Showing posts with label Night Shift. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Night Shift. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

One of the first blogs I encountered was Tim Knight's Hero Press. He had a lot of the same interests I did and he writes about a lot of cool stuff.  I like to joke that Hero Press is "The Other Side" of England.

Like my Johan, he has a character that has gone with him from game to game, but in particular Villians & Vigilantes.  His character, the Acrobatic Flea, is something of a mascot of Hero Press.  He has built the Flea for many universes, much like I do for my Larina.  

So it stands to reason there is a Flea in NIGHT SHIFT.

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

The Acrobatic Flea for NIGHT SHIFT

Aspiring reporter Sean Edward Ridire got his dream job at Weirdly World News. Figuring out he would get the big scoop on the truth about UFOs and aliens. But a chance encounter with a vampire and helping a victim out introduced the vigilante known only as the Acrobatic Flea to the world of the supernatural. 

In the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT this Acrobatic Flea patrols the dark streets of Knight City protecting the innocents of the world from the creatures of the night. Donning a protective suit and special night vision goggles he keeps his identity secret. Using his contacts at WWN he hunts down the stories AND the monsters.  

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

The Acrobatic Flea
3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Correspondent

Strength: 12 (0) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) S
Constitution: 15 (+1) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) P
Wisdom: 14 (+1)  
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 16
Alignment: Light
AC: 5 (tactical suit)
Attack: +1

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +4 to death saves. +2 to all others.

Survivor Abilities
Stealth skills; Climbing; Danger Sense (1-4); Sneak Attack +4, x2; Read Languages 80%

Survivor Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Climbing 75%
  • Perception: 50%

Skills
Research, Insight, Notice (x2)

Gear
Tactical suit, night vision goggles, climbing gear.

--

This could be a lot of fun! I like this, I would love to use the Flea as an NPC one time. Hope you approve Tim!

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Witch Babylon: Daughter of Eros, Mother of Harlots

So back at the end of September, I guess we had, and missed, another end of the world. Yup. I was reading that September 25, 2022, was supposed to be the Rapture. There were a bunch of videos on TikTok and YouTube that frankly I can't be bothered to link to it. Suffice it to say nothing happened.

But it does give me the excuse to post this picture from Spire Christian Comics

The GREAT SNATCH!!!

I know. I am a juvenile. 

BUT. In the process of looking for that image, I found this one from the same comic.

Babylon Mother of Harlots

Black magic? Witchcraft? Demon contact? Sorcery?

Someone has been reading my letters to Santa again! 

And she is such a groovy cool looking 70s witch too.  I learned that the artist, Al Hartley, had done "Betty and Veronica" comics and some softcore comics prior to being born again. 

This is supposed to be the Whore of Babylon, a character from Revelations. I get that she is supposed to be largely symbolic and not a real person, but sometimes it reads like she is. 

From Revelations Chapter 17.

  1. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
  2. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
  3. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

I don't pretend to know what all this is supposed to mean. But the imagery is fascinating like most of what is happening in Revelations. 

Of course, I am going to use her as a witch. Come on? 70s occult propaganda? That's my Appendix N!

Who is Babylon?

That art above is plenty to get me going. Given her role in Revelations, I am going to have to say she is a Witch Queen naturally.  But what kind? In my mind, each Witch Queen is head of a large coven and/or Tradition. She is not a Mara Witch, I have plenty of those. Nor is she a Pagan. And she is most certainly NOT a Pumpkin Spice Witch! No, she has a calling and it is not any of these. It could be close to the Classical Witch, but still not exactly right. No I think she is the Queen of a completely different tradition.

Daughters of Eros

Her tradition is something I have been mulling over for a couple of years now. In my recent reviews of the Love WitchThe Pantheon and Pagan Faiths, Sisters of RaptureJeremy Reaban's Beguiler and Enchanter, I have some more ideas of what a new tradition, The Daughters of Eros, could be.

Note I have nothing I am going to publish in a book yet OR even if there is any need/desire/want for such a book. 

Babylon, Mother of Harlots

Babylon
23rd Level Witch, Daughters of Eros Tradition 

Strength: 11 (0) Saving Throws (base)
Dexterity: 16 (+2) Death Ray, Poison 5
Constitution: 13 (+1) Magic Wands 6
Intelligence: 14 (+1) Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 5
Wisdom: 17 (+2) Dragon Breath 5
Charisma: 19 (+3) Rods, Staffs, Spells 7


Hit Points: 55 (10d4+13)+10
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
AC: 1 (Ring of Protection, Garter of Defence)
THAC0: 12

Occult Powers (Daughter of Eros Tradition)
Familiar: Familiar spirit (comes in the shape of a cupid cherub or an incubus)
7th level: 
13th level: Devil's Tongue
19th level: Curse

Spells
Cantrips (6): Analyze Fertility, Clean, Daze, Message, Object Reading, Warm
First (7+3): Bewitch I, Block the Seed, Burning Hands, Charm Person, Command, Drowsy, Increase Sex Appeal, Sleep, Soothe, Twisting the Heartstrings I
Second (6+2): Alter Self,  Bewitch II, Ecstasy, Enthrall, Fever, Hold Person, Rose Garden, Twisting the Heartstrings II
Third (6+2): Astral Sense, Bestow Curse, Betwitch III, Continual Fire, Fly, Mind Rash, Tongues, Witch Wail
Fourth (5+2): Bewitch IV, Elemental Armor, Emotion, Moonlit Way, Neutralize Poison, Spiritual Dagger, Drawing Down the Moon (Ritual)
Fifth (5): Anti-Magic Candle, Bewitch V, Bull of Heaven, Dream, Song of Discord
Sixth (4): Bewitch VI, Heroes' Feast, Mass Suggestion, Wall of Roses
Seventh (4):  Bewitch VII, Breath of the Goddess, Peace Aura, Serpent Garden
Eighth (4): Astral Projection, Bewitch VIII, Greater Mislead, Mind Blank

--

The Witch Babylon
Named for the city she was born in (Βαβυλών), Babylon is a near-immortal witch. Some say she is the daughter of Lilith, some say she is the bastard child conceived when the demon Astaroth forced himself onto his mother Astarte, but the majority claim she is the youngest child of Eros and Psyche.  She is beautiful like her mother, grandmother (Venus), and older sister, Hedone* (also known as Volupta) but was jealous of all three. 

(*Followers of Hedone are known as Hedonists and are also part of the Daughters of Eros Tradition. Though they tend to be more good and neutral in alignment.)

Whatever her origin she is the patroness of whores and debauched witchcraft. She has allied herself with the forces of evil and will stand as their herald of the end times.  She also represents the corrupting nature of civilization.

Babylon is the quintessential "lover, not a fighter" though she also has no problem charming, compelling, or wiping someone's mind to be her lover. She has an entire cadre of former adventurers that had been on a quest to kill her that are now her mindless slaves.

She shares many attributes with Nocticula and the two try to avoid each other when possible. There is an ongoing rivalry between the two. If Babylon hears that Nocticula is having a Midsummer's Eve party with 1,000 guests, then she will try to increase her own party to 1,100 or more.

She will act as a witch priestess, but to what Patron she will not divulge. All witches are welcome in her court.

Babylon in War of the Witch Queens

Babylon is not likely to change what she is doing during the War of the Witch Queens. Indeed she will remark on how neutral she is and will try to avoid the whole thing. In truth, she is trying to figure out who has done the deed and will figure out if she needs to ally with them or betray them. 

The 1979 Campaign

Come on! You know she needs to be in this! She is too groovy not to be.

Babylon in NIGHT SHIFT

As a nearly immortal witch, Babylon will still be active in the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT. Now she would be living in LA, New York, Paris, or some other large metropolitan city.  She will be involved in all sort of illicit dealings but most especially drugs and human trafficking. On the surface, she runs an "Adult Entertainment Empire" called simply enough, Babylon.


RPG Blog Carnival

This is my entry to this month's RPG Blog Carnival hosted by Campaign Mastery.

This month's theme is "Art-spiration." This is my entry for the Al Hartley art of Babylon above.  I am likely to have more since this is such a fun topic.

RPG Blog Carnival

Thursday, October 20, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Sorceress (1995)

Sorceress (1995)
I should lose my horror street cred for this one. In my defense, it meets some good horror elements. It has Linda Blair. It has witches in it. There is mayhem, magic, and murder, and I am sure another "M" word will come up. Also, it does have a pentagram on the cover, so it makes this year's cut.

Sorceress (1995)

Where even to begin on this one? Well in the first few frames we treated to a full frontal of Julie Strain (as Erica) performing some sort of magic ritual. She stabs a picture of Howard Reynolds (Edward Albert). Howard is driving home talking to his wife Amelia (Linda Blair) on the phone. Amelia gets some sort of psychic warning and tells Howard to pull over now!  He gets out of the car before it crashes and explodes! Maybe she should have told him not to carry so many explosives in his car.

Anyway, Larry Barnes (Larry Poindexter), a partner in Howard's law firm comes home and his wife is Erica! He catches her casting the spell and next thing we know she is taking a dive off of the second story and is dead on the pavement below. Wow. We have not even rolled the credits yet and Julie Strain is dead. Oh and for *reasons* Toni Naples as Maria leaves with them. 

Later on Larry is getting over Erica's death. He talks about her as if she had cast some sort of spell on him. We get flashbacks of them having sex in the living room, them having sex in the bedroom, them having a threesome with Maria. Meanwhile Howard is at home still recovering and telling his boss John Geiger (played by none other than William "Blacula" Marshall!) he isn't going back to work and the promotion he got can go to someone else. Guess who gets it? Yup. Larry, who is probably remembering a time he and Eric had sex at a 7-Eleven. Ok that is not in the movie.

Larry does start dating fellow lawyer Carol (Rochelle Swanson). He tells her about the threesome, to which she immediately says she won't do that. They fall asleep and Amelia uses her evil altar to invade Carol's dreams. She has her in a threesome with Erica and Maria. 

Amelia is using magic to make Carol act more like Erica including dying her hair brunette. She tells her husband she doing this out of revenge for what Erica did to him. She just about has Carol killing everyone when Howard shoots and kills Amelia and frees Carol. 

THEN Larry sits up in bed in shock and sees Erica standing there asking if he had a bad dream!  Well, I guess they needed her for the sequel.

Ok. So. This is not a great movie, but entertaining in the same way a Russ Meyer film is. You don't go into looking for a plot. There is one here and I will get to that in a bit.

One of the things I noticed while I was looking people up for this is how many of the stars are now dead. Yeah, it is a 27-year-old movie, but still. Julie Strain, William Marshall, Edward Albert, Michael Parks, all gone.

For Use in NIGHT SHIFT and War of the Witch Queens

Oh. I'll make lemonade from this one. The basic plot here are two witches, Erica and Amelia, both fighting a magic war with each other using their men as proxies.  It becomes obvious really fast that while Larry and Howard are the ones bringing in the money, the real power lies with their wives.

For War of Witch Queens, I take this as the default approach. Once the High Witch Queen is dead then the gloves come off and the pointy hats go on. This is what has everyone so afraid. 

For NIGHT SHIFT, well it can kind of work as-is really. The threesomes are up to you and your group.  Elf Lair Games makes no guarantee that playing NIGHT SHIFT will increase the number of threesomes in your life.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 29
First Time Views: 22

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

Saturday, October 15, 2022

I Got My NIGHT SHIFT Mead

Got a special delivery the other day!

NIGHT SHIFT Mead

NIGHT SHIFT Mead

NIGHT SHIFT Mead

Our NIGHT SHIFT Twilight's Queen mead from Apis mead and wine is in.

I have three bottles and I am saving them for Halloween night. Certainly a great night for it!

You can order yours from Vino Shipper.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchcraft (1964)

Witchcraft (1964)
Not expecting much from this one, but it was such a late turn for Lon Chaney Jr. I just had to. Glad I did, I was treated to some nice British Folk Horror. 

The movie deals with the centuries-old rivalry between two British families, the Laniers and the Whitlocks.  The Laniers wanted the Whitlock's land so in the 17th century they accused Vanessa Whitlock (Yvette Rees) of witchcraft.

Fast forward to the 1960s Amy Whitlock (Diane Clare) and Todd Lanier (David Weston) fall in love. Much to the chagrin of Amy's stern (and oddly American) uncle Morgan Whitlock (Lon Chaney Jr.).

The Lanier's are developing parts of their land (modernizing) and accidentally stray onto what is left of the Whitlock's land. In the process uncovering the grave of Vanessa Whitlock.  Later that night Vanessa rises from the grave to exact her revenge! She really was a witch!

It drags a little but turns out the Whitlocks have been pagans since, well, forever and they and some of the locals participate in their rituals to seek revenge against the Laniers.

This all ends in a ritual to bring Vanessa back to true life, but instead the all get trapped in the mausoleum as it, the Whitlock estate, and all the Whitlocks (yes including poor Amy) die in the fire. 

Honestly, it was a great movie and had to be pretty scary for 1964. The practical special effects were quite good. Sure they can't compare to the one we have now 60 years later, but they were still great for the time. The actors all were great in their roles and everything had a great Folk Horror feel about it. The tale itself could be adapted to today without missing a beat really.

If there was any piece of this I felt it was off it was Lon Chaney Jr., he seemed so oddly mis-cast for this. He is just so...American...it is hard to believe his character would have ever not fought the Laniers more. I can't say it was because of lack of work before or after (aka a pity casting that happens to so many older horror icons) because Chaney worked solidly with a movie coming out every year from 1931 to 1971. Sure a year might be skipped, but for many years he had multiple movies in a single year. Plus he was, by all accounts, a great guy and easy to work with.

Regardless, this was a fun little movie and a treat.

Use for NIGHT SHIFT

I have spent a lot of time this month (and the summer) talking about witches and how they will all fit into my War of the Witch Queens.  In doing all of this I have also been thinking of an adventure that I am currently calling "Coda𝄌." The idea here is that one of the Witch Queens (or just witches) defeated by the PCs will come back to challenge the PCs of the modern era using NIGHT SHIFT.  This works best if the Players are all the same.

The premise is simple. One of the witches from back then is back and wants to claim her vengeance.  My witch would come back as something akin to a Zugarramurdi Bruja, and be the dark reflection of my Dark Druid adventure.  Who the witch will be is unknown right now. I want to choose the one the players have the most interaction. If she can be a witch from our world, all the better.


October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
Viewed: 16
First Time Views: 13

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022


Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Official Night Shift: VSW MEAD!

Now for something a little different.

Reposted from The Official Night Shift: VSW MEAD!

From Jason Vey creator and co-author of NIGHT SHIFT:

NIGHT SHIFT Twilight Queen Mead
Twilight Queen, the official mead of Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars


Apis Mead & Winery in Carnegie, PA
I am pleased to announce the release party for the official Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars mead: Twilight Queen on October 8! This release makes us the first ever tabletop role  playing game company to have our own official mead!

Even better, the mead connects with the game, as the favorite drink of Maeve Antinea, the woman who calls the shots, and the Twilight Queen herself, served in Club Khalsa, the most popular nightclub/watering hole in the City.

This mead, a collaboration with Apis Mead & Winery in Carnegie, PA, is a buckwheat mead with black cherries, vanilla, allspice, and cinnamon. The release party will be at Apis on Saturday, October 8, from 2:00 PM until whenever. We will have gaming events and giveaways, and both the mead and the game will be on sale! Our friends from Drawbridge Games will be on site as well!

Apis Mead & Winery in Carnegie, PA
I should also mention here that this is not just me slapping my company name on something. I'm a mead maker and have been for about 15 years. I collaborated closely with Dave from Apis on every aspect of this, from the initial flavor profile to the level of spice and flavoring in it, adjusting, tweaking, and the entire process of brewing the beverage. This is very much an Elf Lair creation as much as it is an Apis Mead, and after several rounds of tasting and tweaking, I am absolutely confident in saying IT IS A WINNER.

Please save the date and stop down! And if you can't make it, Apis can ship to any state that is allowed, through Vinoshipper!

You can find more information about Apis at their website here:

https://www.apismead.com/


Tim here now.

I don't do a lot of drinking anymore, save for coffee (I did enough in college for myself, my kids, you, your kids...) but this is fun.

Will it help the sales of NIGHT SHIFT? No, and I would be surprised if it did, but that is not the point is it. This is a fun thing to have and I'll happily pick up a few bottles.

Can you say your RPG has its own mead? No.

NOW, what would be totally on-brand for me? A "From the Editor's Cup" Weirdly World News coffee roast. Dark, imposing, and each cup is the LD50 of caffeine for a grown adult!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 16 - What would be your perfect game?

Perfect game? Hmm.

If you mean the perfect RPG then I have to say NIGHT SHIFT, but that is kind of a cheat for me really since it was designed out of the box to be my perfect game.

Night Shift

For a perfect game, I have run? Hmm. Either my "Dragonslayers" game I ran with my kids some years ago. "The Dragon and The Phoenix" Buffy game that eventually would influence my writing on Ghosts of Albion. I also love my current "War of the Witch Queens."

Maybe I should re-tool The Dragon and The Phoenix or Season of the Witch for NIGHT SHIFT!

RPGaDAY2022


Thursday, August 11, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 11 - If you could live in a game setting, where would it be?

Hmm.  These questions can sometimes be a little cringe. BUT I am going to take it at face value.

I rather like my Ordinary World setting for NIGHT SHIFT.  The supernatural is real, but it largely wants to be left alone.  I just kinda like the idea that vampires work the morgue night shifts, werewolves are postal carriers, and the scary old lady down the street really is a witch.

Who knows. It might be fun!

RPGaDAY2022


Sunday, August 7, 2022

#RPGaDAY2022 Day 7 - System Sunday: Describe a cool part of a system that you love

I have to admit, I am a big fan of the "Rule of 2" we use for NIGHT SHIFT.

From the rules:

The rule of 2: this is my name for a sub-system in D&D that has never been precisely codified, but is buried deep in the bones of the game. Any time a situation needs to be adjudicated in D&D for which there is not another system, throw a die, and on a result of 1 or 2, it happens. Listening at a door (and not a thief)? You hear noise on a 1 or 2. Looking to notice a secret door (and not a dwarf or elf)? Roll a d6 and you find it on a 1 or 2. Surprise? 1 or 2. The only thing that changes, for the most part, is the type of die--rangers, for example, use a d8 surprise die--and some character types may adjust the probability (elves noticing a secret door without searching is a 1 on a d6).

A nice simple rule that covers a bunch of situations. 


RPGaDAY2022


Wednesday, May 4, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: Reflections Post

gif #AtoZChallenge 2022 WINNER badge animated

Here we are at the end of another April A to Z Blogging Challenge. I "won," that is I completed the Challenge.  That's not such a stretch for me since I tend to write every day anyway.  For me success is whether not I had an interesting theme (I think I did) and whether or not I got some interaction on the posts (I did).  "Success" for me in this case is about the journey and not the end.

