A Town Called Malice by Monkeyfun Studios is one of my favorite RPGs (it sits squarely in my top ten RPGs of all time). You should pick it up if you don’t have it (get it here on DRIVETHRURPG)
With the permission of the Monkeyfun Studios team, I’ve written a few fan playtests for A Town Called Malice, as fan material!
This is the first one and its got some pretty horror/violent driven imagery (I think!)
This is inspired by growing up in the upper Midwest and classic Nordic noir!
The wolf hunts a hungry man and the devil a lonely heart
-Eric Church, ‘Monsters’
It’s 2020-something in in the northern Midwest; The small rural farming and oil town of Buffalo Lake has seen an economic boon and crash over the last two decades. Brief flares of prosperity brought hope, oil money, and an influx of workers and companies, who all picked up stakes just as quickly once the oil was gone, leaving only empty wells, discarded industrial materials, and something lurking in the deep winter winds…
THE TOWN: BUFFALO LAKE
Description: Buffalo Lake is a small rural farming town sitting along the Malice River Valley, somewhere in the Great Plains of the upper Midwest. Its population is tiny, only 1,700 or so. Buffalo Lake is a community built on heritage, lutefisk, midwestern hospitality, and deep winters. Buffalo Lake is primarily a farming town historically, now suffering from an economic downturn brought by the exit of oil production that flooded the community with cash and population it couldn’t sustain.
Town Location Options:
- The Hub – The local Greyhound Station, old and poorly kept with only one bus every two days
- The Café – The Antelope Diner, small, friendly, and crowded
- The Office – the small City Center Offices, where municipal government operates out of
- The Infirmary – Buffalo Bluff Hospital and Emergency Center
- The Center – Farford Oil Corporate Center, the de facto economic power of the town
- The Tavern – Big Al’s, an old family owned dive
- The Station – The county sheriff’s office, poorly staffed and ignored by the county
- The Plant – The Old Oil Fields, rusting and in need of repair but still worked for whatever oil is still around
No new locations
THE BODY: Bree Kichestov
Bree, age 23, is a college student from Buffalo Lake who has returned home for the holiday season. Former valedictorian at Buffalo Lake High School, Bree is considered the small town’s “golden child”, destined for great things. Her father raised her by himself, and while Bree was well-loved, Brett Kichestov was merely tolerated for Bree’s sake. Bree left to attend college out of state, and a frequent topic of local gossip is her love interest and if Bree will return back to town.
- Who is Bree’s mother?
- What did Bree do to look more ‘big city’?
- Did Bree bring anyone home for the holidays?
EVENT: The Last Christmas
Description: Once Farford Oil started to pull out, the money started to dry up. The cash from Farford’s community investments is now gone, and everyone is struggling to make it through. Farmers had pivoted to oil, and with the sudden and abrupt economic change, it’ll take years for them get to everything back to how it was. The local Lutheran Church is out of operating money, and the attendant staff have informed the townsfolk that the church will have to close at the New Year. Buffalo Lake is trying to save the church their great-great-grandparents built, but the money just isn’t there.
Setback: The only bank of Buffalo Lake (First County Buffalo Bank) wants to own the land the church is on and isn’t interested in helping to save the church.
- Why won’t First Buffalo County Bank help save the church?
- Where can the town find the money to save the church?
- Who is making these decisions at FBCB?
DARKNESS: The Freyatrup (“Monster”)
Description: A dark monster out of ancient Germanic lore, the Freyatrup is a blood-drinking, ice-cold being who subsists on the warmth of human life and can only be active in the deepest cold. The monster is pale (nearly translucent white, like ice), and stringy grey-white hairs drip over blood-stained yellow teeth. The eyes are bright red and rimmed in frozen tears, and the Freyatrup drags its feet as it walks, moving slowly but with purposes.
The Freyatrup feeds by tearing open its victims’ and lapping up their blood. After hollowing the victims out, the Freyatrup then nestles in the still warm corpse to warm itself….
- Hollowed out bodies with chest cavities split wide open
- Long, dragged footprints with dripping blood beside them
- Strange handprints on windows in the frost, and screams carrying on the wind
- A string ‘white lady’ stands in the frozen fields in the distance among the whipping snow and wind
FINAL CONFRONTATION TABLE
Once both acts conclude, it’s time for the Final Confrontation for the Event and Darkness Pillars.
Final Confrontation for the Event
- The Event loses – the church has been lost, with First Buffalo County Bank claiming the land in a shady underhanded deal with Farford Oil. Without delay, the town’s heritage and church are demolished in one swoop to make way for ‘improvements’ that line FBCB’s pockets.
- The Event ties – The church is saved, but only for a time. FBCB has acquired the land, and while forced to grant the church a long-term lease at very favorable rates for the church, they’re still trying to undermine the church and gain full control of the land.
- The Event wins – The town has managed to save the Church and secure its future for the next few years.
Final Confrontation for the Darkness
- The Darkness loses – somehow, improbably, the Freyatrup is driven off into the deepest part of the great plains, forced to starve without human warmth until it ceases to be.
- The Darkness ties – the Freyatrup is driven off, but it has claimed and tasted human warmth and life and it will be returning in the future. Some of the slain were economic leaders who might have been able to aid the town in its recovery
- The Darkness wins – the Freyatrup’s hunger has wreaked havoc throughout the town, slaying and slaughtering dozens in its pursuit of blood and life. The town is devastated and the emigration to other, more populated areas begins.
On an obscured moonless night, amid one of the biggest snowstorms in memory and some of the strongest winds of the year, screams echo among the streets of Buffalo Lake. Bodies lie gutted in their beds and homes, blood smeared everywhere. Strange keening howls ride on the wind like lightning, as a foul conception of life has begun and the Freyatrup creates more of its kind….
A Town Called Malice is a trademark of Monkeyfun Studios and used with permission.
(I asked David and he said I could post this!)