Dread RPG scenario – Why Does It Have Teeth (teaser)

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If you haven’t heard of the award-winning survival horror RPG system Dread, check it out. It builds tension by using a jenga tower to determine who lives and who dies, and the characters are built by the players each answering a unique questionnaire.

Recently, I had an awful, vivid nightmare about being on a space shuttle, trapped with these small, awful teddy bears. Teddy bears with human teeth, who just wanted love.

So naturally, I made a horror RPG scenario about it.

“We were all excited for our simple voyage from the space station. But things fell apart when we found the first one of them. Dear god, why? Who gave this thing teeth?!”

If there is interest, I will develop this into a full Dread scenario and make it into a pretty PDF.

Player character questionnaires:

Researcher Artist Sickly Druggie
1. What was something that you are ashamed to have done during your time as a biology research assistant?
2. What achievement or skill do you have that enabled you to get a spot on CharnelCORP’s exclusive Jupiter Colony Research Internship?
3. Which family member do you regret not spending enough time with because of your work?
4. Does your work involve intense computer knowledge, or is it more focused on things that require rubber gloves?
5. Why does the phrase “it’s like pulling teeth” set you on edge?
6. What is your personal mantra?
7. What are you wearing for your internship?
8. What is your name?
1. What type of art do make for a living?
2. What art piece did you submit that won you the Jupiter Colony Living Art Scholarship?
3. Back on the space station, who are you in love with, and why do you dislike that they have kept their job?
4. What maintenance job do you do that requires you to don a space suit and traverse the hull of the space station?
5. What recurring nightmare do you have about teddy bears?
6. How would you describe your personality?
7. What color is a theme throughout your wardrobe?
8. What is your name?
1. Why are you slowly dying?
2. What technobabble science cure did the Jupiter Colony CareDream Medical Team promise would be able to save your life? (e.g. Telomere-erasing nanites, bio-genetic frequency emitter, etc)
3. Which worried family member came with you, on the CareDream Medical Team treatment shuttle, to make sure you take your medicine?
4. What career do you hope to go into, once you are no longer sick?
5. What gives you the strength to help others, when they are in need?
6. What is your personality like, and why do people always feel able to confide in you?
7. How would you describe your appearance?
8. What is your name?
1. What was your career before you were fired because of your addiction?
2. What are you addicted to?
3. Why did you agree to be a test subject for CharnelCORP’s Jupiter Colony Bio-adaptation Program?
4. When did your skill with electronics get you into trouble?
5. Despite your current situation, in what way do you want to make the world a better place?
6. What raunchy tattoo do you keep covered?
7. What name do you tell everyone, and what is your real name?

 

Two horrific spells for Call of Cthulhu

Spells in the Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG are evocative, scary, and usually really, really nasty. Below are two pestilence-themed spells to use in your lovecraftian horror games which your players have never seen (and probably will never want to see again).

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Photo: “Maggot debridement therapy on a diabetic foot” by GRuban,  licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

These spells could be used by terrible things like the once-sorcerer husk of a Worm That Walks, or found sprawled in the notebook of a discredited entomologist who had bizarre theories of the true origin of arthropod species on Earth.

Dark magics of Pestilence:

Plague of Insects
Alternate names: The Eighth Calamity of Yahweh, Myriad From Above and Below
Cost: 30 magic points; 2d8 Sanity points
Casting time: 1 hour

This spell summons a swarm of flying insects (usually flies or locusts), either down from the skies or up through the earth. These insects crawl over every surface, eating all plant life, eating through leather and clothing, and crawling in the eyes and mouths of any living creatures unfortunate enough to be discovered by the swarm. The spell can only be completed as caster consumes the corpse of an animal that is infested with maggots and flies, while uttering the words to the profane ritual.
Living creatures take 1d3 damage per round spent unprotected from the swarm, which can spread as far as a 1 mile radius from the site of casting. 30 minutes after the spell is completed the ground is littered with twitching, dying, bloated insects as the swarm dies. Freezing weather instead causes the swarm to die 1d6 rounds after being summoned.
Protections from the swarm can include extreme heat, thick smoke, being submerged in deep water, or hiding in well-made buildings (provided that no windows are broken or doors are opened).

