I was browsing the D&D forums recently and someone was looking for hints on how to start a horror campaign.
How I would plan for the first game of a horror campaign
I guess the point of running a horror campaign is to scare the players. The atmosphere – where you play in RL, and the descriptions of the scenes in the game – and the kind of creatures they face will have an efffect on the success of the campaign.
This article could come in handy: How to run a successful first D&D game.
Create a bond between player and character
But what are the players scared of? Nothing – at least when you start the game they fear nothing. So what do you want them to be afraid of? You want them to fear for their characters well-being. But for them to feel and fear for their characters, they need to love them first.
So the first part of the plan is to make them love their characters. Dungeons & Dragons is all about the characters – especially the PCs, not the NPCs. To scare the players and their characters I’d introduce the setting and the mood smoothly and throw in encounters that are tailor-made to make the PCs feel powerful. I’d plan the encounter so they get to see the full potential of their new characters. Maybe you can have one or 2 more of these perfect for the PCs encounters so they really see how great they are and they might even start planning long-term for the character.
Unleash your arsenal
And then you hit them. You hit them with something more than the possibility of just seeing their PC die. You introduce an X factor in the game – a undead sickness that would maul a character’s body and crush his soul, or flesh-eating monsters that could maim a character with one bite. Make sure they understand that they are not safe, that they understimated the opposition, that they are stuck in hell, and that the price for any mistake or letdown will be to see their character wither slowly before dying painfully.
Easier said than done. Anyhow. That would be my plan. Hope that helps someone out there.
Have you ever run a horror campaign?
If you’ve played in one let me know what worked for you or what you liked about it.