Phantoms of No Man’s Land

The Phantoms look like gasmask clad German infantry, soaked with mud, blood, and human waste through their uniforms, sometimes carrying the detritus of the battlefield tangled in their gear and flesh. They are peppered with bullet and shrapnel wounds, sometimes tangled in sections of barbed wire. Beneath their heavy uniforms and helmets, their corpse-white skin shows the damage of war and possibly their reassembly from unmatched corpses. Their gas masks adhere to their skulls like skin and removing them leaves a wet, grinning skull and staring eyes.

The play The King in Yellow has been introduced to the oddest and most inaccessible of places. One of those was the blood and fecal churned mud in the trenches of the Western Front. As soldiers reached out for any talisman, mascot, or gris-gris that might protect them from the random, impersonal death that haunted the mazes of entrenchments that stretched from Switzerland to the sea, more than one man on leave stumbled upon the Yellow Sign. Some thought them to be a variation of the popular Buddhist swastika that was found in great numbers on either side of No Man’s Land. Others believe them to be a good luck charm of Arabic origin. Whether found in a shop or sent in the mail by worried and superstitious family or friends, the Yellow Sign was not unknown in the trenches. And where the Yellow Sign Goes, the play The King in Yellow is sure to follow. Perhaps the manuscript arrives at the battalion HQ via the post from an anonymous sender. A play that might be performed in order to alleviate the boredom that settles in between the gargantuan efforts to shift the front a mile or two east? Maybe the pages arrive as nothing more than wadded packing around a shipment of preserved food sent from the hole? In any event, the play is here now and Carcosa will soon follow.

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Bonescraw

Bonescraw can come in many forms, depending on which creature has been digested. Typically a human skeleton will look similar to how it normally appears, but will look odd with some bones being reassembled out of their usual place, meaning the creature will have be top heavy, or have a strange lilt to one side. The overall form is a strange, shambling thing. Some bones in the arms and chest may have been repurposed into spines used for stabbing attacks. The skeleton is filled with mud, moss and lichen, the tendrils of which cover the outer bones and hold the form in place.

Moss Skeletons

I want your skull, I need your skull

— The Misfits

Typically native to marshlands and lowland wooded areas the Bonescraw are in fact a single, semi-sentient bryophyte which fell to Earth on an ancient meteorite. Once it has contaminated an area it will spread as a deep, dense network of carnivorous, acidic moss and lichen that blights the land. Any creature unfortunate enough to enter the moss falls prey to the sedative pollen that it releases and is slowly dissolved and digested, leaving only their bones behind.

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Monstrous Deep One Hybrids, Eel Hybrid

A deep one (fish man upper body) with a very large mouth, long pointy teeth, large black eyes, and an angler fish’s glowing lantern. Below the waist is a long serpentine body ending in a wide paddle fin. May carry a massive trident.

Although it is rare Deep Ones can, and do, mate with a variety of sea creatures. While dolphins and sharks are the most common partners, a number of other examples exist. One such variety is the Deep One / Eel Hybrid. These are most commonly found in the darkest depths of the ocean, lurking on the outskirts of a Deep One colony, or near a shore side community of Deep One hybrids. While there is a great deal of variation between individuals, depending on the species of eel they are born from or sired by, a few common traits exist. Deep One / Eel Hybrids have a humanoid the upper body similar to common Deep Ones but with much larger and wider mouths and the lower serpentine bodies eels. While they can breathe air they are seldom found on land, as they move slow and clumsily when out of the water.

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Abyssal Bats

4 winged bat with 6 eyes (2 large & 4 small) with a mouth that has upwards pointing tusks, if 2 bats the 2nd one has a sharp beak like a vulture. No rear legs, just a bunch of between 6 and 18 tentacles of various lengths.

These strange flying creatures are found in the dark void of space, deep in the earth, and in the nightmare realms of the Dreamlands. They are often found guarding sorceress lairs, blasphemous temples to ancient gods, or roosting in long forgotten ruins. Abyssal Bats can lie dormant for years on end, rousing from their lairs to feed when disturbed. Roosts can contain anywhere between a handful to well over a thousand individuals. Some sorcerers have developed spells to control large flocks to do general tasks (such as guard a location from intruders) or individual Abyssal Bats to do specific behaviors (such as retrieving items or delivering messages).

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The Real imaginary friend 

From a distance, the “RIF” appears as a small football-sized globe of light that changes colours calmly and gives an almost soothing aura. When approached the orb becomes a whirlwind of differently coloured shards of light that clash, merge and reform in an almost hypnotic and feverish dance.

