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Railstar 04-14-2017 10:11 AM

Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
This is partly an intellectual exercise, and partly for a group of NPC antagonists I’m running right now, to challenge a few monster-PCs.

The group seeks and destroys monsters, but it’s not GURPS Monster Hunters with Champions – it’s less cinematic, more semi-realistic, and more grounded (relatively speaking). More in line with GURPS Horror. Instead of being Champions, the team members are built by combining GURPS Horror’s Slayer template with another template from the same book to represent their individual background (so Slayer + Retired Soldier, Slayer + Doctor, Slayer + Techie). The team recognises how dangerous those monsters are head-on, so specialise in more distant or remote forms of attack to avoid the risks of getting too close to the monsters (sniper rifles, small UAVs, airborne agents that use garlic or similar things that affects monsters but not people) and only approaching once the monster has been sufficiently injured that it’s less “killing it” than “stopping it from coming back”.

Anyway, the thing I’m working on is how to fund such an operation? The group I have in mind are church-affiliated, but I see the members as more inclined to tithe to the church than to take money from the church (because church funds going to them are not going to charitable works like shelters, schools or orphanages).

Right now I’m thinking the group primarily operates out of an RV, and maybe after slaying a monster with connections (like a vampire) they went through all his/her records and their techie used that to hack into his/her business accounts? I’m basically looking for plausible ways such group can fund themselves and/or cut costs without having the “wealthy organisation with tons of money to spare for the monster hunters" handwave the situation.

Thanks in advance.

johndallman 04-14-2017 10:29 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
A few questions for clarification. Is this in the USA? Which state? How do you plan to avoid the PCs being arrested?

KarlKost 04-14-2017 10:42 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
Ok, let me share a little of my taking on the matter. To me, any scenario of "Monsters Hunters", is basically Urban Fantasy but with Secrecy and Conspiracy. That's something like World of Darkness (Vampire, Werewolf, Mage) - but better than that mess of White Wolf.

Why? Simple. The setting is the modern world (you can play medieval age, or ancient Egypt, or whatever, but it will be another game, not MH). The existence of monsters are a secret - otherwise, why haven't humanity declared an all-out war on the beasts?

Anyway, imho, no setting like this can work without a Men In Black -like conspiracy. Why? It's simple: without some group to keep the monsters hidden from public knowledge, the only thing that would make the monsters secret would be... Themselves. But, if the monsters were to remain secret by their own accord, there is only one reason why they would do it - they understand that humanity is dangerous. But, if they perceive how dangerous humanity really is... They would be sure to take steps to control humanity. And, without anyone to stop them...

The logical conclusion is, if left unchecked, the monsters became the rulers of the world. Humanity becomes mere puppets in their hands, and in that case, no hunter would exist for long - and probably, the monsters themselves would hunt down any one of their kind too showy. So, there would be no reason for hunters to "be born".

So, the ONLY way to make such a setting (IMO), is having one (perhaps several!) agency of Men In Black.

But... Why don't the MiB make the monsters existence public and put the entire humanity into an all-out hunt against them? Wouldn't that be more effective than trying to hunt on the shadows?

Well, two things. First of all: panic. Spreading panic could tear civilization apart.

But that's clearly not enough... Because such panic could be manageable. There is no garantee that the revelation would turn civilization into a wastland.

So, the second reason is... Yeah, the monsters may be rare. Even incredible rare. As they must remain hidden to survive, I dont expect that they would live on nests with hundreds of them. It would be too big of a target.

But, in the case of an all out war...

You see, vampires and werewolves can infect humans. So, as long as they think that they can live on the shadows, they'll take care. They'll play safe.

But, if war breaks out... All bets are of. They would be in despair. And their ONLY option would be... To fight back.

That means, turning entire cities into vampires. Capturing hundreds to thousands of humans, turning them all, and unleashing them against their former friends.

It would be the end world.

So, any MiB agency understands that they MUST keep the secret. They hunt from the shadows too, in this endless game of cat and rat. Its the ultimate game, and the only option.

