The Thought Stealers

This week, the monster stat block for the Thought Stealers from last week’s adventure, The Splendid Spa of Two Angels


“Hey, do you see that odd haze over there?”

“Where?”

“Well, you can’t see it lying on a lounge chair. Sit up and put down your cocktail. Over there, by the spring.”

“Huh, oh yeah. Probably just a heat mirage. Relax. Order some oysters or something.”

“No, look! It’s coming closer. It’s…it’s…doesn’t it look like a person? No, it is a person…..It looks like…like you? Get up, get up! What’s wrong with you, why aren’t you moving?!”

Thought Stealers leak into our universe from an uncharted plane. No one knows what they appear like in their own dimension, but here they appear as a haze, at least initially. In order to continue to exist, they must steal a person’s thoughts. Imaginative thoughts, such as fear, are the easiest to steal. With each thought they consume they become more solid, until finally they suck all thought from their victim and assume their identity. Yet, a Thought Stealer can never create thoughts of its own, they merely mimic the actions and thoughts of their victims. Hordes of Thought Stealers have taken over towns before, reliving the same year over and over. Continue reading “The Thought Stealers”

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The Splendid Spa of Two Angels

Today’s inspiration is a setting and plot idea for a one-shot adventure, an abandoned spa reachable only by a portal in an alley. Terrible monsters who feed on thoughts inhabit the spa and caused its ruin.


 Background:

Long ago, the City of Two Angels was the most fashionable place to be seen. The streets lined with shining cobblestone, the shops windows filled with expensive clothing and exquisite jewelry. Artists, politicians, entrepreneurs all called Two Angels home. Tourists came from far and wide to spend a few days being part of the hustle and bustle of the influential city. But mostly they came for The Splendid Spa, a luxury resort existing inside a pocket universe in Two Angels. The Spa claimed its hot springs cured all ailments. The salts, it said, made a person more beautiful, wiser, and even younger. But then one day, shadow creatures began to secretly visit the Spa. Strange creatures that at first appeared as only a haze, but grew more solid and stronger from feeding off a person’s thoughts, especially those of imagination. And few thoughts are more imaginative than that of fear. Guests began to die, found withered up like raisins. The resort was at a loss to explain this, but as the deaths grew more frequent, the creatures grew more plentiful. The Spa was forced to shut down, and the portal to it blocked and buried, least the creatures break through. After the news of the deaths spread through the population, Two Angels began to decline as people moved avoided it out of fear. Today, no one remembers exactly why Two Angels became the cesspool of poverty and crime it is today.

Box-Texts:

The Portal’s Opening

Elderly mansions line this street, their once proud awnings now torn and faded. Trash clutters the yards and banks of mailboxes crowd the space next to the doors. In the alley between two of the houses, cats fight in the piled-up rubbish. But from a crack in a bricked-up door, a blue light glows. A closer inspection reveals that it appears as some kind of window looking out onto a grassy meadow.

Inside the portal:

A deep blue sky peppered with wispy clouds hangs over a grassy meadow, blue mountains obstruct the horizon in the distance. The remnants of stone walls peek through the tall grass and overgrown flowers. Cottages with sagging roofs stand in a semi-circle.

Inside a cottage:

Dead ferns in cracked pots flank a reception desk. An iron sculpture of fish swimming hangs on the wall. Whenever one looks away, the fish appear to move, but when the viewer looks back, they hang still again. In the next room, rows of tubs sink into the floor. Mud fills them, and a few plants have taken root, fed by the sunlight streaming through the cracked roof. A rotten smell wafts in from another room, making one instinctively cover their nose. On the wall, someone has craved the words “Don’t Think” in jagged letters.

The Rough Part of Town

This week, two more ‘box-texts.’ These are not as random as they might seem at first, they are part of what I’m calling “The Rough Part of Town,” and go with Dragg’s Drug Den


Rundown Racetrack

Giant metal wheels rust in heaps around the racetrack grounds. Only a few spectators cheer from the stands. Most don’t seem to truly understand the sport, screaming loudly whenever the drivers crash and splashing beer on each other in their excitement. Except for an elderly gentlemen sitting in the first row leaning heavily forward on his cane to view the race. The giant wheels spin around the track, the drivers, seated where the spoke would normally go, wipe the mud from their goggles with each turn.

Gambling Hall

Noise, flashing lights, and smoke clog the gambling hall. People in fancy, but cheap, evening wear crowd the tables. Most people play games of chance, their eyes fixated on balls whirling around tables and spinning discs. But the most popular tables are the races where tiny creatures race around tiny tracks. Drunken gamblers shout at the creatures to move. Anytime hands get too close to the race track, bouncers step in to pull the offenders back. Behind the games of chance and a curtain, gamblers engage in more serious games. The players pick up and put down cards, only speaking when needed to instruct the dealer. The dealers’ voices call out the losses and wins in a pleasant monotone. The ruining or making of fortunes means nothing to them.

Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space

At the beginning of the year I brought you the Attack of the Riftsquid! Adventure Front, an outline for a single session of play. Today, I expand on that adventure front with the campaign front Tearing Through Space -an outline to use for a multi-session campaign. Since these are all ‘big dangers’ not every danger will come in play every session. Think of this outline as the Big Bads of a television show, the overarching dangers that may not always directly threaten the PCs, but tie together the Big Story.


