View Full Version : [3.5] Need advice to make a spooky adventure/campaign

2009-02-26, 05:27 PM
My group is currently playing a cityscape adventure, and I thought to turn it more into a horror adventure with more stuff from Heroes of Horror. So that's why I'm asking here for help.
I'm new to DMing horror adventures so I'd appreciate some advice from the more experienced DMs and players alike.

Also, I'd like to incorporate taint into the game, but I don't know much about it except the effects and taint points etc. I don't know when's a good time to tell the player to Save vs Depravity/Corruption.

Any advice is welcome. Thanks in advance :smallbiggrin:

2009-02-26, 05:34 PM
You could try to modify the ambience of the room - turn down the lights etc.

Dancing lights can be used to create a figure of light. If it is attacked, it can't be destroyed. It isn't an illusion, so it can't be disbelieved. You could trick your players into thinking it's an apparition of some sort, which is seemingly immune to all their attacks.

2009-02-26, 05:53 PM
lots of encounters where a large part of the encounter is waiting for attack. Make them always fear attack around the next corner, and from behind, and from the roof, and from the wall. And make the attacks carry disease that will be dangerous to the players even if they easily kill the bearer of the disease

Ricky S
2009-02-26, 07:10 PM
Play at night only. Have descriptions of noises or make everyone take a reflex save but only for bats then have them be attacked. Do not allow them heaps of curing items, and play enough that they are out of spells then throw some bad guys at them. The setting is really important here. Watch a couple of horror movies. Underworld rise of the lycans while not a great movie had a fantastic dark theme to it. I can remember sitting in the movie theatre thinking how awesome it would be to use the moonlight, the bent old trees and howls at night. Have them have to infiltrate a large derelict castle owned by a vampire. Or have them stumble across an underground city which the previous inhabitants are wandering around now dead and they fall through a floor or something so they have to go though the city. A small village in the far north away from civilization, where an unknown animal is attacking the people. Just use the right setting and it will be easy to create a spooky feel. Also any spooky music would help just get a couple of songs and put them on loop... Hope this helps

2009-02-26, 07:17 PM
Never come out and actually tell them what is going on. Don't let them know what they are fighting. Don't call a vampire a vampire, don't say a ghoul is a ghoul. Direct confrontations are to be avoided - you want ambushes when the group splits up or thinks they are safe. Hell, you want ambushes when they are at the inn and going to their rooms for quick brutality and paranoia. You can camp out in the wild and stand guard. Things get odder in towns and big cities. Ambushes while shopping. Friends or NPCs attacked, etc. Time limits, hostage situations, sudden surprises - a figure covered in blood and gibbering lurching from some side corridor is the survivor of a few revelers attacked by something in the darkness, etc, but when the party goes to investigate all they find is bloodstains. Keep them off balance.

2009-02-27, 05:02 AM
I agree with those who have said that description is key. Pay a lot of attention to details, especially minor ones that have no real consequence. For example, instead of "You enter a room," you can have "A soft, repetitive thudding noise comes from beneath the door. You can see some movement from the play of shadow and light coming from beneath the door, but cannot make out what it is. <PCs enter>. You see a small figure, only about the size of a child, standing close to the wall. The figure would seem normal, except that it is completely hairless, and its skin is covered with pins. The thudding sound comes from a "game" that this creature has been playing with a hunk of large meat that has been hanging from the ceiling; the repetitive impact of the meat has left a bloody, sopping mess on the stone wall. The creature stops playing and turns to see you. The hunk of meet turns slowly on the chain it hangs from, and you can just barely make out what may have been eyes, peeking out of swollen sockets; a smashed nose; and a burst-lipped mouth that lolls open to expose a bruised tongue and toothless gums."

Other things you could do:
-Make the PCs feel trapped. I don't mean railroaded, but they should be aware that their options will be far more limited.
-The PCs should feel alone. Nobody can or will help them no matter what they do.
-Setting, setting, setting. I've never been a fan of dank old dungeons, but even dank old dungeons could be modified with a bit of interior decoration to make them much more horrifying. Maybe despite the age of the dungeon, the PCs could stumble onto an obviously recently-used and well-furnished dining room. All the silverware is much sharper than normal, and the plates that seem to have been left in the middle of a meal hold nothing but thick, fetid blood and bits of unidentifiable meat.

Sorry for the wall of text. Heroes of Horror has a long list of creepy effects you could use. I also recommend taking a look at some premade adventures. The adventure Hell's Heart from the Eberron campaign setting is available on the WOTC website, just look around in the search engines. It's my only experience with the horror fantasy style, but I think it does the job pretty well.

2009-02-27, 06:17 AM
Ravenloft. stop.

(to expand: the campaign setting for 2E had an entire chapter on setting mood for horror games)

2009-02-27, 05:06 PM
Ask for Move Silently checks and the like, roll like 5 times behind your screen, then smile and say "Okay! You may continue."

2009-02-27, 07:05 PM
Sweet advices, thanks guys.

But I still need help with taint. In what situations should I make them save against it. Also, which situations add corruption points and which add depravity?