Some Moves for a Game About Playing Monsters I Will Probably Never Finish

A year and a half ago I and a few others brainstormed some ideas for a game where the characters play mythical creatures in a modern day setting. The jumping off point was some discussions on Beast and why people were unhappy with it.

This idea has kept percolating in my brain since then, and recently I tried writing up some PbtA style moves for it. I still think there’s an interesting game there, but I’m not so sure that I’m the person to write it. I think it needs a specific perspective to make it interesting, and I don’t think I have the right one.

Either way, I thought I’d post them here to maybe spark some ideas in others. These may not mash perfectly with where that brainstorming thread ended up, but they’re intended for the same basic setup: The player characters are monsters (though not necessarily malevolent ones) who work together to establish a human community as their territory.

Also note that these are rough sketches and in no way polished. There’s a lot of unexplained terminology and such.

When you make a human your thrall, roll with X. On a 10+, they become your thrall and their mind is mostly intact, but the GM picks one of the afflictions from below or this:

  • They sometimes resist your commands to protect the things most important to them.
    On a 7-9, you can only make them your thrall by breaking them completely, turning them into a weak, terrified shell of who they were, suffering from all but one of the afflictions below as chosen by the GM. Alternatively, you can let them go. They will retain vague and confused recollections of what happened to them. The GM picks one of the following afflictions for them:
  • They gain an unnatural apetite reflecting your own.
  • Their body is twisted to reflect some aspect of your appearance.
  • They reject their closest human connections.
  • They change their home to reflect your lair.

When you hunt to satisfy your Need, roll with X. On a 10+, you find exactly what you’re looking for; sate your Need for this session and the next. On a 7-9, pick one:

  • You find an inferior substitute for what you’re looking for. It will sate your Need for this session, but you take disadvantage on your next roll or gain a condition, your choice.
  • You find tracks or traces of what you’re looking for. You cannot hunt again this session, but take advantage the next time you hunt for this Need.

When you create a servant, roll with X minus existing servants. On a 10+, pick 3. On a 7-9, pick 2. In addition to your picks, the servant can communicate with you and other monsters.

  • They can disguise themselves as a human as long as they’re not too closely examined. For an additional pick they can look completely human; say one way they can be discovered.
  • They can speak to mortals. Say how their voice or manner of speech can reveal them for what they are.
  • They have a powerful sense. Say how it can be confounded or overloaded.
  • They are lethal. Say how a mortal can protect themselves from them.
  • They have a lesser form of one of your abilities. Say how it can be countered.
  • They are fast. They can act as a messenger or courier for you. Say what can hinder them in their travels.
    On a miss, choose: Either the GM makes a move, or you create a servant as if you had rolled 7-9 but they will betray you if they ever get the opportunity.

When you describe your lair, pick three of the features below.

  • A foreboding aura that keeps casual visitors away
  • Illusions that disguise it
  • Prison cells
  • Treasures for you to enjoy
  • A grand hall suitable for banquets or brooding
  • Servants to assist you
  • A portal to the Deep
  • Secret exits in useful places
  • Guards to keep explorers out and to help protect you against Hunters

Advancement option: Add a feature to your lair.

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