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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    So here's the deal. The world ends. Either it's a meteorite, or a supernatural event, nuclear strikes, or whatnot. Either way, 99% of the population is dead, wiped out, and society has broken to pieces. The supply lines are gone, the industry is gone, and majority of arable land is destroyed. The climate has turned for the worst, and now the human race is huddled into shattered ruins, trying to stave off the biting chill, as they slowly run out of canned beans.


    And then a miracle happens. A building appears, a really huge and tall one, right in the middle of a city. The building has nearly anything in it, ranging from shopping malls, to restaurants, to eateries, cafeterias, hardware stores, walk in pharmacies, 5 star michelin restaurants, grocery stores, ikea, movie theaters... all the little **** from the pre-disaster world that you wish for when you're slowly starving to death. There's even a whole set of apartments there. And of course, an elevator to take you from nearly anywhere. The power doesn't run out, there's a constant supply of food and water, all supplies are magically replaced and maintained, and all damage regenerates and regrows. And what's more, there are mysterious, incredible artifacts. Artifacts with magical powers in it depths.


    Why is this horror? Because the apartment is filled to the brim with monsters, supernatural phenomena, and everything else. The food, the medicine, the beds? They're all real. Nothing bad will happen as a result of eating there. The problem is that from time to time, monsters wander the corridoors trying to eat you. There are supernatural phenomena where if you do something wrong or if you step on the wrong place or if you break some unknown rule you die. If you live in one of those apartments, things will try and trick you into opening the door for them (they never try to break in). The elevator, if you press the wrong button, might send you to hell if you're lucky. And worst of all, from time to time the building shakes and re-organises itself, so you have to continuous explore through its depths to get to the supplies of food, medicine, and clothing.

    Lots of people die, when they touch something that they're not supposed to touch. But people keep on coming, because the alternative is a horrible deserted wasteland where it's hard to grow food, there's no electricity, no running water.

    And oh yeah, there are people in the apartment. Someone's been leaving helpful notes that automatically translate into whatever native language you have when you read them. Strange people from beyond time and space or alternate worlds that have been exploring this place and trying to leave. Some of them are normal. Others are from alternate histories. A few are animal people. All are in the dark like you.

    So questions!

    1. How bad should outside conditions be? I want there to be a good incentive to enter the apartment, and a good argument to be made to actually live in there (there's running water, lights, heating, and it's basically a high end hotel). And yet I don't want *everyone* to enter the place.

    2. How dangerous should it be? Should there be safe zones where you can reasonably stay with no fear of a horrific death, or should stepping into the apartment be something you do after writing a Will?

    3. How crazy should the stuff inside be? How powerful should the magical artifacts be? Should I include in machine shops and cars?

    4. How sentient should I make the inhabitants. Yes, horrific, dangerous, terrible. But how sentient? Should they be animalistic, strange, and more like fair folk? Or should I have them actually have conversations with the explorers?

    5. Should there be timey wimey wibbly wobbly? So far I have most travel be done by the 'elevators', with a few exploration being done via staircases and walking the corridoors. Should the elevator be able to set up stable time loops?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    So here's the deal. The world ends. Either it's a meteorite, or a supernatural event, nuclear strikes, or whatnot. Either way, 99% of the population is dead, wiped out, and society has broken to pieces. The supply lines are gone, the industry is gone, and majority of arable land is destroyed. The climate has turned for the worst, and now the human race is huddled into shattered ruins, trying to stave off the biting chill, as they slowly run out of canned beans.


    And then a miracle happens. A building appears, a really huge and tall one, right in the middle of a city. The building has nearly anything in it, ranging from shopping malls, to restaurants, to eateries, cafeterias, hardware stores, walk in pharmacies, 5 star michelin restaurants, grocery stores, ikea, movie theaters... all the little **** from the pre-disaster world that you wish for when you're slowly starving to death. There's even a whole set of apartments there. And of course, an elevator to take you from nearly anywhere. The power doesn't run out, there's a constant supply of food and water, all supplies are magically replaced and maintained, and all damage regenerates and regrows. And what's more, there are mysterious, incredible artifacts. Artifacts with magical powers in it depths.


