Frightening February Day 20: Aliens.

#FrighteningFebruary continues.
The Abducted Man
Viral Gray
We Don’t Talk About Reptoids…

Anyone who knows me and knows my blog knows how I feel about the term, “alien,” but it makes for such a sweet, sweet horror trope.

Periods of missing time, strange scars or wounds, and “dreams” about being taken aboard an otherworldly craft for bizarre medical experiments are just a few of the themes in the “alien abduction” arena. In Ufology, and more importantly the spiritual side of it, we prefer the terms “being” or “extraterrestrial (ET)” instead of “alien.” We use “experience” instead of “abduction.”

I could teach an entire course on the sociological and psychological impact of the ET phenomenon. We have occurrences that range from strange lights in the sky all the way to portals opening in people’s rooms that allow beings to transfer someone to a lab off world. The dilemma nowadays, especially with all of the cool graphics software available, is trying to tell the real thing from carefully constructed fakes.

The fun part of “aliens” as a TTRPG Horror trope is there are a wide variety of options available to players and Keepers in terms of plot, interaction, and resolution to various situations. There are thousands of real world accounts that can be researched. For every real experience there are probably two hoaxes or fakes. But- Fakes make for great fiction. Use that information to write better fiction!

If you know me, you know I’m passionate about all things ET related. Dr Steven Greer is one of my personal heroes. I’ve been into the real and fictional sides of UFO drama for as long as I can remember. There are countless rabbit holes and days of research that can be done on this topic. Sometimes truth, or what we perceive as real makes for the best fiction, too.

Content Warning: Abductions, Aliens, Body Horror, blood, Medical Trauma, mental illness, missing time, gore, kidnapping, homicide. 

How do we simulate such an encounter in TTRPGs?

Photo by Anete Lusina on
This is where it might get upsetting for some.

The Cthulhu Mythos portray most alien encounters as a nightmarish run-in with frightening beings from another dimension or beings that have been on Earth longer than humans. In SCP terms, it’s just another entity we haven’t locked up yet. In Monster of the Week terms, it’s another baddie to try and stop.

I think one of the best Keeper tips I can give is- Show, don’t tell. So, instead of “Your character was abducted and probed while sleeping last night,” It should sound more like:

Your character wakes up with a major migraine headache and a high pitched ringing in their ears. As you make your morning coffee you notice three holes under your right arm. It almost looks as if a needle or drill was stuck into your arm in a triangular pattern. It hurts more now that you’ve noticed it.

You recall going to bed last night around 9:00? Maybe? Strangely, everything after about 7:00 is kind of a blur. You don’t remember dreaming about anything.

While coffee is brewing you decide to take a shower and brush your teeth. Upon inserting the toothbrush into your mouth you can taste a little bit of blood and something kind of burnt tasting? You also find three more triangular pattern punctures like the one on your arm. There’s one on your right foot, your upper thigh and one on your abdomen just below the sternum. None are bleeding.

Let the player wonder what happened to their character the night before. Keep dropping subtle hints that some bizarre stuff is happening off camera. Please make sure the player is cool with all of this ahead of time. Don’t do anything permanently destructive to the character off camera. Don’t do anything off camera that might require a dice roll, damage, or permanent psychologically scarring for the character. Keep an eye open for X cards around the table.

Otherwise have fun with it. Maybe toss the player some extra experience, whatever your game system uses for temporary perks, or an edge in some later encounter. Oh, and it’s usually best to do this to the most skeptical character in the group if the player is cool. Or the character that is the kookiest and no one would ever believe.

On with the Plot Ideas for the day.

Plot Idea 1: The group is contacted by a man named Bart claiming to have a dead alien gray in his possession. He claims he is visited/taken regularly and decided to fight back. He wants the group to collect evidence to prove that he’s not crazy.

When the group arrives, Bart is in a state of panic and disarray. The body has literally evaporated from the large rucksack he had it in. Likewise his bedroom and apartment show no signs of a fight. The katana he claims he used to kill the “creature” is clean and back in its sheath next to his bed.

Bart invites the group to do a deep dive into his psychiatric records, which he claims were falsified by the government to make him look like a paranoid schizophrenic even though he isn’t. His home security footage is mysteriously blank between midnight and 5:00am every night. Talk to his neighbors who don’t know anything about him. And finally, the group is asked to interview his girlfriend who recently left him because of all the “alien nonsense,” who turns out to be a girl from an escort service who went to a movie with him once.

