What’s the supernatural weakness of this new threat?

1 – Television static. The black-and-white snow on detuned televisions shows echoes of the big bang, and it’s this cosmic afterbirth that sets the monster’s teeth on edge. You’re not entirely sure why (and you’re not sure you want to find out, really) but getting an old cathode-ray TV and setting it to a dead channel works like salt, or holy water, or church bells on these guys. You’ve heard tell that there’s a guy downtown with several specimens trapped in circles of hissing TVs, and he’s always on the lookout to buy old models if you pick any up.

2 – Your blood. Just you, though – not anyone else. You think it’s something to do with the way that you’ve got The Sight; anyway, they’re killing people all over the shop, and various factions are becoming interested in harvesting your blood to use as a weapon. You, of course, would rather that it stayed in your body where it belongs. Can you track down someone else with a similar effect? (Or: infect them?)

3 – Digitalis. You can get digitalis from foxgloves (also known as Dead Men’s Fingers); they use it in heart medication to slow down irregular heart-rate. When you jab these monsters with it, in a high enough dose, it slows their pulse down to a human rate, and they lose all their supernatural powers: no more incredible strength, no more accelerated healing, etc. At that point it’s just as easy as killing a regular human.

4 – Crowds. They don’t see humans as individuals; something about their minds means that they see their targets as a sort of hive, a singular mass of swarming entities. They can understand one person (and talk to them, kill them, eat them etc) but if confronted with a crowd, they can’t fathom the intent of it, or any of the people inside. Big enough crowds overwhelm their senses and give them splitting headaches; they avoid crossing train-lines or busy intersections like a vampire avoids crossing water, because the buzzing stench of crowds never leaves those places. You’ll be safe as long as you’re never alone.

5 – Darkness. Something chased them here. (Something worse?) Now, they can’t endure the dark, not even for a second; they adorn themselves with lights, bathe in neon glow, cluster under street lamps. They reckon that if they’re in darkness, whatever hunts them can find them. (And: it does. If they spend too long in the dark, they die.) So you’re completely safe from them, as long as you’re in utter darkness.

6 – Mathematics. There’s something raw and bestial about them, something feral that rejects a higher understanding of the universe; so long as you’re performing arithmetic of some kind, they can’t abide your presence. (They hunt scientists out of a kind of hate.) In the modern world, they’re screwed, because most everyone has a device in their pocket that’s carrying out millions of calculations a second, so they have to wait until your phone runs out of battery before they strike and smash you to pieces against anything hard in your immediate surroundings.

7 – Heat. They’re creatures of bitter winter, and the colder they are, the stronger they become. You’ve heard tell that they rule the upper reaches of Scandinavia, but obviously something’s driving them down into more temperate climes; and now they’re here, in the city. They can walk about as normal during the depths of winter; in summer, they’d be lucky to last for an hour or more outside of an industrial freezer unit before their organs shut down and they die. Now: you and your friends are holed up in a run-down flat, surrounded by a protective ring of three-bar heaters, wishing for the snowstorm to end.

8 – Painkillers. They have a special relationship with pain, so anything that blocks it is anathema to them. People tried making protective circles of ground-up analgesics, but that only went so far; now, if you hunt them, it’s considered a good idea to get loaded up on codeine before you set off, which causes its own problems. Some people say that anti-anxiety drugs work too as they can feed off your fear (which makes them stronger), and they swear by 200mg of Pregabalin to start the day or wear protective charms made of Valium pills strung through dental floss.

9 – Fire. Back in the day, everyone had fire; we lit our houses with candles and lamps, and we burned wood to warm them. Now, the closest most of us come to an open flame during the average day is lighting a cigarette; so these creatures, clad in shadows and emerging from lightless corners, are having a field day. A lighter or match isn’t enough to keep them at bay, and you’re going to get some funny looks (and probably arrested) if you carry a burning torch around with you.

10 – Disease. They only eat clean things, so anything or anyone with a disease is disgusting to them. A minor cough or cold will put them off or slow them down (but not, say, stop them if their backs are to the wall) – late-stage leukemia will send them running in fear. If you hunt them, you’ve got a few choices: stay sick, so they’ll give you a wide berth; carry vials of disease around with you, which is a crime, and you’d have to break them open to use them; or bring an ill person with you, probably in a wheelchair, probably waiting in the van outside, to use as a tac-nuke if everything goes to shit.


