After three years of Dungeons & Dragons and Fast and Furious GURPS, my lunchtime gaming group is changing gears and playing Monster of the Week.
Monster of the Week is a Powered by the Apocalypse game inspired by series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural, and The X-Files … all of which are very much in my wheelhouse. Players take on the roles of different kinds of monster hunters drawn from the fiction, such as The Chosen (aka Buffy), The Expert (Mulder), The Monstrous (Angel), and the Mundane (Xander).
They then hunt monsters … and kill them. Or at the very least, defeat, banish, or otherwise interrupt their plans so the normal people of the world can go about their lives.
The plan is to run a one-shot mystery and see where folks want to go from there. Powered by Apocalypse games like this one – with their concept of success, mixed success, and interesting failure – are a big change from our previous games, so I’m curious to see what the group thinks of them.
I’m also excited to be a player in the campaign, as another member of the group will be taking on gamemaster responsibilities for the Monster of the Week run.
Assembling the Team
Based on our initial brainstorming session, our team is comprised of:
- The Divine (played by Andy)
- The Mundane (played by Tim)
- The Spooky (played by me)
- The Flake (played by Nate)
We’ve got one more player who hasn’t weighed in yet with his character concept, but we’re thinking he’ll be either The Criminal or The Professional.
The campaign takes place in a seaside town in Massachusetts in 1996. We purposefully chose that year so that cell phones and internet access would be rare. It’s a small town – about 28,000 people – with the normal New England coastal town trappings (a harbor, a boardwalk, etc.).
My character is Ben Bouchard, who I’m patterning after Andy McGee from Stephen King’s Firestarter. He’s a Spooky character who can read and influence minds … and usually gets a nosebleed for his efforts.
Another source of inspiration is the early 80s Scanners movie which featured warring factions of telepaths (and, infamously, exploding heads).
Ben is an adjunct English professor at the local community college. He acquired his powers after agreeing to trial a certain Alphabet Agency’s secret drug. As one of the few successes, he’s jumped from town to town, and job to job, in an effort to avoid drawing too much attention to himself. Unlike Andy McGee, he’s single and traditionally uses his powers just enough to get by – convincing his landlord not to throw him out of his apartment, or mind-bending an associate dean into offering him an adjunct job … and paying cash.
Ben is utterly paranoid that the government will catch up with him (and once or twice, they nearly did). But he also has a nagging suspicion that he has these powers for a reason … and he’s terrified of what that reason is.
- Pronouns: he/him/his
- Look: Adult with Dark Eyes and Neat Clothing
- Ratings: Charm+1, Cool=0, Sharp+1, Tough-1, Weird+2
- Dark Side: Self-destruction, Pain, Paranoia
- Gear: .38 revolver, big knife
- Telepathy: You can read people’s thoughts and put words in their mind. This can allow you to investigate a mystery or read a bad situation without needing to actually talk. You can also manipulate someone without speaking. You still roll moves as normal, except people will not expect the weirdness of your mental communication.
- Hunches: When something bad is happening (or just about to happen) somewhere that you aren’t, roll +Sharp. On a 10+ you knew where you needed to go, just in time to get there. On a 7-9, you get there late—in time to intervene, but not prevent it altogether. On a miss, you get there just in time to be in trouble yourself.
- Jinx: You can encourage coincidences to occur, the way you want.
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Andy McGee from Firestarter. Credit: Universal Pictures.