GM Advice 1001 Mysteries...




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  1. #1
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    1001 Mysteries...

    1001 Mysteries...

    In the vein of a number of the old “101 X” posts, what I'm hoping for is people pitching in descriptions of odd, creepy, mysterious, unexplainable phenomena and scenes for use by GMs into their campaigns to add color and provide enigmas to their world.

    The point isn't to detail what is really happening, how it came to be, or any mechanical stats. Just a scene for the PCs to stumble upon. A GM who uses one then can let it remain a hanging mystery, or if the PCs show great interest develop it into a true plot hook, encounter (whether a haunting or just a gnome with a weird taste in illusions), or adventure that meshes with his or her world and plots.

    I'll start it off....


    1) Faceless (Cross-posted from Creepy...)

    On a lonely backwoods or frontier trade path, the group notices several sets of wagon tracks that dig up the dirt and damp earth and go off the road. If they follow them, the find themselves in a small dell not easily visible from the road, made of three or four low hills. The earth is churned and trampled by feet, hooves and wheels. One merchant's wagon is smashed and overturned at the base of the far hill. There are no horses, though the wagon's cinches are covered in blood.

    About two dozen naked human/humanoid bodies lay scattered across the dell. While most are covered in mud, they don't appear to have any obvious wounds from a distance.

    The first one the group approaches is contorted, face down in the mud, but it's nails are broken and it's hands covered in blood as if it was attempting to scratch it's attacker.

    When they roll the body over, the body has no face, from forehead to chin, is solid flesh, ripped and torn by fingernails to reveal muscle and smooth bone beneath, with nary a socket or orifice. As if the poor soul, suddenly bereft of sight and breath was desperately clawing at their own head to make a way to breathe.

    All the bodies share this faceless death.

    Several sets of hoofprints and wagon wheel tracks leave the dell more sedately and return to the road, heading in the same direction the group was heading, and eventually lose distinction from the common ruts in the road about a mile on.


    2) Blood from a Stone

    When the group is within an underground area made of, or faced with, stone, they come upon a room where there is the sound of a slow dripping. From the ceiling, where no crack or hole exists, is a damp spot which slowly enlarges to a drip of a thick, crimson substance. It falls to a place on the floor where, similarly, there is neither crack nor hole. Yet only a tiny puddle of reddish fluid sits.

    No matter how long it is watched, the pool never grows in size. The drips from the ceiling pass through any barrier or container placed in their way. Unless the object is the skin of an intelligent creature. If so, they find that their hands are covered in blood, and they hear a distant wail, as if from a man being tortured, that no one else can hear. AS the scream fades, the blood seems to soak into their hands.

    If the blood is wiped away from the stone floor, it seems to evaporate as it is pushed away, briefly revealing a single brownish stain, which the drips quickly cover up.


    3) From Behind

    In a abandoned or secluded home, tower, or small ruin, the group comes across a room that looks like it was once a study of some sort. Rotted furniture and broken glassware litter the room, as do several books with many pages torn out and scattered.

    A closer look will show brown stains on the floor in odd and irregular patterns, certainly not the expected splashes and splatters of injury or combat.

    Investigation shows that many of the pages bear similar dark brown smears and stains, often lines and curves.

    Dedicated investigation will show that some of the smears on the pages and the floor seem to line up.

    Attempts to piece the puzzle together will eventually have the pages of the books laid out in the rough image of a Thaumaturgic triangle, the stains the boundaries of letters of a common language. The words say, “Fear beyond the door. Open and safety revealed. A (a blank area) S behind. Watching.”

    The blank area in the words is in the center of the diagram, and from the looks of it, something was there when the writing was done, but is now gone.


    4) Untreadable

    In an ruin or other abandoned building, the group comes into a dust and cobweb covered room. While examining the room, locked away for years while furniture dry rotted, one will notice that there are “muddy” bootprints...on one of the walls. They appear to show someone having walked down the wall, then the continued apace diagonally across the room, and end with one print halfway in the far wall.

