Posts Tagged ‘ horror ’

December 1: Wait

Over in the OSR Google group, Iacopo Maffi suggested folks create an OSR Christmas calendar. He also suggested a specific theme for each day. Here’s my first day, presented in both 1E and 5E flavors.

In the woods not too far from the village? Strange happenings. Animals are more skittish, and no one has heard birdsong for at least a fortnight. Nights seem darker, colder. Animals are more skittish, and no one has heard birdsong for at least a fortnight. On the nights of the full moon, an impossible metal tower rises among the trees. A monstrous women dwells in the tower. What does she look like? Who knows? We know she’s there. Everyone has heard her hellish screams echoing in the tower’s bulbous superstructure. Those brave enough to approach the tower during the night when the moon is full have heard pounding and scratching, trying to break free. What are we doing about it? We’re farmers and herders. What can we but wait?

Rapunzhel is the tormented revenant of a young woman drowned in a water tower due to a cruel prank perpetrated by several of her classmates in the 1960s in a small town in southern Georgia. The water tower became unmoored from any specific reality, and now it shifts from world to world, seemingly at random. The tower always appears near a rural community of modest size. It remains for several months, but only becomes visible and material during the nights of the full moon. Most nights, Rapunzhel remains trapped in the tower, raging against her fate and her captivity. She always manages to escape, however, and, driven by her mad rage, she fills the night with blood and horror. When dawn breaks after her rampage, she and the tower vanish, shifting to another world.

Rapunzhel is a water-bloated corpse, moist and rotting. Her white hair writhes and flails, twisting and stretching and seeking. Her weeping eyes blaze with feral hatred.

1E Stats
Frequency: Very rare (unique?)
No. Appearing: 1
Armor Class: 5
Move: 15″//15″
Hit Dice: 8
% in Lair: 90%
Treasure Type: Nil
No. of Attacks: 2 + special
Damage/Attack: 1-6/1-6 + special
Special Attacks: Entangle
Special Defenses: See below
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Average
Alignment: Neutral evil
Size: M (5-1/2′ tall)
Psionic Ability: Nil
Attack/Defens Modes: Nil
Level/XP Value: VII/1,075 XP + 10 XP/hp

Rapunzhel attacks with her talons and her wildly flailing hair has grown to impossible lengths in her undeath. Her hair attacks up to 1d4 medium-sized targets within 10 feet. A small-sized target counts as 1/2 a target, and a large-sized target counts as two targets, et cetera. Targets struck by her hair must make a saving throw versus paralyzation or become entangled in a mass of squirming, constricting hair. One per round on its turn, an entangled target may attempt to escape the hair by making a successful bend bars/lift gates check; otherwise, the target takes 1d4 points of damage from constriction. A creature not entangled in hair may use an edged weapon to cut the hair, which is AC 5 and takes 8 hit points to cut through; all hit points must be inflicted by same creature.

Rapunzhel cannot be harmed by nonmagical weapons. Once per round, when she is missed by a melee attack, Rapunzhel may immediately teleport without error to another spot she can see that is no farther than 9″ away. Being undead, she is immune to sleep, charm, poison, and effects that require a living target. She swims quickly and easily, and she has no need to breathe. Rapunzhel can be turned as if she were a vampire.

5E Stats
Medium undead, neutral evil

Armor Class 15 (natural armor)
Hit Points 127 (15d8+60)
Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.
Ability Scores STR 18 (+4), DEX 16 (+3), CON 18 (+4), INT 10 (+0), WIS 15 (+2), CHA 13 (+1)
Saving Throws Dex +6, Wis +5
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities charmed, exhaustion, frightened, poison
Senses darkvision 90 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages English
Challenge 7 (2,900 XP)


* Multiattack: Rapunzhel makes three attacks: twice with her claws and once with her hair.

* Claws: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d6+4) slashing damage and 7 (2d6) necrotic damage.

* Hair: Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 9 (2d4+4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained. Rapunzhel’s hair continues to constrict each grappled target once per round at the end of Rapunzhel’s turn for 1 minute or until the target escapes.


* Defensive Teleport: Once per round, when a creature misses Rapunzhel with a melee attack, Rapunzhel may teleport up to 20 ft. as a reaction, doing so at the end of the turn of the creature that triggered this ability.

December 1st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

It Takes All Kinds of Critters…

…to make Farmer Vincent Fritters!

In the salubrious spirit of Thanksgiving feasting and fun, the family-owned businesses of Farmer Vincent Fritters and Motel Hello welcome your investigators to their table.

Your Hosts

Motel Hello and its famous Farmer Vincent Fritters are family-owned and operated by the Smiths for decades.

Farmer Vincent
Tall and elderly but still handsome with a warm smile and a welcoming demeanor, Vincent is the patriarch of the family.

Hit Dice: 3 (2d4 damage)
Notes: Vincent is an extremely high-functioning psychopath. He is a clever hunter and has a real talent for mechnical engineering. Saves to detect his lies and evade his traps are made with Disadvantage. He is proficient with a shotgun and a carving knife, but its with a chainsaw that he shows real skill. Strength Saves to avoid Vincent’s chainsaw attacks are also made with Disadvantage.

