Strangefinder Modern: Weirdnesses

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.


It’s common for Strangefinders, who are experts in finding, analyzing, and overcoming Alterniversal frequency manifestations, to assume everything unexplained by the normal laws of their home Alterniverse is a result of Strange manifestations. In short, they assume the phenomenon of  Alterniversal overlap is the source of everything unusual and odd.

But it’s not.

Some things are inexplicable, even to experts in the rules of Strange events.

These thing are often referred to as “weird.”

Weirdnesses don’t follow any of the rules for Strange events, and experienced Strangefinders can identify the differences. Only those who refuse to see the signs (or lack thereof) that a weirdness has nothing to do with Alterniversal overlap try to push Strange solutions onto Weird problems.

It’s important to remember that it’s a more-than-Strange -world. Yes, 80-90% of the things a Strangefinder encounters will follow the (very loose) rules of Alterniversal manifestations. But… the rest is unexplainable, and doesn’t even seem to be connected to each other.

Common Weirdnesses Include:

People who, when they sleep, cause everyone asleep around them to dream of elephants.

Forests in which young filmmakers inevitably disappear, but their footage is found.

Cars which get into a lot of wrecks which kill the driver, but leave the car good enough to repair and resell…

Swedish Fish that, when consumed, causes the eater to gain physical health but also work to spread the sale and acceptance of Swedish Fish.

Mists which cause mass hallucinations of vengeful dead, horrific monsters, and phantom musicians.

People who extend their lifespan and health though organ cannibalism.

Children with imaginary friends that can actually affect the material world.


Strangefinder Modern: The Legends of Peng-Kun

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Legends of Peng-Kun

Many Alterniverses with frequencies close to our own reality have had creatures and travelers cross over so often, they become an influence on the myths and legends of our reality. These are often twisted or misunderstood, but useful tidbits (lycanthropes vulnerability to silver, vampires picking up matches, grizzlysnakes seeking warm basements in early winter) can be gleened from them.

Then, there is Peng-Kun.

No record anywhere, from the Marlowe House to the 11th Hour Society to the Zheng He Society, exists of a manifestation from Peng-Kun. Strangesages generally identify it as Alterniverse PK and have a broad theoretical (though generally agreed upon) list of signs that would suggest a manifestation originated from there, and none have ever considered a case to have any evidence of Peng-Kun origin.

But the Legends of Peng-Kun are everywhere.

It is described in stories as a land with an indigo sun and crimson moon. In addition of many city states ruled by monarchs with descriptive titles (Queen of Graves, Twin barons of Sorrow, the Silent Emperor, the Nevertime Prince, Dutchess of 1,000 Foes), it often mentioned the dreadful and necromantic Wasps of Peng-Kun, sly and deceptive moon cats, and horrific bipedal monsters known as Ktak who once rules a Multi-Alterniversal Empire, before being brought down in a war with serpentfolk.

Most legends are short, focus on a single region or city-state, and involve a moral or twist. They are generally not in particular extraordinary. However, when a Strangefinder encounters a new Legend of Peng-Kun, one never before read or mentioned, it almost always presages finding a Sanatorium Script. Some Strangefinders even survive the experience.

Strangefinder Modern: The Andromeda Strange

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

The Andromeda Strange.

Sometimes, the manifestation of aligned Alterniversal frequencies is a disease. This kind of incursion varies from barely noticeable (if it only spreads to a single person and makes them allergic to cheese) to world-threatening epidemic (if it’s airborne and turns people into were-koalas).

The trickiest part of disease manifestations is that the Alterniversal bacteria or virus may remain present long after all symptomatic victims are accounted for. This can make it very difficult to end the manifestation. Additionally, many such diseases are immune to all normal treatment, though for some reason they all respond to SOMETHING as a curative.

Known Alterniversal diseases include:

Rolling Dementia: Airborne. Victims become convinced shadows are living creatures eating their souls. Can be treated with chocolate.

N-Spice: Transmission through bodily fluids. Victims gain intelligence, lose all hair, crave hot sauce, and all share a common goal to destroy existing civilization and replace it with something better. Can be treated with rogaine.

