Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Brain-Case Contents (Random Table/Cthulhoid Games)

"You see there are four different sorts of beings presented in those cylinders up there. Three humans, six fungoid beings who can’t navigate space corporeally, two beings from Neptune (God! if you could see the body this type has on its own planet!), and the rest entities from the central caverns of an especially interesting dark star beyond the galaxy."
H.P. Lovecraft,

Whose Brain Is In the Brain-Case? (D30)
  1. The brain contained inside this case is in fact a hyperfolded trapezohedron that serves as the locus for a type of meta-temporal consciousness that does not recognize your silly monkey-babble as anything even remotely approaching language. It only communicates by way of high-order mathematics. The interface unit is damaged. Maybe it can be repaired. If you're lucky, you might get to ask it 1d4 questions before the unit fries once and for all.
  2. A singularly Terrible Old Man by nature reserved, an ancient sea-captain who has witnessed scores of things much beyond anything he knew or could describe from the far-off days of his unremembered youth. Once he had the spell-casting capabilities of a 12th level magic-user, now he barely remembers how to cast Summon Spectral Servitors.
  3. The sole survivor of an undocumented, clandestine expedition to a poorly documented location in Antarctica from which disturbing reports had been received through mysterious sources. This mission was part of Operation High Jump under the command of Admiral Byrd. This poor sap still thinks it's 1947...
  4. A Philosophic Mold infests the interior of this brain-case. It is deep in contemplation and does not wish to be disturbed.
  5. This is the slightly atrophied brain of a somber child who spent most of their time pondering over curious tomes and outre manuscripts that they discovered in their families' manse. The poor child desperately wants to go for a walk through the green woods of their ancestral estates and will break down into telepathically projected sobs after 1d4 minutes of being awakened.
  6. A dolphin's brain. It likes to tell dirty jokes and download porn, but hasn't had access to the outside for close to three hundred years.
  7. Over six hundred years old and as spiteful and vengeance-obsessed as any droog out on a Saturday night, Charles spent a great deal of time imprisoned within his ancestral crypts before being 'liberated' by the descendant of one of his former rivals. The descendant sold Charles's brain to the Mi-Go for approximately the price of a chicken, just to add insult to injury. He can only remain coherent if he makes a Save during each interaction--he is REALLY easy to set-off. Charles is a 14th level magic-user and has a great deal of expertise in alchemy, including the knowledge of how to create an elixir that can prolong life...at the cost of one's sanity and possibly soul.
  8. A tremendously compressed mass of fungal-based synaptic tissues fills this brain-case near to bursting. The incredible pressures exerted upon it for over several thousands of years have rendered the frenetically writhing fungi-brain nearly insensate. Mishandling this brain-case has a base 40% chance to cause the seals to rupture, spraying a concentrated cloud of fungal matter and spores across a 60' radius. It is not at all unlike Yellow Mold...
  9. This brain-case contains a wretched excuse for a brain extracted from a deranged cave-man abducted from a prototype-colony whose records have all been lost. This psychopath was used to drive/command a war-machine. That's about all they're really good for, unless you can somehow re-educate them.
  10. This red-sealed canister contains the surgically remediated criminal cerebral cortex of a fungal being whose species attempted to oppose and resist their integration into the Mi-Go collective. This being is telepathic, and hell-bent on taking revenge upon the Mi-Go...even if it means allying itself with mammals or worse.
  11. Cold, hard, black and almost beetle-like in its armored shell, this Tcho-Tchoid brain patiently sleeps. 
  12. This brain shows signs of having been exposed to intense heat, but was recovered and fitted with fungal synaptic plugs and bundles enabling it to remain somewhat functional. Unfortunately, the mind of this person remains severely damaged and they seem to be suffering from the delusion that they might in fact be descended from some sort of human-ape cross-breeding effort on the part of one of their close ancestors.There is no evidence to support this theory, but likewise, until someone tests the genetics (assuming a clean non-fungally-contaminated sample can be taken), there is also no way to refute the claim either. The curiosity-value of this brain might make it a good candidate for possible auctioning off at a star-port.
  13. This brain-case contains a fine grayish and granular salt-like powder. The prisoner finally remembered how to reduce someone to their essential saltes.