After all of the research routes are exhausted, Bart begs the group to spend one night in his apartment and will pay them to set up surveillance equipment and stake out the building. He is absolutely certain they will be back that night.

From this point, it’s in the Keeper’s hands. Does a fight break out when the aliens arrive to take Bart? Is he just plain delusional? Will the ETs mess with the group? Will the government or some private black budget agency step in?

Photo by Green_Grey Darya on

Plot Idea 2: A USB drive with a viral video makes its way to the group. A local man posted the video to his YouTube channel a few nights ago. Since then, he’s had nothing but trouble. Mr Bart, a YouTube channel with just under a thousand subscribers filmed alien Grays on his ring cam, outside surveillance cam, and video camera from inside the house.

At first the beings behave almost whimsically. They peek in the windows. They fumble around in the yard looking for a way in. At one point there is a video of a Gray rummaging through his fridge. It could easily be a convincing fake up until the last video on the drive.

A single Gray is accompanied by what appears to be a 7 1/2′ tall Praying Mantis is seen skulking through the house. The human holding the camera runs to his bedroom and sets the camera down pointing at the door. The Gray opens the door and points an object similar to a pocket flashlight at Mr Bart and then the image goes black. When the camera comes back on, it’s 9:27AM and he has no idea what has happened.

The video went around the Internet at lightning speed and was up for about an hour and a half before the two major video platforms he uploaded it to crashed worldwide for no obvious reason. When they came back up, his channel showed no sign of any ET videos and he had multiple strikes against his account for things he never posted.

To make matters worse, police showed up at his house and arrested him for domestic abuse, which he never did. His girlfriend, unharmed, left under mysterious circumstances shortly after, but will talk to the Investigators and blankly tell them Mr Bart would never hurt anyone.

Mr Bart was severely beaten in jail. Since coming home, his house was robbed. He’s been fired from his job in retail for no reason given. Strange cars have been parked outside his house at all hours. He’s changed his phone number because of strange calls. He had to report his credit cards stolen because someone charged a ton of sketchy adult videos on them.

The group is his only hope if they can rescue him in time. Unfortunately, the group will get to put up with some of the same tactics Mr Bart (real name Adam Simpson) has had to endure. They could even find themselves convicted of Mr Bart’s murder if they aren’t careful.

Photo by Sivakumar B on

Plot Idea 3: A well known conspiracy theorist/paranormal investigator, Isaac “Ike” Bertrand left an envelope to be mailed to one of the Investigators in the off chance something were to happen to him. He hadn’t been seen or heard from in three weeks. He left his keys, cell phone and wallet on his kitchen table and apparently wandered off in the middle of the night.

The envelope contains keys to his house and his post office box. There is also a signed note that says, “Find me. Do it quietly. They’re probably watching you now.”

If the group does their due diligence, they discover Ike was working on a book called, Why We Don’t Talk About Reptoids. A copy of his manuscript is in and envelope at the PO Box. His laptop isn’t password protected and still in his house. He has several notes, audio files, and videos dealing with the topic of Reptilian humanoids.

They are an ancient race that has travelled space and lived on Earth for centuries prior to humankind’s dominance. He talks about a hybridization program and crossbreeding with humans. They usually don’t interact with humans directly. They have their biomechanical android mercenaries, the Grays, do all their work for them. Ike also mentions the differences between the Earth dwelling Reptoids and their spacefaring cousins.

His final notes and last video talk about setting up a meeting with their representative. They have heard what he was planning to publish and sought to discourage him. Ike had threatened to expose several politicians and celebrities as hybrids or being under Reptoid control.

If the group pursues an investigation, they will begin to run into some of the same resistance as Plot Idea 2 above. Their social and internet lives might be disrupted, relationships sullied, and reputations destroyed. Some of their most trusted contacts might go missing. Accounts might be hacked or deleted. Electronics might stop working suddenly whenever “Reptoids” are mentioned. Devices might be stolen or mysteriously damaged.

It’s up to the Keeper whether or not any direct confrontations happen with these beings. If they work hard enough, they will eventually get an opportunity to rescue Ike from a deep underground lair full of Reptoids where he is being held. However, once he’s home, he will delete all of his work and act as if he never had anything to do with it.

Yay! Finally.

Thanks for stopping by. Lots more to come on this topic. Have fun with it. I appreciate you being here. Take care!

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: