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Help Request Spooky Help

Started by ImMrRoboto April 10th, 2017 7:26 AM
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  • 5 replies

ImMrRoboto

That's MISTER Roboto to you!

Male
Earth
Seen 4 Weeks Ago
Posted July 17th, 2018
254 posts
3.7 Years
So does anyone remember the post I made a while back pitching the idea of an Until Dawn RP? Well, I actually have a very large concern about that. You see, my problem isn't with developing the story or anything. My problem is this: How does one do horror in an RP? Should I just leave it to the RPers themselves or what? I imagine it's hard to build tension in an RP. The one idea, however, that I have is that occasionally, I would make certain things happen to throw certain characters together.

For Example:
A Cave-In Occured!

RPers A, D, and F got seperated from RPers B, C, E, and G


Other than that and the death mechanic mentioned in the other post, I've got nothing.
"It's not a matter of life or death, It's about what breaks first;Your will, or the barriers in your way." -VaatiVidya

gimmepie

Age 24
Male
Australia
Seen 1 Hour Ago
Posted 6 Hours Ago
20,473 posts
7.5 Years
Horror is an extremely hard thing to achieve in an RP because mostly you're required to simply trust your participants to keep to the tone you set.

Jauntier

Where was your antennas again?

Male
USA
Seen April 6th, 2018
Posted December 23rd, 2017
661 posts
4.3 Years
My problem is this: How does one do horror in an RP?
This is an interesting concern.

Horror is a mood you hope to arouse out of the audience, and that can be achieved in a variety of ways. I think a dependence on what has arguably become stereotypically "scary" situations will not suffice, as just the situation alone does not carry the mood as it does delving into the ideas of why a circumstance is scary, and the emotions that come of it.

Let's take your example. Six players are now separated into two groups by a cave-in. A possible outcome of it is death. Is that scary?

Well, what's the significance in having the uniform group before, and what's the drawback now in being separated? Since death is a possible outcome, in what way could that outcome be met from this separation? This is all assuming that the cave-in is, of course, a critically bad thing, or something that will create the domino effect into something that is bad. But why the assumption? We have to give some agency to the characters and the overall setting before we can give any weight to this event.

Maybe every character in this group has something essential to each other's survival, and moving on would certainly hinder or even impede progress without the others' skills/items/etc. That creates a sense of loss. Knowing you cannot move on without this or that else you will meet demise in some way can arouse a sense of dread, which is prominent in horror.

Maybe on one side of the cave-in, there is a leaking, noxious gas, and now there is a lethal build up because this large exit is blocked by debris. Now, this half of the group has to do something to get themselves out of the situation or die by the end of a time frame (however that is to be counted by the GM--perhaps a post limit per player or your own timekeeping posts, etc.). This creates a sense of urgency. Knowing you cannot move on in a hazardous situation that will kill you if you act incorrectly or without proper prioritization arouses dread.

Maybe there is a quiet sound like whispers and gurgles in the pitch-black distance further down the cave--and that direction is the only way to proceed, as no one has the strength or tools to break through the debris. Perhaps the group was warned that this cave was unexplored past a certain point, a point they long ago crossed. Perhaps this was a known place of safe refuge for scavengers long ago. Perhaps the group knew nothing of this cave whatsoever. Whatever the case may be, no one knows what those sounds are, but it's there, it could come closer, and if push comes to shove it is in the direction of the only possible exit--that they think they know of. This creates a sense of the unknown or nondescript. Not knowing and having that ignorance loom over you yet needing to take an action that could lead to your death arouses dread.

There's more to it still. Mood in writing can be a bit tricky, but it can be affected by indulging in creative sensory details. You can use sensory details to build up the atmosphere of a situation. Elicit an emotional response in describing and interacting with setting, or playing around with descriptions of intangible things like creeping feelings to unnerve, shock, make uncomfortably intimate, or uncomfortably distance a reader to a character or setting. Tone in your post as a GM or a players' post can also work to create a sense of horror--either by keeping uniform or using a more critical level of dissonance and deconstruction through the tool of the character and possibly the voice in narration.

TL;DR Horror is horror not because an event or action is in itself "scary", but in the senses you evoke through circumstances that are greater than and surround the characters. Exploring the connection between understanding the importance of the situation, the nature of the emotions that rise out of it, and tinkering with the sensory descriptions (and even the lack thereof) of both can help give it legitimacy. It's also well worth it to keep in mind that the horror genre capitalizes on not so much the mortality of man, but our vulnerability.
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Greetings

Who's Kiyo?

puking rainbows

Age 24
Male
Olivine City
Seen 3 Weeks Ago
Posted September 6th, 2018
3,221 posts
8.5 Years

I couldn't agree more than Jauntier; in fact, Until Dawn demonstrates this concept as well: the section that presents all the typical "scary" bits you'd find in b-horror (the walk through the psycho's basement) is, purposefully, the least scary portion of the game. Scary things like spooky ghosts and murders don't make horror; tension, set-up, and payoff do. Mundane situations can be made scary, ordinary people can be scary.

I will ask you one thing: Until Dawn capitalizes on the loss of character life as a score for how well the player is doing. Do you plan on having character elimination? How will you deal with the mechanic?

hugh holland in "cracks: a sinnoh story"
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ImMrRoboto

That's MISTER Roboto to you!

Male
Earth
Seen 4 Weeks Ago
Posted July 17th, 2018
254 posts
3.7 Years
I will ask you one thing: Until Dawn capitalizes on the loss of character life as a score for how well the player is doing. Do you plan on having character elimination? How will you deal with the mechanic?
Yes, I actually do. I covered it in the last post

Here's a link to it: http://www.pokecommunity.com/showthread.php?t=384659
"It's not a matter of life or death, It's about what breaks first;Your will, or the barriers in your way." -VaatiVidya

Who's Kiyo?

puking rainbows

Age 24
Male
Olivine City
Seen 3 Weeks Ago
Posted September 6th, 2018
3,221 posts
8.5 Years

Yes, I actually do.
It seems your player elimination revolves solely around inactivity as it stands. While there is plenty of possibility for your players to go inactive and allow this to set in, it kinda eliminates the threat for active players who have no troubles keeping active, no? How are they supposed to feel the threat of death in a meta sense? How would would enforce player death, and keep it fair?

hugh holland in "cracks: a sinnoh story"
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Pair
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Underground
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