Monday, August 6, 2012

Notes from Amnesia: Monsters that Aren't

I swear that some of the sections in Amnesia have no monsters whatsoever. I can't be sure of this. I didn't stick around. I didn't test the issue. But I'm pretty sure. In one of the earlier bits, my fiance DID test the issue by casually strolling around on a second play through. This just added to the drama and tension because while I got to see the hints - the splashes, the shadowy figures - I didn't get the 'reveal'. Remember that each encounter with a monster increases familiarity and familiarity really is the bane of horror.

One whole technique is to make the familiar feel unfamiliar to put people on edge, after all.

This is something we can certainly use in our horror games. Tease the players. Make them think that the monster *might* be there. That, in fact, they *might* be being stalked. That if they step into the light, they *might* be spotted. If they happen to pass through the light and not get attacked, breed a sense of relief that they happened to make it.

Perhaps make some rolls on the sly, ask them to make a Luck Roll or a Stealth Roll. Perhaps ask them to make a Perception check. If they succeed, give them more hints - a werewolf's spoor, bloody claw marks, an odd sound that turns out to be a bunch of wires swaying in the wind - but if they fail, simply nod and say nothing.

This allows you to build up the anticipation without making any revelations. This makes the players start to wander because, even if the characters don't believe they're being stalked, if you start asking for certain rolls than the players will. It's all about using the meta considerations to your own advantage, after all.

Its a horror game.

It doesn't have to be fair.

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