Saturday, October 2, 2010

Horror Month returns at A Hero Twice A Month

I admit this photoshop is somewhat unvconvincing

In honor of Halloween, Lord Soth and I would like to welcome you to Horror Month here at A Hero Twice A Month.  This month will be devoted to incorporating an element of the macabre into your RPG experience.

Expect tips for incorporating different flavors of horror into your fantasy RPG gaming, looking at some classic White Wolf games, stories of horror at the table, tips for bringing out the horrific in your monsters and much, much more.

Because really, who doesn't like a good scare every once and awhile?


Unknown said...

I am most interested in how to set (and maintain) the right tone at a horror game. Running a Ravenloft (or CoC game or whatever) won't be scary at all, not even by proxy, if group turns the session into a fart comedy littered with Holy Grail references.

Kinocetus said...

Incorporating horror into your campaigns - just some thoughts.

1) And first there was light… Lets face it, I doubt that any of us have an old castle, torture chamber, or dungeon they might borrow to help set the mood, but you can control the amount of ambient light. Draw the curtains, cover bright objects with black cloth, dim or turn off all non-essential lights making your game table and you (the DM) the center of everyone's attention.

2) Sound and sound effects. It is difficult if not impossible to create the feel for a location, or scene without the benefit of sound. A few appropriate (location centric) sound files and a tool like Scene Sound can do the trick. It doesn't have to be fancy, just a few somewhat mundane sounds can make an ordinary encounter more dramatic.

3) Use your voice. When you describe your scenes speak in a relaxing calm tone, just above a whisper. If they have to concentrate fully on your voice just to hear what's going on they'll tend to stray less from the action. Clowning around and jokes can be curbed by stopping your description and rolling dice. Then queue up a sound like a creaking board, might be an attack, might not.

4) Setup some good ambushes to take your players off guard. Players should always be paranoid in a horror campaign to keep the tension real. Have those noises follow your characters for a while so they are never sure when the attack will come, or from where. Give them some obvious signs of where it might come from and then have it come from somewhere else.

5) Steal from the greats! H.P. Lovecraft has always been a favorite of mine for descriptive language, and I've stolen from him often enough. He's just one of those writers who could somehow make you believe that a sinister force from beyond our reality had embedded the key to our destruction in a set of stereo instructions. Don't use simple words like fat or ugly, use combos like bloated corpulence or vile putrescence… Not fading sounds, its dying cadences. Not smelly, but festering… Words have the power to change the course of nations, so I'm pretty sure they can make for more interesting game play.

6) Just for fun… Keep some party poppers close at hand for just the right time and don't let anyone see them. BANG!!! You'll see some of your players jump out of their chairs. Harmless but effective.

Just some thoughts.