Sunday, November 21, 2021

Excerpts from the Lighthouse Field Guide, Part 4



City street. Daylight filtered through smoke. A woman in an oversized sweatshirt sits atop a throne of corpses underneath the shade of a yellow umbrella. Bright red butterflies sit sunning their wings. Indistinct shouts and chaotic sounds fill background. She is eating a charred shank of meat with a human foot attached. With mouth full, she looks to the viewer and says:

[Mandarin] "The principle act of power is to devour that which cannot defend itself from power."

At ten minutes: [Mandarin] "Are you enjoying this? I'm enjoying this."

At half an hour: [Mandarin] "It's not going to stop, you know."

The video does not have any apparent end point. She just keeps eating, occasionally speaking to the viewer, and the corpse pile grows higher. Longest view time is 10 hours 12 minutes.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

As always, there is no canon but what we make, and I am full of lies.


Stigmata of Usûn

The markings are burn-black and about the size of a thumb print. Irregularly shaped, with patches of glossy white tissue at the center. Appear most commonly on the wrists, chest, legs, neck and back, maintaining symetrical distribution. Form after close contact with certain entities (listed seperatedly) inhabiting the Middle-Deep layers of the Underworld. The Open-Eye and Closed-Eye Cults both hold the markings to be a blessing of higher powers that might be manifested into a Baroque Art through meditation and spiritual training.

The Lincoln Basilisk

Eight lithifications during the night of April 15-16, 1986, Lincoln OH. One eyewitness reports seeing "a big red snake with legs" crawl over fence into backyard, but this account was collected after local news had begun referring to the inciting incident as "the basilisk" and so the validity is disputed. Case remains open.

Small Clay Men Filled With Birds

No taller than two and a half feet, always seen in pods of 2-6. Squat, tubby, mostly featureless save the divots of their eyes. Three wide fingers, no toes, no mouths. Non-communicative, but curious and non-hostile. Irregularities in the molding make for easy identification between them. There are gaps in their outer bodies, through which one can see the fiasco of bright feathers, shining eyes, and sharp beaks. Perhaps it is only the impression of many birds, the idea of birds.

"Wild Dog Opera"

A popular delver code-pidgin, originating in the delver communities of the Navajo and Cherokee nations and since spreading through the underworld across north and central America. New words from additional languages have been incorporated since inception (limited to languages indigenous to the Americas) with significant early lexical additions from Nahuatl, Cree, and Inuktitut. As with most delver codes it is filled with regional dialects, double meanings, self-referentials, slang, metaphors, memetics, shibboleths and puns, and these security measures are aided further by the relative complexity and low speakership of its root languages.

The Vas Animae

A fleshy nodule with a marbled red/white/black/yellow surface, approx 2.5 cm in diameter, located on the surface of the lung. Stores a complete copy of the individual's personality and memories, even in the case of brain death. Attempts at surgical transplantation have been made to mixed success.

GPTRS (Generalized Paracausal Threat and Response System)

The only surviving public-facing government program dealing with the paranormal. While getting on in years, its color-coded warning system and spokesperson Dr. Anne "Anomaly Annie" Raury, have been a standard in classrooms and workplaces for over 50 years. Dr. Raury was an outspoken supporter of science education and civil rights causes, and appeared on Sesame Street a total of eight times before her death in 2000. She was succeeded by Dr. Juniper Douglas, longtime friend and co-scholar, though Dr. Douglas stepped back from public life in 2013 due to health issues. Since then the position has been filled by Dr. Zehra Kazmi, who currently hosts the PBS Paratopic Youtube channel.

Surrogate & Stork

A woman in a long pale green summer dress, holding an infant that looks nothing like her. The bird is slender and grey-feathered, with a blood-stained beak that flashes in the light. You see them in the distance, but the sun is in your eyes; by the time your hand goes up to your brow to provide shade, they are gone.

