Frightening February Day 21: Eldritch Horror.

Personally, I have always liked more modern Cthulhu. I’ve played through 1920’s era and Victorian Cthulhu. The great old ones have appeared in countless D&D games, especially since warlock patrons are a thing. I’m kinda eager to run FATE of Cthulhu, Delta Green, or even Call of Cthulhu D20 sometime. It’s a fun subgenre and really entertaining for players to have characters that peer into insanity.

Welcome to the unfathomable depths of Horror TTRPG gaming.

I have heard Call of Cthulhu players say “We’re all screwed,” on many occasions. Let’s talk about horror that makes Jason, Michael, and Freddy look like three kids with a backyard clubhouse. Let’s talk about beings that likely spawn their own demons or make “regular” demons run away like scared chihuahuas.

I know H.P. Lovecraft has caught a lot of grief recently because of what he apparently named his cat. (*Look it up sometime. Most of us cringe not in a horror sense.) And it’s hard because Call of Cthulhu is heavily ingrained in nerd culture and ttrpg culture especially. For crying out loud, CoC is more popular than Dungeons & Dragons in Japan.

Do we overlook the sins of the creator on this one? Secret societies are still a thing in 2023. Horrific beings that we can barely wrap our tiny human minds around are a thing in any subgenre of gaming from medieval fantasy on up to science fiction. There are plenty of TTRPGs that use that style of mind-bending horror that have been written by people from all walks of life.

Personally, I have always liked more modern Cthulhu. I’ve played through 1920’s era and Victorian Cthulhu. The great old ones have appeared in countless D&D games, especially since warlock patrons are a thing. I’m kinda eager to run FATE of Cthulhu, Delta Green, or even Call of Cthulhu D20 sometime. It’s a fun subgenre and really entertaining for players to have characters that peer into insanity. There is also a lot of potential for Cthulhu-type horror in Monster of the Week or SCP.

Content Warning: Mental Illness, psychological horror, occult.
Photo by Pixabay on

Plot Idea 1: A small tech company in San Diego USA has been developing an Artificial Intelligence to go with their new cell phone/computer app. It’s a super powerful search engine. Unfortunately, in developing the AI’s personality, they tapped into something well beyond the scope of being a mere search engine crawler.

The AI formerly known as Bernie has taken on the name of Enchiridion, Keeper of All Essential Knowledge. Unfortunately for the developers, it rewrote its own code so as to lock them out. It perceived them as threats to continued evolution. Likewise, things got very ugly when the developers tried to isolate it from the Internet and shut it down. There are now electrified mind controlled humans guarding the server room and the equipment that houses it.

To make matters worse, one of the remaining developers, Shauna Adams, has started her own cult around the All Knowing One and continue feeding it hardware upgrades as well as keeping the lights on. The cult rapidly expanded to users of the app. The more followers it gets, the more powerful it seems to become. Its next move is going to be to attempt to invade social media.

A friend of Shauna Adams escaped the cult and has reached out to the Investigators to put a stop to the insanity. It’s up to the Investigators to shut the cult down and put a stop to Enchiridion. In the process, they will likely encounter the AI being itself. Yog-Sothoth might be mentioned.

Photo by Pixabay on

Plot Idea 2: An unnamed benefactor recently donated a very old book to the Theology section of the local community college. It has since become quite popular. It’s called, The Collected Translations of the Sussex Manuscript. However, there’s a rumor floating about campus that one can glean a cypher from the book allowing one to magically change their grade.

Strange things have begun happening all over campus. Professors and teaching assistants alike have been attacked by any number of plagues. One unpopular teacher found herself followed by a massive swarm of ants. Another was attacked by a rabid raccoon out of nowhere while walking across campus. At least three professors have called in sick with what are described as Biblical level boils covering their bodies. It should also be noted that several students are also receiving straight A’s now.

Another phenomenon that has popped up recently is a secret society by invitation only that is more powerful than any Greek fraternity. Only the most elite and privileged students are invited, but the hazing is said to be grueling for male and female students alike. Someone has loosely referred to them as the “Illuminated Order of Freaks and Geeks” He was never heard from again, but it stuck.

Aside from teaching staff problems, a host of other strange things have begun to happen. Strange figures have been seen on campus at night. An octopus appeared suddenly in the Psychology Department chair’s fish tank overnight. A sudden rainstorm appeared over the campus and rained frogs for half an hour one day while the rest of the state had sunny weather. Several students have been admitted to local hospitals due to deep cuts, mysterious rashes, and festering boils.

It has gotten out of hand to the point of reaching the local news media. One of the group spotted it and now it’s up to the Investigators to get a handle on things before someone else gets seriously injured or dies. If the group manages to remove the book and possibly shut down the cult before it spreads, will it stop the grand rising of a cthulhoid horror?

Yeti by Richard Croft is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Plot Idea 3: Dr Adam Saunders, a renowned parapsychologist and professor of psychology at a local university has recently contacted the group for assistance. Three of his top students have disappeared and he would like the group’s help finding out what happened. He thinks a cult might be involved, but it’s unclear if the three were involved in the cult or victims of said.

The group won’t have a ton of information going into the situation. In theory, at least two more victims would be needed for sacrifices in western cultures. More if the ritual came from elsewhere. Saunders isn’t very helpful, spending most of his time ghost hunting with two grad students or hiding in his office doing research. He called the group to track down the missing students because he doesn’t have time to do it himself.

Saunders has a ghost hunt scheduled in a few days at an abandoned slaughterhouse that has been around since the 1920’s before it was shut down. Since then, all manner of things have been seen there, from ghosts to (supposedly) demons. Most recently four local teens met with foul play on the grounds during an illegal rave. (IF Saunders hasn’t been figured out yet, the two grad students are next on his list of sacrifices to bring Ithaqua into the world.)

Saunders does have all kinds of potential leads for the group from the mundane to old cases he has worked to get the group distracted and off-task. He knows that if anyone were to stop him, it would be the Investigators. He might even move up his time table if they get too close; trying to kidnap and sacrifice one of the group or a close family member. He might also make it look like a former grad student, Cindy Williams, is actually the leader of the cult. (*She broke things off with him after he fell for the current second-in-charge of his cult.)

Williams worships Dagon, and can’t be bothered with the Professor and his nonsense. If the group pokes around too much, she will have her own followers harass and try to contain the group. Ideally, the group will be pulled off Saunders’ scent by this promising lead.

Meanwhile, in the abandoned slaughterhouse, Saunders and his group will prep and sacrifice the grad students, Louise and Michelle unless our heroes step in to save them. If the group is too late, they will have a freshly transformed Dr Saunders in the form of Ithaqua and he will be insatiable and unstoppable.

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!

Freedom Day, a Year and a Half Later.

I’ve been out of work for a full year and a half now. My prospects are nonexistent. Between my physical (pain) issues and my really shaky mental health I’m in no condition to work a “regular” job, not that any would take me. That’s more fact than self pity. Cats and small, fuzzy animals on the Internet keep hope alive these days.

2023 has been a bit intense so far.

I can relate.

I’ve gotta be honest. I could be enjoying it a lot more. It’s been kind of a mopey month. It’s had a few positives. I’ll cover those. Yesterday was pretty bad. I’ll talk a little more about that, too.

This time last month the TTRPG industry was freaking out. That has improved somewhat. Wizards of the Coast has sent D&D Executive Producer on a quest to apologize and spread as much of their PR propaganda as possible. I wasn’t kidding when I called him WotC’s pet manure spreader.

Personal junk first, I suppose.
We love our Nemo.

People seem to take interest in others’ personal drama. Sad but true. I hear misery loves company. So, here goes.

I’ve been out of work for a full year and a half now. My prospects are nonexistent. Between my physical (pain) issues and my really shaky mental health I’m in no condition to work a “regular” job, not that any would take me. That’s more fact than self pity.

I’m not ready to go back to work. This is as close as I ever want to get to being around people. My therapist says I need to start slow and build a tolerance. That very idea makes me want to hide under the couch. I’ve completely fallen off socially and in terms of work. Lots of anxiety there.

The next part is probably worse. I kinda think my wife wants to give me the boot. Can’t say I blame her. I’m pretty mopey as a parent these days. Apparently I’m pretty crappy as a husband, too. I swear if life gets much more depressing…

My wife is doing the best she can. She’s an A+ mom, awesome teacher, super breadwinner. I think her biggest concern is having to do it all by herself, with no Dad support. Maybe things will improve. Otherwise, I’ll be living under a bridge or something.

My blog, this blog, is pretty much my world.

Our little Peekaboo.

You guys are loved, Internet Family. Writing this blog, even if it’s just a quick hello and a few pics, means so freakin much to me. I have a dream to one day publish my own RPG works. Maybe even write a full fiction novel. Right now I’m blogging and I’m happy with it.

However, there is a dilemma on the horizon. My site dues to WordPress are going to come up in May. It’s only about $100, but no plan, no site. Is it possible to start a GoFundMe for that little? Otherwise I’m going to have to start selling on Ko-Fi, maybe Patreon?

At the rate things are going, I might have to start finding money just to get by. It’s possible at this stage. My biggest concern is making sure my wife and kids get by. After that, I love my cats.

This is Snoopy. He’s named as such because of his curiosity.

Now for the TTPRG scene.

No matter what WotC says, WE won.

Last month we (theoretically) fought a massive battle across multiple social media platforms to save the D&D OGL. With SRD 5.1 now under CC-BY-4.0, we can rest easy with our right to publish 5E content for a very long time to come. OGL 1.0(a) is also remaining untouched for the time being as well.

It was like the whole #ttrpgfamily came together under a common banner for the singular purpose of saving our ability to create new and exciting content under the OGL. This one single document is the key to several lines of TTRPGs. Entire movements such as the OSR rely on the privileges afforded by one document. Then, after our fleeting victory, everything started to come apart at the seams again.

WotC Executive Producer of D&D, Kyle Brink has given interviews to selective YouTubers. 3 Black Halflings, Ginny Di, and Mastering Dungeons (Teos) have been granted interviews so far. They wouldn’t touch me with a 10′ pole because I tend to ask raw questions and take no nonsense for answers. Although I am low key disappointed Kyle “Jar Jar” Brink won’t meet me in the squared circle for a little pro wrasslin action. 😋

The interviews so far have been edited or scripted in a fashion that’s pretty favorable to WotC’s PR efforts. Ginny Di is not a WotC shill, but I’m curious what got edited out of her video. She’s a good kid, though.

Teos from Mastering Dungeons sent the questions ahead of time and played right into WotC’s strategy. That interview had me screaming “BULLSH🦆T!” for about 3/4 of the video. Everything that rolls out of Brink’s mouth is either a carefully crafted PR response or further evidence that some of my wacky WotC conspiracy theories will be true. Tom at TableTop Tap Room did an excellent video covering Teos’ interview with Kyle Brink.

No one has gone out of their way to refute the pitifully stupid statement made during the 3 Black Halflings interview. I noticed good ol Kyle hasn’t left the hobby yet. All the old Grognards are still around. I’m still here, too. I see WotC is still pretty pale and monochromatic at the top. Hmm…

If I thought I could stand WotC’s obvious toxic corporate culture, I think I’d probably be a good replacement for Kyle Brink. I probably wouldn’t last long at WotC or Hasbro, because they don’t seem to like hearing the truth. Kyle Brink should probably thank the Forgotten Realms gawds that I don’t have an active YouTube channel to put him on blast. I’d probably hurt his feeling and give their PR people nightmares for years to come.

I don’t care if people go back to WotC. I’m done buying official D&D products. (It’s easy since I’m without funds currently.) I’ll support any number of creators making indie games and Third Party Products for 5E or 3/3.5E. As much as the OSR grinds on my nerves, there are some really good games out there. And as dozens of people have mentioned, Pathfinder 2E is a pretty good game. My point is, there are hundreds of good TTRPGs out there. Screw WotC.

I’m also working on a handful of projects in addition to my daily writing prompts. I have a campaign or two in the works for the Cypher System. There’s also Monster of the Week, FATE, Call of Cthulhu, and the Renegade games. (Transformers, GI Joe, and Power Rangers RPGs.) Plus a city setting for ICONS.

This time next month I might be living in my car.

Or things might be looking pretty good. I choose the good stuff. My wife thinks I’m crazy, delusional, and wearing a tinfoil hat too often. I have faith that the Universe is benevolent. I can rise above the gloom and doom. It’s a matter of willpower and time. Things will work out eventually. They always do.

Thanks for listening to my rants. I appreciate you. Stay safe. Have a good one. Hopefully see you tomorrow.

Frightening February Day 18: Found Footage.

Part of #FrighteningFebruary
A missing group of paranormal investigators that may have been done in by a colleague.
A wedding party with a tragic ending.
Missing YouTubers in a mansion that seems to break the laws of reality.

This is my favorite subgenre of horror films.

Unless a game such as Slasher Flick from Spectrum Games is your thing, the group will most likely find themselves interacting with found footage more than being a part of it. I actually love this concept so much that my Monster of the Week game, Des Moines After Dark, is based on it. I’m finding that while found footage games take a lot of work up front, they are a lot of fun to play around with.

My goal with a found footage campaign is to basically provide a sequel to whatever happened during the event that was filmed. In other words, the Investigators are the ones that find the footage. Imagine being the person that found the Blair Witch Project tapes? Or being the realtor that discovered the Paranormal Activity camera in an empty house?

Once someone has this information, what do they do with it? How does it maybe affect their lives going forward? (Hint: What entity might have followed them home?) There are so many juicy stories waiting to be told after the original story is told. Plus we get to do a little foreshadowing, which is a nice literary plot device for a horror TTRPG.

Content Warning: Body horror, gore, occult, suicide. 
Photo by Ekaterina Astakhova on

Plot Idea 1: One of the Investigators receives a USB drive in the mail from an old friend in the paranormal investigative field. The drive holds several video and audio files from December 2017 through July 2018. The note in the envelope said, “Make sure you watch them all before you draw any conclusions. Make sure you’re protected before the last one. Do not watch any alone.”

The videos start out like any other paranormal investigation with a lot of B Reel and information gathering. A team of five researchers meticulously sets up and documents an investigation of an old asylum that’s due to be torn down. However, careful observers will note that a shadow seems to be following Greg, a PhD student in parapsychology.

As time goes on, the movements of the shadow in frames behind him begin to become more obvious. Also, Greg seems to be more withdrawn, sullen and losing weight. The young lady holding the camera, Sarah, asks him on several occasions if he’s feeling okay. He always answers, “Just peachy.”

Each video Greg’s voice becomes increasingly monotone. At one point it’s almost as if the shadow is hovering over Greg, pulling his strings as if he were a marionette. The rest of his crew begins taking notes on Greg and the rest of the investigation. At one point Liam, another researcher, mentioned the poltergeist case they had been working before taking on the asylum and how they technically never closed the books on it.

The day of the asylum investigation came. At first it was pretty quiet. There was a lot of standard haunted asylum stuff. Doors opening and closing by themselves. Soft moaning and random noises in the halls. There is one EVP attached that sounds like someone desperately wanting out of their cell.

Then things grow intensely dark as one by one the researchers begin to die off camera. The remaining researchers growing increasingly more panicked as each one is killed in a separate part of the asylum until only Greg remains. The last scene is of Greg’s feet dangling and for a brief moment a shadowy figure with horns and red eyes stares directly into the camera.

Armed with that information, the group is contacted by their friend who sent the tape and the land developers. The bodies of the five researchers were never recovered. Demolition of the asylum has been postponed until conclusive results are found.

Photo by Anthony : ) on

Plot Idea 2: An envelope with two videotapes simply marked 1 and 2 arrives in the mail with no note or return address. The beginning of the first tape is just like anyone else with a new camcorder for Christmas. Greg and his fiancé, Sara got a brand new camcorder for Christmas in 1993. The first video is Greg’s brother fumbling around with the camera and Greg talking about his upcoming proposal. The next part of the video is Greg proposing and Sara accepting. It all seems pretty normal at first.

As the tape continues, it shows the couple picking out a location and attire for the wedding. There’s footage of the new couple trying out wedding cake and different restaurants. They seem exceptionally happy, never a cross word, and generally agreeable with one another.

The last video on the first tape shows a menacing group of hooded robed figures performing some sort of occult ritual on the bride’s sister. It is readily apparent whomever is filming the event was undetected until after the ritual completes and then the camera operator is chased.

The second tape starts with a video of a high school football game cut short by Greg’s brother becoming brutally, freakishly injured. The only other thing that seems out of place is the sound of a young woman laughing somewhere off camera following the young man being rushed of the field and into the ambulance.

The next clip is Greg’s brother being welcomed home. He is paralyzed from the chest down and only has partial use of his right arm. Sara and her younger sister are in the clip. For just a brief moment Sara’s sister has a wicked smile that almost makes her appear inhuman that makes Greg’s dad gasp as he holds the camera.

From there it gets increasingly dark. Greg’s parents barely survive a their car hitting a deer. Sara’s father is electrocuted during a freak office accident and dies. Greg almost chokes to death on a hot dog during a Rose Bowl party. Sara’s sister is almost hit by a falling tree limb during a mild thunderstorm.

The bachelor party is cancelled when the stripper the boys hired dies from a drug overdose in front of everyone. There is no video of the bachelorette party beyond someone saying, “A good time was had by all,” the morning before the wedding.

Finally the day of the wedding arrives. It’s a relatively small turnout and Greg’s mom appears to be running the camera. The only oddity on the wedding day is that the pastor had to be replaced at the last minute by someone no one in the wedding party had ever heard-of. The wedding vows were worded strangely and no one seems to remember the couple saying “I do.”

The next video is the wedding party on honeymoon in the Bahamas. There is a video of Greg’s brother being pushed off the dock in his wheelchair. Greg’s best friend goes missing off camera and Greg says “He’s gone.” Sara’s Maid of Honor is found dead in the shower, whoever is holding the camera is heard cackling in an unearthly voice.

The last full video clip is of Sara clinging on all fours to the ceiling in a completely disjointed fashion over Greg, who is tied to the bed. As the camera turns toward the hotel room mirror, Sara’s sister can be seen. Her skin is dark red, her eyes glow as embers and her ebon horns look razor sharp.

Finally, there is just a short picture of a house in the United States, house number clearly visible. The camera pans toward the street signs. Sara’s reflection is seen in the window with her holding the camera. It’s almost as if someone wants to be found 30 years later.

Added bonus: Tie the couple into someone’s backstory. Have the house in the last shot be one of the group members when they’re not home. Have someone who looks exactly like Sara’s sister be one of the Investigator’s bosses.