Rage Lice: Technically a parasite, passed by even casual contact. Victims become irritable, then violent, then rage monsters. Can be treated with loud music *except* You Might Think (by the Cars), which instead strengthens infestations.

Static Flu: Transmitted by being too close to an infected while microwaves or cell phone waves pass through both. Causes those infected to cause minor interference with electronics, including bad reception and going through batteries at a massively accelerated pace. If more than 10% of a population becomes infected, it also summons radio-wraiths that work to spread the infection farther. Can be treated by isolation for a week or more in an area free of microwaves, cell phones, and any form of broadcast.

Pocket Mania: Transmitted by seeing an object a infected creature saw. Infection rate for any single glance is very low, but constant exposure does spread the disease fairly quickly. Causes those infected to seek out a useless commercial product, acquire as much of it as possible, and constantly promote it to others as cheerfully as possible. Can be treated by slapping in the face with a whole dead fish. Cod and haddock are the least effective, while tuna works well (but sometimes leads to bruising).

Deafumbness: Transmitted by listening to an infected person talk about something stupid. Causes those infected to believe the first 5 stupid things they hear, and then promote and support those beliefs, ignoring or mentally discrediting all evidence that counters their stupid beliefs. No treatment is yet known, though further research may be available at the Marlowe House.

Side Effects May Include: Possession, undeath, tingling…

So, I am fihgitng an infection (the Spiteful Infection), and my doctor has me on 3,000 mg of antibiotics twice a day.

The actual possible side effects of the Rx I just took are: Hives; rash; itching; red swollen blistered or peeling skin; fever; wheezing; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; swelling of the mouth face lips tongue or throat; loose or bloody stool; a heartbeat that does not feel normal; change in thinking clearly and with logic; weakness; dizziness; numbness or tingling; unable to pass urine; muscle or joint pain; purple patches on the skin; dark urine; feeling tire; lack of appetite; nausea; severe dizziness; yellow skin or eyes; slow or shallow breathing; feeling confused; hearing loss; mood changes; sore throat; change in eyesight; severe headaches.

Note that there is a SEPARATE list for rare or severe side-effects.

“Okay, so you took the pilled, you turned yellow with purple spots, and went hoarse.”
::Hoarsely:: “Yes, doctor.”
“Was it an UNUSUAL hoarseness?”

 “Either I am getting better, with a few side effects, or it is the End Times. Which is more likely to involve tingling?”

Strangefinder Modern: Attuned Manifestations

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Attuned Manifestations

Sometimes the manifestation of Alterniversal overlap only exist for a subset of creatures or situations. In essence, the Alterniversal frequency is only close enough to the new Alterniverse to manifest partially, and impact those places, times, or creatures that match some specific attune parameter.

Temporal attunement is the most common. A manifestation may only appear at night, or only one day of the year, or only from 11:11pm to 1:01am. At all other times, it simply does not exist and cannot impact the world around it, or be affected by any outside force. Most temporally attuned Alterniversal manifestations do not experience the passage of time when unattained (hopping from the end of one period of existence to the beginning of their next period of existence with at most a second of blur), but in rare cases such creatures exist in a “limbo” when unattained, able to heal and pass time and think, but unable to see of be seen by the world they manifest upon.

Spacial attunement is the second most common. These manifestations can only appear in a geographic area with some tie to their Alterniversal frequency. For example, a manifestation might only appear within a specific cave system, or only in one building, or only in the legal borders of a specific town or state. Some have geographic limiters, like the inability to cross water or a total lack of existence on holy ground. These creatures dissipate if forced into an area unattained to them, but reform (generally within 24 hours) at the point within their attuned area that is furtherest from the point of discorporation.

Situational attunement is essentially a combination of temporal and geographic attunements. Some manifestations only exist when a specific thing is true, such as only while bells toll in the church tower (and only as far away as they can be heard), or only during a solar eclipse (and only where the eclipse is visible).

