Friday, September 29, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 3: "Unquenchable"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation Burial Plots is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The third adventure I wrote, "Unquenchable," is a hex crawl where my own personal demons stalk the players in a setting where they instead hold all of the cards...

Many of my previous CRYPTWORLD adventures take place in a confined, claustrophobic space: an abandoned hospital, a jetliner in flight, the rotting farmhouse outside of town. So for my next adventure, I wanted to break out of that genre trope and have the setting be eerily "calming." So I created an outdoor hex crawl that takes place in the middle of the day. The sun's up and the players can see for miles. The players are both armed and in constant radio contact with the authorities. How could I take this setting -- where ALL of the advantages are in the hands of the PCs -- and twist it so they instead find themselves faced with a living nightmare? All you need is a good monster -- and lots of them.

They say "Write what you know," so I decided to dip into the well of Sniderman's Personal Fears. You see, spiders terrify me, as I have severe arachnophobia. Monster films featuring spiders -- no matter how low-budget and cheesy -- give me the willies. (In fact, I used this phobia earlier when I wrote "Tangled Threads" found in CRYPTWORLD's first supplement, Monsters Macabre.) So the Tarantulords were to make a comeback. But I wanted these to be even more horrific. More frightening. More dangerous. As I mulled a new hybrid of "werewolf spiders" or "zombie spiders," I chanced upon the concept of  "vampire spiders," and realized with a shudder that THOSE ACTUALLY EXIST.

And thus the protagonists of "Unquenchable" came to horrific life.

I don't want to spoil everything, so please consider pledging for Burial Plots and discover what other horrors are found in the woods!

Monday, September 25, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 2: "Condition Critical"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation "Burial Plots" is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The second adventure I wrote, "Condition Critical," features my favorite forgotten monster archetype…

Most horror RPGs (that are not Lovecraftian in nature) have several standard monsters the players have encountered -- those I call the Halloween Monsters: vampire, werewolf,  ghost, mummy, witch, zombie, etc. But my favorite "standard" monster is a 50's B-movie staple, one that defy classification...

--The Blob--

Not sure what is so appealing about the giant flesh-ingesting amoeba, but maybe its inability to be defined is what makes it such a great creature. It's a mobile pile of goo that just wants to eat. (And eat and eat and eat...) I was thrilled to see "Space Blob" listed as a new THING in CRYPTWORLD, so it was only natural that I bring this monster to pulsating, slime-coated, flesh-dissolving un-life in one of my adventures. At Ohio's Con on the Cob in 2013, "Condition Critical" was run as the first CRYPTWORLD game at a gaming convention.

For me, there's nothing creepier than a place that would otherwise be bustling that is mysteriously empty and abandoned -- especially if that location is typically clean and antiseptic, the exact opposite of the creaky run-down ramshakle house on the edge of town. So an abandoned hospital became the setting, and my blob -- Experiment TB-4 -- now runs amok within. Where did it come from? Well, that's a mystery you'll need to discover for yourself...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 1: "Forget-Me-Not"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation "Burial Plots" is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (I'll endeavor to stay as "spoiler-free" as I can, but read with caution.) The first adventure, "Forget-Me-Not," began -- appropriately enough -- with a nightmare…

I had the dream back in 2012. It was startling enough to make me sit bolt-upright in bed when I woke. I didn't remember much about the situation or setting upon awakening, but one image was burned into my subconscious: a phantom with long blades for hands. The spirit approached me, a scowl on its face.

"Who am I?" it asked.

I could tell the question was not one of identity. The ghost knew who it had been in life. No, rather the spirit wanted to find out if *I* knew who it was. I had never seen its face before.

"I'm sorry, but I don't know you," I answered. The spirit grimaced and sneered. One of its bladed hands pointed accusingly at me.

"You did this to me," it hissed. "You should know who you've killed. again, WHO AM I?" It swung the blade at my head. I was in a panic.

"I don't know! I don't know who you are!" I pleaded. The spirit looked sad -- disappointed, really. Then with a shriek, it swung at my neck...

And I woke up.


Later that year, as I prepped to attend my first Gary Con, I wanted to run a series of old-school RPGs for the Dead Games Society. I scheduled games of Ghostbusters and Timemaster, but I also wanted to run a horror scenario. One of my favorite old-school RPGs was Pacesetter's "Chill" horror RPG. I remembered the image of angry wraith, and the adventure "Arbor Day" -- to later become renamed as "Forget-Me-Not" -- spilled forth. At the convention, the players encountered a scene literally from my nightmares, and I saw both horror and excitement in their eyes as the scenario unfolded.

And I knew more horrific adventures would follow...

[Cryptworld] "Burial Plots" Adventure Compilation Now On Kickstarter!
The Kickstarter for the new CRYPTWORLD adventure supplement "Burial Plots" is now underway! CRYPTWORLD is Pacesetter's game of horror investigation and survival, and "Burial Plots" places your players face-to-face with monstrous THINGS in five full-length scenarios:

Condition Critical
Dr. Howard Eastman has called a press conference at his remote research facility to announce a medical breakthrough that will “eradicate human illness and suffering forever.” But what if the cure proves to be worse than the disease?

Three days ago, a group of hunters failed to return from their annual deer hunt near Akron, Ohio. Your team of expert trackers and investigators has been brought in to assist in the search. But there seems to be an undercurrent of unease amongst the police who whisper of a disturbing discovery they’ve made. Is there something sinister lurking in the forest?

Death in the Dust
In 1888, the silver-mining boomtown of Weaver, Arizona, was abandoned after a series of unexplained disasters, and the town was left to crumble in the desert sands. Today, the former ghost town has been revitalized as a historical attraction. Is history about to repeat itself?

Horrific axe murders recently committed in Oregon's Tillamook State Forest are identical to those committed by the legendary "Paul Bunyon Butcher" 40 years ago. However, the original killer – now elderly and feeble – remains behind bars. Has a copycat killer surfaced, or is this the work of something even more sinister?

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
The Christmas season is typically a time of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. But one THING has decided to make this year's Yuletide visit to relatives a horrific holiday from Hell.

"Burial Plots" has a modest goal of $1500 to fund, but if $4000 is reached, a new CRYPTWORLD Crypt Master's screen will be designed and released! And those folks who have not yet picked up CRYPTWORLD, the core rules are available as an add-on, as well as the entire Pacesetter RPG line including TIMEMASTER, ROTWORLD, and MAJUS. (And if you want CRYPTWORLD'S first supplement, "Monsters Macabre," that's available too!)

During the funding period, I may revisit each of these five scenarios and give you a bit of background on how these horrors came to life. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

[Cryptworld] "Creepy Comic Conversion" Issue 2 Now Available IN PRINT

Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series featuring "The Fleshless Ones" from Worlds of Fear Number 10 (1953) is now available in print from Magcloud! This 24-page mini-comic book takes a horrific tale from a classic horror comic and converts that story into a thrilling adventure for CRYPTWORLD!

In "The Fleshless Ones", Rookie patrolman Perry Mahoney was recently found dead in his apartment from unknown causes. Earlier in the week, he was acting strange, claiming he was being pursued by horrific living skeletons! Was Mahoney’s death caused by paranoia run rampant, or had he stumbled upon a grisly hidden conspiracy to subvert and control mankind?

Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series is now available in PDF at Drive Through RPG, and in a print-on-demand format at MagCloud. I'll also have copies available at AVL Scarefest and Acadecon this fall, so be sure to look for them.