Saturday, January 4, 2014

From the Zones...a few things

Here are six photos of phenomena recently encountered within Visitation Zone Three.

Viscous pools of a mercury-like substance. Slicks are attracted by bright lights and loud noises. Coming into contact with a slick tends to be fatal--the fluidic metal rapidly spreads across every surface with which it comes into contact. Within seconds it will completely coat the interior surfaces of a Stalker's lungs, making it impossible to breathe. For some unknown reason Slicks only seem to act this way when they come into contact with a living creature, whether it is an insect, a cat or a person. It also has become notorious for somehow 'falling through' any container made of glass or ceramic. Scientists are very eager to acquire a sample of this stuff, they just don't know how to contain it. Yet.

Possibly some version of gravity fluctuation. The ground suddenly rears up at a steep angle and remains that way for several days. Then it either subsides or collapses. Time-lapse photography has shown this effect to be similar to waves moving through the ground, but Stalkers prefer to call the phenomena 'Furrows,' based on the original report by the Stalker known as 'Spaz,' may they rest in peace.

Blue Light
This seems to be primarily a nocturnal phenomena. It also tends to only be spotted or encountered among trees, never within structures. It makes a distinctive warbling sort of hum. Some Stalkers report experiencing a thoroughly unpleasant buzzing sensation through out their soft tissues. Some batteries exposed to the Blue Light quickly grow hot enough to melt into slag. Others go inert and cannot be recharged under any circumstance. The Light is described most often as seeming to flow through the air like weightless oil. The sole Stalker who managed to actually touch the Blue Light was carbonized instantly. Their body has been sealed with a transparent polymer coating and positioned in the front reception area of the Institute as a warning.

Flash Floods
There's only been one photo taken of this phenomena, and this image was captured accidentally when a team's camera was dropped. At first you might hear a gentle, even pleasant tinkling sound, like a babbling brook. Then a spontaneous torrent of water slams through an area with a thunderous roar. And it's gone. Just like that. The water level rarely goes above the knees of most Stalkers who've gotten caught in one. Based on analysis of field reports, this phenomena tends to last for only a few seconds. There's never any mud or moisture left behind. Only one Stalker has drowned in one of these events, completely by accident, of course.

There were several reports by various Stalkers of grotty old drains that seemed to move of their own volition. No one took any of these claims seriously until this photo was taken. Soon afterwards the ambulatory drain clamped down on the photographer's left foot. They lost their leg to the drain. They were the lucky one. The rest of their group was chewed to bits by the thing before it finally had enough and slid away. No one knows just what can be done about these things. How do you deal with what is essentially a mobile hole that can bite? Scientists are clamoring for more observations, more data, as long as they don't have to deal with the things.

Black Wisps
That patch of cold incandescence on the left used to be a Stalker's hand. They died a few minutes later, completely frost-bitten from the inside out. Do not touch the Black Wisps.

From the Zones is a community project hosted by John Till over at the FATEsf blog. This community project is inspired by the novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, which was the basis for the movie Stalker.

There is a handy index of the current Field Reports from the Zones that features posts from across the Blog-o-sphere, as well as a nifty guide explaining how you can participate in this ongoing Community Project.


  1. The Furrows are another one of those extrapolations from the source material that make perfect sense. Someone just had to think it through, and you did - with all sorts of interesting new implications for the setting. What other wave forms might exist? Do they extend underground? Are they one of the forces that make any map of the Zone partial and out-of-date as soon as it is completed? We think so...

    The Crawlies, what can I say about them? It is always the things that aren't moving - or aren't supposed to move - that really seek to get you in the Zone. And the photo: that may be the creepiest manhole cover I have ever seen.

    Really like these entities/phenomena. They really capture the spirit of "Roadside Picnic" well.

    1. Thanks for recommending the book. It was a lot of fun to read. Glad you liked these entries. Have you seen the rpg anywhere?

    2. You can get it from either DTRPG or Lulu. I know Bruce Baugh runs it.

    3. I'm going to order it after we get back into town. Not sure how the dice-less FLOW system works yet, but the setting is certainly really cool, so it's worth taking a look. I don't know Bruce Baugh. Good to know someone runs the game. I think that Book Scorpion also mentioned the game. I really wish someone would have recommended the book to me twenty years ago...

    4. I've been reading the game a bit since purchasing the PDF last night. It seems very true to the spirit of the source matériel, and the art, much of which consists of sketches, reflects the gritty feel of the setting.

    5. I've been hearing a lot of good things about the game. Did you see that the Stalker RPG's Facebook page now links to your blog for the Field Reports?

    6. Thanks for pointing that out! I don't get on FB very much. That is a really nice gesture. I hope the project is sparking interest in the RPG as well.


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