Monstober Day 23: Simian

Simone began to upgrade her own body with tools and parts scavenged from neighboring labs. Her augmented cybernetic brain even allowed her to to exert mind control over the security and lab techs watching over her at night. When the day of her escape came, her intelligence had evolved beyond the need for simple revenge. She walked out the front door and flew off into the night.

Simone for ICONS RPG

She was once a rescue chimp being taken care of in a simian research lab. Simone was an extraordinarily intelligent chimp, constantly outperforming her peers. Cognitive experts and zoologists alike came from different countries to study her progress at the International Scientific Research Center in Paris France.

An accidental fire that started in a neighboring lab left her burned and disfigured. Well known cyberneticist, Dr Leah Macklin, operated and left Simone superior to many humans. Simone, still bitter from the accident, immediately began plotting to kill her human keepers and escape. Simone began to see herself as a superior being in almost every regard.

Simone began to upgrade her own body with tools and parts scavenged from neighboring labs. Her augmented cybernetic brain even allowed her to to exert mind control over the security and lab techs watching over her at night. When the day of her escape came, her intelligence had evolved beyond the need for simple revenge. She walked out the front door and flew off into the night.

Her next move was to steal a lot of high tech lab equipment and take over a warehouse. From there, she further enhanced her own body and create a series of robotic henchmen. Simone began to build a criminal and financial empire. She might have remained anonymously successful had she not begun a corporate espionage campaign against one of the world’s most powerful tech companies.

Conflict soon escalated until Simone became personally involved. That’s where the heroes come in.

Further Capers: Simone is interested in three things: money, technology, and staying free. Most of her capers are going to involve an intricate web of henchmen and unwitting pawns. She is one of those villains with a pre-planned escape route and a half dozen ways to prevent capture. She has more recently begun surrounding herself with human creature comforts. She is constantly looking for money and upgrades.

Promptober Day 21: Folklore

Folklore stories are super useful in RPGs. I totally recommend looking up history and lore in your own area. Sometimes it’s very enlightening outside of TTRPG contexts. I also recommend checking out some creepypasta stories on YouTube or other video app for inspiration and shivers.

Folklore has a lot of meaning in RolePlaying Games.

The strongest common feature of both Folk stories the RPGs is oral tradition. Stories of yore become folklore, passed down from one storyteller to the next. For example, my father told a story about a ghost raccoon that seemingly vanished into thin air in roughly the same place every time hunters got close. That story has passed down for three, maybe four generations now for certain.

The main difference is in RPGs, is we have oral tradition and storytelling, but purely based on fictional events that we create ourselves. Which is not to say the stories we create will never be passed on. Any time a gamer starts a story with “This one time in ____ game, we ran into …”

Every major RPG celeb I’ve ever met always starts the conversation with, “I don’t want to hear about your character.”

Let’s face it, every gamer has a favorite character that they usually default to talking about. I have campaign stories I love to tell, but I kinda read the room first. But I know game designers and TTRPG writers have heard a lot of stories and have tons of their own.

The Internet has kinda spoiled us.

Cell phones, laptops, social media, and search engines have sort of modified modern folklore. It’s not as much an oral tradition any more. The stories of everyday life throughout spreads and short videos have replaced longer oration and gatherings around the campfire. Prior to the Internet, it was TV and Radio.

Our #TTRPG stories still show up on blogs from time to time. I use many of them for two things. I create tons of folklore when I’m worldbuilding my fantasy campaign. I also do research on local history/folklore for Monster of the Week RPG to base various bizarre events upon.

Fantasy RPGs come alive with mythical folklore.

I know a lot of worldbuilding advice tells campaign creators, “Don’t go bonkers with pages upon pages of backstory.” However, I don’t believe that is totally correct. Even if I jot down one or two lines about a town or a landmark as my group encounters it, I still come up with some kind of local lore for it. In the real world, everything has a story behind it. Some are just more exciting than others.

Modern Horror games benefit from some research.

Almost every horror movie makes mention or even creates a story about some kind of Urban Legend. Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw, and so on all have stories surrounding them, their creation and their misdeeds. Halloween is the best time of year for local folklore because a lot of people have stories about the haunted house up the block or that thing they saw in the woods.