This year's theme Conspiracy Theories was suggested to me by my wife and I really had a lot of fun with it.  The conspiracy theory part was for all the visitors from the A to Z, but the NIGHT SHIFT RPG applications were for my regular audience.   

I do hope that both audiences enjoyed both sections.  

Ultimately I hope that some of my regular audience found some new blogs thanks to the A to Z AND I hope some of the A to Z folks looked into the NIGHT SHIFT RPG.

I have not crunched all the numbers, but my hits were significantly higher this past month.   My Twitter engagement was also quite higher.

Like previous years, I made a Pinterest board for all my posts so if you want to see what I did you have a visual guide.

Follow Timothy's board "April 2022 A to Z of Conspiracy Theories" on Pinterest.

Though this one is less visual than last year's Monsters.

Also, unlike last year, there is no book these are all going in.  It was just a bit of fun.  Though I did do enough research on the side for a new book, that will wait until other projects are complete.

Once again I am considering what to do for 2023.  No ideas yet. I suppose I could do what I had originally planned for this year, but I have less excitement for that now.  I DO however know exactly what I am going to do in 2024!  

So until then!

Reflections 2022 #atozchallenge
http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Oh.

I suppose that I shouldn't let "May the Fourth" go by unremarked.  It is Sci-Fi month here after all.

So for my small contribution here is the most Science Fiction of all musicians, Thomas Dolby featuring George Clinton on "May the Cube Be With You."

May the Cube and the Fourth and the Force be with you!

Monday, May 2, 2022

Monstrous Mondays: Greys (Zeta Reticulians)

Nice meeting of topics here today.  It is May which this year will be the start of my Sci-Fi month.  We have the normal May the Fourth celebrations, and Mayday for Traveller was yesterday.  Plus we get Star Trek Strange New World premiering this week.  AND there is a new D&D Spelljamer on the horizon. So there are a lot of great reasons to celebrate SciFi. 

I also just got finished with my A to Z Challenge for April where I did Conspiracy Theories.  I leaned heavily on a lot of UFO-based ones.  So my appetite has been whetted for more.  And today is Monstrous Monday!  So I thought I would bring all of these ideas together today into a special Monstrous Monday!

Greys (Zeta Reticulians)

Grey Aliens

Of all the alien species that have purportedly visited the Earth few are as popular as the Greys.  These creatures are also known as Zeta Reticulians since they supposedly come from the Zeta Reticuli star system, approximately 40 ly from Earth.  This is based on a drawing from one of the most famous alien abductees ever, Betty Hill.  

Greys are called such due to their skin color. The skin seems to be a uniform grey.  While some are depicted as not wearing clothes, others have suggested that they are wearing skin-tight suits of the same color as their skin to protect them from Earth's atmosphere.  They typically stand 4 to 5ft in height (1.2 to 1.5 meters), are hairless, with large black eyes.  They have no ears nor a nose, save for small slits or holes where such external sense organs would be.  Their bodies are small, thin, and somewhat elongated. Their heads however are large with large foreheads giving the impression of large brains inside. Their hands are long with long delicate fingers. They typically only have four fingers (three fingers and a thumb) per hand, though there are reports of "hybrids" that appear to be greys with human eyes and five fingers per hand.

They do not speak but instead communicate via a form of telepathy. 

Their purpose with humanity is still unknown.  They may not even know themselves just yet since all evidence seems to point to them observing and experimenting on humans. Their experiments in removing eggs and sperm as reported by abductees, and the existence of hybrid forms at least point to an interest in our reproductive abilities.  It is postulated that they are using humans to help deplete their own lessening numbers.

Grey (Dungeons & Dragons 5e)

Grey for 5e

Grey (NIGHT SHIFT)

No. Appearing: 3-12 (3d4)
AC: 6
Move: 30 ft.
Hit Dice: 2-4
Special: Cause fear, psychic abilities (chosen at random), telekinesis, telepathy, Can't use magic
XP Value: Varies

Greys are aliens from the Zeta Reticuli star system. They have enhanced psychic abilities, but are vulnerable to all forms of magic.  They never speak but communicate via telepathy.  A group of Greys are typically a scouting party with various scientists onboard their spaceship. They will abduct humans or cattle, do experiments on them, erase their memories and return them to where they found them.

Grey (OSR)

Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1d4+3 (1d10+2)
Alignment: Neutral [True Neutral]
Movement: 90' (30') [9"]
Armor Class: 7-5 [12-14]
Hit Dice: 
   Scientist: 2d8+2* (11 hp)
   Monitor: 3d8+3** (17 hp)
   Leader: 4d8+8** (26 hp)
To Hit AC 0: 18, 16, 15  (+1, +3, +4)
Attacks: 0 or 1
Damage: None, stun 
Special: Cause fear, paralysis, mind blank, telepathy, vulnerable to magic
Save: Monster 3
Morale: 10 (10)
Treasure Hoard Class: Special
XP:
   Scientist: 35 (OSE) 47 (LL)
   Monitor: 100 (OSE) 135 (LL)
   Leader: 275 (OSE) 290 (LL)

Str: 7,9, 11 (-1, 0, 0) Dex: 16 (+2) Con: 14, 14, 16 (+1, +1, +2) Int: 22, 18, 18 (+5, +3, +3) Wis: 16 (+2) Cha: 14 (+1)

Greys come in three castes; Scientists, Monitors, and Leaders.  Scientists perform the experiments, leaders lead the missions, and are the fighters of the group.  Monitors are a blend of the two, acting as leaders amongst the scientists.  The castes are not hierarchical, they are designed so that each role is filled by the most capable individual.  A group of greys encountered outside of the ships will all be scientists with at least one member a monitor or leader. 

Greys have psionic abilities to cause fear, paralysis by touch (save vs. Paralysis or be frozen for one minute), and to erase the memories of their victims.   Scientists do not attack. They leave this to the Leaders and if needed the monitors. 

Additionally, greys have no concept of magic, they save at -2 against all spells and take an additional +1 point damage from magical attacks. 

--

I might tweak these a bit more, but so far they look great to me.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: Z is for Zecharia Sitchin

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories Z
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: Z is for Zecharia Sitchin

Here we are at the end, which is back at the beginning for me and the topic of my A to Z for this April 2022.

