It Wasn't Worth All The "Horror Movie Bullshit"
Context: I am DMing a group of players through an amped-up version of the Death House from Curse of Strahd. This is meant to be a one-shot mini-campaign where many (if not all) of them will die, so I’m doing my best to make things as dangerous and scary as possible, including playing creepy music which has them all on edge. The group has made it to the third floor of the house and found two doors, one locked and one unlocked. This takes place after they fail to open the locked door.
Player 1: So the other door is unlocked, right?
Player 1: I go to open the door… 13 for perception?
DM: As you look around your notice this room is mostly empty save for a desk with a large iron key on top of it. There is also a window on the far wall and sitting on it as a porcelain doll with a faded yellow dress. It’s eyes seem to follow you.
Player 1: Nope! Fuck that! I close the door.
Player 3: But the key! What if it unlocks the other door?
Player 1: Ugh, fine. I open the door again.
DM: You see the same scene, but the doll is no longer on the windowsill.
Player 1: Uh, perception 17 to see where it is?
DM: You cautiously pure around the room, looking for any signs of a faded yellow dress, however seen nothing… Until you look down.
Player 3: NO.
DM: Yes. The doll is standing by the partially open door, looking up at you with blue glass eyes.
Player 2: I roll to fucking punt it across the room! *rolls a 2*
DM: You take a step forward and go to kick the doll with all your might… only to have it grab your boot with its tiny porcelain fingers.
Player 2: HOLY SHIT! BURN IT! BURN IT!
Player 1: I ROLLED A 15 TO CAST FIREBOLT ON THE DOLL!
DM: You hear a high pitched shriek echoing from the room as the doll’s head explodes into flames, it’s worn yellow dress catching almost immediately. You watch in abject horror as it releases its grip and stumbles back. As its hair burns away, its glass eyes roll upwards to look at you before beginning to melt back into its porcelain skull.
Player 3: NOPE! I roll to slam the door shut!
DM: The door slams shut without a problem and the screaming stops abruptly.
Player 1: Guys… we still need that key…
After some argueing about whether or not getting the key and potentially unlocking the other door was “worth all this horror movie bullshit”, Player 1 again steps up.
Player 1: Okay, I open the door again and get a 14 perception.
DM: The first thing you notice is an eerie silence followed by the distinct smell of sulfur and burning hair, and lastly you see the remains of the doll. Her body is charred black, her hair has burned away along with the clothes she was wearing, and the sockets which once held blue eyes are empty, yet somehow you still feel as if you are being watched. She sits upon the desk, holding the iron key in her lap.
Player 1: FUCK IT, I’M GONNA SPRINT IN THERE, SNATCH THE KEY AND GET THE FUCK OUT AS FAST AS I CAN!
DM: Roll me an athletics check.
Player 1: 19?
DM: You do so easily, slamming the door behind you. Congratulations, you got the key.
Queue having to take a 10 minute break as the DM laughed about their reactions and everyone shared their mutual terror of babydolls, agreeing that after this all was over they were going to burn the whole house down.