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The Strange: Violet Spiral Gambit - John McLaren Park


  • Enkara-ulla identified Node 4: Transamerica Pyramid as a major recursion resonance point.
  • The entire Bay Area contains echoes of this recursion resonance point (and other resonance points).
  • Enkara-Ulla identified the water tower at John McLaren Park (referred to as “Big Blue” by the locals) as the strongest echo of the Transamerica resonance point. This made it an apt testing site for his equipment.


  • The park is a mess of hills with a tangle of paths winding around them.
  • The water tower (“Big Blue”) stands up at the top of the tallest hill and can be easily seen for miles around (most notably from Interstate 280, which passes about a half mile to the north).
  • Despite this, the water tower is surprisingly isolated (up a trail shrouded by trees).


The Strange: Violet Spiral Gambit - The Water TowerADDRESS: 100 John F. Shelley Drive; San Francisco, CA

From the outside, everything about the tower seems perfectly normal. PCs who specifically inspect the top of the tower may notice the laser sight on the upper balcony.

FENCE: Barbed wire. There’s a single gate.

  • Gate Lock: Speed task (difficulty 1)

ENTRANCE: There’s a single door in the base of the tower.

  • Door Lock: Speed task (difficulty 3)


PIPES: Two large pipes (about 3 feet across each) go up through the center of the tower.

LADDERS: Four ladders ascend the tower alongside the pipes (one to each cardinal point).

CATWALK AND HATCH: At the top of the shaft, the ladders reach a circular catwalk. Another short ladder (about 7 feet) goes up to a hatch that leads into the Reservoir walkway (see below).

GNATHOSTOME: The Strange, pg. 269.

  • Crawling along the pipes or walls. (Should probably put in an appearance when the PCs are halfway up the ladders.)
  • Accessing Cerebrospinal Memories: The gnathostome fed on Enkara-ulla’s cerebrospinal fluid as part of exchanging memories with him. These memories can be accessed (see the description of the gnathostome), revealing that Enkara-ulla’s next stop is the Transamerica Pyramid.
  • GM Intrusion: An attack severs one of the water pipes. Water begins spewing everywhere (creating disadvantage on tasks; possibly knocking a character off a ladder).
  • GM Intrusion: A second (or third) gnathostome shows up.

GM Note: A PC who has their own cerebrospinal fluids extracted could realize that memories have been “sucked” out of them; which might cue them to think about accessing them through the gnathostome.

GM Background: The gnathostome was used by Enkara-ulla as a portal analysis lab. The gnathostome, dependent upon the Law of Mad Science in Ruk, is in considerable pain and agony (and has been simply abandoned here by Enkara-ulla, who has no further use for it).


The Strange: Violet Spiral Gambit - Water Tower Reservoir

Prop: Photo of the Reservoir

WALKWAY: Circles the entire pool.

  • Prop: Flyer of the 48th Floor (With Blueprints on Back) (laying on the walkway)
  • MACHINERY: Several large pieces of machinery are still attached to the railings and walls and so forth. A few long rods of either brass or bronze (although closer inspection reveals them to be of no earthly metal) descend down into the pool.
  • Any inspection of the machinery trivially reveals that it is no longer running.
  • Intellect task (difficult 6): To figure out what the purpose of the machinery was (i.e., rewrite the laws of Earth to allow Mad Science to function normally within a short distance). The key components are all missing, but appear to have been carefully removed (most likely so that they could be used somewhere else).

POOL: The water in the tower has been corrupted with Rukian biology. Several large, sightless fish (several with electronic or biotechnology components jutting out of them) swim around. Notably alien plant life (festooned with softly glowing bulbs) grows thickly. Phosphorescent colonies of fast-moving plankton-like creatures swirl through the dark depths of the reservoir.

  • GM Background: Although the PCs might suspect that this was Enkara-ulla’s true purpose, the corruption of the reservoir was merely a side effect of the recursion rupture that happened here.

WINDOWS: The windows currently present in the reservoir are not visible from the outside of the building. This is because they look out over the landscape of Ruk.

  • GREY FOREST: A vast grey forest sweeps away from the windows. Exotic fungi, globular sporepods, broad mushrooms, tall stalks of fruiting bodies. (Perhaps one of the huge, mobile factories that harvest the fungi forests is lumbering along in the distance.)
  • GM Background: This is a vestigial effect of the lingering energy field. These windows could theoretically be used as inapposite gates (by crashing through them), but this carries a high risk of collapsing the energy field (causing the gate to shut).

DOORS: There are two doors. Unlike the windows, these lead out onto the outer balcony circling Big Blue on Earth.

  • LASER SIGHT TRIPOD: On the outer balcony, a large, bulky laser sight has been positioned above a telephoto lens on a tripod. It looks north and anyone looking through the lens will see that it’s targeted at the tip of the Transamerica Pyramid (just visible above the Bank of America building).

Go to Node 4: Transamerica Pyramid

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