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 Chronicles 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.
Compare My Life with Master.
- Achilles' Heel: Called attacks to the hump do aggravated damage. A Hunchback's Master always seems to know this and deliberately aim for the hump when seeking to punish the Hunchback.
- 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. A Hunchback without a Tragic Love cannot regain Willpower through fulfilling their Virtue. (They can always regain Willpower by fulfilling their Vice, as the hump has no problem with them doing terrible things...)
- Badass Biker - The Rue De Bruno, a biker gang consisting of Hunchbacks who feed on terror. Their powers let them make bulletproof biker helmets, control motorcycles remotely, and even remove their head and throw it as a weapon
- 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. On the other, however, they are also hideous and unsightly monsters with a painful emotional parasite living in/on 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. Well, technically they can, but it'd mean they'd die a slow death by starvation as the Hump would drain their life in lieu of their misery, so they have to self-sabotage.
- Gratuitous French - Basically a given in a game about hunchbacks.
- Humanoid Abomination: Most of the Hunchbacks are this.
- The Igor - Even more of a 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.
- Multiple-Choice Past: The Hunchbacks have no idea where their curse came from, and the book presents multiple theories:
- A vampire attempt to create a Ghoul family went horribly wrong. Descendents of this family have Vitae that is usually completely inert, but occasionally someone has an allergic reaction that causes their Vitae to go haywire and mutate into the Hump, potentially as a failed attempt to activate the Protean discipline. This theory speculates that the reason Hunchbacks are so driven to find Masters is as a residual effect of ghouls' instincts to serve vampires.
- Hunchbacks are potential Uratha who couldn't change right, with the First Change becoming the Warping that makes Hunchbacks what they are. The Feraleur's bestial features are often pointed at as evidence for this one.
- Failed possession by Spirits of Misery. The spirit is present, but has no control, and yet its host is compelled to 'feed' in the same way the Spirit normally would, by creating misery in themselves and others.
- The original Hunchbacks were Mages who screwed up and got themselves cursed, or unfortunate Sleepers who were cursed by mages.
- Some lucky Prometheans somehow managed to have kids, with the unnatural nature of the act (and the Pyros and Flux involved) caused some of their descendants to become Hunchbacks. Proponents of this theory point out that the rejection that Hunchbacks inevitably face (even when they're in situations where nobody can see the hump or tell that they're Hunchbacks, such as in online interactions) is eerily similar to a Promethean's Disquiet.
- The source of the curse is something entirely unique and utterly malicious.
- 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.
- Our Lawyers Advised This Trope: As the game very specifically states in the disclaimer, the Hunchbacks have nothing to do with genetic abnormalities that causes birth defects in humans, they're the result of a magical curse that can afflict anyone at random.
- The Topic of Cancer: As a drinking game, take a shot when the lump is described as "Cancerous", "Malignant" or "Tumorous".