11 March 2013

Campaign Pitch: NW Mounted Monster Hunters

In all of my years of playing, reading about and otherwise enjoying RPGs I have come across very few games or campaign settings that are set in Canada. There are definitely some out there, most notably as supplements for games such as RIFTS, oWoD and Deadlands; however none of them really have any kind of connection to the Canadian identity or history outside of superficial elements (cold weather and polar bears). Maybe there isn't much demand for games set in Canada, but as a Canadian I'd really enjoy a romp around our history with a good campaign. I have had an idea for just such a campaign percolating in my head for some time now and I'm going to hit you with my pitch.

NW Mounted Monster Hunters

It is 1880s Canada. The winters are harsh and the land is wild, dangerous and aware. The Northwest Mounted Police ride out to protect the land and its people. There are things out there in the dark forests and forgotten valleys, shadowy things spoken only of in the myths and tales of native peoples. There be monsters living out there in the wilds and they don't see any reason to hide from this latest wave of men trying to make homes in their hunting grounds.

The NWMP might act as a police force and they do police the land, but their real mandate is to hunt and kill the monsters that pray on men. The campaign would follow a group of new recruits as they hunt down monsters of all kinds and the campaign, should it last, would occasionally place the PCs at historical events which had been given a supernatural twist, such as the Klondike Gold Rush or North-West Rebellion. The game would also jump forward in time between hunts so that we could follow the characters as they get older and also so that we could hit more major events.

What Game Would I Use?

There are for potential games that I would use to run NWMMH. Whichever game I  ultimately picked would depend on the players I had sitting at my table. In no particular order the games are:

  • FATE
  • GURPS Monster Hunters 
  • Call of Cthulhu 
  • World of Darkness
  • Dogs in the Vineyard

All of the above would require some adapting to make work. FATE would be the easiest to get going. GURPS and CoC would be the more deadly options, but would require the most work to get going. nWoD sits in the middle somewhere. DitV is a weird one that I hadn't been considering until I started writing this; however, I think that the style of the game fits with what I have in mind for this campaign. It would be trivial to replace Mormons with NWMP and go from there.

I guess Deadlands might work as well, especially if I used that supplement I linked to way at the beginning of this post. I'm not really a fan of classic or D20 Deadlands, though.

How Would I Run It?

I would want a game where it costs the PC's dearly to win the day, but not one that is hopeless. I see this as a game where limb loss is much more common than outright PC death. The game would be equal parts sight-seeing through Canadian history and action-horror. Think CoC, only most of the game is outdoors and the party is made up of highly competent rifle and frontiersmen. It would be Monster Hunter Alpha set in the late 1800s and without all of the American south trappings. The campaign would be episodic in nature, with each session being a self contained adventure surrounding a specific monster.

In a perfect world the game would continue until the formation of the RCMP and at that point I would like to retire the characters and the game. From there I would like to like to fast forward to a monster hunting RCMP unit in another point in time (Could be any interesting period of the 1900s or even present day.) or move on to an entirely different game.


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