Recycled content: the cannibal fork

An idea for a horror artifact: the iculanibokola.

I won’t be able to post things next week, so here’s some recycled material for approaching visitors. While searching through old email, I found the following post I’d made to the Gurpsnet mailing list, which may be of interest to someone:


…I’ll forward a bit of fun from the latest National Geographic: a nasty artifact for a horror game.

According the last page of the March 2003 NG, the iculanibokola was a special fork used for centuries by tribal officials in the Fiji islands when serving special guests — serving them as dinner, that is.

Apparently, some individuals of the culture were considered too holy to touch food, and so were served manflesh during ritual feasts by attendants using the “cannibal fork”. Christian missionaries brought an end to all that in the 19th century, and by the end of the century, iculanibokola were popular as grisly tourist souvenirs — whether real ritual forks or copies mass-produced to meet the demand.

The accompanying photo shows a thickish handle, with small pommel-like heads at either end of the grip. One such pommel-like head then swells out into a rough sphere (perhaps the size of a squash ball); from around the ball, four long, tapering, claw-like tines extend, reminiscent of a macabre, slim crab’s claw. No way to tell what it’s made of; wood, I presume.

Whoops, turns out I could have just sent you to the photo online: (But crikey, don’t do that for players; horror is all about description!)

So. “Cannibal forks” once were used in gruesome feasts; fake copies were made en masse, but real ones are out there too. (Even the National Geographic doesn’t know whether the fork in their old photo is real or not.) Now, what’s an evil GM to do with an item like that? What’s he cooked up for the players, and will they be able to stomach it?

(Note in the photo that one of the fork’s tines must be hidden behind another by the viewing angle; only three tines are visible on the fork, but the device’s shadow clearly shows four tines. Or wait… maybe an iculanibokula’s shadow NEVER MATCHES ITS SHAPE… )


  • bignose

    > Note in the photo that […] only three tines are visible on the fork, but the device’s shadow clearly shows four tines.

    At the URL you gave in this post, the photo is cropped so the we can’t see any tines in the shadow :-/

    • tbone

      You’re completely right, the photo crops out the weirdness. Seems some people don’t want that seen. They’re probably searching for all remaining print copies too. Better hide mine… In a second. Someone’s at the door.

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