Who We Gonna Call?

Last post for January. I managed to squeeze in a random table for DsM RVS.

1d12 agencies the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society can call for backup if needed.

Keeper’s Note: Some of these agencies come at a high price- not usually in cash, but in terms of return favors. And if you have to ask- Yes, it’s really those guys.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to person living or dead on this list is purely unintentional.

Choose one or Roll 1d12 and consult the chart below:

  1. Dr Philately or Dr Franklin at the SCP Foundation Field Office in Nebraska.
  2. Dr Amanda Bronson, Professor of Paranormal Studies, Miskatonic University.
  3. James T Smith, PhD Director or Pacific Northwest Research Studies, WA.
  4. Ivan Markov, University of Moscow. (Actual degree or dept unknown.)
  5. Codename “Sgt Rock.” Dan’s contact at the DIA. (Real name unknown.)
  6. Detective Darren Friendly of the Des Moines Police Department.
  7. Stephanie Kolchak: Des Moines Register *WSFM Desk.
  8. John Smith, frequent caller to late night paranormal radio shows.
  9. “Deep Throat” aka Dan’s Contact in the CIA somewhere.
  10. Lisa Simpson, Department of Homeland Security.
  11. Dr Simon Hanes, Remote Viewing instructor.
  12. Rhonda Jennings, NASA data analyst.

*Weird Science and Frickin Magic. WSFM isn’t just a radio station.
There is no FBI contact listed because Lewis is in the group.
This was done as a random table in the event a lead needs to be generated at random. A couple of these contacts are a built-in plot hook on their own.

Contact lists for Tom and Brenda might be published later. Tom knows a lot of very strange people locally. Brenda knows some pretty far-out individuals from her time as a professional Remote Viewing instructor. Also, having formed as an Internet group initially, everyone in the original DsM RVS knows dozens of people online. Most of Dan’s contacts are around during Des Moines After Dark.

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.

Fantastic February Writing Prompts.

Create an NPC, creature, or encounter for the prompt listed using the Fantasy TTRPG of your choosing:

Create an NPC, creature, or encounter for the prompt listed using the Fantasy TTRPG of your choosing:

  1. Skeleton.
  2. Deep earth.
  3. Pudding.
  4. Horse.
  5. Sword.
  6. Ant.
  7. Luck.
  8. Spider.
  9. Lightning.
  10. Extreme Cold.
  11. Stars.
  12. Metal.
  13. Chocolate.
  14. Love.
  15. Tissue.
  16. Slime.
  17. Axe.
  18. Passion.
  19. .Troll.
  20. Weasel.
  21. Food.
  22. Goblin.
  23. Ring.
  24. Message.
  25. Clean.
  26. Hawk.
  27. Success.
  28. Dragon.

Valentine’s Day is February 14th. Please remember your special someone.

d12 Modern Horror Tables.

7. An orange tabby cat, alive, unharmed, healthy. The box is clean and dry on the inside. No return address. No note. Meow.

What’s in the box?

Content Warning: Descriptions of gore. May be traumatic for some readers.

(Today’s random d12 table was suggested by @FreighterOne on Twitter.)

A strange box arrives addressed to one of the characters. What’s inside? Roll 1d12 and consult the table below.