  14. The brain inside this case is that of an unknown and forgotten Greek philosopher from around the 2nd Century B.C. The interface module is only partly able to translate their continual mumbling. They are always referring to a strange green meadow no one else has ever seen or heard of before.
  15. This cannister contains a potent dreamer whose brain is now semi-translucent and no longer entirely real or material. A strange light seems to shimmer through the gellid mass, as though it were somehow being lit from within. They remain unresponsive, caught-up in their great dreaming.
  16. A collection of interpenetrating cubes of some strange metallic substance veined with tiny hair-like threads of silvery material that throb slightly. This thing was an explorer of strange new worlds until it ran afoul of the Mi-Go who were engaging in stripping away the upper atmosphere of the gas giant this being had only just discovered and claimed for their people.
  17. The lumpy, oyster-like mass inside this canister emits a bizarre, idiotic piping or whistling noise. If they are allowed to continue for more than 5 minutes at a stretch, treat it as a form of Summon Monster spell.
  18. There is a small monolith ensconced within this brain-case. It is slick, glossy and featureless.
  19. A cat's brain plugged into a series of harsh-looking electrodes. It is hungry, but has no mouth with which to eat.
  20. The undead brain of a ghoul wizard who is patiently biding his time.
  21. This brain-case holds the flabby brain of a Deep One, but unless one possesses some sort of special means to identify it as such, it appears pretty much like any other slightly degenerate humanoid brain-matter.
  22. A calm, cool and collected individual has found himself in something of a predicament vis a vis his brain has been extracted and placed within a machine that keeps it alive and apparently is intended to make use of it for some purpose that remains unexplained so far. He would very much like to return to his ship but has serious reservations about the ability of the medical staff onboard to be able to do much to help him reintegrate with his former body. This being is eminently reasonable and quite logical. Perhaps some sort of mutually beneficial arrangement might be arranged?
  23. The occupant of this cylinder is disoriented and communicates with a thick hill-folk accent. They complain of a hot needle sticking into their brain and are remarkably unhelpful to anyone attempting to help them or to release them.
  24. This brain seems to be that of a strangely modified pig. It is very intelligent, but not at all troubled with human concepts of morality or much of anything else. It is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and is very skilled in the manipulation and command of various surrogate constructs.
  25. A naughty Mi-Go has had their brain safely tucked away into this canister so it would no longer pollute the gene-pool with its deviant genes and alien, almost atavistic ways.
  26. The brain of an ape has been plugged into this cylinder. It claims to have been a general. No one believes it.
  27. Throbbing and squirming even as you watch, this brain is clearly something more than just a lump of thinking matter. A clear greenish fluid surrounds it and it is not alive according to any sensor or spell. If released, this reanimated brain will do everything it can to acquire a fresh body and to resume its ground-breaking work in medical science.
  28. This canister was damaged, the seals are broken and the fluid has leaked out, leaving behind a dessicated brain that might be recoverable as a sort of mummified thing.
  29. This cylinder houses the damaged brain of a K'n-man; healing this brain will allow them to use their psychic abilities to regenerate a new body or to attempt to dominate one of the weaker-willed members of whatever group attempts to release or communicate with her. This being has serious ambitions that remain completely undimmed by their captivity and even though their world has undoubtedly been destroyed (there were at least a dozen of the hollow orb arks sent out from Vhoorl containing K'n-men...).
  30. A Polypous Mass. Unfortunately it is a sample from the core brain-stem of a Polypous Invasion Mass...

Source: H. P. Lovecraft's classic short story from 1930, The Whisperer in Darkness is the obvious well-spring of dark inspiration for this particular table, but it owes as much to the odd group-collaboration 'The Challenge From Beyond.' One could easily expand upon this table by taking a look at 'The Horror at Red Hook,' which features quite a procession of horrors to draw upon, and possibly even Lovecraft's 'Through the Gates of the Silver Key,' and any number of his other tales...and then you could start looking at Clark Ashton Smith, etc. and really pile-on the disembodied brains. This table is dedicated to Albert R., creator of Terminal Space, who brought up the matter of what might be in some of those other Brain Cases when we were outlining our 'The Great Brain Case Escape' Adventure.

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