TerrorHog—A Crawlspace Event: Interview with Christina Lea

TerrorHog by Christina Lea is a one shot horror adventure complete with pre-generated players characters and an optional drinking game. Crawlspace by Tom K Loney and Christina is a horror RPG designed to support longer campaigns with the same base rules TerrorHog sprang from. Christina was kind enough to talk to me about TerrorHog, Crawlspace, and running horror RPGs.


Charles Dunwoody (CD): Thanks for talking to me about TerrorHog and Crawlspace. They really hit all the high points I look for in RPGs so kudos on your good work.
Christina Lea (CL):
Thank you! I'm still kind of amazed that people other than me are enjoying this.

CD: The TerrorHog is my spirit animal. Please tell us what this one-shot horror adventure entails and what GMs will find inside in regards to mechanics and setting.
The premise is that a low-budget news crew is in a swamp, trying to get footage of a giant hog rumored to live in the area. There's dangerous wildlife, mad science, ghosts, and maybe a serial killer. Characters are provided, with any special talents described on the character sheets. It also includes a simplified version of the Crawlspace rules and several handouts. The game uses traditional playing cards as randomizers, but not the way you might expect.

CD: Crawlspace: 21 and Over builds the one-shot of TerrorHog into complete horror campaigns, also drawing on the previous Crawlspace Deluxe. Please tell us what GMs will find inside to help in building longer running horror campaigns.
Besides the things you'd expect, like character generation and improvement options, there's a collection of Tom's takes on classic monsters (I will take credit for "Checkhov's Woodchipper," though), including a number of ideas for developing these creatures into an ongoing story.

CD: Horror campaigns can be tough to run because player characters die or can go crazy. How does Crawlspace address this issue to enable longer campaigns to run successfully?
That's my favorite thing about Crawlspace. In the campaign version, your character is an actor trapped in a potentially endless series of horror movies. Each scenario has several roles to choose from. The character can die in the scenario but the actor is still there to move on to the next one. Fame points and any improvements to the base character are carried forward either way. I think this not only allows for a kind of continuity, but frees the players to do cool role-playing things even when they know it's likely to get them killed.

CD: Do you have a horror movie or novel that might inspire Crawlspace GMs to even higher levels of depravity?
Josh Ruben's Scare Me reminds me a lot of people playing Crawlspace, once it gets to the point where they're collaborating and not just telling solo stories. I even snuck a little tribute to that movie into the game. The Doctor Who story, Ghost Light, has a blend of creepiness and frantic lunacy that I think captures the essence of Crawlspace. I asked Tom about this and he suggested Hellraiser because the sympathetic characters and the evildoers share the screen equally. Plus, it's just a great movie.


CD: TerrorHog includes a brilliant optional drinking game driven by the actions of the PCs. How did this meta-concept come about and how does it enhance game play (beyond the obvious)?
TerrorHog is based on the movie Hogzilla, which, as far as I know, has only ever aired on The Last Drive-In and is no longer available. When Joe Bob Briggs hosted the movie, he proposed a drinking game based on some of the movie's sillier patterns. In the course of watching Hogzilla way too many times, in order to pick up on details like Ernie's hog farm, it occurred to me that the characters acted like they were playing the drinking game, too. A drinking game based on things everybody knows about wouldn't really work for a role-playing game, though, because the players control most of that. That's why I gave each character a list of things that annoy them about the other characters, as cues. Because the drinking game also includes mechanical incentives in the form of Fame points, it encourages everyone to pay attention to what the other players are doing. The list of drinking cues also provides insight for each player into his or her character's relationship to the others.

CD: What else is available for Crawlspace?
Lots! Tom has done a bunch of scenarios and one setting book. The setting, Crawlspace Gothic, is his version of the imaginary eastern Europe seen in Hammer Horror movies. There's also a clever multiple-conspiracy adventure set in Cleveland by Beckett Warren. It's all on the Peryton Publishing site. Some of it, including TerrorHog, is also available in brick-and-mortar game stores and other online merchants.

CD: Is there anything you can share about what is next for Crawlspace? Will TerrorHog get the sesqueal it deserves?
I'm sure Tom will keep putting out Crawlspace material. We've been talking about a book with several optional magic systems, to cater to different tones and different sorts of GMs. I've read an embarrassing number of occult books. As for TerrorHog… well, maybe. For now I'm focusing more on fiction. I've got a novella I'm currently finishing up and then back to the full-length novel that has already taken way too long. I do have some ideas for a TerrorHog sequel, though.

CD: Where can fans go to find your work?
The site for all things Me is christinalea.com.

CD: Any final comments you’d like to share with the readers of EN World?
It's all Tom's fault. I was just gonna run this for some friends until he talked me into writing it down and publishing it.

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Charles Dunwoody

Charles Dunwoody

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