Strap in, kids! This is the beginning of Handbook’s 2021 Halloween arc. If everything goes according to plan, we may just pay off a storyline or two. One can only surmise whether Demon Queen will succeed in invading the Prime Material on Devil’s Night this year.

While these nefarious machinations stew, what do you say we talk about dubious quest hooks and uncertain information? The “invisible friend” is only one form of this trope. And if you’ve ever looked at a random rumor table, you probably know some others. These are the bullet points listed as neither “true” nor “false.” Instead, they are given that oh-so-interesting appellation of “partly true.” They’re some of my favorites for RP purposes.

I’m talking about those in-game urban legends that seem far-fetched even by fantasy standards. Sure there’s a devil haunting the local well, but it’s probably not causing Farmer Brown’s cows to disappear. Sister Margarette is indeed going out in the middle of the night, but it’s not because she’s possessed by the spirit of some long-dead witch. She’s just having a run of the mill affair with a randy priest. And if you really believe that wererats are spreading plague about town, I’ve got some swamp property to sell you. Those poor lycanthropes are just being scapegoated by the local Nurgle cult.

The reason I like these silly hooks so much is that they force players to consider the boundaries of fantasy. In the examples above, cow-eating devils and possessed nuns and plague-bringing skaven are all possible, but they aren’t a given. Same deal with “invisible friends” who are more likely an eccentric sorcerer’s unseen servants. Because we don’t know the extent of the fantasy, we can’t tell out of hand whether a far-fetched explanation is actually plausible. Suddenly, our rational minds are thrust back into a time of superstition and best-guess rationale. We’re forced to accept that there may be more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. And for me, that’s the very essence of fantasy.

Question of the day then! Have you ever fallen for one of those “partly true” rumors? Was your genre knowledge used against you to make you gullible? Or was the weird explanation unexpectedly the right one? Tell us all about your, “Wait, that was the real culprit!?” moments down in the comments!


ADD SOME NSFW TO YOUR FANTASY! If you’ve ever been curious about that Handbook of Erotic Fantasy banner down at the bottom of the page, then you should check out the “Quest Giver” reward level over on The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. Twice a month you’ll get to see what the Handbook cast get up to when the lights go out. Adults only, 18+ years of age, etc. etc.