Well, it may not be the actual Godzilla’s actual guitar. However, it is in fact something that looks remarkably like a stringed musical instrument – admittedly, one that’s over two hundred feet long – so maybe it is the Gorilla-Whale’s guitar. It’s possible, at least.
Or maybe not. Two months ago Godzilla’s Guitar came screaming down to Earth, end over end, and left a remarkably restrained impact crater in the Chilean Andes. This is one of the alarming things about the artifact, given that it’s estimated to weigh a bit more than thirteen hundred tons. Something that big and heavy hitting the planet and not breaking up should have wrecked South America’s day at an absolute minimum, and yet it did not. That implies that the Guitar made something like a controlled landing, which is when people start wondering whether the Guitar is even a musical instrument in the first place. Maybe we’re all just the equivalent of Stone Age savages trying to make sense of a computer, huh?
And yet, again, it looks like a stringed musical instrument. It has strings (seven). It has frets. Given the right construction equipment, you can even tune the Guitar, although not for very long: it seems to revert to a default Brazilian classical tuning. The Guitar is also powered, although nobody knows by what. There is even what appears to be some sort of electronic I/O device at one end. Possibly interactive? Maybe it can be deciphered… provided that you understand the musical theory and ‘language’ that drives the Guitar’s operating paradigm. But doing that requires real expertise. (more…)
I was out of ideas. So, BY CROM, I went out and got some.
Bob and the Button of Death
You know that Death Box with a Button thing that was half-popular as an ethical question, a while back? Basically, it’s the entire “Here’s a box, it has a button, press the button, you get a million dollars, but a random stranger dies” thing that you get when you don’t make philosophy majors go out and join adventuring parties. Because any competent murderhobo knows dang well that the real answer is “Break the box now, before whatever screwed up magic that’s building up inside of it goes critical all over the landscape.” (more…)
Dude, Where’s my Tree?
So, the party gets a knock on the door of their office one evening – what, they don’t have an office? If you’re running a modern supernatural/occult fixer game the party has to have an office. It’s practically de rigeur. Otherwise, how is anybody supposed to find them in order to hire them, threaten them, or collapse in a dying heap on the floor while croaking out one last cryptic warning? (more…)
The SS John Franklin
Two days ago, the government of the Pacific island nation of Kiribati surreptitiously reported to Great Britain’s GCHQ the appearance of a ‘derelict aircraft carrier’ in Kiribati territorial waters. This report first amused, then alarmed the British intelligence community: amused because no ships that large had been reported missing by any country’s navy, and alarmed because the Kiribati government promptly sent video proof that an enormous, armed, yet abandoned sea vessel was drifting in their waters anyway. The British immediately sent a team to investigate the derelict: it took a day and a half to get there. It’s unclear exactly when the team became a joint US/UK task force, but by the time they got there Americans were present; and it was probably just as well, because the ship (the SS John Franklin) had American registry. (more…)
Case File ORIOLE EGGSHELL
On September 23rd of this year police responded to a report of shots fired at a motel in Biloxi, Mississippi. At 9:30 AM two officers entered Room 34 of the Don’t Tell Motel (currently being rented by a ‘John Smith,’ who paid in cash) to discover a deceased human male with no identification and several holes in his head and chest. The owner of the motel confirmed that this was not John Smith, who remains at large as of this date.
An investigation revealed the following: (more…)
Briefing: A case’s worth of the pamphlet below was just delivered to the Columbus, Ohio office of Housing and Urban Development. It is currently causing quite a lot of consternation, given that a) nobody ordered it, b) nobody paid for it, c) the DC printing company on the invoice likewise have no records showing that the case was ordered, paid for, produced, and/or delivered, and d) valid signatures from both HUD and the printing company’s personnel are all over the paperwork that accompanied the pamphlets. So it’s either a remarkably comprehensive practical joke, or there’s something weird going on.
Figure out which.
Kozlov’s Endemic Pattern-Layering Syndrome
This unique disease was named after Sergei Kozlov, a minor bureaucratic official working at Naryan-Mar during the Khrushchev regime. On December 16, 1960 Comrade Kozlov was admitted to a state facility for observation after it was discovered that the pattern on his pajamas had spread to his wrists and ankles – and that removing his pajamas revealed that the same pattern had colonized the rest of his body, albeit at a much slower rate. Over the next four months the condition was studied, meticulously: Koslov’s Pattern spread until it covered the entire body, then began imposing itself on the hospital bed and floor. Throughout Kozlov continually complained of mild headaches, nervous irritation, and shadow sensations every time somebody touched or otherwise interacted with the Pattern-infected areas.
