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Old 12-04-2019, 04:21 PM   #21
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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Originally Posted by Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2 View Post
...
That should be a factor in any horror setting - the veneer of pleasant peace and normalcy that hides underneath it a seething pit of insanity and terror.
It would almost be trivially easy to make a sci fi horror using Star Trek. Literal gods running around, mind control, transporter accidents changing your very nature and sense of self, time travel everywhere, etc.
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Old 12-04-2019, 05:22 PM   #22
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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It would almost be trivially easy to make a sci fi horror using Star Trek. Literal gods running around, mind control, transporter accidents changing your very nature and sense of self, time travel everywhere, etc.
And yet it wouldn't be horror, because the characters are Big Damn Heroes who spend a lot of time being fearless even when they shouldn't be, and who command (literal) planet-destroying power of their own. That's my general issue with a lot of things considered "horror" by some, including Supernatural, which I consider monster hunters and thus occult action, and Vampire: The Masquerade, which is supernatural supers: The heroes have the means to strike back. It's true that Captain Kirk and friends are routinely rendered powerless, but they all have stupidly high IQ to figure out workarounds, and plot immunity (Luck, Serendipity, whatever) to bail them out when brains aren't enough.

Horror in Star Trek would work better if it were a bunch of standalone stories about mysterious visitors in gold, blue, and red who materialize out of nowhere and use godlike powers to mess with generally lower-tech societies that lack the means to comprehend them. For instance, they show up to traumatize children in "Miri," and to wreck a society in "The Omega Glory." The PCs would be the locals, and the adventures would be one-shots.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:21 PM   #23
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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I don't think you mean Madness Dossier there. As the exact situation you described arises in a Laundry Files novel, and Laundry Files is more overtly humorous than Madness Dossier, I think you mean Laundry Files.

(SNIP)
Oh, yep. You're right.

I remember that, when I read about Madness Dossier, it reminded me a lot of the Laundry Files (with bigger effin' guns!).

That connection caused me to "skip rails" from one to the other, mentally.

I'll be fine. Really.
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:55 PM   #24
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
It would almost be trivially easy to make a sci fi horror using Star Trek. Literal gods running around, mind control, transporter accidents changing your very nature and sense of self, time travel everywhere, etc.
Add in Eldritch Skies from Battlefield Press and run it during Enterprise. How surprised would we be when we discovered what the Vulcans were really hiding from us and how worried are the Vulcans at what Archer will tip over next.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:32 PM   #25
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

They suppress emotions in order to maintain sanity and compartmentalize the true horror.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:01 AM   #26
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

I remember somebody pointing out that the Doctor (as in Doctor Who[?]) is actually a cosmic horror - a Great Old One - from the point of view of the bad guy races. He's an immortal entity from beyond the curve of spacetime who materialises at arbitrary points in history, and for utterly incomprehensible motives, using ancient and weird science or trans-sapient insights, destroys your species's hopes and dreams and plans, and sometimes wipes out much of your species, and then departs as incomprehensibly as he arrived. And so far as you can tell, he finds this funny.

Heck, he even comes complete with a small cult of doting devotees.

Not sure how to use this in a game...
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:07 AM   #27
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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Vampire: The Masquerade, which is supernatural supers: The heroes have the means to strike back.
The declared intention with a game like that is that it's personal horror; yes, you have all these cool powers, but the more you use them, the worse you get as a being. Even winning is really just embellished losing.

Compare also more or less purist Call of Cthulhu, where the point is supposed to be that you can fight back all you like and even win on a local, short-term basis, but the more you learn, the more you realise that you're going to lose in the end. The laws of thermodynamics get kind of personal in the setting.

Of course, how often either game gets played in the ideal form is a whole different question.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:26 AM   #28
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

Another part of VtM is the fact that the vast majority of vampires are permanently crippled when compared to their elders because they have weaker blood and because they have less experience. A 13th generation vampire who is 25 years old will, on average, always be weaker than a 8th generation vampire who is 500 years old because the capabilities of the older vampire will never degrade. Of course, another source of personal horror are the Garou, who are much more powerful than the Kindred, and who usually hunt down and destroy the Kindred with no hesitation and no mercy.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:47 AM   #29
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post

The declared intention with a game like that is that it's personal horror; yes, you have all these cool powers, but the more you use them, the worse you get as a being. Even winning is really just embellished losing.
I'm afraid I'm one of those annoying Barthes types who doesn't give a crumb about the authors' intent and identifies the art with how it ends up interpreted by its public. I figure I've earned the right to be annoying in that particular way after having 25 years of stuff I've written mostly not understood as I wrote it!

Anyway, the whole "a game of personal horror" thing wasn't how Vampire was played often or at all in my fairly long experience in a few cities. It was played as a Goth power trip. I'd describe it as "badass vampires using awesome powers to herd their cattle, fight off those annoying wolves, and go dance at the edgy industrial club afterward." Not much horror there, just a lot of angst and a lot of posing and hissing at rival clans; it always struck me as "occult supers gang wars" more than anything else.

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Compare also more or less purist Call of Cthulhu, where the point is supposed to be that you can fight back all you like and even win on a local, short-term basis, but the more you learn, the more you realise that you're going to lose in the end. The laws of thermodynamics get kind of personal in the setting.
Again, I'm more interested in this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post

Of course, how often either game gets played in the ideal form is a whole different question.
I have a great deal of experience with Call of Cthulhu, through many editions and gaming groups. The only time "horror" came up was when somebody failed a SAN check. Otherwise, it was wall-to-wall flamethrowers, dynamite, and general "humans with heavy support weapons vs. monsters." This might have to do with the really, really low proportion of players who had read H.P. Lovecraft or even heard of the man prior to playing the game.
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Old 12-05-2019, 07:03 AM   #30
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Default Re: Best Fictional Settings for GURPS Horror [Horror]

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Another part of VtM is the fact that the vast majority of vampires are permanently crippled when compared to their elders because they have weaker blood and because they have less experience. A 13th generation vampire who is 25 years old will, on average, always be weaker than a 8th generation vampire who is 500 years old because the capabilities of the older vampire will never degrade. Of course, another source of personal horror are the Garou, who are much more powerful than the Kindred, and who usually hunt down and destroy the Kindred with no hesitation and no mercy.
Yes, I think that game could have some ongoing horror in it if the gaming group were mature enough to handle things that way. But in practice it seems to degenerate into unchecked Diablerie, high-Ego Abominations, etc. because a lot of storytellers prefer to allow that rather than lose their group. These same people tend not to throw in credible threats, or if they do, they're distinctly tactical and not horrific in character.
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