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What's the Freakiest/Most Gruesome Things That You Have Put in your Campaign/World?

Simple question, will hopefully have some great content for discussing, taking inspiration from, and examining the cruel brains of DMs/GMs.

What are the most freaky, or gruesome, or otherwise messed up things you have put in your campaign or world? If it's extremely disturbing/NSFW, put it in a spoiler. Here's an example from my world (I may put more later in the thread):

My race of corporeal-undead touched humanoids, the Vezyi, have a complex society. They were created by and worship Vecna and his demigod servants, serving as "farms" that produce bodies for Vecna to use in his army of undead and as living servants of his will. Vecna communicates with them through necromancy-focused Arcana Clerics known as the Iremongers, who serve as the leaders of the community. Vezyi are allowed 10 lives in return for their service. When a Vezye dies, their body is returned to the Iremonger and revived, adding a dot to one of their fingers. Once all of their fingers have this mark, they are out of lives, which are called "pardons", they are incapable of being revived again. If they accidentally receive 10 pardons (typically happening if they've lost a hand/fingertips), they receive a circumpunct on the palm of each hand and on their forehead (Called the Eye of Vecna), marking them as a "Vulek". They are then driven out of their community and are never accepted into any other Vezyi settlement, as well as being hunted down by assassin bounty-hunters known as "Palmbearers".
If a Vulek is found by a Palmbearer, they'll kill them, cut off their hands, and flay the skin around their forehead's circumpunct. They then bring these back to the Iremonger that created this Vulek, who rewards them by magically erasing a pardon from their fingers. The Iremonger then takes the hands and turns them into crawling claws and will stitch the forehead-skin with any other forehead-skins that they have. If they have enough of this, they will make a cape or sometimes a robe out of the Vulek skin. (A cape will typically also have 2 crawling claws sewed to it to keep it connected to the Iremonger.)

So, what do you have? I'm excited to hear!
 
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In my campaign where Ymir's corpse crashed to another world after dying in Ragnarok, tearing through planar barriers and causing an impact winter, one of the gruesome things that really troubled my players were being attacked by starving halflings (originally, it was going to be children, but I remembered that's a no-go topic for some players so... easy substitute)... as the party would melee them, they noticed strips of their flesh had been removed. What they'd discovered was that they had been taking these layers of flesh and mixing it with water/melted snow to make an attempt at a subsistance stew. I'd taken the idea because I thought I remembered a story about the siege of Stalingrad and people taking wallpaper and boiling it so they could pretend it was food.

There were also infected zombies that, as they moved, it looked like someone had edited out three frames of film so... real jerky and dischordant.
 


Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
I am actually babysoft on this sort of stuff, because I don't experience horror the way normal people do-- I can't enjoy getting the horror "just right" and I can't tell when I'm going too far, so I don't really aim for anything other the agony of victory and the ecstasy of defeat.

Storyteller asked me to play his villain in a Werewolf: The Wyld West game so I made a BSD/Tzimisce Abomination. The PCs never encountered him outside of his immaculate homid form, or his long black fur coat, or without his ghoul kept on a leash with a silver collar. He was never cruel to his familiar... only when he spoke, softly, the ghoul flinched like he'd been whipped.

The players tried to investigate where this monster had come from. They managed to make-- tense-- contact with the local pack of Black Spiral Dancers who confirmed my villain was BSD, but not theirs. He'd made overtures to them, after being Embraced, about some joint project between the Sabbat and the Black Spiral Dancers, but they weren't willing to work with him or tell the PCs why.

A couple weeks later, they found out the pack had been torn to pieces and put to the torch.

The BSD's Galliard, the sole survivor, tracked the PCs down and gave them a package-- told them, to their faces, his pack would be avenged one way or the other. It included some fetishes, and a handwritten journal.

My villain had been born Black Spiral Dancer kinfolk, the son of the pack's alpha. A rough life under the best circumstances. The villain didn't have his First Change at puberty... or until much later... so his father considered him an embarassment and an obstacle to having a true heir. When the boy finally had his First Change at nineteen years old, he left the pack and fell afoul of the Sabbat. After several years of being a Tzimisce ghoul, he ransacked his master's lair, set it on fire, and cut his own throat with a silver knife.

The elder Tzimisce attempted to Embrace my villain solely to interrogate him... but as soon as he was strong enough to change, he seized his master and Diablerized him.

All of this is in his notes. He returned to his pack. His final journal entry complained that he had broken six professional baseball bats-- eight dollars each!-- to obtain enough fur for his fur coat and that his brand-new ghoul wasn't as intimidating as he remembered him.

He'd left the journal behind on purpose.
 
