Posts Tagged ‘horror movie’

Surviving Horror

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Dead of Night
Tags: ,

I saw this post on Geektyrant the other day and thought it might be of use for anyone trying to survive a game of Dead of Night!

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Here in England we have a tradition that at Christmas, ghost stories are told and read. I think it dates from the Victorian era, for the Victorians liked a good ghost story, and made the transition to the television in the 70s with an excellent series of ghost stories by the BBC (including Charles Dickens’ The Signalman, pictured). M0re recently, BBC4 has revived the tradition with a mix of fresh adaptations (such as Whistle and I’ll Come to You) and new stories (Mark Gatiss‘ excellent Crooked House).

I’m also partial to a ghost story or two, and as my friend Mark leant me an audio book featuring a variety of ghost stories I’ve been scaring myself into the Christmas spirit every night on the way home. So, what better way to mark the yuletide than with a post about running a traditional Victorian ghost story using Dead of Night?

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I posted part 1 of my actual play in the last post. I set the scene before character creation – two nights ago your teenage coven summoned something it could not put down; last night Salford was swept by a wave of rioting and looting; tonight two of the coven haven’t shown up – so we kicked into the game straight away. The coven scrabbled around Simon’s flat, determining that yes, the grimoire was indeed gone, before breaking into his bedroom where they found it crawling with cockroaches and a strange, sentient blood-like ooze that Ann-Marie insisted on taking a sample of.

They then fled the flat, where they ran into a group of rioters including the now-infamous Billy Hunt, who tried to bully Alan into holding the big tv he’d just nicked. This scene was great, as it set up Billy as a hard case, as well as putting Alan’s own bluster and bullish manner into perspective (Billy bullies Alan, so Alan bullies Ollie). Cops arrive, coven flees, only to find Simon’s body crucified in an alley, his phone filled with frantic voice mail messages from Julianne telling Simon she’s hiding out in the derelict flats.It’s about this time they first notice the car with blacked out windows and an Italian number plate following them.

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To celebrate the awesome zombie series, the Walking Dead returning to our screens, coupled with Halloween next week, PDF copies of my horror game, Dead of Night, are half price over at RPGNow for the next week – just $5 instead of the usual $10.

Dead of Night is the roleplaying game of campfire tales, slasher movies and b-movie horror. It’s designed to be quick and easy to play, with rules that help you tell horror stories without getting in the way of the fun. The rules are simple and straightforward to learn, yet offer all the options and depth to allow you to customise the game however you like.

Dead of Night is perfect for Halloween horror gaming – with character creation taking no more than 5 minutes and a host of advice and resources for running games on the fly, you can be playing in no time. And, if you’re really impatient to go, there are four ready-made scenarios in the book and downloadable PCs available on our website.

Go on, give us a scream!

It was UK Games Expo last weekend, one of the UK’s newest and best games conventions, already up there with Furnace, Conception, Indiecon and Dragonmeet in my top 5 UK cons. I was there as part of the smallpress rpg booth, which this year comprised the Collective Endeavour and our Finnish friends, Arkenstone Publishing and we had a very good con, introducing all sorts of quirky games to all sorts of quirky gamers.

I was meant to be running a new Dead of Night scenario, Djinn, but a lack of players saw it remain in my bag. So I thought I’d post about the premise here all the same.

“Five friends, stuck in the middle of nowhere.
A mysterious relic, a treasure lost to the ages.
An ancient spirit, powerful and vengeful.
Five wishes, one apiece, immeasurably powerful.
What’s the harm in making one? It’s just a wish, after all…”

Of course, the monster of the piece is the djinn, the action taking place 10 years after the wish as the genie comes back to collect his due. The scenario is designed to pitch the characters against one another as much as the monster as cracks appear in the victim’s picture-perfect lives and they scramble to save their own skins. A lot of the set-up is player-driven, based on 5 questions answered during character creation (as suggested by the awesome Scott Dorward):

  1. What is your greatest regret/missed opportunity?
  2. What is the most important thing in the world?
  3. What (or who) would you be prepared to sacrifice in order to save yourself/your way of life?
  4. What are you most afraid of?
  5. What is the one thing that you never want others to find out about?

The players then have a hand in authoring their characters, their wishes and new lives, and then me and the djinn get to come along to kick it all over.

I was thinking about writing it up today and connections began to emerge with another unpublished scenario, Grendel, Alaska, not just with the close-knit community unravelling with the appearance of the monster, but also the mythological/legendary origins of the monster. I’ve got another scenario idea kicking around with a similar theme (something to do with sirens and temptation), and am pondering bundling all these modern updates of mythological monsters together as a little supplement.

Would anyone be interested in such a thing?

I’ve added a Downloads site to the website where you can find, it may surprise you to learn, all the various downloads that are scattered around the site – previews of games, character sheets and so forth.

Not terribly exciting in itself, but I’ve also added three new downloads: a blank character sheet that can be edited, and complete pre-gen character sheets for Dust and Unhallowed, two of the scenarios from Dead of Night second ed.

So with pre-gens in hand, Dust and Unhallowed should be runnable at the drop of a metaphorical hat. Fancy that.

My good friend and Dead of Night contributor, James Mullen (he of the excellent Cold Fusion scenario in the second edition book and of a guest post on running a Dead of Night campaign on this very site) has started a new website, Groundhoggoth, which he describes as a “lair of good games.”

Amongst the many homebrewed micro games (many of them quite delicious) and scenarios is James’ pseudo-LARP Dead of Night scenario inspired by the The Mist. Now, whilst I’ve not had the pleasure of playing the scenario for myself, I’ve heard many a scare story about it so can recommend purely on that basis.

And whilst you’re over at James’ site, make sure you check out some of his other games – I particularly recommend Never to Die, which is best described as a “chav dungeon crawl.” Need I say more.