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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 65 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Horror Game Concept  (Read 352 times)
Blaise
Registree

Posts: 1


« on: March 31, 2010, 04:25:21 AM »

Ahoy-hoy, all!

I'm Blaise (as you guys don't seem to like handles generally), and I've got a concept for a horror game that I would like to run by the good people here. It's not fleshed out at the moment, but what I thought I'd do is set out some goals and parameters for the game, if that's alright.

Firstly, this is a horror game, so this game is going to be all about fear, running from a little fluttering nervousness, to heart-in-your-throat terror, to your brain just giving up and going "No! No! I cannot handle this situation anymore!". I wanted to give an interesting (if not necessarily realistic, per se, I'm no psychologist) representation of fear in the mechanics in the game, but more on the (hypothetical) crunch later.

Secondly, but leading from the first point, I wanted this game to be about reason vs. instinct, in a sense that when the chips are down, most people aren't thinking in crazy situations, but are just running on pure base programming. Only people who have been particularly trained to handle stressful situations can really deal with them, and generally only in the situations they're familiar to.

Finally, I wanted this to be a game that's as much about reaction as it is action. The protagonists I'm imagining are going to generally be pretty normal people in over their head, whether the threats or obstacles are mundane or supernatural. I wanted conflict to be slightly chaotic, with things like gathering your nerves and taking in your surroundings or even just catching your breath as vitally important; but when the chips are down, you should be declaring your actions quickly.

Ok, now for a few  thoughts on mechanics. These are all rough ideas and concepts, so I would really appreciate some help molding these into something a little more concrete and playable

The game is going to be d6 pool based at the moment, because it's reasonably simple, while at the same time being granular. You've all seen this before - throw a bunch of dice, 1-3 is a failure, 4-6 is a success, count up the successes.

I'd like the main attribute for each character to be two sliding scales of Reason and Instinct. Reason is what you use when situations call for rational thought, Instinct is what you use for gut, base reactions. As one rises, the other falls, and these are your base pools for rolls.

The main thing that affects these scores are what I'm calling Comfort Zones - the further you are away from what you're comfortable with, the more your emotions are overcoming your rationale, so the scales slide towards Instinct. While I think there can be a few universal comfort zones, people also have their own personal ones, which help flesh out your character. For example, your private detective has a further Comfort Zone of Armed; he's nervous unless he's packing.

I'm also thinking about something I'm calling Trigger Points. Trigger Points are things like being in pain, or a phobia you have, or even being shocked by something unexpected. I'm thinking of two ways of running this:

1) My first thought is riffing a bit of Mouse Guard. Trigger points make a situation more intimidating, and harder to overcome (in MG terms, it pushes it up the Natural Order). While it's not impossible to defeat obstacles that set off your Trigger Points, it does mean there's a greater cost to it, such as taking extra damage or long-term penalties, or maybe just driving the horrible creature off instead of killing it). I quite like this, because if we put Pain (or Injury) as a universal trigger point, it also encompasses a sort of health system without needing a separate one.

2) The other idea I had is that Trigger Points set off predetermined actions, chosen at the very beginning of the game. Now, this adds a bit of chaos into the mix as you don't know the situation you're going to be Triggered by. The more Triggers in a situation, the greater the reaction (so an Arachnophobe having a bunch of spiders unexpectedly being dumped on their head is going to have a greater reaction than other people would have). I like this one because it adds in the element of chaos and unexpected reaction that really gives a feeling of fear, however I'm a little concerned it will make things a little goofy.

Finally, I'm thinking Disciplines are going to be like skills, but they also allow someone to perform their actions in situations that would normally be too stressful to accomplish (for examples, fishermen hauling their nets up in a torrential storm would be impossible, were it not for their Discipline).

Well, these are the very loose ideas that I've had for this game. Please be gentle, and these ideas are pretty elastic at the moment, and I've barely put pen to paper, so feel free to make all the suggestions you want.
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Locke
Member

Posts: 85


« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 12:24:05 PM »

you know whats horrifying to me?

Playing DnD 3.5 with 1st level characters.  Everything is a danger to you.  Everything.  You run from the city guards and jump into sardine laden barrels in alleys to escape.  And quite often get knocked unconscious with you buddies left trying to save your life.

From a mechanical standpoint its pretty easy to do what you want.  I think this is a more content based idea.  Starve the players, give them like a crowbar, a club and a revolver with 4 bullets as starting weapons.  Leave skills out like firearms and melee.  Maybe make those expensive feats.  One character might have a black belt in martial arts, but is FAR from bruce lee.  Characters should have niche's, maybe real life experience that could help them.  Maybe one guy is a cop and another is a chemist and another is a punk kid.  Each has something to offer.  Fire arms skill, can make bombs, can sneak around and know short cuts...

It could be a d20 module.
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Check out my game Age Past, unique rolling system, in Beta now.  Tell me what you think!
https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B-7APna9ZhHEZmRhNmFmODktOTgxNy00NDllLTk0MjgtMjI4YzJlN2MyNmEw&hl=en

Thanks!
Jeff Mechlinski
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