Halloween is approaching: a time when all manner of ghost, ghoul and monster crawl their way from the deep abyss of our fears to roam the mortal realm in search of their next fright. It’s also a time of year where Diabetes awareness gets sidelined. Spooky stuff.
In the spirit of the Holiday, I wanted to bring something up. Namely, I wanted to discuss the single scariest monster of all the catalog of monsters. One that has lumbered his way through American history, always looming just out of sight and evading capture.
A classic in the Horror genre of films is the Slasher sub-genre. Anybody who is even fairly familiar with horror movies might recognize the concept of a slasher film: stalking psychopath terrorizes group of protagonists and viciously murders them, often in creative or convenient ways. This sub-genre itself has spawned many of the tropes and patterns often attributed to the horror genre as a whole, such as the whole “rules” concept presented in detail in the Scream series.
In the past, I’ve had to introduce friends and acquaintances to horror movies. I have watched an absolute ton, as horror is by far my favorite genre of just about any media, but not everybody has been so keen on horror for most of their lives, maybe occasionally seeing some mainstream fair but not much more. As such, I have an arsenal of films to introduce people to different elements of horror, from the seriously artful to the campy and ridiculous. When it comes to slasher films, there is only ONE clear choice as to which sadistic murderer needs to be the first one to stab their way into a newbie’s heart.
Horror in roleplaying games can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s sometimes tough for people to fully deliver on. It’s shockingly simple for a session that was intended to deliver plenty of spooks to become incredibly dull. However, with careful planning and a few simple tricks, the terror can be real and can shake your players’ nerves in incredibly ways.
Here are some tips that have worked for me.
Growing up, I lived in a fairly old (I’m assuming), kinda weirdly laid out house. It had it’s usual sort of symphony you find in places like this, creaking of the wood expanding and depressing, rumbly pipes when in use, that sort of thing. However, from time to time, we’d hear or see something a little more dubious: footsteps up and down a hallway or a figure lingering at the corner of your eye. My whole family has various creepy stories that came from that house. Nothing exceptionally aggressive or crazy, just creepy stuff. Very subtle things.