You awaken from a dark, dreamless sleep. The floor is hard and uncomfortable beneath your back.
The room is baroque and gilded, an antechamber in an unknown palace. You have no memory of this place.
For that matter, you have no memory of who you are.
Yes, it’s amnesia.
The only thing you can remember is an avocado. It’s a warty, green fruit filled with delicious paste.
By concentrating as hard as you can, you manage to dredge up a memory of several avocados.
You remember guacamole. This is a savory slime made from the delicious paste of an avocado.
So ends this tale of terror. Stripped of all thought and identity beyond avocados, you sit on the floor remembering avocados until you die. Murderfull Manor has claimed another victim.
Musty woods and ancient paints clad the walls of a grand entrance hall. Normally, you would admire this ornate architecture, but something feels wrong. First of all, you have lost your memory, which is very suspicious on its own. Second, you can sense the sinister presence of evil in the air.
Either one of those factors by itself would put a crimp in your evening, and together they make you extremely keen to leave. Losing your memories is bad, and losing your memories in an evil manor is even worse.
Avocados are refreshing but also savory. You can eat one like a fruit, or spread it like a butter. Most people agree that when they’re sliced up and added to a salad or sandwich, they can kick your meal up a notch. If you’re a child, you can pretend that an avocado is a dinosaur egg because it’s shaped like an egg and it’s green and lumpy. Avocados can last a pretty long time without refrigeration as long as you don’t peel them. Some kinds of sushi rolls have avocado in them.
You can think of many other positive attributes of the avocado, but right now you should probably figure out how to escape this place.
The front door is securely chained shut, which is not how front doors are supposed to work. You won’t be able to escape this way. As you ponder your dilemma, a malevolent voice begins to harshly echo through the halls.
“Welcome to Murderfull Manor!” says the voice. “It is time to repent for your misdeeds, and the only atonement is death. Yours! Yes, it is time to die. You are going to be dead tonight, in an evening most macabre! No sinner shall be spared from redemption, and by redemption, I mean a gruesome demise.”
“Just to be clear: death,” the voice adds.
The voice ignores what you’re saying because it’s a prerecorded message playing from a gramophone.
“Seven sinners have been gathered here tonight, and seven sinners shall die. The door is locked, the windows are barred, and the rooms are filled with deadly deathtraps that are lethal. However, you’ll receive a fair, sporting chance. You can escape with your lives if you solve the Riddle of Murderfull Manor. Here it is. You might want to get a pen.”
“The Riddle Of Murderfull Manor
My hands are upon my face;
They spin to tell the time;
There are twelve numbers upon me,
And on the hour, I chime.
As my gears count the hours,
They make the sounds ‘tick’ and ‘tock’;
I can also count minutes and seconds;
My name rhymes with ‘sock.’
I am not a sundial or hourglass,
Although those are related to me;
If I’m on a wrist, I’m called a watch:
What could I be?”
“A dog” is a pretty good guess, because you could train a dog to bark every hour to tell you what time it is. But dogs don’t have hands, so that can’t be it.
“Man” was a pretty good guess, because the answer to most riddles is “man.” However, the word “man” does not rhyme with “sock,” so that can’t be right. This particular riddle must have an answer that is not man.
“Excuse me, did you say you were going to look for clues?” says an elegant woman in a flowing white gown. You didn’t notice her walk up behind you.
“I just woke up with amnesia in this sinister mansion, and then I heard a voice say a riddle we could solve to not die,” she explains. “Because of that reason, I also want to solve the riddle.”
“I think they are a versatile fruit.”
“Agreed, we should work together to escape Murderfull Manor,” she says. “I forgot my name due to amnesia, but you can call me Lust because my only memory is committing the lusty sin of kissing a snowman.”
“Kissing is wrong and illegal, unless you smooch in a Catholic church so the Pope can say it’s kosher,” says Lust. “I was planning to marry a man or a woman in a Roman Catholic cathedral and kiss them in a holy way, but I had never kissed anyone before. I was afraid I would bungle the kiss, so I decided to practice on a snowman.”
“We better start looking for clues,” says Lust. “Where do you want to search first?”
You enter a dark room filled with hundreds of flying knives constantly zipping back and forth through the air. Whirring machines in the walls spit out the blades, and also catch them when they don’t hit anyone. By the doorway, you’re pretty safe, but you’ll certainly get skewered if you step further in.
Other than very fast knives, the room is completely empty. It’s just a barren cube with no furniture or anything else besides knives. There is absolutely nothing here that could be considered a clue.
