Monster Hunter International
|Monster Hunter International|
|Role-playing game published by
Hero Games, Gallant Knight Games
|Rule System||Hero System, Savage Worlds|
|First Publication||2013, 2019|
|Essential Books||The Monster Hunter International Employee Handbook and Roleplaying Game|
"It turns out that monsters are real. All the things from myth, legend, and B-movies are out there, waiting in the shadows. Officially secret, some of them are evil, and some are just hungry. On the other side are the people who kill monsters for a living. Monster Hunter International is the premier eradication company in the business."
- – Back of the first book
In the world of Larry Correia's Monster Hunter International every supernatural monster (except possibly unicorns) exists, and most of them are hostile to humanity. These range from the well known (werewolf, vampire, zombie, Eldritch Abomination) to the obscure and bizarre (Things like Luska and Worm That Walks are just the start).
Countering these monsters are two types of organizations. The first are well funded government task forces for whom things like the Posse Comitatus Act are a mere appropriations issue. In the United States this role is filled by the Monster Control Bureau, a well meaning organization that unfortunately tends to be like Commissars when it comes to enforcing secrecy about the supernatural and be clogged down by bureaucracy, as well as having some uncarring power freaks in middle management. The second is private hunting organizations who get money both from people who pay them to remove/keep monsters from their property, and the PUFF (Perpetual Unearthly Forces Fund) bounty system, which was setup by Theodore Roosevelt after encountering a few monsters himself. These organizations are slightly less well armed, restricted to small arms (though explosives are allowed and they generally stretch the "small" part as far as possible) and unarmed support helicopters. The largest and oldest private organization, which the series centers on, is a family owned business in Cazador, Alabama called Monster Hunter International (originally known as Bubba Shackleford’s Professional Monster Killers) that has been exterminating monsters since 1895.
Compared to Hunter: The Reckoning and the rest of the World of Darkness, humanity is doing pretty well for itself in this universe. Monsters don't secretly control the government (though they can be pretty high in influence), monsters generally die with application of sufficient Dakka (especially silver), and the masquerade only exists because the world governments believe (possibly wrongly, but not proven conclusively either way) the supernatural gets more powerful the more people know about it. The books put emphasis on that humanity wins through a combination of learning from their predecessors on how to deal with monsters, and through the power of modern technology, particularly firearms. Morality tends to stick to black and white, with the only instance of gray morality being the government agencies that genuinely want to protect the world but are ruthless and uncaring in the process.
Not all monsters are inherently evil (though outside of humanoids like Elves and Orcs the non-evil monsters are the exception to the norm) and some are evil yet sane enough to know working for the US government is better than having them try to kill you (at least one demon has one). For these monsters there is a PUFF exemption system, generally earned by serving in the shadowy "Special Task Force Unicorn" (the acronym is intentional and reflects its secrecy) with the only known alternative being for those capable of scrying. Unicorn uses monsters as deniable, expendable spec ops soldiers against other supernatural threats or enemy nations. Once you've done your time in Unicorn, you're free... unless you've got a longer than human lifespan, then you may have to renew your exemption later on.
The series biggest claim to fame is that, since Larry Correia has a history as a gun shop owner and competitive shooter, firearms are portrayed with heavy, accurate detail. Characters unload firearms properly before showing them to other characters, specialty ammunition fails to cycle self-loading firearms and Desert Eagles are derided as range toys for people with more money than sense. Each character's choice in firearm is used to characterize them, and it's rare any character uses a firearm that isn't elaborated on by name. The fourth book is outright set at a secret, hunter focused part of SHOT Show. Larry Correia also has a fondness for /tg/, though this doesn't show up much beyond some inspiration for monsters and a reference to characters playing Warmachine (which he has also written fiction for).
These books have been adapted as a pair of RPGs. The first was based on the Hero System. It was solid rules-wise, but the complex options the system allows were wasted on player characters who were generally mundane humans with guns and skills. The art was also inconsistent and often really terrible. Several years (and novels in the series) later a second RPG, based on Savage Worlds, was published. In addition to being RPG books, both serve as universe bibles for official collaborations (though the original is now outdated by several books).