Thursday, September 29, 2022

Best Case Scenario Spookum: The One-Eyed King Anemone

(For the modern horror micro-wargame Best Case Scenario, found here & here)

Scientific Name: Nematostella Typhlosis
Colloquial Name: One-Eyed King Anemone

A species of anemone found originally in Lake Huron, and since the 1960s has been spread to water bodies natural and artificial across Canada and the northeastern United States.

The planula stage of N. Typhlosis's life is parasitic. Its primary host was a now-extinct species of freshwater seal, culled by the Wyandot Confederacy in a campaign over many years. This led to the near-total disappearance of the species, with holdouts surviving around impoverished communities forced to subsist on sub-standard water supplies.

Its population exploded well-beyond its original range and numbers when a marine biologist studying at Rochdale College accidentally exposed himself to infection by N. Typhlosis. Mistaking his particular resistance to the worst effects of the parasite for a general benign nature of the creature, he cultivated and distributed vials of planula as an "all-natural, enlightening high". The ensuing deaths were overlooked as overdoses and psychotic breaks resulting from more conventional drugs.

The Organization's first encounter with N. Typhlosis took place over a decade later, at the Amish community of [REDACTED] in Pennsylvania. The first team sent to investigate anomalous reports in the area was wiped out, though several days later the discovery of their recordings and starvation of the hosts allowed an easy cleanup. Typical procedure since then is OPEN-EYE operations under the guise of the EPA, assessing the extent of infestation, treating or terminating hosts as appropriate, and chemically purging water bodies of any remaining N. Typhlosis organisms.

Infection by One-Eyed King planula happens in two phases, and occurs upon exposure of mucus membranes to water contaminated with the species' eggs:

In the first phase, the planula grow within the vitreous fluid of the eyes, and in the optic nerves and frontal lobe. The planula can be seen if a flashlight is shone in a host's eyes. The host's disgust reaction and senses of taste and smell are dulled, and visual and audio hallucinations are induced to manipulate their behaviour. Initially these hallucinations make them more gregarious and willing to share food and drink and go out swimming with the uninfected, but if the colony is threatened an unknown signal goes out that inverts this reaction, making hosts hostile and violently paranoid towards the uninfected.

Hosts in this phase can still be cured of the infection by administering antiparasitics capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, though permanent impact on vision and cognitive function is likely.

In the second phase, an immature anemone consumes its fellows and erupts from the right eye socket of its host. It becomes capable of direct control over its host body's motor functions. Second phase hosts are effectively lobotomized puppets, and are responsible for feeding a colony's adult anemones and creating nurseries for the young. First phase hosts are typically unable to determine anything abnormal about the behaviour of second phase hosts. Second phase hosts try to keep out of sight of the uninfected, or else lure them towards the adults' feeding grounds if the colony is threatened or they think they can get away with it.

All surgical removals of the infecting anemone to date have resulted in death of the host through cranial bleeding and damage to brain tissue.

Both first and second phase hosts have displayed an uncanny ability to perceive other anomalies. Experiments with infected, trained animals are underway.

After an indeterminate period (hypothesized to be based on the number of existing adults in a colony and the available food supply) second phase anemones will drown their hosts and anchor themselves underwater before maturing into their adult form. Adult N. Typhlosis have developed evolutionary gigantism. The average encountered adult is two feet across (though able to compress through spaces a few inches wide) and able to extend up to 45 meters in length. Less credible reports exist of adults able to swallow fishing boats whole.

First Phase Host (Human)
1 Wound, 1/1 Morale
Movement: 3m
Attacks: Improvised melee weapon (+1 to attacks at point blank range) OR Semiauto (-2 penalty at medium range, no long range, 16/15 ammo, not automatic)
Tactics: Disorganized mob attacks, shouts accusations incoherently if encountered alone. Can be talked down by a CO with background in hostage negotiation or something along those lines.

First Phase Host (Pig)
2 Wounds, 2/2 Morale
Attacks: Bite & gore (+2 to attacks at point blank range)
Tactics: You look like food to it and boy is it ever hungry.

Second Phase Host (Human)
2 Wounds, -1 to attacks due to unconventional movement, 3/3 Morale
Movement: 6m
Attacks: Rifle (-1 to Attacks at short range, no penalties at medium or long range. 21/20 ammo, not automatic), paralytic "kiss" (+2 to attacks at point blank range, instead of wounding inflicts paralyzation).
Tactics: Hit-and-run attacks with intent to lure enemies into an ambush by adult one-eyed king anemones, leaves targets alive but disabled whenever possible.