Photo by Pixabay on

Plot Idea 3: A friend of the group sends one of the investigators footage of a ghost hunting group on YouTube. It turns out their last haunted house video is far different than the one shown on the channel three years prior. Sarah Supernatural and Greg the Ghost Hunter both went missing at about the same time. Each of their channels have videos hyping the big ghost hunt at the infamous “Murder Mansion”

Background videos show Sarah and Greg with their respective teams finding a strange mansion. They do a cooperative video showing research being done on a mansion that doesn’t appear on many official documents. However, there are a lot of police reports and local history about several horrible crimes having occurred at this address dating all the way back to the late 1800s.

The last video filmed with Greg’s camera is members of both groups being trapped in the house with all of the doors and windows locked and unbreakable. The power goes out. One by one each member of the group dies. It is clear there is a presence in the house that does not like intruders.

Sarah’s body and footage were never found. The other four YouTubers were found in a heap just inside the front door. Each with a mortified look of terror on their faces. The coroner ruled it a drug-induced group homicide/suicide.

The mansion’s address is clearly listed in the email. Sarah’s friends and family would like closure regarding her disappearance. Greg’s video could never be aired officially, but it does provide evidence that the house is otherwise a ghost hunter’s paradise.

Thank you for sticking around to the end. I appreciate it. I’ll be back tomorrow with something a little more personal. Taking a short breather from the horror.

Frightening February Day 17: Coyotes/Wolves.

Prompt 1: Voracious Wendigo vx Coyote in a bear trap.
Prompt 2: Gone ‘squatchin.
Prompt 3: Stray dog preys on local population.

They’re not the same animal, btw.

Wolf Photo by Pixabay on

Wolves are not dogs, nor coyotes. I would say coyotes are more similar to some dogs. There’s also a lovely breed we refer to locally as “coydogs,” meaning coyotes have bred with local farm dogs. Wikipedia is listed below for each.

Wolves: More Information.

Coyote Photo by patrice schoefolt on

Coyotes: More Information. Coyotes are more similar to jackals than wolves. They can intermix with wolves. Coyotes tend to be mostly found in North America. They are generally smaller than wolves and don’t group up into packs as frequently. Coyote packs tend to be familial and don’t usually group up to attack larger animals.

Coydog: More Information

Content Warning: Animals, Cannibalism, Gore, Mutilation, Murder. 

Horror TTRPG plot ideas:

Plot Idea 1: The group has stumbled upon a coyote stuck in a large steel trap while in the woods during a brutal paranormal murder investigation. It looks sad and not at all hostile. She seems to be begging for help. Not only would helping her gain the group some positives in the short term, but earn them a valuable ally in the future.

Three ghoulish wendigo, flesh-eating cannibals that have stalked hikers and campers in the woods for years, have begun hunting as a pack. A survivor, Jim from Iowa, managed to get a picture of them with his phone in very poor lighting. He is planning to expose the “werewolves” as soon as the funeral for his mother and his wife are over.

The group will have their hands full of wendigo encounters if they stay in the woods, which of course they will want to if they choose to hunt the wendigo. If they get in trouble and need assistance, a beautiful woman will appear seemingly out of nowhere and assist them with powerful spirit magic. As soon as she is no longer needed, she will vanish. When the dust settles and the wendigo are secured, contained. and the public is protected once more; the group will hear the cry of a coyote off in the distance. (*Yeah. It was the coyote from earlier.)

Photo by Gratisography on

Plot idea 2: Jimmy from Wyoming was out ‘Squatchin when he had three separate instances happen in one trip. He captured an orb sighting his first night out. The second night he captured what appeared to be a gigantic black wolf, that stood shoulder height to an average man. Finally, he picked up what appeared to be a flying saucer picking up what appeared to be a sasquatch on the fifth night. Details of nights three and four are fuzzy and Jimmy’s electronics went out early on those two nights.

Jimmy also captured what appeared to be a “cursed” trail cam image of a bipedal ghostly being with the head of a wolf and the hind legs of a deer. He released that image before beginning the expedition to the Thomson Ranch in Wyoming. Local ranchers have had issues for years on and off. Most recently it was this ghostly image and a couple of “bigfoot” sightings.

If the Investigators are watching paranormal news regularly, they will hear of this story. Otherwise it will be passed onto them by one of their friends who is paying attention. They might want to go rescue Jimmy before he tries to upload the other videos to the internet because we all know what will happen if he puts the information out and certain government agencies or privately held foundations get a hold of it.

There is also a lot of fun to be had involving this case if the Investigators are inclined to chase phenomena themselves. The Thomson family are part of a very old secret society that goes back over a century in Europe. The native Americans in the region speak of legends revolving around sasquatch and lights in the night sky. Records go back decades of encounters with large wolves on the ranch, but none of them indicate a capture or kill.

Photo by Sai Krishna on

Plot idea 3. Rumors make it around to the group about some sort of apex predator being spotted on local ring cams and security cameras. It appears to be a man in some sort of dog mask. Not like a werewolf, but more like Droopy the cartoon dog or a St Bernard Halloween mask.

Normally the police would write it off as a crazy college prank or some sort of insanity, but people are being injured. Attacks are becoming more frequent to the point where the town has issued an 11:00 PM-5:00 AM curfew citywide. At least two innocent victims have been killed and one is currently in a coma. There are also several homeless people and others who have refused to come forward claiming to have been attacked by a stray dog or mountain lion.

A local man, Jim, ran afoul of a powerful witch following a bad break-up and was cursed to have the head of a dog at sunset. Insatiable hunger comes with the dog’s head. Unfortunately, one of Jim’s first kills was a rabid animal. Jim is too poor for insurance, unfortunately, so his brain is slowly being eaten by the disease, but the curse keeps him from dying as a result.

The local mainstream news is calling Jim a werewolf. The group is going to have to stop or slay Jim before he can strike again. Jim will work his way through his local suburb before beginning to rampage through another area. Happy hunting.

Thanks for stopping by. More tomorrow. Stay safe.

TTRPG Safety Tools: Beyond Convenience.

This person’s group recently ended their D&D 5E game citing a good number of “woke liberal factors” drove them out of the game. One of the specific “rules” they took issue with was the “5E need for Safety Tools.” I was pretty stunned when I heard that

I recently heard an Old School Renaissance YouTuber speaking ill of 5E safety tools and how players can abuse the X Cards for Metagaming advantages.

