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A World Almost Like Ours

The world in this campaign is like our own, except for one difference: The supernatural is real and everyone knows it. Still, it’s had less impact than you might expect. Cars, modern medicine, and smart phones have a far greater impact on everyday life than magic. Most supernatural is minor or happens somewhere far from home. People believe in angels, demons, and other entities, though they don’t agree on what they are, where they come from, or what they mean.

But it hasn’t had no impact. Superstitions are a regular part of life. Parents worry about their kids getting sucked into cults, while those kids all walk faster past the creepy house they believe is home to a witch. Terrorists often claim great magical powers or motivations. And scientists, religions, and politicians all have their own takes on what to be afraid of and who to blame. Meanwhile, governments and corporations dabble in looking for uses for magic (mostly in spying) to mixed, but generally modest results.

Occult Crime

Most crime is still the old fashioned kind. If the supernatural factors into a crime, it’s most likely incidental (e.g. a man claims he killed his wife because she put a hex on him). While anyone can mess around with magic and get enough of a result to scare each other at a late night party or sleepover, not many can do enough to be worth the trouble.

Magical crimes do occur, though. When they do, police investigate much the way they would any other crime. Occult forensics can be used to detect supernatural events and to trace them back to the source. Psychics and divination can point the way to solving crimes, though visions and premonitions aren’t admissible in a court of law and are mainly used to point investigators in the right direction. From there old-fashioned police work is the order of the day.

Every large city’s police department has a division dedicated to investigating supernatural crimes. Smaller town’s rely on state police or FBI task forces when needed.

The FBI are the acknowledged experts on the occult in the USA and are often called in on more serious occult crimes (much like they are for serial killers and psychological profiling). The FBI is stranger in this world than ours, full of it’s own myths and legends and strange resources.

The Case of Minnie Turner

Six months ago in the small New England town of Harper’s Crossing, not far outside the New Hope metropolis, an 18-year girl disappeared. The investigation went cold and most assumed she’d run away to the big city. But last week she was found wandering by the river. Her feet and hands were bloodied and her clothes were torn from walking. She has no memory of where she’s been for the last six months and is in a deep state of near catatonic shock, barely responding to questions.

But it’s the marks on her that have caused a panic in Harper’s Crossing. The number “9” is drawn on her arm in the bright red color of fresh blood. It isn’t a tattoo or a scar and it can’t be washed off. From all indications, it’s just a part of her, like a strange birthmark that didn’t show up until now.

But the town has seen this before. Twenty years ago, a sorcerer serial killer terrorized the town. He took six victims before being caught. Each of them had a number somewhere on their body, just like Minnie Turner, from “1” to “6.”

That serial killer is on death row now and scheduled to be executed in a few months. Is this a new serial killer? A copycat? Or did they not catch the real killer back then?

And what about the numbers “7” and “8”? Are there two other victims waiting to be found?

Enter the Investigators

The FBI has sent a team of investigators at the request of the town’s small police force. The player characters in this campaign are a mix of that FBI team, big city police from nearby New Hope, the local police, and others who have expertise or abilities to offer as consultants.

Some Inspirations

This list is by no means complete, but a few prominent inspirations are listed below.

  • Twin Peaks (tv series) and Fire Walk With Me (movie)
  • True Detectives Season 1 (tv series)
  • Hellblazer (comics)
  • Constantine (movie)
  • Silence of the Lambs (movie)
  • Unknown Armies (RPG)

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