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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Implementing a mystery/horror story

    There's a competition in one of the game shops in my city for a single session adventure. Over my time here, I've read many threads, yet two specific ideas have stuck in my mind. Unfortunatelly, there's not a single chance I'll remember when or where I found them, so I can't give credits to the original thinker.

    I haven't thought the whole thing up. In fact, I'm just starting to put my thoughts in a line.

    Basically the party gets sent to a place where many people have been dissappearing, to investigate. It could be a village, a trading post, a small island, whatever. The whole scenario is that two young twin girls that were murdered, rose as vengeful ghosts and are now unleashing their rage in whoever is unlucky and happens on their territory. I've thought of the setting to be something like a misty forrest, where time and space aren't exactly normal, I.E. teleporting traps, illusion walls etc. After fighting some appropriate monsters (displacer beast, will-o-whisp) they will finally get to the girls' lair. Be it a house, a cove or something else. And here is the most interesting point. As soon as they walk in to the lair, they'll be overcome by some illusion magic, and fall into a pit-trap two by two. Now, if you fall down, and see a goblin waiting for you, you'll mostly attack it. The plot-twist is that the goblin is, in fact, another ally. My issue here is how they players can actually overcome the mind trick and figure it out, before one kills the other. I haven't been able to devise a way.

    My next issue is the final boss, the twins. I'd like to homebrew something were the one would be more of a fighter, while the other would be a caster. Some support mechanic, so the fighter would reduce the damage on the caster, and the caster would buff the fighter, just by being close to each other. No concentration spells etc. I will work on this over the weekend, since I do not have enough time atm, and post something less vague.

    Any general ideas as to the setting, plot twists, some NPC(?) etc are all welcome! The most limiting thing is that it must be a single session (approx. 8 hours) long, meaning that it won't be the most easy thing to build up intrigue and tension. (I think)
    #YOLO DnD style

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    (Un)Inspired's Avatar

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    I misread the title as saying musical/ horror.

    As I was reading your post I just kept thinking to myself, "where does the music come in?"
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kid Jake's Avatar

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Quote Originally Posted by (Un)Inspired View Post
    I misread the title as saying musical/ horror.

    As I was reading your post I just kept thinking to myself, "where does the music come in?"
    I don't know, but if I ever find a way to play that game I'm never going back.
    "Let's Get This Straight, YOU'RE The Sidekick!" a Mutants and Masterminds Campaign Journal.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    (Un)Inspired's Avatar

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Jake View Post
    I don't know, but if I ever find a way to play that game I'm never going back.
    I know! I would love to play in a musical/horror game. No one seems to run them.
    amazing avatar of my favorite character, Gheera, by Pesimismrocks

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    The system, is it D&D?

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    There's a competition in one of the game shops in my city for a single session adventure. Over my time here, I've read many threads, yet two specific ideas have stuck in my mind. Unfortunatelly, there's not a single chance I'll remember when or where I found them, so I can't give credits to the original thinker.

    I haven't thought the whole thing up. In fact, I'm just starting to put my thoughts in a line.

    Basically the party gets sent to a place where many people have been dissappearing, to investigate. It could be a village, a trading post, a small island, whatever. The whole scenario is that two young twin girls that were murdered, rose as vengeful ghosts and are now unleashing their rage in whoever is unlucky and happens on their territory. I've thought of the setting to be something like a misty forrest, where time and space aren't exactly normal, I.E. teleporting traps, illusion walls etc. After fighting some appropriate monsters (displacer beast, will-o-whisp) they will finally get to the girls' lair. Be it a house, a cove or something else. And here is the most interesting point. As soon as they walk in to the lair, they'll be overcome by some illusion magic, and fall into a pit-trap two by two. Now, if you fall down, and see a goblin waiting for you, you'll mostly attack it. The plot-twist is that the goblin is, in fact, another ally. My issue here is how they players can actually overcome the mind trick and figure it out, before one kills the other. I haven't been able to devise a way.

    My next issue is the final boss, the twins. I'd like to homebrew something were the one would be more of a fighter, while the other would be a caster. Some support mechanic, so the fighter would reduce the damage on the caster, and the caster would buff the fighter, just by being close to each other. No concentration spells etc. I will work on this over the weekend, since I do not have enough time atm, and post something less vague.

    Any general ideas as to the setting, plot twists, some NPC(?) etc are all welcome! The most limiting thing is that it must be a single session (approx. 8 hours) long, meaning that it won't be the most easy thing to build up intrigue and tension. (I think)
    It depends on what you're considering horror. Take a look at Extra Credit's YouTube channel for some good ideas on how to conduct horror games. Here, however, is the short version. The horror genre is essentially based on feeling powerless against an antagonist and building suspense on that. In RPG terms this means breaking most of the rules. Split the party, create encounters that cannot be won, kill characters intentionally. It also means lots and lots and lots of blind checks and saves.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Off the top of my head, I believe most spells allow a Will Save to disbelieve after interacting with the illusion. I'd say give them that. Even if they fail the save and end up killing the party member, that adds to the horror as well, as long as the players are good sports. It'll be all like, "What have I just done?! I just killed my own friend! Etc."

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Indeed I didn't mention some key parts. It's D&D 5, and probably I won't be running the story. It's something we have to compose, and send to the store. Then the best will be voted for etc. We can include maps, images etc etc if we want to. As I said, the competition poster said nothing about running it. If we'd be asked to I'd be more than happy though!