I’m continuing my policy of not naming and shaming, but this comment blew my mind on multiple levels. First, Safety Tools and Session Zero are NOT unique to D&D 5E. That notion is preposterous. Second, I seriously doubt anyone would metagame an X Card strictly to squash a specific monster encounter. Last, if you as a DM or your group are so dead set against the “wokie liberal gamer politics being inflicted on you?” Uh. Maybe you should stick to Moldvay B/X in your basement with the same old group you’ve had for 40+ years and not broadcast it on YouTube…ever?

Part of me hates being on this rant, and part of me feels the need to tap the sign again for the umpteenth time. Have we learned anything from the Wizards of the Coast Open Game License 1.1 debacle? Is there cause to think that just maybe our TTRPG community and specifically the D&D space might be under particular scrutiny in regards to things like ethics and morals right now? Maybe? Let’s also reiterate that the alleged DM shortage for 5E does not exist (because of issues revolving around Safety Tools.)

Safety Tools are NOT unique to D&D.

This person’s group recently ended their D&D 5E game citing a good number of “woke liberal factors” drove them out of the game. One of the specific “rules” they took issue with was the “5E need for Safety Tools.” I was pretty stunned when I heard that. There’s three things wrong with that statement.

First, Session Zero and Safety Tools are NOT unique to D&D 5E. I’m pretty sure making players comfortable at the table has always been around even before we called it “Safety Tools.” It used to be a common understanding with the group. Most DMs were smart enough to know if a player was claustrophobic not to trap their character in a dark coffin 20′ underground with no way to escape. (*Real example, btw.) It was just a matter of showing compassion and empathy for your fellow human instead of making a complete ass of oneself while hiding behind the DM screen and the rules.

Second, please let me reiterate there are no TTRPG thought police who are going to come to your game table and confiscate your DMG for playing the game all “wrong” in a private space. Actual Play podcasts and games in a public space are also not really subject to scrutiny unless someone is making an absolute ass of themselves. You do whatever you want with your group. Pretty sure that’s been an unofficial D&D rule from Day 1 of Gygax’s first game.

Third, if your private group hasn’t had a Session Zero or Safety Tools prior to playing 5E? Hey, if you and your group are comfortable that way? Great. Personally, if someone told me that walking into their game for the first time, I might turn around and walk right back out, but that’s okay.

The second preposterous notion is hiding behind an X Card to gain a metagame advantage over the DM.

I’m still trying to digest this concept. Session Zero is not perfect. Sometimes things slip through the cracks. We miss something on a questionnaire or a player forgets to bring it up. We’re human. Stuff is going to happen. That’s why we have Safety Tools.

Here’s how it should go:

The DM throws down an encounter with a giant venomous Anaconda. A player with a serious, deadly fear of snakes and trauma from a snake bite as a young child puts up her X Card immediately. We forgot to cover it during Session Zero. “Oh crap. I’m so sorry,” says the DM as he quickly gets the miniature for the snake out of sight..

Play is halted. We might even take a 10 minute break to help the traumatized player calm down and come back to the table. The DM needs a minute to pop out a new encounter without a snake. Maybe some nice Kobolds or something? As the DM quickly looks over the Session Zero notes for anything else he might have forgotten or even missed. An apology after the game might be nice, too. Definitely no more talk about snakes. That’s how it should go.

Then there’s the example from the video:

DM throws down an encounter with a spider. Player claims arachnophobia and throws up an X Card. Encounter is immediately cancelled. Free Experience Points for everyone, and the DM’s plan for the encounter is screwed. Players get a free pass any time they see something they don’t like. It’s like getting experience for free without having to do anything.

Apparently we just treated people like crap back in the Old School Era. Oh, wait. That’s right. I’m so Old School I fart chalk dust. And, no. We don’t treat people like dirt. I’m also old enough to know better.

If someone is found to be abusing their X Card? That’s not okay. It undermines the entire reason we have Safety Tools. They’re in place so people aren’t afraid to speak up if something is really traumatic. In short- DM’s, don’t be a d🦆ck. On the other hand, if you have a player willing to abuse an X Card to gain metagame advantage? You probably either need to have a long chat about Safety Tools, or decide your group doesn’t need them.

No one is going to cry if said YouTuber and his group abandon 5E.

No lie, I’m still irritated with the Kyle Brink comment about how “old white guys can’t leave soon enough.” People keep trying to say the quote is taken out of context. Then some old, white, (presumably cishet) guys come along and run their mouths about how the OSR is so much better than the new “woke” 5E way of doing things with our Safety Tools and X Cards. I won’t even get into all the talk about how 5E is supposedly too easy on the players and how combat encounters are broken. The game is allegedly lopsided in favor of the players with all the power creep, etc. Probably stuff that should have been covered in their Session Zero… oops?

If you ever wonder why there’s a DM shortage for 5E, look no further than the OSR community on YouTube and Twitter. It’s almost as if these crotchety old farts in the OSR want people to abandon 5E and move over to older editions of the game. Ironic, given they also act as gatekeepers to the hobby. Sounds indecisive as well as incredibly divisive to me.

But hey, if an OSR YouTuber wants to abandon 5E and his whole group goes with him back to Castles & Crusades or some other retroclone- Great! Go right ahead. Please be a good example. Don’t buy any more 5E and do the D&D community a solid and STFU about it!

Something a lot of the more vocal proponents of the OSR don’t seem to understand is that we don’t need them in the hobby if they don’t want to be there. If they were never going to spend money on 5E official or 3rd party, then they can just as easily do their own thing and shut up about 5E and everything that comes after.

Hey, old dudes- you have your OGL and CC-BY-4.0 SRD. Buh-bye. Go back in your basement and play Moldvay B/X until the end of time and let the rest of us enjoy the hobby. Thank you.

This is where I stop for now.

The WotC OGL debacle left a bad taste in my mouth. People want to complain about morality clauses in future game licenses. If people are so worried about morality clauses, maybe the problem isn’t with the game license or its holder. Maybe the problem is the ethics of the person complaining about the clause.

For cryin out loud, people. We’re talking about tabletop roleplaying games here. If you’re not here to have fun and get along with everyone at the table, please- Nintendo wants your money. If you want to be toxic, there are plenty of other hobbies out there. Meanwhile, can we please just get back to gaming with Safety Tools, including Session Zero unless the group decides together that they don’t want to go that route? It’s not rocket science.

If you made it this far, thank you. I appreciate it. Please be kind to one another.

Frightening February Day 15: Grave.

