Here’s a quick challenge for you. If you were to create a campaign where (aside from humans) there was just one other monster, what would it be? Here’s a few examples to get the ball rollin’.
Humans and Zombies
The archetypal zombie-horror campaign where it’s just Zombies ‘n’ us, and we’re losing. Add shotguns and weapons with the word “chain” in their name, and add salt to taste. Zombies come in all shapes and sizes from evil Zombie Rat Swarms (being chased by Zombie Cats) all the way up to that Zombie T-Rex that makes no sense whatsoever. But, dude, zombie, y’know.
Humans and Dragons
Postulate a world where man and dragon co-exist and you’re into Pern territory. Perhaps the dragons are our allies who help us in our daily life then Bad Things Happen to turn them from being our gentle benefactors into raging firey beasts of terror and the world goes from one of draconic nirvana to sounding like a song by Nirvana in a heartbeat. It’s post-draconic apocalypse – survival horror on a whole new scale of nasty.
Humans and Demons
Welcome to the world of the Supernatural TV series where our heroes’ purpose in life is to Smite. Demons keep popping into our world and it’s the PC’s task to find ’em and send them back to Hell using that special effect where they turn to ash first. This is a great setting for that Dogs in the Vineyard game you’ve been meaning to play. No, seriously.
Humans and Kruthiks
I love Kruthiks. Originally appearing inthe 3e Miniatures Handbook and now in 4e’s Monster Manual, they’re spindly scuttling things that evolve from being tiny hatchlings to bigass muthers, and are completely alien to our way of thinking. “Alien” being the operative word – if you want to recreate that particular series of movies there’s no better critter to use (unless you’ve got the Book of Vile Darkness – the Kython is a total Alien clone!). Drop a Kruthik (or Kython) nest into a peaceful mining town, add the adventurers and you’re in instant isolation/horror territory. Nice!
Humans and…… Humans
Running a human-only campaign can be immense fun. Perhaps the characters are able to see some humans as “different”, possibly clones or mind-controlled slaves who unknowingly work for their unnamed evil Overlords. Or perhaps you’re going for a more historical vibe with all-human warring city states battle for control over a territory. Bar none, humans make the most despicable villains, after all.
So, over to you.
If you could just pick one creature from the Monster Manual (or elsewhere) around which to build a campaign, what would it be, and why?