  1. A human head, wrapped in plastic wrap. It’s been in there a while judging by the smell. No note or anything accompanying it.
  2. Completely full of ribbon candy, cinnamon disks, butterscotch lozenges, lemon drops, and other hard candies. A simple handwritten note says, “Enjoy. Don’t get a tummy ache. Watch out for tooth decay.” No signature or return address.
  3. A Blue Yeti Microphone. The address on the box is the character’s name and proper address. The note inside says the mic is a gift to “Night Whispers ASMR,” a popular YouTuber that shares the same real life name as the character. Only when they look on YouTube, there is no such channel.
  4. A 9″x13″x3″ box full of dead bugs. No return address. The note inside is an ad clipped from the newspaper that says, “I baked you a cake.”
  5. A large box full of used cat litter. The return address is Mr Fluffles, Eerie Ohio. The note inside is simply a paw print on a piece of plain white paper.
  6. A small box containing 16 rusty, straight square nails. The return address simply says, “Tombstone.” The note inside the box says, “For your coffin.”
  7. A White Bunny Rabbit- alive, unharmed, healthy. The box is clean and dry on the inside. No return address. No note. Seems unusually observant.
  8. The outside of the box is marked with biohazard warnings. If anyone foolishly opens the box, there is a broken glass container inside. The letter on the inside says, “If this box arrives broken or damaged, go to the nearest hospital immediately. This box contains a parasitic spider carrying a highly contagious necrotic plague. If still healthy after three days, you may leave quarantine. Please return this package to Site 14 as soon as possible.” The return address simply reads “SCP Foundation Site 33.”
  9. A large box containing a bottle of fine wine and a cake that says, “Happy New Year 1953.” The address is correct, but the name is incorrect. The return address is Ferdinand P. Gently, 666 N. Pine Blvd. Eerie, Idaho. Further research indicates Ferdinand passed away from natural causes in 1972. The cake is fresh and edible. (Chocolate slab cake. Quite delicious.) The wine is outstanding, maybe 100 years ole?
  10. Old Christmas ornaments and a string of lights. Return address is S. Klaus. 001 Factory Lane, North Pole. The note inside simply says, “Merry Christmas.”
  11. It contains 4 rings, a dull hunting knife, an old .38 revolver and a severed human hand that matches the character’s DNA. The note inside says, “I told you you’d put an eye out with that thing.” The character’s name and address are also listed as the return address.
  12. What appears to be a small, mummified extraterrestrial being in a strange metal sarcophagus. No note. No return address.

Random messages from beyond the grave.

Roll a d12 and consult the table below for messages caught on EVP or just heard around paranormal activity (“haunted” houses/buildings/etc.)

  1. “Hitler won World War Two.”
  2. “Leave here. Now. Go away.”
  3. “The water is too hot. Turn the faucet off.”
  4. “Where are we?”
  5. “This is Ashtar of the Galactic Command. Stay tuned for and important message.” (Nothing discernable follows.)
  6. “We’re all fine here. How are you?”
  7. “The horses are in the paddock.”
  8. “Look in the old rectory.”
  9. “Grandma. I can’t find Grandma. Where’s my grandma?”
  10. “That darn cat.”
  11. “The Bible was right about it.”
  12. “Come with us. Join us. It’s fun.”

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.

Promptober Day 29: Abandoned Locations.

In my game, Des Moines Remote Viewing society used Randonautica to find remote viewing targets for Brenda Hart, the group’s resident psychic and most gifted remote viewer. It was a good source of interesting new cases as well as leads on the ones the group was working on.

This is prime Monster of the Week fodder.

How to use an app like Randonautica without ever installing in real life: Create a series of tables describing how far one has to travel from current location, in which direction, and what they find when they get there.

In my game, Des Moines Remote Viewing society used Randonautica to find remote viewing targets for Brenda Hart, the group’s resident psychic and most gifted remote viewer. It was a good source of interesting new cases as well as leads on the ones the group was working on. The potential for spooky encounters in abandoned locations has always fascinated me.

DsMRVS also used Ouija boards a few times in an effort to locate specific spirits, but such attempts almost always inevitably backfired. Ouija boards are often employed in abandoned places to get a better sense of history of the sites. Of course, in MotW that usually involves a demon, angry witch, ghost, cryptid, or interdimensional being of some kind. Des Moines is legit chock full of abandoned locations in real life, so converting them to fiction for the setting is all kinds of fun.

For the record: I know of several abandoned locations in the real world. I do not go in them. I would also never throw down a Ouija board near them. You just never know what’s on the other side. That’s my opinion as a paranormal researcher and Extraterrestrial enthusiast. Do not F around and find out in some of these abandoned locations. You might get surprised.

Disclaimer: Please DO NOT ENTER an abandoned location in the real world unless you have the owner’s permission! No owner = No permission. Too many investigators get hurt, arrested, or go missing entirely while on abandoned properties. If you find an abandoned house, car, sewer entrance, or mine entrance in the real world- DO NOT GO IN THERE! The physical dangers alone should be discouragement.