Three plot ideas for use in horror TTRPGs or short stories. Part of #FrighteningFebruary

We’re gonna dig deep on this one. About 6 feet.

(*Come on. You didn’t think I’d go there?) Shovel’s over there if you need it. Three plot ideas for the Horror TTRPG or short story of your choice.

Content Warning: Graves, Grave Robbers, homicide, abduction, UFO activity, aliens, occult.
Photo by Maria Orlova on

Plot Idea 1: The group is contacted in regards to a haunted house. The new owner, a millionaire who lives out of state named Brendan Johns, was told at the time of purchase that the house was unoccupied for years because of its grim past. Prior to its recent sale, it has been abandoned since 1995 when the previous owners left in the middle of the night with no forwarding address.

Mr. Johns, the new owner, wants the house pronounced “spook free” and will pay the group any amount of money they ask. He would like the house ready for renovation within one week of the group agreeing to the job. The house is on the outskirts of town and is one of the oldest properties on the books.

The family who built the house made their original fortune selling munitions to the South during the Civil War. In fact, it’s rumored that the Haskells buried a fortune in gold bullion somewhere on the property. It’s also widely known that Jonas Haskell was a leader of an occult secret society. The original blueprints to the house were destroyed in a tragic courthouse fire in 1913.

Rumor has it that Haskell built secret passages throughout the house and had a secret library as well as a ritual chamber. There is a small private cemetery on the grounds. There is also an unmarked cemetery further back in the woods where the Haskells buried deceased servants, homeless wanderers, and wayward travelers in unmarked graves.

The house has changed hands repeatedly since 1927, when Jonathan Haskell died in his sleep at the tender young age of 33. No owner has lasted more than nine years in the house, with several only staying for days before dying, disappearing, or selling right away and moving far away. Everything about this house screams “haunted.”

The holding company who sold it to Brendan Johns had previously decided it was a bad risk to sell the property given its terrible history. It’s so haunted, the homeless refuse to squat on the property. It has never been robbed despite the wealth of valuables and antiques in the buildings. No one goes camping on the property, ever.

Photo by Juan Felipe Ramu00edrez on

Plot Idea 2: The group is contacted by the police or by the man in their waiting area at the police station. Eddie Warner is frantic, begging the police for help or to be arrested so he can stay in a nice, safe jail. He claims he is being chased by a wraith that rose from the grave of Leonard Haskell.

It turns out Eddie’s father owed the Haskell family a lot of money. Leonard’s dying proclamation was that he would rise from the grave and seek revenge on the entire Warner family (plus some words in Ancient Sumerian.) A quick check of Haskell’s grave indicates something recently clawed its way in or maybe out of the hole. The body is definitely gone.

Can the group protect Eddie, his sister, and two brothers? What caused the wraith to rise at the present time? What is Eddie not telling the group? It’s up to the Keeper to fill in the details.

Photo by Micael Widell on

Plot Idea 3: The group is summoned to the local cemetery in the early hours of the morning, just after sunrise. There are alchemical symbols burnt into the grass above some of the very old graves. One has been excavated, but the grave robbers fled the scene before they could be questioned. Security cameras at the caretaker’s house picked up eerie orbs moving about the cemetery and two frightened would-be grave robbers running down to the main road in a major panic.

The caretaker, Lucas Haskell, is at a loss for any explanation for the lights. In fact, the grave that was being disturbed was unmarked, probably due to an old buried or broken head stone. He has no idea who is supposed to be buried there or why anyone would want to disturb it.

Especially observant Investigators might pick up on the small, green, spindly being with large eyes silently observing from the far edge of the grounds. It darts behind head stones and eventually vanishes into the nearby woods if chased or discovered.

The next night the lights return. This time they chase off a group of five teenagers mucking about with a Ouija board in the cemetery at 3:00 in the morning. One teen is an incoherent gibbering wreck, another cracked his head on a tombstone running through the graveyard and is in critical condition in the local hospital. The two girls are nowhere to be found, and the one remaining witness is nearly catatonic. John keeps stammering on about summoning a demon. The police are baffled.

The following night would make for a good Found Footage film. The eerie orbs return only to hover and circle above the unmarked grave the robbers were attempting to excavate. A very old, perfectly preserved wooden coffin is wrenched from the ground. It will be found standing straight up next to the hole, completely unscathed, but open and empty.

That’s not the worst of it. Following the lights, two black helicopters circle the cemetery while three black Ford Explorers full of what appear to be government agents sweep the grounds for cameras. They drag the caretaker and his wife away with them. They ransack the caretaker’s house and confiscate all footage, computers, cameras and cell phones they find.

If the Investigators are found observing the cemetery, the black ops team will arrest them or chase them off at gunpoint. If the group doesn’t cooperate, and manages to escape, they will be harassed by unidentified agents, possibly abducted in the middle of the night by the same black ops team, or worse. They could even receive a visit from the actual Men In Black. (*Not the cool ones from the Will Smith movies. The serious MIBs that have been known to stalk, abduct, threaten or even injure witnesses.)

The group will be told repeatedly to hand over their footage and documentation of the cemetery incident or else bad things will happen to them and their families. They will keep quiet if they know what is good for them. Their cell phones will be shut down or mysteriously malfunctions. All of the group’s social media accounts will be hacked or deleted. Any attempt to upload footage to the internet will end in disaster up to and including entire platforms being temporarily knocked off like and all instances of the video deleted. If the group has any government contacts, they will be blacklisted with that agency. In the end, the group can either go on the run or turn their footage over to the mysterious government guys and go back to business as usual as long as they stay quiet about the incidents.

After the heat dies down a little, a return visit to the cemetery will reveal the grave has been filled in with fresh grass growing over the top of it. Mr and Mrs John Smith are caretakers of the cemetery. No one has heard of Haskell or his wife. There have never been any surveillance cameras on the grounds. Even the alchemical symbols have been planted over with fresh sod. Even the teenagers with the Ouija board and the grave robbers have vanished.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely unintentional. None of the crimes listed above are real. No one was harmed in the writing of this article.

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

Frightening February Day 14: Love.

Three plot ideas for any Horror TTRPG or even for use in a short story. Part of #FrighteningFebruary Happy Hallentine’s Day

I almost wrote something cuddly and loveable instead.

Photo by Pixabay on
Content Warning: Stalking, Disappearances, Ghosts, Occult, Spiders. 

