2 hours ago
Monday, June 10, 2013
The Weird Town: Investigative Sandbox
Watching the 2012 Dark Shadows move this weekend got me thinking about the original show and just how many unusual things happened in that sleepy little Maine town. (True, some of them required time travel and even visits to parallel timelines, but still the same town.) It occurs to me that it would interesting to do a campaign set in a town with weird secrets like Collinsport, Twin Peaks, Crystal Cove from Scooby-Doo, Mystery Inc., or the titular Happy Town (in a show that died too young). A sufficiently large single edifice would do, too--like maybe Gormenghast.
The difference between these settings and larger settings is that investigation not exploration is the order of the day. They differ from traditional investigative settings in that the locale itself is mysterious, unlike New York City in any police procedural or Arkham in Lovecraftiana. This kind of campaign may be better suited to a game that has more of an investigative focus like GUMSHOE or even good ol' Call of Cthulhu. The PCs are probably new in town to heighten the mystery, but some may well have past connections to it: A connection that should give them a reason to investigate.
If you want to do more action-adventure stuff, you probably need something like more of a mysterious island like in Lost or--well--Mysterious Island. There, exploration and investigation can go hand in hand. Just make sure to play up the uncovering as much as the discovering.