Enjoying Dread on Sagas of Sundry? Well, here are four other games your you to try that can of the supernatural, weird, strange, and investigation to help you scratch the itch between episodes.
The universe doesn’t love you. The universe doesn’t hate you. Rather, it looks on you with the cold indifference of a scientist dissecting a rat.
In the universe,as envisioned by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, the universe doesn’t care about you at all, and there are powerful ancient beings that have designs on Earth. These beings view the existence of humanity the way you might an infestation of bedbugs. They are simply a pest to be removed.
Cthulhu Dark is a fresh new role-playing game for exploring Lovecraft’s horrifying vision of cosmic horror. Like Dread, the game is ridiculously simple. A six-sided die determines the outcomes of all actions. On a one, you succeed. And on a six, you do so smashingly. Watch out though! Sometimes on a six, you succeed a little too well, and may get a glimpse of the true horrors underlying reality and fall down the throat of insanity.
“Well, what fun is an RPG if everyone’s always just succeeding all the time?” I’m glad you asked that friend, because the universe being a cold dark place of infinite night, of course there’s a catch! In Cthulhu Dark, if other players at the table think it would be more interesting if a character failed at a task, they describe the horrid luck your character is about to have and roll a six-sided die as well. Whichever character rolls highest gets to narrate the result. The mechanic adds backstabbing fun to the cosmic horror.
Creator and Cthulhu wunderkind Graham Walmsley said, “Cthulhu Dark feels deeply intense, compared to other games. There’s no combat, no spells, nothing to distract you from the horror. You know you’re not going to win. You’ve signed up for that. And you get to enjoy your slide into destruction.”
Nancy Drew. The Hardy Boys. Veronica Mars. Scooby-Doo and Shaggy too. Everybody has a favorite teen sleuth, and Bubblegumshoe lets you slide into their sneakers, take down some bullies, and figure out exactly why Coach Kowalski’s been missing since prom… If you love the fact that the Sagas of Sundry crew portrays free-wheeling teenagers, this game’s for you.
Bubblegumshoe‘s mechanics focus on creating a true, high school experience at the table. Grownup Face is a skill that stands out. It allows characters to tell things to adults that they will believe. (“No Principal Withers, I was just cleaning up your desk as part of my detention. I wasn’t reading anything! Honest!”) There are extensive rules for social combat that will allow humiliations galore in the cafeteria.
It is fair to say that the game is a critical success. It’s up for four ENnies this year; including Best Rules, Best Game, and Product of the Year. Brilliant Bubblegumshoe designer Emily Care Boss said of the game’s accomplishments, “It’s a tremendous honor to be part of Bubblegumshoe and I feel grateful that the ENnie judges are giving such wonderful recognition to the work that the Evil Hat Productions’ staff, our fantastic contributing authors, and the core design team did to make these Teen Sleuths come alive. We hope Nancy Drew would be proud of our beloved Jessica Park!”
Night’s Black Agents
You’re breaking into the headquarters of a massive multinational corporation for your government. You slip into the CEO’s office at 2 AM and she’s there! She’s sucking the blood out of the nightwatchman! Good God! Shoot it! Shoot it! Why won’t you die?
And when you run back to your government to tell them you’ve discovered vampires are real, they send a death squad after you. They must be controlled by the bloodsuckers too. Well, only one thing to do. Take the vamps down before they kill you.
Jason Bourne vs. Dracula is a fair capsule summary of Night’s Black Agents, which was the brainchild of gaming genius Ken Hite. The game is worth checking out because in addition to a setting that’s equal parts slow motion action sequences and undead abominations so scary they’ll make your blood congeal, the game also sports one of the greatest RPG campaigns of all time, The Dracula Dossier.
In DD, you discover that the events of the novel Dracula actually took place, and the old count is still being used as an asset by British intelligence to hunt down Al-Qaeda in the 21st century.
Or is he using them?
The campaign has handouts so beautiful they would make statues weep, and the “unredacted” version of Dracula which has 50,000 extra words added to it, along with three sets of annotations.
In a world where ghosts and supernatural entities are infesting the mortal world at an ever-increasing rate, and where Silicon Valley sees this as a business opportunity, comes InSpectres. Bay Area tech geeks believe they have found technological methods for supernatural removal and elimination. This is a unique business opportunity for you and your partners to open their own InSpectres franchise and make a mint removing spooks, spectres, and ghosts from your local community!
This game is part Ghostbusters, part Silicon Valley, and a dash of reality television thrown in for fun. (Characters have confessionals, just like on Big Brother!) Players get to build their franchise and go out on jobs. Vampires infesting your blood bank? Ghosts haunting your sushi shop? Call InSpectres today!
But the fun of InSpectres doesn’t stop with its setting. It also has mechanics that put players in charge of the plot. In a unique twist for an investigative role-playing game, the game-master doesn’t come up with a plot and spoon feed it to her players. On successful rolls, players get to dictate what occurs, even if they are translating a book of spells from Chinese. Are the spells just nonsense, or do they contain incantations which would turn a human being into a jellyfish? Only the successful player can decide for sure, and everyone else at the table, even the game-master, has to roll with it.
What horror RPGs do you enjoy? Let us know in the comments!
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Feature Image Credit: Evil Hat Productions
Image Credits: Momento Mori, Pelgrane Press, Evil Hat Productions, and Cthulhu Dark
Ben Riggs speaks five languages and has lived in four countries on three continents, but still manages to lose his keys in the bathroom. A friend to man, animal, and werewolf alike, you can discover more of Ben’s thoughts on game, the universe, and everything on Twitter, or on the Plot Points podcast. He is also the liberal voice on Across the Aisle, a podcast where a liberal and conservative work together to solve the 21st century’s problems.