Even better is this lovely folklore-esque invention of Creepypasta. I know it’s a big thing on YouTube and elsewhere. People love scary stories. That’s why I love games such as Monster of the Week and SCP. They give us an excuse to pull out the scary stories in a way that doesn’t make people poop themselves and stay awake all night while camping. RPGs also don’t require a massive special effects budget and stunt actors the way horror films do. Creepypasta stories come to life in RPGs. I haven’t even mentioned Call of Cthulhu.

If I were to ever use Randonautica, I would be doing a lot of research on where this thing was taking me. A lot of freaky things are usually discovered at the end of a Randonautica adventure and I don’t like being caught completely off guard. I hear Rando is pretty much the next Ouija board, something else I don’t want to randomly fool around with. (*And advise everyone to use their own discernment as to whether or not Randonautica and/or Ouija are safe.)

Folklore stories are super useful in RPGs. I totally recommend looking up history and lore in your own area. Sometimes it’s very enlightening outside of TTRPG contexts. I also recommend checking out some creepypasta stories on YouTube or other video app for inspiration and shivers.

I hadn’t intended for this to become an entire article, but it’s an interesting subject. Folklore and story hooks/prompts go hand in hand. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate it. Have a great week.

Monstober Day 19: Pet

The question was always whether or not the witness PC was hallucinating or if Fluffy really was all that cursed/possessed. Whenever something bad or mysterious happened in another room, suspicion fell on Fluffy, even if it was in the same room as the group. Or was it? Bwa ha ha!

“What is up with this f&$%ing Cat?!?”

No stats on this one because it doesn’t need any. This is something I once pulled in a Call of Cthulhu game and it stuck. Since then, it has appeared in no fewer than three campaigns. I’ve used this bit with different animals, but it’s fun every time.

The lead into this is the group is either in possession of a cat or going to a location where the owners have a cat that takes a liking to a particular Player Character. (Preferably one that likes pets for their character.) The catch is, the animal is not entirely what it seems. The cat, Fluffy, becomes attached to the PC and stays close to them whenever they’re around.

Next, the Game Master picks a different PC than the one Fluffy is attached-to. Whenever the rest of the group’s attention is focused elsewhere, Fluffy will do something absolutely freaky, but only this one character will see it. The GM may even wish to pass the witnessing player a note describing what Fluffy does.

Now, this could potentially be a hallucination. It could be that Fluffy is cursed or even possessed. Maybe Fluffy is actually a corrupted avatar of Bast just messing with the mortals. Whatever is going on with Fluffy, only one character, the witness, ever sees this cat do anything weird.

It was a sure thing that if the witness PC called the cat out and tried to force Fluffy into doing something strange, nothing would happen. But as soon as the group’s back was turned, Fluffy would openly mock the witness. Fluffy never really hurt anyone overtly, and no one in the group ever put the kitty in danger. (Nor would we.)

The question was always whether or not the witness PC was hallucinating or if Fluffy really was all that cursed/possessed. Whenever something bad or mysterious happened in another room, suspicion fell on Fluffy, even if it was in the same room as the group. Or was it? Bwa ha ha!

Sometimes Fluffy was just a cat being a cat, too. Jumping up on counters, running around the room, randomly knocking stuff over, etc. You know? Things especially hyper but lovable Siamese cats tend to do normally.

Regardless, this type of pet situation makes for darned interesting role-playing. It doesn’t have to be related to anything the group is doing, and Fluffy can haunt the group long after it is found. Witness PC can eventually convince the group that there is, in fact, something going on with this feline. But, good luck getting Fluffy to go along with it.

Good times. Thanks for stopping by. Please be kind to animals in real life (and in game.) Even if kitty does act a little freaky.

Monstober Day 18: Gulp

Picture, if you will, an enormous bipedal hammerhead shark with four large sucker covered tentacles sticking out of its face. It has a gigantic maw filled with rows of razor sharp teeth. For added intensity, there are sharp, blade like projections running down the center of its back.