Hand of the Worm
Alternate names: Putrification From Within, The Fifth Bloated Digit
Cost: 10 magic points; 1d6 Sanity points
Casting time: 1 round

The caster bites the head of a large squirming maggot, uttering an ancient curse of putrefaction. The target rolls 1d6; 1-3 and the spell affects the target’s dominant hand, 4-6 it affects the non-dominant hand. The first round, the target permanently loses 1d10 CON as they feel something wriggling within their arm, squirming their way down through the arm to the hand. The second round, the target must make a 1/1d4 Sanity check as the bones of their fingers are swallowed by maggots, coming from within their arm. The third round, mouths open in each finger, which have each been replaced by a slimy, fat maggot within the bulging and stretched skin of the finger. The target cannot control the maggots, and the hand is permanently useless. The maggots are a part of the host’s body and any damage to them damages the host as if the hand was normal.

Creative Commons License
The text of these spells are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means you can share them, use them in scenarios, port them to other games, even put them in commercial products, as long as you give proper attribution to Somniac Delusions.

Joneen The Untarnished: NPC for Shadow of the Demon Lord

SotDLRecently having finished a Shadow of the Demon Lord campaign, I have much content and several maps that I wish to polish and release online. Today, I released a one-page PDF that details a unique changeling clockwork-maker named Joneen the Untarnished. She refuses to hide her true changeling nature. Unfortunately, beastmen seek Joneen for a vile ritual. If she is kidnapped, she becomes the great and terrible Joneen the Tarnished and Defiled, a horrid fusion of demon and changeling. Enjoy the free PDF for Joneen the Untarnished! It includes the stats for the poor changeling’s great and terrible demonic form. Feel free to give feedback!

Symbaroum Adventure Contest Entry – Rite of Passage

–EDIT: Rite of Passage won the contest! It will be produced into a full official adventure for Symbaroum, with full layout and art!–

Mitchell Wallace (of Penny for a Tale) came to me with the Symbaroum Adventure Contest and suggested a collaboration.

All together, Mitch and I are very proud of our Symbaroum adventure Rite of Passage. If you like the free adventure, please vote for it here

It began with some hard muffins and tea, we started to work on a scenario that could be used to start a Symbaroum campaign, but in a different way than had been done before. Traditionally, Symbaroum campaigns start with Ambrian characters (basically ‘civilized’ Europeans) coming to Symbaroum from the south, exploring a new and dangerous land.

We decided to create a scenario that showcases the other side of the world, from the barbarian tribes living in the dark of Davokar forest. We wanted it to be a coming of age story, ceremonial and solemn, representing the characters growing up and going into a wider world than they have ever known. We wanted to showcase the culture and worldview of the various barbarian tribes, which get little attention in published Symbaroum content, introducing the Huldra leader of the witches, and Tharaban, the high chieftain of the barbarian tribes. The scenario gives the characters connections to several NPCs from various tribes, and ends in a place where it is easy to hook into other published Symbaroum adventures. And they get to wrestle a bear!

Once again, here is Rite of Passage. If you like the free adventure, please vote for it here!

Xulub’s Festering Corpse – Original Public Domain Lovecraftian Fiction

I have always admired Lovecraft’s writing style, if not the man himself. He shows horror in a way that resonates with me, bringing up fears from deep parts of my mind that I didn’t consciously acknowledge, but were always there.

Some of his work is clearly gothic and inspired by Poe, such as The Outsider, Rats in the Walls, The Terrible Old Man, Pickman’s Model, etc. In these stories, the horror is personal, it is you or your kin that are tainted by the darkness. You can’t escape because it is your family, your friends, or yourself that embody the evil of the world.

The other side of Lovecraft’s legacy is his Cthulhu mythos. He, and authors in his circle, bought about a growing collection of stories of cosmic horror, showing that the vast uncaring universe is populated with things that humanity would rather not know about.  Great incomprehensible beings move through the cosmos, bleakly indifferent to our sufferings, or meandering lives, our very existence on this planet. These stories awaken  a deep feeling of insignificance, as if we are an animal in a small box, trying to not be noticed by the large, strange predators that stalk nearby. I have made my first addition to the mythos cycle in the form of Xulub’s Festering Corpse.

