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Horror Inspiration for WoD

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  • Horror Inspiration for WoD

    So, I think it’s fair to say that a great deal of WoD material is heavily inspired by horror media, even if the old gothic horrors might not tingle spines today like they used too.

    Within the systems, setting, and rules of WoD you have tools for bringing about just about any horror concept you want, in most cases it’s as easy as saying that an evil spirit or occultist did something spooky.

    So we all know that horror stuff can be created in a bunch of different ways using WoD systems, but what I’m curious about is, what horror concepts do people wish we had more material or systems for?

    To give an example, I really like a lot of the CoD titles like ‘Inferno’, ‘Immortals’, or ‘Slasher’ that aren’t explicitly tied to anyone of the game lines. If you had a hypothetical world where a bunch of those types of things were being made for WoD (or CoD), what sort of stuff would you all want to see?

    I hope that this thread can give a chance for folks to share and receive inspiration as well for the kind of things they might include as story hooks in their own chronicles or as one-shot focuses.

  • #2
    I would have enjoyed something about alien abductions and UFO encounters from a horror perspective, in the vein of Fire in the Sky (1993), The 4th Kind (2009), and "The Autopsy" episode of Cabinet of Curiosities (2022), as well as books like Maurice Renard's The Blue Peril and Dean Koontz's The Eyes of Darkness.


    What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
    Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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    • #3
      Oh, Aliens definitely.

      IMO aliens begin to lose their mystique if you explain them too much (but on the other hand, it would make sense for Etherites and Changelings to meet Pleaidians & Reptoids) but a lot of Alien/UFO lore makes great WoD story fodder.

      Lost time, mysterious lights, disturbing unknown visitors, abductions, conspiracies, Men in Black, all good stuff to show up in the right kind of chronicle.

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      • #4
        I have long been disappointed that 1st ed Changeling didn't lean into both the similarities between faerie encounters and alien abductions, and the early 90s cultural fascination with aliens (ie The X Files) to include a Hunter group based around UFO fanatics and abduction survivors who were convinced that Changelings were alien invaders.

        Also that you didn't see such modern cultural zeitgeists reflected more in the Dreaming with various chimera resembling foo fighters, Greys and what not.


        What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
        Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah, while I do get what the anachronism in Changeling is going for I do think it’s somewhat disappointing.

          My headcanon is that the Dreaming actually is more of a collective unconscious then it’s usually presented but that the Arcadians actively campaign to suppress modern dream images in favor of their idealized chivalric romantic archetypes.

          With that said I do think there’s plenty of room for including aliens in Changeling with a bit of elbow grease. One example that I like is including a somewhat obscure (mostly found in the American Southwest) factions of Nockers called the Astronocks who do things like construct chimerical flying saucers and so forth.

          That said I do also think you could do fairly well by having scary/malevolent changeling encounters represented by dark-kin/thallain, the more benign by kithain (Nocker martians/grays, Redcap reptoids, Sidhe pleaidians, etc.) with a healthy abundance of chimera mixed in.

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          • #6
            I want to ground my version of the WoD in the real world as much as possible, so I try to include things from actual myth, legend, and folklore. If you stray too far from that, it can begin to make the WoD more like a fantasy setting on another world than a horror one set in this one based on Gothic horror concepts or the classic old Universal monster movies. Still, I do include certain things from various horror authors that I like and bring into the game - Lovecraft, Barker, Barron, and various others all have stuff I want to include.

            For any monster that was once human or animal, I find the Fomori concept to be great. I just have to invent more fomori powers and tie them to a specific kind of fomori. Because I run Werewolf, I always include a proper Garou explanation - mention the Wyrm, a specific Bane, explain the nature of the taint and how the transformation occurs, etc. But I also include an explanation that does not use Werewolf terminology that makes sense to the fomori type and could be explained to other splats.

            For things that were never human or animal, then making them Spirits, Monsters (in the Werewolf sense), Bygones, or Chimerical creatures can do the same.

            I find myself going to the various Books of the Wyrm or Books of Madness as the best means to reconcile what I want to do in terms of WoD mechanics or metaphysics.

            I also try not to limit myself that a specific monster from myth, legend, or folklore only has one source. Since those things often have contradictory features depending on the specific story, I like to be able to use different things that could account for those stories. So even in a case like vampires, while the Kindred make up the vast majority of undead bloodsuckers that we call vampires, there might also be a type of fomori, Chimera, materialized spirit, etc. that also contributes to the vampire legend. The Kindred might not consider that creature to be a "vampire", but ordinary people would probably classify them as such.

            In terms of material being available, I would have liked some universal sourcebooks (under the World of Darkness brand, not any specific gameline like the original Sorcerer) that would have factions that could be inserted into any of the gamelines (perhaps with different "explanations" that could be given to PCs of any game so it makes sense to them, and they could see it as being more natural to their own gameline rather than thinking why is this Werewolf foe or Changeling antagonist in my Vampire game).

