I’ve been enjoying running Beyond the Mountains of Madness again. It’s a very different campaign to Masks, and I’ve tried to really encourage the players to invest some time in their characters, making them as rich as possible, as this is an essential element of Mountains. Where Masks presented Indiana Jones style encounters replete with a diverse cast of unlikely villains, and players could easily walk the path of a caricature of a character, Mountains is a slow burn, with very little in the way of actual horror and only sparse action after 8 full sessions, and I’ve tried to encourage more realistic characters, although I’m not sure they’re all as fully fleshed out as I’d like yet.
The challenges of Mountains for the GM are numerous. There is a massive cast of NPC’s and scant information about many of these, to allow any deep exploration upon subsequent character encounters– nor does the scenario attempt to predict how many of these will react to the major events of the campaign (to this point). In addition, adequately conveying the difficulties and arduousness of ocean travel, pack ice, and the inhospitable Antarctic climate is significantly difficult.
Running this campaign initially more than a decade ago, I was left with some powerful memories of the way the characters faced the climax of the campaign. I only hope that I can ensure there is significant player attachment to this group of characters to come close to emulating some of those achievements over the next couple of months.
Next, a shout-out to the venerable Mike Sands who has just published his Monster of the Week, action-horror roleplaying game.There are monsters out there. Most people don't believe in them, but they're real. Mostly, when someone finds out that monsters are real, that's just before they die.
But some people are mean enough, smart enough, crazy enough, or hurt enough, that they live. And some of those people go and hunt down more.
That's who you are – someone who decided to go on a crusade against the evil critters that are scurrying around out there.
- It could be that you make a stand and defend your hometown from
everything evil that comes there.
- It could be you take to the road and go find them.
- It could be you have magic powers that help out.
- It could be that your name came up in prophecies thousands of years ago.
Finally, I’d like to point you in the direction of Matt and Debbie Cowens new book Mansfield with Monsters. Matt and Debbie have been working hard at their craft, and I’m sure this new book is just as awesome as it sounds, my congratulations to these two 'true pioneers of the macabre':