Before I begin I do want to say this one went much better than I expected. I'll get to all of that in the Reflections post coming up.

So Zecharia Sitchin.  

Sitchin was the author of many books on the topic of Ancient Aliens and the Anunnaki of the Sumerians. He was also the creator of the idea of the planet of Nibiru where the Anunnaki supposedly come from. He called this the "12th Planet."  

Much like Margaret Murray, Sitchin took the archaeological record as well as astronomical history.  Also, like Murray, he completely botched his research including some of the translations. 

The conspiracy comes from, as expected, the Government, the Church, and NASA are all hiding the truth. Sitchin's theories remake the history of humanity and of course, everyone is going to hide all of that.

For NIGHT SHIFT

Sitchin's work is not science.  BUT it could make for good science fiction.  

For NIGHT SHIFT I would like to REally go deep on this. Have aliens come Nibriu and try to start some crazy-ass religion or something.  OR maybe it is just people saying they are. 

Sitchin, among other things, is indirectly responsible for a number of UFO Cults.  Bringing a couple of these (or a made-up one) would make for an interesting game I think.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).


And there we go.  Another April A to Z for the history books.  Join me next month for Sci-Fi month!

Friday, April 29, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: Y is for Yeti

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories Y
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: Y is for Yeti

Not just yetis, but bigfoot too!  Now Yetis and Bigfoots fall under the heading of cryptids and not so much conspiracy theories.  The conspiracy part comes in later.

Let's be honest here. I love writing about Bigfoot.  Maybe it was growing up in the 1970s when there was a surge in the popularity of Bigfoot sightings.  But in any case, I have talked about them a lot here.  

My introduction to RPGs was via monsters of myth and legend in the AD&D Monster Manual and while the Sasquatch was not originally there, the Yeti was.  

With all these posts (and these are just the ones on the subject) you would think I have had said everything I can and...that is accurate. But I have not talked about the conspiracies surrounding these cryptids.

Conspiracy #1: The various governments are hiding the evidence of Bigfoot/Yetis for ... reasons.  
I have seen this one in various books and websites and the one thing they all have in common is that there are no good reasons given for why the government would want to go through the efforts to hide it.  The reason given is usually "to protect the population."  But how this is supposed to happen is never very clear.

Conspiracy #2: All the bigfoot sightings are faked by a small group of fakers. This I am likely to believe except that I doubt they are organized in any way.

For NIGHT SHIFT

I do use Sasquatches, Bigfoots, and Yetis in my games.  They might even outnumber regular animals in my games! Well not really. But close.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Thursday, April 28, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: X is for The X-Files

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories X
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: X is for Planet X

This one is a last-minute switch.  I might find some use for my "Planet X" post at a future date.  But today I want to talk about the X-Files.  You can't talk about Conspiracy Theories and ignore the X-Files.

This also gives me a chance to go back to the very beginning of my A to Z journey. Not April 1st, but April 2011.

Here is what I said about the X-Files then (with edits to update).

X is for X-Files (2011)

In the 90s everything was conspiracy theories, don't trust the government and the Truth was Out There.

On TV we had the X-Files.

There was a paranoia in the 90s.  Today it has boiled over into disgust about our government (believe I know, I live in Illinois, we have one ex-Governor in prison and another headed there two Ex-Governors that are also Ex-Cons.  But back then it was a general low hum of paranoia, suspicion, and doubt.  It started with Iran-Contra and moved on to movies like "JFK".  It was the climate that allowed the X-Files to grow.

It began on a start-up network called Fox, long before they became synonymous for killing shows, good or bad, too early or shitty news.  X-Files was their hit, their main show outside of the Simpsons really, and they kept it on for 9 years and then again for 2 more in 2016 and 2018.

Let's be honest here, the X-Files did more for genre TV than anything else. It was a cultural phenomenon and most television shows that we enjoyed in the 2000s and on are a result of this little show by Chris Carter.   People go on and on about Whedon, but Carter and the X-files has been nominated for more Emmys and the show had won more collective awards.  Even in its "worst" season X-files still had 3 times the views of Buffy. Plus there is not an episode of Supernatural that doesn't in some way or another recall the X-files.  The Winchesters are Mulder and Scully for the 2000s.

I came to the show late.  I was working on my thesis at the time and I rarely watched TV.  Once I graduated I became a fast convert.  It became my Friday night ritual (I was watching them with my then-girlfriend, so that is ok).  It was also one of the shows I did not invest in any fandom merchandise.  I have an X-files soundtrack CD and Mulder and Scully action figures, but I got them as gifts.  But I really got into the show all the same.  One of the first desktop "themes" I had for my brand spanking new copy of Windows 95 was an X-files one.

I loved the season-long and multi-season-long story arcs, I loved the characters, and I didn't even care when my then girlfriend (and now wife) would go on about how hot Mulder or Skinner were.  That was fine with me.  I got to see Scully, and she was hot and super smart.

The Godfather of the X-files is "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and Darrin McGavin even made some guest spots on the show.  X-Files, while the "mythos arc" is lauded, sometimes worked the best on the "monster of the week" episodes.  Sure the aliens were great and those were the ones I got excited about, but the ones I recall the best, Flukeman, "Theef", the freaky weird family, the hallucinogenic fungus, the chupacabra.  Like Kolchak, X-files did it's best job when it dealt with "small stories"; episodes that dealt with a local myth, legend, or monster and came at it with Mulder the one ready to believe anything, and Scully looking for the reasoned explanation.  I also liked the "spin-offs" of Millennium and the Lone Gunmen.

One day I am going to go back to the world of the X-Files.  Back when Clinton was still president, freaky half-worm/half-man things lived in chemical toilets, cigarette-smoking men and well-manicured men sat in dark rooms with darker purposes, aliens kidnapped little girls and the Truth Was Out There.

For NIGHT SHIFT

The trouble with X-Files is it was doomed from the start.  You can't keep the characters or the audience in the dark all the time and have a good show, and the more secrets you reveal the less the characters have to uncover.  They kept it up though for a good long run.

The same is true for any conspiracy game.  Conspiracy X, by Eden Studios, is a great example.  You can totally run an "X-Files" game with it, but how often can you keep the players in the dark when they are looking for secrets?  The same is true for the RPG The Unexplained (which was my "U" for 2012).

This is something Game Masters need to keep in mind when running any sort of Conspiracy based RPG. 

