Oswalt's Dolls
Table of Contents

Three art critics have commited suicide after visiting a preview of an art show that is soon to open to the public in San Fransisco. Five critics were invited to the preview showing. One critic is still alive and one is missing. A-Cell sends out the cell of agents to determine if the art show is a vector and if so, deal with it and the artist.

The art show
The artist is Aaron Oswalt, 29 years of age. Aaron builds models, dolls and the like. He has thus far had limited success but makes enough money from his art to live off it. Aaron has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems largely centered around depression. Aaron owns a studio apartment in a gentrifying neighborhood of the city and lives alone.

Aarons art show will be held in a rented basement in the same neighborhood where he lives. The art show is only guarded by a padlock on the door. This is also where the preview takes place.

The art is 856 small and hideous looking dolls of remarkable artistry. The dolls are about 8 inches and are dressed in tailored clothing. They are placed in small houses and buildings where they are frozen in hideous pantomimes of ordinary activities. At the edge of one table a group of dolls in black suites are looking at an even smaller art show consisting of even smaller dolls. Viewing the exhibit causes 1d6/1d10 sanity loss and visions of the dolls moving and living meaningless doll lives there on the table.

If Aaron is interviewed by persons he believes to be law enforcement he will clam up and try to avoid helping the agents. If Aaron thinks that someone is interested in his art and can show off some art knowledge he will divulge that he made the dolls in a fugue state after having a relapse into his addiction. He will also be honest about being clean again and thus being unable to create more of them. He has no knowledge of the mythos or the occult. If pushed he will admit to seeing one or more dolls in his apartment moving around but he will also be honest about thinking that this is because of his mental health problems.

If Aarons workspace is searched investigators will find a notebook written by Aaron that he does not remember. In this notebook is instructions for constructing a doll of yourself that if slept with will transport the agent into the Dollhouse. This is the ritual “Travel to the Dollhouse” described below.

The dolls
Viewing the dolls puts a person in contact with a primal truth that we deny when we are awake and active. We are little more than hideous painted dolls that think that we matter. This very anxiety, shared as it is by all humans on some level, have created a part of the Dreamlands known as “The Dollhouse”. The hideous visions of doll versions of the agents are glimpses into the Dollhouse reminding the agents of their insignificance and how hideous it is that they exist. After having seen the dolls the visions will appear again every time the agents are tired or in a state of lower wakefulness. This means that every time an agent is not actively focused on a task the dolls will appear. Each such vision causes a loss of 1/1d6 sanity. The dolls seen in such visions are not real but are instead only the agents' minds revolting against themselves. Descriptions of the Dollhouse have no effect, only high quality art like Oswalt's dolls can put someone in a state where they glimpses the Dollhouse.

The critics
Maria Diaz: Is unaffected by having seen the dolls. She is diagnosed with ADHD and her central stimulants protect her from slipping into the low wakefulness state where she is close to the dollhouse. The agents can learn from this that if they themselves start taking central stimulants for the rest of their lives they will not have to see the dolls.

Jerome Freeman: Is missing, he left his wife and two children after a manic episode where he yelled about dolls and tried to recreate dolls that he said he could see in the family home. His dolls are crude and do not cause anyone to see the Dollhouse. Jerome is now in a small cabin he has rented outside the city and is trying to capture what he sees in poetry. This he will succeed in given a week to work, creating another way to glimpse the Dollhouse. Jerome's family have not contacted the police as they mistrust law enforcement.

Lina Schwartz: Lived alone, commited suicide by firearm. Did not record any of her experiences of the dolls.

Cara Nguyen: Created a single doll capable of creating glimpses into the Dollhouse by using scrap metal. The scrap metal figurine is about a meter in height and is razor sharp at points. Something Cara used by throwing herself on top of it and commiting suicide. The coroner, Jonathan Birch, is the only one that has seen the uncovered figurine. He is at this point only lightly affected but has started seeing the dolls.

Nina Mohammad: Commited suicide by slitting her wrists in her bathtub after seeing visions of the dolls. On the bathroom wall she has painted a doll with her own blood as she lay dying. This doll is enough to cause the visions in anyone looking at it for more than a minute.

Travel to the Dollhouse
The ritual calls for the construction of a doll looking like the magician created by the magician herself. When the doll has been constructed the ritual is as easy as going to sleep holding it. This will transport the investigator's mind to the Dollhouse. The Dollhouse is an entire earth, as large and as real as our own, populated entirely by moving dolls. Seeing it causes the agent to lose 10/D100 sanity when she realizes our world is populated by nothing but hideous dolls metaphysically mutated into being able to suffer. Seeing and understanding this truth does however free the magician from further visions of the dolls.


This was an entry to the 2020 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Sebastian Lindeberg

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