Coming in at a good duration of 93 minutes, The Babadook is intelligent, dark and frightening. Claustrophobia and gut-wrenching stress are intruded upon by a well meaning(?) outside world of school staff, social workers and haughty housewives. There is enough ambiguity to keep the viewer guessing as to what is actually going on, and the hero of the story is most unlikely–though always close by.
“Fear’s Sharp Little Needles” is a book of short scenarios, by Stygian Fox, and written for the Seventh Edition Call of Cthulhu role playing game published by Chaosium.
The cover art has elements I like, but is so dark it gives the impression you’re missing detail. That said, it’s very well executed.
The pages have a very cool parchment look. It’s bold enough to be noticeable, yet subdued enough to not interfere with reading. The table of contents gives the scenario titles on simulated scraps of paper, which is a nice touch. The text is Times New Roman, with the section headings bolded, and in some sort of sans serif font, making for an easy reading experience.
The interior art is beautiful. Also, not only does each scenario start with a full-page illustration which is a teaser for what’s in store, but there are also maps galore. The scenarios are intentionally brief. They are all set in the modern era.
Now, on to the scenarios, with an effort to minimize spoilers. Unfortunately, this leaves me only room for introductions. The cover page of each scenario contains three or four words which give an even briefer idea of what is contained therein–nice touch.
First things first, this is a beautiful product. Arc Dream Publishing does a great job with the covert ops decoration–bits and pieces of classified documents, blurry, black and white photographs, documents with blood drops, etc. Combine this with beautiful cover art of a sufficiently horrid monster and you’ve got a product which says “Buy me. Play me.”
“I swear, Doctor, they’re real. They came at us last night after our van slid off the road. They were all dressed differently, one was in an expensive suit, but they had no faces!
If they grabbed you, your face started disappearing too. One of them got Bill and he started changing! I shot it twice and it just vanished, like Alka Selzter in water. Later, Bill said he could still breathe when his face was going smooth, but he was forgetting his identity. After I shot the one, and Jeremy–he’s a boxer–knocked one down, they just ran away.”—Name withheld for HIPPA compliance, Harrison City Psychiatric Hospital.
The Faceless Human-Like Things are a creation of the Mi-Go. They appear like ordinary men, except they have smooth skin where their faces should be. They wear various, ordinary clothes.
It seems inevitable that such a book would eventually come along, and it has. There have been
others in the same vein, but this one provides actual recipes, made with wholesome ingredients,
which are good to eat.
Possibly the most entertaining part of this book, is the intermingling of the descriptions of ingredients and processes with Mythos-ian imagery. Continue reading »
“Though I had mayde the pact with the Lorde of the Great Abyss and knew this being would visit, I could not have been prepared for its majesty. Its skin all over midnight black, it towered over me, wielding the great trident. In my mind was spoken a demand for the reason I had summoned it.”
I have written a ton of stuff for my home game and convention scenarios over the years prior to 7th ed. Due to this I still write in 6th ed language, which I realize confuses those who came on board after the onset of 7th ed. Welcome aboard, by the way.
While I realize I should convert, which I shall eventually, there is a handy conversion guide on p. 390 of the 7th ed. rulebook.
“As I stared into the open mass grave–filled with our men, women and children–my despair overcame the revulsion of the horrific stench. Slowly, my despair devolved into seething rage and a desperate need for justice. God had turned his back on us, so I called out into the universe for any who would provide retribution. The thousands of flies which crawled upon our people swarmed upward, swirling into a black mass which settled into the form of a man from whom I felt an ancient and terrible consciousness. My initial horror slowly bled into a sick form of worship as I realized this being, this god, would gratify my lust for vengeance.”
Fly man will manifest only in the presence of someone who is in blind rage of unjust, large scale killing and of the dead themselves, who must be swarming with flies.
“Me and Luke was out checkin’ our mud bug traps and I heered splashin’ comin’ toward me. Luke started screamin’ sumpin’ awful. I looked over and there he was, all white in the moonlight and his skin wrigglin’. It was Missa Grits alright. Poor ol’ Luke tried to run and slipped. Missa Grits grabbed ‘im up and just kinda melted all over ‘im. I ain’t never been so scared in all my life. I turn and run, got to the truck and drove like hell outta there.”
Mr. Grits is a manifestation of the rage, fear and torment of all who have been raped, tortured and murdered in the local swamps, or who have been killed elsewhere and dumped here.
“The boy was naked and shivering. He said he was lost and wanted to find his family. I moved closer to help him and, as he reached toward me, I saw that his spine was rooted directly into the base of the huge and twisted tree. His eyes darkened and his mouth split into a gruesome smile of spiked teeth. A cold, black and bitter-tasting rain began to fall, running down my face into my mouth.”
–“D,” agent of the Top Secret Project Catalyst, whereabouts undisclosed.