Friday, July 31, 2009

Campaign Reminiscence: Legacy of Dracula

Back in 2000 or 2001-ish, I ran a GURPS campaign called "Legacy of Dracula." It was largely inspired by Kim Newman's Anno Dracula and the film adaptation of From Hell. (Or was it 2002...?) The game was set in London, after the events of the original Dracula novel by Bram Stoker. Van Helsing and the Harkers were in Europe, hunting down the spirited away remains of Dracula which had been stolen by some of his followers. Meanwhile, back in England, Arthur Holmwood and Dr. Seward founded the Holmwood Club, which on the surface was an exclusive social club, but in actuality was an organization of vampire hunters. Dracula had created more spawn than just Lucy Westenra, and now vampirism was spreading through the Victorian underworld. The characters were all members of the Holmwood Club. Ah, I also neglected to mention that this campaign took place in an alternate history steampunk London. Adventures revolved mostly around vampire hunting, but I threw in some other monsters as well. (They did not get the chance to meet Springheel Jack, sadly)

The characters were a pretty eclectic bunch... a defrocked vicar who was abandoned by the church after he tried to warn his flock about the dangers of vampires, an amateur detective in the vein of Sherlock Holmes, a psychic opium addict, a mad inventor, and the scandalized half-Japanese son of one of London's wealthiest men.

The campaign only ran for six sessions, unfortunately. Those sessions were a blast, mind you, but I quickly found GURPS to be too cumbersome for my tastes. (I owned and had played GURPS and run a few one shots, but never tried to do a campaign with it before.) I recall the last straw being an attempt to design a construct (clockwork golem) using GURPS Robots. I have since ditched all my GURPS stuff except for the steampunk book, only because it has a ton of great information and ideas to plunder for future steampunkity endeavors.

Looking back, this game would have been awesome to run with Savage Worlds... the more cinematic nature of the system would have fit in better with the slam-bang action that the players tended to fling their characters into. (The vicar was always jumping off stuff, throwing stakes, kicking in doors, etc.) In fact, in the theoretical someday where I have infinite time to game, I would consider resurrecting (ha!) the game using SW. I'm also not sure why I didn't just use Fudge... the only reason I can think if is that it must have been run before I picked Fudge up (which was also sometime in the early 00's.)

Good times... perhaps Dracula will rise again.

Oh, one last enjoyable memory: the party used their steampunk skills to invent a "boiler backpack" that they would fill with holy water and heat up... instant scalding holy steam to smite basically had the same effect as a flamethrower, but without having to worry about all that pesky collateral damage. :)


  1. I second the cool facter. Count me in. Where can I get my own boiler backpack?

  2. I'm not much of a steampunk fan (except in small doses) but that all sounds pretty, well, cool. To coin a term.

  3. Boiler backpack of holy water. It sounds as if you've invented Steampunk Ghostbusters.

    I want a slice please.