Apparently Frog and (be)hemoth isn’t a creature unless the nice Wizards of the Coast give permission.

Sigh. So, I present my take on a classic favorite. This is the Sharkhemoth. It’s preferred method of digesting its prey is to slam them into its giant, tooth-filled maw.

Picture, if you will, an enormous bipedal hammerhead shark with four large sucker covered tentacles sticking out of its face. It has a gigantic maw filled with rows of razor sharp teeth. For added intensity, there are sharp, blade like projections running down the center of its back.

Sharkhemoth: Init +2; Atk bite +5 melee (1d10+3) + Swallow (see below), Tentacle +3 melee (1d8+3) + grab; AC 15; HD 6d8+2; hp 25; MV 30’ Swim 40′; Act 4d20; SP Grab, Swallow whole; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +1; AL C.

If the attack roll for the bite is 4 or more greater than the number required (or a Critical Hit), they can swallow creatures (man-size or smaller) whole; swallowed victims take 3d6 points of damage each round thereafter.

Tentacle attacks: If one tentacle hits, do damage as normal (1d8+3,) If two tentacles hit the same target, the target must make a Ref Save DC 12 or be grabbed. Grabbed targets with two tentacles reduce their action dice by one step. If three tentacles hit the same target, the target must make a Ref Save DC 14 or be grabbed. Grabbed targets with three tentacles reduce their action dice by two steps. If all four tentacles hit the same target, the target must make a Ref Save DC 16 or be grabbed. Grabbed targets with four tentacles reduce their action dice by three steps. Once grabbed, the target may make a STR check equal to the DC of the Ref save used to make the initial attack (2 = DC 12, 3= DC 14, 4= DC 16.) to break free. Breaking free of the tentacles may only be attempted once per turn one of the character’s actions.

If grabbed by all four tentacles, the Sharkhemoth automatically receives a fifth attack as a free action to attempt to bite/swallow anyone in its tentacles.

Promptober Day 20: Myths.

Sometimes parents actually believe their children.

Getting laid in a horror movie situation doesn’t always lead to death.

Remote viewing is not always 100% accurate, but many times it’s close.

The government is not interested in every paranormal event.

Investigator myths dispelled:
  • They’re not all crazy conspiracy theorists.
  • They’re not all professors wearing jackets with patches on the sleeves.
  • They’re not all wide-eyed college kids bound to get lost in the woods.
  • Just because one believes in ghosts, it doesn’t mean they believe in “aliens.”
  • They actually spend vast amount of time observing nothing until they find something. The “something” may just be a dot or blob, but still evidence.
  • Not all people are stupid enough to go down in the dark basement to check the electrical box.
  • No professional investigator likes a hoax. Hoaxing is not allowed!
  • Not every spiritually-oriented investigator collects crystals.
  • Sometimes freaky footage does end up on the nightly news, and still gets ignored by and large.
  • Priests are not immune to everything just by holding up a cross.
  • Other religions have people capable of performing an exorcism.
  • Not every professor can read Ancient Babylonian or Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
  • Not every spiritual person is educated in every religion.
  • Sometimes parents actually believe their children.
  • Getting laid in a horror movie situation doesn’t always lead to death.
  • Remote viewing is not always 100% accurate, but many times it’s close.
  • The government is not interested in every paranormal event.
  • There really are psychics. Some are quite powerful.
  • The Men in Black are real.
  • The Men in Black are not the kooky guys from the movies.
  • The Men in Black do not visit every experiencer or UFO witness.
  • There really is an Illuminati. They do not approach people on social media.
  • Astral travelers and remote viewers see a lot of things or beings not of this Earth.

Dispelling myths about modern paranormal investigations.