            I would want a general Astral Plane sourcebook. One that gave the STs tools to utilize it more in game. Vampire really needed that since level 5 Auspex created that need. But easily anything there would also be of use to Werewolf and Mage.

            I would also have wanted a sourcebook on how to better incorporate Dreams into the game, since multiple game lines include rules for interacting in dreams. In practice, I don't see these get used because most STs don't have the time to develop this. (I am not saying this subject necessarily requires its own sourcebook, just that the material would be needed. A single sourcebook that combined the Astral and Dreams would be perfectly fine for me).

            A sourcebook that detailed more independent factions that were already mentioned, but never developed, would have been nice. Especially as more general antagonists or plots that could crossover. The Circle of Red was mentioned in both Werewolf and Mage, but then mostly forgotten. Some of the subsidiaries of PENTEX would also have been nice, like Avalon Toys (in its original depiction of creepy child toy horror rather than a generic left wing criticism of the real toy industry). Creepy child toys that murder you or turn children evil is something that could be used in many games, not just Werewolf. Mage would mention groups like the Flaming Brand Church or the Circle of the Broken Star. Why not develop them and explain whys they might be used in other games?

            I would also like to have seen sourcebooks targeted to a specific kind of horror, and how to include that in other game lines. What are element of cosmic horror that could be used in Vampire that would still seem like PCs are in a vampire game, rather than some other game, or Werewolf PCs thinking it is appropriate for Werewolf and not a distracting element, and so on. In many cases, the problem is not one of concept, but presentation keeping with the themes of that specific gameline. Haunted houses, infernalist cults, scientific horror, mythological monsters are other examples.

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            • #7
              Some sort of WoD: Cults book, looking at how cults work in both the real world and as a horror fiction trope, talking about the Folk Horror genre and how to incorporate it into the WoD games, the sort that exist in each game (blood cults, Gehenna cults, Wyrm cults, Infernalists, Spectre cults, Heretics, etc.), and how certain groups like the Garou/kinfolk and the Verbena (among others) can play the role of Folk Horror cults as protagonists. Plus a bunch of ready to go sample cults.


              What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
              Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh yeah, a Cults book would be good. The WoD books talk about cults (and their sister groups like Secret Societies and Conspiracies) but they rarely go into the weeds much about how such groups would actually work in the WoD and what their uses may be.

                Which is odd because basically every game line is in effect a Secret Society of some form or another and having to keep themselves hidden is a default plot hook for basically all of them.

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                • #9
                  One idea I had about a dozen years ago was what I came to call WoD: Brutal Planet, which would have been about survival horror and hostile environments. Mainly wilderness-based scenarios (Alive, 27 Hours, Flight of the Phoenix, Survivorman), but also things like war zones (Kilo Two Bravo), prisons (Oz), and maybe natural disasters (The Impossible, Dante's Peak) and urban violence (Assault on Precinct 13).
                  Last edited by No One of Consequence; 11-02-2022, 09:41 PM.


                  What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                  Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That would be pretty cool too I think. A book like that would be crazy useful for a Werewolf game too I figure. Heck if you compile all the wilderness sections from the various werewolf sourcebooks over the years you could probably get something which loosely resembles that.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, a Werewolf sourcebook that emphasized the variety of scenarios that can be had in the wilderness would be welcome because I see so many STs concentrate solely on urban foes and scenarios. Yet we should expect 80% plus of Werewolf to take place in rural or wilderness. It's clearly an area many STs need support in.

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                      • #12
                        For horror, I am more inspired by the environment than the actual events. Jeepers Creepers 2 comes to mind; I liked the terrain more than the movie, same with Children of the Corn.

                        Authors, like H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, don't really scare me or get me in the mood for horror. Lovecraft's stories seem to be hard to follow.

                        I recently read that the last years of Queen Mary I's rule in England were exceptionally rainy and thought, "Well, that's a good background for a WoD game. So, I went to the local-library and grabbed the only book on that subject, Blood Mary's Martyrs, good book; some details about history follow by a list of the Protestant martyrs and how they met their ends; "Aye lass, you don't believe in the real presence"?

                        While messing around with a Civil War, Wargame editor program (American Conquest: Divided Nation), I was more inspired for horror when I found out I can draw shadows on the terrain. Hmm, I've got corn-fields, 1800s buildings, dead-trees and a shadow (tendrils) I can draw; hmmmmmm, YES DAMIEN!

                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        Yeah, a Werewolf sourcebook that emphasized the variety of scenarios that can be had in the wilderness would be welcome because I see so many STs concentrate solely on urban foes and scenarios. Yet we should expect 80% plus of Werewolf to take place in rural or wilderness. It's clearly an area many STs need support in.

                        The opposite in D&D; a lot of DMs need help in the cities.

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