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RPGaDay 2023 # 28
SCARIEST GAME YOU'VE PLAYED
This is my 27th post for RPGaDay 2023, if you’re not sure what that is you can find Autocratik’s blog post about it by clicking here.
Basically a list of prompts is provided to generate discussion around RPG topics, with creators making a blog post, video or podcast each day during the month of August, the list of prompts is included below:
SCARIEST game you’ve played
This is probably going to be another short one because I don’t think that I’ve played in many games that have been overtly scary, even games that are ostensibly horror games like the many World of Darkness titles or Call of Cthulhu. That’s no shade on any of the GMs who’ve run horror games I’ve played in, hell I’ve enjoyed all of them, but I think it’s very difficult to actually scare someone playing in a game, particularly online where a lot of the games I play tend to teake place; you can turn down the lights, play whatever atmospheric music you like, but it’s difficult to forget that I’m at home, sat in a comfy chair looking at a computer screen.
However I’ve played in a few games featuring concepts that have been unsettling to me personally, not in any traumatising way—it’s a game after all—but games that have played on my own personal fears. One of these was Johanne’s Curse Necropolis Rio game of Mummy: the Awakening, which I’ve talked about in a previous post, essentially you play immortals who exist in a cycle of brief periods of wakefulness and longer periods of comatose false-death watched over by cults that they have established to guard them in sleep.
The mummies can be awoken when there is a direct threat to them, when the cult performs a specific ritual or when the Sothic cycle turns every 1461 years; when the mummies awaken at first they are at their full power having abilities that put most supernaturals in the World of Darkness to shame, however they emerge disorientated with only their most basic of memories intact; the longer they are awake the more their power ebbs away until they return to sleep, but the more memories they regain. The game does not have to be played in a linear fashion, including numerous flashbacks and the like where you remember earlier portions of your life and actually play them out.
Now this might not seem particular horrific, but due to the medical history of some of my family members I find the idea of losing ones sense of self and identity particularly unsettling and unnerving and Mummy: the Awakening really taps into that fear for me. It also creates an interesting game where you are forced at times to react to situations on the knowledge that you have at the time, but never 100% knowing if you are right or if your memories are reliable, often later finding out that they are not and that your actions were in error.
Now this might not be pulse-pounding horror, however for me it captures a creeping sense of dread whilst also allowing you a great opportunity to figure out who your character is and mold their personalities as the game proceeds and their memories return. The other game would be a Call of Cthulhu campaign (also ran by Johannes) that I talked about previously where we concluded by entering a Dreamland that was created by an individual NPC who had some sort of dream-psychic ability, one of investigators decided that killing the person responsible was the only way to end the danger, despite that we were in the Dreamland at the time. The person died, despite my character’s attempt to prevent it, and my character was last seen running through the crumbling Dreamland carrying the corpse.
The “horror” of that game for me at the end was that the person didn’t seem to me as though they were trying to bring about the world’s ruin, they seemed to have been manipulated by other parties due to their innate abilities and that made their death and part in the grander scheme of things more sad and dreadful.
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