Baltimore, MD (WKQ News): Gang activity in the Saint Agnes neighborhood continues to vex authorities. The latest initiation rite is especially troubling for those serving the city’s youth: Gang members dare young people to spend the night in a local cemetery, only to strangle them during the night. Experts are hampered in their investigations by a persistent belief among gangs and the homeless that a statue within the cemetery — known as Black Agnes — is actually responsible for the murders.
Agnes Anderson’s parents introduced her to Dr. Thomas Hooler when she was 19 years old. While her parents never actually said so, Agnes knew she was expected to allow Dr. Hooler — 10 years her senior — to court her and eventually accept a marriage proposal. She didn’t like the arrangement, or Dr. Hooler for that matter, but Agnes was determined to please her family.
In short order, Dr. Hooler did propose to Agnes, and she did accept. Her family staged a grand wedding, and Agnes forced herself to smile for her parents’ sake. Agnes knew she wasn’t marrying for love, but she hoped that someday she would grow to love to her husband. And with that thought on her mind and in her heart, Agnes said, “I do.”
Fate planned differently for Agnes, however. On her honeymoon, Dr. Hooler slapped her because Agnes refused his advances. He quickly apologized, and swore to her it would never happen again. He lied.
Throughout her 35-year marriage to Dr. Hooler, Agnes Anderson Hooler suffered physical abuse; even worse, she was unable to conceive a child. The lack of children made things even worse; Dr. Hooler scorned and ridiculed his wife cruelly. Despite all this, Agnes struggled to maintain her marriage, viewing divorce as an insult to her parents. In that 35th year, things turned even worse for Agnes. [More…]
That year, she learned that Dr. Hooler had fathered several children out of wedlock — five children with four different women, to be precise. All her life, Agnes had longed to become a mother. She suffered through years of physical and emotional abuse in the hope that someday achieving that goal. That day, Agnes Anderson Hooler died. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be a massive heart attack. Some say it wasn’t a heart attack, but a broken heart.
Agnes Anderson Hooler’s funeral was an afterthought among the crème de la crème of Baltimore’s society. A small grave in an out-of-the-way corner of the cemetery marked her final resting place. Dr. Hooler rarely mentioned his first wife, and many of those closest to him weren’t even aware of the woman who died at the age of 55. That changed when his oldest child, Thomas Hooler II, began genealogical research. The young man had never known Agnes, but instantly felt a connection to the poor woman.
Also a successful surgeon in Baltimore, young Thomas found himself one day commissioning a statue, in the image of Agnes, to be placed at her grave. The statue should be carved from black marble, the young doctor decided. The irony of using black stone to immortalize a woman who died of a broken heart never occurred to Thomas.
Fourteen months after commissioning the statue, Dr. Thomas Hooler II planned a ceremony for the unveiling. Despite sending numerous invitations, only he was present that dark, stormy day in the Baltimore cemetery. Saddened that his father didn’t have the decency to show up, young Thomas spent more than an hour at Agnes’s grave in thought.
As he turned to leave, a bolt of lightning struck the statue with a deafening CRACK. Stunned but otherwise unhurt, Thomas looked back at the statue. He didn’t see any damage, but he was certain the statue was different. Thomas stared, convinced the facial expression had changed. The artist had carved the statue with a thin smile upon her face; now, it wore a deep frown. Dr. Thomas Hooler II sighed deeply. “Rest well, Agnes. Rest well.”
In Your Modern Game
Black Agnes is a well-known “legend tripping” location, both in Baltimore as well as other locales that claim to have the statue, West Virginia being the most prominent. Legend Tripping is the act of visiting a site because of the urban legend built around the area, such as traveling to the New Jersey Pine Barrens in the hopes of seeing the Jersey Devil.
In a modern-era game, this locale presents an opportunity for dark figures to prey on the naïve. Thugs could keep watch over Black Agnes, looking for young, helpless targets to mug, kidnap — or worse. The heroes could be hired by the family of one of the victims to find out what’s going on and bring the hooligans to justice. Alternatively, police or other law enforcement-centered characters could find themselves assigned to break up the gangs that prey on visitors to the cemetery.
In Your Fantasy Game
In a game with supernatural forces, Black Agnes seeks to break the hearts of others, just as hers was broken long ago. Her spirit possesses the statue and those who rest in the presence of her marble body risk their life as Agnes stops at nothing, determined to bring her heartache and death to as many others as possible.
Black Agnes CR 9
NE Huge construct
Init –3; Senses Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +9, Spot +8
Defense 25, touch 5, flat-footed 25 (–2 Size, –3 Dex, +20 natural)
hp 106 (12d10+40 HD)
Massive Damage —
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +5
Immunities Construct immunities
Spd 10 ft.
Melee Slam +15 (2d6+12/19–20)
Space 15 ft. by 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks Improved grab, suffocate (DC 26)
Before Combat Black Agnes knows her best chance to snuff out life comes from remaining perfectly still and appearing as a normal statue. She lurks in cemeteries to catch a foe unaware.
During Combat Black Agnes is malevolent, seeking to destroy life at every opportunity. This single-minded determination makes her a dangerous foe, but also could be her undoing. Black Agnes seeks to grapple the closest target so she can squeeze the life out of it. She makes no effort to break off combat, and will relentlessly pursue those who come into her territory. Black Agnes doesn’t use any tactics other than smashing and grabbing.
Morale Black Agnes is barely sentient. That coupled with her hatred of life keeps her in combat until the very end.
Str 27, Dex 5, Con —, Int 4, Wis 12, Cha 4
Base Atk +9; Grp +25
AP 0; Rep +0
Feats Ability Focus (suffocate), Awesome Blow, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Critical (slam), Power Attack
Skills Listen +9, Spot +8
SQ Construct traits
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, Black Agnes must hit a creature at least one size category smaller than herself with her slam attack. She can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If she wins the grapple check, she establishes a hold and can try to suffocate the foe the following round.
Suffocate (Ex): Whenever Black Agnes successfully grapples a foe, she begins to squeeze the life from the target. Each round, she automatically inflicts her slam damage. In addition, victims must make a DC 26 Fortitude save or fall unconscious (0 hp) due to suffocation. In the following round, the victim drops to –1 hp and is dying. In the third round, she dies. A target who escapes Black Agnes’s grasp still risks death, though she does not die automatically in the third round.
Environment Baltimore, MD region
Organization Solitary (unique)
Advancement 13–20 HD (Huge), 21–35 (Gargantuan)
Level Adjustment —
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