Phenomenon myths dispelled:
  • Not every properly conducted Ouija board session ends in tragedy.
  • Not every alleged haunted house is packed full of scary stuff.
  • Sometimes investigators have nights where nothing happens.
  • Not every EVP session ends in mysterious voices. Many don’t.
  • Not everything is a demon.
  • Not every ghost is evil.
  • Yes, there really are vampires, werewolves, and giant spiders.
  • Not everything is covered in an ancient tome or scroll.
  • If a book is bound in human flesh and inked in blood, leave it alone.
  • Not every cult follows an Elder god or wants human sacrifices.
  • Gunfire does not solve everything, or anything sometimes.
  • Not every artifact is cursed.
  • Sometimes are dolls are just toys.
  • Not all magic is evil.
  • Not all religion is good.
  • Not everything is evil or out to get you.
  • The ethereal plane (spirit world) is a wonderfully weird place.
  • Some beings are truly evil. We don’t know why.
  • There is always a way to banish or destroy a phenomenon.
  • Killing something is not always the answer.
  • Legitimate footage of phenomenon appearing on the internet will be taken down or debunked as a hoax almost immediately regardless of evidence.
  • The Dark Web is real. Most people would be advised to steer clear of it.
  • The aliens are not here to conquer the planet.
  • The term “alien” is no longer preferred. We use ET or being now.
  • ETs do not always abduct people. Sometimes it’s just a sighting.
  • Vampires and werewolves are nothing like the ones in the movies.
  • Stay away from the Reptilians. We don’t mention the Reptilians.
  • There are Reptilian Hybrids. We don’t talk about them, either.

These lists is (mostly) fictional (I guess.) Some of us are conspiracy theorists. More investigations to come with the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society for Monster of the Week RPG.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you. Have fun. More to come.

Disclaimer: People and events depicted herein are fictitious and intended for entertainment use only. Any similarity to persons living or deceased is unintentional. There is no Des Moines Remote Viewing Society. This is a work of fiction. No one was harmed in the making of this blog.

R.I.P. Kevin Conroy.

Really bummed out about this one.

“Shut down the Bat Signal. He’s not coming.”- Commissioner Gordon.

Not much to post today. Yesterday we lost one of the most iconic voice actors in cartoon, even comic book fandoms’ history. Kevin Conroy, probably best known as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman passed away at 66. We’re going to miss him.

Back to regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.

Promptober Day 25: Deep Ocean.

In more modern settings, everything is usually cool unless the players find themselves running out of air, losing hull integrity of their vessel, or having to travel outside of a ship. On the other hand, really scary, huge things live underwater. Things such as kaiju.

When I think of the ocean, I think of Godzilla.

I think most DMs/GMs/et al tend to shy away from deep oceanic adventures. I know I do because in a fantasy campaign one must fiddle around with characters having to breathe, see, survive, fight, and sometimes cast spells underwater. It is difficult at best. Right up there with 1st Ed AD&D planar travel.

In more modern settings, everything is usually cool unless the players find themselves running out of air, losing hull integrity of their vessel, or having to travel outside of a ship. On the other hand, really scary, huge things live underwater. Things such as kaiju.

I’m worked with an adventure for Season 1 of my Power Rangers RPG campaign that covered the topic of kaiju. The presence of something similar to Godzilla wandered up on shore near Bennett’s Cove and and to be guided back out to sea.

Of course, the military, the Rangers, and even the bad guys were all super confused by the presence of such a monster that was seemingly under no one’s control. The creature rampaged because a nuclear plant was being built nearby and it felt the need to let the humans know that it was not okay to build one. The Rangers fought compassionately to get the creature back out to sea without wrecking the city. In true Mighty Morphin fashion, no one was seriously injured, but the nuclear plant’s construction site was smelted into glass by the kaiju’s breath weapon and stomped on by the Megazord. Needless to say construction has halted.

Who knows what other gigantic things could be lurking in the waters of a deep ocean. Real life humanity has barely explored most of the deep blue. Giant squid, sharks, and other sea life could be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There is always more lurking below.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Have a great rest of the week.

Monstober Day 17: Laugh

Unfortunately, years of success, money, women, and repeated use of the spell have corrupted Larry Snelling. He has become a dark shell of his former self. The evil muse inside his mind starts to take physical form more each time Snelling invokes the dark powers. It becomes harder and harder to cover each show without the dark secret getting out.

How does a stage comedian stay on top?
(Dead Moines on Stage for Monster of the Week RPG.)

