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Thread: Creepy...

  1. #211
    Quote Originally Posted by Rechan
    I know it's obvious, but let the PCs find the aftermath of something they will face, but don't immediately follow up on it.
    There was a book for modern roleplaying, I think it was called "The Book of Unremitting Horror?" Part of each creature's descriptions contained a section called autopsy/coroner's report that described what a victim killed by said creature would look like. This is one of the absolute best gaming books I've ever read (and I don't even play D20 Modern!) I've tried to think of creatures that PCs usually don't think much of and find a way to explain how the victim looks. Basically looking at special attacks of creatures and finding a better way to describe what their victims would look like. For example: Mind-flayers, the books say it extracts the brains using four tentacles but there can be different ways this can be done. I've had corpses with missing eyes and hollow skulls where the mind flayer went in through the eyes to get the brains, it could also work w/ stretched nostrils, gaping mouths w/ holes in the roof of the mouth.

    Anyone have any ideas for what kind of damage other creatures could do and how the woulds look, creepier ways to describe it?
    Ninety percent of the time I'm a nice guy......

    .........ten percent of the time I'm the DM.

 

  • #212
    Our group found a gnome. In a cell.

    The rogue picked the lock while the gnome jumped for joy at being rescued.

    The LG gnome cleric in the party opened the gate. Down came the ceiling on the gnome in the cell. Everyone is sprayed with gnome bits. It was just a regular gnome.

    The way it happened was creepy, sort of. But, man, was it funny..

  • #213

    It's always scarier when you don't see the monster?

    So there are a lot of old sayings about things always being scarier when left unseen, I'm wondering if you guys think that is true or just the product of bad special FX? Do you like to show the creature or just hint, do you describe it in gruesome detail or try to leave it up to the players imaginations?

  • #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilgamer13
    So there are a lot of old sayings about things always being scarier when left unseen, I'm wondering if you guys think that is true or just the product of bad special FX? Do you like to show the creature or just hint, do you describe it in gruesome detail or try to leave it up to the players imaginations?
    "A closed door is better than an open door, because behind a closed door can be anything."

    Leaving some things ambiguous or hidden about a monster or enemy is better, because what remains hidden can be anything. Perhaps it's innocuous, perhaps it's a death trap. However, if you don't know its limits or capabilities, there is no way to prepare adequately for it--you can only do what you can, guess, second-guess, and eventually worry that your preparations will only make the final encounter worse...

    It's like how a test in school is far worse because you don't know what questions are going to be asked in advance. Same principle.
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  • #215
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    St. Abigail's Griffon was said to haunt a hospice runs by nuns in the Northern most part of Wales during the late 13th Century. St. Abigail was not actually sainted but was a young woman of a most saintly manner who could heal the sick and injured by taking the ailments upon yourself. A young, wandering swordsman with a griffon on his shield had fallen in love with her but lost his life protecting the hospice from the foulest of brigands. Anyone attempting to harm the place or its inhabitants thereafter was found torn to shreds by the claw marks of a great bird and the teeth of some massive predatory cat. The PCs arrived to escort the son of a local noble home after the young lord had spent time there. When enemies of the noble arrived to slay the boy the PCs dispatched them all save one who was found peck and scratched and bitten to death. As one of the PCs grew found of Sister Abigail, he found his room ransacked as if by a beast and the smell of an animal followed him. Once Abigail told the PCs the tale of the Griffon the PCs tried to capture it to a most unfortunate end for two of them.

    At no point did I ever completely describe the Griffon or have it appear in full view. In fact, one player believed there never was a Griffon and that Abigail was actually the culprit in some way. Nothing was proven one way or the other.

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  • #216
    Quote Originally Posted by evilgamer13
    So there are a lot of old sayings about things always being scarier when left unseen, I'm wondering if you guys think that is true or just the product of bad special FX? Do you like to show the creature or just hint, do you describe it in gruesome detail or try to leave it up to the players imaginations?
    Corpses and a call sign can work wonders....

    A scrawled message on the wall 'mantichora' - (translation 'manslayer'). An NPC left on watch is never seen again, but a drying puddle of blood is found.... That night a gentle sobbing can be heard, and will be heard in the ruins each night.

    An riding animal is found gutted, a guard dog is found hanging by the hind legs, its throat slit, but little blood found.

    Save the PCs for last.... The thing only attacks animals or creatures on their own, waiting, invisible. If one of the PCs is all alone then call him or her aside, describe in in sparse (but accurate) detail. If the PC loses then let him be found by the others, blood eagled....

    The thing dogs the party while they are at the ruins, and for three nights thereafter, then returns to the ruins and its lone brooding.

    Creatures that work well for this include hags, rakshasha (or other evil outsider), ogre magi, and some of the nastier fey you can come up with. Try to set it up so that whatever critter you choose can almost take the party, all by its lonesome, between 2 and 3 CR higher than the norm. Whatever the creature it is enjoying the groups fear.

    The inexplicable can also be creepy, finding a large number of skeletal undead tilling a field or harvesting the grain. A zombie church procession, carrying an altar for a lawful good deity. Undead carrying a closed casket from which can be heard curses and a pounding as someone, or something, tries to get out....

    And believe it or not I have on more than one occasion scared a party by having a giant muttering 'fe fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a Christian man. Be he live, or be he dead' (smacks the wall with his club) I'll grind his bones to make my bread...' Mind you, the lair that they had found was a veritable abattoir. Having the slovenly, blood caked monster quoting Shakespeare was just the last bit.

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    And the crew of the captain's gig...

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  • #217
    How well do you guys think non-standard monsters can do to help spice things up and keep monsters scary?

  • #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilgamer13
    How well do you guys think non-standard monsters can do to help spice things up and keep monsters scary?
    It keeps monsters surprising. That's a good step in the right direction.

    Of course, you need to make sure the PCs don't just punch right through the monster and splatter it in round 2.

    This can be handled by handing the monster abilities that effect adjacent foes, if they have DR/material the PCs do not have, or interesting abilities.

    I slapped the Mimic's "Adhesive" ability on a dire ape for this reason. PC hits it with his weapon, he now must make a reflex save or he loses his melee weapon in the monster's hide.

  • #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by evilgamer13
    How well do you guys think non-standard monsters can do to help spice things up and keep monsters scary?
    If something is predictable, it is conquerable. If you don't know what it's capable of, or have reason to doubt your preconceptions, then it's scary, no matter what it is.

    So, yes, non-standard monsters are important. I would even go so far as to say that they are key to keeping things scary. Any NPC is a non-standard monster, really.

    It is important, however, not to just slap together powers and capabilities willy-nilly. The monster must have motivation, rules, and must ultimately have a method of dealing with it. It may not be easy, it may cost lives, etc. Yet the rules, strengths, weaknesses, personality, etc. must all be there, because only if the players can feel convinced that there is a solution that fear will not turn to despair. Neverending fear requires hope. Fear without hope is no longer fear, and more importantly, no longer fun.
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  • #220
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    I was playing in a game once were a nymph was really a polymorphed purple worm... that was pretty creepy.
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