Monday, 18 July 2011

Survival Tips for the Horror gamer

For those interested in the 'horror/suspense' genre of role-playing games, I can attest, despite my limited experience in the matter, that it can be a very engaging and memorable experience, especially when conducted with a suitable ambiance. That said, it's also worth mentioning that these sessions can be wrought with frustration, as the gritty, visceral combat typically provided by most systems can be quite hazardous to a player character's health. Which is why, in a game like 'Call of Cthulhu'* where the average lifespan of said character is comparable to that of a mayfly, some pointers are needed to stay on top of things. With this in mind, I, with the aid of a number of my tabletop gaming acquaintances, saw it fit to spend a uneventful evening compiling a list of general 'pointers' for lengthening what meager lifespan your Host has seen fit to provide your avatar in this world of fictional terror.

*Given special mention due to the fact that this list had originally been conceived to serve as a general guide to playing said game. Veterans of the Lovecraft mythos will no doubt spy quite a few quality tips born directly from this initial focus.

-Always carry one more magazine than you expect to use.

-Have you just inherited a mansion whose previous owner went mad, died horribly or simply vanished? Never ever sleep in the master bedroom, explore the unmapped caverns beneath the cellar and never try to find the source of that insane piping-sound going on at night. In fact, never ever visit the mansion in question.

-Wimps fondle guns. Real Men fondle Doomsday-devices.

-Conduct investigations while the sun is still above the horizon. The common idea that night is the proper time for sneaking around and committing B&E is even deadlier than The Thousand-Faced Rotting Bubble-Person From Beyond ever could be.

-The abandoned mine never is.

-Always bring a handgun, that way you can make sure that one of your friends will be in no shape to run when your group is chased by outer-dimensional hunting-creatures, thereby giving the horrible being something other than you to munch on. Hopefully.

-If in doubt, empty the magazine.

-Old Nazis never die. Period.

-Reading books is for the colleague you keep locked up in the nice room with soft walls.

-Never become good friends with University professors. They are the living embodiment of trouble. In fact, watch out for people whose job is to read books, specifically old books, or 'tomes', as they like to call them. They always want help after having summoned The Horrible Horror with a Shady Reputation. Helping them will get you dead right quick or, at the very least, insane. Surreal happenings or outer-dimensional summoning may be commonplace in their lives; better not make it commonplace in your life.

-Never let your less-than-sane colleague carry the explosives.

-Never go abroad. If you, for any reason, have to go abroad it better not be as a crew member on an expedition.

-An autopsy-room is not a "safe place".

-Egypt and Antarctica kills off more investigators each year than cancer does.

-Any dark strangers offering you gifts and favors should be avoided like the plague.

-Always bring explosives. Not pansy explosives like grenades, instead bring bundles of TNT. Going to your cousins wedding? Great! Just remember to pack the TNT. TNT is good for some many things, like blowing up blasphemous temples or horrible proto-masses. Failing that, TNT makes great firewood for your final bonfire.

-When contemplating ways to execute your mission: think "Overkill".

-Never join a cult or sect. Enough said.

-Sleep is only a bad substitute for caffeine.

-Curiosity did not kill the cat. Some unspeakable horror did. Not only that, it also turned the cat inside out, had pseudo pods grow from every orifice imaginable, gave it a taste for human blood and made it six times larger than before. Now the cat is coming for you.

-Any offer to let you "Experience the Other Dimensions" should be tactfully declined ... with a shotgun blast.

-Stay well away from mountain cabins. Every mountain cabin comes with an obligatory psychopath. Some cabin-retailers may allow for the psychopath to be exchanged for an Unknown Horror Existing in Far Too Many Dimensions. Beware cabins!

-If you have no social skills: try 'physical interrogation'.

-Try not to live your life in England or New England. In fact, you should probably move to Sweden, a country where Mythos activity seems to be quite non-existent.

-There is no such thing as "too many guns".

-Avoid anything that can be associated with the words 'ancient', 'elder', 'forgotten', etc. I cannot emphasize this enough. Contracting Ebola is far more enjoyable than being torn to pieces over the course of seven years by the Ancient Guardian-Monstrosity.

-Gasoline. Refueling cars is only its secondary use.

-When dealing with beings of incomprehensible power, tread lightly. If you suddenly decompose, burst into flames, explode or suffer otherwise along similar lines you know you have done something wrong.

-On the other hand, if you deal with beings of incomprehensible power you are a right git and deserve nothing less. Steer well clear of Outer Gods, Elder Gods, Old Ones, etc.

-When you enter a government facility and the toilet-doors are marked: 'Men', 'Women' and 'Other' you might want to reconsider your position.

-Always save the last bullet for the moron who got you into this.

-If that moron isn't you, aim for the legs. If you're going to be eaten alive, so are they.

1 comment:

  1. Probably a dumb question, but have you played Amnesia: Dark Descent? It seems right up your ally.