. He was last seen at a business meeting at 300 Main Street, Placerville, California. His return is desperately sought by his wife, young son, and business partners. Parties interested in seeking the missing man are encouraged to contact Mr Trenor W. Park at 628 Montgomery Street, San Francisco.

    SUNDAY 7PM

    1. Game System: VOX
    Scenario Title: Inverse
    GM: Matthew Grau
    Variations: Real Life
    Power Level: Yourself
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Tonight the lights went out. Something has descended on this quaint mountain town, the night a smothering blanket that chokes out the air. The reflections in the mirror have all fled and the birds lay stiff and dead in the streets. The moon is gone and the sun is not rising. You can feel the darkness sucking at your soul, giving life to a shadowy other. The world is turning inside out and you seem helpless to stop it. Survival may not be what it seems.

    Trigger Warnings

    It is possible that any (or none) of the following may be present in the play space during this game:

    • Offensive imitations
    • Claustrophobic or nyctophobic reactions
    • Feelings of isolation and despair
    • Feelings of victimization
    • Cursing or crude language
    • Sexist or ableist language
    • Gender inequality
    • Unfair discrimination

    These things are not specially written into the narrative, but the unpredictable actions of players within the theme and fictional space may bring them about.

    Players will have the freedom and are encouraged to come and go from their safe spaces as needed.

    2. Game System: Boneslingers
    Scenario Title: The Phantom Moon
    GM: Damon Gregory
    Variations: TBD if any
    Power Level: Gunslingin’ Cowboy Zombies
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: It’s a big deal when a Boneslinger falls, specially when it’s at the hands of the Firebrands. A wrong that needs righting leads to a small town in need of big help. Someone has been stealing their horses and killing the men sent to search. They are begging. Please. They have money. Help.

    3. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: The Treaty
    GM: Frank Figoni
    Variations: None
    Power Level: Regular Folks
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: In the midst of the greatest civil conflict of the 1800’s, agents from the United States War Department, Anthropologists from Harvard University, and local guides are sent to force a settlement with the aggressive Indian tribes of the Trinity River Valley in California.  Landing in Eureka by schooner from San Francisco nothing is what it seems.   Stories of unnatural acts and sins against God are whispered…  Something dark and menacing lurks in the forests of the lower Klamath…  Something ancient.

    4. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Name: Grumpy Old Delta Green
    GM: Shannon Mac
    Variations: Delta Green setting using CoC
    Power Level: Old Fucks
    Number of Players: 5-6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Long ago you were the best of Delta Green agents. But time passed and you became old and feeble. Your handlers didn’t want any “geriatric misfits whose time passed 20 years ago”. Well fuck them, but yeah, maybe they’re right. One of you is mostly blind and another is on a walker and you’ve all had your share of wounds and mental issues. So maybe they have a point and it’s time to lay down and just die. Or, maybe it’s time to do something different and see what happens?

    5. Game System: Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.
    Scenario Title: Deep Sleep of Dread
    GM: Dave Sokolowski
    Variations: none
    Power Level: Modern
    Number of Players: 6
    Characters Provided: Yes
    Description: Washington DC – Today. Congresswoman Denise Grey (D-NY) has fallen into a coma just three days before her speech to the UN on human rights. From this coma she continues to perspire saltwater, which covers her body, soaks the bedsheets and fills her lungs. At this rate, the doctors say she’ll be dead in less than a week, but missing the speech will also be a serious blow to the oppressed people she has promised to represent. She has many enemies and time is short.

    You are a member of the Advocacy — a team of supernatural fixers, soldiers and researchers who work discretely to solve problems in and around the home of the world’s largest bureaucracies. You have the best technology and resources in the world at your hand, which is important because your adversaries don’t play by the rules and often don’t even come from this world.

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    GM’s SUBMISSION SAMPLE

    Game System: BRP (Basic Role-Playing)
    Scenario Title:
    Shady Hollow Motor Lodge
    GM:
    Michael Ripley
    Variations:
    Using sanity rules
    Power Level:
    Urban Professionals
    Number of Players:
    6 (Mandatory – Except Sunday Night)
    Characters Provided:
    Yes
    Description:
    What a freakin’ great weekend! Skiing, hot tubs, and sitting in front of a roaring fireplace drinking yourselves silly. None of you are looking forward to returning to the grind of your daily lives.
    Preferred Day & Time
    :
    Saturday, December 12, 11AM – 5PM
    Saturday, December 12, 7PM – 1AM
    Sunday, December 13, 11AM – 5PM
    Sunday, December 13, 7PM – 1AM
    Note that the number of Players on Sunday varies based on how many die-hards remain for this session. So, games need to accommodate this factor.

