Welcome to an age that never was, but could have been… welcome to the world of steampunk!
This is the homepage for my campaign set in a world that never existed – a world of steam-powered computers, metal men and hi-tech wonders. A world where heroes struggle against supernatural horrors that invade the world in 1872. It is a world perched on the brink of modernity – but dark forces threaten to pull humanity back into an age of ignorance and fear.
The heroes of the Shadow Stalkers campaign are men (and women) who have had some personal experience of the incursion of Shadow into the world. They come from all walks of life—schoolteachers and detectives, retired soldiers and Western gunslingers, scientists and miners—but are united by their investment in fighting the evil that threatens to overwhelm the world.
Night falls and the world prepares to sleep. It will be a troubled sleep, however, as increasingly terrifying nightmares torment people throughout the world. It’s been this way for the past few months, since The Event. That’s how Jack Evarman thinks of it. Capital “T”, capital “E”.
Heroes kick ass on supernatural horrors that invade the world of 1872.
Campaign in Brief
Shadow Stalkers is one specific take on Gothic horror/fantasy. The campaign focuses on heroic horror where supernatural monsters prowl the Victorian world. Heroes, sometimes called Shadow Stalkers, fight these monsters and offer some small measure of hope in the face of overwhelming horror.
In this setting, the monsters of a million horror stories prowl the gaslit streets of a world on the brink of modernity. They stalk the fog-shrouded night beneath a moon swollen full and hanging ominously above an unsuspecting city. Shadow, the dark realm that disgorges monsters into our reality, obscures their horrific nature. Its properties work in conjunction with the natural defenses of the human mind to shield the fragile human psyche of humanity from a reality that could easily shatter it. The heroes emerge with at least a partial awareness of the truth of the invasion, but this knowledge kills as often as it saves.
The Shadow Stalkers have the skills, abilities, and most importantly, the awareness necessary to oppose the supernatural menaces. They help defend the world against the denizens of Shadow, fighting each incursion they encounter with whatever means is available to them. The heroes take on this daunting, deadly challenge because somebody has to, because they are at least peripherally aware of the intrusion, and often, because they are called to their mission by a higher authority or a feeling of destiny. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and goblins feast on the citizens of our world. It’s up to the Shadow Stalkers to stop them.
The truth remains hidden from the world at large, though. Most people can’t fathom the Things of Darkness, and so they either can’t or won’t see them for what they really are. This veil of self-deception and delusion keeps the vast majority of the world functioning despite the very horrors around us. Those who can see through the shadows, however, often find ridicule, scorn, and even madness on the other side. There’s danger as well in knowing the true nature of the world, for being able to see the monsters usually means that the monsters are aware of you.
The Role of the Heroes
The heroes in this setting are Shadow Stalkers, otherwise normal people who have become aware of the intrusion of Shadow. This knowledge leads some to madness and despair, but our heroes are made of sterner stuff. They take up the challenge and decide to fight the denizens of Shadow – either out of a sense of duty and responsibility, or to ensure their own survival.
In this setting, the steampunk world of 1872 collides with a world of supernatural horror populated by nightmarish monsters, (low-level) magic, and the rare magic item. For the most part, the heroes must depend on the technology of our world and each other, although research can put some amount of magic into the heroes’ hands. Lucky for our heroes that this is a world of constant expansion and rapid technological advancement.
The heroes either already belong to, or have recently been recruited by, a private institution of concerned individuals known as The Fellowship.
The monsters are here. Perhaps they’ve always been here, but for some reason they have become more active in recent days. Since most of the world won’t – or can’t – acknowledge the existence of these Shadow creatures, it falls to the heroes to fight the good fight and protect the innocent from the terrors of the night. It might take a few adventures for the heroes to come to grips with the true nature of the world once they achieve an awareness of the dark reality around them, but eventually they must take up the charge or the monsters (and the madness) will devour them.
Who Are the Shadow Stalkers? The Shadow Stalkers are heroes who know and understand that monsters exist, and they have the skills necessary to combat these supernatural menaces.
What Do the Shadow Stalkers Do? They help defend the world against the denizens of Shadow, fighting each incursion they encounter with whatever weapons and magic they can muster.
Where Do the Shadow Stalkers Operate? Wherever you want them to. The denizens of the Shadow threaten the whole world. Your Shadow Stalkers can operate in a single town or city, such as London or New York, or they can roam the world looking for monsters to destroy.
When Does the Shadow Stalkers Campaign Take Place? In the steampunk world of 1872.
Why Do the Shadow Stalkers Fight Monsters? Because somebody has to, and because they know what’s going on (or at least they know more than the average person). And, usually, a Shadow Stalker is called to his or her mission by some higher authority or feeling of destiny. At least, once the awareness comes upon them it sure feels that way.
Shadow Stalkers is heroic horror with a cinematic edge. The horror, in the form of monsters and supernatural situations, must be intense and potentially overwhelming. Unlike a straight horror campaign, however, the heroes have the ability to fight against the monsters, and with luck and perseverance, they may even win.
The monsters have always been with us, stepping out of their nightmarish dimension to emerge from the shadows of our world. They gave rise to our most terrible legends and our worst nightmares. In some ages, the monsters were extremely active, bold in their ferocity and plentiful in number. In other times, the connection between Shadow and our world was more tenuous, less solid and direct. Those were the days when the monsters were more discreet and their numbers were fewer.
No matter the age, as the denizens of Shadow attempt to spread across the world, heroes arise to combat them. In every generation, a small number stand out due to circumstances and the bad luck of having been able to see the things of Shadow for what they really are. Of this number, those with the will and determination to make a difference to fight back and live despite the encroaching madness, become the champions of the light. They go by many names, but we know them as the Shadow Stalkers.
The World of Shadows
Shadow Stalkers is set in a world that looks similar to the world as it was in 1872, with a few changes. It consists of things that the people tend to take for granted. They have grown up with them, and this is an age of exploration and technological advancement.
Three Key ConceitsThe world is different, though the Shadow is the same:
- Monsters exist in a world of fantastic Steam Age as it could have existed in 1872.
- Shadow obscures and hides the true form of these creatures from the world at large.
- Heroes emerge to protect the world and fight the surging tide of Shadow.
As it is still in the planning stages, these will be pages dedicated to research, brainstorming, and collecting ideas.
For more information, go here to take a look at the Shadow Stalkers wiki.
Hope you enjoy the game.
Steve Medeiros & Joint Steam Mechanics