13 off-beat horror roleplaying games

These are 13 of several games recommended to us by Google Plus users this year and last, when we asked for oneshot recommendations for Halloween horror roleplaying. Not listed in any particular order. Enjoy!

(Miss your favorite? Let us know what, why and where in comments!)

  1. Dead of Night
    A rules light and fun horror movie genre emulation RPG. Easy to get started, the prep is just a couple of minutes and then you are up and running.

    Publisher says: Dead of Night is the roleplaying game of campfire tales, slasher movies and b-movie horror. It is a game of screaming victims, unstoppable killers and slavering monsters, where the horror movie clichés flow thicker than blood and the only victory is survival.

  2. Okult
    okult

    Okult. Photo from game interior by Wilhelm Person.

    When the characters return to Hometown they realize that they have repressed the memories of something. And that something has again cast its dark shadow over the town.

    Publisher says: Okult is a rules light GM-less horror storygame, best suited for three to four players. The players take the roles of people who are a little bit like themselves, returning to a town a little like the place where they themselves grew up.

  3. Ten Candles
    Publisher says: A storytelling game of tragic horror designed for one-shot sessions. It is played by the light of ten tea light candles which provide atmosphere, act as a countdown timer for the game, and allow you to literally burn your character sheet away as you play. Ten Candles is described as a «tragic horror» game rather than survival horror for one main reason: in Ten Candles there are no survivors.

  4. Cthulhu Dark

    ten_candles

    Ten Candles, photo from webpage.

    Highly narrative, simple rules, elegant execution. Allows you to tell stories where your descending sanity is the focus. You always succeed, but there are degrees of success. Simple combat system: If you fight something, you die.

    Publisher says: Cthulhu Dark is a rules-light system for Lovecraft roleplaying. The rules are fun and incredibly minimal: they fit on one sheet of paper. You don’t need a character sheet to play, so you can start playing after two minutes of prep.

  5. Fright Night 

    Publisher says: Fright Night is a lightweight, easy to learn and quick to play tabletop role-playing game intended to evoke the feel of b-movies, slasher flicks, horror films, and even dark comedies. The players take on the role of typical, everyday people that somehow cross paths with a variety of malevolent entities that they must either defeat, escape from, or contain.

    Or, die trying.

  6. Train, Hell, M1944

    trainhell

    Train, Hell M1944. Screenshot from game.

    Publisher says: This is a macabre scenario. It deals with themes of powerlessness, abuse and body horror. There is nothing fantastic in it. Its content is not pleasant and the outcome will, most likely, be unpleasant as well. Either that is your thing or it really isn’t.

    WAR IS OVER

    The men who fought and nearly died for their country in what’s come to be known as the Second World War are bound for William C. Borden General Hospital in Chickasha, Oklahoma, a grim warehouse for soldiers who don’t fit the heroic narrative. (Log in to download)

  7. Dread
    dread-rpg-coverDread is an excellent system for horror oneshots. Conflict resolution is handled by pulling bricks from a Jenga tower, making every skill check hair-raising.

    Publisher says: Dread is a game of horror and hope. Those who play will participate in a mutual telling of an original macabre tale. The goal of Dread is to sustain the delicate atmosphere that invokes the hand quivering emotion that lends its name to the game. The thrill of a Dread game lies within the tension between desire and loss. You will take on the role of someone trapped in a story that is only as compelling as it is hostile—someone who will find themselves making decisions we hope never to face in real life.

  8. ViewScream
    viewscreamPublisher says: ViewScream is a live-action game designed for play with video-chat software like Skype or Google Hangouts.

    Three to five players assume the roles of desperate people trapped in a world of high-tech horror. (…) . The characters are separated (…) — and they need to work as a team in order to survive.

    Players never refer to their characters in the third person; they remain in character the whole time. A typical game session lasts 60-90 minutes.

  9. The Black Pram
    Freeform, free download. Publisher says: Lars and Helene are fighting for their baby’s life. Every night a dark figure with a black pram waits outside their house. It waits for them to finally come out and give him what he wants. It waits for them to give up.

    If you like movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth and Sixth Sense, this is the game for you. Keywords are mood-driven, intense, creepy and player-centered.