Ida, His Sister
Heavy set and childish even in her 30s, her facade of normalcy quickly becomes strained when frustrated or threatened.

Hit Dice: 2 (1d6 damage)
Notes: Ida is Vincent’s right hand. She has difficulty presenting herself as a normal, functioning adult, but as long as she’s under Vincent’s influence, she’s unlikely to be pegged as anything other than socially awkward. Despite her weight and clumsy appearance, Ida is remarkably stealthy. Saves to notice her when she’s being sneaky are made with Disadvantage. Ida is a competent nurse and can perform even simple surgery.

Bruce, His Brother
Tall with the physique of faded high school athlete, his sheriff’s uniform is always neatly pressed and his boots spit-shined.

Hit Dice: 2 (1d6 damage)
Notes: Bruce is the youngest of the siblings, and he is the least insane of the trio. This doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous. He’s not only a cannibal, but he’s also a duly-elected county sheriff, popular with and generally respected by his constituents.

Places to See

The Motel: Set a few miles off the nearest highway, Motel Hello presents a rustic, homey charm to patrons. The rooms are clean and neat, and prices are reasonable. The motel is set on several acres of rural countryside that includes copses of trees, hiking paths, a man-made pond, picnic areas, and a small farm where Vincent grows alfalfa.

The Pens: Vincent keeps hogs and chickens. Free bags of feed for children staying at the motel are available in the lobby.

The Smokehouse: This building is kept locked to keep visitors from discovering the secret ingredient in Farmer Vincent Fritters. A small but well-appointed slaughterhouse is adjacent to the smokehouse. There’s also a large walk-in freezer.

The Pond: Of modest size, visitors are welcome to take out a small rowboat or bob about in an inner tube, enjoying the cool water on those hot days. There are picnic areas near the pond as well.

The Garden: Hidden within a copse of trees, surrounded by a camouflaged fence that is kept locked, Vincent “grows” his most secret ingredient here. He and Ida “plant” people after surgically disabling their vocal chords. Buried up to their necks, Vincent feeds this “crop” a nourishing mix of special ingredients through funnels attached to snorkels. Vincent’s victims are usually travelers captured on the nearby highway with the help of one of Vincent’s clever traps.

The Traps: Vincent loves to come up with clever traps to get drivers to pull over so that he can capture them. He and Ida use a potent knock-out gas carried in thermos-sized canister with an attached anesthesia mask to knock out their victims. The gas works rapidly to render a victim unconscious. Constitution Saves to avoid unconsciousness after breathing the gas are made with Disadvantage.

November 23rd, 2017  in RPG No Comments »


Newly docked in the ebay:

Rare, complete boxed set of Bunnies & Burrows designer B. Dennis Sustare’s Heroes of Olympus, the combination ancient Greek wargame and mythic heroes roleplaying game. All original components are in the box: the maps, the rulebook, and the counters (most of them unpunched). The maps have seldom been unfolded. The rulebook has grayed a bit, and it does have a few pencil marks and the pen mark showed in the pic. The bottom right of the front cover has some slight but noticeable tattering. It almost looks like maybe a rodent nibbled at it (I once owned hamsters). The box lid has been neatly taped on two corners, and there is a white file label affixed to the top to cover an obscenity scrawled on the box by a jerk I used to game with. The box bottom has cracked some on an edge. I’ve also thrown in a tourist map of Athens circa 1973.

Path of Legend for Fantasy Flight’s Dawnforge campaign setting. I wrote this adventure shortly after contributing a chapter to the campaign setting itself. Path of Legend introduces players and their new heroes to the Dawnforge world with an epic quest that combines location and event-based encounters that include roleplaying, puzzle-solving, and, of course, combat. The book is most gently used. It is one of the complimentary copies I received for writing the adventure. It’s never been used for play, and it’s almost like new.

GURPS Imperial Rome, published 1992, by Steve Jackson Games. Signed by Steve Jackson, Jeff Koke (editor), and Ruth Thompson (illustrator). Some what used. Noticeable scratch on cover. Some wear on corners. Some yellowing of pages. No interior marks.

That said, here’s more on the theme of (belated) October spookiness.

From an article on the always interesting Public Domain Review about Jacques Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire infernal.

A few pages later there is Amon, a horrific hell beast with globular pitch-black eyes, a “great and powerful marquis of the infernal empire” who appears as a “wolf, with a serpent’s tail . . . [whose] head resembles that of an owl, and its beak shows very sharp canine teeth.” As if le Breton’s rendition of the beast wasn’t terrifying enough, Collin de Plancy reminds us that this nightmare creature “knows the past and the future”.

The illustration to the right comes from the 1863 edition.

Amon is demonic nobility. His domain is a blighted expanse of treacherous hills and canyons across which howl burning winds that often roar together, forming tornadoes of fire and ash. Amon sees things as they actually are. Amon sees through normal and magical darkness, notices things or creatures hidden by magic, sees through illusions, and sees the true form of polymorphed, changed, or transmuted things. He knows the past and the future, but the full extent of his knowledge is not known. Amon cannot be easily lied to, tricked, or surprised. He uses the following spells at will, one at a time, once per round, as if he were a 12th-level Magic-User: Charm Monster, Levitate, Pyrotechnics, Read Languages, and Suggestion. Once per day at will, one at a time, once per round, Amon may cast Fireball, Fly, Polymorph Self, and Teleport.

Amon: HD 20; AC -3 [22]; Atk 2 claws (1d6) and 1 bite (2d6); MV 9; SV 3; AL C; CL/XP 30/7,400; Special +1 or better weapons to hit, immunity to fire and poison, magic resistance (80%), spells, telepathy 100 ft., truesight

November 1st, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

Jump Scares

I have more exciting ebay news:

1. Chivalry and Sorcery: The second edition of Fantasy Games Unlimited’s Chivalry and Sorcery in its original box. The box has seen its better days, but it is more than 20 years old. Wear on top and bottom. Two corners are split, but there is no tape. Top cover bent in a bit near the top, probably from having something stacked on top of it during a move when I was in the Army. All three books are in pretty good shape. Covers are a bit smudged and yellowed. Binding is still pretty solid. Few to no pencil marks on the interiors. No ink marks or highlighting at all.

2. GURPS Imperial Rome: This copy of GURPS Imperial Rome, published 1992 by Steve Jackson Games, is autographed by by Steve Jackson, Jeff Koke (editor), and Ruth Thompson (illustrator). Some what used. Noticeable scratch on cover. Some wear on corners. Some yellowing of pages. No interior marks.

And, now, more for October. Ooh. Spooky.

Jump Scares

Let’s face it. It can be hard to run a horror-based game that is evocative enough with players who are immersed enough in the experience that the adventure unfolding really approaches anything close to the level of scary. So, with that in mind, do what schlock horror movie writers have done for ages. That’s right. Use jump scares. Get a large six-sided die. Display it prominently. Then, when something that’s supposed to be scary is about to happen, scream and roll the die. Before the players recover from your ear-piercing shriek, consult Table: Jump Scares and apply the results accordingly.

On a 1-2, the characters are somewhat more likely than normal to be surprised by the loud noise or by whatever suddenly appears. Of course, the something in this case isn’t dangerous, so there’s not likely any immediate effect, although that loud noise might alert nearby monsters, guards, et cetera.

On a 3, the characters are not only somewhat more likely to be surprised, but since the something is also dangerous, they are greater risk of harm.

The chance to be surprised increases on a 4 or 5 since a loud noise accompanies the sudden appearance of the something. Worst of all, on a 6, so many sudden things happen more or less at once that surprise is very hard to avoid.

October 13th, 2017  in RPG No Comments »

The Masks of Nyarlathotep

First, an update. If you’re one of those few people who obsessively keeps track of the progress of Spes Magna projects, the reason nothing has been completed and released lately is due almost entirely to my real job. In short, I’m teaching about a dozen classes across five grade levels in a seven-period-a-day schedule. My committment to my students takes priority over Spes Magna Games, which, to be honest, is more of a hobby than a real business venture.

In other news, and before we get to some October horror, please note that I have a couple of items for sale via ebay:

1. The first edition of Cyberpunk from R. Talsorian Games, complete in its original box. The box is good shape considering it’s nearly 30 years old. Some corner wear. Some yellowing. No split edges or tape. Includes all the original books: Friday Night Firefight, View from the Edge: The Cyberpunk Handbook, Welcome to the Night City: A Sourcebook for 2013, and the player reference sheets. These materials are almost new as this game has only ever been gently used.

2. Path of Legend for Fantasy Flight’s Dawnforge campaign setting. I wrote this adventure shortly after contributing a chapter to the campaign setting itself. Path of Legend introduces players and their new heroes to the Dawnforge world with an epic quest that combines location and event-based encounters that include roleplaying, puzzle-solving, and, of course, combat. The book is most gently used. It is one of the complimentary copies I received for writing the adventure. It’s never been used for play, and it’s almost like new.

And now, let’s meet the Masks of Nyarlathotep.

Hit Dice: 2-5
Nota Bene: The Masks of Nyarlathotep, insane cultists who serve the Crawling Chaos, are kept in asylums under the care of loyal servants. When enemies of the cult require correction, the keepers of the Masks release their charges with necessary instructions, monies, equipment, et cetera. Masks vary in skill and deadliness, but even the weakest are a cut above the norm. In combat, they fight with mundane weapons, preferring razor-sharp blades so that they can better see the looks of terror in their victims’ eyes. A Mask wears a grotesque configuration of straps that affixes a leather strap across his or her mouth. Painted on this strap are a pair of smiling lips. While not monstrous enough to threaten Sanity, this accessory holds dark power. A Wisdom Save is necessary to see the accessory as anything other than a normal part of a trustworthy face. All Masks can cast a number of random spells equal to half his or her Hit Dice.

October 9th, 2017  in RPG, Spes Magna News No Comments »