This is some of the backstory for my MotW RPG campaign. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is unintentional. This is a work of fiction.
Disclaimer: This is a fictional organization.
From the notes of Brenda Hart, Secretary of the Des Moines Remote Viewing Society:
Aug 3, 2016: Making it official tonight. Dan, Tom and I are going to start looking into the odd phenomena occurring here in Des Moines. I’m new here, only having moved from Colorado a few short years ago after my husband died. Ironic that I’m the one with the most experience in the field and the only trained remote viewer of the bunch.
Dan is our resident parapsychologist and tech guru. We wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for him and his website, The Midwest Monitor. He lives here in Des Moines and has seen a lot of strange things, more as of late. Most of his journals are on video in one form or another going back to the early 1990’s. He’s done a lot of investigations of local haunted houses.
If Dan is our parapsych and tech guy, Tom Ross is the exact opposite. He’s our resident spiritually conscious conspiracy guy. His intuition has led us to the tunnel network. (More on that later.) He’s also convinced Des Moines, IA is a popular stop on the extraterrestrial superhighway and a visitors center for the Reptiloid population. He also things a lot of the local happenings are eyeballs deep in the Illuminati, Freemasons, Nosferatu, shadow government, demons, Men in Black and so on. Tom’s notes are regularly mailed to my address as additional proof along with copies sent to friends, relatives and a random PO Box.
We have an unofficial fourth member named Lewis. He’s strictly on the Internet and goes by Big Lou 42 on most things. He’s a nice guy, but a lot secretive. I think he might be former government or a shadow corp employee turned whistleblower. He doesn’t live here, but he sure knows a lot about DsM. We have other internet friends, most live in BFN Iowa, MO, or MN. The local MUFON folks know we’re around, too. Dan used to be a member.
Tonight’s meeting was very informal. We met at Dan Miller’s house for pizza. It was our way of getting to know each other. Dan recently caught onto some sketchy activity in the cemetery over by the State Fairgrounds. It happens every year when the Fair crowd starts coming around.
Some teenagers were out partying near the cemetery when they saw some strange lights and bizarre fireworks coming from within the graveyard. They may have been drunk. They might not be credible. But I did manage to dig up some old newspaper files from the 1970’s and early 80’s of similar sightings.
In 1993 four college kids attempted to hold a seance in the middle of the night with a Ouija board. A week later, one of the teens died of an apparent suicide, two in a car accident, and the fourth went missing a few short years after college having been hospitalized in a mental institution suffering from multiple delusions and a nervous breakdown.
This year we’re going to do a very passive stakeout with cameras, trail cams and night vision gear mostly off the premises. If things look promising, we might move closer in toward the last nights of the Fair or after it’s all over. I’m going to do a reading three nights into the stakeout to see if I can determine where the disturbance might be coming from.
Tom says he has a lead on a bunch of activity near the cemetery in Pleasant Hill. That’s probably going to be the next destination just because of the close proximity and similar reports. Should be creepy fun.
-End of Entry.
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great week. See ya soon!
First Table: 1d12 Rumors about Dungeons.
Bonus Table: Not for the Squeamish.
Roll 1d12 to give hapless adventurers what the local subterranean scene might be. (DM/GM will determine the truth of said rumors.)
Some farm kids plowing a nearby field unearthed a large boulder covering the entrance to nine levels of pure hell containing wealth beyond imagination.
A very old Dragon sleeps in a mountain not too far away. It’s been asleep so long, some think its lair is unguarded and it might even be dead.
A lone tower sits in the middle of an open plain with very little around for miles. A powerful lich built it to protect its research.
The oldest cottage in town conceals a ritual summoning circle. The witch who lived there used it to open a portal to her underground stronghold.
A general from a long forgotten army lies buried under the fields south of town. It is said his soldiers were incredibly loyal and remained with him even in death.
Creatures made of dust, smoke and ash can still be seen circling about the old druidic circle on a new moon.
The crazy old hermit in the nearby mountains is actually a disgraced wizard and his cave is secretly the entrance to a much older complex.
