Posts Tagged ‘In Nomine’

Saint Ivan’s School

Posted: October 11, 2009 in Horror, Modern, RPG
Tags: , ,

for Reformation and Redemption

St. Ivan’s is a setting I devised for In Nomine, the english version of a French RPG about Angels and Demons.  I don’t think the original is in print any more, but I know it’s available as a GURPS or D20 setting.

I’m not entirely sure where the idea came from, but I really liked the idea of this decrepit and crumbling old Catholic school being ground zero for the war between Heaven and Hell.  Thinking about it though, it would probably also make a pretty good location to set a Vampire game or even Blood!.   It’s Schlocktoberfest from Postmortem Studios, and Blood is only $6 so I think I may just pick it up, but that’s another point entirely.

I ran E through a few adventures at St I.  She was a teacher there rather than a student, and she ran into more than a few other immortals.  It was fun, and so, in the spirit of sharing, this is my first big noun…the setting of St. Ivan’s School (for reform and redemption).

The School


Saint Ivan’s is a Catholic School for Reform and Redemption, what used to be known as a “reform school”. The kids and teachers both are at St. Ivan’s for a reason.

Founded in 1872 as a convent school, St. Ivan’s ran into trouble almost immediately, when the priest in charge went berserk, attacking and killing both nuns and students. The school went downhill from there, until the point where the local archdiocese decided to give in to the true nature of the place and converted it to a reform school in the late 1930’s.


St. Ivan’s is both thriving and a shadow of it’s former self. Thriving in the sense that it is filled with underacheaving kids and apathetic teachers; a shadow in that the school itself is underfunded and slowly crumbling into dust.

The school is on a large campus, covering several acres and comprised of several buildings of varying size, age and repair. Also, underneath the campus, the buildings are all connected by passages and steam tunnels, most of great age and poor maintainence. School buildings include: male and female dormitories, general classrooms, cafeteria and student recreation, chapel, medical and nursing, library, science, computing and math, boys and girl’s gym with swimming pool, staff building, and physical plant. There is also a central sports field set up for soccer, football, field hockey and baseball.

Creely Hall, Girl’s Dormitory
The oldest building on campus is the girl’s dormitory, which was originally built in 1870 as a barracks for the local militia. Two years later the building was purchased by the local diocese to be included as part of the new school. The building is three stories and is built in a Victorian Gothic/Tower of London style which leads to it being known to many of the students as “creepy hall” rather than by its proper name of “Creely Hall”. There are two large dorms on each floor, one in either wing, seperated by a central assemby area and main staircase. The girls sleep in bunks, military-style, with individual lockers by their bunks. There are two three stall bathrooms per dorm and there is a single large gym-style shower room on the third floor. The attic of the building is unfinished wood beams beneath the dark green tin roof. Sister Corpus sleeps on the ground floor in a tidy cell.

Bradobak Hall, Boy’s Dormitory
If Creely Hall is Creepy Hall, Bradobak Hall is worse. The boy’s dormitory on the St. Ivan campus is a modern building, constructed in 1975, using plans which had been rejected by a prison as being too harsh. The four stories of Bradobak Hall are simply large open areas filled with bunk beds, with wall lockers similar to those in the Creely Hall. Washrooms on each floor have mass urinals, two stalls and a small group shower area. On the main floor the dorm space is smaller than the other floors, allowing for an office and cell for the resident boy’s warden, Father Justin, and an assembly/lobby area just inside the front doors. Each floor of the building is painted a different institutional color. The main floor is beige; the second floor, blue; the third, green; and the fourth, grey. Inadequate windows provide little light and almost no view.

Note: Creely Hall and Bradobak Hall are across campus from each other for reasons of student safety and security.

Reitman Library
The campus centre of books and learning, the Reitman library building was constructed in the late 1960’s and it shows. The building is a four story cement pillbox with not nearly enough long, narrow windows. Outside it looks like it houses Nazis, inside it’s like being in an institutional submarine. On the top floor, a “divine” skylight looks heavenward from the centre of the flat roof.

As the old urban myth goes, they built the library and forgot about the weight of the shelves. Well not here. No, here they forgot the weight of the books. All four floors of the library are filled with shelves, half of which are empty. It is not at all uncommon to discover a long shelf with only a single book placed on it. The shelves were also built by the lowest bidder, with the end result that they run for a distance and then abruptly turn 90°, making the stacks into a twisty, winding maze.

The librarian, Sister Charity, has been known to close students’ hands in books in place of a fine for being overdue.

The Chapel of Saint Ivan
The first building erected on campus after the purchase of Creely Hall, the Chapel of St. Ivan has been sadly neglected over the ages. Built in 1872, the chapel was once a showplace of worship and artful religious fervor. Unfortunately, after the troubles which the school experienced in the early days, the chapel was nigh-abandoned and hasn’t seen an upgrade or coat of paint since 1910. Wired for electricity using the old knob and tube system, there is only a single bulb in the main chapel, over the naive, with the area of the pews being lit by candle-light. There are very few evening services at the St. Ivan Chapel.

In back, where the Priest’s office is, there is another light or two, and a telephone, but that doesn’t work very well most of the time. Also, off of the office, there is a small kitchen with a wood stove. The church is heated by coal stoves in the entryway, and another in the office. The chapel is very cold in winter. The stained glass windows throughout the church don’t open, making the chapel very warm in summer. The latest school leadership has taken more of an interest in cleaning things up at the Chapel of St. Ivan, so improvements may come about. However the local historical society is opposed to any large changes which would “ruin the history” of the building.

The Undertunnels
Running beneath the St. Ivan’s campus, the undertunnels connect most buildings to each other. The first tunnels were built a long time ago, rumor has it that they were here before Creely hall, made by local a indian tribe. For what purpose, is not known. The white settlers expanded and added to the tunnels and after the establishment of St. Ivan’s the buildings began to be connected in. Initially the students used the tunnels to move from building to building, but after a time events began occurring, students disappeared beteween classes, bodies showed up in the tunnels. Eventually in 1911 the school administration closed the tunnels down to student access. The tunnels continued to expand with steam tunnels being added starting in the 1920s. And of course the students continued to use them, just ilicitly now. Events dropped off with the lower traffic, but still continued just the same.

The Undertunnels are a warren and an eclectic mix of styles and sizes. The newer the building, the newer the tunnel, usually, though not always. Some are modern, well lit and wide, others are small, dark and damp, occasional ones are earthen, supported by wood beams. No one knows anymore exactly what all the tunnels are or where they all lead and it’s very easy to get lost down there. There are many numerous hiding spots and dark dark corners.

Students caught in the tunnels now are subject to detention. Teachers and staff are allowed to travel the tunnels without restriction, though the smarter teachers avoid them whenever possible.

Fr. John T. Pearks Adminsitration Center
This entryway to St Ivan’s is decorated in designer institutional. Sure the floor’s marble, but it’s beige marble.  A registrar’s office, in the height of 60’s decor, stands distantly off to the left on entering the building.  Classrooms stretch to the right.  Everyone regularly misses the reigstrar’s office and disrupts classes going on trying to find out where to go.