Tabletop Game / Hunchback: The Lurching
A storytelling game of co-dependency, self-pity, despite, anger and alienation.
All over the world people suffer from debilitating physical ailments. Legs bend at odd angles naturally. Faces swell and twist. Some are affected by chemicals in the atmosphere. Others by their parents genes. Then there are those who cannot be explained. Twisted humans who inspire revulsion in even the most accepting. They are known as Hunchbacks.Hunchback: The Lurching
is a fan-made game for White Wolf's New World of Darkness
storytelling RPG. The game concerns the (mis)adventures of these Hunchbacks
, who suffer from "The Curse," an affliction that twists their bodies into something inhuman.
The main goals for a Hunchback are finding a master
, searching for love
and dealing with being an ostracized freak
. The game has no relation to real people with deformities.
The complete game is available online,
and even has a Mr Gone
-designed character sheet.
The author also put out some ideas for a companion game, Mad Scientist: The Experiment
- All Love Is Unrequited: A prerequisite for the Hunchbacks, every Hunchback has a Tragic Love that he obsesses over but is forever unable to form a relationship with due to their horrible appearance. This is actually part of what gives a Hunchback its powers, as they feed off their own misery and self loathing.
- Body Horror - Normally, this title would be given to the hunchbacks, but the author made something even worse, called "Torsos", quadriplegic bodies who move either like a snake, an inchworm, or a four legged spider. Oh, and they can gnaw off limbs to make the limbs their own, and drain a body of spinal fluid. They love hunchbacks, because of their humps potency.
- Not that the Hunchbacks are slackers in this department either. The sheer variation of hideous mutations the Hunchbacks are subject to is truly horrifying, but worst is probably the ones who manages to survive for centuries. Their humps continue to grow and mutate, eventually reducing the Elders to little more than half-mad giant lumps of flesh and pus, with atrophied limbs hanging uselessly off their bodies.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: One class of Hunchback has a horrifying version of this. They are blessed, or cursed depending on how you see it, with features that society at large considers to be very attractive, usually their face and hair, but sometimes also their voice and hands. This lets them blend in with society to a certain extent by taking jobs that only focuses on their attractive features, but it also makes the contrast against their hideous bodies even worse.
- Blessed with Suck: The Curse is basically this. On one hand, hunchbacks gain cool powers like the ability to see ghosts and regenerate from terrible damage, they also are hideous and unsightly monsters with a painful emotional parasite living in their back.
- City of Adventure - Pittsburgh functions as a magnet for Hunchbacks who are increasingly drawn to the city. According to the backstory, before the European settlers came, the Indian tribe that lived there was home to a hideous, corrupt evil known as The Mound, which matched the description of what ancient Hunchbacks eventually become. The Mound lies dormant beneath the city, but has recently begun to awaken...
- Failure Is the Only Option: By their very existence, the hunchbacks can never achieve what they desire most, because if they did, it would mean death by slow, painful starvation.
- Gratuitous French - Given in a game about hunchbacks.
- Humanoid Abomination: Most of the Hunchbacks are this.
- The Igor - Even more given. One of the Hunchback classes is this specifically, drawn to Scientists and Geniuses in the hope that science will provide relief for their agony.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Hunchbacks are humans who, through some unknown cruel quirk of fate, have mutated humps on their backs that are actually stores of mystical energy they can access for a variety of powers and effects. The drawback is that the energy replenishes itself from the wearers suffering, forcing the Hunchbacks to the fringes of society if their mutation hasn't already driven them there, wallowing in their own hate and anger at the world just to stay alive. The mutation also worsens the older the Hunchback gets, eventually reducing them to immovable mountains of twisted flesh.
- Monster Clown: The Punchello are this, as they only pass as human if they can convince the people around them they are clowns, mimes, or other such street performers.
- Nature Hero: "Hero" is probably the wrong word, but one class of hunchbacks have just devolved entirely and escaped into the wild where they've started co-existing with animal herds. Existing being the main word here, they live on the edge of the natural kingdom and feed off the weak and the scraps like scavengers, still denied any acceptance or peace.
- The Topic of Cancer: As a drinking game, take a shot when the lump is described as "Cancerous", "Malignant" or "Tumorous". Just don't blame me when you lose your liver.