Jump to content

Horror campaign


Recommended Posts

Ok, there is a chance I will be GMing a horror campaign in the next few months.

 

The campaign will center around an evil god who is trying to be reborn. She will guide the heros from one encounter to another in the form of a spirit protector. Somtimes pitting them against enemies she wants eliminated, or guiding them into various horrific encounters with the supernatural and un-natural to build them up for an especially difficult elimination.

 

First game will be the characters driven to investigate a haunted house they will be locked in for the night (with the evil one 'helping' them settle the restless spirits and find a way to survive the lurking horror.

 

From there it will range from encounters with aliens that go bump in the night to zombies to ghost ships to demons. I plan on drawing a lot from twilight zone and x-files.

 

Now the real question I have is about power levels. If the characters are too powerful they won't experience the tension and fear, but at the same time I want them to be a force to be reconed with.

 

So far, I plan on starting them out as a collection of normal type people. A dusty professor type who will eventually wield magic as he studeis the arcane as he runs acroos it...

 

But what other normal professions would translate well to a supernatural campaign?

 

I have also thought of killing one of the characters in the first game, and doing so in a bad enough manner they spend the rest of the game as a wraith, but that would seem to screw up game balance.

 

Some type of a medical doctor would be good, but how would they keep up with the professor?

 

Suggestions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Horror campaign

 

Originally posted by Beowulf

But what other normal professions would translate well to a supernatural campaign?

 

I have also thought of killing one of the characters in the first game, and doing so in a bad enough manner they spend the rest of the game as a wraith, but that would seem to screw up game balance.

 

Some type of a medical doctor would be good, but how would they keep up with the professor?

 

Suggestions?

 

Here are the archetypes I have used (ie. actually created packages for at one time or another) in horror and similar modern games:

 

Archeological Explorer

Bodyguard

Cat Burgler

Con-man

Ex-Military

Museum Curator

Mystic

Occult Investigator

Police

Priest

Private Investigator

Professor

Scientist

Showgirl

Soldier of Fortune

Student

Reporter

Socialite

Writer

 

John D.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Horror campaign

 

Originally posted by Beowulf

...Now the real question I have is about power levels. If the characters are too powerful they won't experience the tension and fear, but at the same time I want them to be a force to be reconed with...

Power levels have nothing to do with fear. Players will react to the imagery you conjure. I ran a game once where I tried to scare a player by confronting his character with a giant spider. At first I just said "giant spider," and he replied, "oh." Then I said, "giant mutant spider with a dozen eyes and twenty legs with green venom dripping from its maw." "Oh s%!#" was his reply.

 

As the GM you can always conjure something powerful enough to destroy them. They know this. They also know that, as an honorable GM, you won't just conjure something that kills them and leaves. You have to "play fair." What you have to do is conjure scenarios and images that are emotionally provocative and make them forget all of that. Here you should play dirty. If you know yor players well enough put things in the game that you know they personally fear (the players, not the characters). What would probably be a good idea is to require them to make characters that have at least one phobia that they themselves possess.

 

Damn, I'm devious.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if you've read PN Elrod's The Vampire Chronicles, but that may put a twist in your campaign. Basically, the hero is a private investigator in the 1930s (I think) who recently became a vampire. This guy could be a useful NPC ally for the characters. Just don't let them know he's a vampire until later in the campaign.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Horror campaign

 

Originally posted by Beowulf

I have also thought of killing one of the characters in the first game, and doing so in a bad enough manner they spend the rest of the game as a wraith, but that would seem to screw up game balance.

 

Some type of a medical doctor would be good, but how would they keep up with the professor?

 

Suggestions?

 

Come up with strange powers that the characters can buy with their experience points.

 

So, while the Professor learns magic, the Doctor channels his psychic healing ability, and the Park Ranger buys as much Kung Fu as the GM will allow.

 

The Wraith idea might be interesting. If you make the characters on similar points, the wraith is going to be underpowered, but with some strangeness.

 

Most wraiths are "intangible" which wreck the whole trapped in the room thing. So, you have to learn to build "ghost trapping" rooms and wards and things with Affect Desolid on the walls.

 

Plus, if mr wraith goes scouting ahead, he can run into nastier ghostlike beasties.

 

D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everytime someone mentions running horror, I mention the Unisystem. It is like clockwork. To sum up, they have a lot of archetypes premade for modern horror gaming (a complete book, actually, of fan created archetypes). Witchcraft is a free pdf on the Eden website, as well as sample archetypes (check the All Flesh section as well), and some pretty decent fiction. One of the supplement books details players as wraiths/vampires/vengeful dead (Think Jason). It is hard to balance them, but not impossible. To borrow ideas from WC's metaphysics, you could have the wraith character be required to create a "physical" body out of Essence in order to even be present in the living world. Damage to the "body" is essentially disrupting the pattern, and if they lose too much, they lose physical form and return to the land of the Dead. Then they have to aquire enough Essence to rebuild their body. If you wanted your wraith more insubstantial, then you have to make them weaker in general. Maybe they can't regenerate "Essence" on their own, and need to parasitically feed on living hosts. Obviously you will need opponents that can affect desolid, by way of magic, or mundane folklorish stuff (salt, rice, fresh blood, etc.)

