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Archetypes of Horror

With Halloween approaching we are often tempted to play a one-shot horror scenario, or even a campaign horror game. There are many RPGs and supplements out there―from Call of Cthulhu to Ravenloft―to facilitate your horrible needs. Unfortunately, most of them focus on creating heroic characters that are ill-matched for a horror game. While we all want to be heroic as players, we need to play into the genre. With that in mind, below are some basic archetypes you can choose to play in a horror game.

Insane in the Membrane

When I first started following APs, I began with a CoC game of Horror on the Orient Express, and earlier this summer I watched Encounter Roleplay do a video stream of the same campaign on Twitch. Both showed how horribly things can go downhill as people encounter the horrors and insanity of the game. Other podcasts, like Happy Jacks, have complained about the failures of running the Malkavians in Vampire games. Insanity, it seems, is problematic.

A Tale of Three Tales

As part of a gaming shopping spree, I picked up a book I'd heard was great as a GM's tool, Robin D Laws’ Hamlet’s Hit Points. I finally got around to reading it and instantly wanted to share my thoughts about Laws' ideas.

I genuinely like the book. I only wish for more explanations, especially related to role-playing, in exchange for one of the analyses that’s not Casablanca. I also feel this book would be a great guide for players, and it's these last two points I want to talk about.

Reviews

A while ago I created a podcast list in effort to produce a topic outline of many, many shows and episodes. I haven’t had the time to complete that outline, so I think I'll try my hand at podcast reviews!

With what I've got assembled, I'm all set to do reviews of Actual Play games on Youtube or Twitch, plus book reviews and yes, game reviews.

The Loss of Innocence

In the early days of my gaming career, I went through three Frodos before I got to 3rd level. This wasn’t the only time for me, and I'm sure many others over the last forty years have suffered similar fates. Mages died from single rat bites, investigators went quickly insane, and ex-space marines died alone in nondescript alleys. At the early stages of characters’ careers death and failure come swiftly, often shattering players’ dreams for their characters. Or did they?

Campaign Balance

For a while, I have been kicking an idea around in my head about campaign stages and game balance. I'm not the only one; other game designers have created mechanics around the idea. For example, the D&D world introduced the epic tier level starting with 3ed, and 4ed put it into the Player Handbook. 13th Age expanded on the idea, creating adventurer, champion and epic tiers that add different abilities and modifiers at each stage.

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