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  • File : 1273009421.jpg-(816 KB, 973x1400, 1273007597242.jpg)
    816 KB Horror Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:43 No.9614082  
    For all you GMs who like to run horror themed games, how have you terrorized your players? Share techniques. Plot elements. Any dirty trick/mindfuck you can think of. Spin your stories and share your victories over your players. Tell us how the game grinded to a halt because your characters were arguing who in the group was going to have to be the poor bastard to open the next door.

    Personally, I love playing thematic music to set the mood. Dark ambient droning or something similair. A homebrew Silent Hill game once degenerated to wild abandonment when the players actually lost all hope as they became trapped in a narrow tunnel with monsters closing in on both sides. Yeah, they hate cramped spaces.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:45 No.9614104
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    Pass notes to individual players. Say, "Thats interesting" while taking notes. Foster paranoia, then do not reward it.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:47 No.9614133
    left for dead has intro notes for each of their zombies, i used them while the players stalked around in the dark.

    also dangerous kitchenware and exploding stoves are a calling card of mine, i've caught three or four groups off-guard with it.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:56 No.9614330
    I like to implement curses that sometimes do nothing save for cosmetic effects. They may not be taking damage, but they sure are going to freak out when their characters hair and fingernails start to fall out.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:56 No.9614333
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    I had this great piece of advice from /tg/. Unfortunately not tried it yet (didn't play horror since reading it here), but I friggin' have to.

    Works when a player is gonna be late at the game. ONE player.

    You tell to all other players:

    At a time in the game, I'm gonna mention a rose during the description of an item. You will be cool about it, doing like it's a perfectly normal description of the thing; you'll continue to play as normal.
    BUT: we, you and I, will do as I never mentioned that rose item for the rest of game. Out of character and in character. When he mentions it, treat him like he's just blabbering nonsense, we should even be a little worried about him if he insists. If it works out well, he's gonna trip balls and we'll tell him eventually... at the end of the game".

    Of course, you have to select an item the PCs should investigate, so, make it interesting.

    Pic related, player is supposedly gonna freak out. I would.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)17:57 No.9614346
    God damn it, that manga was so creepy.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:00 No.9614397

    what manga would that be?
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:00 No.9614406

    Seen that picture several times before, where's it from?
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:01 No.9614413
    Junji Ito. Not sure if Spiral.
    >> Writefag Chronicles !42DalLaSf2 05/04/10(Tue)18:02 No.9614429
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    I mentioned in an earlier thread about horror that I wanted to unleash one of these onto my players.

    I unleashed two. The results were pleasing.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:06 No.9614511
    A field of sunflowers. Normally this wouldn't be scary, but you have to remember that the head of a sunflower adjusts itself so it always faces the sun. This is an incredibly slow process, slow enough that no one really notices it until the end of the day arrives.

    Now, change this so the sunflowers face your characters. They don't notice at first, but after staying at a farm for a few days, they take notice of the direction the sunflowers are facing. Towards them.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:07 No.9614519

    Cheers, almost guessed it was him. What comic though?
    >> scaredofshadows !!zxfRuuFd4v1 05/04/10(Tue)18:13 No.9614591
    have a fear of being trapped in cavern under the ground

    being chased unseen horror, increasingly smaller caverns until crawling on my belly in the dark
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:13 No.9614596
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    > A homebrew Silent Hill game
    This is my textbook.

    Ambiance is everything.

    I'm listening to Shattered Memories even as I type.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:14 No.9614606
    Nah. They're in a field of sunflowers. Then they meet a green-haired youkai.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:21 No.9614689
    Are you familiar with the "sunflowers" in Ringworld?
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:24 No.9614735
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    I hate this kind of thing, and find it cheap.

    The horror should come not from metagaming apprehension into someone, but actual description and mood.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:26 No.9614751
    1) Starts off normally. Exactly as other quests have in the past.
    2) Turn on droning sort of continuous background music, thrumming, droning, or humming, like flourescent lights on, or huge fans running constantly, or waves at a beach with the pitch fucked with so it sounds really low pitched to what it originally sounds like. A fucked with heartbeat that sounds more like sighing. Quiet, very quiet gasping sort of repetitive yet irregular breathing.
    3) Start describing shit that's wrong. Start contradicting yourself very slightly. Pass notes to other players. Fuck with their expectations- ALL THE TIME, but very, very subtly. Put them on the wrong foot.
    4) Add in your own mid-level personal effects. I've both tried speaking in rhyme for parts of a session (DID NOT LIKE IT, too hard for me), made apocalyptic logs out of their voices I've recorded in past sessions spliced up to make messages I'd like to make (easy as shit for me), audio recordings of what they hear (Which is fucking fantastic employed at the right time, and best used in conjunction with), and pictures, photoshopped, drawn, painted, or photographs of things that they see (which they may finally see as a true form of something, as something that sees THEM and dissapears, but sounds like is coming closer, as something that they see at the long end of a tunnel and is MOST CERTAINLY coming towards them).

    5 (-ish) ) Freestyle from here based off of player reactions or what you know of their character's personal histories. Using their own histories would bring them out of the game at this point, and that should've been used in stages 3 to 4. Start fucking with their characters, which they should be by now. Literally, be one of their characters.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:28 No.9614779

    But that is not metagaming. It's atmosphere: the character doesn't interact it with it, exactly like he doesn't actually hear your descriptions.
    Or like Heater doesn't actually get to listen to Yamaoka's pieces.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:37 No.9614901
    No, but as the GM, your words are the world.
    By adding a rose to the description, and then ignoring it, you've rewritten your world. That's metagaming the apprehension, not adding legitimate ambiance.

    Describing it means the character DOES see it. Anything you say, your player characters see. Feel. Taste. Smell.
    That's why you shouldn't use silly tricks like that.

    You should describe the atmosphere, not retcon it.

    "You hear the sickening slurping noises before you see the cause. You should have turned around. But no, you had to give in. Such a human trait, curiosity and the temptation to give into it. You turn the corner slowly, the sound getting louder, like meat caught in a grinder and being sucked through. That's when you see it. An emaciated man with a swollen, distended belly, eating as if it hadn't ever done so before. He wasn't wearing clothes, and was covered in blood and dirt and grim, his skin looking like something from a garbage can. It's not until the man lifts his head to let the rotted, festering meat he's ravenously tearing into slide down his throat that you notice he's not exactly what you thought he was. His neck is long and sinuous, and ends in a blunt face. There are tiny little beads that might be eyes next to it, and they're almost covered in blood and blinking against the thin light of a streetlamp.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:38 No.9614922
    "At the end of the fleshy tube that makes up it's head is a razor lined tunnel. Three sharp teeth still chew at the still night air. It goes back to it's fetid meal, large talons tearing chunks off and stuffing them down the throat. It doesn't even care when it's own hand gets too close, and snaps at it before digging it back into the corpse. When it runs out of large chunks of meat, it reaches it's cylindrical head down and starts to clean the flesh from the bone. All this takes place in the span of only a few minutes, and the thing is soon nothing more than a skeleton. It couldn't have weighed more than a small child, and yet it's still as sickly thin as before, it's belly no heavier even after devouring a corpse. It snorts out, digging into any crevice it can for a missed morsel, but finds none and throws back it's head in anguish, still sniffing all the while at the stale air. The head flops back, twists. The thing falls over and quickly scrabbles to it's feat, long arms dragging across the ground as it hobbles with it's bloated, gassy stomach toward your corner."
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)18:52 No.9615100
    That's pretty awesome and I bet if used with the right atmosphere would scare the shit out of players.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:59 No.9615201
    It would be more awesome if I wrote up the other 9 of them.

    The streets are silent, save for your footsteps. And of course the sounds from the fog. You can't be entirely sure that it isn't your imagination playing tricks on you. It's out there, low, nearly imperceptable, but it's there. There's a noise, and it's coming from the fog itself, as soft as it may be. The sound of wind blowing gently, even though the air is still and the smoky mist turns of it's own accord.
    At first you don't even notice the sound. Too focused on your footsteps. And your heartbeat. The panting of your breath. It's not until you slow to a standstill that you realize you were running. The awkward weight of the copper piping in your hand is uncomfortable, and you've grasped it so tightly your whitened knuckles ache. That's when you finally notice the sound.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)18:59 No.9615213
    You think--you hope--that it's just a cat, scrounging for scraps. You've seen glimpses of things in the mists that you wouldn't want to meet this close. That's when you see it, crawling from the underside of a boxy old car. It crawls across it's belly, a sort of grey, tannish thing covering it. On it's back are two pieces of bone jutting out from the shoulders. Flayed skin and feathers still hanging in tatters from the broken skeletal arms. It struggles to it's feet, awkward and grotesque. That's when you realize what it's wearing.
    The… thing… is bound in strips of human flesh, sewn together with wire, arms pressed tightly, and at odd, uncomfortable angles, to the chest. It might have been a woman, at one time. You can see the outline of hips and breasts as it writhes up to a standing position. The horrid monstrosity's eyes are sewn shut, and it's once full lips are tied loosely in the same manner. The eyeless thing looks at you, the light of your pocket torch shinning on the taut flesh of it's bindings. You catch a glimpse of a navel, and nipples and shudder. The metal strings that shut the mouth stretch tightly as the thing opens it's mouth and gives out a deafening shriek that leaves you clutching your temples and falling to your knees.
    >> scaredofshadows !!zxfRuuFd4v1 05/04/10(Tue)19:01 No.9615241
    telling tale of 'monsters' doesn't scare me so bad. tore apart wyrm-things what would make you wet your self

    biggest fear is letting down friends, not being able protect them
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:02 No.9615247
    I don't find it particularly metagaming or cheap if either a loss of sanity or a gaining of extra sensory powers (likely both) are in play. Though I tend to pass notes around instead of, because odds are the sight seen is going to be significant whether or not it does exist.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:02 No.9615252
    Well, so let's say that after the big reveal the rose-seeing player had really a rose-seeing pc, whihc probably freaked out as well.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:02 No.9615256
    Implied time limits. That always get people to shit themselves. Like something chasing them in the dark and they needs to find a exit quickly.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:02 No.9615262
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    How do you create horror?

    Atmosphere. Atmosphere and willing participation.

    You cannot scare someone who doesn't want to be scared. You are describing things verbally, and if the player refuses to imagine them, they will never be scared of them.

    Atmosphere is how they will imagine them. Use small wrongs to build up tension, larger wrong to accelerate that tension, and when that tension is at its peak, hit them with a horror setpiece. They won't accept either of the latter early on, because they're not in the mood. The small wrongs are there to get them to set their disbelief back just that little bit, and push up the tension slightly higher. That lets you worm in something more wrong, and the process repeats. Never drop a setpiece until they are demonstrating physical signs of discomfort or you'll waste it. The walls, roof, and floor of the giant room you're in all growing faces and starting to sing folkloric music is silly if you aren't in the mood, but if you ARE in the mood, it will fuck you up chronically.
    Something critical to your success, or failure, in a horror game will be rules.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:03 No.9615273
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    Rules provide predictability. Rules provide stability. Rules provide a known quantity to which everything can be reduced. These are all bad things for horror. If you want to make horror that works, you have to be willing to adapt the rules of the game to meet your needs. You need to keep the players tense and on-guard, especially if you intend to use their paranoia against them. Follow the rules, more or less, but make sure you change them. Make large changes to the rules and keep them that way for a while. Make a one-off exception. Change something, then change it back soon after. If possible, use a system the players are not intimately familiar with. If the players lose the sense of predictability known rules provide, it firstly provides tension, and more subtly, forces them to listen to your descriptions as a whole, instead of just hearing the relevant stats and rolls. That in turn makes them more susceptible to horror tactics. Be sparing, though. Make sure every change is backed by, and appears to have been caused by, something operating in the game world. If they draw causality from there they will pay more attention to the game world, and that makes them listen more and imagine. This also ensures that your players will believe that there are rules. While you don't have to let the players know what the rules are, and you should never do so for horror, the players have to believe a set of rules exist or they will instantly have all immersion destroyed as they realise this is purely based on arbitrary whim. They won't see the point in playing if their cause doesn't lead to an effect.

    The challenges the players face are the basis of the game. I like to divide the challenges the players will face into four categories here, for ease of description.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:04 No.9615285
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    First, normal threats. These are threats you can beat by fighting, as in a normal game. Normal things for that world. These challenges the players will beat by fighting. If they run, they escape, but the threat remains. If they ignore it, they get hurt. If they play along, well, work it. These should start the game, to establish the rules you're going to change. As the game progresses, these challenges should get more and more difficult to fight, without actually becoming implausible to beat, to maintain tension.

    Next are the Unstoppables. These are challenges, threats, or things that the players can't reasonably overcome. They should run from these, as fighting will get them hurt, ignoring will get them hurt worse, and playing along will get them hurt worst of all. These should come up soon. As the game progresses, these become more dangerous, going from likely hurt, to certain hurt with death chance, to certain death.

    Next comes the phantasmal challenges. These are challenges that aren't, usually the result of twisted perceptions. They come up later in the piece, once the rules have been changing considerably. These threats cannot be fought without being hurt, and cannot be run from because they will just follow. If you play along you'll either get hurt or stay trapped. The only way out is to ignore them. These must come later in the piece, so that the tone of the campaign already fits things undefeatable by normal methods. The effectiveness of such threats is overwhelmingly based on your description. As the game progresses, these should be less and less obvious, and take more effort to discern the 'escape move'.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:05 No.9615305
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    Finally, there are the ineffable challenges. These are challenges the players cannot beat, run from, or ignore safely. To escape these, the character must play along, or find a mental escape. Think the Creepy kid from movies and games. These are often the part of the Big Threat of a horror campaign. These have to come latest in the piece, because firstly you need something that is threatening enough that the players have to play along, and secondly you need to show them subtly how to do these. As you progress, these challenges should take more complex, vicious, or unwanted actions from players to play along.

    At first, keep all the different challenge types distinct. Then, as the players start to figure out the differences, blur the visual lines. Then, blur the actual lines of the rules. Always leave the players in doubt as to what it is they should do here. Not crippling doubt, save for big setpieces, but ensure every time they plan to deal with something there's that niggling concern in their minds that this might not be the way they think it is.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)19:06 No.9615312
    That's different.
    That's perfectly fine.

    These things are people.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:06 No.9615322
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    Pacing is next. This will come down to your ability to read players, and set the pace appropriately, but I find that when I run campaigns a fast pace works best. Always keep things moving slightly faster than the players want to. Don't give them time to stop and think. They start analysing, they start wondering, they start to figure out the rules and your part in playing them. Keep them moving fast, and don't let them quite catch their breath, and the tension will keep up. Vary the pace slightly, to keep it interesting. Generally accelerate things towards the end. I like to keep the denouement of my horror campaigns with things moving so fast the players barely have any idea what's going on, which is extremely effective in building up the tension. Force them to choose fast, and give them the worst result if they don't choose quick. Just make sure you don't push it too far, into the realm of being unfair instead of just tense, or they'll stop playing along.

    Also, if you think you can do it well, try to throw in sudden stops near the end. Points at which everything just slows down. If you've turned on the little paranoia in the players' heads, this will drive them insane. Do this very rarely, though, or it gets very obvious and very old.

    Be descriptive. Being descriptive is utterly vital in horror. A good descriptive GM can make anything seem scary. A mechanical rote DM will make having Yawgmoth propose to you seem mundane and uninteresting. I can't tell you how to be descriptive, since everyone has their own style, and trying to play to another person's style just doesn't work. What I can do is give you a few tricks.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:07 No.9615332
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    The first, and most common, way of creating tension is the nearlythere. That's where you take something very ordinary, and change just the littlest bit. That exploits the players' familiarity, and can work quite well. Another trick if you can do it well is to exploit that familiarity further and not fill in that missing detail until later, playing it as the characters having overlooked it. If you can do that well, it works wonders, making their acceptance of something comfortable even more disturbing. Something like an ordinary beach, plain sand, plain water, buckets, pails, dead fish every so often, and a little seaweed. All rather ordinary, save that the waves are rushing outwards from the sand. Be subtle here, though. Doing this hamfistedly will just annoy your players, kill the mood, and destroy the tension you so painstakingly built up.

    Next comes the opposite, or the things that are just wrong, except for one small detail. Focus more on the one small detail than the wrongs. This is more effective once tension has built up, and the players are more willing to accept the strange.

    Then comes the outright wrong, where there are no redeeming or familiarising features to a thing. This only works once tension has mounted considerably and the players accept these things without thinking. Because these depend on their alien-ness, use them as sparingly as possible. They make good cores for horror set-pieces.

    Finally, there's the absolutely normal. Only working once the tension has driven your players paranoid, this is something that appears completely normal because it is. Once you've been encountering the horrific and ineffable for hours at a time, something completely normal represents a drastic shift in the rules. You can, if you're good, achieve more fear from something utterly normal than something ostensibly terrifying.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:08 No.9615345
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    Critically for all descriptive GMing, don't be prescriptive. The more alien a thing is, the less direct the information should be. Ideally, you want most of your descriptions to raise far more questions than they answer. Even the most horrific known thing can only be as horrific as it is. The unknown, though, is as horrific as everything it can be.

    Description is also where you produce real fear in your players. When something goes wrong in horror, never let it be a strict number, or simple YOU ARE DEAD. When something goes wrong, it should be incredibly unpleasant. If what the players fear about failure is that death means end of game no more rewards, you've failed. If the players fear failure because of what happened to their character the last time they fucked up, you're doing it right. A player doesn't fall to zero HP and die; they have their ribs torn open and feel the edges of their vision fading, as they desperately try to stop the bleeding from everywhere at once. They don't get hit by a shadow damage trap, they're sucked violently into a shadow on the floor, fingers gouging tracks in the wood, and after falling under screams of primal fear and pain can be heard from inside the walls, before the character inexplicably falls through the roof, bloodied, and with a look of utter terror on their face.

    Seeing as we're on description and its role in producing horror, there are some types of horror eminently suited for roleplaying, and many that are not.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:08 No.9615349
    I love horror games, but I can't run them right.

    I play over the Internet, and my players are not the scareable type. Horror games end up becoming action games.

    Mystery games don't go so well, either.

    It's sad but true.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:09 No.9615357
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    Don't use BOO horror. It is purely visual and doesn’t work at all here. Even if it did it is the worst kind of horror and is only used in compensation for the failure of the creator to produce something meaningfully terrifying.

    Disturbing horror, as in describing things that just make you feel personally uncomfortable, takes exceptional skill, since it's completely dependent on your ability to read your players. If you can do it and maintain it just below the point at which the player has had enough and just leaves the game, do so. If you can't read the player, don't try. Also, don't do it to any player unless you can do it to all, as it'll make that player feel you're trying to go after him personally.

    Fear of consequence works well, since the total control over the character and the tension you're creating work to make players empathise with and become immersed in their characters. This is where the consequences mentioned above become truly upsetting.

    Paranoia creation works perfectly here, since you have complete control over information, and the players are inherently using their imaginations. Use it, and use it well.

    WHAT THE SHIT IS THAT may or may not work. That all comes down to your ability as a descriptive GM. If it does, exploit it mercilessly.

    On a sidenote, the use of motifs can work very well in horror. Try to associate all the worst events in the game with one motif, and put them before it. The tinkly music box is one of them, or a certain NPC's voice, or anything. If you use that motif and the players immediately start to get visibly tense, you're doing it right.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:10 No.9615369
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    There is also the option of fucking with the players, and turning them on each other, but that is a very individual choice. It may work; it may not, all depending on your group.

    If you want to do like I do sometimes and create a setting where the players are almost outright hostile to each other but work together still solely because they need to survive, combine separation and concentration to produce mutual paranoia. Being alone makes them uncomfortable, since they don't have any support and they don't have anything to confirm that what they see is real. Being with someone else makes them uncomfortable, since there is an excellent chance that they aren't who they say they are or even real. Remember to slide a note to one or both or all players every time they meet, even if it's blank. Sometimes, it will say 'you are an angry/sad/violent/helpful hallucination/ghost/disguised enemy' or 'you are his friend, but have become slightly/significantly/murderously hostile/antipathic/helpful/lustful for reason XYZ;. It takes work, but making players completely distrust one another without once making an actual PC willingly betray them makes for excellent horror. You want to create that unique-to-horror feeling of immense relief followed by deep suspicion every time you see another living human.

    Or for a less personal feel, do like FEAR, and have the other players almost always good, but with the caveat that if you ever meet another person it's because something absolutely horrible is about to happen to both of you. This is my personal favourite, because they instinctively want to stay other players and NPCs to feel safe, but the moment they actually see someone else they try to get away from each other as soon as possible because something nasty will happen. Try to capture that feeling from FEAR where you're screaming at the screen NO YOU FUCKHEAD DON'T MEET UP WITH ME YOU'RE GOING TO GET BRUTALLY FUCKING KILLED.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:11 No.9615378
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    One trick I like to use in that situation is to have the players roll up multiple characters. Not individually, since that creates a sense of privateness, but as a group. Hand them ten character sheets and tell them to fill them out as a group. They take one character at a time, and you work the others as you need to in the plot or under their direction if not. This gives you a much greater ability to produce incredibly harsh consequence, without compromising the extent to which players empathise with their characters, and turn up the difficulty considerably to add to the horror without making the game objectively more difficult. It does add an enormous amount of extra administration, though, so be careful with it.

    There's more, but at this point I've completely lost track of my mental organisation of this stuff. Ask about something if I missed it.

    Just remember the basic rules of horror GMing.
    The rules system is irrelevant. The content is unimportant. Delivery is everything.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:13 No.9615411
    I have one...

    Sometimes I let them live when they shouldn't.

    Like one guy who managed to make a 5% chance of living through a shoggoth attack. Really, he wasn't hidden all that well, but a random luck roll said the shoggoth went after an easier target to get to.

    The way this works? They realize that if they're not very very careful then sooner or later fate and general luck is just going to backfire on them. It also insures they live long enough to get attached to their characters.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:15 No.9615430
    Nope, not at all. Do tell.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:16 No.9615447
    Have them fight demons. Then reveal that they *are* the demons.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:20 No.9615512
    Incidentally, that character has lived the second longest of any CoC character we've had and first place spent half her time hiding out in Italy since a cult was trying to kill her.

    I'm going to have some fun with this group since most of the characters are going to be new and the two old ones don't know each other...

    Let's see if I can get them to kill each other again. He already murdered 2 of his friends in cold blood to save his own skin.

    I love my players some times.
    >> Anonymuos 05/04/10(Tue)19:21 No.9615519


    Alternatively, any ambient music. Also, low lighting or florescent lighting make people more tense.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)19:21 No.9615524
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    "You think those are //monsters// you've been killing?"
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:22 No.9615548
    I use Pandora radio, with Lustmord as the seed band.
    >> Anonymuos 05/04/10(Tue)19:23 No.9615552
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:23 No.9615559
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:24 No.9615570

    "Don't worry, that was just a joke!"
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:27 No.9615610

    I always found interesting that there Heater doesn't seem to have a doubting reaction to Vincent. Like she had THAT idea cross her mind in her trip.
    More point for the subjective reality theory.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:29 No.9615628

    Music can help if you use it just right, but you do have to use it just right. If you use it constantly it fades into the background and does nothing. If you don't use it constantly, it feels weird every time you turn it on. There is an extremely narrow band of utility in which the presence of music is not actively detracting from the game, and that space is far thinner than most give it credit for. Generally speaking, any piece that isn't either instrumental or choral in a language othert than english will actively detract from the game unless you've gone to lengths to make it part of the actual plot.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:31 No.9615675
    She is Alessa, maybe she was getting flashes of familiar things. Didn't that last monster kind of look like the neighbors dog? Was that the local butcher I just shot?
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)19:31 No.9615680
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    Tell me about Pandora Radio, and how well it would work with Akira Yamaoka and Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as the seeds.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:32 No.9615704
    Works for Akira, but now Mary.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:34 No.9615730
    I fuck with their meta game thinking.

    They suddenly lose alignments or can do extremely evil shit without breaking it.

    Detect magic gives off an ungodly horrible presence from all around that threatens to destroy the caster's sanity (in reality, it is working in reverse-non magical stuff shows up as magic, hence the feeling overload).

    I screw with time-they enter a tower to see a wizard making an item and telling them to leave him the fuck alone. Then later he appears and gives them the item, hoping they'll leave him alone. In town they greet an apprentice wizard who tells them that if they back him some chump change, he'll give them something nice and magical when he's more powerful. Then they see him in a delve killing monsters with a separate party (who don't see and can't interact with the PCs) where he tells them he forgot about the item and will get to work on it. One of the PCs has a flashback to seeing a shriveled old man as a child who ran in terror from her. Then they find an item of seemingly ancient origins...which is wrapped like a gift and contains a note that hints they need to leave him alone now. They find a baby which they give to a wizard to adopt (MINDFUCK a few minutes later when the wizard is gone). Then they end the quest to find the lich...who shrieks and lies begging them to leave him alone. they kill him and bring his skull into town as proof. Come epic levels, they find out the "ancestral relic" one of the PCs has (a shield passed down his family line with a skull in it) was made in celebration of a great liberation of his hometown from a lich's control...shortly before an apocalypse...triggered by an inactive magic item that was left alone by an unknown thief and grew unstable...the one in the PC's possession in the meantime cannot be found.
    >> Lace !Z8CM53dU66 05/04/10(Tue)19:35 No.9615749
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    Really? How so?

    Does she not show up as an option or whatever, or does she just kick back things closer to pop, instead of soulful songs where the music and lyrics are dissonant.

    By the way:
    >Maybe I didn't hold you
    >All those lonely, lonely times
    >And I guess I never told you
    >I'm so happy that you're mine

    >Little things I should have said and done
    >I just never took the time
    >You were always on my mind
    >You were always on... on my mind
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:36 No.9615752
    oh jesus christ that trap. so mean, and so god damn awesome
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:40 No.9615798

    Be very hesitant to include this sort of thing in your games. It takes some practise and experience to be able to do it at all without it just being a hamfisted mess, it almost always comes across as an incredibly tired and uninspired cliche along the lines of Shyamalan's TWEESTS, and even if you do it exactly right it can still go down poorly since you've basically told your players LOL I LIED TO YOU AND YOU FELL FOR IT.

    If you absolutely have to do it, you need to constantly give very small clues that could more easily be coincidences as to what is going on. If your players start to clue into this you can actually use their investigative urges to further things and work with them to an extent, but most importantly, by not comign as a total surprise to the players it won't be offensively in-your-face. People getting angry at characters or things in a horror game is fine and often good, but when they get angry at you as a GM, it's the kiss of death for a campaign. There will be nothing you can do to get that player back into the game, and you'll be lucky just to keep everyone else still playing.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:45 No.9615859
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    players must have been WTFing for about 5 min
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:46 No.9615880
    Doesn't show up as an option when you use her as a seed, but she probably pops up when you use Akira. I just did a quick check, so I can't be sure.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:50 No.9615938
    Actually, that's another thing I like now that I think about it. Make them do your dirty work for you. Horror sometimes works best when some amount of blame can be added to the players.

    When they let it out, they opened the book, they looked just a little too long at the painting.

    Whatever it was you gave them the full realization that they shouldn't be messing with it and they did anyway. Or, the best ones are when you don't realize it till later.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:51 No.9615952
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    They agreed one time that instead of hitting epics they'd just start over with all their gear and spells and feats but otherwise level 1 (works pretty well, we do it a lot because none of them like epics).

    I stuck them in an infinite time loop. the quest ended with their memories being wiped and starting over as they had.

    I copied QUITE a few Twilight Zone episodes too...especially the one with the masks. the party starting in the employ of a silver Dragon (mother to the party silver wyrmling). When the whole party turned evil and went to slay her they found her sick and that she had sent a summons for them.

    When she realized what they were planning she summoned a witch doctor she kept around from her excursions into more primitive lands and had him make masks for each one...a medusa mask for the seductress elf sorcerer, a lich mask for the arcane magic-hating halfling cleric of Hel, a goblin mask for the evil dwarf samurai, a large insect mask for the evil silver dragon wyrmling rogue, and the mask of the most ghastly corpse ever seen for herself.

    She had them throw a party because she felt her time coming and didn't want to expire sad. She made them don the masks (they liked her character even if they only came for XP and loot, so they did willingly) and come midnight found themselves changed forms into the things I described and all starting from level one. When they removed her mask they saw the face of a draconic angel before it faded into a gracefully (seemingly) sleeping dragon.

    The BAWWWWWed.

    I also did "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" where they started about to me executed and escaped, leading their foes in a hunt overland across Faerun looking to reach their families who were all safe in the Dales waiting for word from them. As soon as they reached them-SNAP! The execution was complete. The whole adventure was their last thoughts.
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)19:52 No.9615965

    If you're using alignments as anything other than a breif descriptor of a characters actual moral and ehtical codes, something's wrong. Fixed, arbitrary systems of external judgment are very bad for horror because not only do they provide a set reference point but they make moral judgments for the player, making the moral complexity that underlies all good horror unattainable. Shifting that fixed point around is in many ways worse, because it's exactly the same, just over there, or there, or in two places at once. It loses even the little integrity it has to gain a small component of the utility of real moral choice without actually fixing the real problems.


    Chen's death in Perseus Mandate is the sort of magnificent horror setpiece peopel should aspire to. Everythign in it just came together wonderfully. Constant combat against creepy enemies that are very dangerous and difficult to kill for an hour beforehand builds up the tensions, little phenomena takes that to a high, and watching your only ally be taken by the same things that have killed everyone else you've ever worked with in the game series brings it to a spectacular climax. Showing him somehow somehow eases it all off, only for him the killed within the space of seconds out of nowhere with just enough time to try to help him to no avail and not quite enough time to process any of what the shit just happened. Save this sort of scene for dramatic setpieces. If you can do them right, they're far too good to waste.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)19:58 No.9616049
    iv never even been a part of a horror RPG, but from this thread alone i would love to be in one.

    I recently watched the Power of Art by Simon Schama with family. When we got the the Rothko episode, i was genuinely disturbed by posted pic. I dont know what you the rest of you elegan/tg/entlemen will see, but I saw a gateway. There is just somthing about it that is so god damn creepy. its unsettling, but you can't take your eyes off of it. following link is of this posted pic and of more Rothko paintings at the Tate

    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:02 No.9616108
    I only use stationary alignment when dealing with smiting paladins.

    Luckily, the current paladin in my group always disadvantages her smite/detect evil things for protection things (I'd compare it to speccing in WoW, which is likely where she got the idea) because she always plays the "protector of the small" character so I don't have to worry about good or evil alignments really.

    I also used background noise to some effect once and freaked them out in real life.

    It was Halloween and they were drinking a few while we were gaming. We were all in masks, mine being one of those things where they can't see your face-just a black hood.

    I prerecorded myself talking and had the speakers behind them so every so often (usually in dramatic scenes, not combat) my voice would come from behind them. They'd look back and I'd start talking normally...had them proper freaked out. Que lots of weak, surrounding enemies the whole dungeon and I had them looking over their shoulders constantly.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:02 No.9616109
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    forgot pic after all of that *facepalm*
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:03 No.9616125
    My GM likes to use rats. Rats.

    Giant. Mutant. Rats. Snarling. Hideous. Scratching at the walls all the time. Constantly trying to find a way in. And come in they will. They like to come at the exact moment when I'm by myself. They're coming to get me, and all I can think of is WHY? WHY ME? WHY GOD WHY AAARGSLJDKFJ
    >> Dr. Baron von Evilsatan 05/04/10(Tue)20:10 No.9616216

    I can only hope there was some kind of indication that they were going to die. Telling a player 'you actually died arbitrarily in the game's non-interactive introduction, so every single thing you did in the entire campaign was completely and utterly irrelevant' is the sort of thing that could very easily lose you players, and by all rights should. I don't know if you've realised this, but not only have you ended a campaign with an inexplicable and automatic 'rocks fall you die' at the moment of triumph, but you've evolved the campaign so far beyond railroading they never actually left the station.


    Speakers can help, but that sort of trick is very labour-intensive and requires a campaign to go more or less as planned or become wated effort. It also runs the risk of accidentally not pausing the track and letting things get entirely out of hand.

    As for the paladin, relative moral and ethical systems aren't mutually exclusive with D&D mechanics, it just takes a little more work to get them to function. Actions within the god's code fo conduct, or people whose moral codes are more or less in agreement with that code, are good for the purpose of powers. Actions that are not within the specific code of conduct of that given god, and people whose own codes of actions are the same, are neutral for the purpose of power. Actions that are expressly against that code of conduct, or people whose code of conduct is mutually exclusive with that code of conduct, are evil for the purposes of powers.

    They're divinely-granted powers. They will naturally follow the moral whims of their creator divinity. This also gives more dimension to any deity who's kind of a fuck.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:11 No.9616222
    Actually there are many good ideas in Doctor Who, not pure horror maybe but there are definitely some disturbing and WTF ideas. While running a campaign think of one thing, it can be a symbol, a name or anything like this. Make players believe that said thing is connected to something bad like their main enemy or some kind of cult and shit. So basically they fought some bad guys they found IT, next they heard someone talking about IT and something bad happened, maybe someone wanted to kill them again. After few near death experiences they will try to avoid this shit, so every time they will hear it again they may start acting weird or mad so just make random people mention it somehow or make one of the players find said IT in belongings of other players etc. it's the number 23 syndrome.

    Also a book or a diary written by a mad-man or someone who is intentionally fucking with them. First few things, chapters or notes will be totally true, everything written there happened or will happen in the nearest future. They can also find those notes as they advance through the campaign and after the time they will trust what is written there, start fucking with them, so that nothing written there is actually true but in the way players will thing that it's their fault and will still do everything according to the book, which will finally lead them into a trap of some sort.

    Also time limits. I once took manometer, pumped it and said that when the pointer will reach the 0 they're out of oxygen. Trolololo
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:15 No.9616271
    Imagine a warrior, mage and archer. They are pretty much powerful and fear of no man. Make a small spider invasion, those motherfuckers cover everything and are like millions of them. People everywhere around die screaming. PCs cant do jack shit unless mage has some kind of AoE which will ONLY kill the small part of this spider wave. Brotip: Use a photo
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:17 No.9616303
    I find that for good horror, you have to start off nice and sweet.
    Throwing someone smack in the middle of a foggy monster ridden town with little hope isn't horror; it's grimdark. And Grimdark quickly gives way to Dante style over the top action, where people often go "They killed Sasha! I'll hold them off! YAAAARGH!"

    So when i run horror, I start them off in a normal town facing normal threats. They quest, make friends with the locals, go about life. Then things gradually start to change. The old man who promised them to another puzzle game dies suddenly in his sleep. A few strangers are seen at his funeral, claiming to be old friends from his adventuring days. The old man's son, the town baker, changes his hours, no longer open in the afternoon and opening later and later every morning. A few days later, he commits suicide.
    As the team digs into the past of the old man, sure that some lich or demon is hounding him, less and less information becomes available, as if someone is one step ahead of them, destroying records.
    A few weeks later, they find the grave missing, the baker back to his normal hours, unharmed. The townsfolk are clueless about who the old man is...
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:21 No.9616347
    I gave them warning that the night's campaign would be very short: I ran it to stand by itself and they used their regular characters that were in the ongoing campaign we had just finished, just as level 1 versions. We tend to have a week or so of unwinding short things between big campaigns. Usually I let them whip out anime or Warcraft or whatever the fuck they want and try to balance it in a silly campaign, but I started doing horror one shots with them after I read the Little Fears book and wanted to run some mindfuckery.

    As for the speakers, I had them connected to my laptop and were playing the background music. I had all my voice quotes as individual files and were things I knew I'd end up saying (lines NPCs give, descriptions of a room, etc.) I did have some I couldn't use because they had changed what was going on, but most worked fine.

    As for the alignment, despite them loving Faerun they don't like dealing with deities really so aside from minor or real world ones (for example one is fond of Norse and Greek gods so those ones a a little more real to the group) I keep higher powers out of it.
    The way I played the alignment switch was as if Pelor had suddenly switched alignments himself-his magic was being granted with strange effects (mostly cosmetic) and were weakening. After a difficult decision where she would violate Pelor's anti-undead policy or have to kill a neutral lich trying to save his daughter, she found that her spells were functioning better than normal.
    Didn't go any further than that, but she got to wondering out loud about Pelor...
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:32 No.9616483
    I tend towards fostering group unity and paranoia of the "outside world" in the game. Things like catching an NPC out on a date, when he described being unavailable to research something important for them; a supply run turns into a nightmare of misunderstood intentions; backup arrives with the wrong idea.

    The idea of "trust nothing you hear, half of what you see and everything you feel" is pretty common. Their reactions are now more gut-based than logical (as I run them through a d20 CoC campaign, this isn't a bad thing).

    They've gone from idealistic private investigators to almost-felon hermits who migrate from motel to motel room across America in the 1920s, deathly afraid of florists, milkmen, people with the middle name "Edgar" and the sound of glass breaking, muffled by cloth.

    One of my players asked if he could generate a backup PC: a hunting guide who abuses stimulants and used to be a track star. An illiterate one, at that.

    Yeah. My job is done.

    I also recommend finding creepy sounds to run in the background: heart monitors, for use when they're in an ER; car engines idling, if they're on the highway, interspersed with the sounds of thuds and rattling; creaking boards and muffled speech, for the always-likely haunted house exploration.

    You'd be stunned what can be accomplished with a good microphone and a few props.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)20:54 No.9616809
    I'm now considering of having the investigators check out a haunted house legend that turns out to just be a place that a bunch of people committed suicide. People made up the haunted house story to keep from having to explain suicide to their kids, then it sort of spun out of control. Long story short, there's a bunch of build up for nothing.

    Then, as they're leaving a man passes them on the road leading up to the house. That's the only place the road leads. If asked why he's going there he skirts the point. If they try to follow him he goes up to the house, looks around, and then returns to town and rents a room at the motel.

    I like the idea of convincing them that something is scary, convincing them that it's harmless, and then making them wonder which is true
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)21:00 No.9616879
    This thread is great for me. I'm going to be running an M&M one-off soon where the hero-team have to go down into the sewers to save a bunch of kidnapped civilians. What they don't know is the kidnappers are Knightmare (think an evil Batman with Scarecrows love of terror/hallucination inducing chemicals) and Malice, a Hulk-like brute who becomes more poerful the more people around him are afraid.

    In the sewers there are a number of hidden gas generators clouding the area in a permanent fog. What the group don't know is that in the fog machines there's a low level hallucation/fear inducing chemical. We play over Maptools, so I'll be regularly having the group do secret rolls to me to determine how influenced they are by the chemicals, and I'll be sending them private messages at times. Sometimes the private messages will be if they're the only one who sees the truth, sometimes because they're hallucinating.

    So come on /tg/, the more ideas I have about things they could see in the gas that could unnerve my players, the better.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)21:27 No.9617217
    For anyone who says that D&D is NOT about horror, they should look up Tucker's kobolds-- swarms, unidentified numbers of them, each chucking alchemists' fire and vials of insect swarms (hornet, plague-bearing rats, anything at all you want to inflict on your players), and being all-around damn CLEVER, Tucker's kobolds are a pain that slowly overwhelms you.

    However, I combined this idea with the fear of the unknown, by giving their leader sorcerer levels that matched the PCs, and giving him the ability to scrawl exploding runes. As soon as the PCs landed in their nest, which was covered in floor to ceiling with exploding runes, they had to choose between making their way blindly through, possibly tripping their traps and being sitting ducks for their chucked weapons, or opening their eyes to take on the buggers and happening to glance on the walls and floor and ceiling and taking several d6 of damage. Going backwards wasn't much of an option because the kobolds barricaded the rear with a wall that slowly closed in behind them.

    The fear of being pushed forward, the claustrophobia of being denied eyesight, and altogether attacks that whittled down your damage significantly just plain terrified them all.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)21:34 No.9617336

    Oh my god. This is so stolen.
    >> Anonymous 05/04/10(Tue)21:57 No.9617758
    Rather than playing background music, I downloaded various sound clips of background recordings. Although the clips often had nothing to do with the scenery because it was set on shuffle, it worked beautifully as some clips (sharpening knives, dangling chains, buzzsaws) would just come on and startle the shit out of everyone, including me. It subconsciously put them on edge all the time because of the unexpected shuffle, rather than atmospheric music which sometimes droned and was easily ignored after the first 20 seconds.

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