As opposed to yesterdays Supers question, today is all about a genre I have played a fair amount or, Horror. Despite it not being my favourite genre overall, I’d say horror is the game I run best, probably because I think it’s the easiest to run well, but thats another story, and it’s one i’ve played off an on since my earliest days at the table.
Like most folk my age, my first introduction to horror RPG’s was through Vampire, The Masquerade. I started gaming during the 90’s at the height of the Anne Rice craze and everyone was obsessed with Vampires, not dumb twinkly Twilight vampires, but ancient, tear your throat out vampires and I was just the same. That first game of Vampire did not go well, the Storyteller didn’t really know what he was doing and we struggled to escape from the warehouse we started in, something about needing multiple 9’s on D10’s to open a door.
That didn’t stop me though, I bought Werewolf and tried to run that, without much more success than the Vampire ST, but it was a start and it wasn’t long after that I was introduced to what I consider to be the best Horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu.
My first Call of Cthulhu session, which was as a player, not a Keeper, pretty much set the bar for any session of Cthulhu I run. It was a simple investigation, just playing through The Haunting from the rule book, but the low lighting, the focus from the group and the Keeper and just the overall atmosphere just worked and by the end I was rocking back and forth in my chair muttering “This is not happening” over and over. In short, it was AWESOME.
I’ve played other horror games since, Vampire Dark Ages, Hunter the Vigil, Vampire the Requiem, Ravenloft and more but nothing has come close to Call of Cthulhu. I’ve also run several Cthulhu campaigns myself, including Masks of Nyarlathotep, Beyond the Mountains of Madness and Tatters of the King, with the latter being one of the finest campaigns, of any game, I’ve ever run.