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Old 03-04-2009, 02:10 PM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Greetings, all!

After comparing System Shock 2, Dead Space, and vague memories of some videos, I started wondering:

Are all Star Horror campaigns (that is, campaigns involving horror on a starship, preferably in deep deep space where nobody can hear you scream) made of the same pieces. Notably, it seems like spaceship sections can be 'used' in various orders, but a long adventure will usually involve the following locations:
  • Engineering. Usually involves fixing engines or something.
  • Medical bay/medlab/medsci. With lots of scary new monsters somehow related to experiments or something.
  • Hydroponics/gardens/etc. Probably Open Space in G:SS terms.
  • Control room/bridge. The options are many
  • Cargo hold. Probably filler.
  • Crew Quarters. May involve a 'what awful horror really happened to the crew' moment.
  • Hangar bay. Usually involves a failed attempt to escape.

So it made me wonder about more general Star Horror questions. Such as the fact that Body Horror often goes hand-in-hand with Star Horror, or that 'scary lifeform' templates can probably be made (i.e. that the types of lifeforms used as adversaries in star horrors seems limited - the 'parasitic' and the 'unliving' are probably the two 'superpowers' of SH).

Anyway, is there really much variation that can be done? Even if not, I'd gladly hear other people's thoughts on this subject. Thread drift encouraged, as long as it mostly pertains to RP and fiction.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Dark Space for Rolemaster was an interesting Horror/Space cross over that really would make a good GURPS book. To do a GURPS version you would need Basic, Bio-Tech, Magic and maybe Thaumatology. Ultra-Tech might be useful for the banned items.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

The movies Event Horizon and Supernova as far as I can recall them would definitely both be Star Horror, but don't have 'aliens' or 'parasites' in any sense - the 'evil' if you like affects one or more members of the crew.

Plenty of RP ideas theres.

However, are these in a sense supernatural horror stories which just happen to be set on spaceships?
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SCAR
The movies Event Horizon and Supernova as far as I can recall them would definitely both be Star Horror, but don't have 'aliens' or 'parasites' in any sense - the 'evil' if you like affects one or more members of the crew.

Plenty of RP ideas theres.

However, are these in a sense supernatural horror stories which just happen to be set on spaceships?
Event Horizon is definitely of the 'supernatural wrapped in pseudoscience' sort, much like Doom (the game). No idea about Supernova. But anyway, IMO Event Horizon has an 'unliving' antagonist.
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Old 03-04-2009, 02:36 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh
So it made me wonder about more general Star Horror questions. Such as the fact that Body Horror often goes hand-in-hand with Star Horror, or that 'scary lifeform' templates can probably be made (i.e. that the types of lifeforms used as adversaries in star horrors seems limited - the 'parasitic' and the 'unliving' are probably the two 'superpowers' of SH).

Anyway, is there really much variation that can be done? Even if not, I'd gladly hear other people's thoughts on this subject. Thread drift encouraged, as long as it mostly pertains to RP and fiction.

Thanks in advance!
I guess space oriented horror (or even SF horror in general) can revolve around something other than body horror or the unliving (has this been seen much outside of computer games?), but it hasn't been done much, probably due to the vast influence Alien has had on the genre. After Alien, most creators have sought to emulate that particular take on space body horror.

As usual with genre denominations, I find it hard to define which works belong where. Event Horizon could be described as a sort of "Hellraiser in space", but is it body horror? There are no parasitic invasions, no unnatural pregnancies, and no mutations. There is widespread mutilation, of course, but I don't know if mutilations counts as body horror in itself. I am not that familiar with the genre. If not, Event Horizon would be an example of a non-body horror film set in space. Maybe it could be described as psychological horror.

