Saturday, September 10, 2022

Strategies for Monster Hunting

 Author Comment: Been sick the last moth and a half, maybe little longer. Recovered a bit after getting out of the hospital but backslid when antibiotics ran out, however think the new round is doing much better. This put me behind (again) on my supplement and other projects, but while I have not been able to stay on the computer long enough to write much I have been thinking of ideas - hence this post.

I have been working, or rather thinking about my Spirits Template supplement. One purpose of the manuscript is to give spirits a place in the campaign as something more than "monster of the week" and make them feel a part of various genres. Monster Hunters is one of those genres and I have an interesting character in a MH campaign that is on hiatus, the two things gelled in my head and here are some strategies for a Monster Hunter campaign.

The Monster Hunter Series

GURPS supports the genre with an excellent series of supplements and a few settings. GURPS Monster Hunters 2: The Mission in particular is useful for other genres, especiall6y mysteries. 
The MH genre is in fact typically a mystery, often episodic and with an overarching big bad. The genre is usually cinematic in feel, has plenty of action, and requires some strategy and tactics to cope with bad guys who are often tougher than the heroes.
This makes for an interesting campaign, though it can be challenging for the GM to run.


Before you can fight the bad guys you need to find them, or let them find you but that is more dangerous. This is part of the difficulty for the GM and the fun for the players; at least some players. You have a mystery to solve and that requires some skills and perhaps magic or powers.
GURPS Monster Hunters 2: The Mission really does an amazing job here, but perusing GURPS Mysteries and GURPS Action will also be helpful in dealing with investigations.
Ideally everyone in the group will have a role to play, even if a small one and the group all is interested in how the investigation is going. Leaving it all up to a few die rolls is easy and good if no one really wants to spend time on this stage but can be very disappointing for the player who made a Sleuth and frankly skips a lot of potential roleplaying. However, if everyone is waiting around for the sleuth to do their work they can get bored so time management is essential for that player and the GM.
How to Play a GURPS Detective is now on my (already lengthy) proposed pitch list. However, if you play the sleuth I highly recommend reading The Mission supplement.


Most monsters use stealth and have superior senses, making combat often a close-up affair. They may get the jump on the characters and catch them off guard. Even if the party is on the offense its hard to get too close and still surprise those with superhuman senses and perhaps magic.
Combat thus calls for a variety of weaponry, cutting weapons and exotic material are typically better than standard bullets - much less fighting unarmed!
Mobility is key, often better than heavy armor that slows you down. Nightvision is good too. Expect high resistance rolls, various defensive traits, and overall toughness. Typically the monster will have a weakness so carry things to take advantage of common weaknesses, holy water, salt, wooden stakes, silver, etc. Shotguns are often the best firearms, range is typically short and often in a building so long range weapons are not needed and shotgun slugs have a lot of stopping power and custom loads easy to make. The downside is low ammo capacity but your often only fighting a few major bad's at a time and will die if the fight last long anyway.
Shotguns have a lot of different action and loading options, the two best for this kind of campaign tend to be pump and semi-automatic.
Pump shotguns are manually cycled by pulling on the ammo storage to cycle a new round into the chamber. The manual action is typically RoF 2 but a round can be ejected and a new one inserted directly, bypassing the tube. This allows changing ammo types on the fly with a Ready or Fast-Draw roll to load 1 shell. Because they are cycled manually they are very reliable and can fire less than lethal rounds without jamming.
Semi-automatic shotguns typically have RoF 3 and are either magazine or tube fed. Magazines hold more shells (5 to 20, more with a drum) and a magazine can be inserted quickly, as per a rifle. Tube fed work like pump actions above, improved RoF and loading a new round to swap ammo types. The tube is mounted under the barrel and holds fewer shells (5 to 7, more with wider revolver style tubes).
However semi-automatic shotguns are gas or inertia powered and many will not fully cycle with less than lethal loads. See the specific gun for details as some are built to handle this, though most are not.
Tube fed shotguns do not hold as much ammo and are reloaded 1 to 2 shells at a time instead of an entire magazine. A shooter can however reload during pauses in combat to top off the weapon rather than swapping out an entire magazine (which may only be half empty). Loose rounds can be carried in pouches on the side of the gun for +1 to Fast-Draw (GURPS Tactical Shooting, p. 73).

One interesting item I had pointed out to me was a shotgun revolver. Most modern ones seem to be .410, though my hunter carries an older Russian made 12 gauge (8 OTs-62 Revolver). A good machinist could probably make something effective, especially if they can get some blueprints.
Shortswords and knives, especially silver plated are also useful, but you better be very very good if using one on a vampire or werewolf! A sharp wooden stake is a classic for vampires, but awkward to use. Consider a Tonfa with a sharpened end; it can be used to parry and works with Brawling or Karate skill. If you have that machinist or a good craftsman consider adding an endcap that can take different attachments, wooden pointy end, silver pointy end, and a nice iron head for those faerie.
As many of your foes will have enhanced senses flashbang grenades or tear gas (even if they do not breath) may have a greater effect on them, giving you a few seconds to hit hard or run away. Anything that emits a strong odor is also good, even if they have Doesn't Breathe if they can track by smell it will impede them. Ultrasonic noisemakers may also be useful and that machinist friend? One can make a CO2 powered whistle pretty easily.
The whole idea is to try and get them off balance without messing with your own capabilities (so have gas masks, respirators, eyeglasses, nose plugs, and ear protection available) and then kill them fast.
When attacking high skill is vital for Deceptive Attacks and Targeted Attacks, even better if the foe is stunned from a flash bang grenade in their face.  Speaking of that, paint guns are quiet and can carry holy water, potions, or act as charms. GURPS High-Tech even has an under barrel one that can be mounted to a rifle or carbine.

Staying Under the Radar

This is another vital and interesting aspect of the genre. How do you stop a bunch of monsters and not attract the attention of the police?
Mask of Humanity, Pyramid #3/97 and Safe as Houses, Pyramid #3/58 offer some ideas, and my current project has an entry (if it makes the final cut) but this can be a very difficult task. Using heavy firepower is going to attract attention, and often there is a mess to clean up and you may not have much time to do it.
Is there a "cleaning service" you can call on? A secret government agency as a Patron? Perhaps just good police Contacts. Propaganda can also be used for disinformation campaigns ot throw people off the track.
Maybe your party has a top notch forensics specialist, all your kills are quiet ones, and the monsters cooperate by using hidden lairs far from nosey neighbors and no one notices the missing people or dead bodies piling up. However it seems much more likely you're going to need some kind of help keeping things quiet.
How this is accomplished is likely an important part of the campaign, and can add a lot of flavor and fun as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment