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Friday, 31 March 2017

Stray Cat Strut

As the clock strikes midnight one of the investigators is awoken from deep sleep by the meowing of a huge, battle-scarred ginger tom cat outside the window. It is raining heavily and the bedraggled moggy stares pathetically through its one good eye, pawing at the window pane. He wants in.

On granting the tom admittance the investigator gains a companion, especially if he is fed well. In return for food he rids the house of vermin, often leaving its prey as ‘gifts’ on the doorstep.


1 The cat has a sixth sense for danger and the supernatural. He is also an excellent judge of character. If the investigator can learn to interpret the body language of the cat he has a potentially life-saving advantage.

2 A sorcerer has 'mind swapped' with the cat, mistakenly believing that the body of the cat allows it to travel between the waking world and the land of dreams. Unfortunately for him this ability transferred to his body with the cat - and before he could swap back the terrified cat had fled to the Dreamlands, taking his body with it. He wants the help of the investigators to help him regain his body. However before this can happen he must find a way to communicate with them. The tom will be behaving very strangely until the investigators figure out what is happening.

3 Among the mice and rats that it leaves on the doorstep is a creature from the Dreamlands: an infant Moon Beast. The enraged mother-beast tracks the unfortunate cat through the secret highways between the waking world and the Dreamlands and kills it, leaving the mutilated body on the investigator's doorstep. Soon there are other killings, and cat corpses begin to appear around the neighbourhood with alarming regularity. Then, humans begin disappearing in the night. The Moon Beasts have found a way into the waking world and having killed the hated cats are kidnapping humans for slavery...

© Garrie Hall

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Smiling Jack and Mr Smith

Some years ago, ventriloquist Drew Smith made a radical change to his vaudeville act. Instead of mediocre "Gottle of gear" and "He's behind you" routines, Smiling Jack (his puppet) became a bully and "forced" Drew to cower and beg. This bizarre angle kick-started his career and he quickly became a celebrity.

Apparently inspired by his audience's response, Drew allowed the act to become steadily more strange. Smiling Jack often hit him on stage and reviewers wrote of Drew's disturbingly realistic acting. Rumours started - Drew was unstable and could be heard arguing and pleading with Smiling Jack in his dressing room.

Events took a turn for the worse when, halfway through a show and with tears streaming down his face, Drew implored his audience to rescue him from his tormentor. The shocked silence that followed was described by the papers as "Breath-taking" and "Macabre and beyond decency."

That night Drew Smith was found dead in his dressing room, his arm ripped from its socket. Smiling Jack was a never found.


1 Drew Smith had made a dark pact in return for fame. A demon possessed Smiling Jack and first gave him what he had asked for - then tortured and destroyed him. Once Drew was mentally destroyed the demon lost interest and killed him brutally. Then, still in its little clown outfit, it sought new prey.

2 Drew is a sorcerer who has used Smiling Jack as a juju doll to contact creatures from beyond. He has been fooling the otherworld creatures into thinking that theatre audiences are actually worshippers. Unfortunately the entity he has contacted is demanding more from his congregation and wants them to demonstrate their faith. Eventually the thing became tired of Drew's reticence and returned to the otherworld, taking the doll and Drew's arm with it.

3 Drew is a sorcerer using his act to perform mass suggestions on his audience. He has trapped a lloigor in Smiling Jack, and the suggestions which are "demanded" of him by the lloigor affect everyone in the audience.

The suggestions affect everyone emotionally, and are very useful to Drew. For instance, pity (for Drew) usually engenders some charity, anger causes increased criminal activity that mask Drew's other activities and so on. However, Drew miscalculated - one of his audience persuaded to "rescue" Drew burst into his dressing room and killed the puppet by cutting it off Drew's shoulder.

© Nathan Gribble

Peverill Manor


1 After the curse had struck, the witch’s grave was exhumed and found to be empty. Her corpse was never found and is still buried near the house. Her presence is disturbing the other ghosts, when she is returned to her true grave they will fade away, at peace.

2 Peverill Manor is built upon a ritual serpent people grave. Residual magic in the reptilian corpses is mistaken for ghosts.