The Words of Heaven

Vocalized anomaly, manifesting as golden symbols around the speaker. Capable of manipulating matter into new shapes and forms, though now with more limited capacity after the lobotimization of the Demiurge. Regarded as one of the easiest of paralexical traditions despite its decaying power base.

Great Googly Moogly's

A fast food joint with three positive qualities: it is cheap, it is open very late, and the food is mostly edible. You can get a full plate for a couple of dollars and some spare change. The night owls might leave and the lights might go out, but if you knock on the door someone will always be there to let you in. Whatever you order will be greasy, slightly burnt, and almost but not entirely visually unidentifiable. It has a mascot named the Great Googly Moogly MacDougal, which looks like a fat, technicolor sasquatch on a variety of hard drugs. Rumors spiral around GGM like flies around a cow pie: it's operated by a cult. There's something in the freezer they carve the meat off of. There's a trap door and a network of secret tunnels. It's a front for drug running. It's a front for human trafficking. It's a front for people fleeing the government. It's a front for wizards. The MacDougal is real and he lives above the drop ceiling, crawling down at night to clean the grease traps with a long, pink tongue. GGM regulars lead the world in obesity-related health issues. No one who works at GGM actually exists. GGM is completely mundane, just odd.

The Help Line

You hear an old woman with a whiskeysmoke voice on the other end. Accent you can't place exactly. Eastern European? There's a typewriter going the back the entire time. Call during a crisis. They'll send help. They're flooded with requests so you only get one slot. Use is wisely. Look out for the red van.

5 Dead on Degandushra Reef

A series of polaroid photographs, undated, depicting the crucifixion of five individuals. Crosses constructed out of coral instead of wood. Victims have been tied to die of exposure. Features of the victims are indistinct, save that they are all adults and unclothed. Photographer is presumed to be standing on the shore. On the back of one photograph, the words "tuoar mzengata" have been written in permanent marker.


An image file that has, despite its negligible filesize and speed of the relevant internet connection, been loading since 1996. The currently visible section, an estimated 2% of the entire image, is grey and indistinct. The most popular theories are either that it is of an overcast sky, or concrete, though neither can be confirmed at this time. The apparent originator of the file, a professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina was found dead in his home from gunshot to the head 41 hours after sending the email containing a copy of the file to its current possessors.

Milksburg Hoppers

Sightings of pallid bipedal creatures in the area of Milksburg, MI have circulated since the late 70s, long written off as a tourism ploy. Photographic evidence emerged on the Internet in 2003, kicking off renewed interest and a dedicated population of "hopper-hunters". One corpse was produced in 2008, and clear video footage of a pair of hoppers carrying an apparently-unconscious unidentified human in 2009. Last confirmed sighting 2011.

Eyes Elsewhere / The Known Unknown / Things are Getting Bad Out there / Horizon Effect

The belief that there is a large, heretofore unknown threat that is diverting the attention and resources of governmental agencies away from more commonplace manifestations of the paranatural, and that there has been an increasing intensity in the isolating liminal effects between high-paranormal areas and the wider world. While this has been a boon to delver communities in the short term, it is no guarantee of safety. People are getting worried. Some folks are going out there, looking for answers. The ones that come back, do so empty-handed.

The Inverted Towers

More of them keep getting discovered, two or three a year. They're growing, too, all of them growing down. More variable rate there. Some only grow a single floor in five years, others are the reverse. Each floor has near-identical layout, with only one change - a new wall or doorway - setting it apart from the floor above. After a while, it is unrecognizable. The images on the walls are abstract, and they too change in shape and size and color and form with each floor, more radically than the floorplan. Otherwise, they are empty rooms, going down, down, down.

Calamity Tony

An omen of disaster; not its cause, but its herald. Common knowledge says that the first people to buy him a pizza and a beer will be safe from whatever shitshow is about to happen (this protection extends to everyone who provides money used in the purchase, or so it is said). Everyone else who sees him has about 45 minutes to get as far away as they can.

