Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two-Fisted Monsters


White Wolf gave us monsters as protagonists, but they wound up being so angsty. For the more pulp minded gamer--who likes they’re vampires more Dracula Lives! than Interview with the Vampire--here are some monstrous inspirations:

A bruiser made from dead bodies is pretty pulpy already, but Mark Wheatley combined Mary Shelley’s brainchild with crime fiction, creating Frankenstein Mobster. Grant Morrison’s version of the monster is sort of a pulp adventurer in Seven Soldiers of Victory and now appearing monthly in Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. In the 1977 novelette "Black as Pit, From Pole to Pole" Waldrop and Utley have the monster wandering into a Pellucidar-esque Hollow Earth.

Werewolves have shown up as bikers and Nazis. Dan Brereton’s Nocturnals gives us a two-fisted scientist who suffers from werewolfism (as the Comics Code would have it) leading a team of monsters. Marvel’s Man-Wolf winds up a modern wolf-man in a Medieval fantasy world as Stargod.

Dracula gets into all sorts of historical adventures in the aforementioned Dracula Lives! reprinted in Essential Tomb of Dracula, vol. 4 (tragically, without the two encounters with Solomon Kane!). Forever Knight gave us a vampire police detective. Nancy Collins’s Sam Hell, the Dark Ranger, is an Old West vampire fighting supernatural menaces in “Hell Come Sundown.” Of course, Kate Beckinsale as a werewolf-hunting vampire (in tight leather) in a sort of action riff on Romeo and Juliet still might be a little angsty, but I'll mention it anyway.  Mainly for the tight leather.

I bet with a little digging I could think of something for the mummy--but start with those and the get those creatures on the loose.

15 comments:

JimShelley said...

The thing with the mummy is usually people want to change him from the monster version into some sort of sorcerer version. I'm guilty of it myself.

Extra points today for mentioning Man-Wolf!

The Angry Lurker said...

Werewolf women of the SS, these and some of the others are new to me.

Garrisonjames said...

Karloff switches from bandaged-cadaver to fez-wearing sorcerer in the classic Universal monster movie the Mummy, so that's about as old school as you can get, really...at least as far as RPGs go...

Nice to see more mentions of Marvels' Man Wolf -- the Other Realm where he becomes 'Star god' is a place just crying out to be adapted to RPG-exploration...

Fun post!

Sean Robson said...

I hate angsty, emo vampires, but I can forgive a lot to see Kate Beckinsale in tight leather ;). Underworld was actually pretty decent.

ckutalik said...

Man do I love those Grindhouse trailers. Nicholas Cage will always be Fu Manchu for me.

Trey said...

@JIm Garrison - Ha. Very true! Other Realm would be cool for an rpg.

@Sean - True that.

Harald said...

@Trey: Your point about WW is certainly valid, but in the nWoD books they've cut the emo bangs down to an almost decent 'do.

As for the pinnacle of angst, check out the old Wraith: The Oblivion. It's so dark I have no idea how to run it. It makes an awesome resource for running ghosts as monsters/NPC's though.

Trey said...

@Harald - Oh yeah, Wraith definitely had any interesting set-up and world. I'm not too familiar with nWOD, I admit. I didn't like nMage as well as oMage, though I'll aknowledge it seems to have cleaned up some of the elements folks found problematic.

Needles said...

Must be something in the air I covered an old movie monster inspired encounter today. Here http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2011/10/may-daymay-day-encounter-for-human.html
As a WW dungeon master I can honestly say that we did more Kim Newman inspired stuff then ansty driven drivel. I ran a Mummy The Resurrection game for over 3 years! Possibly one of the more hero driven games that they had come out with! Demon The Fallen was another favorite.
Honestly it was the pulps, pre code fifties stuff, & that sort of thing that was my inspiration. I couldn't get into the ansty driven stuff. I'm a monster so I feel bad. Bahh
Good post & it makes me want to break out my White Wolf books. Damn gamer ADD! Awesome post man!

Brutorz Bill said...

Excellent Post!

Justin S. Davis said...

For a WoD game that never went anywhere, I made a blaxploitation mummy hero: a soulful supercop who got murdered, and came back as an undead badass to stomp The Man a new one.

I even had a buddy do up the "official" movie poster in the vintage style, with text that read:

"Stomped. Stabbed. Shot. Drowned.
Even The Mob Can't Keep This Cat Down!
Meet Moses Cordell...THE MUMMY OF MOTOWN.

He's the boogie man, baby."

--

I loves me some two-fisted monster action. Can you dig it?

Trey said...

@Bill - Thanks.

@Justin - That's the way to do it!

Herb said...

For some RPG inspiration find the game that came out the same year as VtM, Nightlife by Stellar Games. It's splatter punk world (if WtM was set to Bauhaus and Joy Division, Nightlife was set to The Cramps and Suicidal Tendancies) is much closer to pulp fantasy and wouldn't be hard to take that direction at all.

Robert Parker said...

Frankenstein's Monsters wanders into Pellucidar? Sold!

Thanks for the head's up.

Trey said...

You're welcome.