Saturday, January 28, 2012

Extraordinary & Singular Phenomena I (Scenario Seeds)

Extraordinary & Singular Phenomena:
Table I (d20)

  1. Something with a nucleus, at each end of which is a tail or tail-like tapering structure of some indeterminate kind, has been floating about the local orchards, scaring the day-lights out of the locals. So far it has not harmed anything, but it won't be very long before some bright lad decides to go poke it with a sharp stick or something. It may not be a living creature at all. But what is it?
  2. Such tracks in the snow as had never before been heard of, 'clawed footmarks' or 'an unclassifiable form' that seem to alternate across very large but regular intervals with what seemed to be the impression of the point of a stick of some sort, perhaps a cane. All of these tracks are in a single continuous line. The tracks cover an amazing expanse of territory filled with numerous obstacles, such as hedges, walls, houses (the tracks go right over the roof!), and the like, all of which seem to have been absolutely no hindrance to the thing making these tracks at all. The tracks can be followed by huntsmen and hounds, until they had come to a forest—from which the hounds will retreat, baying and terrified, so that none of the hunters and dog-handlers have dared to enter the forest. Do you dare to find out what made all those tracks?
  3. Bizarre blue-white crystalline fibers have fallen from the sky on a perfectly clear day. Everything they have come into contact with has begun to slowly turn transparent. The effect seems to stop then slowly reverse itself if the fibers are removed. No one knows where the stuff came from, but a lot of enterprising 'experts' have stepped-up to make wild claims about this new miracle material. There are signs of someone having begun to really make a serious effort at harvesting/collecting this stuff.
  4. The corpse of a one-legged kangaroo shod with one horse shoe washes ashore in a near-by fishing village.
  5. Strange marks, another sort of foot-print or track very similar to a solitary colt's hoof...only with a faint trace of claws...each spaced almost exactly 8 inches apart and dotting the entire countryside surrounding several villages located within a few miles of one another. No one saw or heard anything. It probably was not a cranky badger or flock of confused geese.
  6. A rain of 'variously shaped organic matter' resembling nothing so much as a shower of blood. But it is not blood. Nor is it red dust, sand or powdered gelatin. But it is organic, perhaps some sort of 'vegetable cells.' And this strange sky-matter does seem to grow when left unattended. But only when no one is observing it.
  7. Gelatinous cloud-scale sacs of organic goo float far above the surface of the world. They are filled with a sulfurous pseudo-amniotic fluid that supports an autonomous and enclosed ecosystem teeming with various forms of life unique to this peculiar free-floating region. The density within the gelatinous cloud-sacs is so intense that things that fall from them, and thus entering the thinner atmosphere that surround these bizarre aerial bio-masses tend to explode, scattering bits and chunks of unrecognizable flesh and blood across the countryside. Some of these things might be construed as having a cigar-shape, or perhaps resembling super-zeppelins, but others are more like flattened disks or wobbly potatoes. Some of them exhibit strange eerie lights from time to time, but no one knows just what that is all about.
  8. Six false 'suns' have been reported out in a stretch of desolate desert. The 'suns' leave behind a thick trail of frost and ice in their wake. The local tribes have take this as a very bad sign and several of them are making preparations to leave. Of course their idea of how to leave their ancestral homeland involves burning, looting and killing their way across the more settled regions bordering on this place until they either come to a new wilderness to claim as theirs, or they manage to drive off the settlers and take over their farmsteads and river towns. The settlers prefer to not go along with this particular plan and are in the process of acquiring some professional help in possibly deterring the tribes' warriors from coming their way. Of course, none of the villages, hamlets or isolated farmsteads are cooperating together, so this defense effort is piece-meal and on a case-by-case basis. A bit of leadership, backed up with a few hundred well-armed troops could make all the difference, were they to make themselves available.
  9. Explosive hailstones have leveled a small settlement near here. The local authorities suspect sorcery. The survivors have already stoned or murdered three unfortunate individuals whom they blamed for the hailstorm, but residual hailstones have fallen off and on after each 'civic-minded execution' so things are getting desperate. These folks sure could use some guidance, a calming influence, doughty investigators into abnormalities most profound, or some self-serving sleaze-bags to come take advantage of their situation with fake claims, phony evidence and expensive non-solutions.
  10. Huge flakes of flesh-like matter have fallen upon a region of farmland that was abandoned after the last border skirmish with a rival barony. There just weren't enough farmers who ever returned from the disastrous war to make a go of it and so the area was forsaken. The strange flaky-bits of flesh-stuff seem to be wriggling in slow-motion, as though stunned or too cold to move freely. If provided a source of warmth, the bits coagulate and aggregate into what could be construed as limbs or parts of vaguely human bodies. Actually touching the material causes it to bond to the toucher's own flesh where it slowly assimilates into them and they begin to report feeling odd, experiencing nightmares, and developing peculiar personality quirks.