    Why is this horror? Because the apartment is filled to the brim with monsters, supernatural phenomena, and everything else. The food, the medicine, the beds? They're all real. Nothing bad will happen as a result of eating there. The problem is that from time to time, monsters wander the corridoors trying to eat you. There are supernatural phenomena where if you do something wrong or if you step on the wrong place or if you break some unknown rule you die. If you live in one of those apartments, things will try and trick you into opening the door for them (they never try to break in). The elevator, if you press the wrong button, might send you to hell if you're lucky. And worst of all, from time to time the building shakes and re-organises itself, so you have to continuous explore through its depths to get to the supplies of food, medicine, and clothing.

    Lots of people die, when they touch something that they're not supposed to touch. But people keep on coming, because the alternative is a horrible deserted wasteland where it's hard to grow food, there's no electricity, no running water.

    And oh yeah, there are people in the apartment. Someone's been leaving helpful notes that automatically translate into whatever native language you have when you read them. Strange people from beyond time and space or alternate worlds that have been exploring this place and trying to leave. Some of them are normal. Others are from alternate histories. A few are animal people. All are in the dark like you.

    So questions!

    1. How bad should outside conditions be? I want there to be a good incentive to enter the apartment, and a good argument to be made to actually live in there (there's running water, lights, heating, and it's basically a high end hotel). And yet I don't want *everyone* to enter the place.

    2. How dangerous should it be? Should there be safe zones where you can reasonably stay with no fear of a horrific death, or should stepping into the apartment be something you do after writing a Will?

    3. How crazy should the stuff inside be? How powerful should the magical artifacts be? Should I include in machine shops and cars?

    4. How sentient should I make the inhabitants. Yes, horrific, dangerous, terrible. But how sentient? Should they be animalistic, strange, and more like fair folk? Or should I have them actually have conversations with the explorers?

    5. Should there be timey wimey wibbly wobbly? So far I have most travel be done by the 'elevators', with a few exploration being done via staircases and walking the corridoors. Should the elevator be able to set up stable time loops?
    Just my opinions:

    1. Outside should be less dangerous but more deprivating than inside. Like "No food, water or shelter but also few threats." Severe drought would be one approach, or the opposite it floodingly rains all the time.

    2. The former I would imagine, as otherwise people would avoid it regardless. Hanging out where there is food and shelter but also dangerous threats seems like a good payoff. Also if it is too awful in both places the players will lose interest. There has to be a win option.

    3. Pick 1 or two themes and go from there. Like Bioshock was drugs + Art Deco, or the Shining is Isolation and Regret. This also informs choice four. A good one with how you have it set up is Choice, since you choose to go into the trap. So then you need to theme the monsters as something that offers choices.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Just my opinions:

    1. Outside should be less dangerous but more deprivating than inside. Like "No food, water or shelter but also few threats." Severe drought would be one approach, or the opposite it floodingly rains all the time.

    2. The former I would imagine, as otherwise people would avoid it regardless. Hanging out where there is food and shelter but also dangerous threats seems like a good payoff. Also if it is too awful in both places the players will lose interest. There has to be a win option.

    3. Pick 1 or two themes and go from there. Like Bioshock was drugs + Art Deco, or the Shining is Isolation and Regret. This also informs choice four. A good one with how you have it set up is Choice, since you choose to go into the trap. So then you need to theme the monsters as something that offers choices.
    1. Outside should be less dangerous but more deprivating than inside. Like "No food, water or shelter but also few threats." Severe drought would be one approach, or the opposite it floodingly rains all the time.
    How about this? Damnable cold. The predictions on global warming were wrong. It's the cold people are worried about. Even summers are overcast and can have a cold chill biting through. Strong winds kill crops and the hard ground is hard to dig, even when you factor in the lack of power tools. People enter the place because its warm and dry and so goddamned bright, even if the monsters kill you.

    2. The former I would imagine, as otherwise people would avoid it regardless. Hanging out where there is food and shelter but also dangerous threats seems like a good payoff. Also if it is too awful in both places the players will lose interest. There has to be a win option.
    Fine then. How about a few stable areas. Or better. Since this is for an rpg, that means I can just set the entire place as 'yeah, before everything is explored'. There's a few areas already mapped out, several stable areas like the apartment areas and the elevator and the few places near the entrance. But still it's very dangerous and walking into a place no one's explored yet can get you horribly killed.

