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Old 03-12-2016, 03:50 PM   #1
Icelander
 
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Default [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

I'm considering a one-shot adventure where the PCs are FBI agents sent to a small town to interview some people, as relatively insignificant part of a massive serial killer case involving the Behavioral Science Unit. The game will be set in the late 1980s.

I want somewhere that feels isolated, with interesting local colour. The FBI agents should feel like outsiders and have a hard time getting a handle on whatever weirdness is going on.

Parts of the United States that I'm considering are a) New England, in particular the most rural and wooded parts of Maine; b) the South, somewhere iconically southern, a small town where everything revolves around high school football; c) North Dakota; d) Lousiana bayous; e) an Indian reservation somewhere interesting; f) New Mexico; g) San Fernando Valley.

Suggestions from the forumites?

Edit:

My game ended up being set in the tiny town of Allagash, Aroostook County, Maine, as well as several neighbouring communities like Dickey, St. Francis, Saint John Plantation and, to a lesser degree, Fort Kent (passing through) and Houlton, ME (started off in).

Short background of the premise and the PCs.
Suspect and notes on victims (Victor Jude Dufresne, the 'Werewolf of the Village').
Piper May Sullivan and Theresa Lake, last two victims (8th and 14th of December 1988, conclusively shown to have been killed by Dufresne).
Five other suspected victims found in 1988 (one might be proved in court, four are working theories).
Twelve other victims found 1985 to 1987 will be linked to when I've written the notes on them out prettily enough.

Here is a GoogleDrive folder with pictures of characters, locations, equipment, animals and other things. Also some notes, in a folder cleverly named 'Notes. There's also a lot of discussion about some aspects of the setting in a thread here about 1980s American atmosphere, consumer goods, fashions, etc.

Pictures of the three PCs:
Special Agent Frank Corelli
Special Agent Rene Ledoux
Special Agent Maria Lucia de la Guerra Estevez
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Last edited by Icelander; 12-30-2016 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

There are plenty of redneck former logging towns along the Oregon coast.
Lots of wooded areas and it doesn't take much area to get lost in.
Yes, you will find quite a few, especially oldsters, that believe they saw a sasquatch.
I imagine that could act as a cover for "real" monsters. Oh, you saw a man-thing in the forest? At least it wasn't a *snicker* bigfoot this time, Jerry.

Oregon also has the Umatilla reservation with extreme seasonal temperatures. Over 100 F in the summer and below 0 F with feet of snow in the winter was how I remember my childhood.
I heard rattlesnakes and saw grasshoppers so often I eventually all but tuned them out. My dad found a rattle-less hybrid in our yard, so natural dangers aren't something to forget even in a MH game.

Edit: I don't mean to come off like a travel brochure. I just have lived all over this state but have only spent a couple summers out of it... all the way out in southern Washington.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
There are plenty of redneck former logging towns along the Oregon coast.
Lots of wooded areas and it doesn't take much area to get lost in.
Yes, you will find quite a few, especially oldsters, that believe they saw a sasquatch.
I imagine that could act as a cover for "real" monsters. Oh, you saw a man-thing in the forest? At least it wasn't a *snicker* bigfoot this time, Jerry.

Oregon also has the Umatilla reservation with extreme seasonal temperatures. Over 100 F in the summer and below 0 F with feet of snow in the winter was how I remember my childhood.
I heard rattlesnakes and saw grasshoppers so often I eventually all but tuned them out. My dad found a rattle-less hybrid in our yard, so natural dangers aren't something to forget even in a MH game.

Edit: I don't mean to come off like a travel brochure. I just have lived all over this state but have only spent a couple summers out of it... all the way out in southern Washington.
Twin Peaks was set in Washington and that's definately an inspiration here.
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

Inlet, New York, or any one of the small towns up in the Adirondacks, would be an excellent place.

In particular, there was a novel written about an actual murder on a lake up that way, An American Tragedy, set on Big Moose Lake. I used to spend summers up there near the hotel on the lake where it happened.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

Is this an X-Files inspired game? Either way you could use one of the small towns they visit.
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Old 03-12-2016, 05:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

If you want isolation, I would suggest somewhere in the deserts of the west. In the south or the north you can always go 6 miles and be somewhere new. Out west, you have the town, a whole bunch of nothing, and then a while later you have more town.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boomerang View Post
Is this an X-Files inspired game? Either way you could use one of the small towns they visit.
The inspiration can end up being X-Files, Twin Peaks, True Detective, Fargo or something else, depending on where in the country it's set.

I'm personally enamored of the South, but players are mentioning New England or the Midwest. One idea I have for a plot is best set in a friendly small town where high school football is super important. That would work in Texas, Georgia, Alabama or even Lousiana.

Another would work somewhere cold, with an Indian reservation close by, and miles and miles of trees and freezing snow between them and support.
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Old 03-12-2016, 07:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

Well, I would definitely second the Pacific Northwest. There's a good amount of local color that could skew things along with the fact that there's a good amount of ghost towns that exist in the Washington/Oregon/Idaho area if you need a creepy location, can't get much better than that. Especially with the various biomes you can encounter in Oregon alone. Heck, the Friendly Small Town with important high school football is fairly common around the coastal area in southern Washington. On top of that, any isolation is just a wind storm away. Trees blocking the road, power lines going down and all that fun jazz on top of some spots in the state still being a cell phone dead zone just to drive points home.

Otherwise perhaps Montana or Alaska could be a good way to go if you're looking at cold and isolated. Look at either Fargo or Insomnia for inspiration for those. (I know the former is Minnesota, but I figure that the setting could work just as well for almost any northern state in the middle of the US.)
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Old 03-12-2016, 08:55 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

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Old 03-12-2016, 09:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Horror/Monster Hunters] American Small Town Mystery

I'd personally avoid a res being the primary location. Now, one being nearby is a possibility, especially out west, but also in several southern states.

The PNW is a very good location and like others have said, easy to get isolated in.

But I think that I would personally choose a section of southern Utah. Say Hanksville, Blanding, Bluff, Mexican Hat, Oljeto, or Monticello. Most especially if they have to travel around from one to the other to interview people. One of the most fascinating and creepy areas in the world I've ever been in was the area just nw of Lake Powell/Colorado river along 276 and the area south of there down to southish of Lake Powell/San Juan river. This is the area where Louis L'Amour set one of his best books. You've got small towns, reservations, National Parks and Monuments, isolated ranches, many small mining outfits, creepy haunted campgrounds, isolated undiscovered cliff dwellings, lost tourists, drug smuggling, amateur fossil hunters, etc.

Now I may have to come up with something set there.
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