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Product Line: OGL (d20)
Author: Gareth Hanrahan
Publish Year: 2003
Pages: 256
Dimensions: 8.5x11x.7"
Restockable: No
Type: Hardcover


A player in a horror game is asked to perform a strange sort of double-think. On the one hand, the character should be as real as possible, with goals, desires, hopes and fears, a family, friends, a job, and all the trappings and ties of life. However, the player knows that this is a horror game – if you hear a noise upstairs, it probably is a monster, and your friends are probably going to end up as bait, or madmen, or worse. Every tie to the world can be turned against you; and every heroic act can get you killed. For a horror game to work properly, the player has to accept and embrace this paradox and give the Games Master the tools he needs to hurt the character. Some players therefore try to second-guess the Games Master, by creating characters who have no tie to or interest in the world, and who just try to escape from the scenario as soon as possible instead of facing the horror. This is counterproductive and simply not fun for either player or Games Master. Keep these two rules in mind:

You are here to get scared. Attempting to escape the game ('my character does not reply to the desperate letter from his brother, but instead goes on holiday to Hawaii') is not fun.

There is always a chance of success, but it is always a slim one.

The wise player knows that there is actually only one rule there.

In most horror games, the character creation rules become the most well-thumbed and familiar sections of the book. Few characters survive for long – some fall victim to bizarre and gory fates, others go insane, and others are only used for one-shots or short campaigns anyway. These rules are designed to produce a well-rounded and workable character as quickly as possible, without producing forgettable, disposable non-entities. For those playing in longer games, or who want more finesse when it comes to character generation, there are more detailed class rules later in the chapter.