Short post today, because much that has been discussed will be kept in reserve for the actual game.
We had our second or third prep session for the new campaign, now that Aeon has ended. This one is going to be monster hunting style, and I simply love the campaign background.
Christopher asked us what we wanted, and since we’re an experienced group of roleplayers, designers, and such, we all had opinions. The survey method he used was pretty informative in describing what we think we will like, and identifying outliers. There were a couple.
I was dead-set against the monster cabal knowledge filtering up to the big governments of the world. I had reasons why – while I love me some Monster Hunters International, I felt that – just as we saw in the MHI books – it would rapidly spiral out of control as the general public would penetrate the veil of secrecy. It also gave the PCs access to a “clean-up squad,” even if we were the ones that would be cleaned up along the way. In short, it opened up options for hunting in a way that allowed for egregious “what part of SECRET monster hunting organization is unclear? SECRET!”
I actually ran into that with a Black Ops game I ran way back when – must have been between 2000 and 2004. SECRET, people!
But the cosmology of the world is wonderful, and runs in a direction that I feel compelled to explore much more extensively. The monsters and bad guys are all tied together in one way or another, and there are good reasons for things to be secret that we’ve rationalized in terms of God and his design for the universe. We’ve tied in the importance of humanity, and the limits placed on the agency of the servants of both God and Lucifer, and why the Devil can have such sway. It was semi-collaboratively built, in that Christopher did his usual an banged out a gigantic setting bible that covers folklore, rules, history, and many other things, and we read it, skimmed it, or otherwise came into the discussion and poked some holes and asked some questions, which caused some rewrites and modifications for the better.
The characters will start young – 12 to 14 – having just suffered a tragedy. My own character is headed straight for Knight of the Cross territory, in a Dresden sense. Father was a special forces guy, mother was a nurse or doctor and a Christian missionary. They bounced all over the world together, and both instilled in him that if you’re not serving others, you’re not serving God. Mom’s work with infectious diseases, and Dad’s work with the military has left him a strong sense of “you always wash your hands like so; you always store your ammo in the same place in the vehicle, and there are ways of doing stuff that are better than others” kind of diligence. But he’s also been all over the world, and he’s grateful for the experiences he’s had, and realizes how lucky he was to have them. It’s setting up a brilliant dynamic with another character who’s a rough-and-tumble type, a bit of the “bad kid.” That character’s player and I are very much looking forward to seeing how that relationship develops.
I’m going to have my guy be strong and get stronger over time. He’s going to have the rudiments of martial arts and first aid training, moderately dextrous and intelligent, and have a quiet sort of certainty about him that will eventually be a powerful personality (charisma). Our characters are starting young and relatively low on points, so there’s a lot of “nascent” stuff that’ll happen on the sheet.
We’re also deviating from the usual GURPS way of doing things, and instead of counting points for disads, we’re invoking Fate-like aspects called Foibles that will drive our personality types.
And then, yesterday, we got into stability (see Night’s Black Agents) and sanity (see Call of Cthulhu and a few GURPS Pyramid articles), and we came up with a suitably brilliant new mechanic for it. It’s a modification on concepts presented in Technical Grappling and we think that as it fleshes out, not only will it be simply better than the usual Fright Check system in GURPS, it will actually unify and simplify a lot of that kind of thing, up to and including the invocation of Foibles/Disadvantages and what that means. The mechanic is simple but provides a narrative-mechanical virtuous cycle where there becomes a compelling, sensible, in-game and out-of-game reason to fall back on bad habits.
It’s brilliant and awesome and I think will really add to the campaign. We start playing in early May, and I can’t wait.