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcand View Post
    -snip- The horror genre is essentially based on feeling powerless against an antagonist and building suspense on that. In RPG terms this means breaking most of the rules. Split the party, create encounters that cannot be won, kill characters intentionally. It also means lots and lots and lots of blind checks and saves.
    Well, that's what's troubling me. How much tension can you build and make them freak out in a single session? I'm sure some awesome, experienced DM could do it, but I'm not him. Intentionally killing someone is out of the question. Encounters that cannot be won and splitting the party for a short time however, is pretty do-able.

    "Suddenly you turn around and A and B are not there. You and D are left alone in the forest, not knowing which direction is which. Then they all end up together in the girls' lair, ending up in the illusion fight part. It also makes sense with the whole illusion, teleportation setting.

    Quote Originally Posted by BioCharge View Post
    Off the top of my head, I believe most spells allow a Will Save to disbelieve after interacting with the illusion. I'd say give them that. Even if they fail the save and end up killing the party member, that adds to the horror as well, as long as the players are good sports. It'll be all like, "What have I just done?! I just killed my own friend! Etc."
    That's the easiest option obviously. The goal here is to have some fun and have them go "wtf" without killing anyone, so they can all go to the final boss. In general, I'm not very keen on killing people, and specially in a one-shot adventure, unless someone decides to go pick on that bright thing sticking out of the rock. I guess the DM could announce the damage one player deals as the damage taken to the other immediately, but that would make solving the whole thing way too easy.

    Also, suppose that the one PC gets his save, but the other one doesn't. What would happen then. Obviously the PC that succeeded would start yelling, "stop it's me, A". A reroll of the Will save if this happens, possibly?

    Ooooh, neat idea. The one who succeeded would have to share something from their past that a monster hiding inside a dungeon wouldn't know. How feasible would that be tho in a one-shot... It would have to be set at the start.
    Last edited by MrUberGr; 2014-12-04 at 09:30 PM.
    #YOLO DnD style

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Quote Originally Posted by MrUberGr View Post
    Indeed I didn't mention some key parts. It's D&D 5, and probably I won't be running the story. It's something we have to compose, and send to the store. Then the best will be voted for etc. We can include maps, images etc etc if we want to. As I said, the competition poster said nothing about running it. If we'd be asked to I'd be more than happy though!



    Well, that's what's troubling me. How much tension can you build and make them freak out in a single session? I'm sure some awesome, experienced DM could do it, but I'm not him. Intentionally killing someone is out of the question. Encounters that cannot be won and splitting the party for a short time however, is pretty do-able.

    "Suddenly you turn around and A and B are not there. You and D are left alone in the forest, not knowing which direction is which. Then they all end up together in the girls' lair, ending up in the illusion fight part. It also makes sense with the whole illusion, teleportation setting.



    That's the easiest option obviously. The goal here is to have some fun and have them go "wtf" without killing anyone, so they can all go to the final boss. In general, I'm not very keen on killing people, and specially in a one-shot adventure, unless someone decides to go pick on that bright thing sticking out of the rock. I guess the DM could announce the damage one player deals as the damage taken to the other immediately, but that would make solving the whole thing way too easy.

    Also, suppose that the one PC gets his save, but the other one doesn't. What would happen then. Obviously the PC that succeeded would start yelling, "stop it's me, A". A reroll of the Will save if this happens, possibly?

    Ooooh, neat idea. The one who succeeded wo told have to share something from their past that a monster hiding inside a dungeon wouldn't know. How feasible would that be tho in a one-shot... It would have to be set at the start.
    The scariest game I have ever played in was back in the 90s. It was a Dungeon Magazine adventure called Jacob's Well, designed for a single low level PC, however there were a lot of us, so the DM replaced several of the NPCs with PCs.

    We were all strangers unfortunate enough to be stranded in the titular inn during a winter storm. The first night a guest was killed in his room, torn open and his insides eaten, window smashed. Over the next two days the monster picked us off one by one when we left the group. We were all convinced that it was a werewolf, but the DM carefully never described the monster in full. Paranoia set in, some of us turned on the others, one PC killed another and was locked up for it, then eaten. Another PC tried to make a run for it and froze to death in the wilderness. The final three PCs ended up facing off against the monster (which turned out to be a newborn Slaad) one of them died and the survivors were left to trek out of the wreckage.

    It was very combat light, and what actual fighting there was mainly consisted of characters being ambushed and slaughtered. We players provided our own tension through infighting, mistrust, and fear. Almost 20 years later it is still one of the most memorable games I have ever played in. And no, I didn't survive.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Does it have to be D&D? Because it's just my general opinion that D&D is a poor vehicle for horror. Too much out-of-character thought going on most of the time, because of the sheer amount of mechanics to be considered, plus powerful and/or superhuman PCs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    Do not try a linear campaign, without some discussion with them. Players very often look at your hooks and then try to accomplish it in a different way, not touch it, try to do the complete opposite, or somehow set it on fire.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Implementing a mystery/horror story

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcand View Post
    -snip-
    Sounds awesome! But this shows an important aspect of roleplaying in general. How much the players want to actually promote the story!

    Quote Originally Posted by Milodiah View Post
    Does it have to be D&D? Because it's just my general opinion that D&D is a poor vehicle for horror. Too much out-of-character thought going on most of the time, because of the sheer amount of mechanics to be considered, plus powerful and/or superhuman PCs.
    Yep. It's a promotional thing for 5e.
    #YOLO DnD style

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