You enter a normal room, which in this case is a dining room. A long banquet table is laden with a sumptuous feast. Glazed meats, antique cheeses, and the brownest wines form an inviting spread.
As you and Lust enter through one door, five strangers stagger into the room through five other doors.
As you walk into the room filled with countless airborne daggers, you are stabbed by many knives. Your one mistake was walking into a room filled with incredibly speedy knives, and sadly, this mistake turns out to be fatal. Murderfull Manor has claimed its first victim of the evening.
“Hello, I forgot my name due to amnesia,” says a brooding bearded gentleman. “However, you may call me Wrath. That’s because my only remaining memory is committing the wrathful sin of screaming at a geyser.”
“I traveled to see Old Faithful erupt, but it erupted for too long,” explains Wrath. “At first, it was nice to see the geyser spray hot water, but it kept going. After two whole minutes of it squirting water, I called out, ‘That’s enough.’ By minute five, when it finally stopped, you can imagine how angry I was.”
“Hello, I also have amnesia and forgot my name,” says a gaunt man with a wispy mustache. “But you can call me Gluttony. That’s because my only memory is committing the sin of gluttony by eating a great deal of bread.”
“Two whole baguettes,” confesses Gluttony. “Not the super-long baguettes, but still pretty big ones.”
“Hello, I also have amnesia and forgot my name,” says a handsome young rake. “However, a good name for me is Greed. That’s because I can remember committing the greedy sin of owning a car.”
“Yes, it was entirely my car,” admits Greed. “Nobody got to own it but me.”
“When it comes to me, I have amnesia,” says a lithe woman in a black cocktail dress. “I forgot my name, but you should call me Envy.”
“Yes, I want to own a car,” says Envy in a guilty whisper. “Whenever I see someone else with a car, I enviously think that it would be nice to own a car.”
“Hello, I certainly have amnesia,” says a pale gentleman. “My name is forgotten, but you might as well call me Sloth. That’s because I did nothing to help my suicidal son until it was too late.”
“Not particularly. It’s a rather sore subject for me, because my son died and it was my fault,” explains Sloth. “He warned me numerous times that he wanted to die and needed counseling, and I always replied that I needed to sit down for a minute and was too tired to call a psychologist. Hence, my sin of sloth. I would do anything to bring back my son, the one who’s dead, but sadly, he is dead.”
Sloth wipes away a tear and then yawns loudly, holding back his obvious guilt and sleepiness. “What about you? Surely you must have also committed a bad sin that brought you to this juncture of being in a bad manor?”
“Yes, it is a sad topic,” agrees Sloth.
“What about you? Surely you must have also committed a bad sin that brought you to this juncture of being in a bad manor?”
You’re interrupted by the loud ring of a dinner gong. The bell sounds seven times, and once it stops reverberating, another prerecorded message starts playing from a gramophone.
“The guests have all arrived at their final feast,” says the cruel voice. “Eat, drink, and make merry, for this is your last night alive! Be warned, all the food in front of you is perfectly safe, except for the dinner rolls, which are my famous poisoned dinner rolls. Can you resist their savory allure? Or will the sin of gluttony be your downfall?”
“That seems awfully paranoid,” says Lust.
The dinner rolls are freshly baked and delightfully chewy. You and your six fellow prisoners partake in gluttony and eat copious amounts of Murderfull Manor’s excellent breads.
Shortly after you say that, it turns out that the dinner rolls were in fact poisoned, and you all die of poison. Whoever filled Murderfull Manor with deathtraps did a lot more work than they needed to.
Heeding the mysterious voice’s warning, you eat everything except for the dinner rolls. You swallow copious amounts of honey-dappled meats, quaff countless flagons of wine, and gorge yourself on a dessert of lumpy pudding. However, by avoiding the rolls, you eat just little enough to not commit the sin of gluttony.
“Mmm, that was delicious,” says Gluttony. “Including the dinner rolls, which I ate one of because of my gluttony. I only ate one roll, because I wasn’t that hungry, but it was pretty good, even though I wasn’t really in the mood for a dinner roll. Also, it seems to be poisonous, because I am choking now.”
Gluttony lies down on the floor, succumbing to the withering toxins coursing through his veins. Although he was killed by poison, truly gluttony was Gluttony’s downfall. The wicked gluttony sin of eating food.
You and the remaining five prisoners eat the rest of the dinner rolls. They are chewy and wonderful, and hopefully not poisonous like the one that slew Gluttony.
The dinner rolls were poisoned.
The six remaining sinners file out of the dining room and return to the serpentine hallways of Murderfull Manor. Where will you dare venture next?