    So then you need to theme the monsters as something that offers choices
    How about 'desperation'?

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Desperation as a theme for a monster is great!

    What about a momster that eats resources, or rots them away. You could have the monsters be the ones rearranging the building. Either way, it would be very easy to set up a "put yourself in danger and possibly die, or lose progress on keeping yourself alive." That way, there is incentive to ration rest time.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    How about this? Damnable cold. The predictions on global warming were wrong. It's the cold people are worried about. Even summers are overcast and can have a cold chill biting through. Strong winds kill crops and the hard ground is hard to dig, even when you factor in the lack of power tools. People enter the place because its warm and dry and so goddamned bright, even if the monsters kill you.


    Fine then. How about a few stable areas. Or better. Since this is for an rpg, that means I can just set the entire place as 'yeah, before everything is explored'. There's a few areas already mapped out, several stable areas like the apartment areas and the elevator and the few places near the entrance. But still it's very dangerous and walking into a place no one's explored yet can get you horribly killed.


    How about 'desperation'?
    That seems perfect. There is a town inside an old hotel in Alaska called Whittier that seems like it would fit well if you are looking for physical inspiration.
    "Whittier is one of the most unusual places in America. The city was a secret World War II substation, and the only way in or out of the city is through a 2.5-mile tunnel. Almost anyone who doesn't live in the tower lives in a smaller condominium complex on the town's east side."

    Seems good. Even in horror movies there are "safe" spots (usually the common room) where nothing bad happens. You can always change it up so nothing will attack anywhere there are two people at a time, then have reasons people constantly need to split up as well.

    The other reason I think it is good to have safe zones is because it ratchets tension. Horror as opposed to action requires a lot of anticipation for a short payoff. Cabin in the Woods is spookiest when they are walking around talking and waiting, and least spooky when there are just hordes of monsters for instance.

    That works!

    There are, as always, just my opinion and you are free to discard them as you wish.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Telamachus View Post
    Desperation as a theme for a monster is great!

    What about a momster that eats resources, or rots them away. You could have the monsters be the ones rearranging the building. Either way, it would be very easy to set up a "put yourself in danger and possibly die, or lose progress on keeping yourself alive." That way, there is incentive to ration rest time.
    Define 'eats resources'.

    I think that it's not just the monsters that exemplify 'desperation'. I think they're part of the scenery, not the ones in charge. The 'desperation' part is 'what kind of horrible situation where people will go into a haunted apartment'? Well, the end of the world.

    Your kid is dying, because he ate bad food and they're getting sicker and sicker by the day. You're the parent. He's all you have left. No one has the medicine. The route to the pharmacy is right over there. You know how to get there. So you, as someone who has near zero combat training, almost no weapons, and no backup, has to go to the pharmacy, get the medicine you need, and avoid getting killed by the monsters there. If you go too fast you might die and your kid will be alone forever. If you go too slow your kid dies and the journey would be for nothing. Time is not your friend.

    You're sick of this. You used to live in a nice apartment, before the world ended. You hate it, you hate the cold, you hate ****ting inside a pit, you hate the lack of cooked food, and everything else that comes from living in a refugee camp. So you enter the building, and live in one of the Apartments. The place is safe, brightly lit, warm... and you even have fresh food. Now all you have to do is survive the various monsters that are trying to murder you.

    You ****ed up somehow and you have a debt to repay. Your job? To enter the depths of the building to map it out/ find someone/ fight something, and they don't quite care whether you live or die. You can't fight them, because you'll be stabbed to death. You can't run because... where would you go? It's a wasteland out there, and the only place to run is even deeper into this cursed building.

    Your kids used to go to school, but now that the world's blown up, they can't go anymore. So now that the food supply has been somewhat stabilized and there are tents going up, you decide to start in their eduation. They at least need to read and write and know scientific theory. Problem. No one wants to go in to grab a few education books and risk their lives. So you got yourself. For the kids, eh?

    There should be mechanics where you can take risks with a chance for an even greater reward. Go faster. Go explore that room. Poke around that room for treasure. Go to that address you saw on that card. Try and explore deserted places for treasure that no one's seen yet. And then sometimes you **** up. A monster tries to grab you, or does grab you. You lose SAN points. You get lost, and spend the rest of your days running the corridoors. You walk into a room and get jumped. You break some esoteric rule no one's thought of and die horribly or get mangled. And sometimes, you catch a break.A big break. Just enough to make you have another go.

