I’ve meant to post this idea for a very, very long time.
Back when I was still running games using the old World of Darkness and its Storyteller system, I had an idea for a series of pickup scenarios to run a very blackly humorous game.
This idea came from creatures that I found in the sick and satirical yet awesome supplement Freak Legion: a Player’s Guide to Fomori and the far superior and more serious later supplement Possessed, which detailed not only Fomori but Gorgons, Drones and Kami (creatures possessed by wyrm spirits, wyld-spirits, weaver-spirits and Gaian forces respectively). While I use the term fomor in my blog a lot, this is a very different concept than the one found in my Legend of the Archons game.
The creatures that I found that inspired me so? Why, the Fomor Families of course. What are they? I’m glad that you asked. They’re a distinctive form of Fomor that operates in groups that are notable partially because their taint is passed down family lines and also because the Bane spirits that possess them are elemental in nature rather than emotion-oriented banes like those that create most Fomori. They flourish in backwoods areas like the everglades, Louisiana bayous, deep in Appalachia and similar places (tiny New England towns work too, hint hint). They’re actually one of the more dangerous types of fomor too, not because of individual power but because they cooperate with one another and they don’t tend to stray far from territory with which they are intimately familiar. Also, they’re frequently Kinfolk to the Black Spiral Dancers.
So what have we got here? We’ve got degraded and inbred mutant hillbillies, more or less. It’s The Hills Have Eyes, the hillfolk family from the Simpsons and the guys from Deliverance all at once but they’ve got grotesque spiritually-based powers on top of their misanthropy and ignorance. These guys are literally the Hillbillies From Hell!
And that is where I got the name for this potential series of one-shots. I figured that I’d do a series of them but put them in no particular order and without any real attempt at continuity. They’re stand-alone scenarios using the same characters, more or less.
Instead of having the titular Hillbillies From Hell(!) as antagonists, we’d more them front and center to being a dysfunctional, despicable and blackly comedic protagonist group. Picture something like a film directed by the team of Rob Zombie, Quentin Tarantino and Terry Gilliam. PCs would have to include some or all of the following:
- Pa, the patriarch of this here band of hellbillies. I reckon that he’s a laconic sort that, when he speaks at all he has the final word. May be up on some supernatural lore also, a la Old Man Whately from The Dunwich Horror.
- Ma, the dreaded and terrifying harridan that keeps everybody else in line.
- Two or more big, brawny idiots of sons/cousins/whatever, in varying degrees of size and cunning.
- The obligatory Hot Hillbilly Girl.
- Optional: The Wilbur Whately. See The Dunwich Horror for more on this guy. Utterly creepy, only marginally passable for human and surprisingly erudite in supernatural matters and dark lore despite his lack of a formal education.
- Optional: a little weaselly snitch of a younger family member.
- Optional: the chilluns/young’uns.
- Optional: If somebody’s feeling frisky, they could play the alpha of the family’s rampaging pack of hound dogs. It’s not like most of the family is any smarter than the old hound dog anyhow…
I am just doing this to toss ideas out there and to help myself remember this. I’ll probably never run it, but I’d love to at some point. Maybe somebody cut put it together for a convention game.
Below are the titles of some of the possible scenarios I came up with to run the Hillbillies From Hell(!) through:
- Hillbillies From Hell Save The World! – A flyin’ saucer or two touch down on the Hillbillies’ land intent on establishing a beachhead for a planetary invasion out someplace where nobody will care about. It’s up to the Hillbillies From Hell to save the world from these gribbly alien scum a la Redneck Rampage. “Pa, ah see a bright light out there inna yard – it’s prob’ly them gubmint. Git th’ squirrel gun!”
- Beverly Hillbillies from Hell! – Paw’s out shootin’ at some food and while he’s out there he finds something that makes the family rich beyond the dreams of avarice (maybe impressive movie-grade uranium deposits or something equally entertaining) and so they move out to some posh locale while still making sure to keep an eye on the pestilent little hole they came from. Demonic hillbillies mixing with the elites and noveaux-riche. Hilarity ensues.
- Hillbillies From Hell Family Feud! The Hills Rise Wild meets Romeo and Juliet or the Hatfields and McCoys, anyone? Why are they feuding? Is it over some mystic artifact, or because of soembody’s sister/cousin being literally given the eye by somebody from the wrong family, or is this simply a feud that has been going on since before anybody now living can remember?
- Hillbillies From Hell Hit the Road! Traveling cross country to see Wally World… with the Hillbillies From Hell. Cue disaster.
- Hillbillies From Hell Go To School! Social Services has cottoned on to the poor treatment and zero education of the family’s chilluns, and has decided to step in. If’n the family doesn’t want to lose the young’uns, they’re going to have to send them to school. To be fair, Pa’s probably going to have to send the older ones too. Hilarity ensues. Alternately, the game could focus on the kids having been actually taken away from Ma and Pa and placed in foster care… how long can the state cope with having these hellions as its wards? Can we actually root for Ma and Pa to find a way to get their young’uns back?
- Hillbillies From Hell Against The Law! You know these guys are involved in moonshining and probably growing certain other interesting substances, and it’s very likely that some corrupt official wants their land and possibly something else of theirs, so he has turned his equally corrupt official minions to finding a way to cart the lot of them off and justify a land grab. maybe the corrupt commissioner is a Toad Fomor in a white suit and taking kickbacks from Pentex to pave the way for the company to claim the “old mine” that’s in the family’s territory. Cue car chases, colorful metaphors, confederate flags and of course the jiggling of our own resident hillbilly hottie. Them Dukes!
- Hillbllies From Hell Stick it to the Man! This is one where for some reason or another, some slick big city developer has decided he needs to develop the family’s land. Maybe he’s decided it’s a good place for a resort, or a power plant, or perhaps he’s a civil engineer that wants to put a freeway through. Whatever. Anyhow, what’s important is that he’s decided that the hellbillies have to go, and the snake’s not only got a bunch of lawyers and cronies but he’s also put the ATF or some similar federal agency on to the family’s questionable practices. Stick it to The Man!
- Hillbillies From Hell at the County Fair! Can Ma keep her prize giant punkin from eating the judges before it can win the blue ribbon? Can Cletus find a way to woo both the prize hog and its pretty owner? Can Pa make it through the day without shooting anybody? And what ever happened to them young’uns?
- Hillbillies From Hell Go To Town! – The family has to go in to town for one reason or another (to get parts for their broke down old tractor maybe? For the Farmer’s Market maybe?) and hilarity ensues.
- Hillbillies From Hell and the Great Bank Robbery! Pa takes the family with him to go to the bank and get his subsidy/welfare/whatever check dealt with, and some poor bastard of a bank robber decides it’s a good time to start a high stakes bank heist! Before Pa can get his money! And he took Lula Belle hostage! This is going to get very ugly, very fast. Heck, we could make it a high rise and go Hellbilly Die Hard.
Since dreaming up this concept, I have reviewed it and thought that it could run very well in a number of other game systems. Apart from the assorted universal systems, a game like this would work really easily and entertainingly in Capes or FATE/Spirit of the Century, and would also make for a hysterically awesome game of octaNe.