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Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Attic Window

On the top floor of that long-abandoned house with the shady history is a coffin-shaped window. The house has an ill reputation; its last owner supposedly practised black magic and was murdered in the room behind that curious window 30 years ago. The murder was never solved.

The window itself is supposed to be haunted. It is whispered that the dead owner is sometimes seen in it, and strange lights shine from it by night.

An urban legend says that if you look through the window from the inside, the world outside would look strange and wrong.

Breaking into the house and looking through the window has now become a teenage rite-of-passage. But be careful, for you can go mad if you are unlucky...

Possibilities

1 The windows glass has a strange, but unmagical, ability to store images (and to a degree, sound). The images are replayed from time to time, sometimes long after they were imprinted. Some images are repeated time after time, others appear only once. (This is how the long-dead owner is seen.) If you look through the window from the inside, you can might see the street as seen long ago.

And at some point, if you are looking in from the outside, you will eventually see the murder.

2 The window is not made of glass, but from an unknown material made by a pre-human civilisation. It stores images over a nearly infinite time. Under normal circumstances, it looks like a normal window – but things can look wrong (as latent images beneath the surface merge with the normal view).

Looked through in certain angles and light it shows aeon-old images of the laboratory that created it.

The former owner found the glass and learned much forbidden knowledge by looking through it. Unfortunately, he attracted the attention of one of the hounds of Tindalos...

3 The former owner dabbled in black magic and as a side effect trapped a weak astral entity in the glass. The entity is bored, and hates humans. It has learnt how to alter and corrupt the view through its glass prison and uses this ability to confuse and scare humans.

© Stefan Jonsson

The Crate

A character receives word from the post office that they have received a package and need to come and claim it. It is a large rectangular crate; six feet long, two feet wide, and quite heavy (it weighs about 250 lbs.). The crate is well-packaged and there is no shipping label or return address.

Possibilities

1 The crate contains a mannequin; a perfect wax copy of the character. It is a flawless duplicate of the original, but its origin is a mystery. Then, when the character has been left alone with it, the wax figure animates and attempts to kill it’s “twin.” If it succeeds, it comes to life and replaces the original.

2 The box contains a body, still fresh and well-preserved. The face is that of a stranger, but who sent it and why was it sent to the character?

3 The box contains a body, remarkably well-preserved. The face is unfamiliar, and the cause of death is not readily apparent. When the sun sets, the vampire awakens and seeks sustenance after its long journey from Europe.

© John Grigsby

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Preacher Man

Seemingly from nowhere, a preacher shows up in town, easily noticeable on the street with his filthy black cassock and white collar, living off the charity of passers-by.

Nobody knows where he came from but one day he just started showing up on street corners preaching about the end of the world. It has also been noted that the priest seems to have some obvious mental problems and some very odd ideas about Christianity.

Possibilities

1 Benjamin Corwin used to be a priest until he turned to the worship of the Outer Gods. Becoming a cultist, Corwin decided to try and enlighten the public about the Cthulhu Mythos by simply telling people about it on the street. Corwin has a mystical ability which allows him to plant the seed for mind control in anybody who passes by and makes eye contact with him.

2 The priest was once Benjamin Corwin, an investigator of the supernatural. Corwin became an investigator after one of his practitioners asked for help (which lead to discovering that the next-door neighbour was sacrificing children in his attic to something awful). Since then Corwin has been investigating the occult wherever he can find it.

It was on his last outing that he encountered something so horrific it shattered his sanity and reduced him to a homeless, rambling derelict. In his mad ravings, clues to his final investigation can be discerned by a careful listener.

3 One night the homeless priest is murdered and left dead on the street. It is not long after that more priests start turning up dead, and it appears a serial murderer of holy men is operating in the area.

© Paul Hebron

Footsteps

You are staying in a small rural hotel. You awaken at night to a strange sound, slow, even footsteps. Bright moonlight streams in through the partially open window. Bright enough to penetrate the thin curtains and illuminate the face of the alarm clock. It reads three o’clock, you rise and peer through a gap in the curtains. Below you, crossing the cobbled yard at a slow, almost funereal, pace are two men.

Both men are dressed in dark clothing, their faces muffled. They carry what appears to be a coffin, and for several heart-stopping moments you watch them as they make their slow way across the hard surface. They stop, their backs to you, as if aware of prying eyes, then their heads turn towards you. Still unable to see their faces, you feel a cold wave of fear run down your spine as one of them points in your direction then motions toward the coffin.

Possibilities

1 You are seeing a premonition of your death. How and when? There is no clue.

2 The two figures are smugglers moving a wooden crate of illegal goods. They are unaware of you and are merely gesturing to an accomplice at a window further along.

3 The ‘coffin’ contains the gagged and bound body of an investigative journalist who got too nosey. The ‘gesture’ is a warning that you have been seen, and that if you know what’s good for you, you’ll go back to bed and forget what you’ve seen. The ‘coffin’ is being transported, with its cargo, to the small cliffside cemetery where it will be disposed of.

© Andrew Parfitt

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tales of Terror 1990 - Contents


Introduction to Tales of Terror 1990

During the course of a Call of Cthulhu campaign the constant demands of inventive Investigators can prove to be quite a strain on the poor Keeper. A booklet crammed full of easily adaptable ideas can be invaluable.

Tales of Terror was conceived with this in mind. The 'Tales' can be quickly and easily dropped into any game. While preliminary investigations are being conducted the Keeper has time to decide which (if any) of the three possibilities apply. Further details can be created by the Keeper as required.

Many scenarios for Call of Cthulhu are too big. Great Old Ones, R'lyeh, Outer Gods, and monsters the size of mountains all threatening civilization as we know it. In the midst of these major conflicts there should be smaller struggles. A nest of vampires, a haunted house, an unexpected death. Tales of Terror is brimming with these low key investigations that put saving the world into perspective.

Tales of Terror is also a source of red herrings and associated leads. On the trail of Deep Ones? (Or Lloigor? Or sinister orientals? Or vampires?) There are Tales here with the potential to confuse, illuminate and terrify.

Ultimately, Tales of Terror is a booklet of ideas. The situations here each have the potential of being expanded into a full blown adventure. A scenario is often the development of one or two isolated ideas. A vision, spark, or something. Tales of Terror consists of these ideas distilled out from the descriptive text.

Use it as you will.

(This is the introduction to the original 1990 edition of Tales of Terror.)

Wasteland


Possibilities

1 The small community is the victim of a strange, cancerous meteorite similar to the one in Lovecraft’s The Colour Out of Space.

2 The knoll on which the community stands was once behind German lines, and its houses used by the German Army as a makeshift headquarters. The entire area was used as a dump for chemical and gas weapons and a large amount of phosphorous. As they were beaten back the chemicals were buried in preparation for a counterattack which never came.

Over the years the containers have corroded, contaminating the knoll with phosphors and a deadly mixture of poisons, causing the yellow glow. Once in the food chain it killed vegetation, animals and eventually humans.

3 The story is very inaccurate. There is no ‘deathly brimstone light’ and no evidence of a plague on the land. The war years left the land in great neglect, the population suffered under the German Occupation and both have left what was once rich fertile land a virtual wilderness.

© Garrie Hall