Ghosts of the Opera
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When the Dartmouth Opera House burned down in 1170 NA, the spirits of the many people who died in the blaze lingered on as mad, but weak phantasms unable to affect the material plane. Eventually, these phantasms began forming a strange kind of symbiosis with the worms living in the earth below the building - each worm containing a small personality fragment of one of the victims. Over the following centuries, the worms began devouring each other until some fragments controlled not a single worm, but a small swarm. In recent decades, most worms have assimilated into a gestalt consciousness, with the consciousness of Roland Stadler as the dominant personality.

The creature still retains the fondness for operas that many of its component personalities had. Thus, it tends to watch the operas from hidden passages. After the opera ends, it may appear to the performers. If it liked the opera, it will don a black robe and a white, smiling mask that conceals its true nature. If it disliked the opera, it will don a red robe and a black, frowning mask. This has caused most to believe that there are actually two separate entities haunting the Opera House, especially since they have developed different speech patterns on the rare occasions they talk to others.

But unknown to everyone, the "Ghost" has a hidden agenda as well. It has learned how to implant its worms into living people, and can use that to see through their eyes and control them by causing them pain or even killing them from a distance. It has used the Opera House to kidnap people from their boxes during performances, implanting worms in them, and then bringing them back before the performance is over. But it is moving slowly and carefully to avoid being discovered, which is why it doesn't control many people yet. But among those it controls, quite a few are members of the First Families, and if it is not stopped, it could eventually end up controlling Dartmouth from behind the scenes.

If it has a weakness, it is its sense of melodrama. When confronted by enemies, it will generally not try to kill them outright. Instead, it will seek to confuse and misdirect them to prove its superiority - staging events just like an opera play.

Adventure Ideas

The "Ghosts of the Opera" can serve as the main villain for an entire Dartmouth-based campaign - the PCs can try to unravel its schemes while it gains more and more control over the city and its leaders.

And, of course, the showdown should be during a live performance at the Opera House.

Designer's Notes & Resources

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