Upon entering the room that is filled with gouts of flame and has a glowing metal floor, you all become horribly burned and perish.
The lethal labyrinth of Murderfull Manor has outwitted its victims.
Voluminous tomes fill the shelves of the manor’s library. There are books on every subject imaginable. Perhaps there is information here that could aid in your escape.
“For thousands of years before Murderfull Manor was built, druids conducted their pagan ceremonies here atop Murderfull Hill. They practiced a weird and wrong religion, worshipping the Elder Gods of the Octopus Dimension. Unlike Christ, these gods are evil and have more tentacles.
“The old, wrong gods demanded human sacrifice because they were evil and they were into that kind of thing. Every year, the druids would offer up seven sacrifices to appease the squid deities. From their tribe they would select seven sinners, one for each of the Seven Deadly Sins.”
The Big Book Of Riddle Clues is underneath a clock on one of the library’s tables. You move the clock aside and flip through the book to the page about the Riddle of Murderfull Manor.
“Clues for the Riddle of Murderfull Manor:
Hint 1: A timepiece.
Hint 2: Big Ben is one.
Hint 3: Has five letters in its name.
Hint 4: Is an object.”
When you pull on Secret Passages And You, the book refuses to come off the shelf. Instead, you hear a mechanical click, and a secret passage opens.
“You all go on ahead,” says Sloth. “I found a book that describes what it’s like to yawn in bed, and I want to stay and finish reading it. I’ll probably die on my own, but that’s just the downside of being so slothful.”
You leave Sloth behind and travel down the passage to a crypt filled with rows of clay soldiers. Grim porcelain sneers stare at you from unfriendly ceramic faces. Although they’re merely statues, you feel as though you’re being watched.
You’ll have to walk past them to reach the doorway on the other side of the cavern.
As you caper about mocking the clay soldiers, there is the whirring sound of mechanical gears coming from inside one of the statues. The figure’s arm moves and swiftly grabs your throat with its powerful ceramic hand.
Your fellow prisoners try to pull your neck free, or smash off the clay statue’s arm, but it’s too strong. It has a solid grip, and you’re not going anywhere. After a few hours of futile attempts to free you, your allies finally give up. With profuse apologies, they leave you to your fate, forever trapped in this crypt.
So that’s what you’re up to now.
You walk past the statues without making a sound. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Wrath.
“There are too many clay soldiers here!” he screams. “Far too many! Ten or 15 clay soldiers would be enough. I’m enjoying these clay soldiers, but this is too much of a good thing!”
The statues mercilessly wad Wrath up into a ball. By the time they’re done with him, only a grisly lump of squished meat is left on the floor.
There’s no sign of a pulse. Wrath is dead.
A stairway leads back into the upper levels of the manor. The four remaining sinners trudge upstairs with trepidation, unsure what awaits them.
You emerge in the manor’s garage, where a lone sports car is parked. The heavy steel gate to the driveway is lowered, so you won’t be able to escape this way.
You climb into the car and find the keys waiting for you on the dashboard. What luck!
From that point, it’s a simple matter to floor the accelerator and crash into the gate at top speed. Unfortunately, crashing the car really fast proves fatal, and you die.
The glove compartment contains the book The History Of Murderfull Manor: Volume II.
“For centuries, the barons of Murderfull Manor have continued the dark traditions of their pagan ancestors, gathering victims to sacrifice to the unpleasant tentacled gods of the Octopus Dimension. Every year, they would find seven sinners and feed them a memory potion to give them amnesia, then make them wander through their bad manor of traps.
“This continued for generations until the kindhearted son of the current Baron Murderfull tried to halt the barbaric customs of his family. His father refused, warning that the gods must be appeased. Feeling guilt and shame over his family’s bad religion, a religion that is frankly garbage compared to Christianity, the baron’s son committed suicide.”
When you look up from the book, Greed is waiting to talk to you. “So, I’ve been thinking a lot about this car,” says Greed. “It’s good, and I’ve decided to own it. I want to turn on the car, and sit in it, and say ‘This vehicle is my property.’”
“I’ve also been thinking about this car,” says Envy. “It’s good, and I’ve decided to want to own it, but I’m not going to actually own it. Greed is going to own it. I’m going to sit in the car with him and say ‘This is a fine property of yours.’”
Greed and Envy climb into the car and turn it on. Deadly carbon monoxide gas starts filling up the garage.
“I own this car,” shouts Greed. “This car is my possession,” he yells.