    The entire place is pretty ****, what with the destruction of society, hunger, the cold, the trauma from losing 99% of your social circle, and everything. And the warmest, nicest, most comfortable place is a place crawling with monsters.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    1. How bad should outside conditions be? I want there to be a good incentive to enter the apartment, and a good argument to be made to actually live in there (there's running water, lights, heating, and it's basically a high end hotel). And yet I don't want *everyone* to enter the place.
    I think the best angle for this would be to focus on comfort.
    Outside, you can live, but in extreme poverty. You don't have running water or electricity, your house will demand constant maintenance, there isn't much to do, but your survival is pretty much guaranteed.
    I feel like the less necessary it is to enter, the more meaningful it will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    2. How dangerous should it be? Should there be safe zones where you can reasonably stay with no fear of a horrific death, or should stepping into the apartment be something you do after writing a Will?
    I think there should be zones which are mostly safe, and that it should be a very dangerous place, but the dangers there are things that are easy to deny. "Oh, it's just a weird rumor, you shouldn't believe everything you hear", "not all of those who haven't contacted us are dead, that's ridiculous, some just forgot about their old friends", etc. People could tell themselves all sorts of things just to avoid facing the fact that they are willing to risk their life for some comforts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    3. How crazy should the stuff inside be? How powerful should the magical artifacts be? Should I include in machine shops and cars?
    I'd say that the more spoiled a visitor becomes, the greater the risks and rewards. Going to the grocery store is almost safe, going to the fanciest restaurant is suicidal.
    Cars are not a fitting mode of transportation inside a building, so I'm against those.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    4. How sentient should I make the inhabitants. Yes, horrific, dangerous, terrible. But how sentient? Should they be animalistic, strange, and more like fair folk? Or should I have them actually have conversations with the explorers?
    You gave the example of them trying to trick someone into letting them into their apartment, that sounds pretty sentient to me. It would also be easier if they would look human, at least from a certain angle. Could be some sort of travelling salesman, he offers candy, and if you try his candies and let him into your house, he'll force feed you until your stomach explodes.

    I like the angle of fair folk. To decide on what they are, I think you should ask yourself what is the purpose of that building and who brought it. At it's nature, it looks like a place of temptation and doom, which sounds like hell and demons.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    5. Should there be timey wimey wibbly wobbly? So far I have most travel be done by the 'elevators', with a few exploration being done via staircases and walking the corridoors. Should the elevator be able to set up stable time loops?
    I don't think it will add anything, just complicate matters.
    A world behind the mirror (stand alone plane)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by akma View Post
    I think the best angle for this would be to focus on comfort.
    Outside, you can live, but in extreme poverty. You don't have running water or electricity, your house will demand constant maintenance, there isn't much to do, but your survival is pretty much guaranteed.
    I feel like the less necessary it is to enter, the more meaningful it will be.

    I think there should be zones which are mostly safe, and that it should be a very dangerous place, but the dangers there are things that are easy to deny. "Oh, it's just a weird rumor, you shouldn't believe everything you hear", "not all of those who haven't contacted us are dead, that's ridiculous, some just forgot about their old friends", etc. People could tell themselves all sorts of things just to avoid facing the fact that they are willing to risk their life for some comforts.

    I'd say that the more spoiled a visitor becomes, the greater the risks and rewards. Going to the grocery store is almost safe, going to the fanciest restaurant is suicidal.
    Cars are not a fitting mode of transportation inside a building, so I'm against those.

    You gave the example of them trying to trick someone into letting them into their apartment, that sounds pretty sentient to me. It would also be easier if they would look human, at least from a certain angle. Could be some sort of travelling salesman, he offers candy, and if you try his candies and let him into your house, he'll force feed you until your stomach explodes.
    I'd say that the more spoiled a visitor becomes, the greater the risks and rewards. Going to the grocery store is almost safe, going to the fanciest restaurant is suicidal.
    Cars are not a fitting mode of transportation inside a building, so I'm against those.
    You know something? I got an idea.

