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Tabletop Game / The Book of Unremitting Horror

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The Book of Unremitting Horror was originally a d20 System supplement which detailed the horrific entities of the "Outer Dark Mythos". This was subsequently incorporated into the background of both The Esoterrorists and Fear Itself, which both use the GUMSHOE rules system, and so the second edition of the supplement, using GUMSHOE rules mechanics, serves as a supplement for both those games.

The Book of Unremitting Horror provides examples of:

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  • An Arm and a Leg: The mortician's bone saw can cut out a head or limb in seconds. A missing arm or leg can easily spell the end of a PC, who might need months to recuperate while other characters need to get on with their cases.
  • The Anti-Christ: There's a cult of serial killers trying to cause the birth of the avatar of the Empty One, the god of serial killers. If this should happen, the Empty One will usher in the End Times as serial killers come out of the woodwork en masse.
  • Beast Man: Feral Drowners are giant goat-men hybrids of ancient age. Unlike your standard depiction of a beastman (which is usually just an uglier mook for an adventurer to disembowel), a Feral Drowner is basically a Monster Lord and as such they're the most physically mightiest beings in the book outside of the godlike entities, the book even warns about using them in a game as they can easily wipe out a party of investigators.
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  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Torture dogs resemble giant mammalian cyborg weevils, with whirring power drills between their oversized, prehensile mandibles.
  • Body Horror:
    • A death tapper infects victims with a disease known as Churning Rot. It begins with violent diarrhoea and vomiting, then the organs liquefy and the victim dies in conscious pain as they vomit and excrete their own innards.
    • When a body violated by the Practice is opened, one can see that organs have been snipped free and grotesque stitches merge parts that do not belong together, as if the corpse had exploded from within.
  • Brown Note: The clootie's gaze and howl fill anyone who see or hear them with terror.
  • Came Back Strong: The Organ Grinder can upgrade itself after being defeated, upgrades vary from simply growing larger, to bolting on heavy armour or adding a more powerful weapon. Eventually it can become even more powerful physically than a Feral Drowner (the creature that's normally the #1 brute in the book).
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  • Chest Burster: When a skitch grows large enough, it gnaws its way out of the host, leaving behind a corpse chewed to the bone.
  • Creepy Child: Children being preyed upon by Kooks look anaemic and behave like victims of abuse. They are withdraw, pale, do repetitive activities, and look like shielding themselves from adults who can no longer be trusted, but are in truth protecting themselvesfrom the mundane world, which is dangerous and loathsome compared to the endless summer offered by Kooks.
  • Cyborg: The organ grinder is a half-organic, half-mechanical monster made of both rotten flesh and metal. It only operates according to strict parameters, but is impossible to tire out.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Doesn't matter if a person is a man or woman, Feral Drowners see humans as nothing more than prey to be hunted for rape and then murder.
  • Dream Land: Dream tearers live in the Dreaming Realm, a vague and insubstantial plane of existence that connects the dreams of people. Sleeping people always enter it when they enter REM sleep. Every person has their own closed dream plane, and entering others' dreams is dangerous and very difficult.
  • Driven to Suicide: The bleeder's cuts are addictive, and cause more stress if not received regularly. Those who are calmed by them begin to crave them, and when the bleeder moves onto a different subject, they begin to cut themselves, culminating with one or two final deep cuts to escape life. Some suspicious commentators have suggested that the eventual suicide is the real objective of the bleeder.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Shatterers enter the world by hijacking a ritual designed to summon another creature, and have the ability to break almost all enchantments and bindings normally placed upon demons. Their favourite meal is summoners who attempt to call up and control something that they believed within their competence.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Feral drowners exude a sickeningly foul stink, like when an old, mouldy goat skin is buried in reedy mud for a couple of weeks.
  • Eyeless Face: The Man in the Bar has no eyes, just a blank expanse where eyes ought to be.
  • Eye Scream: Victims of the Man of the Bar all have their eyes desiccated and collapsed within their sockets, while the rest of the body is undamaged.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Victims of the Practice are kept alive (and worse, conscious) by its nurses, even as their organs lie scattered around them, heightening their suffering as the surgeons operate.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Feral drowners are bestial creatures resembling hybrids of humans and goats that often violate victims before killing them.
  • Fetus Terrible: When the Empty One's avatar is born, he'll burst from his womb, killing his mother. He's a killer before he's even born.
  • Flesh Golem: A snuff golem is formed from body parts, electrical equipment and butcher's tools, and can create its own homunculus servitors from the remains of its victims.
  • Fright Death Trap: Outsiders heighten the victim's emotions, making them more vulnerable to shock and allowing others to scare them to death.
  • Glamour:
    • Kooks appear to children as beautiful fey children, surrounded by an aura of enjoyment. The sky is bluer, the sun seems warmer, the wind smells euphoric, and the child perceives the kook's words and actions as favourably as possible. Adults see then as happy, innocent children, but this is more difficult.
    • The Man in the Bar has no eyes, just a blank expanse where eyes ought to be, but most people will perceive him as he wishes to be: a tall, nondescript man.
    • An ovvashi looks like a derelict with multiple rows of triangular shark-like teeth, and is capable of psychically influence people to ignore this telltale sign of its inhuman nature.
    • Sisterites can twist their victim's perceptions, making him see her abandoned house as a nightclub, muck water as champagne, and the sisterite herself as a beautiful woman instead of the monster she really is.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The blossomer's purpose is to impregnate all female members of its cult, they'll give birth to half-human, half-ODE daemons gifted with the powers of their heritage.
  • Hook Hand: Clooties have hooks intead of hands, and can use these hooks to rip its victims' bodies.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: A drowner's empty eyes urge victims to let go of the world and dive down the water.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The summoning ritual of a blossomer involves the cult putting its would-be host on an altar and eating his body from the waist down with only their teeth and nails. Once the blossomer is summoned and finishes its job, the mothers-to-be need to eat the rest of the body.
  • Invisible Monsters: Shatterers can manifest invisible, fooling prey into thinking that their summoning ritual failed.
  • Made of Iron: Many of the creatures in the book are superhumanly tough and on top of that, many are extra resistant to getting shot or beaten up in melee. This is why the Ordo Veritas has specialized kill-teams with heavy weapons.
  • Mind over Matter: Outsiders can telekinetically shove objects or people away from them to avoid combat.
  • Never Sleep Again: Dream tearers hunt by entering sleeping minds and tearing its apart, killing the body. Victims that have been pursued across multiple nights typically have taken precautions against falling asleep.
  • The Omnipotent: The Mystery Man, at least on a local scale, is virtually omnipotent and the book states its by far the most powerful being in the game. The only thing it won't do with its godlike Reality Warper powers is directly harm its victims, but it will do anything else to almost guarantee that it wins. The Empty One doesn't have any power descriptions, because it hasn't been born yet but it's implied that it will be a being on a similar if lesser level to the Mystery Man.
  • One-Hit Kill: A few creatures have abilities that can spell instant death for the victim, like the dementia larva's decapitation, or the mortician's bone saw.
  • Organ Theft: The Practice steals organs from living, conscious humans so that its members can replace their own rotting ones.
  • Our Zombies Are Different:
    • When a person dies when overwhelmed by an extraordinarily strong need or addiction, the craving can sometimes hold the diseased spirit to the body as a blood corpse. Unlike the shambling zombies of Romero's movies, blood corpses are cunning, and lurk in places where the dregs of society go so they could feed on their blood. Otherwise, they are not very intelligent and aren't able to think much beyond drinking blood.
    • Morticians of the Practice can create ad hoc zombie assistants from dead bodies. These zombies are not intelligent or capable of independent thought, and follow the command of a member of the Practice that addresses them directly.
  • Outdated Outfit: Members of the Practice often wear dated clothing spanning centuries of style, from medieval, Hellenistic to Ancient Egyptian.
  • The Paralyzer:
    • The Practice's nurses' fingernails inject a paralysing liquor into their victim's bloodstream, preventing them from reacting and ruining the surgeons' work as they operate on them.
    • The touch of a sleep hag causes the victim to wake up, aware of their surroundings, but unable to move a muscle other than opening their eyes.
  • Primal Fear: Feral Drowners were apex predators from a nightmarish epoch when humans barely crawled out of caves and were little more than prey for these abominations to rape and kill. As such, seeing a Feral Drawner will cause an instinctive panic reaction from the reptilian parts of the human brain. This is bad news, not only does the fear greatly inhibits a person's ability to fight the Feral Drowner, Feral Drowners can feed off fear to grow even stronger.
  • Poisonous Person:
    • Torture dogs inject psychotropic toxins into the bloodstreams of their victims, which heighten their consciousness of pain, while keeping them awake for marathon torture sessions.
    • Scourgers have tiny sacs under their nails, holding a venom that causes a maddening itch on those they wound.
  • Resurrective Immortality: There are a number of creatures that will eventually back up after they've been physically destroyed. Clooties and Strap Throat can manifest again shortly after they've "killed", there is no way of killing these beings. Bleeders and Organ Grinders can also come back to life, though they can be killed permanently with the proper method (Bleeders need their original corpses unearthed and destroyed, while all Organ Grinders have a different Kryptonite Factor like acid or fire, etc.)
  • Snuff Film: A snuff movie that preserves a victim's last hours can sometimes result in the creation of a creature even more nightmarish, the snuff golem.
  • Soul Eating: When a victim dies through its machinations, an ovvashi consumes the soul, leaving behind no psychic residue, ghost, spirit, or even emotional vibration.
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: The touch of a mortician of the Practice can cause living bodies to burn into a greasy, lumpy residue with parts of limbs still visible, leaving the surroundings untouched. Many cases of 'spontaneous human combustion' were caused by morticians trying to get rid of someone who learnt too much.
  • Touch of Death: A mortician's touch can cause bodies to burst into strange invisible flames.
  • Twincest: In order to create the avatar of the Empty One upon Earth, two seasoned cultist serial killers of opposite sex must copulate and give birth to twins of opposite sex, whose incestuous union will produce a child that will be the Empty One. As one might imagine, this is almost impossible to enact.
  • Vampiric Draining: Blood corpses rampage insatiably for human blood, consuming it through hollow claws.
  • Was Once a Man:
    • When a person is exposed to monstrous visions of nightmare, he dies internally and the shell of the person stumbles away from what he has seen, forever changed. The most extreme result is a complete transformation into something inhuman, misshapen and savage: the dementia larva.
    • Potential bleeders are taken to a special sanctuary where existing bleeders hang them by the ankle and cut them all over, transforming them into bleeders after 24 hours.
    • Victims of a workman in their underground home join their ranks, slaving eternally for more scraps of emotional residue.
    • Kooks drain the living essence from children, who become kooks once totally drained.
    • Members of the Practice were once medical practitioners that dabbled in things they shouldn't have and got turned into monsters.
  • Willing Channeler: In order to allow a demon cult's patron to blossom inside its female members, it needs a host in the form of a high-ranking male member willing to die for the cause.

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