Featured post

Welcome to Tales of Terror

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The Odin Disc

The Odin Disc is a monohedron; it has only one side. It can be felt, and if moved glistens slightly – but is otherwise invisible (although the Powder of Ibn-Ghazi will make it apparent).

Compounding the problem of actually finding the disc is its size – typically no greater than a large coin. A sorcerer can spend Magic Points to enlarge the disc, which has a maximum size (for humans, anyway) of about 10 feet.

The disc is actually a portable Gate spell. Anyone standing on the disc (which needs to be of a suitable size) will be transported to whatever location they have in mind (with the usual penalties). The disc follows the (last) traveller, ready for the return trip. Unfortunately, it may be difficult to find once through the gate, as it invariably returns to its natural size.

As well as mere travel, the Odin Disc has another effect. Each time the disc is used,
Yog-Sothoth is summoned to the location that the traveller just left. Yog-Sothoth’s mood on arrival seems to be directly related to the distance travelled through the disc; the further afield the traveller journeys, the greater the number of sacrifices Yog-Sothoth helps itself to. (It should be said that a rigorous, scientific study has not been made, given the obvious limitations.)

Worse, as there is a time-lag before Yog-Sothoth appears, travellers may not realise that it is their operation of the disc that causes the Outer God’s appearance.


1 A cryptic reference to the disc can be found in the handwritten marginalia of a section in a mythos tome dealing with ‘The Opener of the Way’. It ambiguously states that not only the traveller can use the disc, and that the disc is ‘at hand’. The disc is bound into the cover of the book (one side is raised, the other has no apparent rise or depression), and the cover of the book must be destroyed to retrieve it. Pulling the cover to pieces activates a fire-warding spell which destroys the book and may burn the house down. Of course, the disc will be very hard to find in the cinders.

2 The investigators find a brief description of the Odin Disc and details of how to create one. The spell requires a 3” gold disc, about ten pints of fresh blood, and the sacrifice of a baby. While the investigators may not create a disc, if the spell falls into the hands of cultists they will not be so squeamish.

The spell description forgets to mention that this spell also acts to summon Yog-Sothoth.

3 The investigators return home one night to find a sorcerer (one they have encountered before) stealing their mythos-related bits-and-pieces. Realising he has been spotted, the sorcerer activates the disc and escapes; quick investigators may be able to follow him.

Meanwhile, Yog-Sothoth will be paying a visit.

© Charles Ross

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Safely Behind Bars

Mr David Bradley – a violent murderer currently serving his final year of an eighteen-year sentence – was found late yesterday evening swinging gently from the ceiling of his cell. He had hung himself using a thick leather belt.

The penitentiary is renowned for its high suicide rate, but the recent increase is unprecedented. Mr Bradley is the fourth inmate to take his own life in the last month. The prison governor, Mr Torben Stones, is investigating the deaths but refuses to comment on the possibility of corruption amongst the prison staff.

A brief visit sufficiently demonstrates why anyone incarcerated there might wish to take their own life: the drably-painted, crumbling brickwork; the dour-faced guards; the loud and abusive inmates; and the poor recreational facilities; all help to contribute to the general atmosphere of gloom and oppression.


1 For thousands of years the area beneath the penitentiary has housed an immaterial lloigor consciousness. It lay inert for most of this time, only recently - with the construction of the prison - did it recover from its torpor. The lloigor, named K’huterrinlis, seeks to escape by channelling a telekinetic field up to the surface through which it can escape, unfortunately a field of that length requires considerable energy. K’huterrinlis leeches this energy from the unresisting minds of the humans above.

K’huterrinlis’ mere presence is enough to create a noticeable pall of depression and despondency over the prison. This (along with draining the prisoners’ will-power) is the reason for the increased rate of suicides. However, the prisoners are not the only ones to feel the lloigor’s insidious presence. Even senior staff (like Mr Stones) are losing their motivation and the will to continue. More deaths are inevitable.

