Monday, October 28, 2013

The Silver Cobwebs

Art by Jim Garrison of Hereticwerks

The Silver Cobwebs provide more evidence of how little we really know about the Zone. There are no bugs anywhere in the Zone - we have that on good authority - but Silver Cobwebs can be found anywhere there are remains of the built environment in the Zone. There are big patches of them, sometimes a meter or two across in some of the old buildings, structures, and tunnels.

Unlike Hell Slime, nobody tries to bring Silver Cobwebs out of the Zone. They're easy to overlook; sometimes they almost seem to creep up on you. Stalkers often keep Stalk Rock with them to hurl at the webs. These special salts are the only safe thing to use against the webs.

The Silver Cobwebs are considered bad luck. They mess with Fate. If you see them, back away slowly. Keep an eye over your shoulder, in case there's more nearby.

They make an unusually loud crackling sound if you touch them.

Hours later, you die.

The silver cobwebs or crackling cobwebs are based on Boris and Arkady Strugatsy's SF novel Roadside Picnic.


Silvery Cobwebs
Strands that break Fate

  • High Concept: Big silver cobwebs
  • Trouble:  Vulnerable to certain salts  
  • Aspect: They crackle when you touch them
  • Aspect: They break your Fate
  • Aspect: You don't want to see the spiders these came from
  • Careful: 0
  • Clever: 0
  • Flashy: 0
  • Forceful: +3
  • Quick: +2
  • Sneaky: +2
  • Fatebreaker - Touching or being touched by a Silver Cobweb (including with touching the webs with poles, tools, or handheld weapons) kills Mooks immediately. With PCs and major NPCs, such a touch triggers an immediate Forceful Attack by the web. When the Attack Succeeds with Style, characters immediately gain the Temporary Aspect Broken Fate. They have 12 hours to obtain some kind of superscience or magical healing or they will begin to sicken and die. Death invariably occurs within 24 hours of the touch. Many of the dead will subsequently come back as one of the Fateless Momentaries.
  • Hard to See - Take +2 to Sneaky Approach to Create an Advantage by hiding in plain sight.
  • Right Behind You - Silver Cobwebs can move behind people who are in the same Zone as the web. 
  • Sudden Draft - A Silver Cobweb takes +2 to its Quick Approach to Create an Advantage and touch someone standing adjacent to the web.

SPECIAL: Stalk Rock, the special salt crystals used by Stalkers as a defense against the Silver Webs; they allow the user to make ranged Attacks on the webs. 


  1. Nasty things. Real old school 'Save or Die' sorts of encounters. Very much a part of the setting. Not everything needs to be 'nerfed,' or survivable. Bad choices, in this case touching a crackling silver cobweb after being warned it's a bad idea, ought to carry some consequences.

    A spell allowing one to summon-up a small patch of these things would be vicious, much like Barker's wicked 'Food of the Ssu' spell in EPT. Anyone coming up with a good way to reliably Detect and/or Repel this stuff could make a fortune. A circle of Protection Against these things might also be one of those sorts of spells some stalker is going to develop sooner or later. The very existence/presence of these sorts of dangers prompt the creation of a means to deal with them, to cope with the hazards. Just as Undead, Demons and Dragons have prompted the development of spells and so forth in a more pseudo-medieval fantasy context.

    Has anyone weaponized this stuff? That would be insanely dangerous, but stalkers might get hired to attempt to collect samples for such purposes, and the failures of such programs could make for even worse encounter sites. you get twisted plots, damaged survivor NPCs, threats to deal with, bad things to prevent...could be a ton of interesting adventuring right there...

    Where can we find Stalk Rock? Are there deposits like salt flats or is it mined or a product of electrolysis? Just curious...

    1. "Food of the Ssu"... now there is an interesting thought. All of these ideas are intriguing.

      Tomorrow you'll get to see one way the cobwebs get around. There may be more of a market for them than I thought.

      Stalk Rock comes from the Institute, but they're not saying much about where it comes from. They sure build a lot of infrastructure around the Zones, though...

    2. Ah. Those who benefit most with things staying the way they are tend to make sure things stay the way they are...

      Looking forward to more in the series. Fascinating stuff. I hope to get some more reading time a ton of stuff to get through...