Adult One-Eyed King Anemone
4 Wounds (base has only 2 Wounds and if destroyed prevents anemone from moving), 4/4 Morale (won't flee if attacked near base)
Movement: 10m, up to maximum extension of 45m from its base
Attacks: Lunge (+2 to attacks at point blank range, paralyzes if it wounds), toss (flings struck target up to 5m)
Tactics: An ambush predator, capable of coordination through uncertain signals with the second phase hosts. Slinks through pipes, murky water, etc., bursting out from drains and so on to pick off stragglers and the wounded. Dumb enough to be tricked into swallowing something it shouldn't.

Elder One-Eyed King Anemone
20 Wounds (base has only 8 Wounds and if destroyed prevents anemone from moving), 20/20 Morale
Movement: 20m, up to a maximum extension of 200m from its base.
Attacks: Big lunge (like getting hit by a truck, paralyzes if it doesn't kill you outright)
Tactics: As the adult form, but big enough that it doesn't really need to care about the element of surprise or targeting the vulnerable anymore. Dumb enough to be tricked into swallowing something it shouldn't.

New Equipment:

  • Harpoon Gun: Large, ignores penalties to firing underwater, 1/5 ammo, 2 slots. Can be combined with line thrower.
  • Sea Scorpion: +1 to attacks at point blank range. If still within point-blank range a round later, can automatically inflict 2 serious wounds on target as injected CO2 expands to the size of a beach ball within the punctured cavity.
  • Light Dive Suit: Prevents drowning, allows swimming as fast as you can run. Can be worn under civilian clothing. Lost when you are wounded.
  • Heavy Dive Suit: -1 to attacks against you. Doesn't stack with other armour. Prevents drowning, makes you heavy enough to walk along bottom of water bodies. Lost when you are wounded.
  • Sea Scooter: Allows movement underwater as fast as a sportscar. Comes with integrated flashlight and sonar. Breaks in 3-in-6 on ramming or other collision.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

D20x5 Genuine Giants

Click the button below for your very own giant:

D20People say this giant is as big as...
1A house.
2Five men standing on top of each others’ shoulders.
3A grain silo.
4A windmill.
5A wagon.
6A galleon.
7An elephant.
8A blue whale.
9A fort.
10A mature redwood.
11A clocktower.
12A minaret.
13A narcissist’s ego.
14An inflated hot air balloon.
15A mansion.
16A bridge.
17A ferris wheel.
18God's pint glass.
19An anaconda stood straight up.
20A tavern.
D20Besides their size, this giant looks odd because...
1They’ve got no eyes on their head but one big bloodshot eye in the middle of their chest.
2They’ve got a tufted tail as thick as their thigh which drags a furrow in the dirt behind them.
3They’re covered in wiry hair everywhere but the skin between their brow and chin.
4There’s a colony of sapient lice settled on their skin.
5Their head’s three times larger than would be proportional, and teeters precariously on their skinny neck.
6The back of their head is carved open. They’ve taken their brain out and buried it in a bubbling cauldron. So long as the cauldron’s hot they can dream their body back into existence if their current one is killed. Dying’s the only way they can sleep now, and rotting giant-flesh litters their territory. Follow the smell of cooking headcheese to find the cauldron.
7Their belly bulges with everything they’ve ever eaten. It digests nothing, simply holding it indefinitely.
8A pair of antlers sprouts from their brows. Animals serve the giant out of fear.
9They’ve got one elephantine leg. They hop and bound to get around.
10They’ve got three heads with separate personalities, one calm, one furious, one treacherous. Most of the time only one is awake.
11They’ve got 2d4 pairs of arms.
12Their skin is segmented steel, all but untouchable save for a bare spot at the small of their back.
13Their flesh appears swollen and veiny to the point of bursting. They can shrink down to human size, but will then appear unnaturally wrinkled for their age.
14Their ears hang down past their shoulders, and they can wave them about to kick up a windstorm.
