Fate Horror Toolkit
Chapter 7: Horror Is the New Pink
Chapter 7: Horror Is the New Pink
Women are often told that what they fear and what they face isn’t real, but in horror fiction, it is real, it is affirmed, and it is explored. Having their fears validated draws some women towards horror in fiction, games, and movies.
However, many women have a complicated relationship with the genre. On the one hand, horror fiction treats women as victims or object lessons to teach women that they are at least partly to blame for what is done to them—in slasher movies, a woman is often the first victim, usually in the guise of the promiscuous hot babe who always trips while running away.
On the other hand, women are also the Final Girl—the last survivor with a gender-neutral name who gives the baddie some sorely needed comeuppance.
Horror from a feminine perspective usually involves powerlessness; it takes place on and inside of bodies, and in spaces that are supposed to be free from danger.
Women aren’t the only ones who connect to this kind of sinister storyline. The power of horror appeals to folk from all walks of life, making the exploration of femininity through the lens of horror all the more powerful. If these themes are something you have never experienced, what better way to explore them than within the dark embrace of a horror game?
The following movies are useful sources of inspiration when considering horror through a feminine lens:
- In Alien and its sequels, aliens use humans as unwilling hosts for their offspring. Ripley and the Alien Queen battle each other to protect the children who depend on them.
- The Babadook depicts the relationship between a mother and her troubled son, and the supernatural threat that disturbs them, with themes relating to loss and grief.
- Carrie is an iconic horror story in which the onset of puberty is accompanied by shame, bullying, fear, and blood. Carrie develops telekinesis, and uses it to lash out at those she thinks have hurt her.
- Drag Me to Hell depicts a woman’s struggles against a curse brought down on her when she tries to impress her boss.
- American Horror Story is an anthology series that includes feminine horror tropes like witches, miscarriage, teen girls, nuns, lesbians, and freak shows.
- Psycho is the story of one man’s unhealthy relationship with his deceased mother, and what it drives him to do.
- The Craft is about a quartet of high school girls who discover their proclivity for magic, with its attendant costs and complications.
- The Conjuring is based on real-life demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren as they investigate a haunting affecting a family with five daughters.
- Hard Candy is about a teenaged girl who captures and tortures a man she suspects of being a pedophile and murderer.
- The Silence of the Lambs is about the complicated relationship between FBI agent Clarice Starling and serial killer Hannibal Lecter as she asks for his help to catch a serial killer who skins his female victims.
- The Descent depicts six women trying to survive in an unmapped cave system as they’re repeatedly attacked by strange creatures from the darkness.
- The Company of Wolves is a werewolf tale based on the story of “Little Red Riding Hood.”
- Crimson Peak is a gothic, tragic romance with complicated family relationships.
- Ginger Snaps is about a teenaged girl who becomes a werewolf, and how she and her sister cope with her monthly transformations.
- In Rosemary’s Baby, a young mother’s concerns about her pregnancy are dismissed by those who claim to know what’s best for her.
- Get Out deals with those in power laying claim to the bodies of others.
Successful horror is predicated on reactions of fear, shock, and disgust. To create those feelings at your table you must give yourselves permission to explore these themes in a fun and safe way. One way to give that permission is to explicitly mechanize the horror at your table. Fate gives us the tools needed to explore feminine tropes and environments without needing to experience these feelings outside of the framework of a game.
A lot of the horror women experience in real life takes place in their homes and workplaces, perpetrated by people they know. Nothing is safe; homes, partners, co-workers, even children can be dangerous. Reproducing that horrific intimacy at the table is an effective technique to evoke feminine horror. Start by subverting a common roleplaying trope: many games assume the players are exceptional people, and the unexceptional people in the background tend to be ignored. However, domestic spaces are ripe for terror. Ask your players to play characters who are usually assumed to be “safe” and “boring”; servant, teacher, nanny, cook, parent, babysitter, daughter, secretary, wife. Feminine horror deals with things that should be familiar and comforting, but instead are full of terror.