    How about this. The cheap and easy stuff? It's much easier to find. You want a comfy apartment? Turn to the left? You want a hearty meal of meatballs, baked potatoes, spaghetti, and sauce, turn to the right. After months of sleeping on cold hard ground, fighting over the last can of beans, shivering in thin bare blankets, and digging through ruins to find food... life in the easier parts of the Apartment is like heaven. The place even has free wi-fi. Of course, there's also the mall and the pharmacies. You want insulin, or that antibiotics? Sure, right this way. Mountain bikes are that way. And here are the waterproof tents. In case you want to camp outside.

    But life outside is still ****. And if you want something that's actually useful and strong, you gotta go *deeper*. You want car parts and machine tools to repair your car so that you can explore the destroyed wastelands? Go Deeper. You want fuel, oil refinining technology, and all the other prerequisites for it? Go deeper. You want to start up your own greenhouse so you no longer have to depend on the Apartment to give you food and shelter? Go deeper, where the monsters are. Wanna buy a potted plant? Easy. Wanna get enough fertilizer to start replanting in the Outside World? Better start getting a cart and hope your tombstone doesn't say 'died carrying ****'.

    The trap of the Apartment is such that it's just so easy to get stuck in place, living on the food from the cafeteria and lower tier restaurants. You're living in a middle class hostel room when the outside temperature barely rises above 23 degrees celsius, with free hot food to boot when everyone else is starving. It's time to relax. And don't bother with terraforming or rebuilding farming equipment, because it's so dangerous and boring. Just... stay here. And don't do anything else.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    How about a stairwell like in the Escher painting? Some floos you can only access by jumping or crawling from stair to stair.

    Some stairways can be normal while others can require many flights of steps to go one floor or be one way,or lead only to a monster's lair.

    The penthouse is a dreamhouse with hot and cold running servants. The only problem is, as the butler informs you, you cannot leave and as soon as another newcomer arrives you become a member of the staff serving hir.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    1. How bad should outside conditions be?
    Unless part of the game takes place in the outside world, a generic "bad" should suffice. Maybe it's utterly terrible, and the only reason that the whole population of the earth hasn't poured in is that the apartment building is hard to find. Maybe it doesn't matter, because the players can't leave - what used to be the door to outside now just leads to more apartment. Maybe the players don't know, as months or years have passed since they entered. Maybe it varies, because there's more then one "outside" as the apartment bridges dimensions.

    2. How dangerous should it be?
    1. How much player mortality do you want to see? Is this going to be one of those "bring a stack of character sheets" games, or will players carry the same character through an ongoing long-lasting campaign?

    2. How much danger can your characters survive? Are they going to be the equivalent of high-level 3e DnD characters, with a ton of hitpoints and a grab-bag of broken abilities - or are they squishy, like 1st-level wizards? Do you characters need safe zones to rest and recharge, or can they sustain themselves indefinitely under threat by e.g. sleeping in shifts?

    Once you've answered those questions, the answer you are looking for should be pretty easy to find.

    3. How crazy should the stuff inside be?
    Super-crazy on the creepy/dangerous/disturbing scale, medium to low crazy on the incongruous/wacky/rando scale, and low crazy on the broken/monostrategy/powerful scale.

    I recommend looking at the SCP wiki for inspiration.

    4. How sentient should I make the inhabitants?
    Why not both? Uncertainty is a key element of a good horror game. Not knowing how sentient a given monster is means that they don't know what that monsters capabilities are, which makes it all the more frightening. It also gives players another thing about the monsters to figure out, which is a challenge that many players enjoy. It also gives the game more variety. There's a lot of reasons to have a variety of levels of sentience, and no reason that I can see to focus on just one.

    5. Should there be timey wimey wibbly wobbly?
    Eh, maybe - but stable time loops are a very easy thing for players to break, intentionally or unintentionally, and then you've got a paradox on your hands.

    That's something that you could design around. Say, for example, you could establish that time loops happen and that Very Bad Things happen if they are broken so that players need to work to maintain the integrity of time loops that the notice. However, if you choose to include the possibility of time loops in your game, this will likely turn out to be something that you need to design around.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    This makes me think. There should be several stats, especially for stats including fighting skills, skills in stealth, skills in perception and breaking locks, and of course, being able to run away.

