Weirdness happens. Strange things abound in the world, and not all of
them are caused by deliberate machinations. Statistically unlikely
events have to happen somewhere, inexplicable natural phenomena
do occur, and sometimes people just go insane. And when you have
characters with the Weirdness Magnet flaw... remember to spice up
their lives with bizarre events.
I figure that one-point Weirdness Magnet events are noteworthy,
two-point events distracting, three-point events inconvienient, and
four-point events completely derailing.
These should simply make people say, “Weird!”
- Weinermobile. An Oscar Meyer weinermobile (a large vehicle
shaped like a giant hot dog) goes by.
- Domestic violence. Someone in an argument throws something
through a window; sounds of arguments can be heard.
- Drugs, booze, chips... A person or people under the
influence make a public spectacle of themselves, or gets in trouble
- Minor stroke. A prisoner suffers a mild stroke during
the night and wakes up with a completely different accent than they
had before. (Foreign Accent Syndrome is a documented disorder,
though fewer than two dozen cases have been noted.)
- Genetic abnormalities. A person that the runners are
investigating turns out to be concealing the fact that they are
- Full frontal nudity. A streaker or flasher shows on
- Incompetent surgeons. Someone being extracted begins to
have bodily pains due to a surgical instrument (tweezers, forceps, a
spatula) left in their body from an operation from months or years ago.
(Alternatively, they discover a very small Siamese twin in the
person’s abdomen, or an extra set of kidneys and urethral ducts.)
- Proselytization. A bunch of Hare Krishnas come out singing
and offering flowers for sale, or Elvis cultists invite them to their
- Mistaken identity. A watcher spirit shows up and delivers
a message; a stray cat leaves a mouse at a character’s feet. Someone
mistakes the character for an old flame and consider the demurring
“I’m not them” to be a game the PC is playing.
- Visionary. A punked-out teenage girl approaches and offers
to give a character a makeover. A beetlehead decides they are the Messiah,
falls to the ground in worship and will obey them unquestioningly.
- Warped minds. An evil clown with a cruel grin on his
facepaint is making deformed balloon animals for a group of children,
“killing” some of them; some kids are frightened, some
are fascinated. A person sits at the edge of a jogging path with
a table labelled “FREE DONUTS”.
- Nastygram. The runners observe a man in a beekeeping suit
and a hive on the end of a branch get out of a van, approach someone’s
door, knock, and throw the hive in.
- The Trackers. A gang of dog-riding Dwarfs led by a Dog
shaman who bred the dogs as steeds.
- The Dwarf Throwers. A gang of Dwarfs and Trolls; the
Trolls throw their Dwarf pals at their enemies and then wade in
for support. Lots of combination moves.
These are likely to distractions that can disrupt the runners’ current
activities, but should not be a major pain.
- Bad autopilot programming. Someone botches programming
their autopilot, and a vehicle attempts to park somewhere it
shouldn’t, or perhaps it pauses in an inconvenient location and begins
saying “Ms. Brown, your ride is waiting” in a synthesized
voice. (This works quite well if you have robot cabs in your world.)
- Sex. Two or more people are engaged in sexual activities
somewhere that the runners would really prefer to be unobserved.
The people involved are distracted, so they can be snuck around, but
it’d be easier if they weren’t there.
- Weinermobile with maniac driver. An Oscar Meyer weinermobile
lurches around a corner, forcing everyone on the road to swerve to avoid
it as it hurtles pell-mell down the road.
- Execution. A gangland-style execution comes as a sudden
surprise. This can be a person dropped out of a plane, helicopter, or
LTA without a parachute (or dumped by an air elemental), someone running
screaming down the street and then having their head explode, or just
a dead body appearing in an inconvenient spot.
- Wandering animals. Cows running with the deer are also a
good weirdness event. Sea serpents eating gang members off docks is
also a good one. Paranormal animals in the city can add to the fun.
A horde of rats emerges from the sewer, running from something even
- Earthlights. Earthlights can provide fun.
