Day 20, and I am caught up, and going strong. Yay me!
It doesn't take much as you can tell...
Yikes! Favorite Horror RPG?
Do I even have a favorite Horror RPG? Do I like enough of them to have a favorite?
Horror is a genre I have never been particularly fond of. I don't find it fun to be frightened the way some people do. In addition, very little 'Horror' is scary in the first place. It's largely shock, and gore. Neither of those things impresses me.
I do enjoy Twilight Zone-esque situations, a good ghost story, and tales of strange events, or unexplained phenomena. I like the creepy, the unnerving, and the odd to the point where it kind of messes with you.
In short - Don't gross me out. Do give me the heebie-jeebies.
What game does that?
This is one of those instances where it really is about the GM. A good Gamemaster can create the right atmosphere, and situations that will freak people the *^#$ out. Dungeons & Dragons, Traveller, even Champions can scare the pants off of you if the right person is running the show.
I've been working on my own ghost story game for some years now entitled Unfinished Business. Sadly, it has thus far lived up to its name, and remains a work in progress. I sincerely hope that when I finish it, and publish it, the final product will have the kind of effect I'm talking about.
Until then, the games that I've had the best results with, and the ones that tie as my favorite 'Horror' games, are...
No really. I'm not kidding around here. I've given people the industrial strength willies with these babies.
The combination of Humor, and Horror creates a very interesting dynamic. Especially in the case of something like Ghostbusters, it initially lulls the players into thinking it's naught but a farce. People seems to default to the feeling that they are in a cinematic comedy, and right so, and as such there is little to fear.
Then, in the first act, we meet the PCs, those loveable, and endearing knuckle heads who've started up their own local Ghostbusters franchise. We like our characters. We like how they interact with the other PCs. We meet a couple of NPCs, and we have a supporting cast to love, and love to hate.
Then the weird crap sets in. Here's where merging GB with InSpectres was one of the smartest moves I've ever made. The ghosts are real, and they're dangerous. You could get hurt, your friends could get hurt, and so could your endearing supporting cast.
I've noted it before, but it's worth repeating: Ghostbusters worked because Ray, Egon, and Peter are odd, quirky characters. Winston adds the face of the normal guy, the regular Joe. They say funny things, they have weird habits, and interests, and they are thrown together into this deadly situation.
But the situation, and I can't stress this enough, is actually deadly. Very deadly. Apocalyptic even.
Gozer is not a joke. The city will be destroyed, and then very likely the world, if you four shmoes don't do something about it.
During the second of my two Ghostbusters games, I definitely gave the players the creeps at various times, and since the campaign focused on weakening, or removing the ghosts by figuring out what was keeping them here among the living, we touched on some real tear jerker material as well.
I think Horror can be done, and done well. I don't even think it's that hard to do. I just think I'm talking about a different kind of horror than most people are.
Buckets of blood, splattered entrails, and all that nonsense, no. Yuck, and yawn. No interest.
Getting the players to whisper, "Whaaat the...?", or hearing them shout, "Holy sh...! I almost fell off my chair. Can I catch her before she plummets?".
Yeah. That's the stuff.
I should also say that I like Dread, the Jenga powered game that I intend to someday use to run a game set in the Alien(s) universe. You can check out those ideas here and here.
For additional Horror RPG references by yours truly, check here.