    Games & Schedule

  • The Travelers stare at the front desk clerk. Can he possibly be the same clerk that was handing them to a mob over 150 years ago? Maybe they’re not thinking clear, since it’s the middle of the night. But if it’s the midnight hour, why do they hear the sounds of horses and stagecoaches out front? Why is there a cowboy playing ragtime on the piano? The clerk smiles at puzzled faces of the Travelers – like he’s seen this before…

    Just as last year, the fiscal cost for attending the 2014 Dead of Winter Horror Invitational remains: $60.00. The cost to your souls will vary.

    I asked the hotel for more detailed information this year. So, room rates are a lot more specific. The rates per night vary depending on stays of 2 or 3 nights. Note that the rates below are for the full stay, not nightly.

    The hotel costs are as follows: 3 Night Rates: Taxes not included.

    Deluxe Queen $327 (Fri & Sat night only $258)
    Deluxe King $357 (Fri & Sat night only  $278)
    Queen or King Suite $387 (Fri & Sat night only $298)
    2 bedroom Suites $477 (Fri & Sat night only $318) (sleeps 3/4ppl)
    Master Suite $417 (Fri & Sat night only $318)

    Tell them that you are attending Dead of Winter and they’ll set you up. Spirits in the room – no extra charge.

    The rooms in the hotel are:
    1 Double (our smallest room)
    9 Queens
    6 Kings
    4 Queen Suites
    2 King Suites
    2 King Suites w/ Murphy bed
    1 Queen Suite w/ Murphy bed
    6 2 bedroom Suites
    3 Master Suites
    1 Bridal Suite
    2 Pet Suites

    So, register early to get the kind of room that you want.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: I’ve reserved 15 rooms, Can bump to 20 if need be. We filled 18 last year. GROUP BOOKINGS ARE CHARGED 45 DAY PRIOR TO ARRIVAL DATE, a 50% non-refundable deposit. You will be advised of this policy when they make their reservations. That’s October 28th, just before Halloween. If you reserve your room later, the 50% will be charged right away.

    ALL ROOM RATES INCLUDE:
    IN-ROOM COFFEE
    LOCAL AND TOLL FREE TELEPHONE CALLS
    WIFI
    PARKING
    MORNING COFFEE AND TEA SERVICE
    10% DISCOUNT ON FOOD ITEMS AT OUR PARTNER RESTAURANTS
    The restaurants are:

    http://www.heydaycafe.com/

    http://independentplacerville.com/

    BUY A GLASS OF WINE GET ONE FREE AT THE WINE SMITH
    ALSO LOCATED IN THE HOTEL IS A WELLNESS CENTER WITH REDUCED RATES FOR CARY HOUSE GUESTS
    The Wellness Sanctuary and Spa, it’s advisable to book at least one week in advance:

    https://www.facebook.com/PlacervilleSpa

    A key element of the Dead of Winter is inhabiting a haunted hotel for the weekend. For the purpose of immersion, everyone attending must stay at the Cary House on Friday and Saturday nights and play through the Sunday morning session – no exceptions. This thing’s, an “all in” deal. Sunday night games and stays at the hotel are optional. Sudden blizzards preventing you from fleeing to safety are beyond the control of your host.

    Attendance is limited to 35 people. This allows 5 games to run with 6 Players and 1 GM Saturday morning and night. 5 Games run Sunday morning. The number of games run Sunday night depends on the number of people who stay for that session, though for the past coupe of years, nearly everyone’s stayed for the final session and 5 games were run. As always, I’ll have a game prepped – just in case. Selection of attendees is at the sole discretion of your host, Matt Steele. If you’re on this site, you’ve probably played in a game I’ve run or been a fellow Player in a game I’ve played. You might just have a soul so tasty that Stan, the gunned-down spirit in the lobby, asked me to invite you.

    To get in on the horror, pay by PayPal me at:

    terrorrabbit@me.com

    Or send a check payable to:

    MATT STEELE
    Dead of Winter Horror Invitational
    101 Cooper Street
    Santa Cruz, CA 95060

    Note that reg is 1st come, 1st in, so snail mail isn’t recommended.