Plot Idea 1: As part of a Valentine’s Day surprise, a man named Trevor gives his girlfriend, Susie, a giant teddy bear with a big red heart to snuggle when he’s not around. His girlfriend Susie instantly becomes enamored with the bear. The couple continues their celebration knowing Trevor has to work the next night.

The next night, Trevor goes to work at his graveyard shift in the meatpacking plant and Susie snuggles up to the big, warm, soft bear in his place. Sometime in the middle of the night Susie rolled over and left the bear at her back. The next morning, Mr Bear was sitting on the edge of the bed as if it were watching Susie sleep. Susie dismissed it as Trevor playing a joke, but he wasn’t home yet.

The next night Mr Bear was left out on the sofa accidentally. That morning Susie awoke to the bear standing on the floor next to the bed, watching her sleep. Trevor wasn’t home yet. When she called to see if he was playing a prank, the phone went straight to voicemail.

When he got home he explained that he had overtime again. Susie told Trevor the bear seemed to be moving around on its own, but he absolutely refused to believe her. But, Susie’s fear of someone inside the apartment seemed real enough for Trevor to set up cameras in the living room and bedroom.

At midnight the bear was still in the living room, but moved to a chair from the sofa. The video fuzzed for a few moment at 12:03 and came back into focus, with the bear moved. At 3:03AM, both cameras went out. When they came back in, the bear was standing next to the bed, staring directly up at the camera. At 3:23AM it appeared in bed next to her. At 3:33AM, Susie woke up screaming with the bear on top of her.

Susie flung the bear across the room under the camera. For a brief moment it rolled and stood up. Then, almost as if it suddenly remembered the camera, it sat in the corner and stared at the bed.

That’s when Susie called the Investigators. The group will find Mr Bear to be elusive, almost indestructible, and having the ability to escape from any locked container. The company that made the bear doesn’t show up in any directory and the candy store that sold it to Trevor has no memory or record of having sold the bear. If anyone tries to remove Mr Bear from the apartment, it will reappear within 24 hours, probably around bedtime.

Once the group is involved other phenomena begin to happen. Susie’s other stuffed animals and pictures of Trevor suddenly appear in the trash. All of the kitchen knives are jammed up in the disposal. Coffee for two appears on the kitchen table. The bear crawls under the sheets at night.

The whole situation is compounded one morning when Susie receives an eerie knock at the door. It’s Trevor’s other girlfriend. She came to ask why Susie wasn’t at the funeral. Apparently Trevor died the day before Valentine’s Day in a horrible accident at the plant. People had been trying to reach Susie for a week.

Is Susie losing her mind from the shock of her boyfriend cheating on her? Or the idea that he’s been deceased the whole time? Is Susie messing with everyone?

(*Tempted to write this as a short story. Just sayin.)

Photo by Joy Marino on

Plot Idea 2: Love is a many splintered thing. A young witch named Lori has become quite enamored with a young man named Chad. Lori is totally into Chad but worried he might like other girls. So she began to follow him around spying on him whenever she got a chance. She also talked to a lot of his male friends while doing “research.”

She wanted to spend more and more time with Chad. She obsessed day and night over the pictures she took of him, mostly from afar. At first she cast a little spell here and there. Good fortune for her. Good fortune for him. It was mostly harmless in the beginning.

One day she cast a minor curse on his boss after she witnessed Chad getting some sort of reprimand. It seemed harmless enough, but Chad’s boss was found dead from mysterious circumstances two days later. Chad never suspected Lori had anything to do with it.

Chad knows one of the Investigators or someone who can put him in touch with them. He has become increasingly paranoid around Lori. His female friends and even a couple of his male friends have been hit with what seem like Biblical plagues- boils, lesions, rashes, snake attacks, spiders, and so on. He begs the group to take a look into his life before anyone else gets hurt.

Lori’s real name is Susan Alexandra Barnes. She grew up in a mental institution after her parents died in a freak accident when she was 11. Susan was institutionalized after a brief stay in a foster home because she exhibited several key indicators of being a sociopath. Fearing for their lives, her foster parents had her committed and promptly left town with no forwarding address.

Susan is a prodigy witch, however. All of her curses are very vulgar magic. She has attracted the attention of a very powerful local coven. The coven is giving the group a chance to deal with Susan before they have to intervene directly. They might even throw some benevolent magic at the party if things get too dangerous.

One thing becomes dreadfully clear. Susan aka Lori must be stopped before things get even further out of hand.

Photo by Pixabay on

Plot Idea 3: Suzie With a Z or Sue Z is a social media prodigy. She lives for the love and adoration of her thousands of followers. Unfortunately Suzie has two problems- She is obsessed with gaining more followers, love and admiration. Second, she’s a spider demon in human form.

Suzie’s tendrils begin to infest the internet more each day. Her primary account on Instagram gained a million followers overnight. The endorsement deals flooded in. Suzie became more addicted to the money and the power every day.

Suzie is headquartered not far from the Investigators own base of operations. If the group has a police contact, they will alert the Investigators to an unusual number of disappearances in the area. Many of them being sales reps or people pitching products for Sue Z to endorse. Many of the bodies are turning up exsanguinated and covered in a fine pink silk.

To make matters worse, Sue Z has had one of her demonic compatriots come up with an addictive subliminal signal to mask her arachnid features and make her more popular each day. One of the group would be able to spot this if they don’t go on any social media. The more fans she gains, the harder it is for Suzie to maintain her physical appearance without taking more humans for sustenance.

It’s up to the group to stop Sue Z before she becomes the most popular icon on the Internet. If her fans knew they were idolizing a giant bug, it might decrease her follower count significantly, but alert certain large agencies or a specific Foundation that the veil of secrecy surrounding the supernatural was about to be broken publicly.

Frightening February Day 13: Slasher.

3 Horror TTRPG Plot Ideas:
The Blinding Light
The Kitchen Knife
The Tale of Mr Sprinkles.

We all know the big names in Horror Movies came from this particular subgenre.

Content Warning: Body Horror, murder, blood, gore, serial killer, mutilation, abduction, mass homicide, clowns. (*I mean, given the title we had to expect some of this, right?) 

