On August 20th, the topic is my favourite horror rpg. I started playing horror rpg in the 1990s with Call of Cthulhu. I enjoy Call of Cthulhu and it can capture fear sometimes. My favourite horror rpg captures fear and tension in an excellent fashion. I’m talking about Dread.
Dread is a horror rpg by Epidiah Ravachol and Nathaniel Barmore. It plays with two simple but innovative mechanics. For character creation, you get a list of leading questions. For task resolution, Dread uses a machanic which it is known for, the tower. In this entry, I talked how those mechanics surprised me. They also help to provide fear.
With the questionnaire, you learn about the character and its psyche. As a host, you learn what frightens them and what is in their dark past. You also get to know the relationships of the character which you can prey upon during the game.
The tower gives a physical manifestation of the group’s tension. Most rpgs use an abstract trait or description which can work. The tower is always there. It is either fully in a player’s sights or just on their periphery. The players know it is there and it preys on the mind. The only control the host has is the rate of pulls. The tower is indifferent which adds to the horror. I physically see folks back away from the table. As host, I have physically backed away from the table for fear of it. I find the tower a strong component to the game.
If you haven’t played Dread yet, I recommend you do. You can read what happened to my first game of Dread here. You can view the game played on TableTop here. This evening at Monopolatte’s Strop, Drop and Roleplay, they offer to host a game of Dread set in a summer camp. If you are in Ottawa and wish to try Dread, let me know and I’ll hook you up.
What is your favourite horror rpg? How does it frighten you?