This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

The Beasts Of The Moor

“I swear it’s true. My mate told me. I’ve heard people travelling up North have just disappeared...never been seen again. They were taken by the Beasts of the Moor. They’re fucking cannibals... The Army sent a patrol out from Catterick to try and catch them – they never came back. If they get you...fucking Hell, mate, I’m telling you, I’d rather blow my own brains out than be caught by the Beasts...”

Two traders overheard in conversation at a market in Reading, January 2000

The area between the towns of Ilkley and Keighley is terrorised by a small group of marauders who fled from the Cities of Yorkshire during the 1998 nuclear exchanges and have resorted to cannibalism to survive. Their lair is a remote house located deep on Ilkley Moor, a large moorland expanse which rises to over 400 metres above sea level. Much of the area now consists of rough land overgrown with heather, bracken and wild grasses, with many places waterlogged with peat bogs

The group’s leader is a thirty five year old from Leeds named Peter Grimshaw. A former IT worker, Grimshaw lost his entire family when Leeds was nuked, and is now without a doubt utterly insane, lacking any shred of compassion or decency. In addition to Grimshaw the group numbers six other males (one of whom is a boy of fifteen), and four women. All of them live in fear of Grimshaw, who has already killed one member of the group who tried to stand against him, slaughtering the man with an axe. Grimshaw regularly rapes all of the women, and one of them is currently in the early stages of pregnancy with his child. This will be the second of his children born to the group. The first one, a boy, was born to one of the other women at the end of 1999. Shortly after his birth Grimshaw went out onto the moor with the baby and returned alone an hour later.  

The group’s main hunting grounds are the A65 and A629 roads. Their normal tactic is to set ambushes to capture unwary individuals or small groups, often at night, and using the female members of the group as bait. With the rest of the group hidden close by, the women will wait by the side of the road masquerading as victims of a marauder attack, and will appeal for assistance from any who pass by. Any who stop to help them will then be attacked by the rest of the group, who will either kill or capture them. Those unfortunate enough to be taken alive will be taken back to the group’s lair, where they will be held captive until such times as the group is ready to dismember and eat them. These poor souls will be under no illusions about their fate – not only is the house littered with the remains of previous victims but prisoners are forced to watch as the group devour their other captives one by one, not knowing when it will be their turn to be selected. The group have taken on an almost mythical nature, with rumours of the “Beasts of the Moor” heard as far afield as Newcastle to the North and Reading to the South.

Their weapons consist of an L1A1 SLR (carried by Grimshaw), two L2A3 Sterling SMG’s, a double barrelled shotgun, a hunting rifle, and two 9mm Browning automatic pistols. They also have four HE hand grenades. Ammunition for the firearms is limited to several hundred rounds of each calibre. In addition to this they have a wide variety of melee weapons – knifes, axes, knifes taped to broom handles to form improvised spears, etc. The group will choose their targets with care, avoiding any travellers who appear to be heavily armed or outnumber them.

The cannibals’ house on Ilkley Moor

Writer’s Note

The Cannibals of Ilkley Moor are inspired by the legend of Sawney Bean. A (possibly) mythical Scottish cannibal alleged to have lived in the 15th or 16th Century, Bean is claimed to be the inspiration for (amongst other things) the “Hills Have Eyes” series of films and the Reavers in the TV series “Firefly”.

Peter Grimshaw