  11. A huge ball of green fire has been spotted rolling along just a couple of feet from the still surface of a local river. The fireball moves slowly, as though actually rolling along and is only ever spotted at night and only ever at one specific spot along this river.
  12. Enormous, round things have risen from the depths of a near-by lake, loch or inlet. They appear to have a warty and irregular surface, encrusted with muck, weeds and possibly small bivalves or even barnacles. Some witnesses claim that the things gave them the distinct impression of being more like constructed things than natural things.
  13. Frogs. Blue frogs speckled with dark, brownish knob-like encrustations all over their backs and very un-froglike talons have fallen all over the country-side. The local Lords would very much like to know why, where these things have come from, and what exactly should be done about them.
  14. A meteorite struck a section of river bank just last night. Those who have already gone to take a look have come running back with tales of hundreds if not thousands of dead fish scattered all around the crater gouged into the muddy ground. All of the fish described are distinctly and most definitely not indigenous species. Some may not even be from this world. But did the fishes come from within the meteorite, or from somewhere else?
  15. A dim blue-green luminosity has been reported for three nights in a row over a small hamlet. It seems to be drifting in the night sky, but no one has reliably spotted it during the day-time. There are claims that this might be a super-geographical lake. Perhaps it is filled with fish after a sort. The luminosity could be some effect of the fish within the hovering body of water, or perhaps it is caused by some reflection of the moonlight. In any case, quite a few people are concerned as to what this might all mean and there are those who see an opportunity here for anyone bold enough to seize the day and lay claim to this aerial lake. In fact, the various rivals seeking to launch their own expedition to this possibly spurious body of water have been getting in each other's way and tempers have begun to flare. It is something of a race, an armed and dangerous race, to lay claim to a lake that might not even really be there.
  16. A large disk of some peculiar greenish quartz-like stone fell from the night sky (1d4) days ago. Several different groups have sent people to investigate. Some of those looking for this thing are not from around these parts.
  17. A flock of migratory birds was recently torn to bits in a violent wind that cast their remains all across the streets of a prosperous township on the verge of war with a rival city-state across the sea. There are dark mutterings of this having been some sort of omen. A small group of innovative craftsmen just outside of town have been working on a prototype dirigible within a converted old barn. (It was seriously expanded by some tents and a few small illusions as well as the help of a bemused dryad who raised a dense hedge about the place.) Now is a very bad time to attempt to launch the airship according to some, but the rest of the group wants to pack up their belongings and use the airship to leave both the bickering city-state and harbor town behind and go look for a fresh beginning somewhere else.
  18. A set of eight bright lights have swarmed around the high hills surrounding a sleepy village otherwise known only for three kinds of stinky cheese. The lights change color, move as though coordinated, and have appeared on several different occasions.
  19. A 'false moon' followed by a train of (2d6) smaller 'moon-like' objects was spotted moving in a Southerly direction away from the site of some cyclopean ruins alleged to have been built by some particularly antagonistic prehuman species. A quick scouting trip to the area described returned with disturbing reports of toppled and uprooted trees, scorched sections of ground, and strange shapes lurking out past the range of the scout's torches and lanterns. A very strange bit of business that someone needs to go and set to rights immediately, before there is any more of a panic than there is already.
  20. A strange luminous body, described as being like a wine-sack balanced atop a peculiar tail—has been seen in the local swamps. There is some dispute as to whether the thing has one or four sections and likewise the number of tails switches from four to one, depending on the witness interviewed. The object is described as moving with a deliberate, even majestic sort of levitation-style movement. Over time, as the luminous object moves about, dragging its tail or tails through the muck, the internal structures seem to become increasingly complex, as though it were developing and growing as it moved, sort of after the fashion of a frog's egg, according to one precocious child who claims to have seen one of the things. Whatever the object(s) might be, they seem to disappear after one or two hours.

This set of Scenario Seeds was inspired by The Book of the Damned by Charles Fort, first published in 1919. You can download a copy of The Book of the Damned from Sacred Texts, or from Project Gutenberg.  There's a nifty hyper-text version of TBotD that can be accessed via Resologist's site, if that's more your speed. As an aside, the Complete Works of Charles Fort are available from Sacred Texts...which is also very handy. You might also find our series of Tables of Random Damned Things handy.

You might want to check out the post on Two Books That Should  Be in Every GM's Arsenal over at Old School Heretic, or just go get your hands on either/both of Ken Hites' incredibly useful Suppressed Transmission books to see what a really inspired pro can do with Mr. Fort's material.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. We value your feedback and appreciate your support of our efforts.