Darkness & Dread vs. Heroes of Horror




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    Darkness & Dread vs. Heroes of Horror

    Well, I have Heroes of Horror. It is... okay. While it does not fill my heart with joy it will do the job, but somehow does not wow me. I was much happier with Heroes of Battle (the main reason I picked up HoH.) Nothing jumped up and down yelling 'use me! Use me! Taint will likely find use, but I already have the rules for it twice - Oriental Adventures and Unearthed Arcana.

    How is Fantasy Flight's Darkness & Dread by comparison? I do not yet have it, though I will likely be picking up the PDF before too very long. And how well would the two products work in tandem?

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    Darkness and Dread is a great book, one of my favoret d20 books. It actualy modifies the game for lower magic horror campaigns rather then shoehorning the RAW into it.
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    Darkness & Dread contains a fair few 'deadly & low-magic' rules changes (in amidst everything else) to better faciliatate true horror / dark fantasy etc. : Fear ratings, madness points, professions (low-key classes), a more lethal HP equivalent, and so on.

    Some nice monster rules, good GM advice.

    All round very nice book actually. I'm glad it was recommended to me, and I therefore recommend it in turn.


    edit --- Sorry about the delay. More or less what they said, then.

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    I'm tired of the assumption that horror doesn't work in standard Third Edition games. There are more ways to instill fear and render the PCs powerless than to take away their flashy spells and magic swords. :\
    Christopher Adams - Sydney, Australia

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhacdebhandia
    I'm tired of the assumption that horror doesn't work in standard Third Edition games. There are more ways to instill fear and render the PCs powerless than to take away their flashy spells and magic swords. :\
    Indeed there are. The majority of Darkness & Dread's pages are actually dedicated to assisting GMs utilise those other ways, in fact.

    That said, I believe taking away their flashy spells and magic swords is a good additional measure to take, 9 times out of 10. It's not necessary, and good players, a good GM, and well. . . horror elements are all far more important. Even so, I believe that it helps, in the majority of cases.

    In D&D (RAW), magic is cheap and easy. It's everywhere, it's fire-and-forget. So too then is miraculous healing, easily dealing with undead, resurrection, outright annihilating entire sections of foes and/or the surrounding countryside (without so much as a flick of the hand, sometimes), etc. etc. etc.

    Also, the lack of wounds, the abundance of HP, and the lack of such things as infection, bone breakage, limb loss etc. don't exactly add to the horror experience, in one sense at least.
    Last edited by Aus_Snow; Monday, 21st November, 2005 at 04:23 AM.

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    It just seems to me that you're talking about a kind of horror that works best at low levels and saying it's difficult to do at high levels. Well, duh.

    There is more than one variety of horror, after all. They don't all entail monsters, injury, and death.
    Christopher Adams - Sydney, Australia

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhacdebhandia
    I'm tired of the assumption that horror doesn't work in standard Third Edition games. There are more ways to instill fear and render the PCs powerless than to take away their flashy spells and magic swords. :\
    I agree. "Powering Down" is too much of a cop-out for me. While it's easy to justify a certain amount of it in a horror game, because horror frequently comes from the unknown and powerlessness, a much better book would retain all the divinations and magical shininess and say "there are still ways to make the PC's feel horrified."

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhacdebhandia
    It just seems to me that you're talking about a kind of horror that works best at low levels and saying it's difficult to do at high levels. Well, duh.

    There is more than one variety of horror, after all. They don't all entail monsters, injury, and death.
    No, low-magic and lethality (in comparison with D&D, RAW, which is very high-magic, and very low-lethality by default) have nothing to do with low-level. I mean, duh.

    I wasn't saying horror was difficult to do at high level, not in the slightest. Reread it if you want to make sure.

    I had time constraints when posting before (as I do right now), and couldn't list all the things I perhaps should have. Later, when I truly have the time, I might.

    Another missing thing, though? Terror, madness, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aus_Snow
    No, low-magic and lethality (in comparison with D&D, RAW, which is very high-magic, and very low-lethality by default) have nothing to do with low-level.
    I'm sorry, I was looking at the bit where you said "So too then is miraculous healing, easily dealing with undead, resurrection, outright annihilating entire sections of foes and/or the surrounding countryside (without so much as a flick of the hand, sometimes)" and responding to that.

    Those situations seem pretty dependent upon adventuring at high levels, to me. Oh, PCs generally have access to miraculous healing at 1st level (albeit not much of it), but I don't think dealing with undead is ever necessarily easy, resurrection is most definitely a high-level schtick, and I don't think I need to explain why annihilating large numbers of enemies and/or the countryside is generally associated with powerful characters.

    Then you go on to talk about wounds and scars and injuries . . . and this is what prompted my comment: You're talking about types of horror stories which relies upon things which only work at low levels. Splatterpunk, survival horror, et cetera.

    Psychological horror, apocalyptic horror, characters rendered powerless because the evil threatens their loved ones in a way they can't protect against . . .

    Just because you have to tailor a horror story to the capabilities of the PCs doesn't mean that you can't do horror even with standard D&D. Hell, turn your average isolated village into Zombietown while the PCs sleep and there's going to be more flesh-eating walking dead than your cleric can turn. When they're higher-level, ghosts. And so on.

    You just have to think. I honestly believe depowering the PCs and the setting is the easy way out.
    Christopher Adams - Sydney, Australia

    Religion must remain an outlet for people who say to themselves, "I am not the kind of person I want to be." It must never sink into an assemblage of the self-satisfied.

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    You just have to think?

    Uh oh.

    Guess all those who prefer low-magic and/or gritty for their d20 horror should just stop what they're doing right this minute and make that core high-magic fantasy system fit, goddamnit! Then at least they will not be accused of not thinking.







    *roofle*

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