Don’t think of it as a window.
Call it a frame of reference. A portal.
We are not you.
The Window People are seen only tangentially. You’ve seen them from a moving train, glimpsed them while driving, out of the corner of your eye. Strange almost-people, ungainly and spindly, doing strange things, staring back at you with dark eyes., Maybe you’ve seen them from a window – ever looked down from an upstairs window and seen a stranger in your garden or on the street outside, but when you go to the front door, there’s no-one there. That’s because Window People only exist in that liminal space. They only exist in places you can see but can’t get to. Every window looks out onto a slightly different reality, and they live in the gaps.
Window People are drawn to loneliness, to isolation, and to need. If they scent a potential victim, the hunt begins. The Window Person starts showing up in different windows, closer windows. Its appearance begins to change, revealing itself to be something closer to the victim’s desire. If it can lure the victim through a window, into that inaccessible space – so, if the victim jumps from the moving train, or climbs out the sixth-storey window – it feeds.
An illustrative example: you broke up with your girlfriend. Actually, we’re all friends here, it’s a safe space – she dumped you. You were lonely, hollow, not feeling anything anymore, when you looked out the window of the bus and glimpsed a Window Person. It was down there on the sidewalk, this stalking awkward thing, like a giant bird made out of tattered bin bags.
Then, looking out a different window, you saw it again. This time, it looked slightly different, smaller, denser. A shape within it like a cocoon.
The next time you saw it, it had her face.
And then it started beckoning you.
Killing a Window Person is exceedingly difficult. However, their ability to travel is limited – if you can lure it to a place with only one window or window-like aperture, it’ll be stuck. Beware isolated sheds, and abandoned cars in the middle of nowhere.
General Abilities: Aberrance 6, Health 10, Scuffling 8
Hit Threshold: 4
Alertness Modifier: +0
Stealth Modifier: +3 (unless you know what to look for), +1 if you’ve seen it before or it’s emerged from the window.
Damage Modifier: +1
Window Jump: A Window Person can jump to a nearby window freely – say, a window looking out from the same building, or a window visible from its current dwelling. A longer jump costs it 1 Aberrance.
Intrude: A Window Person can emerge from its window, at the cost of 1 Aberrance per round. It normally only does this to attack those who interfere with its hunt.
Beckon: When a Window Person beckons, it puts its current Aberrance against the target’s Stability. If the Window Person wins, the target’s compelled to approach the window.
All That Remains
Photography: There’s something odd about the light in this room. It’s like one of the windows is at an angle to the rest?
Reassurance: “You don’t understand – it’s not that I’m all alone here. It’s that I’m not.”
Old-school occultists call them feral egregores; they’ve also been called King Mob, and many other names. They’re expressions of the collective will of a group. They appear only when the group’s gathered together and emotionally charged. A really wild party might conjure one, or an ecstatic crowd at a football match, or the audience at a gig. Equally, a big funeral might call one up, or a séance, or a shared trauma like a car crash.
Now, pubgeists mostly dissipate when the group departs. However, sometimes, a bit of the pubgeist survives by attaching itself to a member of the group. This fragment looks like a typical member of the group. Even their faces are oddly generic, like an average of everyone who was present.
This fragment fades quicky – unless it can revive itself by assembling the group again, or something close, something with the same energy. It uses its host as its instrument, forcing them to recreate or return to that gathering.
Some pubgeists are harmless enough – your friend hooks up with some guy she met at the concert, and suddenly she’s following the band across country, going to all their shows, chasing that same high. Funeral pubgeists, though, turn serial killer, murdering their way families or friend groups in the hopes of drawing the same mourners back together.
General Abilities: Aberrance 6, Health 14, Scuffling 10
Hit Threshold: 3
Alertness Modifier: +1
Stealth Modifier: +0
Damage Modifier: +2
Emotional Manipulation: By spending 1 Aberrance, the pubgeist can suppress the host’s judgement and common sense, compelling them to make bad decisions.
Mob Mentality: At the cost of 1 Aberrance, a pubgeist can compel a bystander to obey its commands. The bystander becomes part of the vanished mob; so, if the mob was the crowd at a sports game, the bystander suddenly starts singing and cheering while attacking the investigators.
All That Remains
Trivia: Hey, that band’s back in town! Again… third time this year.
Research: All the victims attended the same funeral.
Bullshit Detector: Bob’s new friend – it’s like he’s acting all the time. Like he’s faking being a person.
The Outskirts are places half-way between our reality and the Outer Dark. Neglected, unwanted places – derelict factories, abandoned shopping malls, waste ground, unfinished housing developments. These spots slip back and forth as the Membrane waxes and wanes.
Monsters lurk here. So do those unlucky people who got stranded when the tide turned.
And there are Outskirt Cats.
As Creatures of Unremitting Horror go, they’re relatively remitting. From a distance, they look like feral cats, or maybe raccoons. Matted fury, wild eyes, sharp teeth, odd little almost-human hands. They scavenge in packs, slipping out of the Outskirts to raid trashcans, or to sneak in through open windows to steal food from kitchens. A daring pack might even go for a baby in a crib, or attack an ill or feeble victim.
Outskirt Cats carry a parasite in their fur. If you’re in close proximity to one, you’re infected. The infection burns itself out in a few days, but during that feverish time, you can see the Hidden World (the Blessing of Perception, to use the Ocean Game term). You can see ghosts, see the monsters behind their masks, see the tattered Membrane splayed across the sky like flayed skin – and you can see the Outskirts as something different to other places. Maybe you’ll even guess that it’s a portal to somewhere else.
Like toxoplasmosis attracts mice to cat urine, the outskirt cat parasite attracts investigators to the Outskirts.
It won’t be the cats that kill you. They’re scavengers, not predators. They’ll take their share of the corpse after something else gets you.
General Abilities: Aberrance 2, Athletics 12, Health 4, Scuffling 6
Hit Threshold: 5
Alertness Modifier: +2
Stealth Modifier: +2
Damage Modifier: -1
All That Remains
History: That can’t be the McArthur building. It was torn down years ago… right?
Medicine: Those weird little marks might be some sort of flea bite.
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.