    I’ll need to know the following for everyone who registers. People move and have disposable phones and all, so even if you’re a regular, I’d like an update.

    NAME:
    ADDRESS:
    PHONE:
    Landline:
    Cell:
    EMAIL ADDRESS:
    Will you be staying for the Sunday night session? Y or N

    You can cancel your reservation and get a full refund until Halloween Day, October 31. After Halloween there will be no refunds. Signing up after Halloween is OK, but no refunds if you have to cancel. This thing’s gonna sell out, so I’ll be putting folks on a Wait List, first listed, first contacted to get in.

    Note: GM’s don’t get free or discounted admission. Everyone’s basically chipping in to pay for the space. You are what makes this event happen. That’s super cool. GM’s do get early choices of games.

    See the CONTACT page for Cary House reservation information.

    Registration

  • For hotel reservations or questions:

    Cary House Hotel
    300 Main Street
    Placerville, CA 95667
    PH: 530.622.4271 or 866.906.5207
    WEB: www.caryhouse.com
    EMAIL: info@caryhouse.com
    Tell them that you are with Dead of Winter in December when registering. Be sure to tell them precisely which type of room you want.

    For questions regarding the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational:

    MATT STEELE
    831.566.1170
    EMAIL: terrorrabbit@me.com

    tweet #DeadofWinter
    f
    b: Dead of Winter, Terror Rabbit

    Contact Terror Rabbit

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  • Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter Winter

    Video 3
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  • Dead of Winter 2010

  • Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

    Hello world!

  • Dead of Winter
    It was awesome! I played in four epic games, and dropped by Endgame (www.endgameoakland.com) to buy Cthulhu (www.cthulhutech.com) Tech before I got home. I’ve already made myself a four day weekend for next year.

    Jill Stapleton

  • …a big thank you to you, sir, for working your ass off to get this thing off the ground, and continuing to keep it running while all the various…adventures were going on. Can’t wait ‘til next year, and looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Badger McInnes

  • Somehow it was impossible to get a picture of Matthew Grau in focus while he ran his soon to be released game, CHTHONIAN STARS at Dead of Winter. I don’t know why that is, but I have my suspicions. {Cultist!} Chthonian Stars is due out April 2011. I’ve seen an advanced copy. OK I ran a game with it, and it looks to be my favorite game for 2011. Mr. Grau gave me the formal scoop on it.

    Chthonian Stars: The Cthulhu Saga I
    2159 AD. It is a good time to be alive. The nations of the world still exist, but they have become more civilized, and we have expanded into the rest of our solar system. But, alas, it is not to be our time. Something approaches, a thing on an orbit from far away. Seemingly a large shard of dark matter, this object is known in obscure prophecy as the Chthonian Star. It is awakening things long thought lost or dead, things that have slumbered awaiting its return.The Unified World Council sends out special teams of sanctioned Wardens, whose job it is to ascertain the new threats to human life, to learn everything they can about them, and fight them wherever they are found.

    Chthonian Stars is an original Lovecraftian horror setting for Traveller.

    This Core Setting Book:
    •    Provides a detailed exploration of our fully colonized solar system, only a few hundred years in the future.
    •    New optional character design rules, including advantages and disadvantages, as well as career half-terms.
    •    Introduces new rules for fear and madness, as well as optional rules for character survivability.
    •    Brings to life many familiar Lovecraftian horrors for Traveller, as well as a host of new and original ones.
    •    Details more than a dozen new spaceships.
    •    Includes three ready-to-run adventures, to get groups running quickly.
    •    From the award-winning team that brought you CthulhuTech.

    Chthonian Stars pass through Dead of Winter

  • Mike Muldoon graced us with his flaming Mohawk presence at Dead of Winter 2010. He and I dealt with a cursed skull in Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game.  Then we faced the challenges of living in a planetary landfill in Duane O’Brien’s bizzare HoL game. In between he gave all of the folks the lowdown on INFRNO, his project to connect table top RPG players around the world. INFRNO’s a project very close to me heart. That is to say, I wanna connect with other gamers and Muldoon and I work out of NextSpace, a coworking space in downtown Santa Cruz, CA. That means I’ve had some small influence on it along the way. Hell, I’m the first registered user. Anyone want to play games they missed at Dead of Winter? Let’s meet on INFRNO and play. Shoot me an Email so we can set it up.

    Chief Experience Officer Matthew Grau and
    CEO & Founder Mike Muldoon explore HoL at Dead of Winter.