There is a partial map to a renowned buried treasure in an unmarked grave in the old cemetery outside of town. The problem is finding it without digging up massive amounts of ground. The group knows where the other half of the map is located.
A much older village lies in ruins underneath a city the group frequents. It has recently become a source of ghosts and other unhappy spirits.
A nearby hill is actually a buried pyramid that contains a portal to other dimensions.
There is a secret entrance to a dragon’s lair underneath the nearby lake.
Townsfolk digging a new well have discovered a “strange glowing boat” buried beneath the otherwise landlocked site.
Bonus Table: 1d12 Horrible Mysterious Deaths.
(*Trigger Warning: This is intended for generic fantasy/horror and could possibly trigger trauma in some readers. It includes mentions of homicide, gore, and sensitive subjects. Reader discretion is advised.*)
Body was found bereft of head and completely exsanguinated with no blood on the scene.
Victim appears to have drowned in less than a teaspoonful of water.
Empty husk of a body was found at the scene. It crumbled to dust as soon as someone touched it.
The ghost of the recently deceased can be seen standing above the body waiting for someone specific.
Several bodies have been found in separate locations recently covered completely in green moss from head to toe. No one seems to know how they got there.
The body was found with no flesh covering the skull and a rare gem in each eye socket.
The body is found writhing on the ground. It is full of scarab beetles.
The deceased spontaneously frozen to death in a crowded room.
The victim isn’t actually dead, but in a state of deep suspended animation.
The body is booby trapped with poison cactus needles that protrude as soon as someone touches it.
The body dissolves into a pool of acid slime as soon as someone says the name of the deceased.
A demon tears its way out of the body in the while everyone is eating breakfast.
Of course, none of this is meant to be a suggestion. Let’s keep the fantasy/horror on the gaming table. This was a work of fiction.
Ending on a much freakier note than usual. Thank you for being here. I appreciate you! Have a great weekend.
Short commentary on an old horror reference book that is a mainstay in my collection of GM advice reverences. I absolutely love GM guides.
I loved reading this book in High School.
I remember this fondly because it was one of the first treatises on game mastery I ever read. I read a lot of books on game mastery back in the day. I still do, but not as frequently. Nightmares of Mine by Kevin Hite and John Curtis. You can find it on Goodreads here. It’s still around in pdf and print anywhere fine rpg resources can be found. I still retain my dog-eared, well-loved, physical copy. It sits on my reference shelf next to my Heritage English Dictionary and my Book of Stagecraft. I still look back at all of the above from time to time.
It’s listed under Rolemaster, probably because both were produced by Iron Crown Enterprises. I loved Rolemaster’s critical tables, but the games themselves weren’t usually at the top of my list. No lie, I had a character die while being created more than once… Spacemaster was fun as a one-shot though. Anyway, Nightmares of Mine really isn’t entirely a nuts-and-bolts RPG book.
It is chock full of good GM and writer advice and I recommend anyone starting any kind of a horror project to give it a once over before you start, especially if you’re new to the genre. This little gem of a book got me through a couple of Call of Cthulhu games, Beyond the Supernatural campaign, and running things in old school Ravenloft. My favorite Storyteller game, Werewolf the Apocalypse benefitted heavily from this as well. That game was so fun…
It’s helpful advice for GMs looking just to improve their technique, especially when it comes to horror, but running games in general as well. Advice on description, pacing, embracing the genre/subgenres as well as safety tools all come into play here. There are also tips and tricks for dealing with different horror subgenres. Be forewarned, a lot of what we have in the RPG community now, wasn’t really discussed as much back then. A lot of the modern horror games we have now hadn’t even been written yet, save Call of Cthulhu. Even if you want your dungeon crawls to be a little scarier, this book is a good catch.
I’ll be curious to see how the advice from Nightmares stacks up with the FATE Horror Toolkit one of these days. I’m still contemplating a Space Horror game one of these days. Probably a one-shot, but maybe a short campaign, depending.
Just wanted to do a short bump for this cool little book. More things to come. Have a great week. Game on!