Endangered Species: Good Bad Habits

Posted: November 16, 2010 in actual play, Dead of Night
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A guest post by James Mullen. Part 1 can be found here.

Playing the first ever Dead of Night campaign taught us a lot more about Bad Habits and how to get the most out of them:

First, if PCs have more than one Bad Habit each at the start of a campaign (or even a one-off), then players must be supported in making them as diverse as possible; encourage them to choose Bad Habits that showcase different, even contradictory aspects of the character. If two or more of a character’s Bad Habits occupy the same thematic ground, then opportunities for earning Survival points are reduced, but it is a very easy trap to fall into; for example, ‘Quick Tempered’ and ‘Hates Women’ are both demonstrations of how the character doesn’t get on well with others, so that PC is likely to face situations where both conditions could apply. If they had used one of those Bad Habits to show a different side of their character, they would have almost doubled the number of situations where it was possible for them to earn a Survival Point.

Second, as GM, you don’t have to sit and wait for players to claim Survival Points for acting out their Bad Habits; act the Devil and tempt them with an offer of a Survival Point if their character does something stupid and dangerous right now. Feel free to suggest to players ways they can use their Bad Habits and dangle a Survival Point in front of them; this can be a good psychological tool, to raise the actual tension around the table and once again drive wedges of suspicion and mistrust between the characters. Remember, suspicion and mistrust are good, they act as a supporting layer to the horror and make the characters more vulnerable to the monsters; a group of characters that completely trusts each other can form an impenetrable fortress, so use whatever tricks you can to break them up and turn character against character.

Next time I’ll talk about the campaign itself.

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