Bad Habits

Posted: April 1, 2010 in Dead of Night, design

Not much has changed with the rules for Dead of Night second edition, but one area that I’ve tweaked are the characters themselves. Victims in Dead of Night still have attribute pairs, specialisations and survival points, same as ever, but players can also choose a bad habit or two.

Think of a bad habit as a horror movie cliche personal to that character. So a character might have the bad habit “sneaks out for a cigarette at every opportunity”, and when they sneak off for a fag when they should be guarding the camp, they earn a survival point. It’s a simple enough rule, and hardwires in certain behaviours to each character.

I’ve shamefully stolen the concept of bad habits from James Mullen, one of several fine GMs who have been running Dead of Night here in the UK over the past few years, and one of the things he quickly found when using bad habits was that players would shamefully milk them at every opportunity. And who could blame a player from running off to smoke a cigarette whenever it was their go – the odds are hardly on their side, after all.

So the rule was tweaked, so the key to a bad habit is that a survival point is only awarded when a character acts on their bad habit in such a way as to put themselves or another character at risk, they gain a survival point for doing so. So simply running off for a cigarette at every opportunity won’t net the character any benefit, but lighting up on the porch when they know the werewolf is out looking for them might.

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