The short story is available for free, and is released under the Public Domain, meaning anyone can use the story or the elements introduced in it for whatever they want, commercially or otherwise. If you want to create stories based on Xulub’s Festering Corpse, you may do so! If you want to include Xulub in a video game, use it without fear of copyright restriction. This adds to the lovecraftian entities in the Public Domain, along with the work of Lovecraft, Chambers,  Frank Belknap Long’s Hounds of Tindalos, and others to continue the expansion of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Soon, I will be publishing a story based on the chapultenoks introduced in Xulub’s Festering Corpse, written by a family member of mine. He was inspired by the original Xulub story and sought to try his hand at writing horror instead of his usual science fiction. This story delves into what exactly makes these strange twisting growths so hideous, and I am quite excited to unveil it.


CC0

To the extent possible under law, D South has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to Xulub’s Festering Corpse. This work is published from the United States.

The art for Xulub is from reddit user al666in, who started a Public Domain Lovecraftian project known as Necronomica which has been inactive as of late, so the art is not public domain yet as far as I know

Audio clips for Call of Cthulhu – Panacea scenario

In the scenario book Petersen’s Abominations for Call of Cthulhu 7th edition, there is a chilling scenario called Panacea that involves characters, each for their own reasons, investigating a strange medical corporation ZyMedBio. This company seems to have produced a miracle cure; but if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Throughout the scenario, the investigators are taunted by a strange digital voice, bringing up painful parts of their history or offering them salvation. Keepers can now play these free downloadable audio clips from a nearby speaker as the investigators get deeper and deeper in the scenario, keeping the players on their toes. Who is this voice, where is it coming from? And how does it know so much?

Sneak peak for upcoming lovecraftian horror story “Cold House”

 

I first noticed it when I saw steam billowing slowly out of the drain of my sink. I felt it again when I sneezed and the lights all flickered. And then again when my neighbor yelled at his dog and I could feel the room get colder. I know the woman beneath the house wants something from me.

That is the opening line of a short story tentatively called Cold House. This story will likely be released under Public Domain once it is completed, to add to the Public Domain Cthulhu Mythos stories, meaning it can be used by anyone for any purpose, even commercially. Here is a sneak peak:

The cracks in the wall. I can’t deny it now. I can’t deny her. That piece of the paint on the crack fell off, and now I can see it. It’s there, at the point where the two deepest cracks intersect. I wish it would blink.

For the few days it was unmoving, I had almost convinced myself that it was never going to move. But it did. I was foolish to hope otherwise. I couldn’t bring myself to touch it, but I needed to know if it was real. I must have spent hours staring at it, trying to memorize the cracks that had birthed it. After the sixth or seventh day, I thought I saw it twitch. Then in a couple of days, I was holding my hand out, so close I could almost touch it; that’s when it opened. It looked right at me, its iris the color of a wound that hasn’t healed properly. The woman beneath the house wants me to know that she is watching.

She watches me. Day or night, it never stops. Doesn’t this mean that I am important? That I am part of her slow, deliberated future? That there is a part I must play? How could I be noticed by something so abstrusely and providential? I will know soon. She will grant me understanding.

The neighbor’s dog never barks anymore. I don’t see him take the dog for walks past my window. Maybe they can feel it too, this ennui, this suffocating pressure. As if the air itself is shuddering slightly, or as if the sky were something hateful, something to shun for fear of it pulling you in; you must slink back between the walls lest you linger too long away. And once inside you can feel the slight warmth from below, as if something slowly shifts between the floor and the carpet beneath your feet.

This godless tension, it must break soon, I can feel it. I cannot bear it much longer.

She has chosen me. I must be obsequious; I must go down to her again. It doesn’t matter if I want to. Just the thought itself makes my eyes jitter and ache, and my lungs seem as though they never truly fill with air. I will go. I must go when she calls.

I see the bloated thing on the wall and it sees me. God I hate it. I wish it would blink.