For NIGHT SHIFT in particular I tried to capture all of this, via the lens of Kolchak: The Night Stalker in my "Weirdly World News" Night World. But here I only scratched the surface and if this month has shown me anything there is so much more to talk about.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: W is for Witch Cult Hypothesis

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories W
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: W is for Witch Cult Hypothesis

This is a conspiracy theory / modern myth that is more or less implicit in all of my games.  And something a little different than what I have been doing this month.

The hypothesis (and I could argue it is a testable one) is that there has been a more or less unbroken line of pagan magic practitioners and nature worshipers that has existed in Europe and elsewhere since pre-history dating back to at least a time of Goddess worship.  The witch-trails of Europe were an attempt to irradicate these "Witches" in favor of...well, let's look into that.

Ok, that is a lot of variables for a proper hypothesis.  Let's see what we are talking about here.

This idea was put forth by a number of different scholars over the years. The biggest "name" in this was  Margaret Murray, who gave us The Witch-Cult in Western Europe (1921).  It built off of the popularity of James George Frazer's The Golden Bough: A Study in Comparative Religion (1917) which was also a study in European and before Pagan practices and Charles Godfrey Leland's Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches (1899).

Murray's central thesis was that these witches have existed for centuries and were a vital part of the pagan community.   With the rise of monotheism and proliferation of just one god (and a Male God at that) these witches were hunted down by members of the Church and State or at the very least with their implicit, if not tacit, approval.   That would be Conspiracy #1.

The trouble it Murray's work is not very good.  She makes a lot of fundamental errors in her book including pointing out that the lack of evidence is evidence that they had been wiped out.

I will admit I was even taken it by the idea when I first read it so many years ago. I have since re-read it after several years of grad school and designing research that I can only see the errors, missteps and sadly outright fabrications.  It is a fun read, but has about as much to do with witches as the Wizard of Oz.  

The second wave of the Witch Cult Hypothesis came in the 20th Century.  Typically post-WWII/1950s thinking.  Building on Murray's work there were those that wanted to see what a witch cult, ala Murray, would have been like if it had survived into the 20th Century.   

Taking this in with other works you folks like Gerald Gardner who invented Wicca and claimed to have these roots. Other writers, like Raymond Buckland, were a bit more honest about what they were doing, but you still had a number of others taking Murray not only at face value but also the "gospel truth."

This brings us to Conspiracy #2.  Not only were these witch cults wiped out, but it continues to this day with the discrediting of anything that might show it to be true.  A stretch maybe, but really no more strange than what any other religion believes about their origins. 

I have also read theories that the witch trials (often called the Burning Times) were the result of the growing professional medical professions (ie. Doctors) trying to get rid of their competition, the local herb woman, healer, and midwife.  A variant on Conspiracy #1. 

The truth is that Murray, not just through her own works but the works of others, has been so deeply embedded in this notion of a pre-Christian witch cult that is difficult to tease out her effects.   Her ideas, wrong or not (no, they were wrong, sorry) are with us now forever.

Maybe that is ok.  Just don't base an intellectual career on it.

young Celtic witch with read hair

For NIGHT SHIFT

Well. Basically. In NIGHT SHIFT everything Murray ever said was true. Yup. The whole lot of it. Whether she meant it to be true or not doesn't really matter here. In the world(s) of NIGHT SHIFT it is.

Again, this largely follows most of the work I do with witches in all my games. Gygax even did the same with his Druids imagining the Celtic priestly caste surviving to the Middle Ages (500 to 1,000 years later).   I do the same with witches.  Here I have a collection of pre-Christian, largely European (but there are other influences), pagan witch cults that have existed in secret for thousands of years.

Intellectually I have let Murray go, but in my games, not so much.

Witches are a big part of NIGHT SHIFT, regardless of where they come from.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: V is for Vril

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories V
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: V is for Vril

Vril is an energy or the species that uses this energy depending on who you ask.  They would be as about as relevant as the Mahars of Pellucidar (the species, not the book) if it were not for the later involvement of Nazis and UFOs.

Vril comes from the book "Vril, the Power of the Coming Race" by Edward Bulwer-Lytton and was published anonymously in 1871. It deals, as was common to many "Science Romances" of the time with an unnamed but wealthy first-person narrator.  This narrator finds himself in an underground world occupied by these majestic angel-like begins, the Vril-ya who have advanced psychic abilities, but of course, need a proper Englishman to teach them how to speak English.  He also finds his lost wife, two sons, and daughter.   He learns that these beings also known as the Ana, used to live on the surface but came here sometime before the Great Flood.  He learns of their energy, the Vril, which is like an "all-permeating fluid."  

It was pretty much pre-Pulp, Victorian Science Romance (the precursor to Science Fiction). While not great, it has some interesting ideas that men and women were 100% equal in society and the notion of wireless communication and the potential of electricity.  It was, I do note, popular in its time.

It would have been a semi-forgotten bit of science fiction had it not been for various theosophists,  most notably Helena Blavatsky, who took it for Occult Truth (yes. with capital letters).  It seems that in addition to his work on Vril, Edward Bulwer-Lytton also wrote books about Rosicrucians and other occult matters.   Blavatsky took this bit of fiction and ran with it.  Ran so hard in fact that when I first encountered it years ago I was a little surprised to learn it had not been her idea.  As learned more and saw she was a con artist who stole ideas and claimed them as her own I became less and less surprised. 

As I said the book had some popularity with Vril becoming synonymous for a bit with "life given exlirs." There was even what amounted to a Sci-Fi convention at Royal Albert Hall in 1891 called the Vril-Ya Bazaar.  It all has the feel of a Star Trek Convention.  I like other sci-fi properties, there were those who really wished it was real.

But what makes this part of a Conspiracy Theory?

The book and the notions of Vril were taken up by various occultists, in particular theosophists, as truth.  They began to ascribe all sorts of properties to it and to Edward Bulwer-Lytton (who they felt was telling a first hand account in some cases).  Blavatsky used Vril and the idea of "The Common Race" (and "Race" in general, but I am getting to that) in her books Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888).  Likewise, theosophist William Scott-Elliot used "Vril-energy" in his The Story of Atlantis & The Lost Lemuria (first ed., 1896).  

