Wild West vampires - a Mephisto review
Blood on the trail
Vampires in the Wild West - that would be the short summary of the Fate world Blood on the trail. Two ideas collide in this game world: on the one hand, it's about the development of the American West, when wagon trains of settlers set out to claim land there and find a new home. The other idea is that vampires have also found their way to North America and lie in wait for their victims. For them, the wagon trains represent an ideal target.
Blood on the trail first introduces the setting and outlines the background, which is partly based on historical developments, but in addition, mixes in the vampire stories and also sprinkles in some bizarre rumors. The vampires, who are the opponents of the settlers here, are presented in different variations. Among others, there are feral vampires hunting as animal-like packs or the hungry ones that seek their victims among their own family. There is even some kind of swarm vampires that act as a single organism. While this gives the game master some options to adapt the primary enemies to his players, on the player side, it is first necessary to define the wagon train, in addition to creating the characters. The wagon train is described by several statistics such as size, speed, supplies, etc. Next, leaders - which can be player characters but do not have to - are selected for the various resources. Important non-player characters are also specified at this point.
The journey to the West proceeds over several stages, each consisting of legs of the journey and stop-overs. Depending on the setup, the game master can make the campaign longer or shorter. Thus, each leg of the journey has its own challenges, problems, or opportunities that confront the player characters on a daily basis. At a certain point, the main threat is added: the attacks by the vampires. With Seven Brides for seven vampires, the book also provides a short sample campaign that makes the setting a bit more accessible and immediately playable.
As with most Fate worlds, Blood on the trail is a rather unusual setting that combines two different ideas. Thus, the inclined game master will find ideas for the wagon train scenario as well as approaches to include vampires in his game. However, the way the setting is described, this unusual mixture of ideas seems coherent. From my point of view, Blood on the trail is a fitting setting for a smaller horror campaign with a unique background.