Creature attunements are the most dangerous form of Alterniversal overlap manifestation, and among the hardest to identify. For these incursions, the manifestation only exists for a specific subset of creatures (almost always including people, though at least one goat-only manifestation is known to have occurred). Most often, this is a manifestation that only impacts people in a broad category, such as only members of a specific faith, or only people descended from a specific group, or only people who are drunk, or high, or who haven’t had sex, or have had sex with a person who has already been impacted by the manifestation, or who can recite the lyrics from Bohemia Rhapsody. The more specific the parameter, the rarer that form of manifestation.

A particularly common creature attuned manifestation is one of age. While it’s rare for middle-age folks to be the only ones who are impacted by a manifestation, it is common for some Alterniversal overlap to only impact pre-pubescents, or those going through puberty, or those well past middle age. Of course these groups are often not bee lived by the mainstream population when they explain things are living under their beds, or their pills turn into buys that steal their possessions, or that a think is stalking them after school. And even if they were believed, since these manifestations DO NOT EXIST for any other group, it’s up to the affected population to deal with the issue themselves.

Strangefinders who first experience Alterniversal manifestations at a young age sometimes make efforts to seek groups suffering from a creature attuned manifestation as part of their normal work. The Sisters Sternn are particularly famed for their ability to identify a manifestation attuned to only a specific group (most often adolescents), and to aid and train those affected in ways to fight back and, in time, overcome their hardship.

The Sisters Sternn can usually be reached through the Marlowe House.

Strangefinder: Marlowe House

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Marlowe House

Strangefinders have existed for centuries, possibly since the advent of thought (as though leads to sub-quantum harmonics which can lead to Alterniversal incursions). Or they may predate thought, taking forms that don’t require sentience or sapience. Really, how would we know?

What we DO know is that many old legends are echoes of both Strangefinder activities, and faded memories of Alterniversal incursions which may have brought along their own legends and myths. Perhaps King Arthur WAS real, but was a great kind from another Alterniverse (we can call it Avalon), and thus his passing lead to all hard evidence of his existence fading.

However, some Strangefinder activities DO leave evidence behind, at least for those who know how to look for it. One such tangible element is Marlowe House, a gathering place for Strangefinders, and sometimes a training ground, library, armory, bazaar, and refuge.

Marlowe House dates back to the 1580s, when the noted Freemason, cabalist, writer, and Strangefinder Christopher Marlowe discovered great and terrible Alterniversal incursions overlapping vast sections of England. More a poet than a warrior, Marlowe had the keen intellect and broad imagination needed to recognize and an analyze manifestations of incursions. He then had others defeat any active threat, and worked to design plays and poems to act as counter-harmonic rituals. When such matters were insufficient, he designed strong measures (such as having the calendar changed).

While Marlowe and his agents were not great warriors, Marlowe DID have an amazing knack for discovering the weakness of incursion manifestations, and designing counter-harmonics to ensure they remained contained. In time other Strangefinders, such as Ivan Fyodorov, Oyamada Nobushige (after his supposed death at the hands of his Oda clan allies), Thomas Heriot, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and even occasionally Sir Francis Drake and John Dee, began to turn to Marlowe for his expertise in researching and analyzing incursions. Where helpful, Marlowe often put such groups in touch with one another.

Sadly, the rash of manifestations he fought off was a plot under the control of a powerful Strangemaster, who eventually managed to have Marlowe killed.

It turned out, this was an event Marlowe had foreseen.

The main work of producing dramaturgical works to hold Strange incursions at bay was adopted by new playwrights, beginning immediately after Marlowe’s death. The work of bringing Strangefinders together also continued, in the form of Marlowe House.

Marlowe House is a place, but not a single place. It is a theoretical place, a Strange incursion in its own right that Marlowe tamed rather than defeated. It is one part vast library, one part dark alleys, and one part cozy kitchen. In the earliest days, Marlowe House could most easily be reached through the back corners of playhouses. Those who had great need, and knew of the Strange or carried something touched by it, could duck beneath a backdrop, squeeze between two props, or dash into a black corner, and find themselves in the Marlowe House’s sitting-room/armory.