Likely because of Blavatsky, Vril and the Comming Race became wrapped up in the fertile land of German paganism and pseudoscience that lead to the rise of Nazism.   As noted by Willy Ley, a German rocket engineer who came to the US in 1937, pre-Nazi Germany saw the popularity and widespread proliferation of many irrational ideas including Vril. He published "Pseudoscience in Naziland" in the magazine Astounding Science.  There is far more in that article than I can discuss in one post. But suffice to say that it is a gold mine of ideas.  One of the results of this was the belief in the "Vril Society" existing in Berlin prior to the rise of the Nazis.

After WWII the Vril Society supposedly went on to continue the works of Nazi Occultism which gave us ideas like the Black Sun and various UFOs.  That is another rabbit hole I don't feel like going down today.

For NIGHT SHIFT

I have spoken about various underground races already, the Derro and the Ophidians. The Derro share some commonalities with the Vril.  The Vril was published as science-fiction and others took them to be real.  The Derro was also published as science-fiction but their author claimed they were in fact real. Both featured anonymous first-person narrators. Both featured an underground lost civilization with advanced technology and energies.  But the Derro are invariably described as insane and stunted humans.  The Vril are "angel-like."  So it is not likely they are the same sort of folk.

There is some similarity between the Vril and the Nordics of UFOolgy.  Throw in some of the ideas of Ultima Thule and the "benevolent" Nordics start looking less benevolent. Sure they want the best for humanity, but only the humanity that looks like them. 

Vril of course is the common thread. It is the energy that both the Derro and the Nordics use.  Hmm...is there an association there that the characters need to tease out?  What are the Derro to the Nordics? Is there more here?  I think there is!

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Monday, April 25, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: U is for Unmarked Helicopters

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories U
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: U is for Unmarked Helicopters

Few things say "New World Order" or "Military Industrial Complex" quite as nicely as an unmarked military helicopter.

Sightings of unmarked helicopters began in 1970s, often in conjunction with or near cattle mutilations (which I have not even touched yet).  They were even spoken about in  Hal Lindsey's book "The Late, Great Planet Earth" (which I have talked about before).

 More recently Unmarked Helicopters have been the center of growing concerns about the military arming of local police and the extensive powers used by the US government to keep tabs on the American citizens.  Like what Homeland Security does.

There is also some evidence (though nothing I could easily verify) that the CIA was using a black Vietnam-era helicopter to put in phone taps.  

My first experience with Unmarked or Black Helicopters was from the movie Capricorn One. A movie about a conspiracy to fake the first manned mission to Mars.

The UFO Connection

Many sightings of black or unmarked helicopters will occur after a purported UFO sighting.  The most commonly held belief is that these helicopters are from the government and looking to either investigate or cover up the sighting details.  I even read one where the helicopters are in fact the same people/aliens/group that were responsible for the UFO.

Cattle Mutilations

We never hear much about this anymore, but in the 1970s this was newsworthy stuff.  Typically a rancher or someone would find dead cattle that had organs or body parts removed such as an eye, ear or sexual organs. The wounds would clean and sometimes even cauterized.  There would be a complete lack of blood found in the area leading some to believe that the cattle had lifted up and out where the mutilations would occur and then deposited back.  No mean feat when you consider your average cow weighs around 1,600 lbs and a bull over 1 ton.   Since the helicopters were usually spotted in the area it lead many to believe that they were the cause of it.  Obviously, these people never took my stats courses where I make sure my students know that "correlation is not causation."

The rumors that the military was testing some sort of new "death ray" (these conspiracy types really want a death ray) mounted on silent unmarked helicopters were the most popular. 

For NIGHT SHIFT

I have learned that if I want a crazy conspiracy theory in my games there is nothing I can create that will outdo the theories created by my players.  When I am putting ones together I try to keep a certain level of game logic in place. That way when things come up I have a reason for it.  My players are not burdened by such.  So sometimes I throw something out there just to get them spinning.

Unmarked helicopters are great for this.

Have a scene where the characters are investigating something?  Doesn't really matter what. A murder, a UFO sighing, a kitten stuck in a tree?  All of these things are now suddenly more sinister and involve the "Deep State" by putting an unmarked helicopter in the sky above it.

I got to see this demonstrated in real life at work a few years ago.  We were all sitting in our office on the 5th floor just having a normal day when someone spotted a helicopter hovering over the building across I80 from us.  Now seeing a helicopter over the interstate or expressway in Chicago is not a big deal, there are traffic and new helicopters in the sky all the time.  But this one was just hoovering there in the middle of the afternoon.  Well after the morning rush and well before the evening rush.  We all had to stop and watch it.  To see what it was doing.   Turns out it was changing the light fixtures over the interstate. It was hoovering because we could not see the ground crew affixing the new light fixture to it.  Normally this would have been done by crane, but the light was situated in such a way that a crane was not easily maneuverable in that area. 

So next time I need to shamelessly turn up the tension I'll put an unmarked helicopter in the sky and have it fly off before any of the characters can capture any details about it. 

And I have play this song as well.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Saturday, April 23, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: T is for Tunguska (and Tesla)

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories T
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: T is for Tunguska (and some Tesla)

On the morning of June 30, 1908 near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia an explosion of roughly 12 megatons occurred.  This is not in doubt and was well documented at the time.

What is in doubt is why it happened and what caused it.

Since then there have been over 1,000 scholarly papers and countless more less reputable inquiries as to what happened.  The best guess so far is it was some sort of meteor that hit the Earth with a glancing blow. 

Others have speculated that it was a comet, a small asteroid, or even more fanciful ideas like a bit of "dark matter" or even anti-matter.  Though in those last two cases we would need to figure out what dark matter actually is first and for it to be anti-matter where did it come from because it would not last long in space and not at all in any part of the Earth's atmosphere.   Going on the even more fringe it was a black hole, alien spacecraft, or Tesla's Death Ray.  More on those in a bit.

Tunguska has fascinated me for years.  I wish I could recall when I first heard about it.  It have to have been Carl Sagan's Cosmos ('Heaven and Hell') since I can't recall anything talking about it before that.  I found it so strange and yet so cool.  It would later be a throwaway line from Dan Aykroyd's Ray Stanz in Ghostbusters.  It would come again as a major plot point in the X-Files.

Let's look into the two big fringe theories, one of which is a conspiracy theory.

