Molding a Monster: the Locksmith

The Locksmith is a corrupted humanoid, its pallid flesh splitting with myriad orifices – lipless mouths, nostrils, arseholes – that form and collapse within moments.

The Locksmith can only pass through sealed thresholds. An open door holds it back as much as a wall does.

Game Statistics : Abilities (Athletics 6, Health 5, Scuffling 8); Hit Threshold 4; Stealth Modifier +1, Stability Loss: +1.

Weapon : Skin-on-skin contact heals the target d6 Health points – if target Health is full, it seals their sensory (eyes, ears) or respiratory (nose mouth) orifices. Every strike incurs a five point stability test.

Armour : Wounds caused by piercing and cutting immediately heal over. Fire cleanses it of orifices for a moment but deals no lasting damage. Blunt force trauma will harm the locksmith.

What lies above is probably my favourite horrific creature I’ve ever brought about. It forms the killer in my scenario for the RPG Geek GUMSHOE one-sheet contest.

Originally, the thought came to mind when I spotted a bricked up window in a London side-street.  I remember learning about the window tax as a child, and suddenly was struck with the realisation that these are essentially permanently sealed thresholds.  This train of thought continued, largely from a perspective of justifying weirdnesses.  What if a creature could only pass through sealed thresholds?  What would its lair look like?

The building is labyrinthine and almost all of the doors and windows are sealed tight, be they through sturdy lock or wood and nail. Of course, the Locksmith can pass through these thresholds so long as they are sealed. So long as it is able, the Locksmith will attack and retreat guerilla-style.

From the decision of its movements, I began to think of the way it would harm people — and the very best way I manage that is to go heavily overboard on the same image. So, further sealed thresholds: though in this case, the orifices of the body…

How can I do this myself?

  1. Find something weird in the real world — an interesting staring point
  2. Extrapolate from this — how could something strange exploit this?
  3. Continue from there — if this, then what?

I’d love to hear where you start & what you end up with!  Share your favourite monsters in the comments below.

Molding a Monster: the Locksmith

Modern-Day Monsters

What follows is penned by a good friend of mine, whose blog you should all read, and if you follow me on Twitter, whose links thereto you’ll have seen. You should read the following; it needs no introduction:

So, I write about different types of horror, and monsters to the ones your usual writer appears to. In fact, I focus entirely on the modern-day monsters, in some kind of insane attempt to understand just what they’re saying about us.

I’m sure all readers will appreciate and understand the current resurgence of the monster in popular culture, primarily in film and TV. And I’m sure you also have all noticed that the central figure is that of the vampire

Source: via Christina on Pinterest

There’s been a lot of backlash over how the figure has become ‘defanged’; I see no point in exploring that any further, as deconstructing texts like Twilight is too easy and a waste of time. More interesting is the sheer popularity of these monsters. The thirst we have for them seemingly unquenched – still, more and more vampire-related series and films are being produced. In thinking about this, and wondering just how we will look back on the period known as ‘fang-citement’ (as I have dubbed it), it occurred to me that these monsters are our modern day myths.

But instead of these myths being our own, “our core myths now belong to the corporations, rather than to the folk” as Jenkins notes in this article. We’ve imbued these figures with super powers – created them in the image of man, and unshackled them from the confines of social expectations. We idolise them, desire them and obsess over them (granted, not everyone does, but not everyone has a ‘religious’ impulse). They are our gods now, and we use them to explore our key issues and attitudes, rather than as a mere form of entertainment. 

This is why I find modern-day monsters so interesting. Because for those of us who do not share the arduous feelings towards fictional beings, analysing the root of these urges becomes an obsession itself. 

If you want to read more about modern-day monsters and their current cultural infestation, my usual blog can be found here.

Modern-Day Monsters