There, one of more Keepers (often a family) would see to immediate needs (Strangefinders entering the House for the first time and by accident were often bleeding, poisoned, or slowly turning into mushrooms), and inquire about longer-term plans. Marlowe House is not a charity–the Keepers will grant each entrant one unpaid boon. After that they are happy to hear about what a Strangefinder is working on, and put them in touch with other Strangefinders who might help. More substantial aid, such as using the Restricted Library, or buying some magic, psychic, or weirdtech item, must be met with ideas or objects of similar value.

Many Strangefinders drop off largely harmless materials from incursions at the Marlowe house, to be kept safe and possibly studied. This includes plays, books, and even movies from other Alterniverses. The 1200s catalog of the Great Library of Alexandria. The original Kubla Khan. Mag’s Diversion. Collections of Edgar Allen Poe’s work from his 50s and 60s.

Those visitors who come to be trusted friends to Marlowe House can also beg sanctuary for 24 hours once each lunar month. Of course, trusted friends often drop by just to meet with colleagues, update the keepers on ongoing investigations, and possibly enjoy the David Lynch version of The Empire Strikes Back.

While sections of Marlowe house are still styled after the 1500s, it’s changed and updated over the centuries. It has been accessed through public houses, speakeasies, head shops, abandoned libraries, and video rental stores. Anytime a new generation of Strangefinders change where they seek Strange lore, and society alters where is expects to find weirdos, Marlowe House becomes accessible through new means. And each time, it’s interior takes on some small part of the character of those entrances.

Currently the Marlowe House has a strong focus on video rental stores, tabletop roleplaying games, and knitting. It’s Keepers are kind and friendly folk, but fierce in the defense of their friends and allies. They delight in having known visitors drop by, and bemoan they don’t get to see enough of their friends as often as they’d like.

Marlowe House is a nexus for Strangefinders, and a GM can use it to advance a stuck plot whenever she wishes.

Strangefinder Modern: Strange Objects

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Strange Objects

Strange Objects are, well, strange. They do things that don’t make any logical sense. It is known they are not the result of a resolved Alterniversal Incursion, since all evidence of such incursions fades. They also aren’t “magic items” both because they don’t detect as magic, and they function even when no Strangefinder with mystic attunement is present.

The two most popular theories are that they all Strange Objects are the result of a single ongoing Alterniversal Overlap (and many Strangefinders spend their lives trying to find the source of that overlap and end it), or they are “glitches” in our home Alterniverse — examples of things native to our reality but mis-attuned at a sub-quantum level.

Whatever they are, they can be useful. And dangerous. Entire societies exist to seek them out and either sequester them or use them to change the world.

There are known to be at least 157 of them, Here are 20.

01. Weathered copy of a leather-bound book titled “A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.” It has hardness 20, 20 hp, and can be used as a light simple melee weapon dealing 1d4 nonlethal damage. You can’t add your Strength or Dexterity modifiers to damage dealt, but do add you ranks in Linguistics.

02. Corkscrew. When screwed into people (normally a full round action that requires they be restrained and which deals 1-2 hp) it forces them to reveal their name, even if they don’t know it themselves.

03. Mechanical 1 hour kitchen timer in the shape of a plastic cook with a big head (which is twisted to set the timer). If set for 1 hour and allowed to run normally, when it goes off it casts a random summon swarm, which you have no control over.

04. Single old sweat sock, with bluish stain near top. Does not conduct heat, thus can be used as perfect oven mitt.

05. Small flashlight with image of a Speedo-clad male diver enameled on the side. If used to illuminate a digital storage medium (thumb drive, DVD, floppy disk), the raw code on the device slowly scrolls by in the shadow created by the flashlight.

06. Wire-frame glasses. If kept tucked in a pocket, halves falling damage for possessor.

07. Stained paper map of Terre Haute, Indiana, from 1913. If mis-folded and then opened, it creates a gust of wind (as the spell). The map itself is always torn free by the gust, and normally takes (4d4 – 1d4) x 10 minutes to find.

08. Ball point pen with green ink. Rapidly clicking the pen gives a +5 bonus to Perception checks, but only against people using Stealth.