*Content Warning*: Murder, Occult Ritual, Dark Magic, Gore.

By using an ancient blood curse that takes life energy in exchange for talent. The ritual psycho’s stage name is Mr Obtuse, because he always has an angle. He travels from town to town, stage to stage in every local comedy club that can be found. Some venues are so small he doesn’t waste his time invoking the dark magicks. Other times, one or two people randomly turn up missing from the airport bar or nearby hotel.

Larry, “Mr Obtuse” Snelling was a poor, downtrodden, talentless hack of a comedian until he accidentally summoned upon what he thought was a stage magician’s prop box. It contained a grimoire of ancient spells that could enhance many aspects of stage magic. All Snelling wanted to do was make people laugh. After researching the grimoire excessively, he found the perfect spell to do exactly what he wanted.

Some nights Mr Obtuse isn’t quite as funny as others. He started in small, local comedy clubs and only moves up to major venues and elsewhere on rare occasions. He claims he feels more comfortable in small clubs. In actuality, he knows it’s more difficult to tie him to any disappearances or murders that happen in the area.

Unfortunately, years of success, money, women, and repeated use of the spell have corrupted Larry Snelling. He has become a dark shell of his former self. The evil muse inside his mind starts to take physical form more each time Snelling invokes the dark powers. It becomes harder and harder to cover each show without the dark secret getting out.

When he finally gets to Des Moines, stress by being approached by local radio talent and multiple interviews start to take their toll. Suddenly he finds himself relying on the ritual more and more until finally, he snaps. Worse, the dark muse may take its final form and consume Snelling.

Hopefully the group catches on before a beloved pet or family member is sacrificed for Mr Obtuse’s talent. Will the group discover the Grimoire and recover it before he skips town? The monster will only come out more and more if he is not stopped.

Thanks for stopping by to see me, though. I appreciate you! No dark anything needed. Inspired by Tales from the Darkside and my friend Miss Pandora Greaves. More to come for Monster of the Week.

Monstober Day 24: Hag.

While many female Ogres live normal, healthy, productive lives, some sprout wings and embrace the twisted demonic and arcane arts. They soon separate themselves from their tribes, even leaving their mates if they had any. These beings are extremely rare and not to be taken lightly.

The Ogre Hag for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

While many female Ogres live normal, healthy, productive lives, some sprout wings and embrace the twisted demonic and arcane arts. They soon separate themselves from their tribes, even leaving their mates if they had any. These beings are extremely rare and not to be taken lightly.

Ogre Hag: Init +2; Atk staff +5 melee (1d6+6); AC 16; HD 5d8+4; MV Walk 20’ Fly 25′; Act 1d20; SP Evil Eye, Poison Brewing, Demon Servant, Cast spells as Level 3 Wizard; SV Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1; AL C.

One of the Ogre Hag’s eyes tends to be larger than the other. This eye projects evil upon anyone who crosses the Hag’s path. When used as a free action, the Eye forces everyone looking at it to make a Will Save DC14. If the fail is saved, the character suffers a -2 penalty to all rolls for attack, damage, saves, spell fails, turn unholy, etc for the rest of the encounter.

Ogre Hags spend a great deal of time brewing poisons for other creatures or their own wicked uses. The Hag will normally have 1d4 vials of contact poison on her that can be hurled or even spat upon enemies to sicken, blind or disorient them.

The Hag may also summon a loyal Type 2 random Demon Servant at a 20% chance, 1x/day. This chance increases to 30% if the hag prepares for at least one hour. The servant lasts for one encounter or until dismissed. The death of the summoner always releases the demon.

I’m Going to VOTE today.

Just a short reminder to please go out and make your opinion known. Regardless of which side of the issues you stand on, please go vote?

Hopefully we all do the same (if eligible.)

Please note: I didn’t say who to vote for. Nor would I ever these days. That’s up to you. Use your own discernment when it comes to that.

If you live in the United States of America, it is one’s civic duty to vote. Say what you will about this country, but please say it at the voting booth or mail-in ballot. Democracy does not function without the participation of its citizens.

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