    There should also be SAN mechanics, and mechanics to indicate mental and physical weariness and stress. There should be mechanics where the longer and longer you stay outside of a safe zone, the more tired and weary and the more you get a penalty. And then there's a mechanic where you can just run through places, or 'rush', but such a thing makes it more likely you'll make a mistake or get jumped. Which means that you must choose between getting tired now when you're trying to explore the deeper depths or you try to conserve your energy and get killed.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Regarding the restaurants, pharamcies, and other things that we might expect to be staffed, my thoughts keep coming back to the hotel from The Shining, where the ghostly bartender and his cronies wanted Jack to kill people
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    Regarding the restaurants, pharamcies, and other things that we might expect to be staffed, my thoughts keep coming back to the hotel from The Shining, where the ghostly bartender and his cronies wanted Jack to kill people
    Question.

    Can this be automated or at least be not too difficult to use by themselves? Like maybe the equivalent of a buffet table or a walk in vending machine.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Question.

    Can this be automated or at least be not too difficult to use by themselves? Like maybe the equivalent of a buffet table or a walk in vending machine.
    I guess maybe the vending machine could take body parts instead of coins or something
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  15. - Top - End - #15
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    I guess maybe the vending machine could take body parts instead of coins or something
    Sounds gross man.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    The trap of the Apartment is such that it's just so easy to get stuck in place, living on the food from the cafeteria and lower tier restaurants. You're living in a middle class hostel room when the outside temperature barely rises above 23 degrees celsius, with free hot food to boot when everyone else is starving. It's time to relax. And don't bother with terraforming or rebuilding farming equipment, because it's so dangerous and boring. Just... stay here. And don't do anything else.
    I'd say that even in the safe places, there are dangers. No matter where you are, things get more and more dangerous as time goes on, the dangers learn about you and target you.
    It is an inevitable death trap, unless you leave - and for that, you'll have to give up all the comforts you've grown accustomed to, so people stay until it's too late.
    Stuff in there that encourage you to go out defeats a bit the purpose of the building as a seductive destructive place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    There should also be SAN mechanics, and mechanics to indicate mental and physical weariness and stress.
    I would combine the two, as the effects of running out of both would play out in a very similar way. Sanity damage could decrease your maximal energy.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Perhaps death is preferable to becoming one of the monsters.

    The allure of the place may not be survival or comfort. These may draw in folk from the outside, but what is stopping anyone from entering, grabbing a wheelbarrow full of stuff, and going home? There has to be a reason people stay.

    I suggest the idea that they could become the owner or controller of the place, or at least believe so, might cause some to stay.
    'Find the control center and take the place of the current manager and you can use the wealth of the building to save (and rule over) everyone.'

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Perhaps death is preferable to becoming one of the monsters.

    The allure of the place may not be survival or comfort. These may draw in folk from the outside, but what is stopping anyone from entering, grabbing a wheelbarrow full of stuff, and going home? There has to be a reason people stay.

    I suggest the idea that they could become the owner or controller of the place, or at least believe so, might cause some to stay.
    'Find the control center and take the place of the current manager and you can use the wealth of the building to save (and rule over) everyone.'
    Question. Isn't it pretty ****ty being outside?

    Imagine this. It never rises above 'warm winter day' temperature. Crops barely grow on the ground. There's no infrastructure that hasn't been shot to hell and back.

    Yes. You can cart things out. Then what? You've got no running water. No heating. No lighting, unless you're ready to grab a solar panel.

    Not unless you grab specialised camping equipment.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Some elements that would fit right in would be monsters that look and act like normal residents most of the time, residents who've gone native and act like monsters, and 'monsters' who're relatively harmless unless bothered.

    Perhaps some monsters are there for the same basic reasons as everyone else, it's comfortable and has plenty to eat, but they have some kind of inherent aversion to humans that makes it unsafe to meet them face to face. A situation where some residents only come out when everyone else is asleep, or only talk over the phone, or have a particular schedule that everyone else is expected to accomodate for in the name of mutual safety.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    Question. Isn't it pretty ****ty being outside?

    Imagine this. It never rises above 'warm winter day' temperature. Crops barely grow on the ground. There's no infrastructure that hasn't been shot to hell and back.

