SHUNNING THE DARKNESS
Ravaged Earth is rife with supernatural creatures, monsters and Martians. Naturally, someone has to hunt and destroy them. Monster hunters in Ravaged Earth come in two varieties: the all-American Creep Squad, or, a more European flavor, the Alptraum Jäger (Nightmare Hunters).
THE CREEP SQUAD
As outlined in Sean Preston’s article published in Shark Bytes (Fall 2008), The Creep Squad is the nickname for the FBI’s Division X, a special department monitoring all weird sightings and supernatural phenomenon.
President Garner signed the Supernatural Protection Act into law in 1933, which created Division X and gave the FBI special authority to conduct supernatural investigations.
Eliot Ness, a former treasury department agent, leads Division X. Following his failure to get Al Capone in Chicago, Ness joined the FBI and became obsessed with investigating the occult and other oddities as a threat to national security. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover liked Ness’ zeal and assigned him to Division X.
Creep Squad agents are either G-Men, or “Specials”, deputized outsiders whose skills are utilized. Each G-Man carries a gunmetal black Division X badge, commonly known as the Black Badge. Government and law enforcement personnel dubbed these agents “Black Badgers” and cooperate with their investigations. Specials recruited by the Creep Squad usually keep their careers while working for Division X. Some have abandoned their jobs to become Black Badgers, undergoing rigorous training at the FBI Academy.
Thanks to the proliferation of Weird Science and Aetherium-based technology, field agents use the latest gizmos. They must requisition this equipment at their local FBI field office and wait as the wheels of bureaucracy slowly turn. Black Badgers can also be government scientists perfecting these gadgets, and usually have a laboratory at the office where they tinker. These gadgeteers can repair damaged or faulty equipment while in the field.
The Creep Squad records their investigations in secret files called the Creep Reports, which are stored in the Black Vault, a secure facility beneath the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.
Agents classify supernatural threats in the reports, identifying entities by type. Supernatural entities appearing benign require further study while aggressive ones require termination. Classifications are ranked as follows:
- Cryptids: Creatures such as Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or the Swamp Ape.
- Humans: Cultists, cannibals, sorcerers or other supernatural enablers.
- Infernals: Demons, devils or succubai.
- Lycanthropes: Werewolves, skin-walkers or other shape-shifters.
- Spectral: Ghosts, phantoms, banshees or other incorporeal spirits.
- Undead: Zombies, vampires, mummies or other living corpses.
To conclude their investigations, agents summarize their Creep Report for their superiors, before the report is stored in the Black Vault. Agents can access the Black Vault for research purposes.
Division X Organization
Headquartered in the Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. along with the FBI, Division X operates several field offices throughout the country. Nationwide, there are only 200 working members of the Creep Squad, a fraction compared to the number of G-Men investigating organized crime, kidnapping, bootlegging and other illegal activities. Assignment to one or more of these field offices is part of a Black Badger’s career.
The Alptraum Jäger (Nightmare Hunters) are detailed in the forthcoming Ravaged Earth: Germania Guidebook.
Nightmare Hunters combine the Old World monster hunters like Abraham Van Helsing with dashing pulp heroes. The Altraum Jäger formed in 1892 and fought vampires, werewolves and trolls in the Black Forest. Their activities kept travelers safe and stemmed the tide of dark forces rampaging the land. During the War Between Nations, Alptraum Jäger confronted abominable horrors in the trenches, including the animated corpses of their fellow German soldiers.
In 1922, the Altraum Jäger traveled to Wisborg to research rumors of an emaciated, hollow-eyed monster with a hunched back and elongated claws. In an abandoned castle, they discovered Count Orlok, a powerful Nosferatu, and slayed the vicious beast.
The Nightmare Hunter’s founder, Franz Reiniger – known as the “Altmeister” or “Old Master” – became a celebrity and was even given a tickertape parade in Berlin for his 60th birthday.
When the Nazis came to power, they pushed the Nightmare Hunters to capture monsters for scientific experiments. Hitler wanted to create a legion of vampires, werewolves, and walking dead for his own nefarious purposes.
Reiniger found this abhorrent and refused. Hitler responded by purging the Nightmare Hunters, including the Old Master. A mighty army of Alptraum Jäger was whittled down to about 50 members.
Yet not even the Nazis could stop these monster hunters.
Operating in secret, the Nightmare Hunters stick to their true mission of eliminating supernatural creatures, but with one alteration: they also hunt Nazi soldiers and administrators, such as the SS and Gestapo, whom they view as enemies.
Disciples of Baduhenna
Nightmare Hunters seldom recruit, and communicate through an underground channel of spies. Since Hitler declared the organization illegal, any Hunter caught by the Nazis faces immediate execution. A stealth unit was established among the Nightmare Hunters, the Disciples of Baduhenna. Named after the Germanic goddess of war, the Disciples use military tactics against the Nazis. These elite assassins are sent on dangerous missions, and penetrate Hitler’s strongest defenses. Their daring nighttime raids and brutal fighting styles made them feared and hated among the SS.
Alptraum Jäger Organization
The group is headquartered in a hidden subterranean fortress in Germania, located underneath the Rathskeller restaurant. Hans Bruckner, a grizzled Nightmare Hunter and Disciple of Baduhenna, oversees the Germania fortress. Contained within its impenetrable walls, the headquarters contains artifacts and relics from Germany’s past, as well as grim trophies Bruckner collected on past missions, including stuffed werewolves and vampire fangs.
The Alptraum Jäger also maintains hunting lodges throughout the country, including one training facility deep in the Black Forest.
Records of the various monsters and creatures encountered, along with reports filed by individual Hunters are stored in Alptraum Jäger headquarters, in the lodge’s library, a dark wooden room filled with arcane pamphlets, tomes and volumes dating back to the 14th century.