What does this serial killer collect from their victims?

1 – FINGERNAILS. And toenails. They rip ‘em out with pliers, and fix them to their own scabby, pallid skin with staples. (The “scales” function as a kind of armour, weirdly.)

2 – THEIR LAST MEAL. Pumped straight out of the stomach.

3 – AURAS. They rip it off them in their last moments and add it to their own; a swirling, incoherent mess of jagged colours that makes electric lights malfunction when they get angry.

4 – SHOES. They reckon if they steal the shoes off people, they can’t “walk into heaven,” which is kind of a dick move; instead, they nail horseshoes to the soles of their feet to pin them in place. Most of them hang around as ghosts, but on the other hand, most of them don’t deserve to get into heaven given what they’ve done.

5 – THE LAST THING THEY SAW. They used to reckon that the last thing people saw was imprinted on their eyes when they died; they were wrong, but you can use magic to access the information. The serial killer does, and renders them as nightmarish paintings – most of them self-portraits.

6 – PETS. They don’t want them to die; they take them home, put them up, feed them, etc. They’ve built an impromptu (and illegal) kennel in their apartment, and they’re starting to run out of space and money.

7 – IDENTITIES. It’s gross, but: they hollow them out and wear the husks, and some back-alley sorcery lets them pose as the person. It’s a good likeness, too, right down to the mannerisms, until the body starts rotting; they keep a couple of bodies cured and dried in their bedroom, ready for emergencies. So, you know: look for suture marks on the backs of your friends’ heads.

8 – EYES. They install the eyes around their home, and they can focus and look through them, letting them act as a sort of security camera system. (They varnish them so they don’t dry out; it impairs the vision a little.)

9 – HANDS. To make a Hand of Glory, you need the left hand of a man hanged for murder. Those are really hard to come by these days, so the killer is capturing people, having them kill one another and then hanging the survivor, cutting off their hand, and selling it on the black market. (If YOU’VE ever used a Hand of Glory, odds are it’s coming from an illegal Hand Farm like this one.)

10 – MONEY. The killer (or is it killers?) receives instructions detailing the location, appearance, and movements of the target from a mysterious source; they track them down and kill them, and each one of them just so happens to be carrying a huge amount of cash, which is the killer’s payment. Who’s setting it up, and where is the money coming from? And are you going to open that briefcase that appeared in your living room last night?


Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)
There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.

Cover image by Ben Smith on Flickr

What does this “vampire” feed on?

Header image by BenGrantham on Flickr

1 – LUCK. It absorbs good luck from people and spends it to stay alive, because the gods cursed vampires many years ago and this is the only way they can get around the hex. (Without regular luck-feeding, most vampires would be killed by a traffic accident or lightning strike in a matter of days.) Some own casinos; the less-fortunate ones just hang around and try to siphon off fortune from gamblers. (They can gather it through skin contact, however brief.)

2 – IDENTITIES. They build shrines to people out of secrets and discarded (or stolen) clothes. They listen for social security numbers, birthdays, mothers’ maiden names; they impersonate voices over the phone and copy signatures. For each part of your identity they steal, you become weaker, and they become stronger, until you become a hollowed-out vampire yourself.

3 – BLOOD. But – only blood that’s been freely given, else it turns to ashes and pitch in their mouths. Blood banks are great; others run goth nightclubs or fetish parties to try and latch onto people who’ll willingly give up some of the red stuff.

4 – DISEASE. They feed on diseases, ripping them out of people. They’re a positive influence, for the most part, but they look more horrific the more “powerful” they become, resembling withered, rash-covered corpses. Which is all fine until they’re killed by some do-gooding vampire hunter, and all the diseases they’ve absorbed are cast out into everyone nearby.

5 – NOISE. They absorb noise, sucking it out of nearby events, reducing them to silence; they can ruin concerts. They’re bastards, too, the lot of them – mainly it comes from a lack of social interaction, as no-one can talk to them – and so they make a lot of enemies. Some hunters keep one on their books as an aid to infiltration; for others, the last thing they’ll hear is absolutely nothing, as the vampire descends upon them and rips them silently apart.

6 – CORPSES. But – the whole corpse. It doesn’t stop feeling hungry until it’s eaten every part of the corpse; when it’s digested the last hair, gummed down the last spoonful of ground-up molars, sucked the marrow from the bones and swallowed the intestines. It can take a vampire several weeks to get through a full body, and if they are denied their prize, it was all for nothing.

7- EYES. They feed on eyes, fresh and hot and wet out of the sockets. They select eyes that have seen beautiful, remarkable or unique things; if they can’t find anyone with interesting experiences, they’ll make those experiences for them. They have lairs full of beautiful art that they don’t (and physically can’t) care the slightest about, and heavy chairs with leather straps for viewing parties.

8 – MEMORIES. Their lives are agony, and they cannot die. (Should they try and end it all, they awaken at the next sunset, in more pain than ever.) Their only hope of escape is to track down everyone from their life before they were turned and suck out every memory that relates to them using a long, barbed tongue or probing finger; once they disappear from the world completely, they are allowed to die.

9 – MAGIC. They drain the ability to perform magic out of their targets, storing it within themselves and using it to fuel their unnatural powers. They hide in mage’s sanctums, pressed tight in the gaps between the walls, and leech their powers while they sleep – or they run in gangs of three to five, corner guttermages and hedge-wizards, and wrench the auras off them in back alleys.

10 – COLOUR. They were kicked out of the fey realm for some unimaginable crime, and now they traipse through the mortal world looking to recapture their glory days. In doing so, they leech the colour and vibrancy out of everything that surrounds them, leaving people like sun-bleached salon photographs; their lairs are greyscale-monochrome, and they will gladly talk of their time amongst the fair folk in exchange for a bright red scarf, or the blue of your eyes.

Glimmers is a series where Chris and Grant, the creative leads behind Rowan, Rook & Decard, create an urban horror world through the use of Dx tables. Because who has time to read a full setting book?

[GLIMMERS.] The city is alive. The city is connected, with streams of light and noise and people, to every other city; they are all the same being, all branches of the same concrete-and-glass tree. There are streets between them, forgotten streets, with secret names and grim inhabitants. (And: there are wild-lands, dark places, the Spaces Between, where nothing seems right. Airport waiting rooms. Churches, at night. Backwater villages.)

There is vast power in the thrum of machines and the buzz of traffic, and it can be yours, for a price.