15Their nose is so big it's pushed all their other features to the edge of their face. With it they can smell things like lies and one's nationality.
16Their skin is warty and green.
17They've got a horrendous case of dandruff, and dunes of dead skin gather wherever they roam.
18They've got minimal fat and muscle, so their skin looks shrinkwrapped around their skeleton.
19Their skin is mottled and papery like a wasp’s nest. They contain endless legions of pests which will swarm out to defend the giant.
20Their tongue is a hollow tube that can spit tonsil stones like cannonballs.
D20This giant lives...
1In a cloud they pull down to earth every night with a lasso.
2Under a hollowed-out hill with entire trees stripped for support beams.
3At the bottom of a pond. They can hold their breath for ages.
4In an old marble quarry, with entire fields stripped of sod for its roof.
5Under the arch of a cyclopean trilithon.
6In the burned-out hulk of an ancient cathedral.
7Like a horde of locusts, scouring everything edible in the path of its wanderings.
8In a dam built by dire beavers.
9In a swamp, wallowing in the mud.
10In an oversized cottage on a basalt causeway.
11In a manner that seems to satirize the excesses and rapacity of the upper class.
12In a deep, dank cave.
13In a shelter it dug out of a glacier.
14In the dome of an astronomical. observatory on an isolated hilltop.
15In a pile of wrecked boats on a beach.
16To forget bad memories of the Gigantomachy.
17In a barn strewn with the remains of the livestock that were once kept within.
18Only to get drunk.
19As the pampered living god of a strength-obsessed cult.
20Within the bounds of a castle's enceinte.
D20This giant wields...
1A broom with thick and thorny branches for bristles.
2A boulder carved crudely into the shape of their own screaming face.
3A really, really big sack of turnips.
4Only their own meaty fists.
5A great bombard of a cannon.
6The arm of a catapult, which they can bludgeon with or toss stones like an atlatl.
7A long and ornate dining table it stole from a noble's manor.
8A tree it tore from the ground.
9The mast of a ship with a thousand nails stuck through it.
10A great-horned stag, swinging it about by a hoof.
11A makeshift sword hammered together from ploughs.
12A stone spear chipped from the peak of a mountain.
13A trumpet it can blow loudly enough to burst its enemies' blood vessels.
14A millstone wrapped in a chain.
15A club studded with the teeth and claws of bears.
16The blade-bearing arm snapped off a bronze colossus.
17A claw-footed bath filled with acid.
18A bizarre polearm tipped with every weapon that failed to kill them.
19A suitably-gigantic shovel. The masses of dirt and stone it flings can be as lethal as getting struck by it directly.
20A water wheel.
D20People want you to kill this giant because...
1The giant’s lusty advances keep crushing their sheep.
2They want a giant’s skull to decorate their town square.
3The giant’s bellows keep them awake at night.
4The giant is cursed, and brings blight wherever they go.
5The giant’s extorting their entire harvest.
6They think the giant’s got treasure they could steal while you’re busy fighting it.
7The giant was one of them, once, but it committed a grave sin in return for power.
8They think they can distill power from its blood.
9Keeping it in check is occupying most of their military forces, and another enemy's keen to invade.
10It reneged on its end of a construction contract with them.
11It's scaring away merchants and impoverishing the region.
12It takes shits down their chimneys for a laugh.
13Many of their young, brave, and stupid have died attempting to.
14They want their land to be immortalized in the legend of its slaying.
15Their lord has promised them serious concessions if they get it done.
16It's very rude and has hurt everyone's feelings.
17They want to use its corpse as fertilizer.
18They're paranoid that it's planning to wipe them out.
19It made off with their prize pumpkin at last year's county fair.
20They think it's a divine trial put before them to be conquered.