  10. Old Friends
    ofPublisher says: Old Friends is a freeform live-action ghost story designed for 4-6 players, with no GM. Playtime 3-4 hours.

    Back in the ‘90’s you hunted ghosts together. You used an ancient technique that reliably bridged two worlds, and you put a lot of souls to rest. Like any team you were a mess of individual flaws, contradictions and rivalry, but it worked.

    It worked until Sara died.

  11. Geiger Counter
    Publisher says: Geiger Counter is a single-session GMless survival horror RPG in which most of the core characters end up dead at the hands of a deadly menace. (free downloads of beta and alternate versions at publisher homepage).
  12. Tricks and Treats
    Publisher says: Tricks and Treats is a simple role-playing story game, designed to be played by kids and adults. It’s about a group of trick-or-treaters that face monsters which are themselves based on the kids’ fears and personalities. And the primary resolution mechanic uses candy.

  13. Zombie Cinema
    Publisher says: Zombie Cinema is a boardgame for 3-6 players, age 12+. One game takes 2-3 hours, all told. Learning the game takes ten minutes. The game is a cooperative storytelling exercise wherein the players create a story very much like a zombie movie. As my personal experience has it, about half of the time you’ll get something that is significantly better than any zombie movie I’ve actually seen.

Thanks: Wilhelm Persson, Mikael Tysvær, Anonymous, As If, the Indie+ discussion community, Rollespill.info (Elias Helfer, Peter Brichs).

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ROLLESPILLNORGE 2021!

Mer variasjon. (Enda) flere kvinner. Flere med ikke-norsk hvit-middelklassebakgrunn. (Enda) mer interessant krysspollinering med brett-, data-, -laiv, -cosplay. Flere mikrokongresser. Flere kunstnere, forfattere, medier, institusjoner og dataspillskapere har fattet interesse for analoge spill, i bred forstand. Flere som har prøvd seg på Kickstarter, IndieGoGo og tilsvarende (for forskjellige typer prosjekter). Kanskje en håndfull som lever av mediet. Minst én bedrift som går rundt økonomisk, med utgangspunkt i analoge, rollespillrelaterte prosjekter. Kanskje flere rollespillspesifikke organisasjoner alá Rollespillalliansen som gjør egne, kreative prosjekter. En gradvis, men fruktbar reform av de tre tradisjonelle festivalene i retningen beskrevet over. Flere blogger og digitiale zine-prosjekter. Ikke-kommersiell kjerne, fremdeles. Flere kreative samarbeid med utlendinger, gjerne over nett. (Enda) mindre sutring om at alt var bedre i 2007, 1997 eller 1987. (Enda) flere som har fått huet ut av rævva og ser at det foregår mye spennende.

medium_Theodor_Kittelsen_soria_moria

Theodor Kittelsen. Soria Moria slott, 1900. Nasjonalmuseet/Nasjonalgalleriet i Oslo.

 

En alvorlig ment kommentarartikkel uten fjollete clickbait-tittel

Ukas foreløpige «snakkis» i våre kretser er en bloggpost på engelsk, som beskriver en amerikansk(?) kvinnes forjævlige opplevelser i ymse gamer-miljøer. Den kan man lese i sin helhet her. Posten diskuteres flittig i indiemiljøet på G+, på den norske Facebookgruppa Rollespill.info, Danske rollespillere, og sikkert på Twitter og en rekke private tidslinjer.

Følgende ble skrevet som kommentar i en tråd om bloggposten som ble åpnet på Rollespill.info. Originaltråden kan du lese her (der blir det også sagt mye annet vettugt, av andre enn undertegnede Imagonem-skribent):

Noen tanker:

Det er forstemmende at ingenting av dette, for den som har fulgt med i den internasjonale debatten de siste 3-7 åra, kommer som noen overraskelse.

Jeg håper (inderlig) og tror at det ikke er like jævlig i våre hjemlige miljøER. Men at vi har, og har hatt, ting å ta tak i vet jeg godt.

Arcon innførte noen enkle ordensregler for ikke så mange år siden, tror jeg. Jeg registrerte ikke noen større kontrovers om det, og jeg vet ikke hvordan de blir håndhevet.