“Wow, what a looker,” says Envy. “A good car. Wish I had a car like this.”
After about 20 minutes of committing greed and envy, Greed and Envy suffocate to death. Murderfull Manor has claimed two more souls.
You enter the vehicle to commit the sin of either greed or envy. It doesn’t take long for your sin to catch up with you, because the car is completely full of smoke. You suffocate and die, another mouse caught by the merciless mousetrap that is Murderfull Manor.
“It looks like it’s down to just you and me again,” says Lust. “I hope neither of us dies in this next room.”
You enter a mahogany-paneled drawing room and discover a regal woman playing a mournful song on a piano. When she sees you, she stands up and beckons you to come closer.
“Welcome, poor souls,” she says. “I am Baroness Murderfull. Do not worry; I am not your enemy. The evil Baron Murderfull is holding me captive as well, because I told him I want a divorce.”
“What else would you like to talk about?”
“To escape, simply go through the doors behind me. There, you will face your final challenge and have your chance to solve the Riddle of Murderfull Manor. If you answer it correctly, you will be able to leave.”
“I wish I knew,” she says sadly. “I have pondered the riddle for many years, but the clues never made any sense to me.”
“After my son committed suicide, I lost faith in the ancient, evil gods I worshipped,” she says. “I converted to Christianity, but my husband, Baron Murderfull, wants to keep being a polytheistic pagan and sacrificing people. I know some couples can make interfaith marriages work, but I’m just not ready for that kind of challenge in my own life.”
A pair of doors swing open behind the baroness.
“I have one final warning,” she says. “Under no circumstances should you try to kiss me on the lips as you exit this room. The baron trapped me by putting poisonous lipstick on my lips. Kissing me on the lips would not only be the sin of lust, but it would also definitely be lethal. You can kiss me elsewhere if you want, but the lips are strictly off-limits.”
As you kiss the baroness on the lips, your first realization is that lust is a fun sin, but your second realization is that you are now poisoned. A bunch of unpleasant things start to happen to your body, which include but are not limited to: vomiting up your food; blood leaking from your tear ducts; urinating uncontrollably; urinating blood uncontrollably; minor headache; terrible headache; becoming dead.
“So, the bad news is that I just kissed the baroness on the lips,” says Lust. “Now I am poisoned and dying. The good news is that I practiced kissing and became really good at kissing.”
“Bad news for me also,” says Baroness Murderfull. “When Lust kissed my poisoned lipstick, some of the lipstick smudged onto her lips, and then smudged back onto my lips, so I got poisoned too and also got good at kissing.”
Neither woman replies because they are both dead from poisoned lipstick.
The doors lead into the manor’s kitchen, a vast, arched room filled with cooking utensils and savory ingredients.
You have no strong opinion about tomatoes.
As you look at the avocados, something sparks your memory, churning up a lost recollection from the cloudy fog of your amnesia. You remember what your sin is.
You committed the sin of pride by being proud that you’re fairly knowledgeable about avocados and their uses.
The avocados were a trap! When you lift one of the multipurpose fruits to hug and admire it, a hidden button is released with a menacing click.
There’s the earsplitting grinding of stone on stone, and the walls on either end of the room start moving closer together. The kitchen and everything in it will be crushed!
Your pride is your downfall. The walls relentlessly close in, but you never stray from the avocados. Eventually, the walls crush you and the avocados together into a gruesome red-and-green paste of human gristle and pulped avocado. You die as human guacamole, arguably the most noble death there is. Murderfull Manor may have succeeded in slaying you, but you went out on your own terms.
You walk briskly toward the doors, abandoning the avocados and your sinful ways. The walls slam shut behind you with a deafening crunch. On the other side of the doorway, you discover the manor’s entrance hall. You’ve traveled in a full loop around the building.
“Well done, you have survived my bad manor and all its mean tricks,” says the cruel prerecorded voice. “An impressive display of pluck and derring-do.”
“Now, you must solve the Riddle of Murderfull Manor to earn your freedom. What is the answer?”
“No, that isn’t the answer. Guess again.”
“Well done, you win,” says the gramaphone. “Congratulations. Have a nice day.” The gates to the manor unlock and swing open.
You take a step toward the door. You’ve spent all night in the manor, and the morning light is warm and inviting. Freedom and safety are mere feet away, but you hesitate before leaving. It seems wrong that Baron Murderfull could cause so much death and amnesia and get away with his crimes.