09. Small box of safety matches. If thrown at someone within 15 feet they must make a Will save (DC equal to the touch attack roll to hit them) or spend 1 round picking up the matches.

10. String of Christmas Lights which, when strung up over a series of letters, can be used as a diving device. It may act as augury, divination, or commune, as randomly determined by the GM. Whoever uses it will then have an encounter within 1 week of a high enough CR that average treasure for that encounter would pay for a scroll of the divination spell gained. The lights don’t work again until the creature using them has had this encounter, which doesn’t have any actual treasure associated with it.

11. Tortoiseshell make-up compact. Anyone who has the powder from the compact blown on them is slowed (as the spell) for 1 minute. Only one creature can be affected at a time.

12. Dried pea. If placed up your nose, it grants a +4 bonus to saving throws against poison, and a successful save always ends the poison. Someone who knows you have it up there can get you to shoot it out with a successful dirty trick maneuver (replacing the normal options for dirty trick).

13. Cork table coaster. Anything placed on it doesn’t experience any passage of time as long nothing else is touching it but air. This DOES keep drinks cold (or hot) much longer, but it also prevents fruit from spoiling, grenades from exploding, radioactive isotopes from decaying, and so on.

14. Electronic car key that, when pointed at an animal and the “open” button on it is pushed, causes the animal to talk randomly in French for 1 round. There is a 10% chance it says something useful and relevant to the key holder.

15. Worn leather coin purse. As long as nothing but coins are stuffed into it there does not seem to be a limit how many fit in, but they can only be added or removed at a rate of 4 per round.

16. Laminated complex wiring diagram for an unidentified vehicle. If placed on a stationary, prone creature the wiring diagram changes to represent the organs (and injuries) or that creature, granting a +5 bonus to Heal checks with that creature.

17. Old-style iron key. Fits in any lock. Can’t unlock a lock, but can lock it. If it was already locked, the next person to touch it takes 1 point of electricity damage.

18. Glossy black lipstick. Never runs out. The first time each day someone wearing the lipstick is damaged by an attacker the wearer has not ever damaged, the wearer may kiss a weapon. That weapon is bane against that attacker until it successfully hits and damages the attacker.

19. A die with 20 sides, numbered 7-26. Anyone with this on their person is lucky (gain one reroll each day, rerolling after you see the result of a reroll and taking the better of the two results) except in games of chance (roll twice and take the worst result for all games of chance).

20. An air horn which can be heard (under normal conditions) for 10 miles. If blown directly in someone’s ear is heals them for 1d8+1 hp, and they are deafened for 1 hour per hp healed. If the deafness is removed early, the healing is also removed. It cannot heal someone temporarily deaf from this effect. The healing appears to be the revelation the wound wasn’t that bad to begin with — there’s never any actual sign of improved health.

Strangefinder Modern: Counter-Harmonic Rituals

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

Counter-Harmonic Rituals

So, Alterniverses bleed over or overlap from time to time. This most often happens because there is some sympathetic similarities to their frequencies. If a large portion of the population of Detroit believes that giant, chemically-altered alligators are living in the sewers, that belief, at the sub-quantum level, resonates with the nearby Alterniverse where (for whatever reason) there are giant chemically-altered alligators living in sewerlike conditions. If these two sub-quantum frequencies are close enough, the GCA-alligators bleed over and (at least temporarily) exit.

In some cases, rather than  resonance of similar frequencies, Alterniverse overlap is brought about by harmonies. Rather than two Alterniverses having a strong similarity, two or more nearby Alterniverses create a harmony that draws in an unrelated Alterniverse. There isn’t anything near Norman, Oklahoma that is any any way similar to the Pumpkin Stalker. Instead, it’s the combination of sub-quantum vibrations of old-west themed sports celebrations in Alterniverse N, the harmonic channeling of Route 666 and the Mother Road in Alterniverses O and D, and the molecular echoes of the Helium Baron Warfields of Alterniverse P that combine in October of most years to draw a horrific carnivorous, undead plant into various pumpkin patches around town (requiring the Menzi, also known as the Knights of McFarland, to hunt down and destroy them).

Luckily, this kind of recurring harmonic can be stopped. In the case of the Pumpkin Stalker, the LKOT (Loyal Knights of Old Trusty) fire a specific cannon (Old Trusty) once a year. As this noble order grew out of the Engineering Club, they fire it on Saint Patrick’s Day to honor the Patron Saint of Engineers. The sub-quantum shockwave of this even subtly alters the Alterniversal harmonics between Alternverses N, O, D, and P, and prevent the pumpkin stalker from being drawn in come October.

Creating a Counter-harmonic Ritual to prevent Recurring Strange Incursions is a multistep process. First, all Manifestations of the Incursion must be destroyed. It’s not good enough that the Pumpkin Stalker isn’t active when you realize a counter-harmonic ritual is needed. The last manifestation of the pumpkin stalker must be defeated, so that it’s evidence of existence is slowly washed away by the quantum forces of your native reality. Only them can a counter-harmonic  ritual be established to get between the already-established Alterniversal interactions.

From the time of the last manifestations defeat until a new manifestation appears is the window to establish a counter-harmonic. Designing this ritual requires a Knowledge (planes) check, AND a Knowledge check of one other Knowledge skill related to the manifestation. In the case of the pumpkin stalker, Knowledge (nature) is also required. The DC for these checks is 20 + CR of most powerful manifestation created. This can be researched, using the research rules in Anachronistic Adventures. Counter-harmonics are about breaking things apart, and it is easier to accomplish with two minds than one. If a single person attempts to make this check, the second skill check has the DC increased by +10.

The discovery process nearly exposes what crucial events or thoughts, or feeling must occur, and when, to create the needed counter-harmonic. An actual way to do this must be then be designed and implemented. This requires a third skill check, which may be Knowledge (engineering), Diplomacy, or any appropriate craft or profession skill linked to what the GM reveals as the required ritual. However, it is extremely difficult for people who intimately understand the function of the counter-harmonic ritual to easily address how to make it happen without over-complicating it. Thus the DC is 15 if it is done by someone uninvolved in the discovery process, but DC 30 for anyone who made either of the discovery skill checks, or researched those checks.

When a GM announced what ritual is designed to fulfill the conditions discovered to serve as a Alterniversal counter-harmonic, he should feel free to be creative. A random table of dates (for time and frequency) and professions (to determine what it entails) may be useful. In addition to firing Old Trusty, example counter-harmonic rituals include wassailing the apple tree, Royal Shrovetide Football match, Bottle Kicking and Hare Pie Scrambling, cheese rolling, mayor weighing, chili cooking, mummer’s dances, and Burning Man.

The GM need not have these make sense, or be in any way related to the manifestation. Indeed, best not.

Of course even when a group of Strangefinders uncover a way to disrupt a harmonic Alterniveral overlap, it can be difficult to establish a way to have the ritual performed as needed (somewhere between weekly and every ten years, as determined by the GM). “Tradition” is often the best explanation that can be offered, especially since all evidence of the supernormal nature of the original incursions manifestation eventually fades.

Of course, even traditions sometimes get abandoned. Indeed, if no ritual is successful discovered, some Strangefinders use Knowledge (history) and/or research to see if the annual Painting of the Sheriff or Ice Swimming Day was cancelled in the years before an incursion’s manifestation appeared, in the hopes that the origin of such strange traditions was more carefully considered than a town remembers.

Overheard at Gen Con 2010

I can’t do an overheard at Gen Con this year, because I didn’t go.
So, reruns!

Here’s my list of things overheard at Gen Con 2010!

Overheard At Gen Con

One of the amazing things about Gen Con is being completely and constantly surrounded by gaming culture. Restaurants offer you meals with Apocalypse Ale or Black Pudding for dessert. Random people in the elevator opine on the likely ENnie winners. And everywhere you go, people are talking games and geek culture. Every year, I hear snippets of conversations I wouldn’t hear anywhere else, and I do my best to write them down. It often takes a few minutes to get pen to paper, so these may be more paraphrased than quoted, but the gist is intact. (I’d say the intent is clear, but ofttimes I have no idea what the intent was!)