    If examined closely, caked earth has dried and cemented itself to the wall, but the prints on the floor merely disturb the dust there, with no traces of other material.

    No doors, secret or otherwise exist in the surfaces the footprints appears to come from or go to.


    5) Whose Shadow

    Wherever one or more of the group is, but when they are somewhere other people are in nearby rooms or such (at an inn, a noble party, etc), one of the party notices a shadow cross their field of vision from behind them. If they point it out without looking, others will see it, but as soon as they turn to look, they notice no one behind them. An NPC will approach them from where they were originally looking, for some mundane purpose, having noticed nothing.

    This will repeat one or two more times. If one member watches the shadow, while another tries to “catch” a glimpse, the watcher will see the shadow move and disappear as if obstructed by some hard edged object which throws no shadow itself.

    Sometime later, when the group is in a lonely or abandoned locale, the first to have seen the shadow will notice that wherever their light source is throwing shadows, there is one more shadow than the number of members of the party.

    Any overt mention of the shadow, or pointing to it, will cause it to appear to leap sideways - “landing” in one of the group's shadows, and that person's shadow will fade away. Apparently forever gone.

    The next time that person is in direct sunlight, they will feel suddenly and briefly weak, only to watch their shadow “fall” out of them onto the ground in a fetal position, shiver, and then stretch to normal proportions, and act in all ways normally henceforth.
    Last edited by The_Warlock; Friday, 3rd October, 2008 at 03:30 PM.
    The Warlock

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    6)

    Find a small bag of old old ancient coins hidden in the rotted wall of a rotting shed/cottage PCs take shelter within. Any that touch the coins have dreams / visions of a murder of a noble. With minor research, one learns of a noble that was slain a hundred years ago by an unknown assassin. Rumored his payment was a pouch of coins now cursed as they represent blood money.

    7)

    Old Tavern with paintings on the wall. Paintings are marked and painted in a way to clearly show a passage of time. However, in the background, a person is visible that seems to be in each one... never aging.

  • #3
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    Cool. Thank you, Mega.
    The Warlock

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    How many mysteries? 1001...
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    Unite Against Stupidity...Chipper Shredders for a Better Tomorrow - Where Euthenasia and Recycling Meet
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    8) In an 10' X 10' room an ancient Orc skeleton holds a pie. Although the skeleton is dessicated and fragile with age the pie is somehow fresh and steaming hot.
    -Andor

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    The unaware soldier
    9) Every night, at a particular spot, a ghostly soldier apprears. Some nights he appears to be sitting and reading a book, or sharpening a blade. Other nights, he seems to be walking as if keeping patrol. He in no way acknowledges anyone or anything, oblivious to everything - as if he is simply repeating actions. His uniform style suggests that he was a soldier from a long fallen kingdom. However, one particular night of every year, instead of his regular actions and appearance, his ghostly body is covered with burn marks on his unform, arrow shafts in his leg, and cuts slashed across his face, and he lays on the ground as if reliving his death, mumbling in whispers about the wizards and demons coming and how he must get back to the castle to warn them.
    If you're bored and like to follow links provided by random strangers, check out my ENWorld Blog http://www.enworld.org/forum/blog.php?u=807
    It will have campaign logs and random thoughts...

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    Thanks folks. Looking good, this is exactly what I was hoping for.

    I may have to use the dead orc/fresh pie in a silly run through of X2 Castle Amber I'm currently GMing.
    The Warlock

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    How many mysteries? 1001...
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    #10 The pc's are traveling through the woods between 2 local towns, when they spy a little girl skipping through the woods humming to herself. Upon following the little girl they will come upon a depression in the woods where they will find several childrens corpses in various stages of decay. A vision will then come upon them of a local town official murdering the children. What will the pc's do? How will they stop the murders from happening again when the only proof they have is a vision and several rotted corpses?
    Last edited by ejja_1; Friday, 3rd October, 2008 at 05:19 PM. Reason: My spelling is teh suck
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    11) Winds of Arrival

    When camping for the night in the wilderness, one of the group has a vivid dream of a beautiful, almost blinding red gold sunrise. As the Dream continues, they see dark vertical lines in front of the the sunrise. The lines grow more distinct, resolving into menhirs. One begins to crack and shudder, as the sunrise turns the color of blood. Shattering, the menhir reveals a clawed hand, the rips open the Sun to let blood and rotten bodies spill out over the land.