The Triwip people hoped they could settle a new planet after their own had died in the explosion of its sun. But space is big and callous while habitable planets are small and fragile. Halfway through their voyage, a Riftsquid attacked the ship, the first of many pitfalls for the Triwips. Tears in space-time were forming dangerous zones of unpredictable chaos and were likely the source of the recent Riftsquid blight…along with other extra-dimensional threats. Even the Triwip people themselves stood divided on what the future should look like. An aggressive minority of Triwips  who called themselves The Apex saw the new settlement as a chance to perfect the race, to finally free it of undesirable things…and people.

Danger: Dimensional Tears

Type: Unpredictable zones

Impulse: To grow, to tear apart reality

  1. A new tear opens up
  2. Reality and time near the tear warps
  3. The tears spread
  4. The multi-verses collide to form one erratic universe

Impending Doom: Rampant Chaos. Time and space swirl and crash together, making distinctions between past, present, and future meaningless. Continue reading “Campaign Front: Tearing Through Space”

Dragg’s Drug Den

This week I’m trying something slightly different. Like I’ve done before, below is a box-text description of a drug den. But, below that are three ‘hooks’ to choose from, various activities that you can use to get an adventure started. I’ve kept the setting non-specific enough that it could be used in both fantasy and sci-fi.


 

Giant hookahs hang from the ceiling of The Den. Glittery pieces of tile arranged on their surface give each the appearance of an octopus swimming through the thick smoke that clouds the place. Patrons lounge on dirty couches, sucking on the hoses dangling from the hookahs, eyes half-closed. Others gyrate on the dance floor, their eyes blood-shot from the Dizzy they’ve consumed.

Hook One – The Mysterious Group

In one corner, a group of people dressed in clean white garments talks in low voices despite the loud music. Only water glasses sit on their table, the hookah pipes unused. Anytime someone tries to sit with them, people in crisp red uniforms firmly pushes them away.

Hook Two – Behind Closed Doors

A man walks up to the counter and whispers something to the den keep. He’s led into a back room where a boy pulls back a heavy curtain. Behind it, Dragg, the Den’s owner, soaks in enormous tub filled with some kind of thick, foul-smelling substance. An old woman kneels before the tub, a golden swan held out in her hands. Dragg gives a short nod. A guard takes the swan from the woman and in return gives her sacks of rice and guns.

Hook Three – The Unseen Children

One of the hookahs has a “Pardon Our Cleaning” sign. Small children scramble over the hookah with rags, trying to shine its chipped tiles. Other children with coarse brushes climb through the hoses and into the hookah itself, scrubbing off the thick build-up of creosote. A locked brace encircles each child’s leg and prevents them from running away.

Riftsquid (adult)

This week I continue adding to the Attack of the Riftsquid! adventure with a monster stat block for none other than the Riftsquid itself. Enjoy!


 

“Sir! We’ve been hit! Something is on the ship!”

“By what? How? There’s nothing around us for 10 light years.”

“I don’t know, sir. One second our sensors show nothing around us, next second massive damage to the agriculture level. Whatever this thing is, it’s big and aggressive.”

Passing through extra-dimensional space with ease, the Riftsquid swims through the multi-verse searching for ships to crack and consume the people inside. The few who have survived its vicious attacks claim that it looks like an inside-out squid, with its internal organs constantly flitting into and out of view. It moves unpredictably, one minute it appears to come from one direction, the next from another, and the next, completely gone only to reappear again. The beast also uses ships to reproduce by laying its eggs inside along with Riftsquid Minions to protect them. The Minions, miniature versions of the Riftsquid itself with a limited brain, kill most of the crew and mind control the others. The zombie crew then flies the eggs to a safe planet for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to grow up. Many a daredevil has made it their goal to ride the Riftsquid as it tears through the fabric of space, but to date, none have succeeded. Continue reading “Riftsquid (adult)”

Attack of the Riftsquid!

Happy New Year! Today’s inspiration is an outline for a sci-fi one-shot adventure using the Dungeon World Front system. I plan on expanding this adventure into a full campaign, so check back!


The Triwip People knew their sun was dying. Knew they had to find a way to escape to a new planet if their species were to survive. So they built Deliverance, a massive self-sustaining spaceship that would use the force of the sun’s explosion to propel itself to a suitable planet in a nearby system. It worked. The sun exploded and they sailed its dying winds through the void of space. But then, in year ten of their fifty year voyage, an extra-dimensional space monster attacked. Materializing out of nothing, the Riftsquid latched onto the spaceship and punched its limbs right through the hull. It deposited into the ship gross creatures, writhing balls of tentacles and clashing teeth. While most of the crew joined in to fight the monsters, some did nothing and others even turned on fellow crew members. During the chaos, someone changed the course of the ship to a close, but hostile, planet. Unknown to anyone, safe within the bowls of the ship, cloaked by their natural rift biology, sat a clutch of Riftsquid eggs. Continue reading “Attack of the Riftsquid!”