Friday, November 9, 2012

The Midnight Hour


The Midnight Hour is a stolen fragment of time: 60 illicit minutes secreted away in an antique pocket watch with a "man in the moon" hunter case. The captured hour is from eleven to midnight, hence the name.

The watch doesn't keep regular time. Instead, when the watch is wound, it uses up the stolen minutes. The user does so by winding the watch, closing it's lid, then re-opening it. Until the lid is closed again, the watch ticks down the captured hour. Though the hour proceeds normally for the possessor the world beyond is at a standstill, frozen in time. Frozen except for one thing: The sky turns to night for the duration of the watch's operation.

If the stories are to be believed, it pays to be cautious and only use a minute or two at the time. Weird things from the Astral Plane seep in between the moments as the Midnight Hour slips by.  They're drawn to the watch like moths to a flame. They have strange names: the Velveteen Horror, the Creeping Doomster, the Loneliness That Grins, Something Ugly, The Hole in the All, the Pain that Remembers, the Silence Between Sobs, She Loves Not--and others, found in obscure texts. No one has ever seen one and been able to describe it beyond vague, fear-informed impressions. Those owners of the watch they get a hold of are never seen again in living human form.

The other caution given regarding the Midnight Hour is that every minute used is an hour taken off the possessor's life. These are not just shaved from one's last days; they are sometimes pivotal moments, perhaps, taken from random points in a person's life. To use the watch is to gamble the time it grants against what might be lost.

19 comments:

Beedo said...

That is the good stuff right there, my friend!

What an awesome idea for a magic item or artifact. It's a walking weird tale, all on its own.

Love it!

Trey said...

Thanks, Beedo!

GrayPumpkin said...

This is a crazy good item idea, great story idea, like something out of one of the better Twilight Zones. Very, well done man.

Trey said...

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

seaofstarsrpg said...

Lovely. Now I want to run a character in the City who has two missing hours in his life when terrible things happened. Those missing hours will be from when he gets the Midnight Hour and uses it . . .

garrisonjames said...

wow. Nifty item. What catalog can we order one from? We were kicking around the idea of Missing Time as a sort of background trait for WaRPed Wermspittle...and now you show up with this Serling-esque bit of stolen time...you really do have an interocitor in your office, don't you?

Gus L said...

That's a powerful item to be sure. I really like the names of those extraplanar menaces.

Trey said...

@seaofstarsrpg - That's a great character idea!

@garrisonjim - Reading your blog, I think we've been on a similar weird wavelength for some time. :)

@Gus L - Thanks. Those are actually one of my favorite parts, too.

Bard said...

I always love a nice "equivalent exchange" type item. You get the gain, but it comes at a cost. Very cool.

Tim Shorts said...

Reminds me a bot of Ellison's Paladin of the Lost Hour. Which I love. I do like the gambling aspect of the watch. Like GrayPumpkin mentioned, it sounds like an excellent center piece for a Twilight Zone episode.

David said...

Agreed.

I'm totally jelly over your creative output.

Trey said...

Thanks guys!

@Tim - funnily enough, that story was made into a Twilight Zone episode.

The Happy Whisk said...

That is very cool and just the right amount of scary.

Chris Merritt said...

wow what is this blog ive stumbled upon? are these d&d ideas? ive never played but always been interested.

Trey said...

@Whisk - Thanks.

@Chris - Welcome. It is indeed rpg related.

Canageek said...

The only problem I see is that The Velveteen horror makes me think of an adorable, friendly, frayed rabbit, rather then something threatening.

Trey said...

I'm not sure that's a problem. You're meant to think of that--and then "horror." How you put those to together is between you and your brain. :)

Robert Parker said...

I completely agree with the Twilight Zone vibe. I immediately thought of the old Gold Key Twilight Zone comic, in particular a war story where one soldier slips from the time stream.

I imagine one of the risks of the Midnight Hour is the possibility of breaking the watch, leaving the PC wandering a weird shadow world outside of time, alone and eternal, begging for death.

Trey said...

I think that's an entirely possible outcome. It also calls into question the origin of the shadow creatures.