Monday, November 28, 2011

D:tF - A Caving Survival Horror

Well, I realised that I had a whole bunch of topics to talk about with this adventure so I thought I'd break it up into weekly installments as I've run out of Series Posts. I always enjoy doing a bit of a quick summary post first and then following it up with the split up topics. Yes, I know, I could always begin with Part 1, but what are you gonna do? We all have our styles.

And in this case, I'm currently sitting between the two parts of my Survival Horror adventure (where the PCs are the demons) so it's best that I don't give too much away until such time as my players have finished the run.

If you want the actual story premise, you can find it here. You can look out for these articles on Mondays.

So here are the topics for the 15 week Survival Monday series:

1: Running a Survival Horror adventure within a Campaign.
After all, survival horror tends to go one of two ways. It's either a solo game that plays on dread and isolation or it has a high fatality rate. Besides, how do you work in a survival horror's themes into your usual campaign arc? And how do you clue in your players that this isn't your usual romp?

2: Resource Management. Why do it? How do you do it? Not to mention, how do you convince your players that it could be a fun part of the game?

3: Making Random Encounters Scary.
Encounter Cards versus Percentage dice, and when is it worthwhile?

4: Using Maps and Apocalyptic Logs to your Best Advantage. What's an Apocalyptic Log, you ask? Well, tune in to find out.

5: Hateful Enemies and Nasty Environments. You should spend a bit of time selecting your enemies and locations to ensure that it's all thematically appropriate for a true dash of Hi-Octane Nightmare Fuel.

6: Tactical Battle Maps: A Help or a Hindrance? How does it affect players to see the locations in front of them? Will it dampen the survivalicious fun or instead give them an opportunity to truly grasp the full meaning of possible nearby hiding places.

7: Will you let them rest? Nothing helps players realise their characters are human (or at least possessing humans) than when they actually deal with fatigue and other issues, but can giving players so-called pit stops help the horror or damage it?

8: Dealing with Dread. How to build it up without letting it all get a little too much.

9: Madness, sickness, and status cards. How this can all build up to a very nervy ride, all the while keeping secrets between you and one other player at a time. Also, how to tempt players to be jumpy through status bonuses on Adrenaline.

10: Survival Horror Superheroes! How do you deal with super-powered characters during an adventure? What about when you have nine characters and seven players (as I did)?

11: Preparing for a Caving Survival Horror, Part 1. So what happened anyway? How did I pull it all together? How much planning went into Session 1?

12: Running a Caving Survival Horror, Part 1. With all that preparation work out of the way, how did the game itself end up going?

13: Preparing for a Caving Survival Horror, Part 2. So, surely all the real prep-work was finished before the second part. Right? Right? Wrong! It takes effort to make it all stick.

14: Summary for the Caving Survival Horror and also Downtimes in a Caving Survival Horror. What happened, what were they allowed to do, and how did it help build up the tension.

15: Running a Caving Survival Horror, Part 2. And how did the grand finale go? What was the build up? And how to recapture the sense of last sessions' momentum?

So, that should be a nice Series for you. It'll keep me going for awhile, too. I reckon I'll spend my spare time analysing what works in videogames for next year's plots.


  1. I'll be looking forward to these articles. Horror adventures are something I've always struggled to run well. Outside of the zombie genre at least.

  2. Well, there'll be plenty of how to run horror adventures on this blog! I do think about it a lot. Next up will likely be an article on how to blend horror with Dungeons & Dragons.

  3. Wow, this series of articles is almost complete. I've been writing these since last year!