You walk away from the manor as a better person than when you were kidnapped and had your memory erased. The infamous mansion and its lethal traps were a fiery crucible that purified your soul, erasing your sins and giving you hope for a brighter future. The rustling wind and the chirping birds are a serenade, singing a song about the endless possibility that awaits you, although you briefly wonder if there was more you could have done to uncover the final secret of those cursed grounds. It’s a shame that all those people had to die, but on the whole, you can’t complain about your experience at Murderfull Manor.
Baron Murderfull must pay for his sins. You spurn the open door and venture deeper into the manor. Eventually, you discover a wing that looks older than the surrounding architecture, an ancient temple that predates the rest of the building.
You can sense that an epic confrontation is imminent. If you need to use the bathroom, better get that taken care of now before you go any further.
You feel much better.
Deep in the bowels of the manor, you find the inner sanctum of a temple, a foul pagan shrine to elder deities long forgotten.
“At last, you know the truth,” says the man you formerly knew as Sloth. “I am Baron Murderfull. If you plan to kill me, that’s perfectly fine. That sounds good.”
“Of course. I am Sloth. I am one of the seven sinners who must die to complete the ritual and open the rift to the Octopus Dimension, where the terrible gods of my garbage religion lurk.
“Once the gateway is open, you may ask the old, tentacled gods for a single boon. Please ask them to bring my dead son back to life. He’s a nice, kind boy, and he wants to go to college to get a degree in sustainable energy. Whatever faults I may have as a baron who kills people, do not blame him for my misdeeds.”
“Originally, that was the plan, but then my wife died from poison lipstick. Baroness Murderfull also committed the sin of pride, because she was proud of being almost average height. She was just a few inches shorter than average height, and she was very proud of that fact. We don’t need another prideful person to sacrifice; one is enough.
“Now, please do a murder on me and bring my son back.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I really wanted you to murder me,” says Baron Murderfull. “Well, best of luck to you. Goodbye.”
You grasp a nearby obsidian dagger and plunge the jagged blade into Baron Murderfull’s chest. “Thanks,” he cries.
After a few stabs, he turns into a dead body, and a swirling vortex opens. From the other side, you can hear the eerie splashing of colossal octopuses. You sense that the evil, bad gods are waiting for you to speak. It occurs to you that you could ask for any favor you want.
A handsome young lad walks through the rift, crossing back over from the lands of the dead. “Thank you, stranger,” he says while clasping your hand in gratitude. “You have ended my father’s life, and with it, snuffed out the last trace of his wrong and bad religion. Nobody else shall ever be murdered in Murderfull Manor, because I’m going to remove the deathtraps and turn it into a research facility for studying renewable energy and green tech.”
Baron Murderfull Jr. is true to his word, and over the next few weeks, the manor becomes a world-class scientific facility for researching solutions to humanity’s most pressing energy problems. In future years, you often read about Murderfull Labs in the newspaper whenever it reports another groundbreaking discovery. It would be sinful to be proud of helping make all this progress possible, but you certainly feel pleased with how things turned out. Congratulations, you have survived Murderfull Manor and indirectly solved our global energy crisis!
Your slain friends emerge from the rift, filing through one by one. Lust. Wrath. Greed. Envy. Even Baroness Murderfull is with them.
At first, you’re delighted to see them alive and well, but your joy quickly turns to horror. The elder squid gods returned their bodies, but not their souls. They came back not as humans, but as shambling ghouls.
The ghouls follow you home from Murderfull Manor and move into your house with you. They aren’t particularly bad roommates, and they help out with household chores, but since nobody will hire a ghoul, they can’t find jobs, and so they don’t pay any of the rent. You consider kicking them out, but you don’t think they’d be able to get a lease on their own, and you feel too guilty to abandon them to the streets. It kind of sucks that you live with ghouls now, but at least you survived Murderfull Manor.
Using a handy torch and a bottle of sacramental wine, you improvise a Molotov cocktail and hurl it through the interdimensional rift into the Octopus Dimension. After a moment, there’s a tremendous explosion, followed by echoing inhuman screams and furious wet thrashing.
The portal snaps shut with a loud pop of inrushing air. Murderfull Manor begins trembling around you as a powerful earthquake starts to build strength.
You escape from the building just before the entire hulking structure collapses into rubble. Murderfull Manor is no more. With its destruction, you feel as though a dark shadow has been lifted from the world.
As you prepare to walk away, something catches your eye in the pile of wrecked masonry and wood. Something that survived the manor’s destruction.
You’ve salvaged an avocado! Miraculously, it’s unbruised and still good to eat.
Congratulations, you have destroyed the ancient evil of Murderfull Manor and also gotten an avocado!