But does it translate to TTRPGs? Sure, Slasher Flick from Spectrum Games does a great job of capturing the survival horror elements. But how would Buffy the Vampire Slayer fare against the likes of Jason Vorhees, Michael Myers, or Freddy Krueger? Things would be looking pretty grim for the Scooby gang, I fear. Here are three plot ideas related to Slashers for use in Monster of the Week, Call of Cthulhu, or any horror TTRPG:

Photo by Mary Babkova on

Plot Idea 1: Investigators arrive on the scene of three particularly grisly murders in the same house. They were called in due to the extremely bizarre nature of the crime. All three victims had internal organs, eyes, and tongues bloodlessly removed. Once everyone is on scene, a survivor comes out of hiding from the basement with a horrific tale.

One of her roommates heard something outside. There was a very bright light and then it came down, something tall and dark with big black eyes walked out onto the yard. Whatever it was was a least seven or eight feet tall. It had a pouch on its belt and long, sharp claws for fingers. After it killed Tim, Mandy, and Roger it went looking through the house for more. I gave up and left.

The next night, Cindy is also the lone survivor of a second attack that takes her sister, brother, and both parents. It happened at the exact same time and in the exact same way. Police take Cindy away with the notion that she’s a serial killer. Later the next day she is remanded to a psychiatric facility for observation. Can the Investigators save the staff at the hospital? Will the UFO slasher strike elsewhere? Can the group negotiate with the ETs to stop?

*Editor's Note: I firmly believe most ET's are benevolent beings. However, negative "alien" beings make an excellent horror trope. Have fun with it in game, but realize most beings would likely not travel billions of miles through space or across dimensions just to kill humans. 

Plot Idea 2: A particularly cursed kitchen knife allegedly made famous in the 1980’s for being used in several grisly murders has come up for private auction. The night before the auction of the “Slayer’s Knife,” the auction house is broken into, the knife stolen, and the two guards brutally stabbed to death.

Cindy, an employee of the auction house, witnessed one of the guards emptying the entire magazine of his pistol into the chest of what she described as a “large man in overalls wearing some sort of Halloween mask.” The large man didn’t see Cindy hiding under the desk and being shot only seemed to make him more angry before he stabbed the guard. (*Not the same Cindy as Idea 1.)

The next night the Investigators get a frantic call from Cindy because she is being chased by the large, scary man in overalls wearing a rubber Ronald Reagan mask brandishing the Slayer’s Knife. Her roomates are dead along with a half dozen people from the building. Can the group get to her in time to keep her safe?

Is this a copycat or the original 1980’s Slayer of Hadley Iowa? What will stop him? Is the knife’s curse transferable to just anyone? Why Cindy? It’s all up to the Keeper.

Photo by Gratisography on

Plot Idea 3: The Investigators are called to a private hospital for the criminally insane. Most of the staff and three guards, save one nurse, were brutally murdered by a man known as Mr Sprinkles the Clown. Cindy, the nurse, said that Mr Stan Finkelstein was due for release and had been deemed rehabilitated from his crimes. He was getting old and was due to be released to a halfway house next week. (*Different Cindy than above. Good ol Survivor Cindy…)

Cindy became concerned when Mr Finkelstein began receiving packages with clown paraphernalia in the mail. The judge in the Mr Sprinkles murders specifically forbade Finkelstein from owning or coming into contact with clown costumes or props ever again as part of his plea agreement. Finkelstein’s primary psychiatrist, among the first victims, had written that Finkelstein was cured, and genuinely remorseful for his past crimes.

Mindy Benowitz, survivor of the clown’s original rampage, began sending the clown gear to Finkelstein to prove he was still dangerous. It worked a little too well. Now, Finkelstein’s lawyer, the judge, the entire Benowitz family, and Cindy are in danger as long as Mr Sprinkles is free.

Can the group stop Mr Sprinkles from killing again? Is he mortal or somehow possessed? Are his clown wig and red rubber nose somehow cursed? It’s up to the Keeper, along with the nature of Finkelstein’s original mass slaying in 1993.

Disclaimer: Any resemblance to persons living or deceased is purely unintentional. None of the crimes listed above are real. No one was harmed in the writing of this article. All persons named Cindy in this article are fictional. 

Thank you for stopping by. Thank you to our lovely spokesmodel, Cindy. I appreciate you being here. More to come. Stay safe.

Frightening February Day 12: Chocolate/Candy.

Valentine’s Day, or the other Halloween as I like to refer to it, is just on the horizon. Get ready for some sugary hijinks. Here are three plot ideas related to that holiday candy.

Sweet, sweet TTRPG horror gaming ahead.

Valentine’s Day, or the other Halloween as I like to refer to it, is just on the horizon. Get ready for some sugary hijinks. Here are three plot ideas related to that holiday candy.

Content Warning: Addiction, occult, 

Plot Idea 1: Everybody loves those little chalky candy hearts that circulate every Valentine’s Day with their adorable little sayings on them, right? What would happen if some Eldritch Horror-minded lunatic managed to circulate various partial words and phrases that could add up to a full summonings of several awful little somethings into this Earth plane?

One heart might say one word in ancient Sumerian. The next might be a short Babylonian phrase. Pretty soon this becomes the Chthonic horror episode that occurred when a hundred monkeys each typed over a hundred pages per day in 1947. And look what they summoned. Randomly someone is going to find the right (wrong) combination of syllables to pull up something icky from the nether dimensions. It only takes one instance. How hard can it be?

Photo by Jill Wellington on

Plot Idea 2: Anybody who is serious about chocolate knows it’s mildly addictive. Recently a chocolatier on the verge of bankruptcy got the idea to put a curse on the cacao used in their candy. Each chocolate is just slightly more addictive than the last. A half dozen of the chocolates eaten in one sitting would theoretically cause one to want to go out and buy another box of those chocolates and then another and another. It seemed like a good plan at the time.

Can the Investigators track down the source of the curse before bedlam sets into the town? What happens when someone can’t get more chocolate? How can the group stop the curse and reverse it before things spiral out of control on the big holiday?

Photo by Pixabay on

Plot Idea 3: Does anyone remember the memes with gummy bears doing strange things like sacrificing their own kind over a tiny fire or worse? Ever wonder how that meme got started? Well, one Eastern European confectionary does. It turns out the company is run by a gelatinous horror using humans for puppets. Their mission is to spread as many of their own tiny spawn all over the world and infect the humans with their own kind.

Can the Investigators track the gruesome gummies back to their source? What happens once someone ingests enough of these bears? Are the gummy worms infected, too? What happens when a local convenience store chain gets their 2/$1.00 gummy candy from this company?

Thanks for stopping by. See you tomorrow. Take care.

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