Horror! 1.1 – Some Additions and Notes

Adrenaline: this principle makes it possible to spend Tokens equal to your current level of Fear. This is a mechanic to represent the power lent by desperation.

Tokens represent, in part, how interesting your character is. It is a common horror trope for characters to survive not because they are particularly intelligent or capable, but because they are interesting.

It is possible for player-characters to mutually talk each other down. They roleplay this interaction, and the GM determines when they can each spend a Token to reduce their fear.

Penalties from Fear and Pain are reduced to -1, -1, -2, -3, -4. In both cases, tests using Might and Might-related Traits have no penalty for the first level.

Single Traits can be taken more than once, but no more than 2 Traits can apply in any given situation. To help GMs manage this, when each character attempts something, the player should probably announce two Traits that they think applies so the GM has a chance to say “no, not this time”, etc. The GM may or may not announce Situational modifiers in return so the player knows what they are dealing with. For example:

Player: “Ok, I’m going to try to shoot the Zombie in the head to drop it. Sharpshooter 2, Clear-headed.” This means that the PC has a +3 to her Precision for this test.

GM: “Gotcha. But the zombie is surrounded by others, so its got Cover, and you’re Calling a Shot.” So this would be -2 to the PC’s Precision test, for a total of +1. Shooting a zombie is pretty easy most of the time – they tend to have a low Precision score.

In response, the PC can wait or move so the zombie is out in the open, shoot at another zombie not surrounded by others, or get closer to negate the problem of Calling a Shot (which is only really a problem when you’re some distance away.)

The goal here is for the rules to be fast, loose, interpretive and narrative. For groups that want more complexity in the rules for tests, they are free to have as many Traits apply as they wish, as well as any other modifiers, but bear in mind that this can really slow down the game.

4 thoughts on “Horror! 1.1 – Some Additions and Notes

  1. I like the adrenaline thing, alot.

    I'm not sure I like decreasing the penalties for fear and wounds. There's no reason to have multiple fear levels with the same penalty. Just apply fear more slowly if you don't want it to escalate too quickly. I'd be in favor or low penalties early on, but sharply escalating later, because I think it makes sense that when someone is essentially hysterical that they're useless.

    So maybe penalties like:

    -1 to actions requiring lots of thought or fine manipulation.
    -1 to all actions.
    -2 to all actions
    -4 to all actions
    -8 to all actions


  2. I'd point out that fear doesn't actually work against people in certain situations. It's the whole fight or flight response. I'd grant that when you're terrified out of your wits, hacking into a government computer will be a bit difficult. However, two actions that will not be difficult at all are fighting and fleeing, as these are the two actions that your fear seems to actually encourage. It is called the 'fight or flight' response for a reason, isn't it?


  3. that's true Paul. for that reason, Fear only has 1/2 the effect on Might based tests. also, being afraid will make you much less effective in a fight – professional fighters, soldiers, etc., go through lots of training and practice so they don't fight scared. fleeing is the same. its one thing to flee madly, screaming and sprinting, and another to flee intelligently, looking for escape routes and places to hide.

    you can also spend Tokens to mitigate your Fear penalty – as long as you have them that is


  4. aric: that's basically what i had in mind with the -1/-1 for the first two levels of Fear. the one was a -1 to what you mention – fine motor skills and that sort of thing, where the second -1 is to everything


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