KarlKost 04-14-2017 11:13 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
Keeping in line with my thoughts, I devised The Agency. The ultimate, top secret, top paranoid, conspiracy. In a world were your enemies can read minds and see the future, only extreme levels of paranoia can keep you alive. Therefore, secrecy is the MOST important aspect of it. So, they don't work out there, fighting in the open. Rather, they sponsor HUNDREDS of (less) secret organizations. Even the name "Agency" is a fiction. They have no name for themselves. Naming it would be giving a name to rally their enemies against. Instead, they are the secret patrons of groups like "Plague Hunters", "Knights of the Sun", "Secret Inquisition", "Templars Exorcists" and "Place-Your-Custom-Cool-Name-Here".

So, the monsters can tell "we will destroy the Templars!", but they will never say "The Agency is hunting us!".

Mind you that, hunting monsters is NOT their top priority.

Secrecy is.

That means that, MiBs can and DO hunt down other hunters, if they believe that there is a security threath. Better to sacrifice a few hunters... Hell, better to sacrifice ALL the templars, than to risk losing "humanity's only defense".

Those secret groups also have no idea of the existence of the Agency, save for their director, sometimes not even that.

Therefore, the players, who are Street level hunters, can come into contact with "The Wardens", "The Templars" or the "Soldiers of Ra". But, for all purposes, this group that I'm calling "Agency" doesn't exist AT ALL. They are an invisible hand that is NEVER perceived.

To keep in line of that, the Agency can even go so far as to make different secret societies of hunters to engage on war against each other, eventually. So, it is possible to see Templars and Wardens fighting or at least competing against each other, no side knowing that they are being manipulated by invisible forces to do so.

Of course, the Agency isn't all powerful and all knowing. It has a good grip on many secret groups, some of which have vast resources, and it gets vasts amounts of Intel from those groups too. But, eventually, the Knights can start a war against the Soldiers, in an event they didnt predict or desired. Those things happens. But in those cases, they go from contingency plan A, to B, to C, to D... Until they manage to get back control.

To the outside world, there are hundreds of secret groups bound on the hunt of supernaturals. Those are COMPLETELY independent, even going to the point of fighting each other.

But, on a deeper level, sometimes one of those groups manage to get some Intel that would be impossible to have. Those damn hunters sometimes surprise the monsters. "Damn, those Knights are more prepared than I expected!" says the Vampire. But, since they are all secret societies, this is only seem as a miscalculation of their true capacities by their enemies (the Agency is careful - and paranoid - enough to not "leak" Intel that could arise suspicions). In most cases, the monsters just assume that group A managed a cooperation with some group B without the monsters having realized it (and the Angency take efforts to make it so).

Well, thats how I've built the squeleton of my setting. What do you guys think?

starslayer 04-14-2017 11:19 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters

This type of operation is not going to be a '0 intel strike on the vampire leader'.

They are going to have to move slow, cautiously and have a good understanding of what they are attacking, see how far the tendril's stretch to assure that they don't get wiped out by some contingency after the fact.

Further, unless they are unrealistically lily white in there mission, they are not going to sweat the lives of sympathizers or conspirators.

So a daytime raid on the vampire lord's compound, simultaneously with taking the banker who's been handling the vampire's account hostage. Mixture of chlorine gas and garlic powder for the compound delivered by drones, cut the power, show up with some repainted van's that look like the power company, a bit of torture gets the banker to release the codes for the accounts, move everything of value out of the compound, kill any survivors, then torch it. Drain the vampire's accounts, kill the banker (possibly using a 'pet vampire' they have on staff so it looks like it was internal strife).

They probably aren't going to make more money than a dedicated criminal enterprise- but perhaps they will, which might be an extra motivation for some of them- they are in it for the money.

Varyon 04-14-2017 11:36 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters

Originally Posted by starslayer (Post 2091558)

Yeah, this. Ancient monsters (and their descendants) may well have amassed treasure in some form, which the hunters can liberate. Capturing and interrogating monsters might lead them to ancient cities or the like. If magic is a thing, there may be certain monster organs that can be used in various rituals that can either make money directly (transmute lead to gold) or indirectly (short-range prescience, for getting rich off various flavors of gambling). There may also be a black market for monster organs (which may also be true if said organs are actually useless, much as exists for bits from endangered species). They probably needed some initial seed money to get started on their monster hunting quest, but that could have easily come from their personal savings or a wealthy benefactor (for whom the endeavor may have been a lucrative investment).

KarlKost 04-14-2017 11:47 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
Ok, but such a scenario can't exist as part of a Void. Such an "Agency" couldn't be born out of the blue.

So, I tryed to expand the idea and give it some historical mean. Very well.