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MGibster

Legend
In a Deadlands game, one of the PCs decided to take the Ailin' Hindrance and it's most severe level meaning that she was dying from it. Mechanically speaking, at the beginning of each session she got to roll the dice and if unsuccessful it meant she was going to meet her demise. The player wanted to do something weird so she decided that was was ailing her was that she was carrying the child of one Reverend Grimm (a big baddie from the game) and that this demon baby would eventually kill her.

So one session she rolls, and oops, looks like you're going to die this session. I didn't have her character actually die during childbirth as I thought I'd let her die a little more slowly during the course of the adventure. She gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy who she kept saying was a demon baby. The other PCs separated her from the child for fear that she would harm it. But she was crafty, escaped, and ended up killing her son. So at that point the character turned into an NPC because you can't just kill a baby in my game and be a PC. I went ahead and let the newly created NPC die and come back as an undead abomination which the PCs then had to track down. She would periodically give birth to little monsters and fling them at people using their umbilical cord like a lasso.
 

John Dallman

Explorer
The thing that scared a player most was a giant carnivorous shellfish, which was happily sitting in a pool looking like a rock. I gestured its opening and lunge, and frightened the player whose character was next to it more than I meant to.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
Humans. They are the most dangerous and scary monsters in D&D. You never know what you are actually facing until the fight starts. ;-)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
One PC once made his exit from the campaign by getting flushed down an orc toilet.

Another time, members of the party were exploring a Necropolis and fell into a pit of infant zombies.

Oh and once, while the PCs were paralyzed and helpless, a half-fiend gnome pried open the skull of a beloved NPC and scooped out his brain to eat some.
 
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In our current 3.5 Raiders of the Overreach campaign, our PCs started out as slaves to the drow. On our first raid (against a small group of dwarven miners), one of the PCs - a gnome cleric - disobeyed the drow slavemaster's direct orders not to leave any evidence that the drow were behind the attack. (He did this by using his prestidigitation to turn his skin black like a drow and then leaving behind an unconscious survivor or two.) As a result, he was not only sent back to slit the throats of those he'd allowed to live, but we were all hauled before the Administer of Discipline when we got back to the drow home city. There the rest of us were lined up along the wall to watch while the gnome was forced to wear a ring of regeneration and then bound to a chair. The Administer of Discipline, it turned out, was a mind flayer - who then proceeded to crack open the gnome's skull and eat his brains in front of us, killing him in the process. Then, once the gnome had regenerated fully, the slavemaster had the punishment repeated a second time, and then a third time for good measure.

This was our second adventure in the campaign.

Johnathan
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
Like @Shroompunk Warlord I try to go a little gentle on this sort of stuff, because my tastes and boundaries are ... idiosyncratic, here. The thing that I've dropped on PCs that freaked them out the most was a contagious madness that had its victims speaking in what I described as "polyglot gibberish," where the victims recognizably were mashing languages together, as frequently as mid-word. The lowish-level party stumbled on some wolves who were looking really emaciated and in other ways clearly unwell. As the PCs hesitated about what to do, one wolf mewed at them; another screamed like a kookaburra at them.

The PCs freaked out and killed the wolves forthwith.
 

Retreater

Legend
In a city of tieflings they had a decadent bar with tables, chairs, mugs, plates, etc., made from carved people who were then petrified. The heroes, unsurprisingly, didn't want to dine there.
The people had donated their bodies (after death) to be used by craftspeople and artists to be immortalized in this city of bard colleges. It was gruesome, but not necessarily evil. (Inspired by a gruesome exhibit I saw in real life.)
 

loverdrive

Makin' cool stuff
Publisher
She is the most beautiful woman you've ever seen. You want to hold her close, to feel the touch of her silky skin. You want to marry her, be one with her, and be happy, to never again experience dangers and worries of adventuring.

You feel like you're drowning in her deep blue eyes, each fourteen of them. You kiss her, you feel each of her razor-sharp shining tongues in your mouth, to feel your warm delicious all-so-human blood drip down your chin, feel your loving heart tenderly pulled out of your chest as a testament of eternal unity.

Passion and anticipation is throbbing in your mind, you're about to enter her most private parts, her temple of love, and you almost feel the holiest of fluids slowly dissolving your flesh, your bones, your soul.
 
