Objects that break reality

Emmy Allen recently released her new game Esoteric Enterprises an osr take on the World of Darkness / Unknown Armies kind of thing. You basically play modern day gangsters meddling with forces that should best be left alone. I was intrigued because I liked her previous game of weird ice age fantasy, Wolf Packs and Winter Snow and had been thinking about similar concepts of occult underground shenanigans. So, here’s one of the things I’d been playing around with, adopted to Esoteric Enterprises.

This is of course very much inspired by the eminent television mini-series The Lost Room.


Paranormal items

To the casual observer reality may seem pretty solid and stable. Unfortunately that is not really the case. Ours is just one of infinitely many universes that has risen from the abyss of unformed chaos. These worlds float in and out of each other in non-space, often entirely separate but sometimes interacting in various ways. When worlds collide, inter-phase or become temporarily entangled with each other reality breaks down. Natural laws change, time and space twist and warp, the logic of cause and effect become confused.

These events always leave a trace. Items that has been exposed to such breakdowns can become infected and carry with them a remaining anomaly. The relation between such paranormal properties and the everyday function of such objects are entirely arbitrary. The forces of primordial chaos are not bound by mortal concepts of sense or meaning.

To create such an object, roll two d20 on the table below, one for item and one for property. Then consider the following questions.

How is the items power activated? Does it affect anyone who comes into contact with it? Is it activated when the item is used for its mundane function? Must the object be manipulated in a specific way – such as rotating or shaking it?

Who is affected? For how long does the effect last? Is it permanent or does it stop after a short while?

What is the items history? When and where did the event that created it take place? Were there any witnesses and did anyone of them survive? Who owns it and who wants to get hold of it?

D20 Object Property
1 Glass eye Teleportation to, 1d3: 1. Anywhere within the line of sight, 2. Somewhere the user has been, 3. The place where the item was created.
2 Dentures The ability to hear and send thoughts within 12 m.
3 Spectacles The target becomes paralyzed.
4 Playing card Anyone who hears the users voice wishes to comply with any command.
5 A die The target or user is thrust 24 hours into the future.
6 Flash light Any two persons touching the object trade minds with each other.
7 Cell phone The user becomes invisible.
8 Book The target cannot recall anything from the last 24 hours.
9 Toothbrush Everything within a cone (2 m long, 2 m wide) ceases to exist until the object is pointed another way.
10 Hat The temperature within a small point is doubled every 10 seconds.
11 Glove The user can move through up to 3 m of solid matter.
12 Photograph The user or target can levitate.
13 Pen The user can use telekinesis to lift and manipulate objects of up to 12 kg of mass within 18 m.
14 Radio Anti-magic field, 1d6: 1. 3m, 2. 18m, 3. 100m, 4. 500m, 5. 1km, 6. 10km.
15 Coin Anyone touching the object is transported to a place where nothing else exists (not even air to breathe). When the item is released anyone affected returns to where they were. Time flows at the same pace in the world and the non-place.
16 Key The user can see and hear all that has occurred within 9 m. A saving throw is necessary to find anything particular in the deluge of sense impressions. Events that has provoked strong emotions are more distinct. The further back in time one looks the harder it becomes to discern anything.
17 Necklace The user can project hallucinations visible to all conscious creatures within eye sight.
18 Spoon The user gets a limited precognition and can not be surprised and receives a bonus on initiative rolls.
19 Cup The user can see magic auras and can see through illusions and invisibility.
20 Gold tooth The user can be killed by anything less than the total destruction of his or her body. Serious wounds stabilize automatically, injuries heal within hours or days.
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