View Full Version : Heroes of Horror and Horror Campaigns

2006-08-11, 03:16 PM
Has anyone run or played in a campaign using the Heroes of Horror rules, especially as they pertain to 'taint'? I'm getting ready to start running one myself, and was hoping for some advice/critiques on the house rules I've got so far, as well as possible suggestions for additional ones. I'll post what I've got so far:

I'm removing the lawful/chaotic aspect of alignment. Too frequently, it serves as an excuse for "I'm chaotic, so I hose a random person" type behavior, and/or serves to 'straightjacket' players into a mindset of 'lawful people never do anything random and chaotic people never follow directions'. I'm also modifying the evil/good aspect, thusly:
All players start out as 'good' by default. Good, for rules purposes, is defined as having no or mild taint. Neutral, for this system, represents the state of mind one reaches after being slightly jaded and rendered cynical about the world, which corresponds to 'moderate' taint. Evil, finally, is when one becomes a degenerate bad guy, is represented by 'severe' taint. Players will be allowed to, at any time, for any reason, 'acquire' taint for free, but removing it will be difficult.

The intended atmosphere of this campaign is sort of a 'end of days' (meant in general, not a specific work of fiction) type of feel, wherein existing structures are breaking down, old authorities seem powerless, and the forces of the 'night' are encroaching upon all that is valued and precious. Therefore, the 'taint' system from Heroes of Horror will be leveraged. Inherently, taint is meant to be equivalent to 'evil' and/or 'corruption'. So players gain taint whenever they commit evil, witness evil and fail to stop it (note this means that trying to stop evil and failing provides some taint; this is because the failure of the forces of good to halt those of evil causes additional weariness/cynicality/fatigue/demoralization among the forces of good), and kill any creature with less taint then they have. There will be methods available to reduce taint, but they will be 'harder' the more taint you have.

That's all I've really been able to come up with; anyone have any advice/criticisms/suggestions they want to send my way?

<edit> fixed accidentally hitting 'save' earlier.

2006-08-12, 02:42 AM
I believe the rules from the book are slightly steeper for gaining taint than what you have. I think it's a cool concept, but realize that you're making evil characters more powerful. A lot of the feats, spells, and abilities that evil guys use are based on the amount of taint they have. In your system, say you had a lackey of a lich, just a simple hireling. Just by working with him, he would rapidly gain enough taint to rival the power of the lich himself.

Also, based on what you can get for moderate taint in the book, I believe it represents a state much more advanced than "neutral".

I should note that these are just my opinions, and I also don't have the book with me right now, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

2006-08-12, 03:48 PM
But once they gain enough taint, they go bat-guano nuts, right? So while it makes evil NPCs more powerful (which may contribute to the aura of fear and whatnot) evil players will have to toe a careful line to not get 'too' tainted? My main reluctance for not sliding the scale over one and saying 'no taint' is good, 'mild' is neutral, etc. is that I don't want to 'surprise' any players who depend on their alignment for stuff (i.e. paladins) with a "Oh, you do that? You gain 1 taint. You lose all class abilities." situation. It seems just a little fudge room is called for there. Unless I make the taint apply 'temporary' at first, and then 'become' real taint after x days or something?

2006-08-12, 04:37 PM
Perhaps have taint someone akin to ability damage, so that after a certain number of days they make a save or it becomes permenant? This leaves it open for NPC's (or perhaps characters) who want to be evil to purposely fail their saves, while it gives characters who want to be good an opportunity to somehow redeem themselves?
If you do something like that, I'd also include penalties to saves based on how much taint you have.

2006-08-12, 11:33 PM
Actually, I believe the temporary thing is already a rule. I believe it is something like 24 hours that you have to somehow get rid of the taint, or it becomes permenant.

2006-08-13, 01:59 AM
Well, I wouldn't know, haven't read the book, I'm just spouting ideas like I usually do :P

2006-08-13, 02:15 AM
Yeah, and like in my first post, I still haven't gone back and checked in the book, so my words were meant to be seasoned with just a touch of salt, perhaps a grain or so.

2006-08-17, 11:06 PM
well your system seems good, although i will agree that moderate taint is more than just neutral. The way i ran my horror campaign was that a character without taint was free to act however they wanted, be it good, selfish, vile or otherwise. Taint was a direct result of heinous acts and crimes and while a hearty character could shake off mild taint but as they aquired more it weighted more and more on their conciousness, and mental and physical stability. So while a person without taint was free to do whatever they wished, evil acts would soon encroach on that freedom and restrict them more and more... (which added alot to the tone, because while a floor slick with blood is scary, and becomes even scarier in a dark narrow hallway where only one person can fight at a time and running is impossible due to the restricting and horrific nature of the encounter, nothing more is more horrific or confining than losing control.)

another thing that i did was add very detailed effects of taint on the players. From coughing up bloody feathers, to dreams of fighting with the bloodied limbs of family members, corruption and depravity were very real and frightening things. One last thing that helps add to the mood -- don't tell the player's their character's current taint score; keep the tally to yourself. Indicate how bad their taint is by your description and then events that happen to them. No one is gonna question that you have taint when all the toes on your left foot become one giant bloody oozing lump.

Good luck on the campaign, i loved runing mine.