This was one of the best prompts all month. I could go on for hours on this subject. Thank you for stopping by. As always I appreciate you being here with us. #ttrpgfamily Much love.

Promptober Day 26: Lost

Key members of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society are lost as of 2022. The data gathered by the trio is also missing in places. Some may have been confiscated by the government or black budget interests. The group went their separate ways in 2020 under mysterious circumstances. (*Then again, it was 2020.)

This one is a subplot running through my Monster of the Week series, Des Moines After Dark.

Key members of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society are lost as of 2022. The data gathered by the trio is also missing in places. Some may have been confiscated by the government or black budget interests. The group went their separate ways in 2020 under mysterious circumstances. (*Then again, it was 2020.)

  • Dan Miller is missing key chunks of his physical files and Internet archives.
  • Brenda Hart moved to Champaign, IL and effectively disappeared. Dan has not heard from her via text, email, or chat in over two years. The two were very close prior to December 2020.
  • Tom Miller is flat-out lost. His mysterious disappearance became apparent when copies of his journal were emailed to Dan and Brenda along with some copies of physical journals arriving at known and undisclosed street addresses.
  • Tom’s last case was his independent study of the (alleged) Reptilian tunnels under Des Moines. His last journal entry indicated he found a tunnel entrance near a bridge and was going to enter it.
  • Lewis (Big Lou) has been reassigned to a different section within the FBI, but his personnel file has gone missing. Dan has been unable to contact him through any of their various channels.

2020 is the year best forgotten. Unfortunately for our heroes, members of the DsMRVS were among those not heard-from again. Even some of their meticulously kept records and videos have gone missing. One of their most notorious case files, loosely dubbed the “Backyard UFO Incident” involved several hours of missing time and blank audio/video footage interspersed with cryptic and bizarre voice lines.

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.

Monstober Day 15: Kitchen

Flash forward to present. Dan, the group’s mentor and primary source of case information is not necessarily the best housekeeper. He’s a consummate bachelor and doesn’t necessarily clean the leftovers out of his fridge as often as he should. One day the group gets a call.

Remember whatever was living in the “mystery foil” in the back of the fridge?

A bizarre creature stalks the Earth in this lighthearted Monster of the Week encounter.

An old case file of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society recently reveals the existence of what Brenda Hart called “The Mushroom Man.” This man was living not far from the river and had huge amounts of mushrooms, molds and fungi growing throughout his house. The DMRVS exposed Mushroom Man after learning he had murdered his wife in order to feed his monstrous collection and further his own experiments.

When the police went to arrest him, however, they discovered he had fled, probably on foot and was likely living off the grid. Further investigation uncovered additional human remains on the Mushroom Man’s property. Police were unable to determine where they came from or how old they were due to the presence of a toxic, invasive species of mold on the bodies. To hamper efforts further, the house burned down, apparently as a result of an arson fire.

Before everything fell apart, Dan, Tom, and Brenda learned The Mushroom Man was performing a wide variety of ancient hedge magic rituals from the book of shadows passed down through his family for several centuries. All of his spells revolved around the growth and consumption of mushrooms. Mushroom Man had apparently been making a living by selling the medicinal kind in order to make a living. Police found several strains of relatively non-lethal hallucinogenic and edible mushrooms at the scene before the fire.

Unfortunately, one of the species of mushrooms The Mushroom Man was growing fed best on beds of decomposing flesh. His experiments falsely concluded (unnecessarily) that they grew best on human flesh. DMRVS investigator Dan Miller made this discovery while looking for what happened to The Mushroom Man’s wife in 2016.

Flash forward to present. Dan, the group’s mentor and primary source of case information is not necessarily the best housekeeper. He’s a consummate bachelor and doesn’t necessarily clean the leftovers out of his fridge as often as he should. One day the group gets a call.

Dan’s refrigerator has been overrun by mold. Stranger yet, something seems to have pushed the door open and slithered off. Could this be the revenge of The Mushroom Man, or something far more sinister and arcane?

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.

*Editor’s note: I know this wasn’t a monster per se, but MotW lends itself to storytelling. The actual monster statistics are a bit less relevant sometimes. It’s up to the Keeper as to whether or not this is just something freaky from Dan’s fridge or The Mushroom Man’s spells coming back to haunt Dan. Or possibly both.

Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate you.

Promptober Day 9: Found Footage

You’ve been asked by the paranormal research department of Miskatonic University to trek into the woods near Burkittsville, MD. You’re looking for an old 19th Century farmhouse that is allegedly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Your group has all of the investigative gear they can carry and 5 days worth camping supplies. Good luck. (Can you survive?)

I’m super excited about today’s prompt!

Slasher Flick by Spectrum Games.
Here’s the Pitch: You’ve been asked by the paranormal research department of Miskatonic University to trek into the woods near Burkittsville, MD. You’re looking for an old 19th Century farmhouse that is allegedly a hotbed of paranormal activity. Your group has all of the investigative gear they can carry and 5 days worth camping supplies. Good luck. (Can you survive?)

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
RPGs- Ouija is fine.
Real world? DO NOT!

I could literally do an entire Monster of the Week game based on this premise. The only catch is, it would mean the group would get to survive from one week to the next which would mean it’s not “Found” Footage. That said, my Des Moines Remote Viewing Society campaign is loosely based on the Found Footage idea. The original team was lost/scattered to the four winds following an undisclosed event to be revealed in later episodes.

I think what would make Found Footage playable as an RPG beyond a Slasher Flick one shot would be to have a team that investigates the footage that has been found around the world from these various mysterious incidents. That’s kind of the premise for Des Moines After Dark/Tales of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society. We know the team investigated a lot of stuff. What we don’t know is what happened to the team three years ago that made them stop or where some of them went.

This genre is one of my absolute favorites of all time. I’ve been in love with the concept ever since watching In Search of… as a kid. When I went to The Blair Witch Project on a date I was blown away. I went on to see it nine more times in the theatre and several times since on video. (*Yes, of those nine some of them were dates. Long story there for another time.)

I’m also itching to do more Found Footage RPG stuff with Phoenix Lights, Area 51, and Missing 411: The Hunted as inspiration. A lot of freaky stuff happens in the Pacific Northwest of the US and in the Nevada desert in the real world to be sure. I’m into Ufology, ETs, and paranormal experiences in the real world, too. It’s one of the interests that bleeds over into gaming quite nicely.

The kicker with Found Footage in #ttrpgs is that the players know their characters are probably going to die. If they survive, they’re probably going to drop of the grid and never be heard from again. Otherwise, it’s not Found Footage, it’s just footage. Player choices really matter in a survival horror game.

The premise of most Found Footage movies is that you know the characters aren’t going to survive.

Thanks for stopping by today. I appreciate you! Hope you’re enjoying #Promptober so far.

Promptober Day 8: Deep Forest

The setting is a jovian-size planet with about 60% covered in water, otherwise Earth-like. Nature is a vibrant force in the world and unused or forgotten vestiges of civilization are rapidly reclaimed. Fauna and flora are abundant as are dragons and other monsters. Life is everywhere.

Just a quick pitch for a world setting on this one.

The setting is a jovian-size planet with about 60% covered in water, otherwise Earth-like. Nature is a vibrant force in the world and unused or forgotten vestiges of civilization are rapidly reclaimed. Fauna and flora are abundant as are dragons and other monsters. Life is everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by. That’s the kind of D&D, Dungeon Crawl Classics, or Old School Essentials campaign I want to start. More details to come eventually.

Promptober Day 7: Darkness.

Picture being away from civilization far enough to not hear the freeway or the city. Go for a walk in the woods away from the lights of the farm, the campfire, and no cell phone. It’s just you, the trees, and silent darkness.

Have you ever been in complete and utter darkness?

Picture being away from civilization far enough to not hear the freeway or the city. Go for a walk in the woods away from the lights of the farm, the campfire, and no cell phone. It’s just you, the trees, and silent darkness.

A quiet, introspective, peaceful place for some, a terrifying, nightmare-fueled, fearful wilderness for others. What’s really out there? What lurks in the dark that’s not there during the daytime hours?

Monster of the Week Adventure Pitch:

The city regularly experiences blackouts in the electrical grid that last just long enough for vampires to feed and multiply.

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