Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Special Collections -- a campaign idea

Here is a lighthearted approach to hunting monsters that I thought would be fun. As with most of my ideas, whether campaigns or one-shots, I'll probably never have the time to run it.

Name: Special Collections

Genre: Monster Hunters

The Background: Since the late 19th century, strange artifacts and curious specimens have found their way into the collections of the Smithsonian Institution. Over time, other federal and state agencies began to rely upon the Smithsonian to clean up anything situation that carried the whiff of the occult. During the 1930s and through World War II, these situations grew from mere curiosities to serious threats to the welfare of the nation. In 1948, after the Roswell crash showed that the Air Force was unprepared to deal with extraterrestrial threats, President Truman officially gave responsibility for all paranormal investigations to the Institution, including alien visitations, hauntings, cursed artifacts, demonic possessions, esoteric technologies, and infestations of undead.

The Organization: The Smithsonian Institution is the nation's formost authority on paranormal phenomena and technology. It is led by Secretary G. Wayne Clough (Georgia Tech '64),  a practical-minded leader and a civil engineer by training. The Secretary serves under the 17-member Board of Regents, a body made up of prominent politicians and academics and which includes Chief Justice John Roberts and Vice President Joe Biden. The Institution's vast collections and state-of-the-art research facilities serve a staff of 17,000 scholars and researchers, a select few of whom work in the area of Special Collections.

The Team: You are a member of the Special Collections Office of the Smithsonian Institution. You are an expert in a field covered by one of the member museums of the Institution. You might be an expert in extraterrestrial biology and technology working in the National Air and Space Museum, or an expert in secret societies working at the National Museum of American History, or an expert on cryptozoology working at the National Zoo. Alternately, you might be a liaison from the Library of Congress, specializing in holdings from Class X: Secrets Man Was Not Meant to Know. But you're not just a scholar -- you're a member of the Field Team, trained in the practical side of collections as well as the academic. You are on call around the clock, ready at any time to pack your revolver, bullwhip, and field guild

The Mission: Whatever your background, your job is simple: discover, locate, and collect objects of paranormal interest for return to the Institution, where they can be studied and kept from harming the public. In some cases -- many cases, actually -- the artefacts or specimens may put up a fight, and it's your job to quietly subdue them while minimizing public danger and public exposure. Remember, intact specimens are more valuable to science. Typical jobs would be preventing General George Armstrong Custer from recruiting young Army veterans into his Ghost Cavalry, trapping a wendigo that wandered down from Canada, or thwarting the aliens who are still trying to recover the wreckage from that crash in Roswell. Oh, and visitors to the National Portrait Gallery have been disappearing lately -- could you look into that?

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