These were al jotted down on my Guest of Honor schedule. In no particular order, Things Overheard at Gen Con.

“My waitress just gave me the bird.”

“It was the most heroic death I’ve ever been cheated out of.”

“If you can’t get rich with a time machine and Orac, you just aren’t trying.”

“Yes, I’m a girl. Yes, I know how to play. No, you can’t touch them.”

Voice 1. “Can my paladin be weary of all humanity, and believe the gods are cruel assholes perpetuating a lame joke?”
Voice 2. “Man, just get the divorce already.”

“You boys need to be taking that plastic weapon stuff to your mother. If you need dice or minis I’ll buy you some, but I ain’t got no money for larping crap.”

“The wish has now been vetted by twenty people, and is more than twelve pages long.”

Voice 1. “The problem is, none of the campaign’s female NPCs are believable.”
Voice 2. “Wait, isn’t your GM a woman?”
Voice 1. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Next year, we need to try the Sailor Shoes on before we hit the costume contest.”

“The DM said we could use any sources, so I went all Mongoose on his game.”

“It’s a lot like playing at home, but with less bugs and poop.”

“If I can’t cheat, I don’t play.”

“If that next card is what I think it is, I will eat your face. With ketchup.”

Voice 1. “Is it savagaed?”
Voice 2. “Very savagaed.”
Voice 1. “The most savage?”
Voice 2. “Well… it’s pretty dang savage.”
Voice 3. “What the hell are you two talking about?!”

“Oh my god, your napkin is yellow. Ours are all white. You’ve been marked for death!”

“Satanism must not be as profitable as it was in the 90s.”

“If I put it in my cleavage, do you think he’ll sign my dice?”

“What’s the over/under on being eaten by rats?”

“If your gnome isn’t a spellcaster, you’re doing it wrong.”

“The GM didn’t cry until the second hour. With us, that’s a record!”

Strangefinder Modern: John Frum Catalog

Strangefinder Modern are modern ideas for a strange urban fantasy world that could be played using the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Anachronistic Adventures.

John Frum Catalog

The Cargo Cults of Melanesia were brought about by culture shock of modern manufacturing and the ability of military groups to apparently summon cargo from the sky. But they were also the result of strong Alterniverse overlap. A few major leaders actually had visions, and sometimes their major rituals–with mock runways and bamboo planes–successfully bridged the tiny frequency shift between their Alterniverse and one where cargo was still be dropped.

And then, there’s John Frum.

No single Alterniverse seems to have a John Frum, but cargo cults in multiple closely attuned Alterniverses all claim he once brought them cargo. John Frum might be a bit of static–a name or idea that doesn’t exist by itself but it perceived as a single thing when it’s truly an amalgam of different bits of Alterniversal overlap. For some cargo cults, he exists as a kind of patron saint of cargo.

For Strangefinders who know to look for the name, he’s a conduit to cargo.

Though it’s rare, a tiny percentage of physical catalogs list John Frum in their credits, or copyright, or on order forms. These otherwise ordinary brochures may offer department store goods, or a cheese of the month club, or (most often) overpriced items you can only order from a magazine found in airplane seat pockets. But if they mention John Frum, they’re nexi for Alterniversal bleed.

Order anything, anything whatsoever, that is normal and native mercantile goods to your own Alterniverse (no magic items, no living creatures except sea monkeys, no specific lore or anything you couldn’t buy in a major mall) from a John Frum catalog and mail it off, prepaid, in an envelope created from the catalog itself, and it arrives 1-4 hours later.

Don’t have a mailbox? Any form of permanently losing the catalog-turned order form will do. Burn it. Throw it off a cliff. Set it afloat in the ocean. And, 1-4 hours later, what you selected (and paid for) arrives.

No matter where you are.

Often from a company called ACME.

A John Frum catalog can be used only once, and has a value of 50 gp (General Product equivalent). They are sometimes found as treasure in the belongings of Strangemasters and Fell Visitors.


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