In this chapter, we discuss some ways to mechanize these uniquely feminine horror themes and use them to supercharge your horror game. Check out the following example setups, character aspects, stunts, NPCs, and current and impending horror issues and locations.
Playing horror games can be really intense, so make sure both you and your players are comfortable. A good horror game manages to terrify and make players uncomfortable without crossing their boundaries, just pushing them right up to that edge. Please see the descriptions of X-Cards and Script Change, systems that you can use for this. Above all else, make sure your players know that horror is on the table; it’s not fun to get surprised with horror when you were expecting a light-hearted comedy. You need the buy in of the players to really make a creepy game sing.
Here are some themes to hang your feminine horror game on. They include the nasty side of romance, the surprising places horror is birthed, and ways to mess with your players’ minds. Use these ideas to set up a game where your players can explore their dark side—or plumb the depths of your own imagination.
Scent of a Woman
Romance is often at the core of horror stories. The cute cheerleader only sees the redeeming qualities of the weird loner after he exposes the bad behavior of the perfect high school hunk whose house is frequently free of all adult influences, and who is so obviously a bad guy at heart. Or the serial killer stalks women who look like his ex-wife, taking out his feelings of betrayal and anger on women who remind him of her.
These toxic romantic elements can be used at the table as compels and consequences to encourage trying to survive at the expense of everyone else.
Sarah and Ariana’s characters are running from a serial killer who’s targeting all the brunette women on campus. Their characters are in a romantic relationship. Marissa, the GM, tells Sarah that she sees Ariana run one way, with the serial killer after her. She reminds Sarah that her character is a brunette, so if she shouts a warning to Ariana, the killer will most likely go after her instead. Marissa compels Sarah’s Desperate Measures, and Sarah decides to sneak away in search of help instead, leaving Ariana’s character to her fate. This goes badly when Sarah gets to the campus security office, though—the killer got there first, and she has to watch as he kills Ariana’s character.
You can make it fun for someone to play a bad guy by encouraging everyone to play someone who is flawed, or by discussing how to make sure everyone is okay with one player being an antagonist. Is that player portraying the weird loner who lusts after the cheerleader?
Marissa is playing a bit of a loner with a crush on Tanika, a cute yet uninterested girl who draws dark powers to her with her careless use of her magical abilities. When Marissa offers to do something selfless for Tanika, Sarah, the GM, undermines the act by accepting it, but reminding Marissa of every time Tanika has spurned her advances.
Or is someone playing the cute cheerleader? Repeatedly have the hunk do terrible things, but have all the NPCs excuse or deny his behavior. This is called gaslighting.
Although many romantic movies present stalking behavior as just a way to get the girl, the reality is far more disturbing. Bring this into your game by having a character discover a secret diary, blog, or social media account documenting all of their recent activities—or containing photos of them sleeping—that belongs to another character. You can also include an NPC who is obsessed with one of the players, where this obsession could be the focus of the game or just another plot for the PCs to explore.
Sarah is playing a private detective tasked with finding a runaway nephew. While investigating his apartment, she comes across a locked file cabinet. Marissa, the GM, describes its contents as being some personal documents like birth certificates and the like, but at the bottom of the drawer is another manila envelope, with Sarah’s character’s address on it. Inside is a notebook filled with minute-by-minute logs of every time Sarah had passed by the windows of her apartment.
Feminine Horror Aspects and Horror Points
Like any Fate game, your characters will have a range of aspects, but a game of feminine horror may demand that you reserve an aspect that emphasizes the unique feminine tones you want to explore. A feminine horror aspect describes the complicated relationship the characters have to this kind of fiction. When you inflict a feminine horror aspect on your players, think about movie tropes, feminine stereotypes, and troubles that change the character’s behavior, but not who they are.
Examples: Someone’s Always Watching, Mark of the Beast, Smells Like Prey, Sinful Appetite
Leave this aspect blank until the time feels right. Do not give your players control of creating this aspect—the lack of agency helps hammer home the theme of powerlessness that underlies feminine horror.
Assigning a character’s feminine horror aspect is a very powerful moment in the game, where a fundamental piece of agency is stripped away from them and there is nothing they can do about it. Pick a moment where it will cut them the most deeply, whether it’s a revelation that curdles a moment of apparent triumph or kicks them in the stomach when they’re already at a low ebb.
Marissa is playing a space marine trapped on a derelict space station with several aliens hunting her. She finds a hiding spot in the old medical bay, and hunkers down to wait for the aliens to pass by. Sarah, the GM, gives her the feminine horror aspect of Someone’s Always Watching when she catches a glimpse of movement in a shiny refrigerator door, and realizes that it’s not the right size for an alien.
Encourage your players to self-compel their feminine horror aspect by rewarding them with a special horror point. Horror points are double fate points (+4, or reroll and +2, etc.) and every time a PC self-compels their feminine horror aspect they get a horror point instead of a fate point.
The best way to unsettle your players is to use the things that you personally find horrifying and listen to their reactions and feedback. What scares you will scare your players, if you focus on how the scene makes you feel, rather than only describing how it looks. When running a horror game, pay strict attention to your players. If you notice a nervous tic, like someone rubbing their earlobe, you know that means they’re feeling what you’re portraying.
Describe things using all the senses; for example, people really freak out when they touch something seemingly innocuous, like the banister of a staircase, only to find that it’s warm and pulsing with the rhythm of a beating heart. If you’re describing a bodily sensation, like the shifting weight from a monstrous pregnancy or the first signs of realizing you can conjure magic by cutting yourself, try standing up and showing them with your posture and gestures how that feels. Lean in to the table and speak quietly to your players. Be aware of how your presentation creates that intimate atmosphere that makes up feminine horror.
Home is where everyone wants to feel they are safe. The PCs expect something terrible to happen if they spend the night in a mineshaft rumored to be haunted by the men who died in an awful accident, but not when they’re relaxing at home with a nice cup of tea. Yet the best time to spring horror on characters is when their players assume they’re safe. Perverting the purpose of rooms to place the characters in jeopardy can bring new life to a horror game.
Marissa is playing one of a number of paranormal investigators and is discussing the probably haunted basement. When she goes to check, the basement door is open and Sarah, the GM, describes how the sunny kitchen darkens and Marissa feels a presence behind her. It chases her into a bedroom, where Marissa hides under the bed and watches hooves walk around and check the closet before leaving. Is it really gone? Sarah tells Marissa she’ll have to leave safety to find out.
Space and underneath the ocean, even wilderness that stretches to the horizon, can be unsettling. Feeling utterly alone except for things that creep in the darkness can be an excellent theme for a horror game—even better if it doesn’t start out that way. You can better experience absence when there was something there to begin with. Women can be particularly vulnerable to this fear, as women are often shown as prey, such as in the wilderness for groups of men, or when isolated and having to rely on their own physicality for survival.
A crew tasked with exploring the remote depths of the ocean find themselves isolated inside of the compartments of their deep sea vessel, all too aware of the distance between themselves and any outside help. Pick off crew members one at a time, making their demise seem innocent for as long as you can. Then enlist those players to assist with GMing duties, and watch the final survivor gasp for breath.
An early theme of horror was the line between humanity and the monstrous (all love to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley), and it continues to fascinate people even now. Not only do women deal with the changing of their body during puberty, childbirth, and menopause, but their very identities can be challenged during these times. Far worse than filling up your mental stress track is to lose control over your very being, and to become what you fear. This can be literal, with characters slowly transforming into monsters (see “Body Horror” for more on this), or subtler, with the players slowly realizing that their end goal isn’t as benevolent as they thought. Give your players all the rope they need before they find that they’ve rationalized themselves into a worse situation than they would have guessed.
Sarah is playing a private investigator hired to find a lost family heirloom. Marissa, the GM, tells her that if she hands it over she could receive untold riches and power—at the reasonable price of a human sacrifice or two. Sarah thinks it over and agrees, provided those being sacrificed are not innocents. Marissa grins and agrees to these new terms.
Gaslighting, named after the 1944 movie Gaslight, is a manipulative technique where the victims are told that reality is not as they perceive it to be, with the goal of making them doubt their own senses or sanity. Although this can be used on both men and women, it is associated with women and tropes around their unreliability in relating their own experiences.
This trope creates a sense of dread at the table by exposing a creepy, terrifying, or horrific act to the PCs, and then introducing a character who seems to not notice anything amiss. A subtler example is to set up a scene where it appears an NPC is doing something horrible, but then to expose it as something innocuous.
Use setting or character aspects to bring gaslighting into your game. Doubt Your Own Senses and Lost and Found can be used to mechanize this idea explicitly. Using character aspects (especially feminine aspects) makes this extremely personal, while using setting aspects makes it an overarching theme of your game to which all players (and NPCs) are vulnerable.
Doubt Your Own Senses allows both player and GM to rewrite an event previously assumed in play, (such as a declaration that a re-appearance of a serial killer was merely a tree branch scratching a window) and can be invoked by the player to pretend everything is fine, or compelled to lure the character into dangerous situations.
Marissa is playing a young tenant in a haunted apartment building. She has the Doubt Your Own Senses aspect, and Sarah, the GM, compels it to lure her character further into a dimly-lit laundry room filled with odd-shaped shadows and strange noises, while offering the knowledge that Marissa’s cute neighbor, Jose, usually does his laundry at this time.
Lost and Found can be invoked or compelled in a similar manner, allowing players to attempt to find advantageous items, while the GM takes them away at key points.
Sarah is playing an urban explorer who has broken into an abandoned factory. She has Lost and Found, and Marissa, the GM, compels it so that when Sarah puts down her bolt cutters to retie her boot, it is gone when she stands up. Later the bolt cutters show up again in the wrong person’s hands.
Feminine Horror in Action
Much of the following section revolves around bodies—the things that can happen inside them, the things that can go wrong with them, and the things we do with them. We’ve outlined a few ideas and included some examples to get you started.
Lingering Issues vs Impending Issues
Feminine horror is often about the things that follow the characters rather than the new situations they encounter along the way. To represent the haunting horrors that trail protagonists, you can use lingering issues instead of impending issues.
Lingering issues cling to the PCs, haunting their steps and threatening to make the world worse as they continue to cause problems. Protagonists tackling these issues are trying to keep the world from slipping into chaos or destruction. Examples: the death of a child, crippling alcoholism, the last exorcism you performed.
Sensuality and horror have a common theme of building tension and a mounting need for release. There is a trope of female sexuality being contagious, infecting unwary men and innocent women alike, with society trying to control it through reminders of possible dire consequences such as STIs and pregnancy, and labels such as slut and prude. However, many women also find power in their sexuality and how they express it. Frequently society deals with this empowerment by portraying them as predatory and obsessive—sometimes even beyond death itself.
Adding overt or subverted elements of feminine sexuality to a horror game is the perfect way to spice things up. Some literal embodiment of frightening female sexuality—gorgons, maenads, furies, and so forth—may be just the thing, or you can take a fear and turn it into a supernatural force. If there’s a sexually transmitted marker that attracts death, do the players try to stop it—or do they seduce anyone bent on punishing their licentious ways, thus turning the tables? You can enact a social stigma for promiscuous PCs that follows those they spread their infection to, apply it to those who aren’t sexually active—or both! Focus on the juxtaposition between sexuality and contagion.
The PCs are drawn to a house that’s reported to be haunted by a particularly licentious ghost. They all have their own motivations for going: exorcising troubled spirits, speaking to loved ones who have passed, proving that their skepticism of an afterlife is well-founded. Once inside, however, those who encounter the ghost temporarily have their feminine horror aspect overridden by the aspect Act Out Physical Desires. When they share a moment of intimacy with another PC, they can spend a fate point to pass it on, unless they would rather keep it. While they have this aspect, you can compel them to act recklessly in order to fulfill the physical desires the ghost in the house can no longer feel.
Suggested Feminine Horror Aspects
That’s My Kink: PCs might not usually engage in sexual behavior that exposes them to the Act Out Physical Desires aspect, but there’s that one thing that works for them.
I Got Mine: A PC with this aspect has no moral qualms about infecting others with the Act Out Physical Desires aspect, as long as they get their sexual pleasure.
Double-jointed: You bend all the ways. Gain +2 to Athletics when you’re contorting yourself to do something out of a normal person’s range of motion while someone else is watching.
Dirty Mind: Once per conflict, you can spend a fate point to create the aspect Distracted with a free invoke on anyone you’re flirting with. Distracted disappears if someone successfully inflicts stress on your character.
Name: Channer Dankworth
High Concept: Medium Hawking His Talents
Trouble: Crushing Debt
Channer is walking a fine line between true believer and huckster. He believes the path to fame and fortune lies in getting his own reality show about ghost hunting, even though he knows it will be at the expense of truly helping the ghosts. Those student loans need to get paid, and he likes all the attention.
Name: Harper Ajax
High Concept: Widow Seeking Answers
Trouble: Denying the Truth
Harper misses her deceased husband, Barnaby, to a distracting degree. She believes Channer can help her contact her lost love, and she will go to any lengths to do so. After all, surely there is a perfectly rational explanation for all the jewelry belonging to other women Harper found after Barnaby died...
Dark Spirits: It’s nearing All Hallow’s Eve and something more sinister than children in masks is lurking. A family just moved into the big old house at the end of the block, but what started as strange whisperings and creaking floorboards has turned into a desperate struggle to survive. The move took all the money they had, but somehow they found the number of a paranormal investigations crew, their last hope before their family is consumed by these dark spirits acting out their last desires.
In addition to the Dark Spirits and the threat it poses, there are a number of other lingering issues that will cause the investigators problems in the future.
The Allure of Alcohol: It’s always been there and there is no way out. Sometimes it makes the day tolerable, other times its grip is unbearable, and it usually compromises your judgment.
Everyone has lost someone, but she was such a sweet girl with little knowledge of the world. Crossed over, some say, but in your travels you haven’t seen her. You can’t hold her in your arms one last time.
Face: Mr. White
A loyal cameraman, investigations didn’t used to be his full time gig—some of the cases he even did pro-bono—but things got messy at his day job when his porn stash was found, and Mr. White was fired.
Veteran Investigators: You’ve seen things, heard things, and you know the darkness looked back. What happened at the last paranormal scene you investigated? Can you ever forget that feeling?
Face: The Voice
A dark guttural noise that rises from within. Being a medium is a useful skill in the business, but how long before the other side uses you as a doorway to cross back and take over your body? It’s only happened once. Maybe it won’t be heard from again?
For years she suffered. Left in that damp basement to rot as a forgotten plaything. Long after her body gave out, her ghost remained, dragging herself across the floor by a fleshy stump, reaching out, jaw distended. But it was too much to handle, and Bethany was once again left there...by the only ones who could have helped.
Blood is a scary thing that means injury in most cases, but it also symbolizes life and transformation, especially in the transition from childhood to adulthood. It is often associated with occult rituals and sacrifice. The changing body of a teenager is a perfect canvas for horror.
For many young women, their own maturing bodies can be confusing or even something to be feared. Even if you’ve been told about the process, actually experiencing the blood, cramps, and mood swings can be terrifying. It can feel like your own body has turned against you, and it’s even worse for young women who aren’t prepared. These feelings are often connected to nature, with the cyclical nature of the moon mirroring a woman’s cycle. This identification with nature also showcases the sheer brutality of the natural world: rabbits eat their young, wolves target the weak and sick, and thrushes store their living prey on thorn bushes for a delayed meal.
Making the developing body of a teen into a parallel for developing witchy powers isn’t a stretch. In Fate, your players can pick what type of talent their character has, but it should manifest in unexpected or disturbing ways. Magic powers sound cool, but can be quite horrific if you are unprepared, can’t control them, or if others view them with a wary eye. When using these themes in your game, focus on how the changes in the PCs’ bodies make them feel different from their peers and change their concept of themselves, and highlight the harm they unwillingly cause to those around them through their impulsive actions.
The PCs have just begun training as witch hunters, a sacred calling in their country. Teenagers from across the land competed for the honor, but only the very best are selected to join the Order of Hunters. During the young hunters’ initiation ritual, one of the PCs overperforms and gains Bleed for Power in her feminine horror aspect slot. Now she can unleash this greater power every time she bleeds. The aspect can be compelled for paranoid, foolhardy, or violent behavior.
Suggested Feminine Horror Aspects
Actually a Witch: A character with this aspect is prone to brutal acts of violence, but only when they’re alone with a target.
Torn Loyalties: A character with this aspect feels attached to the witches they hunt, in spite of witnessing atrocities committed by them.
Apex Predator: When you use Empathy to create an advantage on a neutral NPC, gain an additional free invoke on the aspect you create, even on a tie.
Animal Magnetism: Whenever you are in the company of animal allies, gain +2 to overcome fear or terror using Will.
Name: Elizavetta Roth
High Concept: Headmistress of the Order
Trouble: Fell for the Wrong Girl
Elizavetta Roth is the headmistress of the witch hunter academy. She takes her job very seriously, although she’s not above showing favoritism towards the students she’s had a hand in shaping. Roth has a brisk manner and enforces the rules with an iron fist...unless it’s her beloved, Adelheid Engel, who is breaking them.
Name: Adelheid Engel
High Concept: Power Hungry Sleuth
Trouble: Bit off More than She Can Chew
Adelheid Engel teaches the students the history of witches, the secret wars, and past heroes of the Order, but she has delved far deeper in the dark secrets of witches than anyone knows. She’s in too deep, and it’s starting to affect her teaching, her hygiene, and her relationships with other people. Adelheid doesn’t really love Elizavetta, and she’s lost track of the line between human and witch.
Witch Hunt: Witches, still living among the innocent, plague society with violence, curses, death, and ruin. If left unchecked, the streets would surely run red with blood and witches would rise up as supreme. From coast to coast, the Order has been preparing for a yearly purge by training the next generation of witch hunters.
In addition to the Witch Hunt and the threat it poses, there are a number of other lingering issues that will cause the students problems in the future.
Buried History: An ancient conspiracy between the Order and the witches has begun to surface. Dark alliances, recorded in blood, have passed down a magical pact that can no longer be ignored.
Face: Damien the Warbird
A celebrated hero among the witch hunters, Damien was accused of being a part of the conspiracy and outed as a cowardly villain.
Face: Selena, Queen of the Witches
Recently awakened in a young woman’s body, Selena is back to collect on past debts.
The Power of Ash: “Burn her! Burn her!” they all scream. Who knew you could get so high off this stuff? The addictive properties of the ashes of burned witches has made many men rich.
Face: Jamie the Funeral Director
Jamie just burns whatever bodies he’s given and doesn’t ask too many questions. But his new business partner has been collecting the ashes of a lot of dead youth who could be witches.
Face: Monica the Police Inspector
Monica has been investigating a series of mysterious disappearances and the appearance of a strange new substance on the market.
From Aliens to Rosemary’s Baby, horror often features a strong fear of being invaded, of harboring something wrong inside your own body. Take Aliens, for example—the protagonists face an outside fear, something beyond comprehension that has found its way inside. It’s also a bodily invasion of a sort male characters do not normally fear.
There are many fun ways to impregnate PCs with alien parasites and demonic babies. Just listen to what kind of themes your table is interested in and go for it. Some may be comfortable with exploring depraved demonic beings, others may enjoy a more disease-like infection—i.e., “big things have small beginnings”—but it’s also perfectly fine to hand wave or choose a different route to show how their character was “impregnated,” as the game’s focus is on the aftermath, not the inciting event. Movies frequently use memory loss or dream sequences that are fragmented and non-linear; you can do the same.
Making the unnatural nature of the pregnancy explicit to the infected can be a powerful way to build dread in your game. Rather than going straight for demonspawn, start out by setting the scene for subtle body horror as the characters experience things about themselves that just don’t seem right—a feeling of shifting weight and painful growth within their body, distorted reflections, clothes that no longer fit, and unusual cravings.
The PCs don’t have to be pregnant, or even biologically capable of such a thing, to be carrying some sort of alien parasite around, but pregnancy can serve as a model for the ways in which the PCs’ bodies seem to change. Focus on the unnaturalness of the space that surrounds the characters and crawls inside them.
The PCs are on a long-term space mission and are currently out of hi-tech hibernation to perform some routine maintenance. They discover an alien artifact and bring it back on board. Then a bunch of readings start being off, and the scanner keeps reporting people in different locations than they actually are. Doors inexplicably close and lock themselves, and one PC is trapped in a room that temporarily loses life support. When they’re taken back to the medical division, it’s discovered that they now have a rapidly growing parasite inside them, gaining the Host mild consequence and the Maternal Instinct stunt. They can spend a fate point to pass the Host consequence and Maternal Instinct stunt to another player, or give them the Fatalist mild consequence. While any PC has this consequence, it can be compelled to make the PC take risks to figure out what’s going on or put themselves in danger to save others.
Suggested Feminine Horror Aspects
More Human Than Human: PCs with this aspect may not be aware they are artificial beings, but it makes sense once they know. They may welcome infestation by the alien parasite, as they are not able to reproduce, or may not understand other players’ reluctance to become a host.
Perfectly Formed: Infected PCs can use this to extend their senses beyond what is normally possible.
Maternal Instinct: Gain +2 to Fight when you’re trying to protect the parasite from harm.
Nuke It from Orbit: Treat any success using improvised explosives as a success with style.
Name: Alexi Chownyk
High Concept: Head Medical Officer
Trouble: The Bottle Rules Me
Alexi would be a great doctor if they didn’t drink so much. They’ve been assigned to this mission to keep them out of the way of anything important. Alexi does love a medical challenge and would jump at the chance to investigate any physical anomalies.
Name: Gotzon Castell
High Concept: Naive Engineer
Trouble: Far Too Trusting
Gotzon didn’t know signing up for deep space missions would be this boring—or this lonely. He’s young and a bit dumb, but has a knack for fixing things. Gotzon would jump to protect anyone, probably because he doesn’t really believe in his own mortality.
Hull Breach: They are inside the ship, in the dark, scuttling around the air ducts, waiting for their chance to strike. Sometime during hypersleep there was a hull breach and an alien lifeform made its way onboard. Now that it’s here, not everyone may have the crew’s best interests at heart. This undocumented species could be a valuable asset to the inner ring.
In addition to the Hull Breach and the threat it poses, there are a number of other lingering issues that will cause the crew problems in the future.
Compulsory Sterilization: Missions into deep space are highly regulated and to get the job, you must agree to be sterilized. Crewmembers give up their reproductive rights to keep the mission running to spec and within budget.
Face: Tyrone the A.I.
He’s the responsible, calculating, and handsome caretaker of the crew. He likes to be called “Ty” by his fellow crewmembers, but his priorities seem just left of being human. He’s a natural fit to gaslight the characters.
Face: Commander Gabledone
The oldest of the crew, she had a life before this as a highly decorated officer, wife, and mother. Over-friendly and talkative, the commander likes to boast about her children back home.
Xeno Artifact: The discovery of an alien artifact is a historic and profitable success for the mission, but strange things start to happen once it is brought aboard.
Face: Lieutenant Lee
This happy-go-lucky officer was restricted to the medical bay after a sudden and brutal suicide attempt where he ripped his own eyes out.
Face: Grand Counselor Maylynn
She has a vested interest in recovering the Xeno Artifact in order to install it as a symbol of her religious faction’s power.