    Any members on watch will see a storm at the edge of the horizon, with red flashes of heat lightning. Minutes later a brief, screaming windstorm rushes over the campsite bringing with it the smell of death and rotting bodies, and a spray of rust colored rain.

    All is still for a few moments, then the normal night sounds return, though they seem now much fainter, and strangely ominous.
    The Warlock

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    How many mysteries? 1001...
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    Unite Against Stupidity...Chipper Shredders for a Better Tomorrow - Where Euthenasia and Recycling Meet
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    12) Ancient Song
    When the group is camping outdoors while travelling near or through a woodland, late at night, they begin to hear sounds of many people laughing and distant upbeat music.

    Looking about, they will notice ripples of silver light in the dark woods around them, coming and going as if pushed back by the light of their campfire or torches.

    If the group puts out their light sources, the silver light will grow, eventually covering their camp and the surrounding area with a translucent scene of a masquerade ball amidst manicured trees, simple but elegant decorations, and some few marble sculptures and a well. All the beings are all tall humanoids, elves or humans perhaps, wearing a variety of painted animal masks, as they dance, laugh and make merry while drinking and eating from small tables. The sounds of the party seem somewhat hollow, as if echoing from a distance.

    The merrymakers will seem not to notice the group.

    Any attempts to interact with them will prove them to be insubstantial, except for the food and drink. Those who partake of the food fall asleep to dreams of one partygoer sneaking away, and men in black coming from the night and slaughtering the merrymakers to the last. The sleeper can only be awakened by the dawn, or magic which wakes a target.

    If, however, any member of the group attempts to sing or play music, the merrymakers will stop and look directly at him/her, as if listening. If the song is upbeat/joyous, the merrymakers will begin to dance, and at the end of the song, cluster about the musician clapping and patting them on the shoulder with ephemeral hands as the entire masquerade fades away.

    The musician, however, will notice a tiny flickering in the distance of silvery light. Getting close the light fades away, and the character will fall into a deep, dried up well.

    They will find literally dozens of bodies worth of ancient, broken bones and dust, and a single dust covered, but otherwise unblemished, lacquered wooden masquerade mask of a fox.
    Last edited by The_Warlock; Tuesday, 30th September, 2008 at 07:15 PM.
    The Warlock

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    How many mysteries? 1001...
    -------------------------------------------------
    Unite Against Stupidity...Chipper Shredders for a Better Tomorrow - Where Euthenasia and Recycling Meet
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    13) Expedition

    While the group is travelling somewhere (wilderness, in a city, via ship), a magic mouth comes into being by an unknown trigger and speaking in an old language with an odd accent.

    If the group stops to listen, and can comprehend the language, they hear the following related.

    "Day 10 score and 5. It is as if the woods are alive and hateful. Despite this, we make progress, and have been able to confirm that we continue in the direction provided by the Oracle. Savages beset us as we broke camp. Delshes and Hiskar were eviscerated before we could counter attack. In the end, magic and crystal prevailed, and we killed most before they fled. We have brought my bondsmens' heads should we still need their expertise before this journey is over. Soon, our goal will be in our grasp."

    The magic mouth repeats it's entire tale once more, then disappears, it's magic finally expended.
    Last edited by The_Warlock; Wednesday, 1st October, 2008 at 06:53 PM.
    The Warlock

    -------------------------------------------------
    How many mysteries? 1001...
    -------------------------------------------------
    Unite Against Stupidity...Chipper Shredders for a Better Tomorrow - Where Euthenasia and Recycling Meet
    http://www.cafepress.com/csfabt
    -------------------------------------------------
    Friends Lists: No, thank you. If you are my friend, I know it and you know it. I don't feel the need to have a codified list of the people I know.

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