Designer’s Diary: Creep, Skrag, Creep!
By Stephen Newton
“De Keradel is an enthusiast, and thorough. Like Napoleon, he knows that you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs; nor can you have meat without cattle; nor human sacrifices without humans.”
– Creep, Shadow!, Abraham Merritt
I chose that quote to set the mood for the DCC Horror adventure, Creep, Skrag, Creep! It is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite Appendix N authors, Abraham Merritt – author of The Moon Pool, Burn, Witch, Burn!, and Seven Footprints to Satan. Fans of Creep, Shadow! will spot some familiar NPC names, locations, and artifacts from that novel.
But when you look closer, Creep, Skrag, Creep! draws even more inspiration from the movies Alien, The Thing, and Halloween. The way I described it to my playtesters: They Served Brandolyn Red was an homage to ghost movies, The Corpse That Love Built was my homage to the Universal monster movies, and Creep, Skrag, Creep! is my homage to unstoppable stalking monster movies. If looking for Merritt Easter eggs is not enough to pique your curiosity, allow me to offer the additional following reasons to check out the adventure:
Avast, captain! There be spoilers ahead…
The bulk of the adventure takes place on a sailing vessel in open water. As the PCs explore the ghost ship they find themselves stranded on, they will have the opportunity to immerse themselves with some of the customs of life on the sea. Tattoos that bestow mystical properties, eclectic herbs harvested from strange lands, and the superstitions followed by those whose very lives depend on capricious tides may prove useful to the wise sailor.
There’s a mystery to be solved! As is common in many classic horror films, clues to the origins of their predicament, as well as the nature of their antagonist, can be discovered through cautious exploration and investigation. The party’s survival likely depends on uncovering the wisdom of the felled crew and learning from their mistakes.
It’s a funnel that puts the T in TPK! Approximately 80% of the playtest parties resulted in TPKs. I do believe the adventure is survivable (by a few PCs anyway), and there are some tips for judges on how to increase the odds to allow a few lucky sailors to see 1st level. But for judges looking to get some usage out of their “DEAD” stamp, this adventure should be a welcome aid at their table.
I hope judges and players enjoy playing this adventure as much as I did writing and playtesting it.
Grab yourself a copy of Creep, Skrag, Creep! at your FLGS today! Or, you can pick one up from our online store!