Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Calcinated Cancer Bear and Spectre of the Bröcken

Calcinated Cancer Bear

Long ago they were nearly-normal bears. Living in an icy world of protean on the hoof. Thy lived in caves. The bears exploration of the cave extended past any expected indulgence. They loved to worm around inside. They would lift their cubs up to access parts they couldn't reach, knowing they could not go themselves. They slid for play on ramps of clay, licked the salt and clawed the walls.

We made clay totems of them and in the painted caves the prints of bears and men overlap and contend on the wet floor. They were dangerous temples, the gods were often home.

Then the world changed and the bear changed. It mutated. Caged in by temperate suns, shackled by disease and whipped by recessive genes. The bones grew. Fused. Lengthened. Nodules and weird accretions. The bears seemed to die out, but they did not. They went deeper underground.

A cave-bear. Slow-then-quick. Extended lengthwise. Long hooked limbs twice the normal span. A wolflike snout but BIG. Eyes recessed and barely seen. A fist-sized nose. Six nostrils, arranged in stacks of three, black lozenges thrumming like the radiator to a designer car. The cave bear smells everything. Longer and more slender than a bear but still bear-weight and strength.

And the bones the bones the bones. Hook spurs on every joint. Mad asymmetric triceratops frills. Bulges on the skull like horns. Plates of irregular cancer-bone grating in tessellations on its heaving side. Awkward spinal suspension-bridge-ridge. Clavicles and cysts of broken bone exposed.

The lanterns. Maybe dozens of them. Hanging from the spurs. Crushed and ruined in the plates. Broken lightless ruined black lanterns. Flameless cages. Some look very old indeed. Riddling its side like lost harpoons on deadly whales.

The bone-rims are black and sooty. Fire prevents their growth. Cancer Bears need fire to control the damoclean adaptation that protects them. They will dive on fires and roll in them, heaving and moaning, surrounded by cracks of breaking bones, moulting fracture-splinters in the fire.

Spectre of the Bröcken

The Bröcken was intended to end the world and drag it down in flames. Not this one, a better one. She failed. And died.

You are the shadow of a five-dimensional being existing in a higher plane and this is why much of your life makes no sense.

Sometimes you sleep and dream, and if your dream dreamed and that last dream thought it was alive, then that is your relative position to the world the Bröcken was fated to destroy. You are a shadow of a shadow of that five-dimensional plane. There are lots of you, parallel selves and places, not quite real. You'll never meet them.

When the Bröcken fell her spirit escaped. Trickled surprisingly into a lower dimension like a hole in a shopping bag. She is a ghost-thing now. A spectre. A memory. But still real. Hyper-real like nothing else can be. She might be dead but she is still slumming it here.

A vast she-wolf made from the skeletons of pre-natal children holding tightly to each other. Her eyes are a distant telescopic views of cities burning. Her teeth are broken obsidian Kanji* clutched by bone babyhands. Her howl is a fleet of bombers disappearing into a hurricane. She has a crown. A band of burning gold like something out of a poem by Blake or a Saints mushroom vision. She is not from here. She outranks you.

With wounds she makes mutations in your flesh. Because she is more real than you she exists in several different parallel worlds at once, which are to her like vague shadowy blurs combining to form dark points of attack. When she fights back she tears through these worlds a little and you get mixed and combined with one of your parallel selves who is doing the same thing you are on another world. When wounded, roll for mutation.

She can bite you right out of reality. If she kills you, EVERYTHING you have ever done disappears. The world re-knits itself around your absence. TEAR UP THE CHARACTER SHEET. BAN ALL MENTION OF THE NAME.

Also if you fight her you might come back as someone else.

The Bröcken wants to rule. Even in this shit-house truck-stop world she can barely understand and that breaks every time she touches it. Maybe you can make a deal.

*Not dissimilar to the pure form of the Ignimbrite Mite.


  1. I love the idea that dying at the hands of the Spectre takes you completely out of reality, past as well.

    How far would you go with that?

    For example: I took up my family shield when I left to go travelling, and then at some point in my travels I gave it to you. The Spectre kills me. Do you delete the shield from your equipment list?

    1. Ahhh you have defeated my monster.. with LOGIC.

      Spot rule - anything where a player can instantly explain where it comes from and how it came to be without referencing THE DISSAPEARED, gets to stay, anything else is gone.

    2. Ha! I wasn't trying to break anything, honest!

      I like your ruling. "This shield? I found it at a market in a small town. The man selling it said that he and his wife had always wanted a son to pass it on to, BUT THEY NEVER HAD CHILDREN."

  2. I don't believe that I ever said that the Cancer Bears are one of my favourite things. All these years of screaming CANCER BEARS into the ears and eyes of strangers, yet I have never done so here.
    Prepare thine eyes.