    Here’s the official scoop:

    “Infrno is an online community for role playing enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table with video conferencing and shared whiteboard, along with all the tools you need to find players of your caliber, connect with them, and get your game on from any place, at any time.”

    INFRNO Burns at Dead of Winter


  • These people are crazy enough to go to a decrepit, haunted hotel in the Santa Cruz mountains in the Dead of Winter and tempt fate by playing horror games all weekend. Thanks to Nicole Brennan for taking the pic. “Hiding” in the woodshed and therefore not in the pic are, Wayne Coburn, Elisabeth Brewer, Duane O’Brien, Chris Ruggiero and Nik Gervae. Some of these folks have been willing to write about their experiences, post pictures and put it out on the internet. If you missed it, read all about it from:

    MATT ARMSTRONG ~ Resident Archaeologist with a great layman’s description of our hobby.

    SHANNON MAC ~ #1 Dead of Winter Cheerleader elevates DoW to his #1 event of the year.

    KAREN TWELVES ~ Woman of Mysteries puts the first two DoW’s in perspective. Awesome!

    MIKE MULDOON ~ Infernal Man of INFRNO posted pics from HoL. Even GM Duane O’Brien was nauseous.

    Sean Nittner ~ Powerhouse behind Big Bad Con takes his reviews seriously. Check out his multiple posts here, here, here, and here.

    Dead of Winter Reviews 2010

  • My life as host of the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational is a difficult one. I’ve created an event I want to attend and that makes it a blast. Trouble is there were 19 great games this year and I only got to play in 4 of them. Choosing was brutal.

    Saturday began with Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game. I played in the original last year and couldn’t resist stepping into the sequel. Grau didn’t disappoint. He did a recap for new Players and the horror of the previous game came flooding back to me. Last year my P.I. character acquired a cursed skull. This year we had to get rid of the thing.

    Not easy when soooo many bad people want it – including our employer. Why didn’t we just destroy it? Yeah, not possible. The game opened with the moral dilemma of having to defend ourselves against possessed teenagers. Ugly choices. As the story progressed the skull was making us all paranoid and creating delusions, so we passed it around to minimize the sanity loss. Sharing is caring. A stellar group of players made for good cooperative and Player vs Player action. The finale’? Let’s just say we handed Grau the possibility of another sequel.

    Saturday night was Duane O’Brien’s HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) game.
    Duane started the game by dumping an actual bag of trash on the table to simulate the environment we were in. Believe it or not, it went downhill from there. At one horrifying point one of the characters (represented by a donkey) was overrun and trampled by wastems (goo filled creatures that are also the food on HoL). Every moment got more disgusting. So much so that I decided to role-play eating coffee grounds by putting tea leaves in my mouth like chewing tobacco. Baaaaad idea. The ending was filled with all kinds of madness and my character (one-hit wonder country singer Clint Roper) nearly got himself decapitated. Gruesome. HoL is a horrible place, but the game lends itself more to over-the-top madness than horror. Still, the nasty reveal at the end brought the horror crashing down on us.

    Sunday morning brought me Jill Stapleton’s fantastic Call of Cthulhu game.
    San Francisco 1852. I played a local Sheriff’s Deputy. We had problems with Australian gangs, vigilante groups and spontaneous human combustion. A classic CoC game with a group of characters who are friends and go through tough times that test them all. They didn’t always get along as you can see as Matt DeHayes gives me the evil eye as a pants-wearing female journalist.  Jill really brought the period to life – even in a city all of the Players know quite well. Of course it was different in 1852 and she let us know just how different – and horrifying. We captured the bad guys by almost sinking their boat by filling it with water from a fire boat. A unique solution!

    I topped off the Dead of Winter in Karen Twelves’ Schizo experience.

    The most intimate and unique of the games, we sat at a small table and each Player had an MP3 player which fed us the voices in our heads. Tracks changed based on conditions of play. Karen had a chart which informed her about the track to be played and she handed us notes telling us when to change. Dice were kept in pill bottles as were jelly bean ‘pills’. As we lost more and more sanity we ate the pills. No more pills – no more sanity. The home-grown mechanics were simple and the role-playing dead on. Karen’s GM style and NPC’s were off the charts as she berated us in both roles and intentionally blurred the line of GM/NPC/Player. The voices in our heads influenced the game several times.  I hope Karen runs this for other people. It’s an experience not to be missed.

