Supernatural Investigation by the Map

Chris Pramas of Green Ronin fame posted the below graphic a few weeks ago (it’s originally from Moe Lane):
To be frank, I can’t get it out of my head. It’s so dammed good. I mean seriously. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an image that captured the beauty of X-Files style gaming so well.
Yep. X-Files.
The problem most supernatural investigation games make is that they take themselves too seriously. The beauty of X-Files was that it knew that you had to take a break for something different. Not necessarily funny – bizarre is just as good! And not all the time, but enough to break up intense arcs and alleviate tension.
So here’s the campaign hook: take this map (or build one like it) as the basis for your next horror/supernatural investigation game. This works really well for systems like Trail of Cthulhu or Dresden Files. Regardless of the specific system, use the map as the genesis for adventures in each state. For extra credit, challenge yourself as a GM to take the hooks in odd directions. Take New Hampshire’s stoned conservatives as a great example:
  • Maybe they’re part of a regligious cult that has extreme pot usage as a tenant
  • Perhaps they’re the victims of a conspiracy to poison the state’s scotch supply with a potent cannabis extract
  • How about the state’s political leaders have fallen under the sway of a particularly inept demon that uses a steady pot addiciton to keep his charges in line
You can obviously use this idea (if not this particular map) for any genre or setting. That said, this one is so great, I had to write about it!

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