D&D 5E The popularity of horror adventures/settings for 5e

It is not so much about the level of power, but the level of horror when those monster kill their victims. For example in Dragon Ball Cell is powerful, but later there are more powerful enemies. He is dreadful because the horrible way his victims are eaten.

Other point is the players need a "different challenge". There are lots of dungeon-crawler videogames style Diablo where PCs can find a more powerful enemy boss in the next quest, if in your TTRPG you would rather to investigate to discover who is the werebeast before its next attack.

Some D&D monsters have got a "Lovecraftian touch" and then they are perfect for a horror story.

The monsters of Soulcalibur are very "dangerous", but this is not horror but dark fantasy. Nevertheless the. videogame "Bloodborne" could be tagged as "ghothic horror".

What about the planar dragons from the infernal planes?
 

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This is D&D we're talking about. Players are often very familiar with the CR, hit dice, and abilities of basic monsters from the Monster Manual. It's another reason why using D&D for horror can be somewhat difficult. And it's the same problem you can have with Call of Cthulhu given how familiar their otherworldly horrors are to gamers.
We run very different games. My players almost never know any of that about anything I run, and I also update and change my monsters. If you're only using monsters in the MM with no tweaks or updates, then you're holding yourself back.
 

GrimCo

Adventurer
None of these have stopped me from running horror in 5e.
Me neither, but then, i do like to use few of my own house rules for horror games.

So why is Dragon of Icespire Peak not a horror adventure?
I couldn't tell you. TBH, in 20+ years of playing and DMing TTRPGs i read maybe 10 or so published adventures (and i'm counting here all systems, not just D&D) and ran none of them without modifying them.

This is D&D we're talking about. Players are often very familiar with the CR, hit dice, and abilities of basic monsters from the Monster Manual. It's another reason why using D&D for horror can be somewhat difficult. And it's the same problem you can have with Call of Cthulhu given how familiar their otherworldly horrors are to gamers.

Yes. Players know. Or they think they know. You know old saying - Presumption is mother of all F**k ups? Well, just because descriptively monster appears to be something, that doesn't mean that DM uses stat block for that particular creature or that he didn't tinker with their stat block a bit. FE I used for my vampire high noble (think Dracula from Castlevania) lich stat block. Or to get back to vampire example. There are 3 stat block variations ( vampire spawn, vampire, Strahd). Purely going by description, they can't know what stat block that particular vampire has.
 

It is not so much about the level of power, but the level of horror when those monster kill their victims. For example in Dragon Ball Cell is powerful, but later there are more powerful enemies. He is dreadful because the horrible way his victims are eaten.

Other point is the players need a "different challenge". There are lots of dungeon-crawler videogames style Diablo where PCs can find a more powerful enemy boss in the next quest, if in your TTRPG you would rather to investigate to discover who is the werebeast before its next attack.

Some D&D monsters have got a "Lovecraftian touch" and then they are perfect for a horror story.

The monsters of Soulcalibur are very "dangerous", but this is not horror but dark fantasy. Nevertheless the. videogame "Bloodborne" could be tagged as "ghothic horror".

What about the planar dragons from the infernal planes?
Bloodborne is a great counterargument to this thread.

Bloodborne is an action horror game, and boy is it horrific. I feel scared in many parts of that game. And it's also a power fantasy. You kill every last monster in that game, and you get strong and good enough to become a pure murder machine. And in Bloodborne, you can always go to a lamp and heal, you have blood vials, you have scaling weapons, etc etc.

The point is the atmosphere. Aesthetics are the focus of horror because that's all horror has. Anything past that is how you play the monsters and how you describe their actions. I've never, at any point, had a problem making my players feel afraid of monsters, or making characters react in terrified ways. If people are having this problem, they should widen their pool of media references to learn how to combine horror with power fantasy.
 

Personal attack??? I meant no personal attack, sorry if you were offended, but man that was probably one of the tamest, most light-hearted comments I've made on this forum. Maybe it's a generational difference.
Yes. You made a statement about my actions and claimed to know what my intent behind those actions were. And you did so with negative connotation. But, if you want to discuss further we should take it private as it's not appropriate to this thread.
 

MGibster

Legend
We run very different games. My players almost never know any of that about anything I run, and I also update and change my monsters. If you're only using monsters in the MM with no tweaks or updates, then you're holding yourself back.
We're talking about published campaigns like Curse of Strahd. While those do have a few unique monsters, like Strahd Zombies, most of the creatures are pretty close to what you'd find in the MM.

Yes. Players know. Or they think they know. You know old saying - Presumption is mother of all F**k ups? Well, just because descriptively monster appears to be something, that doesn't mean that DM uses stat block for that particular creature or that he didn't tinker with their stat block a bit. FE I used for my vampire high noble (think Dracula from Castlevania) lich stat block.
We're not really talking about homebrew campaigns here. I get where you're coming from, I regularly switch out, change, or re-skin monters in D&D, which another person here once told me made me a terrible DM. A DM running Curse of Strahd probably isn't going to pick another statblock for a zombie, vampire, or werewolf.
 

GrimCo

Adventurer
We're talking about published campaigns like Curse of Strahd. While those do have a few unique monsters, like Strahd Zombies, most of the creatures are pretty close to what you'd find in the MM.
And nothing that stops DM to switch things around if he wishes so. We all know that you don't need to use adventure book verbatim and you can mix and match, chose what you want and don't want to use.
We're not really talking about homebrew campaigns here. I get where you're coming from, I regularly switch out, change, or re-skin monters in D&D, which another person here once told me made me a terrible DM. A DM running Curse of Strahd probably isn't going to pick another statblock for a zombie, vampire, or werewolf.

Thread name and OP implies both adventures and settings. I'm talking about settings. Not published adventure paths as i previously stated that i don't buy them, read them or run them (but i do own and have skimmed over CoS). Setting books, on the other hand, like Von Richtens guide, that i do use.

IMHO D&D splatbooks (adventures and settings included) were always - take what you want/need, discard or change the rest. My friend who is mostly DM in our group, tends to use parts of published adventures and incorporate them in his own setting and I would be willing to bet that not small number of DMs do so too. It's easier to take premade plots, hooks, npcs and encounters and just rename/reskin or swap out monsters for other monsters of similar CR that fit better than to create all that from scratch.
 

gamerprinter

Mapper/Publisher
Well I published the Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG), for several reasons - to honor heritage (I'm half Japanese), I love Japanese horror and felt that some OA based Japanese folklore is somewhat captured in past Japan analog settings - Japanese horror as it's own genre hadn't previously existed as an available setting, hence why I created it.

Right now working on a Gothic Western (gothic horror & Cthulhu) setting based on 19th century American west. While it involves myths of American as well, not just horror, but horror is a major part.

I create horror settings, so why I do it isn't a question. Why do people prefer it, I don't know?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Horror (and its cousin, Dark Fantasy) are popular because they are the most easily defined subgenres of fantasy. Most of your other types are harder to nail down (such as defining the difference between heroic fantasy, epic fantasy and mythic are nebulous and rather pedantic). It has a clearly defined source of evil in an era when KoS villains are lacking) and is easier to shed its problematic baggage than something like pulp. Or likewise doesn't carry a lot of cultural baggage; things that go bump in the night are far more universal than flying swordsmen. And the sheer number of video games in the genre (the Souls series for example) makes it easy for new players to grasp..
 

Hussar

Legend
Horror (and its cousin, Dark Fantasy) are popular because they are the most easily defined subgenres of fantasy. Most of your other types are harder to nail down (such as defining the difference between heroic fantasy, epic fantasy and mythic are nebulous and rather pedantic). It has a clearly defined source of evil in an era when KoS villains are lacking) and is easier to shed its problematic baggage than something like pulp. Or likewise doesn't carry a lot of cultural baggage; things that go bump in the night are far more universal than flying swordsmen. And the sheer number of video games in the genre (the Souls series for example) makes it easy for new players to grasp..
KoS? Not familiar with that acronym.

But, I do agree with your point here. Horror is easily defined, easy to engage the players and, honestly, tons of fun. The old Stephen King adage about if everything else fails, go for the gross out certainly applies. Like you say, having a clear bad guy makes for a really easy way to hook the players into things.

And, because it's horror, there's nothing wrong with simply dumping scary critters on the party whenever you feel like. :D Things are a bit slow? Zombie attack! And nobody starts bitching about "Oh, you're just forcing this" because, well, everyone expects to get stuff dumped on them all the time in horror. That's the point.
 

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