Favourite Horror RPG

I’m going to go with Sorcerer by Ron Edwards.

This is a tough one, as I don’t think I play straight-up horror RPGs all that often, leaning toward urban fantasy and “heroic horror” genres like Buffy and Hellboy, And it’s weird to classify Sorcerer as “horror”, because it’s not horror in the classic RPG, “investigate/fight monsters” sense.

Still, Sorcerer is very much (maybe literally) about confronting inner demons (and outer demons, since summoning and handling them is the whole point). It’s about the price of power and the horrible things we’re willing to do in payment. So, it’s not oogy-boogy-spookum horror, but “Oh, my God, what have I done?” horror, which is a lot more appealing to me.

I’ve read the rulebook and the supplements a few times, but I’ve only played it once, a great session run by Ron as part of the Kickstarter for the annotated edition (thanks to MadJay Brown for inviting me). I’d love to play some more, much less get around to reading my annotated edition. This is a powerful game. It’s also an indie classic, one of the Great Games™ of our hobby, and I think everyone should at least read it (and its supplements), if not play it at least once.

Ref: http://adept-press.com/games-fantasy-horror/sorcerer/

A (distant) runner-up for this topic would be Call of Cthulhu d20. Yeah, I know, lame. Whatever. I honestly consider this a good d20 design, frankly an improvement over the original BRP version. I’ve had fun both playing and running it, and it always makes me sad that Chaosium did pretty much nothing to support it. It’s maybe the only stripped-down, low/no-power d20 design I’ve seen, and, for  a d20 game, it works pretty damn well.

14 thoughts on “#rpgaday2015

  1. I remember Ron saying that Sorcerer’s setting is more like horror than like fantasy/urban fantasy.

    Because in a horror movie, it’s not like “this is an alternate world in which there are monsters, what would that alternate world be like, let us explore and worldbuild that concept.”  It’s like “this is the real world OH FUCK THERE ARE MONSTERS WHY ARE THERE MONSTERS THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS MONSTERS ITS EATING MY LEGS OH GOD”

  2. It’s not anything very direct, more of a similarity of the shape of gameplay and mindset underlying the game itself.

    None of the specific procedures of Fronts are taken from Sorcerer, but they parallel the way NPCs in Sorcerer are driven by their own needs and desires derived from the relationship map.

    The list of hard moves and everything Ron’s written about Bangs and Crosses and Bobs and Weaves are both driving play in the same direction.

    Every Sorcerer character has bound a demon and must deal with the problems that generates. Every playbook has their own innate problems that they need to deal with.

    A lot of the sex moves address similar issues as many definitions of Humanity.

    So, it’s not like you handle the dice or count the points the same, it’s more like the relationship between the people, the fiction, and the rules is very similar. Like a shark and a dolphin.

  3. Mark Delsing To add to Mr. MIller’s list, there’s also a lack of the traditional overarching GM-authored plot in both designs.  In both games, as in Houses of the Blooded, one plays to see what will happen next and how things will turn out.