In April of 1961 two members of the medical team studying Kozlov also came down with his Syndrome, despite the best quarantine protocols known at the time (the hospital had long since been evacuated, with the patients and the staff either sequestered onsite, or relocated to Ilimsk). All three patients subsequently reported being hyper-aware (and accurately so) of each other’s positions and opinions at all times, as well as the ability to perceive ‘Pattern-Seeds’ supposedly growing in all human brains. When one patient (surviving records are unclear which) proved the existence of Pattern-Seeds by forcibly infecting a researcher with Kozlov’s Syndrome — at a short distance, and through two layers of glass — offsite Soviet officials responded by remotely flooding the hospital area with yperite, demolishing the entire block with earthmoving equipment and captured POWs, loading the rubble, equipment, and POWs onto a series of cargo containers usually used for transporting plutonium, transporting the containers via ship to Sukhoy-Nos, portaging the ship to the inland test center there, and then detonating the RDS-220 hydrogen bomb directly overhead.
No further outbreaks of Kozlov’s Syndrome have since been reported. However, in 1985 a KGB internal directive flat-out forbade all personnel from drinking water from the Ust-Ilimsk Reservoir, under any circumstances whatsoever. The originator of this directive remains classified to this day. As is this entire dossier, really: it only got revealed to the world because it had been misfiled and included into another set of documents that got swept up in the Mitrokhin Archives. And at that, the person who grabbed it believed that he was duplicating what was essentially disinformation against… somebody? To be fair, it probably is.
Check it out anyway, of course.
The Hidden Lore
So the party finds this incantation when they’re looking for something else. Preferably under circumstances where they know that the incantation is not a forgery, a hoax, or anything else. Hand it to them, absolutely casually.
HYOL M’DHAMDL H’RADA FHRAM!
IA! IA! OH!
ABNON-ZAT FHRAM HEHT-A-DA KOO!
IA! IA! OH!
WZTAH MEH-MU HY’R
AMDA MEH-MU T’TR
HY’R AMEH! T’R AMU!
HYOL M’DHAMDL H’RADA FHRAM!
IA! IA! OH!
If anybody reads it aloud, stop them after the first word, take that player to another room, tell him You feel an irresistible urge to sing it to the tune of “Old MacDonald,” and then you both go back to the other room and rewind the game to just before the player started to read the text aloud. Then see what happens.
The Blood Fiend of Toledo [The Day After Ragnarok]
Toledo, Ohio is a haunted ruin. Just ask anybody. There was a plague, and then there was a huge fire, and then the usual Things moved in – and now the city’s abandoned. Except for the Things. Thankfully the Things keep to themselves, whatever they are, but smart people don’t go into the ruins. Especially once the drained corpses of various animals and lesser monsters started showing up on the outskirts of the city. The legend of the Blood Fiend of Toledo is already making the rounds of all the dives and pirate havens on the Great Lakes, and the tales get steadily taller. (more…)
The Monster Gallery
This… facility? Collection? Installation? …is set in a quiet town in a reasonably peaceful region of the world where nothing much ever happens and there are quite a lot people dedicated to making sure that nothing much will ever happen, either. The design and presentation of the outer facade has had more money spent on it than the Manhattan Project, albeit not adjusted for inflation: every angle and every facet is designed to make the average human being see what he most subconsciously expects to see. This can actually be done, particularly if you have access to the classified psychological and neurological research studies: it’s just extremely expensive.
Assuming one notices the place, realizes that the business occupying the building is a front for more clandestine activities, then makes it past the security station and down the stairs into the basement: what will he find, there? Basically, a collection of artist’s workstations. Each station consists of a painting on canvas of a different monstrous figure, plus a clutter of magical and mundane artist’s supplies and tools. No less than three and no more than five artists are in the room at any given time, and the ones working there at any given time give off the impression that they are trying to finish an almost impossibly difficult job in as little a time as possible before they make an inevitable mistake. (more…)