As for balancing the "Norms" with the "Gifted" it might not be that big of an issue. Magic'ish powers in such a setting should be rather expensive, which means they'll fall behind in skills and stats. Of course it may be a problem with a bunch of cerebral people with a limited range of useful skills (the academic vs. the doctor you mentioned). If, on the other hand, your group is more mixed (Biker dude getting revenge for his mates, Theif who broke into the wrong house and saw some messed up stuff, and the aforementioned academic with a magical bent) it should work out okay.

Anyway, hope any of this helps. If you haven't noticed, I'm the type that mooches off other peoples work that's already been done, so I tend to collect game systems. Give the PDF a flip.err.. skim through and see if anything tickles your fancy. Hope this helps.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the ideas.

 

At this point, roughly speaking, the characters will be compelled or driven to their first scenario by the main enemy, and tricked into freeing her. As they work their way through the haunted house and dispell the lesser gurdians, their destinies will awaken.

 

They will get various appropiate powers with appropiate limitations (no concious control etc) and as they gain experience they can spend no more then half of it to buy off the limitations and add advantages or additional powers all linked to the same special effet.

 

That solves the problem of competitive archtypes, slows down power progression and forces them to keep some focus on their human aspects.

 

Now, I need some suggestions for scenarios.

 

So far I have (not necessarially in this order):

Haunted house

Ghost train/ship

Alien/demonic abductions

Zombie hords

Killer virus

Vampire

Werewolf

Evil cult

Occult investegator releases Horror from beyond

Apocolypse baby

 

Not all of those will make the cut. Any other suggestions?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Uhh.. lessee...

 

Creepy Mines/Forests

Dark Conspiracy (controlled by nasties)

Trapsing through Sewers/Subway Tunnels

Meet a fallen angel

to continue the Neverwhere riff, have two unstopable assasins trailing you

Something killing off those that won't be missed in the sketchy part of town

Meet neutral'ish supernaturals who are just getting by

Meet Puck (he always seems to show up in modern urban fantasy)

Have the crazy mumbling guy downtown be right

Meet your exact twin

Find the secret buried city

Have the crazy mumbling dog be right

Have the crazy mumbling dog give them a very important package

Which they can't open.

Have a modern Nautilus show up.

Evil Nazi Magic Cults are always a safe bet.

Find The Ark(boat), The Lost Ark(as in Raiders of), remains of the Cross, Spear of Destiny (Loginus, pierced Christs side)

Do the whole Alien thing

Do the whole Aliens thing

Do the whole Predator/Predator 2 thing

Have them run into the mumbling crazy superhero

Have them run into the dark vigilante monster hunter

Have an Evil God swing by

Have a Chaos God swing by

Have a drunk God swing by

Have them wake up in an asylum, and convince them it was all fake.

Have an unknown ancestor make a poor choice, which the descendant has to rectify. Soon.

Have someone who should be dead show up to help

Titanic trip is always popular.

Antartica can also be fun.

Watch out for the pengiuns. They know.

Stonehenge, Pyramid, Easter Island, yadda yadda.

Austrailian aboriginal Dreamtime.

Native American shamans come to the rescue.

To borrow from Unkown Armies..:

a.) Those who are crazy enough to know better can beat reality into submision with a strong enough will

b.) Those who are clever enough can get power by conforming to a classic Archetype.

Have a demon help due to common goals.

Have champions of old gods show up. Thor, Shiva, etc.

Have the Buffy the Vampire Slayer be real.

Have Harry Potter be real

Have Voldemort be real

Show them glimpses of a blasted future and don't let them know if it is caused by them failing, or worse, succeding.

Give them hints both ways.

Pod People.

 

Okay, so some of these are more toward the wierd/funny x-files, than the dark scary x-files, but this is what you get at 4am. Have fun. I'll add more later if I think of any.

 

This house had a door out when we entered right?

We were in my car and not on a carousel a second ago, right?

Where did the sun go?

Bunnies. Evil floppy, hoppy bunnies.

That little girl is wearing a ribcage for a hat.

That little boy seems to be chewing on a femur.

Being run down by a pack of things that might be mistaken for dogs. In *really* bad light.

You don't want to see what they really are, honest.

There is a dragon sleeping under San Francisco.

The dragon under New York doesn't like him much.

You see dead people. They tend to be annoying.

At certain places, at certain times, magic leaks into the world and changes things. (mardi gras, oktoberfest, halloween)

A young child is given incredible powers. He acts his age. The powers go poof after 24 hours.

There is a killer on the loose who does sick things. He turns out to be a mundane human who is completely sane.

 

Okay, now I really need to get to bed. That was fun. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Re: Some great tips

 

Originally posted by CourtFool

I recently discovered the following site. There are a lot of great role playing tips there including ideas for creating tension and scaring PCs.

 

Roleplaying Tips

 

Here are specific tips:

 

Scaring Players

 

Tension

 

More tension

 

Thanks for the links and thanks to everyone else for all the tips.

Link to post
Share on other sites

By the by, if you're going to kill one of the PCs in the first game, make sure you discuss it with him first. I hate having to spend an hour or two making my character exactly the way I want him, then the GM just screws it all up as a duex ex machina. If he's cool with it, go for it. But if he balks, you should respect that or you may end up taking the campaign before it really starts.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...