Last time I mentioned that the party headed to a haunted house and it was awesome. And it was. But there were also things that were not so awesome. However, I learnt a lot so that I can improve for next time!
When the players first arrived at the haunted manor, I set the scene and described the house as derelict and extremely creepy. It didn’t take them long to discover that the house was also haunted, as strange things started happening, like moving scarves and dancing apparitions… the atmosphere was perfect and both the players and I had a blast.
What didn’t work
Real life forced us to take a two week break after the first floor of the haunted house. By then the tension and creepiness of the situation had long since evaporated and I wasn’t able to recreate it. The players ended up wandering from room to room and making perception checks to see if they could spot the ‘haunt’. I haven’t run a lot of encounters including traps, and haunts are very similar to traps, so I was unsure how to get the mechanics and the atmosphere to work together, especially after losing the atmosphere I had created last time.
I think in future I will take more time to describe the areas in which the characters find themselves (perhaps getting perception checks beforehand or rolling them myself), and encourage them to search areas in more detail, rather than just rolling a die and asking ‘do I see anything else?’