Steven King famously wrote in his defense of horror that we’re all mentally ill; “those of us outside of the asylums only hide it a little better” (Why We Crave Horror Movies).
These days, it may be questionable what exactly defines a person as mentally ill, but most horror lovers would probably agree by and large with this sentiment. We all have fears– fear of the dark, fear of snakes or bugs, fear of tight places, of crowds, fear of death. When we engage with horror as a genre, whether on screen, in literature or in gaming, we are confronting these fears and tapping into a bit of our subjugated insanities. In doing so, we face and confront them, from a safe vantage point of course. In effect, we push through so that we (hopefully) come out the other side, alive and well and ready to face another day of usually much more mundane horrors. If only slightly less sane from the experience.
And so we partake these carefully constructed thrills knowing that our lives, however safe, however stable and normal they appear, can be overturned in a moment, shattered to pieces in a sheen of red or smothered over with a suffocating blanket of icy darkness. And this, I think, is why we pay the price of admission when it comes to horror– we want to experience these thrills. Vicariously.
When we immerse ourselves in horror, especially at the gaming table, we are affirming our own continued importance and our existence in the face of annihilation and overwhelming trauma. Just as there exists those players who love to swing an axe through an orc skull, thereby vanquishing ‘evil’, there are some of us who prefer instead to explore the full implications of what ‘evil’ is as well as how it changes us when we truly confront it. Then again, some of us just like descriptions of eviscerated remains lying on a dungeon floor or in a back alleyway, left like so much trash by an unseen Jack the Ripper. Some of us love to explore the Dangerous Arts and what it means to be a master of undeath and undying as a bone-chilling Necromancer.
This blog is aimed at:
- Gamers with a love of horror, and whatever subgenre you prefer (splatter, extreme, home invasion, slasher, monsters, occult and everything else out there)
- Gamers looking to explore the possibility of a little horror in their games
- Gamers of any type of system there is, Dungeons & Dragons, World of Darkness and others.
- Horror fans looking for games with a horror flavor.
Some great, gaming and non-Gaming horror resources about the genre:
- Faculty of Horror Podcast, a unique and charming podcast by the engaging and passionate duo, Andrea and Alex, who tackle the genre with a modern, progressive bent.
- Why We Crave Horror, the master himself speaks, Steven King on why people enjoy horror movies so much.
- Horror Genres and Sub-genres, explains to the discerning palette all the subtle flavors of what makes a particular work a particular genre by Popcorn Horror.
- The Problem with Horror Movies Today, a unique take on the differences between modern horror flicks and the more ‘classic’ ones of the past by YouTuber Chris Stuckman.
- How to Run a Horror Setting in Your RPG by Guy Sclanders is a great resource for storytellers and players hoping to capture the spirit of horror at the table.
- The 3 Stages of Horror by Youtuber Daniel Profeta and how to incorporate them in running a Horror RPG.
- A nice Intro to the History of Horror RPGs that details their creators and inspirations – a must read for anyone looking for a quick primer on Horror RPGs by Husband & Wife bloggers Eric & Karen from the Strangers Bookshelf blog.
And Lastly, my Affiliate Disclosure: This blog uses affiliate programs for monetization, which means when you click on certain, but not all, links to various sites that I recommend, mention or cover in my various posts, I may receive a commission.
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SITE UPDATES / Upcoming Releases
11/1/2021 – In case your new, or you haven’t stopped by in a while, I recently gave this site a major overhaul. I’ve been MIA for a long time now and wanted to start fresh before I began posting again. As it is, with how the layout is now, both the individual posts and the overall look-and-feel, this is much more how I envisioned this website when I initially wanted to start publishing.
Now about upcoming content – the Spookies adventure is what I consider this sites second ‘major’ release, after DOOM:Comes to the Realms. Hopefully its more well received that that first issue. I was pleasantly surprised to see Spookies get a Kill Count this week – hopefully it will add to searches and more visitors.
In the weeks ahead, I plan on releasing more monsters, but also more adventures. Specifically I want to put out a Scanners adventure that also includes subclass options, and a Halloween (Michael Myers-themed) adventure, borrowing inspiration from Van Richten’s guidebook. I am also going to put out more full fledged writing – including stories from some systems I love, and even some other media as well. There may not be a weekly schedule from this point on, but if anything that will largely be due to the length and depth of the content I’m going to release. So I hope you’ll stick around to see what’s ahead, and why not say hello if you do!