For to år siden startet en tung debatt i den svenske laivmiljøet. Debatter om ulike kjønnede problemstillinger, sjelden med like alvorlig fortegn som her, har vært ført i det norske laivmiljøet så lenge jeg har kjent til det (ca 15-16 år). Sikkerhetsregler, sikkerhetskultur, inkludering og utfordringer ved inkludering Det er nå nye runder i det norske laivmiljøet, både debatter på Facebook, miljøbygging og inkludering blir tema på Spillerom, og jeg kan love at det er ting som diskuteres på privaten.

Det er bra. Det er antakelig også på høy tid. Det er godt for miljøene.

Jeg vil gjerne takke Marianne for at hun startet tråden. Siden vi først er her kan jeg jo også offentlig takke deg for en del viktige samtaler og tålmodighet opp gjennom.

Her kommer det vanskelige:

Jeg kom inn i rollespillhobbyen som 11-12-åring (jeg er nå 35). Det var da definitivt en gutteklubb i miljøene jeg vanka. Det var ikke det at vi ikke ville ha med jenter, det var mer at det ikke var en aktuell problemstilling over hodet. De jeg har spilt desidert mest med de siste 20 åra er overveiende menn (unntak for mitt vedkommende: laiver, kongresser, oneshots). Flertallet av brukere her på gruppa er også menn, og så lenge vi gubber nekter å gi oss med å trille terning vil det kanskje forbli en viss overvekt av menn i hobbyen?

Jeg sympatiserer på ingen måte med den løst organiserte «Gamer Gate»-bevegelsen (eller hva man skal kalle det), eller overgriperne som nevnes i bloggposten. Men jeg, og kanskje andre som leser dette, har våre svin på skogen.

Jeg har stått på Arcon i 1998(?) og hatt noen «festlige betraktninger» med sidemannen om de to pene, unge jentene som «sikkert måtte ha forvillet seg inn» eller «sikkert var kjæresten til noen».

Jeg har vært full og for innpåsliten på afterlaiv.

Jeg har gjort, sagt, tenkt og ment andre ting jeg kanskje ikke husker selv, eller er villig til å skrive om her. Og veit om slike eksempler hos andre.

Men jeg har også lest Monica Pedersens åpne brev til de svenske skaperne av spillet Viking hos Imagonem i 1996, om fremstillingen av kvinner og kvinnelige roller i spillet.

Jeg har fulgt, og prøvd å forstå, debattene om kjønnsrollemønster og laivmiljøet.

Jeg har gjort små bidrag for å heie på og støtte opp om JenteCon-prosjektet som ikke-deltaker. (Retningslinjene for gruppa Rollespill.info ble heller ikke formulert på slump, av oss som var med i moderatorkorpset i fjor).

Jeg har (etter en turbulent debatt på RSN, der blant andre Marianne var med) bidratt til å gjøre Itras by til et mer «inkluderende» spill (og det har ikke vært et offer; tvert imot mener jeg spillet og settingen ble mer interessant som følge av det).

Jeg forsøker å bidra positivt og konstruktivt i de dagsaktuelle minefeltene jeg vet om.

At man har Grognard-DNA er ikke en unnskyldning, men kanskje en delforklaring.

Takk til alle som klarer å holde tunga rett i munnen, hodet kaldt og treffer tastene.

Takk til alle som sier fra og setter grenser. Takk til alle som klarer å tilgi. Takk til de som makter å fortsette og bidra til miljøene.

La oss gjøre bra ting sammen.

Norske pådder om rollespill!

skaufjordHos David Skaufjord forklarer alt får programlederen denne uka hjelp av Jarle Haktorson til å forklare fenomenet rollespill. De to kjører også en runde D&D som eksempel for lytterne.

Kun tilgjengelig for iTunes-brukere, får vi inntrykk av.

En lettfattelig og positiv introduksjon. Jarle har også forfattet teksten «Hva er rollespill?» for Skaufjords blogg.

Litt dypere i materien går Michael og Nicolai i podcasten Vertshuset, som har besøk av Imagonems trofaste tastetrykker Ole Peder.

verthusetTimestamps:

03:56 Itras by 1
12:08 Amerikansk indiespill
18:48 Itras by 2
24:14 Apocalypse World
29:28 Tips til spillskapere
35:44 Feedback og kritikk
42:10 Rollespill.info!!