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Bohandas

Adventurer
I briefly drew a webcomic set in D&D's Abyss, it featured several things that would have been messed up if they weren't so cartoony (the spoiler below is due to the size of the images, not their graphicness), for example, the protagonist reads a magazine called "Hot Bodies" which features depictions of people being burned to death

Hot-Bodies-Sized.png

Hot-Bodies-Cover.png

EDIT:
There was also an unneeded discursion about the fact that those spiked tentacles are ovipositers, their desire to lay eggs in various characters' bodies, and the messed up circumstances of how those eggs came to be fertilized


EDIT:
Also, and admittedly this one's about a non-RPG game, but I've actually had custom cards printed up for Cards Against Humanity that are more outrageous and offensive than the official cards
 
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Voadam

Legend
Sometimes it is the little things.

The PCs were in a crypt getting some supplies hidden there long ago by a death angel sect. There was a little ragged hole in a wall. I described some chittering, and a couple went up to the hole to listen better. I then said a long thing with lots of legs and clacking mandible pincers shoots out, I wiggled my fingers and shot my arm out across the table in a weaving sinuous line. Seeing some of the players shudder and recoil was particularly satisfying as others were shouting out "Kill it! Kill it!"

Best giant centipede I've used.
 

In my 3.5 pirate campaign, the sea of the dead spilled onto part of an island when a tribe of witches tried to open a gateway to the realm of the dead. Part of the island came alive; a ghastly mount of flesh, which then separated and became the infamous living Island of Damnaur.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
I actually never got a chance to put him in, but I really wanted to put in the monster known as "the Man at the Bar," from The Book of Unremitting Horror (affiliate link) into one of my games.

In short, the MatB is a sort of native-outsider, an earthbound-demon, who preys on souls of the lonely and the desperate. But rather than devouring them in some back alley or killing them in their sleep, he frequents dive bars and zeroes in on people drinking alone. Pretending to be a kindred spirit in a "life's got me down, too" way, he plies them with alcohol, using magic to keep them depressed even as he puts a hand on their back, which is when he starts draining their soul a bit at a time (i.e. hitting them with negative levels), until their head hits the bar, looking to everyone else like they're dead-drunk, when in fact they're just dead.

Unfortunately, I couldn't ever figure out how to make it work; the best option always seemed like a murder-mystery, but I never had the chance to pull it off where it would have a more X-Files-like theme, rather than the usual "here's another monster to kill." :(
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
So, what do you have? I'm excited to hear!

An entire planet covered in a thick layer of goo. The goo was an infectious biomass that had the tendency of splicing DNA between creatures so people infected, before being reduced to goo, would sprout and transform bit of various other creatures. So, like, a human would develop pincers from the microscopic mites on their skin, but giant sized, and so on.

And, of course, the transformed monsters on the surface had claws strong enough to pierce most biohazard suits. And while you are walking around, you only have a limited amount of air...

And, also on this planet, was a Geigeresque temple. Under the temple was a giant vault filled with fat-eating vampires, the only creatures immune to the goo...
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I've described some horrid abominations, but sometimes it's the everyday, taken up a notch, that gets to you. The party was in the rough equivalent of the Underdark, and the cave they were following brings the out pretty high up in the wall of a cavern. Earlier they had been dealing with mutliple sets of purple-decayed creatures working together in eirie silent coordination like some sort of hive mind.

The have a ledge up here they can observe from and can make out giant albino-white worms or snakes down there among the giant fungi forest, as well as the underground river they were looking for and needed to follow downwards. The party works out they will build canoes from the stalks of some of the fungi, but need to beware of the white worms they might be hostile.

They have their plan, start down, and one throws a torch down not near where them to see if it will distract the worms.

At which point I describe as the almost-solid carpet of purple cockroaches spread in perfect coordination away from the flame, how they are a a living mass that covers everything to a depth of several inches - except the worms.

The worms were not hostile and in fact the only safe place to be. Tense issue with makign a fire barrier to hastily hollow out canoes with the purple hivemind swarms tried to engulf them.

One player told me next session he had nightmares. I dialed back on real bugs after that.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Oh, in a humorous vein, in a tundra the party came across a herd of dire sheep. The ranger made friends with the dire rams and it didn't look like there would be combat. Everyone was relaxing when I turned to the nearest player and quite loudly bleated like a sheep "BAAA!"

The player jumped up in their chair. We all had a good laugh.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
An entire planet covered in a thick layer of goo. The goo was an infectious biomass that had the tendency of splicing DNA between creatures so people infected, before being reduced to goo, would sprout and transform bit of various other creatures. So, like, a human would develop pincers from the microscopic mites on their skin, but giant sized, and so on.

And, of course, the transformed monsters on the surface had claws strong enough to pierce most biohazard suits. And while you are walking around, you only have a limited amount of air...

And, also on this planet, was a Geigeresque temple. Under the temple was a giant vault filled with fat-eating vampires, the only creatures immune to the goo...
Pishtaco? Pishtaco - Wikipedia
 

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