    Dead of Winter Games I Played

  • Noam Rosen, shown here with his best cheesy grin at Dead of Winter is a fellow gamer, GM and all around awesome dude. How awesome? He introduced me to Epimas. Huh? Epimas happens every December 24. Epidiah Ravanchol from The Forge runs a special deal where if you buy games for a friend, you also get the games yourself. Helluva deal! Noam went the full monty, ummm, the whole tofoose and bought me 12 games! Some rockin’ stuff including Apocalypse World, Blowback and My Life With Master. Some games I’d never heard of, but look really cool. Noam, you rock!

    Gamers Rock

  • The Wolf was in the house. That is to say that Sean Nittner talked up his new RPG/LARP convention Big Bad Con, October 7-9, 2011 in Oakland. I’ll be running a couple of games there. Sign up for the inaugural event.  Here’s what it’s all about:

    There aren’t enough good weekend long RPG conventions in the Bay Area.  My Answer: Big Bad Con!  I’ve talked to Japji Khalsa (of Kublacon), Chris Hanrahan (EndGame in Oakland), Doug Daulton (of Neoncon), Matt Steele (Dead of Winter) and tons of gamers and I’m convinced Big Bad Con is going to be awesome. I want to offer the best games to most gamers I can.  I’ve run Good Omens Con for four years as well as talked extensively with Japji as well as other gamers about what makes a con rock and my plan is to put on a con that doesn’t stop rocking till you pass out Sunday night.

    Yeah, plus he’s giving attendees a chance to participate in Gamers vs Gazebo Deathmatch and there will be the Big Bad GM competition. This thing’s gonna rock!

    Big Bad Con Blows the House Down

  • 2011/01/24Big Bad Con Blows the House Down
  • 2011/01/06Gamers Rock
  • 2010/12/27Dead of Winter Games I Played
  • 2010/12/22Dead of Winter Reviews 2010
  • 2010/12/20INFRNO Burns at Dead of Winter

The Wolf was in the house. That is to say that Sean Nittner talked up his new RPG/LARP convention Big Bad Con, October 7-9, 2011 in Oakland. I’ll be running a couple of games there. Sign up for the inaugural event.  Here’s what it’s all about:

There aren’t enough good weekend long RPG conventions in the Bay Area.  My Answer: Big Bad Con!  I’ve talked to Japji Khalsa (of Kublacon), Chris Hanrahan (EndGame in Oakland), Doug Daulton (of Neoncon), Matt Steele (Dead of Winter) and tons of gamers and I’m convinced Big Bad Con is going to be awesome. I want to offer the best games to most gamers I can.  I’ve run Good Omens Con for four years as well as talked extensively with Japji as well as other gamers about what makes a con rock and my plan is to put on a con that doesn’t stop rocking till you pass out Sunday night.

Yeah, plus he’s giving attendees a chance to participate in Gamers vs Gazebo Deathmatch and there will be the Big Bad GM competition. This thing’s gonna rock!

Noam Rosen, shown here with his best cheesy grin at Dead of Winter is a fellow gamer, GM and all around awesome dude. How awesome? He introduced me to Epimas. Huh? Epimas happens every December 24. Epidiah Ravanchol from The Forge runs a special deal where if you buy games for a friend, you also get the games yourself. Helluva deal! Noam went the full monty, ummm, the whole tofoose and bought me 12 games! Some rockin’ stuff including Apocalypse World, Blowback and My Life With Master. Some games I’d never heard of, but look really cool. Noam, you rock!

My life as host of the Dead of Winter Horror Invitational is a difficult one. I’ve created an event I want to attend and that makes it a blast. Trouble is there were 19 great games this year and I only got to play in 4 of them. Choosing was brutal.

Saturday began with Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game. I played in the original last year and couldn’t resist stepping into the sequel. Grau didn’t disappoint. He did a recap for new Players and the horror of the previous game came flooding back to me. Last year my P.I. character acquired a cursed skull. This year we had to get rid of the thing.

Not easy when soooo many bad people want it – including our employer. Why didn’t we just destroy it? Yeah, not possible. The game opened with the moral dilemma of having to defend ourselves against possessed teenagers. Ugly choices. As the story progressed the skull was making us all paranoid and creating delusions, so we passed it around to minimize the sanity loss. Sharing is caring. A stellar group of players made for good cooperative and Player vs Player action. The finale’? Let’s just say we handed Grau the possibility of another sequel.

