Monster of the Week and the Mystery Format for Savage Worlds

This post is in response to a question about the scenario that I wrote up for Weird War I “Raid on the Hejaz Line“. Someone asked why the locations listed a motive, and I realized that I have never talked about the format that I have taken up for writing scenarios from Monster of the Week.

In Monster of the Week, each scenario is called a Mystery, and they provide a certain structure that I find useful to visualize for how things would progress, who is involved with, and where the events occur. Below is my interpretation of what each element means.

Hook: This is the basic idea for the scenario. It could be the event that introduces the players to the mystery, or it could be the mission that they are ordered to perform. The example from my last scenario was the mission to sabotage the Hejaz rail line so that the troops being moved on it could be ambushed.

Threats: This are the individuals that you will be interacting with. There are three types Monsters, Minions, and Bystanders. Each of these threats have a type and a motivation that determines their goals and the way that they try to accomplish them.

  • Monsters are the “big bads” of the mystery. These would be Wild Cards in Savage Worlds terms, and possibly only able to be defeated by doing something special.
  • Minions are the extras that are in conflict with the heroes. They are in support of the monsters helping to further the Monster’s goals.
  • Bystanders are all of the other extras that the players interact with. They could be the ones that provide clues as to what is going on, victims of the Monster and its Minions, or they could provide assistance to the players as they confront the monsters.

Locations: Are any place that will be important in the scenario. Each location has a type that drives what types of things happen there and the role they play. These types can be symbolic, emotional, or functional and do not have to be literal. The motivation of a location is the role it plays in the scenario, so the examples from my last scenario are first is the desert which is of type wilds and its motivation is “to contain hidden things”, which just means that there are hidden threats in the desert that the party will stumble on and might distract them from the true objective. The second example is for the Hejaz rail line which is of type crossroads with the motivation “to bring people and things together”, and this is where the train which is the target of the raid will arrive with the enemy troops as well as where the allied troops will show up.

Countdown: This is the sequence of events that will occur if the heroes do not interfere with the monster’s plans. This is mostly to provide guidelines for what the monster wants and possible places for where the players can interfere with those plans. For more in depth coverage of this topic please see this blog post.

As to why I like this format, it gives me an organized way to view a scenario emphasizing the basic issue to be resolved, and how each part is intended to support this.

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Author: Hours without Sleep

I am a professional software tester, who has an interest in programming, computers, role-playing games, history, and reading in general. This is my third attempt at keeping a blog, and I am going to try putting all of my thoughts in one place, and see how it goes.

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