Welcome to St. Cloud

Welcome to St. Cloud is in-between a campaign setting and a scenario and can be adapted to any system, though it already includes stats for the Actual Fucking Monsters role-playing game. It is surreal horror in nature, since it was heavily inspired by David Lynch’s cult TV show Twin Peaks (1990), but it leans on other sources, like John Carpenter’s The Fog (1980), The League of Gentleman (1999), Carnivàle (2003) and 1970s slasher flicks. There isn’t a specific mythology and even the amount of supernatural and/or paranormal phenomena can be easily modified to suit different tastes.

What’s presented in this book is a detailed description of the titular small town of St. Cloud, WA, and its inhabitants, which provides multiple story seeds. At the end, there’s a much more developed, but unstructured, plot hook which encompasses a series of events set in motion after the death of a local pre-teen girl. The final chapter, (Not) Wrapped in Plastic, is a plotline designed for those who want to play St. Cloud with a distinct Twin Peak’s feeling, but without instantly giving away the whole story.

If this and some of the characters’ descriptions sound familiar at a glance (you’re right, of course it does!), that’s only a superficial similarity, however. Surely the inspiration isn’t masqueraded, but St. Cloud can be run even if in your group there are players familiar with Lynch’s work, since the characters and the town’s dirty little secrets are quite different from the source. What remains very similar are the bizarre atmosphere and the overall semblance of a soap opera gone insane.