What else? There is the craptacular exploitation flick Galaxy of Terror. Again, there are plenty of mutilations, and an assault that can be construed as rape by an oversize alien maggot (yeah...); maybe this counts for body horror. It's disgusting all the same.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh
Event Horizon is definitely of the 'supernatural wrapped in pseudoscience' sort, much like Doom (the game). No idea about Supernova. But anyway, IMO Event Horizon has an 'unliving' antagonist.
I haven't seen Supernova, but reading a plot synopsis, I could gather that it involves the mutation of a crewman, which would place it firmly in the body horror genre.

I suppose that you are referring to Sam Neil's character as the unliving antagonist? I see him more as something like a cenobite from the Hellraiser setting, rather than as a living dead. It isn't made explicit in the film. I don't think he has to be dead, just because he was sucked into Hell. Maybe he was just "changed" there.

Cheers.
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Old 03-04-2009, 03:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Thinking a bit further on Event Horizon (I generally don't like Horror, but this is still one of my favorite movies), one could manage a fairly engaging Space Horror game without body horror or the supernatural. Changing the events of the movie a bit, what if the FTL drive simply messed with brain chemistry and caused a similar effect to methamphetamine psychosis? My brother once suffered (mildly) from this due to insufficient REM sleep, so I could see something that essentially folds space-time being able to cause it accidentally. In this scenario, all of the crew has killed themselves or each other (much like in the movie, IIRC) but several of the traps they used are still set. Have Dr. Weir already be emotionally disturbed (which IIRC he was) and you can have him "conspiring" with the ship (which seems alive and hostile, thanks to the traps) to try and kill everyone else or jump the ship again. Heck, if the ship experiences a nigh-imperceptible microjump shortly after the salvagers get onboard, they can all start having the various hallucinations anyway.

A modified version of Cube could also make for good Space Horror.
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Just realized that I forgot about THS Orbital Decay. It's about zombies on a space station, right? Seems to fit the 'unliving' class of antagonists.
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh
Just realized that I forgot about THS Orbital Decay. It's about zombies on a space station, right? Seems to fit the 'unliving' class of antagonists.
The crew in Orbital Decay aren't undead; they are plague victims like the infected in 28 Days Later or Left 4 Dead (though less cinematic than these).
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molokh
Are all Star Horror campaigns (that is, campaigns involving horror on a starship, preferably in deep deep space where nobody can hear you scream) made of the same pieces. Notably, it seems like spaceship sections can be 'used' in various orders, but a long adventure will usually involve the following locations:
  • Engineering. Usually involves fixing engines or something.
  • Medical bay/medlab/medsci. With lots of scary new monsters somehow related to experiments or something.
  • Hydroponics/gardens/etc. Probably Open Space in G:SS terms.
  • Control room/bridge. The options are many
  • Cargo hold. Probably filler.
  • Crew Quarters. May involve a 'what awful horror really happened to the crew' moment.
  • Hangar bay. Usually involves a failed attempt to escape.
A few I'd have added:
  • EVA on the hull. Usually with risk of falling off, falling into exhaust, suit decompression or tanks on empty, etc. Crucial repairs, hiding from the monster, bypassing barriers to other parts of the ship, "thinking outside the box" (literally) types of trickery.
  • Cryogenic passenger storage bay. Body horror in itself, IMO, or at least the potential is always there.
  • Not often a specific location but can be: Ship's (demented/subverted) AI. Maybe the processor core or security center.
  • "Jefferies tubes", cyberpunk style. Claustrophobic, cramped, dark, unfamiliar maintenance access, for any of the reasons given for hull EVA.
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Old 03-05-2009, 08:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Horror+Spaceships] Are all Star Horror games made of the same blocks?

Other themes in SF certainly have parallels in Horror, e.g.:

-trapped by a malevolent manipulator (HAL)

-the body switching serial killer (Star Trek ep. about Redjack)

-placed in an illusory nightmare by shambling psychic monsters (a Space 1999 ep.)

-a disease driving everyone to kill eachother (the TNG ep where they all devolve)

-flying dutchmen starships and haunted hulks (various)
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