Imagination can be a funny thing, taken down one road it can be a limitless resource to draw upon when one feels the need for entertainment, support, and even salvation. On the other hand, it can destroy trust, relationships, and even the very fabric of what we believe to be real when we investigate the dark corners of the world. The odd thing is that given its name, imagination, we all agree on what exactly an imagination is when it is working and when it is a fault, how very unimaginative. Imagination is nothing more than rational thought stretched to its very limit, that the things we imagine as just the shadows at the edge of our vision we dare not stare at. We imagine the things that we could never see or comprehend, we imagine that everyone can make believe or invent whatever they wish but then why do we find… 

Professor Desmond Fairbroke on the imagination of the collective, at a café in Amsterdam.
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Trans-dimensional Mites

A bug, semi-transparent, about as foot long, with the body of a wood louse and the claws of a deathwatch scorpion.

These tiny creatures are not of this, or any world. Rather, they dwell in spaces in-between worlds and are attracted to weak points where two dimensions overlap, especially gates created by mythos magic. Here they nibble at the edges of trans-dimensional passages, weakening them, making them less reliable, having them fail or transport the traveler to a random location on a critically failed luck roll. If left unchecked trans-dimensional can destroy a gate by having it collapse in upon itself, a process that takes about a decade of unchecked infestation.  

Trans-dimensional mites appear as an large Common Woodlouse, about the size of a tarantula, with a pair of long thin pincers at the front of their bodies, similar to those of a Deathstalker scorpion. Beneath their bodies are a pair of long, spring jointed legs allowing the creatures to jump up to 12 feet with a good degree of accuracy (50%). A small gate can support an infestation of perhaps a dozen individuals, while larger ones could support up to a hundred. 

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The Autumn King

a Brom Bones-esque picture a varsity football player from long ago, from a better time. Avatar two: a jack o'lantern headed, vine-supported gourd-like thing of vaguely human dimensions, with beams of mystic candlelight escaping its perpetual, soulless grin.

Jack of the Lanterns, Samuel Haynes the Varsity Athlete, the Scarecrow Wanderer, the Lord of Bonfires

“Oh, you’ve walked with him, when the skies turn tombstone gray and the crows cry vain laments for summer’s passing?  I’ve walked with him, too. I too know the old ways.”

The Autumn King, Jack of the Lanterns, the Scarecrow Wanderer, the Lord of Bonfires This strange being may be a particularly piquant mask of Nyarlathotep, its own independent being, or perhaps some strange, tulpa-like thoughtform given life from humanity’s collective remembrance of uncounted leafy bonfires, long shadows across front lawns, grinning gourds with candlelit smiles, and distant train whistles. Whoever or whatever the Autumn King is, those who encounter this blazing, wistful spirit are forever changed. The Autumn King has many appearances, from humble to horrifying. Here are but two: 

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The Angel’s Glow

A single session, 1920s micro-scenario. Suitable for 1 or more investigators.

Pigs have unearthed bodies at Shiloh National Military Park—oddly well-preserved bodies. Farmers from nearby Savannah, TN, have petitioned the War Department to relocate the dead. 

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The Gabriel Hounds

A dog’s body, large and muscular and devoid of fur. The head is that of a human baby, with glowing eyes.

British – A Northern English version of the supernatural Hellhounds, that fly across the heavens looking for the souls of unbaptized children. Some legends link them to the Hounds of Tindalos of blasphemous lore. The sound of their diabolical yelping can indicate a pending death. They are said to travel in pairs, and described as having the body of a dog with the head of an infant. – Owen, Rev Elias, Welsh Folklore, pp 179. 1887.

For overhead are sweeping Gabriel’s hounds

Doomed with their impious lord the flying hart

To chase for ever on aërial ground.”

– Wordsworth, William, The Miscellaneous Poems of William Wordsworth, Volume 3, pp. 156. 1820

Monstrous human-headed dogs, who traverse the air, and are often heard although seldom seen.” – Henderson, William, Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England of 1879, pp 202. 1880

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Lost of the Labyrinth

a large humanoid figure, wearing shreds of clothing, muscular arms and shoulders, webbed 3 finger hands with hooked claws. Heads covered with eyes of different size, no ears, nose or mouth. Wide Shoulders, chest and back covered with small sharp toothed maws, with insect like mandibles to hold bits of food in place, and small nonfunctioning insect legs sprouting from its lower abdomen and legs.

These unfortunate creatures were once men, who through betrayal or misfortunate ended up wandering the labyrinth of the Great Old One Eihort. They either never encountered Eihort or refused its bargain to become a host for its brood in exchange for being released from the Labyrinth. They then either escaped the Great Old One’s wrath or were spared to wander endlessly in the endless passages of the labyrinth. Lost, desperate, and likely dying of thirst or hunger these people then drank from one of the maze’s pools fed by dripping water or ate some of the strange glowing fungus found growing throughout the labyrinth. Once this alien material entered their bodies they were doomed, spiraling into a vortex of madness and mutation.  

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