In that case, I could see groups of hunters existing ever since the dawn of civilization (cave men didnt have the numbers or organization for it). Monsters are a plague, so its not to hard to imagine that brave men and women would rise to fight their insidious presence.

So.... What's the most likely place to the birth of the first hunters?

A few options, amongst the oldest civilizations: Egypt, Summeria, Babylon, China.

The Gods of Summeria and Babilon are... Weird, to say the last. How about if... Well, lets think of those civilizations as Monster Driven. Yep, the vampires and demons took them over. And thats also one of the reasons they fell.

In China... China is curious. In real world, they have an elaborate bureoucracy of supernaturals in their myths of the "Celestial Bureoucracy". So, how about thinking on China as a place that managed a curious form of coexistence? I like the idea. Chinese monsters are "civilized" monsters. They are the "Devil you know".

Now, in Egypt... Ok, that one is good for my purposes. Their Gods value the life in community, they value individuals with good deeds - thats why Anubis weight the hearts of the dead, and if it is heavier than a plume, the person is doomed. That's a metaphor - the weight of the heart is a measure of selfishness, violence, etc.

So... In Egypt, the "Soldiers of Ra" were born... With the mission of "hunting down the spawn of Set". Set is an evil God... So, it would only be natural for them to see the monsters of the night as agents of Set. And, since Set is the natural enemy of Egypt... It makes sense.

Secret is, of course, their biggest weapon. And, since those guys have been commited to the hunt for thousands of years, they've learned A LOT in this time.

With a clear purpose and a fanatical zealoutry, they've managed to keep going throughout the ages. And learned how to keep away from the secular rulers of the civilization; working alongside the paraohs showed them that its best to pull the strings from the shadows.

From there, its only a matter of expansion. Secret moves to infiltrate Greece, Rome, Persia, even India.

Than Constantinople, the muslim lands... Perhaps the Templars were their biggest branch on medieval Europe.

Hell, why not making a funny fictional assumption that Hernan Cortez was one of them? Disgusted to see the monsters rulling the Aztecs...

In modern times (probably during Victorian Age), with a more global world, some of those groups enlisted the others - its unlikely that there would be a global conspiracy since the times of Rome. But, during the Industrial Age, some groups banded toghether, and started to covertly assume the leadership of others across the world.

This also opens room for "rogue agencies", minor groups that stayed beyond the Agency's radar and keep on playing independently. Those can be valuable assets or a huge problem to the Agency - perhaps, as a safety measure, the policy is " infiltrate and destroy" or even "kill on sight" (you never know if one of those can be corrupted or dominated by the monsters)

KarlKost 04-14-2017 11:52 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
The Catholic Church may well have a secret agency exclusively for the Hunt, with resources of its own... And secretly aided by the "Big Brother"

starslayer 04-14-2017 11:56 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters
The creation of such organization could be pretty spontaneous.

An investment banker with unusually strong willpower gets visited by a horrific creature who attempts to mind control him. Deciding its in his best interests to play along he just listens to the thing and nods a lot when the monster talks to him like he is thrall, eventually turning over a multi-million dollar account to manage.

The banker vanishes into the night and uses the money to build an organization stop such groups.

A rich woman looks into the death of her young son in unusual circumstance and eventually discovers the truth- eaten by vampires. She dedicates her sizable fortune to wiping those beasts out.

A few thieves break into a house and are attacked by the werewolf owner, only by luck do they happen to run it through with a 'lucky' silver pen-knife. When they clear the place out they realize that there is SERIOUS money in targeting supernatural creatures exclusively- the lack of investigation into the death makes it all the more tempting to repeat the process.

Anthony 04-14-2017 11:58 AM

Re: Funding semi-realistic monster hunters

Originally Posted by Railstar (Post 2091534)
Anyway, the thing I’m working on is how to fund such an operation?

Usually, by an entity with deep pockets who feels that monsters need to be killed. In a situation with secret monsters, a traditional option would be someone extremely wealthy (100-150 points of Wealth) with a personal grievance against monsters.

Originally Posted by Railstar (Post 2091534)
I’m basically looking for plausible ways such group can fund themselves and/or cut costs without having the “wealthy organisation with tons of money to spare for the monster hunters" handwave the situation.

There isn't a really plausible way of going about it without external funding; any type of monsters that can profitably be hunted by small self-funding groups would already be extinct.

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