The House of Horror

There are places where the Membrane between our reality and the Outer Dark frays, where things slip between worlds too easily. Some call these liminal spaces the Outskirts; the Ordo Veritatis, in its clinical way, refers to them as LMSLs (Low Membrane Strength Locations). Such places are often found on the edge of towns, in old industrial areas – run-down factories, empty warehouses, concrete wastelands flooded with stagnant water. The Membrane trails back and forth across these Outskirts – by daylight, maybe, they’re in our reality, and at night, they cross to the other side. And sometimes, things get left behind, like crabs stranded by the retreating tide.

One such place is the old warehouse on Paper Street. It’s been derelict for decades, but this year, it’s got a new lease of life as the House of Horrors, a Halloween-themed spooky amusement crewed by costumed actors and gory props. As the Membrane slips back and forth, both actors and customers of the House of Horrors risk being touched or even dragged into the Outer Dark. By day, the warehouse is a perfectly mundane building – all the hallow’een decorations and props look a little tacky and pathetic in daylight, and the building’s architecture is perfectly Euclidian and sane. By night, the hordes of gleefully shrieking customers and billowing clouds of dry ice hide the Creatures of Unremitting Horror and impossible nightmare intrusions of the alien realms beyond…

Possible denizens of the House of Horrors include Ovvashi, Torture Dogs, Skinners (Fear Itself), Organ Grinders, Snuff Golems, Blood Corpses or Bleeders, as well as the entities below…

The Soft-Handed Girl

This Creature of Unremitting Horror mixes with the crowds rushing through the horrific amusements of the House of Horrors. She manifests as a pale and nervous human girl, huddled in an oversized raincoat, her features mostly hidden by a scarf. She pretends to be nervous and scared, and tries to grab the hand of another customer when startled. Her hands are soft and unpleasantly sticky, and she won’t let go.

If she maintains contact for long enough, she secretes a slime that coats the victim’s hand. Over the next day or so, this slime infection continues to grow and grow, creeping up the victim’s arm, over their body, until they’re completely coated in a thin layer of the Soft-Handed flesh. This coating seeps into the victim’s muscles, allowing the Soft-Handed Girl to puppeteer the victim at a distance. She usually prefers to wait until the victim’s asleep before steering them like a somnambulist back to the House of Horrors, then guiding them into a corner where a more dangerous Creature can devour them…

Abilities: Aberrance 6, Athletics 4, Health 8, Scuffling 6

Hit Threshold: 3

Armour: Soft but resilient flesh – 2 points

Awareness Modifier: +0

Stealth Modifier: +1

Damage Modifier: -2

Grab Your Hand: The target of this attack must make a Sense Trouble test (Difficulty 5) to dodge when the Soft-Handed Girl reaches out to grab their hand, as if looking for reassurance. If the test is failed, the Soft-Handed Girl grabs the victim’s hand and holds on. If she holds on for at least one full combat round, she may use her Slimy Touch ability.

Slimy Touch: By spending 1 Aberrance, the Soft-Handed Girl may secrete her slime over the hand of a victim. It may be possible to find a way to dissolve it with a Science or Medicine spend if the infection’s caught in time. Otherwise, within twenty-four hours, the slime covers the victim’s entire skin.

Muscle Twitch: The Soft-Handed Girl may cause any of slime-covered victim’s muscles to spasm; it feels like having your skin caressed by soft, clammy hands. If the victim’s asleep, the Soft-Handed Girl may force them to sleepwalk; if they’re awake, then spending 1 Aberrance can make the victim roll a 1 on any Athletics, Driving, Fleeing, Filch, Mechanics, Scuffling or Shooting test.

Mr. Shrieks

Mr. Shrieks isn’t a Creature of Unremitting Horror – at least, not yet. His real name is Graeme Billes, and he’s one of the actors working at the House of Horror. His character at the scare house is Mr. Shrieks, your classic clown-with-a-chainsaw slasher villain. However, the strange energies seething around the warehouse have corrupted him. By day, he’s perfectly human – but after the House of Horrors closes down for the night, Mr. Shrieks comes out to play. He has the power to teleport to the location of any scream he knows – so, if you’ve yelled or shrieked in his presence, then he can pop up again right behind you if you scream again….and this time, he’s brought his chain saw.

Abilities: Aberrance 8, Athletics 12, Health 12, Scuffling 12

Hit Threshold: 4

Armour: +1

Awareness Modifier: +0

Stealth Modifier: +1

Damage Modifier: +2 (Chainsaw)

Scream for Me: Anyone who fails a Stability test in Mr. Shriek’s presence must scream.

Slasher Movement: If Mr. Shriek has heard a character scream before, then he hears their screams no matter how far away he is, and may teleport to that character’s location if they scream again. This costs him 1 Aberrance. He may make a free attack on the victim. He may spend another point of Aberrance to vanish again when unobserved.

Fear Itself is a game of contemporary horror that plunges ordinary people into a disturbing world of madness and violence. Use it to run one-shot sessions in which few (if any) of the protagonists survive, or an ongoing campaign in which the player characters gradually discover more about the terrifying supernatural reality which hides in the shadows of the ordinary world. Will they learn how to combat the creatures of the Outer Black? Or spiral tragically into insanity and death? Purchase Fear Itself in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

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