RPPR Episode 65: Fear in the Long Haul

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Synopsis: We’ve been talking about adventure and campaign design lately, so we thought it would be appropriate for an episode on horror campaigns and how to run them. The pacing for a horror campaign is different because characters in these games tend to wear down through attrition. Thus, you have to take into account their reduced capabilities when designing adventures or plan for a new way to insert new player characters when the existing ones die or go mad. Furthermore, less is more when it comes to horror. A slight aberration from the mundane is often more terrifying than random tentacle monsters. Tom did not write a letter but we do have shout outs and anecdotes.

Shout outs:

Song: Forest of Fear by Bob Dean


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  1. So in talking about horror games do any of you guys have Unknown Armies? Would you be willing to run a short campaign at any one of the power levels using it.

    Its a really bizarre game that takes a totally new interpretation on reality and how we perceive the world.

    I own most of the books published for it even though Ive never played or run it, because I am a crazy collector that way *chuckle*

  2. So Fantasy…..even baby Jesus would have to make a SAN check after seeing that.

  3. Norway loves you too, Ross. You’re our kind of monster.

  4. Great episode, BUT where is the letter Tom? We Tom fans will need a double helping of Tom next episode.

    Other than that the sweat meats of the episode seemed to be pretty informative. I’m playing in a horror campaign now and it’ll be interesting to see if the GM employs any of these tricks.

  5. The monster in the Thing (2011) is 50% puppet, and 50% CGI. Or so I read in a recent interview.

  6. There’s a thing aboot horror in RPGs that, I think, makes the ‘one-shots’ more effective.

    My favourite definition of horror comes from Clive Barker, who said that it is that point when the character in the story realizes that the alien reality impinging upon the ‘normal’ reality is the way it is always going to be.

    So, to me, most horror movies aren’t really horror movies, they are ‘jump and scare’ or ‘gross out’ movies.

    (one of my ‘favourite’ horror movies wasn’t marketed as one, The Last King of Scotland, told through the eyes of a young and selfish doctor who gets ‘hired’ by Idi Amin…the movie was so shocking, and all without really showing explicitly anything, that the audience had to be talked down after it was over)

    The thing aboot horror in real life is that people get used to it. With exposure, we get used to everything. There have been scientific examinations done of people in horrific situations, like in Kosovo, and despite all that destruction and killing, people still went aboot their lives, still went to church, etc etc.

    So my thing with horror in RPGs is that, because we get used to things eventually and because RPGs are slower than slow (not to mention the time to process the game between games), how does one keep the horror factor up? That is why I think shorter games or one-shots are the best. I find that horror campaigns turn into SF/Fantasy games.

    Just my 2c. I love this site and listening to all the strange people having a good time.

    I still think the latest version of AD&D is like playing bridge — very arcane.

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