2 Mr Torben Stones, the prison governor, is a devout servitor of Eihort. Beneath the penitentiary, Mr Stones has created a network of twisting and interconnecting tunnels - a labyrinth. It is in these that he summons his master, the Dark Bargainer. Each week a prisoner is taken into the labyrinth and is questioned by Eihort. Given the alternative, most of the frightened convicts agree to Eihort’s demands. After he has been impregnated, Eihort uses the Cloud Memory spell to make the subject suppress all knowledge of their terrible ordeal.

Occasionally the spell is not fully effective, and the unfortunate victim understands the changes they are experiencing. These individuals would rather die at their own hand than the squirming proboscides of Eihort’s grubs.

Mr Stones plans to spread Eihort’s brood by only impregnating those who are nearing the end of their sentence. The convicts then leave and several months – or even years – later, the brood emerges.

3 Torben Stones is no longer completely human. While his body is of Terran origin, the mind belongs to something greater – a Yithian. Similar minds are housed within almost all the prison staff.

The Great Race uses the prisoners as subjects for temporal mental transference. In this way, the prisoners can escape incarceration by travelling 450 million years into the past. Meanwhile, the convict’s body is inhabited by a Yithian’s consciousness enabling it to study the current period, these individuals are usually smuggled from the prison so they can interact with the world outside.

This is an equitable arrangement; the Great Race can continue their research without the difficulty of having to fool the subject’s friends and family, while the human minds were allowed comparatively more freedom. There is just one small problem; many of the prisoners’ minds are brutal and violent. They caused considerable damage when they inhabited the powerful, conical bodies. While many minds were pacified; terminal force was the only solution for extreme cases. When this became necessary it meant that the minds were returned to their original forms leaving the human body devoid of consciousness. The suicides are faked, in order to disguise the prisoners’ true cause of death.

© Hadley Connor

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Ghost Train

The investigators are travelling by train, scheduled to arrive at midnight. The witching hour comes and goes, but still they do not arrive at their destination. The conductor and other staff on the train are reticent and surly about the delay. The conductor eventually makes an announcement: “Everybody remain seated. The train is behind schedule.”
“But we passed my stop,” complains a woman.

“There will be no more stops tonight,” says the conductor. He then retires to his office and refuses to answer questions and complaints.


1 If the investigators speak with the train staff they begin noticing anachronisms, such as dates and references to popular people or events. The staff are all ghosts from a decade ago. The conductor is a man called Josiah Brand, a ruthless and evil railroad man. Brand hated people of colour and threw hobos from the train if they were black or Mexican. White hobos were merely subjected to beatings and extortion.

Josiah Brand and his fellow trainmen were killed ten years previously (as the investigators discover after interviewing the other, equally dead, passengers) on a similarly rainy night when the train crashed over a bridge and into a raging river.

As the investigators learn this there is a horrific screech, the mournful wail of the engine’s whistle and a violent lurch as the train derails. Then--

--the train slows as it arrives, finally at its destination. Everything is as normal again.

2 The investigators are dead. They actually died a short while ago and are now on the legendary hell-bound train. The other passengers are all damned souls as well. The conductor is an evil spirit, entrusted with the task of ensuring that his charges reach the gates of hell.

3 The train has been hijacked by cultists (of which the conductor is one) of the Valusian Order of Valka. The Order is using the train to summon Ithaqua as their ritual requires that the participants are moving faster than 60 miles per hour. The cultists also need a large number of sacrifices to appease Ithaqua - which is the role they have planned for the passengers. Any attempt to leave the train will be dealt with harshly, although nobody will be killed: Ithaqua likes his sacrifices properly served.

And as the train gains speed, the cultists make their move…

© G W Thomas

Saturday, 24 February 2018


Over the last few days, cats have been vanishing. Then, a (human) corpse is found, apparently having been clawed to death, followed by several more deaths all carried out in the same grisly way. The papers quickly seize on a sensationalist piece of news - that bodies of skinned cats were sent to the victims shortly before their untimely demise.