Hør Vertshuset episode 5 her

White Wolf’s lead Storyteller: – There will be a release in 2016

martin

Martin Elricsson, lead Storyteller at White Wolf. Art: Tim Bradstreet.

Martin Elricsson, Lead Storyteller and Brand Architect at the newly Swedish White Wolf (recently acquired by Paradox Interactive) kindly took the time for a brief Q&A with Imagonem about upcoming plans.  

Which game lines do you plan to revive, and when?

We prefer the term ”rise from torpor”. An elder awakening from a century of slumber is starving and hungry for fresh blood. So are we. Initial plans include products based on all of the ”classic” World of Darkness lines. It may be a while before we get to Mummy: The Resurrection tho :) Our launch plan will always be a secret until it’s not. I love the speculation and mystery surrounding future releases we saw in the 90’s, so we will definitely play with that aspect. Hints and clues to what will come next will appear in future products and WW communiques. There are actually a few of them out there already.

Will you prioritize computer games, or will we see  pen-and-paper soon?

Short answer is that the economic centre of the company will be computer games. Unless something weird happens and people start buying roleplaying books, WoD novels and comics like they were Harry Potter. As things are now tabletop publishing hardly breaks even. Spiritually the core will always be tabletop rpg and larp. The Bibles we’re working on for computer games are written as if they were texts for a new tabletop edition, and will most likely be released in that format. Combined launches of digital and tabletop also games seem to make a lot of sense. In the last few years, focused and easy-to-use products like Mutant: Year Zero and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are selling unexpectedly well. Their brevity and low threshold makes them perfect for introducing new players to the hobby, while the monumental classic-WW-style books generally sell poorly and are more read than played. If future editions of WoD are actively used rather than collected we have done our job.

What form will the computer game take? MMO? Are you able to bring over content from CCP’s “World of Darkness”?

All releases will be announced when we feel confident they will release on time, reach our very high bar of quality and have enough material to be discussed by the community in a meaningful way. We own all assets connected to WoD, including the CCP content that they kindly gave us as a bonus when we made the purchase of the IP. I for one intend to make sure those 8 years of work by a hundred exceptionally talented creators doesn’t entirely go to waste.

You have mentioned larp plans. Will this be a new international “Camarilla”? How will the campaigns work, and what kind of system will you use?

We hope to be a resource to local Mind’s Eye Theatre troupes, not a dictatorial central committee. Plans for some tools for communities and global character tracking are underway but way to early to talk specifics. What we can say is that MET will not be the only larp in town. Official White Wolf larps will not use Minds Eye Theatre rules but be organized more like Monitor Celestra or College of Wizardry.

unnamed2

Images from the CCP MMO concept design, previously unreleased.

Could you explain a little about the deal you’ve made with Onyx Path? What will be the main difference between “The Chronicles of Darkness” and “The World of Darkness”?

There is only one WoD. Chronicles of Darkness is a sandbox tabletop setting featuring the same broad creature types as the World of Darkness, but it is not the same world. It will not be spun off into computer games, novels, TV or anything else. It’s our specific brand for great metaplot-less, flexible, table-driven tabletop rpg. With the 2nd editions CoD has really found a separate identity from WoD and will continue to become even more of it’s own thing. We still own it but it’s Onyx Path’s baby. I love CoD and find that is a much more playable game with a more vague and unsettling aesthetic than WoD ever had. Too bad it never sold for shit and that old players hated it. It lacked the epic scope and the punk passion of the classic WoD. Had it done even remotely as well as the classic WoD things would be very different.

Onyx Path also have a license to produce nostalgia books for the classic WoD settings. These are official but set in the same nebulous ”eternal nineties”, using the old-school buckets-of-dice-system featured in the original lines. Future editions will move the setting, mythos, metaplot and mechanics almost 15 years forward into present day. It’s the same world, but a lot has changed. It’s useful to see the Classic and Anniversary books as highly subjective. The ultimate truth can’t be found in the books, but we can glimpse it through the multiplicity of perspectives presented. For instance Humanity is a mechanic presented from the Camarilla point of view, while Paths of Enlightenment give us the Sabbat perspective on the subject of morality. None of them are True. Both are models and simplifications.

Could you explain the vision for the new setting and metaplot, and the “eastward shift” (focusing on Europe, Russia and the Middle East)?

”What if the monsters are real, hidden among us?”, is the elevator pitch for the new metaplot. Gothic-Punk is dead and buried as an aesthetic. All the Apocalypses of the classic WoD has happened. In 2001 the Gehenna-war for the graves of the Antediluvians began. In 2006 the rise of the Wyrm and the inevitability of ecological Apocalypse became publicly known. The Technocracy has won, we surrendered when we allowed machines to shape our values and minds, trapping us in the paranoid realms of our personal filter-bubbles. At the same time we are applying engineering to quantum mechanics, making magical theories manifest as Science, so all hope is not lost. In line with this we integrate dramatic real world events to feature prominently in the story. We face difficult social subjects like the rise of fascism, religious fanaticism and the death of ideology in mainstream politics, head on. This naturally leads us to focus on areas where dramatic change is happening. Also there are more books on the US of Darkness than the rest of the world combined.

When can fans expect to see the first products for these new lines from Paradox and partners?

There will be a release in 2016.

What clans do you and CEO Tobias Sjögren belong to? 

I’m a Toreador, he’s a Ventrue.

Any Mage plans?

Yes.

Will the Werewolves remain crypto fascist eco-terrorist?

More than they have ever been. Global Warming has released the Wyrm-tide. The end of the Impergium (ancient Werewolves hunting humans to keep their numbers manageable) seems like a terrible mistake in retrospect.

What sucks most (pun intended) about being a Vampire?

The obsession with self-deception and appearing moral or darkly glorious to their peers. Never being able to be truly proud of who you are. Even The Sabbat need to think of themselves as ”good” in their fight against the Cam oppressors and the rising Ancients. The need to play the (anti-) hero is tragic. At the end of the night they’re addicts to sex, blood and power, masking the pursuit of their next fix as part of some grand scheme or other.

unnamed

Images from the CCP MMO concept design, previously unreleased.

Where did White Wolf “get it wrong” last time around? What are your least favorite parts of the IP?

Anything that smells of Fantasy. The attempt to create a deep mythology by linking the setting to Exalted was the worst choice ever. That was the last step in WoD’d death-march from being an artistic horror-IP to full on immature, escapist Urban Fantasy. The inability to deal with and integrate real-world events in the setting. If you can write about the Holocaust, you can write about 9/11. Fear is the death of creativity. The game was always best in the hands of storytellers who dared to place the story close to reality, often in their own cities, featuring real places and people.

And vice versa: what were your favorite games and concepts?

Too many to list. The books are shock full of profound insights, human stories and heretical interpretations of real-world mythology and subculture. My most collected and (through my and Adriana Skarpeds political game series Prosopopeia) played game is Wraith. A small selection of my favorite books include 1st ed Vampire, Fatal Addiction, Gilded Cage, Damnation City (for V:TR, but very useful for V:TM) and Love Beyond Death.

[Edit 02.16. Elricsson has asked for these clarifications to be added to the article:]

Clarifications:

//

It wasn’t a painless choice revisiting the classic setting instead of NWoD. I’ve always supported that line, shamelessly ”been inspired” by it in other work and wanted it to make big waves, especially since I love it’s tonality and ground-up design thinking. But it’s hard to argue against CWoD as the setting that made the most dramatic cultural impact overall. The death of the publishing industry and lack of tabletop rpg-hype at that time combined with quite strong fan reactions never gave it a chance to go pervasive. It would have made perfect sense for us to cancel CofD entirely to direct all focus to WoD and avoid brand confusion as new players come in through future digital products. I’m happy we decided against it. Having CofD continue as it’s own thing is the closest we’ll get to confessing that it may be the better tabletop-only setting of the two. But to turn it into the centre for our transmedia-storytelling plans for the future would mean adding metaplot and characters to it, killing its identity completely. Made less sense than letting the beloved characters and myth of the dark original live on and evolve.

For more on new White Wolf’s plans for the future check out the announcement video from german WoD-con Tenebrae Noctis held before Christmas.

 //

 

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