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.

Image by Alpha on Flickr

How did you get The Sight?

Header image by Teeejayy on Flickr

1 – Dad wasn’t around a lot when you were growing up, because dad was a kitchen god that mum summoned with some back-pocket voodoo and bodged-together mystic resonances she bought off some guy out of the back of his car. Sometimes, when you go back to visit her, she’ll compel dad to possess the body of a family friend, and the three of you have dinner together.

2 – There’s some elf in you. And not in a “grandma was tall and pretty and spent a lot of time in the woods” sort of way – you’re infected with elfdom. It’s a disease; you caught it off a particularly dazzling young man you got off with at a party a few years ago. You don’t know how many people you’ve infected since.

3 – You’re not entirely sure, but every time you see something strange, a black cat turns up about five seconds before everything kicks off. On one hand, it’s a great early warning system (and has saved your life on more than one occasion); on the other, you freak out pre-emptively every time you see a black cat.

4 – You only get it when you’re drunk; the mind control doesn’t work on you when your brain’s moving slower, so you can outwit them, except you have to be drunk, so. But this one time you did some cocaine at a party and saw an entirely different class of weirdness, so maybe different substances adjust your brain to the wavelengths of different supernaturals? The implications fascinate and terrify you.

5 – You know how you’re supposed to wait until the ghost says “GOOD-BYE” at the end of a oujia board session? Yeah, well, your stepdad came home early and you had to hide it before you finished, and now you’ve got a ghost stuck in your head. It can still only communicate using text, though, so you navigate the supernatural underworld by letting yourself get a bit possessed and tapping out instructions to yourself on your smartphone’s notes app.

6 – Clove cigarettes. There’s a reason goths smoke ‘em so much – they make hidden supernatural phenomena visible, a bit like the way regular cigarettes reveal laser traps. (Strong clove cigarettes do, anyway, which is why you hear so many folk talks of gruesome monsters coming out of Indonesia: they’re the world’s largest producer.) Unfortunately, it means you can’t hunt ghosts in public buildings, or outside if it’s windy. And you’ve heard they banned them in the US, too; presumably some sort of government conspiracy to keep the undead and fey under wraps.

7 – You crashed your truck into a mirror warehouse. It was late, and yeah, you’d been drinking, but the deer came out of nowhere – it was bad luck, ironically. Anyway, you shattered three hundred and twenty-seven mirrors in a handful of seconds, and now you can see ghosts, vampires, the fey, through governmental dazzler shields, and so on. It’s done nothing but get you into trouble, which you guess is karmic punishment for all the mirrors.

8 – You opened your eyes during prayers at Sunday School, even though you’re not supposed to, and God was there. He looked like… well, it’s hard to say. He looked like a thousand exploding lightning chariots, and He leant down and kissed you on the forehead (you still have the scar), and He cleared your vision of the clouds that keep humanity ignorant. You never opened your eyes during prayers ever again.

9 – A gutter-wizard on the run from a fey hunting party hid in your dreams one night five years ago, and he refuses to leave. While he takes up residence he appears in every dream (even the sexy ones) and, as a side-effect, allows you to view the world as it really is. He never tidies up after himself, and your dreamscape is an absolute tip.

10 – Six months ago, you woke up to see your doppelganger standing over you holding a pillow getting ready to smother you in your sleep; but was slower than you, and you really didn’t want to die, and you kicked the shit out of it in your bathroom. It was identical to you in every way aside from the way it bled printer ink. You didn’t know what to do. You tied it up and shoved it in your attic; it refuses to die, even though you haven’t fed it, and you can’t bring yourself to kill it. Every day it looks less and less real. Its skin turns to newsprint, its teeth and hair turn brittle and glassy and fall out.

And then: you touched the filaments that surrounded it like pine needles, and a handful of them burrowed inside you, and the thing laughed, and now, when they think you aren’t looking, the buildings get up and walk around and you can smell the stench of a ratkin carrion-feeder two streets away.

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.