1 Marty Cartwright believes that taking on an animal’s skin allows him to shape-shift into the form of that animal. Cartwright, an intense young man with an interest in black magic, lost his family in a fire. The fire was no accident and Cartwright has traced the arsonists, a group of thugs calling themselves “The Panthers.”

Cartwright researched a ritual to allow him to exact revenge in a most appropriate form, by becoming a black panther. Now he is slowly killing the gang members one by one, sending each a warning in the form of the body of a skinned cat.

2 All the victims were at some time patrons of an occult book shop and have all authored monographs for the book shop on the subject of myth and magic. They have unfortunately become the victims of a deranged killer who recently escaped from an asylum.

The woman, Catherine (known as Cat), believes she is tormented by a huge feline demon. The authors of the monographs mock the great cat-spirit and it is making her kill them all. To give them an opportunity to repent, the demon makes Cat send skinned cats to the victims. None of them have yet repented. In Cat’s lair the skins are fastened to a wall, with a picture of each victim underneath them.

Several of the authors are still alive and very scared. Should they all die, then Cat finds new victims, with no rhyme or reason this time.

3 The victims are all Dreamers, killed by moonbeasts. Several days ago, three moonbeasts crept into the Waking World, causing the cats to flee and vanish. The first few victims were deliberately chosen, but the moonbeasts have continued because it is so much fun.

Whenever they catch a cat they skin it and send the body to their next victim, shortly before attacking en masse. This continues until the moonbeasts become bored with this sport and leave.

© Lynne Wilson

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Empty Streets

Ever since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the coastal town of Safehaven, New Jersey has had a sizeable number of homeless people. This situation became especially aggravated in the Reagan years, to the point where the traditionally liberal populace of Safehaven showed signs of animosity towards the homeless. A few beatings were reported, and local aid was drastically reduced. Despite all this, the homeless remained.

Now, they are gone.

Overnight, every last hobo, drifter, and bag-lady vanished without a trace. At first, no one seemed to notice. Then a social worker voiced concern. The mayor conjectured the homeless had moved to Pennsylvania with its higher welfare benefits. The police chief argued they had probably moved to warmer climates. Most people were relieved; the streets were so much cleaner, nicer, and safer now. The streets were empty.


1 After the disaster in Innsmouth, the Deep Ones of the Atlantic seaboard scattered. They found fertile new breeding grounds in those impoverished by the Great Depression. They did not have to worry about another government attack: nobody cared. They have been replenishing their numbers for 60 years.

But now, they have called all their kin to a reef off the coast of New Jersey, for the stars are right, and Dagon awaits.

2 Zaka’rn, a man of Leng and a sorcerer, has opened a physical gate between the Dreamlands and the waking world. He has given a special potion (via the soup kitchens) to the homeless of Safehaven, and has led them sleepwalking to the gate, which is located in the side of a cliff on Safehaven beach. In the Dreamlands, he intends to sell the homeless to his masters, the Moonbeasts, who savour the taste of living flesh. His reward will be great.

3 A secret government weapons and pharmaceuticals research laboratory is at work near Safehaven. With the help of the mayor and the police chief, they have captured the homeless to conduct terrible experiments on them. Everybody is happy: the scientists can progress, the police chief’s work is now much easier, and the mayor’s chances for re-election are excellent.

© Markus Huenemoerder

Saturday, 3 February 2018

The Puzzle Boxes

In a left luggage locker at a local mainline station there is a large carpet bag containing 19 intricately carved and extremely devious puzzle boxes...

The key to the locker is found on the body of Dr Allen McNair. Dr McNair is found dead at his desk in his surgery, with the twentieth puzzle box open in his hands.  McNair’s body is in a state of some discomposure and the expression on his rotting face can only be described as one of surprise and fear.

There is considerable debate as to how long McNair has been dead; the state of his body suggests some considerable time, but many patients swear they were treated by him during surgery only yesterday.


1 McNair has been killed by a violent and extremely virulent fungal infection, the spores of the fungus were released directly into his face as he successfully opened the ancient puzzle box. He purchased the boxes whilst on vacation in India from a lone street trader, believing they would make good presents for friends and colleagues.

