’Tis now the very witching time of night,
When churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out
Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.…
William Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2
From The history of witches and wizards: giving a true account of all their tryals in England, Scotland, Swedeland, France, and New England; with their confession and condemnation / Collected from Bishop Hall, Bishop Morton, Sir Matthew Hale, etc, by W.P., (1720). Source: Wellcome Collection.
Recently I have been pondering a new writing project: a 17th century skirmish game of monster hunting - pitching a handful of foolhardy hunters against a small number of 'monsters'. Designed for co-operative and solo play, the hunters will be controlled by the player/s, while NPC 'innocents' and the antagonististic 'monsters' will be controlled by the game.
I see it as an opportunity to take the learning from Palaeo Diet: Eat or Be Eaten, but adapt some of those core concepts to make a grittier and darker game (in more ways than one). I see light sources and darkness being key components, with a randomised activation system and d10-based system using target numbers.
Players will create their characters from a number of core archetypes: scholars, religious, veterans, gallants etc, customising them with a trait or two and some useful trappings before taking to the darkness. 'Monsters' would be themed around period appropriate fears such as witches, werewolves, ghouls and revenants.
It is still early in the design process, and not every idea develops into a fully-fledged game, but what is down on paper so far feels pretty sound, so watch this space... 🐺