Wednesday, October 9, 2013

October Blog Carnival Post: Spooky Spots

The October RPG Blog Carnival topic is spooky spots. I think I'm going to do several of these.

Growing up in the Inland Empire (aka The Valley of the Dirt People aka The 909), there were plenty of spooky spots. Old buildings, in particular, are some of the creepiest. On top of having history, they tend to have architectural features that more modern Southern California buildings don't - basements, boilers, cellars, tunnels, sealed off rooms, etc. Remodeling and renovations can lead to anomalies in a building that makes you wonder, "Why is that there? Where does it go?". Out of those older buildings, high schools are prime real estate for creepy goings on. This is usually because there are a lot of hormone-riddled, over-imaginative kids filling them who like to make shit up. Rumors and stories get started by the upperclassmen to freak out the freshman, and coupled with a dash of truth, these places can be very creepy indeed.

The original Chaffey College building has creepy written all over it

Chaffey High School in Ontario, California is very definitely one of those places that can be very creepy. There's a huge, well-outfitted auditorium complete with trap doors under the stage and a sub-basement with prop rooms, and a building with a clock tower that was permanently closed off. Up until relatively recently, a boiler room sat in the middle of the campus - the remains of the mechanical plant - which means there have to be steam tunnels running to the older buildings. Rumors persist of a bomb shelter underneath the campus - for sure, there are basements in at least two of the buildings. Some doors in those basements are locked or welded shut. When I was going to school some friends and I tried to find ways to get into the tunnels, including being in buildings at night (the statute of limitations is seven years, right?). Renovation of one of the buildings unearthed rooms dating from World War 2 that contained cots, rations, medical supplies and even an indoor shooting range . The high school had an aeronautics department starting in the 1930s, and I've seen pictures of army bivouacs on campus and remember reading the Army Air Corps trained mechanics there (but oddly can't find any confirmation of this). The Army presence on campus isn't too far-fetched though, because Chino Airport - only a few miles away from Chaffey - trained pilots during the war. This place is totally Mazes and Monsters-ville.

So, over the next few weeks I'll use rampant conjecture and a few facts to spruce up a few roleplaying locations inspired by my own experiences. I might even try out some of the cool mapping tutorials I've seen lately to provide some visual aids.