Unfortunately, the street trader was a servant of darkness and has laced the puzzle boxes with a toxic fungus. The fungus is now starting to spread, infecting all who have come into contact with McNair’s body.

2 McNair was the unwitting victim of a bacterial agent released from within the puzzle box. The boxes were being used by an old friend of McNair’s, Alaistair Mickleson who was using the boxes to smuggle the bacterial agent (a weapon developed by an unscrupulous bio technology company).

Mickleson had asked McNair to place the bag in the luggage locker for him fearing he was being followed, he never dreamed that McNair would open a box.

3 The puzzle boxes were purchased by McNair on a recent trip to New Orleans. The seller had no idea what they contained and had never managed to open one, but knew they were connected to the local Voodoo culture.

McNair is dead, but the powerful magics in the puzzle boxes mean that in two days time he will rise from the dead, a zombie hungry for sustenance!

© Derek Mayne

The Grainger Street Plates

A carved doorway on Grainger Street is quite unlike any other. It has a carved column on one side while the other door frame is now part of next-door. Above the door are two mirrors, too high to be of any use. The door is held firmly shut by a large brass latch and padlock; the original door lock is exposed where someone has forced off the wood covering it.

On the door frame are four brass plaques. Two are for companies: a shipping company and an accountancy firm. The third and fourth are strange indeed. On the third plaque is the inscription: Bonny looked at the box on top of the refrigerator. Inside it was a ham. As Bonny’s hand touched it, they began to fuse to form a whole new organ.

The fourth plaque states: Bonny’s hand, Bonny’s organ, Bonny’s dead. Who cares?


1 Behind the doorway, a set of steps leads up to another door. It is carved like the outer one and also has mirrors at the top, but these show the reflection of something. If inspected closely, different faces can be seen in the mirrors, but no reflections.

This door is unlocked. Behind it is a long corridor, stretching much farther than should be possible. The corridor is lined with statues of men and women, all missing one hand. Each is faceless. At the end of the corridor there are empty plinths and a large refrigerator. On top of it is a box and inside there is a ham.

The statues are people who have been lured inside. Their images are trapped in the mirrors and they become statues if the touch the ham.

2 On maps of the Grainger Market, the doorway does not exist. Should they break in, a staircase behind the door leads up into darkness and ends in a blank wall.

The original owner of the market, Anthony Philips, had the rooms sealed off and erased from the plans. A little digging will reveal that there were strange stories about the mysterious disappearance of Anthony’s secretary and eldest daughter.

Anthony Philips was a dabbler in the occult and had learned much whilst in India as a tea merchant. Once home having made his fortune, he continued to search out bizarre books and happenings. His daughter became interested, as did his secretary (his wife was a devout catholic and became alienated from her husband over the matter). The two women agreed to be part of a ritual, but things went wrong. Both daughter and secretary became possessed by some fiendish power and ripped each other to pieces. Philips barely escaped with his life, and sealed everything up himself to hide the awful truth.

Whatever possessed the two women is still trapped behind the brick wall. It cannot escape because the brass plaques are inscribed with powerful wards. The responsibility for maintaining the wards is passed down through the family, generation by generation.

If the investigators check the two plates carefully, they see that one is newer than the other. The first plate was stolen a few years ago, and had to be replaced. The current guardian is another Anthony Philips and he added the reference to a refrigerator (the original mentioned a chest) to include himself in the family legend.

Should the plaques be removed, then the creature will be able to escape its prison and will look for the man who summoned it into the world – Anthony Philips. It does not care that the original Anthony is dead.

3 A local poet is currently having very strange dreams. He is inspired to write bizarre pieces, have them inscribed on brass plaques and put up at various sites around the town. After a week he takes them down and puts them in a new location.

The muse strikes erratically and new plaques appear now and again. The poet is technically insane, but thinks of himself as a tortured genius and of these poems as his greatest work, guaranteeing his immortality.

© Lynne Wilson