Friday, September 23, 2022

D20x5 Alien Abductees

Click the button below for your very own alien abductee generated from the tables below:

D20This alien abductee is
1a skinny old trucker with a perpetually-sunburned face.
2a gardener with a droopy moustache, and uncanny knowledge of everything scandalous going on in the neighbourhoods where he works.
3a nasally-voiced day labourer who pounds back excessively-caffeinated energy drinks.
4a portly plumber with an MMO addiction.
5a crossfit-evangelizing programmer with terrible posture.
6a trophy wife who's secretly getting into DIY body mods.
7an accountant going through their mid-life crisis, stoked that something interesting finally happened to them.
8the owner-operator of a fruit salad/poke bowl food truck.
9a crustpunk who spends most of their time climbing trees.
10a commercial actor who struggles getting roles so deals coke on the side.
11a liquor store cashier with an extensive collection of horror movies and associated props.
12the owner of a boat dealership who talks faster and faster when they get excited until they're speaking gibberish.
13a line chef with bad tattoos who chews gum aggressively.
14a farmer currently engaged in a lawsuit against a biotech firm.
15a taxidermist whose Etsy business has really shot up since they started putting together chimeras inspired by their abduction.
16a pimply warehouse worker convinced their abduction was related to their push to unionize.
17a mechanical watch repairman who builds Rube Goldberg machines as a hobby.
18a wedding photographer who dresses like a cowboy.
19a former investment banker living large off a fat insurance payout for severe anxiety.
20a fidgety mailman barely keeping his head above water on child support payments.
D20This alien abductee describes their abductor(s) as:
1"crocodiles with the faces of presidents, hopping around like kangaroos".
2"glowing balls of light connected by sunbeams".
3"a great black triangle that spoke through my bones".
4"metal drums with red eyes and claws like a crab".
5"an ocean of amniotic fluid with fetal leviathans swimming within".
6"worms made of braided spines".
7"onion-headed skeletons in silver jumpsuits".
8"one-eyed albino giants".
9"old-timey outfits with no one wearing them".
10"angels made of tie-dye patterns".
11"the wandering ghosts of dead stars".
12"pools of oil that could move and think on its own".
13"plastic mannequins with something dark and wet between their seams".
14"like a whole bunch of purple shrimp tried to stack themselves into an even bigger shrimp".
15"entities made out of scents and memories instead of flesh and blood".
16"things with faces like a cluster of goat horns, and beaks on the ends of their tails".
17"floating golden cubes that moved things without touching them".
18"eyeless, earless hippoes with whole cities in their mouths".
19"trees with hands for leaves and teeth in their roots".
20"upside-down octopi squeezed into an icecream cone".
D20This alien abductee believes they were abducted
1so their gametes could be harvested to create a race of human-alien hybrids.
2to test out anti-human weaponry, and that they are a clone of their original self, who was killed in the testing.
3to serve as a consultant on Earthly matters to the supreme galactic council.
4so that the aliens could cut out a part of their brain that understood cosmic secrets.
5as a prank by some extraterrestrial frat.
6so that the benevolent aliens could cure them of chronic Lyme.
7to fight in gladiatorial arenas for the amusement of an interstellar emperor.
8so that their genes and memes could be preserved in an extrasolar ark.
9in order to trap their mind in a virtual simulation - which they believe themself to still be in.
10due to a case of mistaken identity.
11to serve as a judge on an alien game show.
12to save their life from a car accident that would cut short their important role in human history.
13to make sure the aliens' systems were idiot-proof (with them as the idiot).
14so that parts of their organs could be extracted and prepared as an alien delicacy.
15because their latent psychic abilities acted as a beacon among the stars.
16because they're really an alien soul trapped in a human body.
17because they unwittingly won a raffle for an all-expenses-paid vacation to another planet.
18to serve as a witness in an enigmatic criminal trial.
19so that their bodily fluids could be drained as an emergency fuel source for the alien vessel.
20to help a ragtag band of rebels overthrow the tyrannical robber baron of some far-flung nebula.
D20This alien abductee has
1a spiral-shaped scar on their abdomen.
2something silvery visible behind the pupil of their left eye.
3a cyst on the back of their neck that leaks metal-dissolving pus.
4the inexplicable and unerring ability to predict the position of celestial objects.
5a tooth that wriggles in its socket when exposed to strong electromagnetic fields.
6complex, abstract brands on their backs that nauseate you if you stare at them too long.
7had a sociopathic alternate personality implanted in their brain that will activate to protect the aliens' secrets, killing if necessary.
8Wolverine claws implanted in their arms that spring out if their life is threatened.
9acquired an immunity to radiation sickness and damage.
10occasional, distracting clairvoyant visions of ancient sites like Stonehenge and some field where a Roman garum factory once stood.
11the inconvenient habit of levitating in their sleep.
12a lens stuck under the skin of their right index finger that can shoot a powerful laser beam.
13become patient zero and a carrier for a slow-acting yet malignant plague.
14been dreaming of the memories of people abducted in past decades, centuries, even millennia.
15been stalked by camera-headed owls that nobody else can see.
16been respawning like a character in a video game when they die, though this has left their own corpse behind.
17a projector in their collar bone that can create life-like holograms.
18an anti-matter bomb embedded in their chest that will explode based on uncertain conditions.
19had some of their nervous system replaced with wires that can directly interface with machinery.
20an aura that wilts plants in their vicinity.
D20This alien abductee has garnered attention from
1a racist militia that buys into von Liebenfels' Theozoology.
2a video streamer and their audience, who harass the abductee daily.
3a big mainstream media reporter, who sees them as an exemplar of the irrationality of the post-Trump era.
4a bored FBI agent.
5a bunch of online idiots planning to invade Area 51.
6a conman who thinks they're suggestible enough to make a big score off of.
7a space-obsessed suicide cult that sees the abductee as their messiah.
8a crank archeologist who believes in the ancient aliens hypothesis and wants the abductee to verify their latest find.
9CIA spooks who think they're a Chinese spy speaking in code.
10a washed-up former cosmonaut who was also abducted by aliens during a clandestine mission.
11an alien living in disguise on Earth who thinks the abductee is their ticket off this rock.
12an indie director who wants to make a movie about them.
13an alcoholic, religious fundamentalist relative of theirs who believes they were taken by demons and wants to save them from the demons' influence.
14an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire who wants the abductee to facilitate contact between them and the aliens.
15a violently-jealous amateur astronomer who witnessed their abduction but believes it should've been them who got to experience a close encounter of the fourth kind.
16a dishonourably discharged navy captain who thinks the government's covering up a massive UFO conspiracy.
17a celebrity psychiatrist looking to make a spectacle of "curing" the abductee of their "delusion".
18a mediocre young adult novelist disingenuously accusing the abductee of plagiarizing one of their stories.
19a serial killer who targets people with alien abduction stories.
20sapient and technologically-advanced descendants of dinosaurs hidden deep within the Earth, ancient rivals of the aliens who abducted them.