Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Post-Climactic Hijinks

R.G. Male ©2007 Excerpted from "Unnamed Psychic Horror Game"

It's perhaps not universal, but there seems to be an interest in what happens after a novel is over, or the credits roll on a movie, and the characters go back to their real and supposedly normal lives. This begs the question, what if you were to run a game that takes place after all of the action, after the horror story is over and done? This isn't such an odd idea for a story or movie script but it may be fresh territory for gaming. Sure the result could be pretty dull depending on what goes on, what the characters are like, what kind of lives they lead and how they continue to interact or not interact. Here's where specific injections into the idea make for an excellent time.

During this game, all of the characters only have dim recollections of what happened. They remember bits and pieces... often in dreams and nightmares, sometimes unbidden when they are awake and a sight or a smell reminds them of one of the events that happened. When the memory comes back to them, one of two things can happen. 1) The GM tells them a little snippet of something that happened. Never a full "scene", just a touch of it, a taste like the acrid flavour of bile, and the burning in the back of your throat that comes with it. 2) The recollection is a flashback of the entire scene, with however many (or all) of the players involved, as needed, which you play out as normal.

R.G. Male ©2007 Excerpted from "Unnamed Psychic Horror Game"

In this way the story unfolds unlike any other, but yet the aftermath of things can be dealt with, and the taint upon the character's lives as these memories surface explored. One question that immediately comes to mind is to how to handle what happens if one of the players dies during a flashback. This opens up a couple avenues of mind-bending goodness, if you let it happen.

Maybe out of all of the flashbacks not everything is entirely true. There could be layers, where one flashback is actually is a dream and not a flashback. Depending on mood and setting demands maybe the death was not really a death but a really close miss. It wasn't as bad as it looked, or someone, something, some force healed them. Maybe the characters' lives after the big event are what are not true. This is certainly a tried and true twist. It shouldn't be over done though, and requires skill and finesse not to butcher it.

Then there is the idea that maybe the one killed is a ghost and nobody knows it. This means the person themself does not know they are dead. Imagine if the person is dead, and people all around him don't notice. As long as no one thoughtlessly walks through the ghost or vice versa then the illusion would remain complete as long as they can still pick things up. I would suggest them not having physical contact with other people and that mechanism being that which exposes the deception. Or what if they were the walking dead, animated flesh driven by untethered consciousness and telekinesis?

R.G. Male ©2007 Excerpted from "Unnamed Psychic Horror Game"

Mood: woollen.
Music: Keep Passing the Open Windows by Queen and Trouble Again by Quiet Riot.

Queen: The Works
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Quiet Riot: Down to the Bone

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