Open Table Game: Supernatural Exterminators

Supernatural Exterminators + Dungeon Crawling + 10,000 Wise-cracking Points

I’ve been reading World of Dungeons: Turbo Breakers and Monster of the Week. Both very good games. Also, The Adventure Zone got me more interested in MotW after initially reading the rules and shrugging. Anyways, I’m hooked on killing monsters in the modern world, but it needs more of the dungeon structure I’ve come to know and love. It’s gotta have fantasy AND modern layers and be able to switch back and forth. To me, that has the same appeal of imagining what Pokemon would REALLY be like or what you would ACTUALLY do with a Portal gun. Then I read this passage in WoD:TB:

When the Breakers go on a call, a region of the dark world has broken through the dimensional cracks and fused with part of Earth. Maybe it’s a mashup of the local multiplex theater and the Fire Bog of Ugrok. Or maybe the Tower of the Flaming Skull has overtakenthe top of the Seattle Space Needle. Find a location on Earth, then grab your favorite small dungeon map (maybe from http://www.dungeoncontest.com, or blog.trilemma.com/search/label/adventure) and mash them together. Voila! Instant adventure.

John Harper

This appeals to me so much as a GM. Prep for each adventure is four things:

  • Real-world setting (common: mall, arcade, suburbs; uncommon: outdoor concert, European-castle-turned-refined-manor, school talent show; rare: Lincoln Memorial, Times Square, Texas State Capital)
  • Dungeon Map (any of the THOUSANDS out there. I would add Dyson’s Dodecahedron to this list)
  • BBEG entry from the Monster Manual (Lich, medusa, dragon, construct, spellslinger, mech-suited dwarf, teleporting drow riding a basilisk)
  • Slice of Life/Real Life (help fix a wedding that becomes a disaster due to a monster invasion, child needs help finding their parents after being separated in the chaos, citizens think it is the supernatural exterminators that are causing the problem)

Rough Draft Pitch

Our world has been broken into through dimensional cracks by monsters. In these modern times, there have been flickering doors and archways to dungeons of a far away land appearing full of demonic foes and terrible enemies. They flood the streets, the suburbs, and even national landmarks without any warning.

Each dungeon is fused to our world by a magical Keystone Shard that, given enough time, releases a hideous beast. These Keystones must be destroyed to untether the dimensions and destroy the infestation.

That’s where you come in. You are the tough and gritty marines and Earth’s first-response defense against the supernatural. To some, you are heroes. To others, you’re no better than a ragtag band of eccentric plumbers.

But who else is going to plumb the depths and kill the monstrosities? That’s right. No one. Get going.

Touchstones

  • Movies: Ghostbusters, Hellboy, Army of Darkness
  • Shows: Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fringe
  • Theme Song: Immigrant Song? Yes. Definitely.

Open Table Game Formula

What’s the Reason to Return Home: At the end of each mission, the group “travels by map” back to HeadQuarters. They’re picked up their organization, Dimensional Security Agency (DSA).

What’s the Rush: Once the Keystone Shard tethers the dungeon to our world, the players have 45 minutes (real-time) destroy the Shard before it creates a BBEG. The BBEG will then fight the PCs and escape ~15 minutes later (real-time still) to the outside world.

Team Goal: Need to work together to destroy the Shard. It’s brutally tough to get through the dungeons in such a short time span. And the nearby civilians will need saving from the monsters that slip past you and set foot on Earth.

DOOM: The mystery is REVEALED! Who has been creating Keystone Shards on the other side? What organization is helping them from Earth? Is destroying a Shard the best option? Does the government actually WANT these monsters for some sinister purpose?

System

I want this game to use Maze Rats, but significantly altered in the character creation department. It will still use Strength, Dexterity, Will, Health, Armor and such, but I’m questioning how spells and skills and attack bonuses will factor into all of this.

Blades in the Dark and World of Dungeons: Turbo Breakers (both from John Harper) utilize a mission-based inventory system that works really well in an open-table game. You don’t sit around waiting for other people to organize and explicitly spell out their inventory. Rather, people choose what Load they have which affects their individual Speed. They can then declare that they have an item from the standardized list by marking off one slot from their Load.

With this, there could even be role-based items, like the Guru gets additional Load for spells or ritual implements, while the Sneak gets more lock picks and grappling hooks.

So much to think about…

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