    Yes. You can cart things out. Then what? You've got no running water. No heating. No lighting, unless you're ready to grab a solar panel.

    Not unless you grab specialised camping equipment.
    Several real world cultures live this way on Earth today. Heck, there is even a TV show about people doing this in Alaska. People get used to bad conditions once a means of survival is achieved.

    I personally would take a chance on a fast grab but would not spend the night if doing so increased the odds of running into deadly monsters. I certainly would not want my kids in there.

    Food and shelter may be a reason to go in and even to return, but what is it that makes me want to stay? One way entry doors? How did I hear about the food if no one ever gets out?

  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Accelerator View Post
    And yet I don't want *everyone* to enter the place.
    What if it moved around. Like disappeared and reappeared in different places. You did say it appears suddenly
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Several real world cultures live this way on Earth today. Heck, there is even a TV show about people doing this in Alaska. People get used to bad conditions once a means of survival is achieved.

    I personally would take a chance on a fast grab but would not spend the night if doing so increased the odds of running into deadly monsters. I certainly would not want my kids in there.

    Food and shelter may be a reason to go in and even to return, but what is it that makes me want to stay? One way entry doors? How did I hear about the food if no one ever gets out?
    You're right.

    Maybe I can put my hands on the scales for a bit. Maybe put them into a very wealthy western country. So much so that they're willing to go a bit risky if it gets them something very comfortable.

    Or maybe they're slightly insane, like the holes of Junji Ito. Something about the apartment just... draws them in. That doesn't mean they're dangerous, but its unsettling.

    Or the situation outside is bad enough such that living outside exposed to the elements is pretty dangerous. Post-apocalypse dangerous.

    Or maybe those people are just psychologically different. Maybe they just want to get inside, very comfortable, in the only urban area they know.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    What about it being flat out impossible to leave for most people once they decide to stay?

    Say new arrivals get given the choice of staying or just visiting, visitors can look around for a few hours and get ejected in the evening. Those who choose to stay get given a key to an apartment by the/a concierge, but once you've been given the key and slept in the building you can't leave until your key is handed in to the manager, sort of like the food of the underworld in old myths.

    The manager is of course insanely hard to find and dangerous to reach, and often absent from the building or checking in on things in remote areas within the building. Finding them can mean trailing through the behind the scenes parts of the building, through maintenance rooms, kitchens, air ducts and so on, all of which are stalked by the staff, some of whom are monsters, some of whom aren't.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    An element to its horror could be uncertainty if you can leave.

    New people arrive, but maybe not all of them are real people. People leave, but maybe they don't actually make it out. And, if you leave, did you really leave the building, or just enter a room that looks like the wastelands?
    To add to this uncertainty, have some rooms look like illusions of other places. Sometimes you think you are entering a hallway between rooms, and you enter something looking like the wasteland. Search long enough and you (if lucky) find your way back to the more mall-like spaces.

    Mix in the sentience and trickiness of the residents.
    For trying to get in your room, maybe they play to desires? An alluring woman offering pleasures to a young man. Someone saying they have drugs or booze to an addict. Or one example offered in an earlier post was someone searching in the Building for medicine for his kids, who are supposed to be safely outside the Building. Is it that his kids really did follow him in, and they are pleading for him to open the door, or is it residents pretending to be his children? When he found that emergency exit and got out to bring the meds to his kids, did he really reach them?

    Though some of that ultra-uncertainty might work better for a movie than a game where success should be quantifiable. Not sure how to make that work well in a game for PCs.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    I think comfort mixed with denial is the better approach for why people stay in the building.
    The harder it is to leave the building, the less meaningful it is that people are staying there. Some would leave quickly, maybe even most, but some would use any excuse to cling to their new found comfort.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Horror Apartment building worldbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by akma View Post
    I think comfort mixed with denial is the better approach for why people stay in the building.
    The harder it is to leave the building, the less meaningful it is that people are staying there. Some would leave quickly, maybe even most, but some would use any excuse to cling to their new found comfort.
    I think I can have it so that people who've gone slightly cuckoo can have some form of stability.

    For a moment inside the apartment they can pretend their family isn't dead, the world didn't end, and that if they walk a few paces, they can meet their children/ parents/ lovers.

    You know, instead of in a half frozen camp outside with the howling winds.

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