In a small, somewhat unremarkable town named Castus Hollow, something odd is happening
For decades, people have been appearing in the streets at dawn from apparently nowhere. Before anyone can get to them, they collapse into convulsions, followed by a high fever. Usually only one or two at a time, though occasionally in groups as large as 5 or 6, these newcomers always in unusual clothing that nobody in the town can recognise the make of. When they awaken, they have no memory - not even of their names or ages - but they have grown feathered wings.
Though their appearances have become a routine event, there are whispers of what goes on if you become too close with the Feathers. Whispers that you either catch whatever it is they have, or just vanish forever. Or worse that whatever lives in the forest will hunt you down and steal you from your very bed.
The town is encircled on all sides by thick, impenetrable forest. Certainly, you could pass through it in theory, but that would mean traversing the woods, which have grown so thick and dark that often its like night inside. Thats to say nothing of the beasts that lurk within, creatures who have not so much been seen in person as had their handiwork laid out for the town to see - gashes in the walls that look like knives made them, mere bloody scraps of peoples clothing left behind after attacks, horrifying screeches in the night that echo when the moon is gone from the sky.
So it is better, your dear nurses tell you, to lay low. Youre a Feather now, but it doesnt have to be a bad thing. Enjoy the simple country existence you could build here. Make some new friends, make some new memories, make a new life for yourself.
Otherwise, you might fast end up dead.
Castus Hollow is an independent Discord RP group. Set in a quiet town apparently stuck in the late 1800s, players will find themselves trying to unravel the mysteries of the town, and of how they have ended up there in such a strange form in the first place. It began in July 2017 and is currently ongoing.
Tropes featured in Castus Hollow include:
- Abandoned Area: The town is shrinking due to the encroaching forest and monsters, so there are many houses to explore and loot on the edge of or just inside the forest.
- Berserk Button: Navigating conversations with the inhabitants of Castus Hollow is generally a pleasant experience, but make no mistake, these people have been living under seige conditions for 50 years. They have ALL lost someone at some point, and some have even seen it happen in front of them, leading to a traumatised and emotionally fragile populace. Particular lines of questioning, implications, or even just certain colours can lead to snapped insults and breakdowns.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: After the revelation that the Feathers are usually killed in a short amount of time by monsters (or the further actual revelation that the Feathers usually BECOME monsters), a few npcs allude to previous Feathers that committed suicide because of this.
- Blade on a Stick: The weapon of choice for the Peacekeepers, used for their range as both a projectile and melee weapon. Apparently, it's a bit of a Holy Hand Grenade, with special properties from being blessed during the making.
- Body Horror: Oh god, so much. The concept of growing entire limbs worth of wings in the space of a single night aside, the Monsters in the forest have just enough humanoid features blended with their grotesque appearances to drive them right into the Uncanny Valley. Something about the arms being to long and thin, the fingers being clawed and skeletal, their torsos elongated and skin a mottled grey... oh, and the eyes.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Given the destruction of the houses some groups find, along with at least one skeleton who seemed to have had its limbs torn off...
- Eyes Do Not Belong There: When we finally see the Monsters, we find that they can see us just as well... from the molten-gold eyes littered all over their bodies.
- Fantastic Racism: A good portion of the town is suspicious of Feathers. Justified, because Feathers attract monsters to the town, putting everyone at risk, and having lead to several deaths in the past.
- Glowing Eyes: The monsters, visible from several hundred meters away.
- Humanoid Abomination: What many people think of the Feathers as. What the Monsters DEFINITELY are.
- Ontological Mystery: The only hints of their past lives that the Feathers had come in the form of the fever dreams they had while growing their wings.
- Stalking Is Love: Oh no, Penny, oh no... Crimson, you better run!
- Town with a Dark Secret: Probably, but who knows what that secret is yet? (Hint, it's edging closer into Cosmic Horror territory.)
- The Darkness Gazes Back: Our first glimpse of the beasts is from an abandoned house, looking into the forest edge at sunset. The glowing eyes of hundreds(?) of monsters wait for the sun to fully set.
- The Lost Woods: The dense forest surrounding the town is growing abnormally fast, encroaching on old houses and swallowing up streets and buildings alike. This would be fine, if it weren't for the monsters that exclusively inhabit the shade of the trees.
- Was Once a Man: The Feathers are explicitly stated to not be human any more, having slightly different physiology, enough that medicine needs to be applied differently to them. (And of course, the Ferals were once Feathers, but aren't anymore.)
- What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Given that the Feathers are considered a new species now, distrusted or avoided by a fair chunk of the town, the question has to be asked. Also comes up for the monsters the more is learned about them.
- Winged Humanoid: All the player characters, known as Feathers.
- You Can't Go Home Again: All previous Feathers have been killed by monsters before they could leave Castus Hallow. Some people take this as a challenge.
- You Wake Up in a Room: A hospital room, strapped to a hospital bed, before they're ushered out by nurses to meet the other Feathers.