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martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011

Carrusel Bloguero de Juegos de Rol: Terror and Supernatural in role-playing games

With this post I inaugurate my participation in the Carrusel Bloguero (an initiative similar to the RPG Blog Carnival); this month is hosted by the blog Outcasted Project and talks about Terror and Supernatural in role-playing games.

When we referee a role-playing session with an important dose of terror in any of its many forms (fictional or realist as stated in the generic distinction made in the blog Quemando cromo it can be useful to consider some aspects we may explore to achieve a satisfactory experience for players and referees alike.

Portrait of H.P. Lovecraft drawn by Dominique Signore used under GNU license

First it’s necessary to think about on our role to referee sessions of this kind, because if we normally are charged with the description of the game, it’s background and what’s going on in this case we also must be ready to manage the feelings that our players may have. This will be relatively easy if the chosen game have topics and/or rules that predisposes referees and gamers to be deeply involved in the chosen setting (now I’m thinking about classical games like Call of Cthulhu), but it also could be useful to read about it so we can discover narrative techniques to be incorporated in the gaming sessions we develop; in this case I recommend to review the works of established authors available in Wikisource and Project Gutenberg, but with a special emphasis in the work of Howard Philips Lovecraft and the essay Supernatural Horror in Literature.

Photograph by ToNToN CoPT used under by-nc-sa 2.0 license

Once seen the role we play as referees we need to focus on what makes the players to immerse in the story, a thing that indeed it’s a very human reaction: fear to unknown.

Make no mistake; we are all afraid of what we do not know, so if the story a weird fact, creature, element or knowledge is presented, that it’s also in an environment full of disturbing situations or where characters are in danger, and we achieve to fully capture players’ attention to make them part of the plot we will have fulfilled our goal with flying colours.

Photograph by ToNToN CoPT used under by-nc-sa 2.0 license

Maybe some people after reading this post may think that to achieve the said goal will be easy because there’s a lot of thematic games with mechanisms and rules to handle terror effectively, there’s also many resources available to set the mood of our gaming sessions, like images (you know, a picture is worth a thousand words), music and useful props, but I think that if we also are capable to depict in a spoken manner with enough skill all that’s going on during a session (places, persons, mysterious beings, etc.) we will connect more effectively with players.

Photograph by ToNToN CoPT used under by-nc-sa 2.0 license

I hope that my personal view on the subject will be useful and will serve to further enjoy the task of refereeing. If you want to express your opinion on this post or wish to provide input on it do not hesitate to leave your comments.

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