Saturday Seed ~ 151 (Menace from Beyond)

A new ubiquity game is in the last stages of development by Sechin Tower, one of the movers and shakers behind the scenes of Exile Games. Under his own company, Siege Tower Games, Tower will be releasing a 50’s Sci-Fi game next year with public play testing being guided via the game’s blog until then. This seed is a little idea to use once you have made your way through the play test scenarios.

My Saturday Seeds also reappear on Ancient Scroll on random Saturdays~

The seed

The seed builds on the general weirdness of small, isolated communities with secrets to hide and reasons to mistrust outsiders.

Planting the seed

The seed can be planted while the characters are on a road-trip.  Stopping for the night or supplies, the opportunity to stand against a menacing force presents itself.

The Details

Deep in a heavily forested valley, they come across an old main street still featuring raised wooden sidewalks, clapboard buildings, and false fronts from the 1880. Strung out along the road like charms on a bracelet, these small dwellings cower under the cloudless sky with heavily draped windows like eyes shut against the darkness, dimly outlined by quivering lights within.

The town has one gas station; a converted barn near the center stretch of Main Street. The sole visible occupant of the town is cleaning his aged gas pump and looking stoic. The reason will become obvious as soon as the characters stop their car and turn off the engine. Too quiet to be heard over the hum of even the best-tuned motor, but loud in the stillness of a country night, is a deep thrum somewhere in an ambiguous middle distance. Not in the woods, but not really anywhere else either, the sound drones on, vibrating at the edge of consciousness. Neither mechanical nor biological, the sound immediately sets the teeth on edge and causes tension.

Attempts to speak with townspeople except the forlorn gas jockey are met with stony silence as though the person is attempting to disbelieve what they see, or an outright refusal to engage (not opening the doors or windows, double bolts being thrown, lights being doused). Overcoming this resistance will require force, and will not be received well. A sudden shock such as a pail of cold water, or other non-violent, sudden, and overwhelming means of snapping a panicky individual out of their fugue will help, and may get them talking like the gas jockey.

The gas jockey is an older man whose days of glory have left him behind, but who still has a stubborn streak in him as hard as the stony hills in which he lives. He hasn’t yet given in to the panic which grips the town. He is not a chatty fellow, but once he has taken a moment to observe the characters, he will answer their questions to the best of his limited ability. His eyes will drift often to a bulletin board on the side of the well-maintained, but historic building which serves him as a home and place of business both. On the bulletin board is a list of names and dates and the heading: Taken. The progression is almost nightly, and stretches back for more than a year.

What’s going on

Something in night has a hunger which only the screams of the fearful can sate. It comes creeping under cover of darkness into town from… somewhere… and steals the minds and then bodies of its victims – leaving no traces.

The town priest , before he was taken, thought they had uncovered a demon or fallen angel trapped below the earth during the Fall of Lucifer, but the gas jockey thinks it is more likely that they released something that was in the mines… or worse… in the minds of the people of this town.

“We have too many secrets,” he says finally. “And now, I think they are coming for us.”


4 Responses to “Saturday Seed ~ 151 (Menace from Beyond)”
  1. Rob says:

    What ever happened to Menace From Beyond, it seems to have fallen off the veritable cliffhanger…

    • Runeslinger says:

      My understanding is that work on it had to be put on hold, and perhaps stopped, due to other commitments pertaining to the perils of real life.

      The author is fine, the project much less so.

      • Rob says:

        I am interested in the Ubiquity system – but am unsure which iteration would best suit my predilections. Typically I look for PC’s to be more ‘everyday’ people cast into difficult circumstances. I like to allow players a lot of room to make their own choices, which by small increments and missteps tend to pile up into a car wreck.

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