Monday, August 30, 2010

The Ten Cent Menace

A weird menace haunts the newsstands and magazine racks of the City. Behind some seemingly innocuous--if lurid--paper cover there lurks an alien entity with an appetite for human minds. This entity has no official name, but is sometimes called the “shudder pulp” after the odd “some walked across my grave” feeling people often describe upon first encountering it.  A warning, perhaps--which they generally ignore.

The entity appears as a pulp magazine of the most prurient variety. It changes the specifics of its title and cover image on each occasion, but invariably teases tales of violence, sadism, and the macabre. There are some reports of the entity appearing as comic books as well, but these have no been verified.

A purchaser will find the pulp largely indistinguishable from any mundane publication of the type. The stories will be as expected from the cover, though perhaps a little less logical and more nightmare-like that would be typical. A Wisdom roll upon first browsing its contents gives the victim a change to recognize the inherent wrongness of the publication and avoid further harm. A failed roll means the victim will read the entire volume, over a period of time. unless there is some intervention.

Every story read (there will be 2d6 in the volume) will require a saving throw (with a progressive -1 for every previous story read) or result in the loss of 1d4 points of Wisdom. When a victim's wisdom drops to 0 they disappear from prime material plane, and no where knows where they are taken.

In addition, even having the item in one’s possession requires a saving throw every 1d6 days or else the possessor acts as if under a Suggestion spell and performs increasingly depraved acts (though starting at the relatively mundane) bearing some similarities to those depicted in the stories in the volume.

The entity may be destroyed by any of the usual means used to destroy a mundane magazine (HD 1-1). Destroying its physical manifestation breaks its spell, and limits further effects. However, it will likely re-coalesce elsewhere in a slightly different form in 1d10 days.

6 comments:

Al said...

Great idea! Puts me in mind of the recent toro y moi vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVYpHboJXcA

Rev. Lazaro said...

Creepy idea, and a great spin on the "That which should not be read" take on things! Hate to say it, I'd probably be a victim.

Risus Monkey said...

Awesome. Yet another aspect of The City that I hope to roll into my own campaigns. :)

ancientvaults said...

Another great idea.
Sheesh, all I did was a post based off of one of the Banana Splits. :/

Trey said...

Thanks guys!

@Al - That is a vaugely disturbing video. all the more so for its incongruous music.

@Rev. - How could you not fall for it? Look at those covers! ;)

@Vaults - I don't know what you're poormouthing the Snorgle for. That was awesome.

NetherWerks said...

...and they say that bad writing never killed anyone...this is sheer lunatic genius. Books that Kill...