Nikola Tesla and the Death Rays

This is one that has received the most ink in my library.  It is also a proper Conspiracy Theory.  In the late 1890s, early 1900s, Nikola Tesla was working on the means to transfer large amounts of electricity through the air.  His experiments were failures for the most part.  But there is the claim that while working on this he sent a blast from Colorado to the North, over the North Pole, and hitting Sibera causing the Tunguska blast.  The government then came in to hush it all up to keep the Russians and Czar from knowing.  The US Government then kept pressuring Tesla to repeat the experiment for a long range "death ray."

We do know that when Tesla died FBI officals rushed into his New York hotel and confescated all his belongings.  Among these were supposedly plans for his death ray.

UFOs Over Russia

Another popular idea (it's not a theory) is that the blast happened due to a crashing or exploding UFO.  This might help with the question of where did the anti-matter come from if it were an anti-matter explosion.   Of course there is no evidence for this.  It was 1908 in the remotest part of Russia.  Even if good records had been keept in a little more than 10 years the Communists would have control and anything like records or evidence could have been lost.

These notions all come from more recent scientific forays into Siberia. One as recently as 2004. So not quite a 100 years after the fact.

For NIGHT SHIFT

Look. You can't mention Tesla and not get my ideas generating!  He is the epitome of the mad scientist.  If you have a game that has an inventor or weird science then at some point you are going to need to talk about Tesla.

So what was Tunguska in the worlds of NIGHT SHIFT?  Easy. It was e.) All the above.

There were UFOs over Siberia.  The US government had found about them and Tesla blew them up with his death ray.  Something he felt terrible about ever after.  The aliens would then later investigate again only to crash in Roswell, NM.  That's USA 2, Aliens 0!

A possible adventure idea is that someone has found Tesla's notes and now has their own death ray! 

Tesla books

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF)

Friday, April 22, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: S is for Satanic Panic

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories S
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: S is for Satanic Panic

This one might get a little meta.  But the Satanic Panic is something that all gamers of a certain age know all about. But if you think this particular corn-filled nugget was left behind in the 1980s then I have some news for you all.

A satanic panic is a form of moral panic that also has an element of a conspiracy theory behind in.

The notion is that there is a worldwide conspiracy of Satanists out there stealing babies and trafficking in children.  

Which of course is insane.

80s Satanic Panic

In the 1980s we went through a period of Satanic Panic that kept bubbling up. There were allegations of ritualistic abuse and that some daycare centers were fronts for sex trafficking and cannibalism.  Some children even came forward to talk about it.  The people that bought into this panic claimed there was a conspiracy of Satanists and it went on even persecute and jail innocent people.

The agreed start of the Satanic Panic scare, was Michelle Remembers, a book about recovered memory of ritualistic abuse. Though I claim it is a backlash of the 70s Occult Revival that has it's ceremonial start with the 1972 Time magazine cover of "The Occult Revival. Satan Returns."  Once both of these publications had hit the public consciousness the Wee Care Nursery School and McMartin preschool incidents and trials began.  Millions of dollars were spent, thousands of hours, and several lives of those accused destroyed.  The very few convictions were voided, but not before some people spent time behind bars.  The testimony of the children interviewed was later looked back on and many errors and outright miscarriages of justice were found.

All in the fear of Satan.

We even felt it in my small town in Central Illinois. Someone "found" a "satanic altar" in a cornfield south of our high school.  People were losing their damn minds.  I thought it was so fascinating that everyone at the school was so freaked out over what I considered nothing. I had been a pretty strong atheist at this point so I did not even remotely think there were any Satanists here, at least not the type that could do the things some of my peers thought.   This was an isolated situation, but not really a conspiracy. 

Here are some links to help you with the right feel of the 80s Satanic Panic.  This is nowhere near as long as it could be. But to put up everything would be pages of links. 

Pizzagate

Speaking of people losing their damn minds. You would think that the Satanic Panic would have stopped by the mid-90s.  After all, this is the 21st Century, the 3rd Millenium, we are obviously too smart for this sort of fairy tale nonsense.

Yeah, you know where I am going next.

So back during the 2016 Presidential election when new bars were being set for stupidity every day the latest rumor from QAnon connected a pizzeria, Comet Ping Pong Pizza, to a supposed ring of Satanic pedophiles. Things only got worse, or stupider, from there. 

I don't want to go into the whole Pizzagate saga or even into QAnon. They don't deserve my mental energy and especially no place on my blog.  You can read all about Pizzagate online if you wish. I mean seriously, these idiots claimed there were underground areas in a building with no basement.  Suffice to say this: There are still plenty of people that believe, like Hal Lindsay once proclaimed, Satan is alive and well.  

Are there Satanists? Yes. There is the legally recognized Church of Satan and other Satanic and Luciferian religionists.  There is no worldwide Satanic conspiracy. There is no worldwide anything for Satanists in fact. They rather famously don't see eye to eye on many things after Anton LeVey's death. 

Does child trafficking happen?  Sadly yes it does.  But there is no evidence that there is any connection to Satanists. 

We are not done with Satanic Panics.  Who knows what shape the next one will take.

TIME The Occult Revival

For NIGHT SHIFT

So in the real world, there is no Satan and most Satanists are fairly harmless.  But NIGHT SHIFT is a different story. There are really demons and devils and evil spirits.  But there is no conspiracy here.  Demons, historically in games, are "Chaotic Evil" and they rarely work with each other. Their followers never do. 

I have used demons and trafficking in a game before. It was my "Vacation in Vancouver" campaign. Everyone in the game agreed it was going to be NC17 and very dark. But it is not something I would recommend for most groups but for the most serious and trusting players.  

All of this being said here is what I would do.  The characters catch wind of a possible Satanic Conspiracy.  Being big bad monster hunters they seek to investigate and possibly kick some demonic ass.  Instead, they find not demons and devils, but just garden variety humans being evil little fucks.

Why this? Two reasons. First I like to show that most often the evilest things we encounter are other humans.  Humans have a capacity for evil unmatched.  Secondly, it is a nod to the personal history I and many gamers have with Satanic Panics.  Many of us were on the receiving end of this just for being gamers.   So instead of it being Satanists, it is members of the local community doing this to get rid of the "undesirables" in their community.  If they look like the local PTA or HOA that is a mere coincidence. 

Yes, I know this is also essentially the same plot of the comic and TV series "Runaways" and the rather terrible Dan Ackroyd and Tom Hanks "Dragnet" movie. Though not as bad as Tom Hanks' other starring role in "Mazes & Monsters."

Given the nature of these work in real life, I would these sparingly, maybe only once per RPG title ever. 

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF)