Mysterious Monday – Freaky Winter Edition

The time is right for another installment of Mysterious Monday. Over the past several years, we’ve published these short story hooks, at times creepy and generally weird, for you to use as inspiration for your next game. If you enjoy reading these or put any of them to use in your own game, let us know in the comments below. The more feedback we get, the more likely we are to publish them more frequently; they are fun to write, after all. In writing this installment, we’re continuing the new format we launched in our last installment, Mysterious Monday – The Summer Edition. Following each hook, several bulleted prompts are provided to help get your scenario creation juices flowing.

Mid-Winter Encounter

Winter has come to the city. It’s snowing again for the umpteenth time, and the plows will be out in force tonight. Sodium-vapor lamps cast their light from on high, bathing the area in a sickly yellow glow, with shadows encroaching. Just ahead, a well-dressed man leans against a storefront, flipping a small shiny object into the air, partially bathed in the lamplight. Somewhere nearby, a car horn honks, echoing through mostly empty streets. The man is gone. Where he once stood, only a single set of footprints remain. A small heavy object strikes the sidewalk with a metallic ring, displacing the snow. It rolls momentarily, wobbles, and comes to rest a few feet away. It is a large, heavy-looking coin.

  • Who is the man, and why does he stand out on this cold, snowy night?
  • Does his presence foreshadow something helpful or hurtful?
  • What happens if the coin is picked up?
  • What does the coin look like, and what is significant about it?

Service Before Self

University is a time of self-exploration and finding one’s self. Gretchen Simpson, an eighteen-year-old from Whitby, a quaint English town, is attending Princeton University. Following the winter break, Gretchen is homesick, and depression is setting in. Roommate Heather Cargill, an outgoing and charismatic young woman, suggests she join her in volunteering with the Sisters of the Rose, a local civic and religious organization doing charitable works within the community. With nothing to lose, Gretchen agrees. Her funk soon abates, her grades increase, and her pride swells from the works she and Heather are doing. When the school year ends, Gretchen decides to stay in the States with fellow Sisters to continue her work. Move-in day comes and goes for the fall semester, and Heather can neither find Gretchen in the residence hall nor does she answer her cell phone. Her voicemail greeting appears to have been changed to say “You’ve reached Gretch, I’m a wee bit busy down at the Princeton soup kitchen, leave me a message and I’ll call you back.” The voice is Gretchen’s but it lacks her usual energy. Faint and barely audible, the sound of water lapping can be heard between the words in her greeting—Heather knows Gretchen to be deathly afraid of water.

  • What type of charitable work do the Sisters of the Rose do and for whom?
  • Who funds the Sisters of the Rose? Do they have ulterior motives?
  • Are the Sisters a cult with a public face? If so, what is their dark secret?
  • What happened to Gretchen over the summer? Does Heather have cause to worry?

Heavy Victor 266

Military cargo flight, call sign “Heavy Victor 266,” is making a routine flight from North America to Europe via the designated northern air route for military flights. Three hours into the flight, and with no indication on Doppler Radar, they encounter a massive winter storm just south of Greenland. The crew contacts the tower at Thule Air Base, Greenland, for permission to deviate course; with no active storms on their radar, the request is denied. Unable to avoid the storm, “Heavy Victor 266” soon finds itself in whiteout conditions. The plane is buffeted about, the computer systems become erratic, screens flash, electricity arcs from most surfaces, and an eerie green glow engulf the flight deck. As a result, autopilot disengages, and the crew struggles to keep “Heavy Victor 266” at level flight and on course. Radioing the tower again, “Thule tower, this is ‘Heavy Victor 266’ do you copy? … Repeat, Thule tower, this is ‘Heavy Victor 266’ do you copy?” Although they can hear income radio calls, neither Thule tower nor “Heavy Victor 266” can make radio contact with one another. The tower continues to follow “Heavy Victor 266” as they veer off course and are now over Greenland. Ten minutes later, “Heavy Victor 266’s” radar signature disappears.

  • What is the cause of the winter storm that does not appear on weather radar?
  • What is the origin of the green glow inside the flight deck?
  • Did “Heavy Victor 266” go down over Greenland, or did something else happen?
  • Did anyone survive? If so, what becomes of them?

~ Modoc

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