The Rosebud Commune

The raiding federal agents expected drugs, not guns, and certainly not guns filled with human teeth. They didn't expect the carnivorous plants either, or the psychotropic pollens, or the thing in the old barn. No one expected the thing in the old barn. The survivors burned the place to the ground as they fled. Three were captured within days, two more by the end of the month, and then nothing until thirty-seven years later, when one of them was found dead of lung cancer. There are still more of them out there, underground, never coming in from the cold. You'll know 'em when you see 'em. Very distinctive calling card. Don't ask about the barn.

Drudge Gutter

Shantytown in a stormwater discharge channel. Huts built on rafts so that they'll float when the waters come. Beggar-priests, backs bent under huge tanks filled with writhing eels. Protection racketeers, mouths stitched shut. Murmurs from the drains.

Exorcism Acupuncture

Golden needles tied with silver thread are pricked in two rows down the spine. A tarlike substance with the scent of petrichor, drawn by some equivalent to surface tension, curls up the needles and along with threads in droplets, until they are collected in a white jade flask. Stopper it up, seal it with wax and paper charms, and let it ferment until you have a demon.

"My Life With the Ghosts"

A 6 volume doujinshi manga by pseudonymous author "SYZYGY". Possession of a full print run will cause one of the primary ghosts, the terrifying but ultimately harmless Aiko, to manifest in the possessor's house during the night. The odds of this occurring are equal to the number of full sets owned compared to the total number of sets in existence. At least one collector has stated intent to acquire all full runs of the comic, monopolize apparitions of Aiko, and then marry her. This is widely regarded as commendable dedication to an idiot goal that will not work out nearly as well as hoped.

The Triton Colony

Weak, irregular radio signals from Neptune's major moon, consisting of news bulletins for "Colony Three". Broadcasts are made in variant Mandarin dialect, and contain public service announcements, maintenance notices, emergency drills, horoscope readings, birth and death announcements, facts of the day, and religious services for the King of the Gaseous Depths. No messages sent towards Triton have ever received a response.

Anomalous HALO Jumper Incident

The paratrooper, who landed in downtown Budapest shortly after 7 PM local time, was reported as wearing black lacquered armor, a face mask shaped like a wolf's muzzle, and holding thin red tube (presumed to be a weapon). Subject accosted onlookers while becoming increasingly panicked, but made no direct hostile actions and refused to touch or be touched by others. Language used remains untranslated. The incident lasted approximately twelve minutes before the subject dove into the Danube and was not seen to resurface. The parachute was stolen before it could be studied.

The Old Ankylosaur of the Lakota

The journals would be of minimal historical interest were it not for a passage that accurately describes an ankylosaur in a nearby Lakota settlement, three decades before the species was first named. Due to the length of visitation and difficulty in interpretation, there are few details beyond its physical description, that it has been with the band for three generations at least, and that it spends most of its time sleeping in the sun and letting the village children climb all over it.

Neosark Warbodies

Symbiotic suits of cultivated godflesh. Neural link to the wearer, unknown long-term psychological effects.

The Painted Sky

A migratory, bowl-like structure approximately 14 km in diameter and 1.5 km deep that floats 4-6 km above the surface of the earth. The underside of the structure has been painted to resemble a partially cloudy sky, while the upper surface is reflective silver. Attempts to breach the outer shell have been delayed over safety concerns.

In the Halls of Gulgorath Skull-Fucker

An 8 disk, 73-song Finnish death metal narrative concept album, recounting an unnamed protagonist waking up in a future dystopia ruled by the titular dark lord Gulgorath. The narrator's explorations become increasingly horrific and esoteric, culminating in a desperate attempt at escape and an uncertain outcome. The album is infamous mostly for being the only published music ever made by Kalsarikänni & An Abortion, having only 36 copies ever produced (5 destroyed, 8 unaccounted for), the consensual funerary cannibalism of the band's drummer after his death by cocaine overdose, and for the degredation of all copies or second hand recordings of the music.

