Saturday, 14 March 2015

Room 66a: A Treasure Chest Guarded by Two Orcs

This is a one-act story game for two players, though others may be added if required.

Scene One

Our drama takes place in a dungeon, within which there is a room containing a treasure chest guarded by two orcs (or more, if required.) The orcs are not clear on whose dungeon they are in, what is in the chest or why they are standing here guarding it, though they expect a party of adventurers to arrive and try to steal it, at some time, soon... possibly. The orcs are surprisingly erudite and loquacious, as we shall see.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015


This is a short hack of InSpectres by Jared Sorensen, so you will need a copy  of that game, or at least familiarity with it, in order to play this one. In Spectres, most of the players are ghosts who have died in the same residence over the centuries, while the GM poses the problems they face from the mortal world.

InSpectres, 2002

Being a Spectre

All the player-characters in this game are ghosts who died in the same place, the same building they all now haunt. The first step to playing is to agree on what that place is: it might be a castle, manor house, industrial space or a house that has been renovated and modernised many times over the years. The history of the building will inform the choices made when creating the spectral characters.

Spectres have two attributes: Mortal, which covers the ordinary things they do, and Spectral, which governs the strength of their supernatural powers. Every PC starts out with scores of Mortal 3 and Spectral 1, but this can be changed during character creation.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Dead of Night: Hacked Up

Dead of Night, Second Edition
One of my favourite games, and an influence on how I play, run and design others, is Dead of Night by Andrew Kenrick: it's a deceptively simple horror game, which models movies & campfire tales excellently. It's not so much the rules of the game which do this but the meta-rules: the second edition contains extensive guidance on how to tweak the rules, adjusting variables and circumstantial effects to best reflect the style of horror game you want to emulate, whether that's dark horror comedy or tense, claustrophobic psychological thriller.

The nature of these meta-rules encourages experimentation and I've had some success playing with the possible combinations to produce different effects: my Cold Fusion scenario, which appears in the book, changes the ways Survival point are used, splitting them into two colours which are drawn randomly from a bag, providing a countdown to a fate other than death for the player-characters.

I've also hacked the game more extensively, to profoundly change the assumptions of play, tailoring it to extended campaign play or ensemble disaster movies. Presented here is the essence of those two hacks, plus one more to represent tense, situational horror that can still be used in conjunction with 'humans vs. monsters' style games.