View Full Version : Tips for running a horror PbP?

2014-02-23, 08:06 PM
What the title says.
Most "Tips to run x game type" are geared towards real life play.
I'd like some for PbP exclusive, if you've got any.

2014-02-23, 08:26 PM
What the title says.
Most "Tips to run x game type" are geared towards real life play.
I'd like some for PbP exclusive, if you've got any.

2007 OotS Horror topic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35282).

2012 OotS Horror topic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259724).

The members here know their stuff.

Edit: forgot some of my tricks;

Use PMs to isolate the party with confusing information
Split the party, because it works wonders
include noise and music links
Use non-linear posting, shifting characters, scene, and mood unexpectedly
Use dream-scenes for confusion
Add completely random things to your scenes
Call for random Perception rolls

2014-02-24, 05:27 AM
2007 OotS Horror topic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35282).

2012 OotS Horror topic (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=259724).

Great stuff there :smallsmile:

include noise and music links

This works surprisingly well. Although sometimes music links can make it seem like the GM is forcing a mood on the scene, so I recommend caution with this and to always remember that "less is more"
If you have a sound mixer (I use this one. It's free and awesome in all possible ways:http://www.stefanisberg.com/mutant/Mixer_eng.html) it can do wonders. Instead of having the players roll for noticing that something is stalking them you can sneak in the low sound of footsteps or a deep growl.
In the first adventure I run with a group there were crows acting strange and showing up when things were getting bad. One player wanted to act stupidly brave and declared that he was going to leave the campfire and go out in the dark, mostly to see if something would happen. This was a really just fooling around from his part and I did not want to bring in the monsters this early in the game. But I told him, sure go ahead. He strolled out in the dark. And I started to add cawing’s. First low and few but then more and more and louder and louder. The rest of the players were begging him to go back and he looked more and more uneasy. Then I stopped all the sounds.
The entire group yelled: RUN! and he screamed: I RUN BAAAACK!
It was a good day

Averis Vol
2014-02-24, 06:40 AM
I love this stuff. I'm a horror junkie, so reading about all these twisted things, brings a huge grin to my face (Similar to the SilverClawShift campaign recap).

As to my personal experience, in the game I play on saturdays, we just got through this god awful misery filled forest. The first night we camped out just at the edge, and the entire night all we heard was the sound of the fire crackling, the wind rustling the grass, and the whistling of birds. The first two shifts went by, and the dm made absolutely sure to take his sweet ass time finding his correct sheet of notes on each shift; slowly thumbing through his papers in the dead quiet. The guards heard nothing, but our swordsage saw three birds sitting on a branch at the forest treeline.

With that being nothing out of the ordinary, he went to sleep, but as soon as he layed down, he felt something jab into his ribs, and when he pulled it out, he saw that it was a splintered humanoid jaw. This squicked us out, but we just wrote it off as an old battle in the area.

but then the third guard shift came.

on this guard our rather blind warlock was sitting by the fire prodding it, and out of nowhere the birds whistling stopped. Ten minutes later there was a man voiced, blood curdling scream (I have no idea how our DM made that noise but it made me jump and bang my knee on the underside of the table) and when we all looked to the forest, we saw that there were only two birds left on the branch, and both of them were decapitated.

now like white people in a horror movie (it's a joke, don't be offended) we all strap on our gear and split into three man groups to sweep the forest all S.W.A.T. style, and about 15 minutes in, me and my group came upon a small clearing pathed in a dark purple mist. Being the shining beacon of light my character is, I call to the other group, and fearlessly walk into the clearing to try and get a look at the amorphous shape inside.

looking back, I feel like I made a terrible mistake. We should have abandoned the quest and did something else.

When I walk through the initial veil of mist, it immediately disappears, and the shape takes the form of a massively scarred brownbear. This actually kind of relieved me, until it stood on its two hind legs and we heard the bird whistles again.

and then the bear started turning.

In two parts the bear turned, at first, only the creatures neck turned, rotating its head so we could see that it wasn't just a bear, it looked as if it had torn of the face off of a man and sowed it where its should have been. It had an impossibly large grin the spread ear to ear, having seemingly three times the teeth any normal creature should have, and a pair of human eyes that cut through the darkness of night and pulsed maniacally. And then it started whistling; the same sound that came from the birds. After all this, finally its body turned and it took a lumbering step forward, moving just close enough that we could see a dead man standing behind him that was missing his face, and where it should have been, was just a black void akin to that of outerspace.

Now, I said I was a horror junkie, and I am, but I do not take being scared well, and the image of this thing I had sent me into nope land. initiative was rolled, and a lucky crit ended the fight prematurely, and when this thing slumped down dead, it burst into a spray of maggots. We cut the game there for the night, and I can easily say that was by far the best DMing I've seen from that particular DM, and even though it creeped the living **** out of me, it was the best horror encounter I've ever played.

So, I ranted a bit, so to summarise I think the best things for a horror game are:
1) knowing your PC's fears. this doesn't work as well in PbP seeing as its a little impersonal, but prodding at them with little things to get a reaction can work pretty well.
2) Being vague. the less you tell them, the more their minds can wander with the possibilities.
3) intentionally jip them on knowledge. the further in the dark they are, the less they can speculate, and it increases the feeling of helplessness.