Some quotes from a
good page: “Earthquake lights are reported as generally stationary
hemispheres of white light, in contact with the ground. They are 20 to
200 metres in diameter, and follow an earthquake, with a duration of
10 to 100 seconds. [In addition, radio interference is reported to
occur after the luminescence, strongest at about 15 kHz, which is an
order of magnitude from the peak emission for strain release under
laboratory conditions.] They do not occur at an epicenter, but in
areas around it at varying radii (10 to 50 km), and frequently on
“When quartz-bearing rock is subjected to stress...an immense
electrostatic charge is generated. At the maximum periods of lunar
tidal stresses (sic) this effect would be more pronounced. If
sufficient electrical fields are created close to the surface, a
portion of the spherical field would be above the surface. In a region
where either faults or loose-packed alluvial soils are present, radon
gas would be emitted into the air at the surface. This radioactive gas
would create partially ‘ionized’ pockets of air which would be
enhanced by the highly electrified fields in the region. This would,
in turn, start a low-energy plasma of small size which would be
predominantly near railroad tracks or power lines that traverse the
Put the moon in the sky, a small earthquake a few hours later and if
they check on local geology, there’s plenty of granite.
- Vandalism. A group of Trolls is methodically tipping over every
car on the block.
These should make life difficult.
- Rain of fish (or frogs). Visibility drops, and maneuvering
(both walking and handling ground vehicles) is at +3 to target numbers
due to the slick critters on the ground. If shamans go out to talk
to storm spirits, the spirits are just having a laugh by sucking
them up from a pond or ocean and depositing the creatures elsewhere.
- Botched crime. Someone attempts to commit a crime in a
completely incompetent manner. This can severely delay the runners in
their current scheme as law enforcement personnel arrive to arrest
someone who holds up a Stuffer Shack with an illegible note, attempts
to break into a cigarette machine by spraying hairspray into the
mechanism and lighting it, shoots themselves during a carjacking, or
re-creates any other idiotic crimes you may have heard of.
- Animal Attack. Animals do strange things, like the
grizzly bear that smashed a window on a truck, crawled inside, and
ate the seats.
- Mass derangement. A group of Trolls doing too many pirate
BTLs attempt to rescue a Troll in the group from surrounding
Four-point weirdness magnet events should be enough to completely
derail the runners’ plans due to their upsetting and unanticipated
- Spontaneous combustion. Someone involved in something the
runners are doing spontaneously combusts, leaving nothing but bones,
greasy ashes, and a viscous, foul-smelling, oily yellow liquid on the
ground, probably made of molten fat. (The legs are often intact.)
Theories suggest that indicative factors are being elderly, obese,
drinking a lot of alcohol, and smoking, and one theory suggests that
it’s a matter of people getting so drunk they don’t notice that their
clothing is on fire, and the clothing acts as a wick for their own
body fat. Have some little electric blue sparks go off amid the
burning to suggest that this particular case is caused by the
nervous system breaking down in an interesting way. If the PC’s
manage to stop it almost immediately, the body will still qualify
as “medium rare”.
- Mobile rock concert. The Stealth Bombers, a B-52 revival
group, are giving a public concert from the back of a flatbed truck.
Another truck following them has the main party for the group, with
people dancing and distributing refreshments. A huge snarl of
motor traffic has occurred as various other people join the cavalcade.
Traffic comes to a halt. Very bad if the runners are being pursued.
- Black helicopter mission. Unmarked black helicopters fly
over the area (best if the area is relatively out of the way) during a
rainstorm and it begins to rain a gelatinous substance. Analysis of
the gel suggests it’s a sort of incubating agar for a nuisance
bacterium that causes symptoms similar to amoebic dysentery. (Pick
a relatively mild disease code.) Symptoms are mainly stomach cramps
and diarrhea; the mission is a test of a biological warfare agent
designed to incapacitate without killing.
- Alien abduction. A flying saucer beams up the vehicle
containing the runners, and grey-skinned, almond-eyed aliens offer
them Twinkies. (The vessel is actually a prank created by grad
students in the the UCLA Thaumaturgy department. The “aliens”
will panic and drop their shapeshifting spells if threatened.)
- Weinermobile disaster. An Oscar Meyer weinermobile collides
with a produce truck and knocks over a fire hydrant or public fountain.
The entire road is blocked, especially by police cars in hot pursuit.
- Urban sheepherding race. Livestock block the road.
Ovi’s World of the Bizarre is a
journal of unusual phenomena, much like the Fortean Times.