Saturday night was Duane O’Brien’s HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) game.
Duane started the game by dumping an actual bag of trash on the table to simulate the environment we were in. Believe it or not, it went downhill from there. At one horrifying point one of the characters (represented by a donkey) was overrun and trampled by wastems (goo filled creatures that are also the food on HoL). Every moment got more disgusting. So much so that I decided to role-play eating coffee grounds by putting tea leaves in my mouth like chewing tobacco. Baaaaad idea. The ending was filled with all kinds of madness and my character (one-hit wonder country singer Clint Roper) nearly got himself decapitated. Gruesome. HoL is a horrible place, but the game lends itself more to over-the-top madness than horror. Still, the nasty reveal at the end brought the horror crashing down on us.

Sunday morning brought me Jill Stapleton’s fantastic Call of Cthulhu game.
San Francisco 1852. I played a local Sheriff’s Deputy. We had problems with Australian gangs, vigilante groups and spontaneous human combustion. A classic CoC game with a group of characters who are friends and go through tough times that test them all. They didn’t always get along as you can see as Matt DeHayes gives me the evil eye as a pants-wearing female journalist.  Jill really brought the period to life – even in a city all of the Players know quite well. Of course it was different in 1852 and she let us know just how different – and horrifying. We captured the bad guys by almost sinking their boat by filling it with water from a fire boat. A unique solution!

I topped off the Dead of Winter in Karen Twelves’ Schizo experience.

The most intimate and unique of the games, we sat at a small table and each Player had an MP3 player which fed us the voices in our heads. Tracks changed based on conditions of play. Karen had a chart which informed her about the track to be played and she handed us notes telling us when to change. Dice were kept in pill bottles as were jelly bean ‘pills’. As we lost more and more sanity we ate the pills. No more pills – no more sanity. The home-grown mechanics were simple and the role-playing dead on. Karen’s GM style and NPC’s were off the charts as she berated us in both roles and intentionally blurred the line of GM/NPC/Player. The voices in our heads influenced the game several times.  I hope Karen runs this for other people. It’s an experience not to be missed.


These people are crazy enough to go to a decrepit, haunted hotel in the Santa Cruz mountains in the Dead of Winter and tempt fate by playing horror games all weekend. Thanks to Nicole Brennan for taking the pic. “Hiding” in the woodshed and therefore not in the pic are, Wayne Coburn, Elisabeth Brewer, Duane O’Brien, Chris Ruggiero and Nik Gervae. Some of these folks have been willing to write about their experiences, post pictures and put it out on the internet. If you missed it, read all about it from:

MATT ARMSTRONG ~ Resident Archaeologist with a great layman’s description of our hobby.

SHANNON MAC ~ #1 Dead of Winter Cheerleader elevates DoW to his #1 event of the year.

KAREN TWELVES ~ Woman of Mysteries puts the first two DoW’s in perspective. Awesome!

MIKE MULDOON ~ Infernal Man of INFRNO posted pics from HoL. Even GM Duane O’Brien was nauseous.

Sean Nittner ~ Powerhouse behind Big Bad Con takes his reviews seriously. Check out his multiple posts here, here, here, and here.

Mike Muldoon graced us with his flaming Mohawk presence at Dead of Winter 2010. He and I dealt with a cursed skull in Matthew Grau’s Cthulhu Tech game.  Then we faced the challenges of living in a planetary landfill in Duane O’Brien’s bizzare HoL game. In between he gave all of the folks the lowdown on INFRNO, his project to connect table top RPG players around the world. INFRNO’s a project very close to me heart. That is to say, I wanna connect with other gamers and Muldoon and I work out of NextSpace, a coworking space in downtown Santa Cruz, CA. That means I’ve had some small influence on it along the way. Hell, I’m the first registered user. Anyone want to play games they missed at Dead of Winter? Let’s meet on INFRNO and play. Shoot me an Email so we can set it up.

Chief Experience Officer Matthew Grau and
CEO & Founder Mike Muldoon explore HoL at Dead of Winter.


Here’s the official scoop:

“Infrno is an online community for role playing enthusiasts, providing a virtual game table with video conferencing and shared whiteboard, along with all the tools you need to find players of your caliber, connect with them, and get your game on from any place, at any time.”

World Domination Headquarters

If you would like to join Matt Steele in his evil schemes to take over the world, discuss roll playing games, or attend a Terror Rabbit Venture, send a signal across the aether.

Talk to the Rabbit.


All rights reserved. Terror Rabbit 2010.