March 5, 2021

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Should I build my own Supernatural/Esoteric Enterprises bounty hunting RPG or try to hack an existing one?

Hey guys,

I currently run a Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign (as the GM), but I’ve recently had the hankering for a completely different kind of game. It’s one that’s inspired by a recent Delta Green campaign that I’m a player in. Basically, I want to run a campaign that’s essentially a mashup of Cowboy Bebop and Supernatural. The player characters are bounty hunters who track down and kill supernatural monsters and other entities for a bit of money on the side. They’re anti-heroic scoundrels, not heroes. Here are a few things I want from the system:

  • Decent investigation mechanics. I want the game to be broken into three main phases: investigation, confrontation, and downtime. Most of the time, the players will be interviewing witnesses, looking through county records, etc. to try to find the monster, cult, etc. A robust skill system seems key for this part of the game.
  • Fast, deadly combat with some degree of crunch. The whole point of the investigation would be learning the strengths and weaknesses of the monster, and that needs to be reflected in the combat mechanics. However, since the main characters aren’t heroes like the Winchester brothers, I need the combat to be deadly enough for the monster to seem scary, but not so unforgiving that they don’t want to fight the monster at all.
  • Some support for dungeon-crawling procedures. I think just hunting monsters over and over would get old, so I’d like to give the PCs the option of exploring the underworld in the style of games like Esoteric Enterprises. Perhaps they can rob the nests of dire cultists or strip out the copper wire from the monster’s lair to pay the bills.
  • Support for a sanity-style Stress system. I’ve never been a huge fan of sanity mechanics in games like Delta Green or Call of Cthulhu, there’s nothing you can really do to stop the build up of your insanity, and it just feels like a death spiral. I want a system that works more like Blades in the Dark’s Stress (which I’ve applied to all of my games, including DCC), where you can take on strange quirks or feed your addiction to deal with Stress, or spend money to carouse to get rid of it.

Is there any system out there that would support this kind of play, or should I just try to make my own one?

submitted by /u/Pseudagonist
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