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MoonHunter Sayeth 20171018


Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
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The Horror. The Horror.
Setting: Smiling Jack
and some horror comments

Status Check
This week is all about Adventures in Scouting, the parent edition. I have had to deal with patrol meetings, adult leader meetings, planning/ executing for the annual beach camping, and rechartering (oh and YPT). To say I have had little spare time once I got out of work is a bit of an understatement. I have edited about 300 words of my Lifeform sections. So, not forgotten just pushed aside.

From the The New 101 Horror Chronicles and set ups
Smiling Jack

Sure I took the shotgun to those pumpkins. Pretty good shot from a rolling van. That isn't why you all are here.

Your car nearly killed those kids. You swore up and down that the car was out of control. Right. It really did drive itself, didn't it. You're not fibben are you? Didn't think so.

You saw it didn't you. Don't deny it. You wouldn't be here talk'n to me if you didn't.

You can't explain it. I can.

Smiling Jack is a demon best anyone can reckon. He possesses folks, makes them grin like a crazy man, while the cut people - sometimes killing, sometimes maiming, sometimes just frighting. Back when the mines were a going concern, he popped up a time or two. They said it was poisons from the mine... making men's minds strange. Since then, he has popped up a time or three. However, Jack has a new trick. He can possess cars or other things. You can see them by the Jack o'Lanter grin and glowing eyes that show up. Crazy out of state driver the said. Nope, The Car Jack is why I am in this dammed thing. He tried to take me down. He knows I know.

That is why I fought against that new mall and those new houses. Don't want to give Jack more people to play with. Now those fool kids are carving pumpkins.... it is like an invite to a soul buffet.

I have things that might do the trick; stop him maybe, catch him maybe, kill him to Hell I DAMM SURE HOPE SO.

You game?

Wanna chronicle?
Jack can simply drive away... and move into the city... lots of people and things there. You can follow... It might lead you to other supernatural badness, but Jack will be the main antagonist.

Or you can make a fiasco - a random set of people who are going to be part of Jack's next run of terror. Play these new characters in the next installment of the series.
I want to talk about Horror.

Now many "horror games" are simply supernatural adventure games. They use supernatural opposition and players and those things "conflict". Players eventually become competitive with the supernatural after a while. While this can be fun and something I enjoy (Supernatural Hunting, Urban Fantasy, and so on), it is not really Horror.

Horror is about being surprised and disenfranchised.

Think about your normal King or Koontz. The characters struggle against something they don't understand and can't compete with. We watch their desperate struggles and how they sometimes manage to pull off a win or at least a break even with the supernatural.

In most games, you understand the rules... you understand how the Evil Powers work... and the monsters and bad guys make mechanical sense. In horror stories, it is all about the rules and how the monsters break "the accepted rules". The protagonists might learn the rules or the monster's weakness over the course of the story, but it is not what they expect normally. If you break the rules in a "horror game", your players often get upset, because you the GM, have tweaked if not broken the covenant/ agreement to "use the rules". That agreement is one of the things, that in my opinion, interferes with a true Horror Experience in gaming.

Jack kinda follows the expected rules. Yet, we have the exception already. Could Jack learn more tricks and be a grinning computer screen? It helps keeps the players off perfect balance.

In most games, you can fight the opposition... even if you are not fighting with weapons or hands, you are competitive with the opposition in some way. (Run with me here, and ignore opponents you are can't fight, but have to out think... which means you are competitive. ) In most horror stories... the characters are "the victims". People are either going to die or be traumatized. Maybe the gang will get together and stop the monster, but they are highly overmatched. If you are going to win against a horror monster, you are going to either have to out think it or come at it sideways with a weakness or something it is unable to cope with.

So Jack can be stopped with salt and slowed down by holy symbols. He was born out of the Evil of the Mine, so a product of the mine can stop him. Unknown to the players, he can not be killed (annoyed yes, but not ended) while he is possessing something. You do harm him, but you have to catch him outside. Note Jack can survive for quite a while when not possessing something. So he will seem unstoppable, until they find a way to catch him outside.

While this setting does not slide all the way into Horror Stories, it is not in the comfortable gaming zone. That is the struggle to make a true Horror Game - balancing the two points.
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