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GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters, Jason Levine 22 December 2018

This supplementary volume in the Monster Hunters series models real-world religions to give their monster-hunting adherents appropriate game effects.

Of course, the Monster Hunters series already has a generic Crusader template that allows PCs to purchase Mysticism abilities such as Armor of Faith, Ghost Weapon, Mind Shield, and so on. But it's up to the player to try to knit the list of powers into a coherent character with a coherent faith.

This book tries to fix that by writing up a variety of real-world religions, with an emphasis on the way their philosophies, and the common purpose of guarding their communities, can be seen through the lens of an admittedly unrealistic campaign of fighting monsters.

This is obviously a slightly risky approach, given how certain real-world religions (traditionally, but not exclusively, American Evangelicalism) have tried to portray role-playing games as anti-religious. But those people have already condemned role-playing, so the number of them who may look at and be offended by this particular book – which takes in its text and advocates in games a universalist approach, the principle that all religions can be usefully valid at least for their adherents – seems quite low.

Naturally it's a fairly high-level view: African religions are summed up in one section, both traditional and diasporic, and the others are traditional Chinese (the syncretism of Taoism, Confucianism, Wuism and folk religion), Christianity, Hinduism, indigenous Animism/Shamanism, Islam, Judaism, and neo-Paganism (both animistic and polytheistic). Each has a general introduction to the basics of the religion's history and beliefs, specific appropriate behaviours (and whether they might qualify for Disciplines of Faith, or indeed other disadvantages), and appropriate advantages and skills both mundane and esoteric (including which of those Mysticism abilities are most suitable).

Obviously if I were playing such a character I'd want to know more about the religion than I can get from a page or so here, but one could go with just what's listed and not be wildly wrong.

The second chapter deals with miracles, new Mysticism abilities to be added to the list, among them Animated Servitor (Golem anyone?), Purifying Incense and Totem Bond. There are also notes on how one can add in abilities from GURPS Powers: Divine Favor without having to do major surgery at the character-point level.

The final chapter brings in religious-themed foes, tied to the religious traditions mentioned earlier. For anyone who wants to point at This Book Having Demons, here's where to look, though the only foe explicitly based on Christianity is the chimeric locusts from Revelation chapter 9.

I really like the religious writeups, and particularly the suggested character traits; suitably censored of the supernaturalism, they wouldn't be terrible starting points for religious characters in any campaign. This leaves me tempted to run an actual Monster Hunters game.

GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters is available from Warehouse 23.

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