The Scary Stuff – Part 3

The ninety and nine are with dreams, content
but the hope of the world made new,
is the hundredth man who is grimly bent
on making those dreams come true.
-Edgar Allan Poe

…Continued from Last Month.

Kult ultimately failed for me. I wanted to love that game so bad. But it seemed the creators of this little gem had no idea what they had stumbled upon. They seemed intent on making the least of it. I have spoken to both designers on several occasions since they wrote some convention scenarios that I GM’d. And the way they urged everone they talked to to “bring on the gore” and asked questions, when they popped in during a session, like “Have you ripped out their intestines yet?” made me wonder if this game was anything but a complete accident.

Don’t get me wrong, Penicillin was also an accident, right?

The designers of this beautiful game (not looking at the horrible system here) was apparently completely blind to what made it special. Because trust me, it was NEVER about the blood and gore.

I started to think about that Stephen King quote I started this series with. About “Gross-Out” basically meaning you failed and went for something else and I found my self hating the system and hating every adventures they put out.

So… now we moved on, still playing WoD stuff when in 1996 this happened:

I mean… WOW! Talk about revitalizing a genre! Holy crap! We all fell madly in love with this CoC version… I mean, MADLY! 😉

We were all in awe of how brilliant this was. Why didn’t anyone catch on to this type of horror setting sooner? It was so brilliant!

No sooner had our campaign in this universe started before this came along:

Now here was something “fresh”. Unknown Armies lived on the edge of Kult with it’s false reality that was falling apart and the WoD shtick with “clans” etc. The rules worked, were simple yet innovative enough to allow you to recognize and learn them AND find them new and exciting all at the same time. The sanity system was out of this world cool and we all loved it. There was just one thing missing… monsters.

Both UA and DG are two of my favourites still. We still play them from time to time and I’ve done cross-overs between them as well, that way I can add monsters as much as I wanted!

Around this time I experimented a lot trying to come up with a system for “investigation”. Looking at the building block of motif, means and opportunity and playing around with clues being technical, or anecdotal etc.

It was going to be a long long wait until I felt like buying another Horror RPG. And when I finally did it was almost like yet another refresh of CoC, because it was this:

Funny thing is, this game did what I’d been trying to do for years! It actually treated the “Investigation” part of the game separately. But it had taken a completely different approach to it than I had tried.

I smacked my fore-head and cried out in utter agony on how brilliant this was. And promptly cross-bred this into my DG/UA game. So now it was a DG/UA/ToC hybrid… that actually worked remarkably well.  (If I may say so myself).

I use the Sanity System, System for Skills, Stats and Combat from UA (The crunchy bits). I use the setting and adventures from DG (The world). I use the Core Clue mechanics from ToC (The Story mechanics) and OFF WE GO!

It is worth noting that between 1996 and 2008 I was very little movement in the Horror RPG department. Sure there were games like, “Conspiracy X” (1997) and “Dark*Matter” (1999). I bought them and read them and was inspired by some of it, but they all just felt like bleak copies of DG.

To be concluded in “The Scary Stuff – Part 4”

In the meantime let’s discuss:

  1. What is your take on Gore? Bring it ON! Or Less or More? (see… I even rhyme!)
  2. Have you created your own Cross-Overs? If so what did you mix?
  3. What other Horror RPGs have you played?
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