Next to Fantasy, Horror has to be one of the most popular genres for Roleplaying games. In today’s installment for Games to Start With, we’ll take a look at the games focused on the creepy and horrifying.
Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium
If you haven’t heard of H.P. Lovecraft, then you have some serious catching up to do. Call of Cthulhu is one of the most revered and well respected horror roleplaying games in history. Aside from having an incredibly rich tradition of horror literature to draw from, the game’s Sanity system ensures that nobody survives an encounter with evil without developing a few derangements.
Trail of Cthulhu by Pelgrane Press
If the classic Cthulhu experience sounds a little dry, then perhaps the newer Trail of Cthulhu game will be more up your alley. Powered by the Gumshoe system, the game focuses less on being able to find clues and more on what to do with them. Pelgrane has some terrific support for this line, and you can’t really go wrong with this pick either.
World of Darkness by White Wolf Publishing
Perhaps the most popular horror game series in recent times, the World of Darkness puts players in a world similar to ours, but where things hide in the shadows and prey upon humanity. The default of the game has players take the role of ordinary people who have had a glimpse of the supernatural and need to survive it (like the protagonists vs. Sadako in The Ring.) But the line truly shines when it starts getting into the supernatural games, where the aspect of Personal Horror becomes clear when the players take on the role of the monsters themselves, as you’ll see in the games below.
Vampire: the Requiem by White Wolf Publishing
The most popular of the World of Darkness supernaturals, Vampire: the Requiem is an unrelenting look into the vampires of the World of Darkness. It’s vicious, ugly and horrifying, and there’s nothing sparkly about the vampires here. Some enthusiasts have likened it to The Sopranos with fangs, where the politics of the undead take center stage and the struggle for power is eternal. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)
Werewolf: the Forsaken by White Wolf Publishing
Predator and Prey, the Werewolves of the World of Darkness are live a life of constant struggle for survival. Tasked with an ancient duty to police the spirit world and mortal realm from incursions from both sides, the Werewolves live lives of terrifying violence and constantly ride the razor’s edge between fury and sanity. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)
Mage: the Awakening by White Wolf Publishing
What would you do if you had the power to change reality? Players take on the role of Mages, ordinary people who have been blessed or cursed with the ability to see beyond the boundaries of this false reality. Much like the protagonists of the Matrix, Mages have been made aware of a higher reality and can no longer close their eyes to the unreal horrors that creep in from the cracks of this fallen world. Mages are cursed with knowledge and hubris in equal measure, and the world shudders at the tragedy that follows in their wake. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)
Changeling: the Lost by White Wolf Publishing
Players take on the role of humans who have been abducted by the Gentry to the realm of Arcadia, home of the Fae. In their terrifying period of capture they are twisted and transformed, turned into something no longer human. They are the Changelings, and their escape from Arcadia was no easy feat, but now that they’re free, they must constantly remain vigilant against the jealous Keepers who want them back. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)
Hunter: the Vigil by White Wolf Publishing
Something happened, and you know it wasn’t some freak accident that took her away from you. The players take on the role of Hunters, humans who have seen the supernatural and have taken steps to take back the night. Desperate and perhaps more than a little crazy, the Hunters live a lonely life of struggle to find closure by killing the monsters that shattered their normal lives. (Requires the World of Darkness Corebook to play)
There’s more to the World of Darkness, with Promethean: the Created, Geist: the Sin-Eaters and the upcoming Mummy: the Curse but I feel that the above titles are the strongest in the line so far.
That’s it for my initial batch, next week we’ll look at another genre: Sci-Fi
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