Halloween 2022 - Whispers in the Walls
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To: [email protected]
From: [email protected]
Subject: Karin
I hope you receive this. I asked the school to let me send one last message from my phone. I have no way of knowing its answer. Hopefully, you are reading this.

I wanted to let you know that Karin is fine. She is at South Creek Elementary. However, she can’t come home. But please! DO NOT come here! It would not be wise. I will try to explain but I doubt you will understand.

The school has a spirit.  Not one living in it, like a ghost, but its own, individual spirit. When the school was closed it longed for the life and laughter of the children who once walked its halls. As months turned to years it somehow grew lonely. It began changing. It used some power to decorate the rooms, just like the teachers and children did. It even turned the basement, a place the kids referred to as “the cave”, into an actual cave. But that wasn’t enough. It longed for the life of actual people.

Starting with the transients that would take refuge within its wall at night, the school would draw them in, enchant them. It reminded them of the carefree days of playing with friends and having all their needs taken care of for them. Before too long they wanted to stay and the building obliged, reverting them to their childhood forms and absorbing them. 

Next came Douglas Millhouse, the developer who bought the school and the property. Have you ever wondered why he never developed the land? It’s because the school enticed him on one of his visits to examine his purchase. It compelled him to leave the corporate structure and stress and return to the more wistful time of childhood. Oh, he goes by “Dougie” now.

More recently your daughter Karin joined their class. Her elementary school years, the years before her father left, were her happiest, and here is where she spent most of that time. The chance to return was too tempting an offer. But I can assure you, she is happy and safe.

As for me, I can’t fully explain it myself, but I am ready to stay. I’ve seen the greedy sides of life. How people cheat, steal, and lie. I’ve worked hard for little, tired all the time. It may have been naivety, but life was simpler as a child. I want that again and I’ve found it here. 

It’s time for me to go. The school is calling . . . pulling. Remember the good times with Karin. She loves you very much.


BTW, I’m going to be the king in the class play.

Isaiah 8:19
(Relevance hint: NIV)
This was very interesting, I liked the written, authentic format with the journal and everything. Don't think I've seen something like this done before. Thanks for sharing Big Grin
(11-01-2022, 10:40 AM)Iskuu Wrote: This was very interesting, I liked the written, authentic format with the journal and everything. Don't think I've seen something like this done before. Thanks for sharing Big Grin

Thanks for the kind words. I am very big on using solo roleplaying as a way for me to experience a variety of games and explore creative ways of telling stories. If you're interested in some other formats you may not have seen I would recommend my playthrough of The Buried (the story is told through audio logs) and my video series on Delve: A Map Drawing Game.
Journal Prompts

As promised, below are listed the prompts for each journal entry.  Typically, when I play a free or “pay-what-you-want” game I share the original text. However, since Whispers in the Walls is a “Buy To Play” title (available on itch.io), I feel a greater responsibility not to reveal too much of the original game material, preserving their ability to sell the game to interested parties.  Therefore, in order to still give you the “behind-the-scenes” mechanics I will do the following. First, I will not reveal the number or suit of the playing cards drawn. Second, I will give a brief paraphrase of the prompt instead of the full text. As you read, please be aware that the original prompts are typically more detailed and suggest specific questions the player should answer in their journal.

Location/Journal Entry 1:
The location for this game is an old, abandoned classroom. Describe what you see, including decorations and any hints as to what was taught here.

Journal Entry 2: 
The room you are in has been transformed into a cave. Within the cave, you find an injured creature. Describe what you see and what happens.

Journal Entry 3: 
This room is shedding tears and crying. Additionally, it gives you insight into what is causing it grief.  What do you learn?

Journal Entry 4: 
Hands come through the walls. Why? For what are they reaching?

Journal Entry 5: 
The ceiling shifts and transforms into a blurry animation. Describe what you are seeing.

Journal Entry 6: 
Something rises up out of the floor. What is it? What do you find if you break it open? 

Journal Entry 7: 
You look in a mirror and see a forest scene. As you watch, the items in the mirror reach out and fill the room you are in and tells you a tale of a time before the tragic events you are investigating. What is that memory?

[Tev’s Note: I took a bit of liberty with this prompt.  I used the idea of a scene in the mirror and the suggestion that somehow you become part of the scene in the mirror. Also, I chose a scene that would represent a happy memory shortly before the closing of the school. Beyond that, however, I changed the forest scene to backstage preparation for a play that may have a forest setting, though I didn’t really mention that in the journal entry. 

One last comment about this entry, the “red” on the page is actually my own blood. I mentioned the narrator’s hands being cut, so it made sense there would be blood on the page. To accomplish this, I pricked a finger (using my diabetic blood testing kit), smeared the blood on my hands, and pressed and wiped them across the page.]

Journal Entry 8: 
The ceiling opens and a beam of light shines through, writing something on the floor. What does it write?

Journal Entry 9:
Thousands of dead bugs move across the floor to spell out a palindrome.  What is it?

[Tev’s Note: It is not easy coming up with a palindrome that makes sense within the context of a random story.]

Conclusion: (The prompt for the game’s conclusion is based on the number of the final journal card drawn. )

The walls are happy with what is happening here. Explain to them what you understand about the events you are investigating.  Do the walls let you go?

[Tev’s note: Instead of explaining my conclusions to the room, I obviously explained them to my client, assuming that by this time the school or other children have filled me in on some of the details of what is going on in the school.]

Final Thoughts: 

I'm always surprised at how these horror journaling games, whether it's Wretched and Alone, Quill, or Whispers, actually do have an air of creepiness and foreboding, even though I am the one deciding what happens in the story. It's even more unexpected when, instead of following the game's suggestion to turn the lights low and put on some ominous music, I write during my lunch break in a well-lit office.

One of the strengths of Whispers in the Walls is its replayability. Sure, you can replay a Wretched and Alone game or rewrite a Quill letter, but the reality is, once you imagine a scenario for one of those games it's hard to picture it differently. Since you only use 9 out of 54 cards for a Whispers game, you still have 45 more potential prompts to explore. On top of that, with 14 potential game locations (Ace through King plus the Joker), every individual room can have up to 14 unique journal entries. You should be able to play the game numerous times before finding yourself stuck trying to come up with a journal entry that isn't identical to one that you've already written.
Wow. That was cool. Loved the handwritten journal and the blood was...creepy. Smile

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