3 Psychic emanations from a demon trapped below the manor are picked up by those above and turned into ghosts. The Church-Peverills do not fear the ghosts so the ones they create are benign. Visitors, however, are less relaxed and create terrible creatures that haunt them from their own nightmares.

© Steve Hatherley

Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Ghost of Heddon Manor

Taken from Fleming’s Old Country Houses, 1917.


1 The Water-Spirit is an old deep one that lives in subterranean caverns beneath Heddon Manor. It is trapped there by an ancient spell, only able to escape into the manor and feed from the larder at limited times.

2 The Water-Spirit is a genuine ghost. The restless spirit of a fisherman haunts the manor. Lord Poppleford wronged him, sending the fisherman to his death in a terrible storm. He now haunts the great house and those that live there.

3 The Water-Spirit is mere legend and superstition. The combination of a damp, old house and some unusual, windswept, caverns (which produce the sloshing sounds) caused Lord Poppleford to imagine rather more than there was.

© Steve Hatherley

The Second Circle

Should anyone with experience of the Dreamlands visit the exhibition then one painting, The Second Circle, catches their eye. Painted about ten years ago by an obscure German artist, the picture is quite ordinary. It shows a peaceful beach with waves lapping at the sand. A bird is perched on a rock in the foreground.

The bird is, as any investigator familiar with the Dreamlands will identify, a varchine. These are birds of prey unique to the Dreamlands. What is one doing in this picture?

The artist has evidently painted a picture of the Dreamlands. Such pictures can sometimes be used as gates through to the Lands themselves. Particularly skilled Dreamers can dream their way straight to the locality pictured.

It is possible that the artist has painted other scenes, other doorways direct to the world beyond sleep. It is also possible, if the artist was a powerful Dreamer, that she is still in the Dreamlands. Somewhere.


1 The picture leads to a mist covered island. Wandering through the mist eventually brings the Dreamers to a stone circle, the ‘second circle’ of the title. This is an exact replica of a megalithic stone circle which can be found somewhere in Europe. The area is a place where the realities between the two worlds mix, allowing passage at certain times.

2 The artist is quite mad and is kept in a Bavarian asylum. There she paints scenes from her dreams; gugs and ghasts, Ulthar and Celephais, and more. If the investigators track her down in the Dreamlands they find her lucid and sane.

3 The coastline belongs to a deserted island in the Southern Seas. It is a regular stop for the black galleys that trade with Dylath-Leen and Dreamers waiting there are in danger of being captured by the men that crew such vessels. The circle refers to what appears to be either a dormant volcano, or a meteor crater.

© Steve Hatherley

Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Ripper

The last person to see the notes was one of the students at the university. He can be contacted and may let investigators see his notes. Although the diary and "Jack’s" handwriting has been compared before, the student has studied them both and concludes that they may have been written with the same hand.


1 Dr Black was Jack the Ripper, and has been Re-animated. He has stolen his own notes and intends to continue his research. A week later the first of a series of ripper murders scorches headlines.

2 The notes are an elaborate fake. They were written by several medical doctors to shock one of their fellows. Several ‘in-jokes’ can be found amongst the document, if searched for properly.

3 Dr Black was not the Ripper, but was engaged in similar studies. Although not of the mythos, he had connections. The diaries point to where Dr Black purchased some of his bodies upon which he worked - and notes the poor, almost gnawed, condition of some of them.

© Steve Hatherley

The Midlock Dragons

The above is the precis to a collection of papers. Little more can be gleaned from the papers which require wading through pages of old English handwriting.

It would be a considerable accolade to any scholar to prove that the Midlock Dragons were the original source of the St George and the Dragon legend.


1 The legend is mostly true, but the dragons were in fact a group of astral entities known as lloigor. George was an investigator of an earlier century and, armed with considerable magics, vanquished the lloigor. The lloigor would like to return, but the stone circle from which they drew their power was disrupted.

2 George did not fight any true dragons, but instead freed Midlock from the tyrannical reign of a local landowner. The description of the battle hints that the ‘dragons’ used magic, and there is still some of this lying around in the old manor.

3 There was a battle of some sort, but no concrete evidence to say whether this is the true source of the legend or not.

© Steve Hatherley