Universal Kill Field

"Anyone who walks past that line on the floor, catastrophic stroke. Clots up like cement. Think the longest anyone's survived after being pulled out, rope around the waist y'know, is just to the base of the stairs over there. No idea what's down the hallway, no one even wants to send a drone."

The Blunt Bronze Sword

Recovered from site in southern Anatolia, dated to 12th century BCE / 8800s HC, exact cultural provenance unknown. Corroded but still intact. A blow from the sword carries approximately 1 meganewton of force. Wielder is subject to equivalent reaction; sword is not.

14 Holy Heretics

Collection of Christian folk saints invoked for aid against disease, supernatural evils, and general oppressive forces. All members were (supposedly) excommunicated within their lifetimes and have been repeatedly disowned by major churches both for not existing in the first place, and for the heterodox interpretations of Christian belief.

The Whelm

Brightly colored semi-aquatic gastropod the size of a shipping container. Organisms in its presence are subject to rapid drops in anxiety levels, though overexposure typically ends in death by starvation as the effected organism loses the drive to keep itself fed. They are then eaten by the whelm.

Paradox Wrestling Confederation

You can catch a show only rarely, on some random channel in the dead of night. Never on a premium cable package. The quality is grainy and the sound is poor, but it is glorious. Men and women in ridiculous costumes strutting around through absurd plotlines and despite your better judgement you are certain that it's real. Wrestling is real. El Gato Gordo just threw ConMan off a cliff only to discover that it was his half-brother Stefano who had been brainwashed and the real ConMan was's real! Wrestling is fucking real!


  1. Some real killers in this batch, if I may say so myself.

  2. As usual, great ideas to steal for my backwoods Appalachia DS&DS game. Writing out the second mystery for the group of dumb twenty somethings battling against the minions of Satan.

  3. I concur.

    "My Life With Ghosts" is a quest hook waiting to happen, especially if Aiko starts talking to the PCs. The Image File and Calamity Tony are begging for a short story (if they did not start in exactly such a fashion.) The Paradox Wrestling Federation just makes me smile.

    When I eventually cave inwards like a thin-shelled geode and run some manner of paranormal game for my party, I'll remember when the man of Red Salt gathered us close to the oil drum fire to tell stories.

    Also that untitled.mp4 image is SO GOOD

  4. Putting these in my bag of tricks for my EE campaign

  5. I really love untitled.mp4, just something about it really stuck with me. That image is great, big up Monsieur.

  6. I recognise the top quote/excerpt from a Delta Green shotgun scenario. What is it?

    1. Oh yeah, I regularly forget that it first showed up in my 2019 shotgun scenario TAKE HOME CONTAINER

  7. Brilliant as ever. The Whelm is delightful in its manifold potential for use and harm. The Blunt Bronze Sword sounds like Clever Lu might have touched it--as at the end of the previous slushpile. The Old Ankylosaur of the Lakota is a beautiful vignette, and fits into my Bandits and Badlands setting (dinosaurs sometimes leak across the reality-borders from the Lizard Kingdoms, a timeline where the Chixulub meteor missed).

    Calamity Tony is a great mini-episode. How long has he been rattling around, and where? New Orleans, 2005? Three Mile Island? Galveston, 1915? San Francisco, 1906? New Madrid? Port Royal? London, 1666? Herculaneum? Heraklion? Gomorrah? Irem of the Pillars? I like to think it's been a while.

    I am very excited about the possibilities of "The King of the Gaseous Depths."

    Great Googly Moogly's is--much like its greasy gravy--going to stick with me for a while. It's good to have an in-universe cheap franchise. I assume there's no Waffle House Disaster Scale equivalent for it because it never closes short of total destruction. Another rumor for it: the uniformity of the franchise has caused powerful sympathetic magic to kick in. You can enter any GGM's and leave from any other out the back door (gotta get the key from behind the counter first though). This procedure is known as 'going through the hole-in-the-wall.'