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Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

I've asked this in both the Giant in the Playground and RPG.net forums, but thought I'd ask here, as well, since I think Fudge rocks and will be using it for my campaign...

I'm a new GM and am planning my first game/campaign with a solo horror themed adventure, roughly set on the nWoD fluff. My girlfriend is the guinea pig.

Mechanics: VG Fudge homebrew of the nWoD rules
Setting: New Orleans
PC: Julie, auto mechanic, originally from Texas
GMPC1: Joe, local garage owner and Julie's employer
GMPC2: Sarah, local bartender and Julie's friend
Foe: Vince, Julie's ex, another mechanic who left Joe's when Julie dumped him
Other: New Orleans mafia blackmailing Joe into protection racket
Style: A bit of everything (roleplay, combat & investigation)
Aim: PC gets introduced to the supernatural, namely vampires
Curveball: Some sort of tarot inclusion?

So yeah, I've spent a long time working on my homebrew crunch and on backgrounds for these characters. My girlfriend has also worked on Julie a lot, and I now have a few ideas on where I want this thing to eventually end up, but I am now stuck at the very start.

Can anyone offer some advice on how to start this thing off? I want the first session to be a real belter, but am struggling to think of something truly gripping that isn't clichéd or straight out of True Blood/Supernatural/etc. and which will leave my girlfriend wanting to play another session.

I've made a couple of blank character sheets (pdf) if anyone is interested in how the character crunch is being handled, available at:
http://9littlebees.com/DarkFudge_Ch_Sheet.pdf

Remember that I am a new GM, so if there are some obvious answers, please hit me with them!

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

Welcome to the community, BrizzleShizzle!

Your character sheet looks great, btw. current/smile

Hmm, maybe start off with a murder, either your GF dicovers or she knows the victims, with a tarot card found in the scene.

Just a suggestion. I'm sure our comrades will share other ideas. current/big_smile

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

Welcome!

I like FudgeBob's suggestion, here are my two bits:

  1) Have something odd about the murder that isn't directly cliche (For example, someone drained of blood is cliche.  Don't read a lot of the literature, so this might be cliche, but here's a go:

     Someone who died from oxygen deprivation because the vampires filter oxygenated red blood cells from their victims and replace it with their own oxygen-depleted cells -sort of like a really evil dialysis.- Vampires run more efficiently than humans, so they only need to feed every night, and if done properly and slowly the victim isn't even aware of what happens. In this case, the vampire either screwed up, or something else went wrong that made him/her rush things. Sunlight causes them to begin burning oxygen at an accelerated rate (spontaneous combustion.)

  2) Her friend has something on her that generates a feeling of direct threat to the PC. Perhaps her friend was talking to her on her cell phone, had a note with the PC's name on it in her hand, etc....

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

I'd consider starting not with a death, but with a letter or something similar. Julie gets a letter from a friend asking for help with a car that is doing something really, really odd. When Julie gets to the friend, its revealed that a friend of the friend has vanished somehow, really mysteriously. Looking into the car reveals that some sort of organic, bloodless paste has been vomited into the engine, and investigation begins.

As for the end of it, the friend was eaten entirely by a vampire, and everything but the blood was vomited back up into a car engine, which burned most of it away. Said vampire has connections to the mob, but oddly enough, also has connections to the auto industry, in this case Joe and Vince. Moreover, Vince has been making the work on the car and investigation as hard as possible.

The [-] die.

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone!

I like all of your suggestions, but more for me to play, not so much for my girlfriend, as the themes coming out are a bit too overtly vampire.  I want the vampire angle to be much more subtle, ideally.

My girlfriend does not like extreme horror.  As an example, she really likes the characters and overarching plot of Supernatural (the TV show), but refuses to watch it because the monster-hunting elements terrify her.

So any thoughts on starting plots that are a bit more "normal" but with just a hint of vampire?  Perhaps involving the local Mob and/or her jilted ex, Vince?

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

Hmm....  Someone is robbing the local blood banks. The odd thing is, not only are the robbing the equipment, they are robbing the supplies as well...

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Re: Starting Ideas for Horror Campaign

BrizzleShizzle wrote:

So any thoughts on starting plots that are a bit more "normal" but with just a hint of vampire?  Perhaps involving the local Mob and/or her jilted ex, Vince?

Vince is pissed about the breakup. As such, he tries to ruin Julie's current relationship as a petty act of revenge, and so he brings in supernatural aid. This supernatural aid involves a shapeshifter of some sort, who imitates Julie's boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance and tries to incite strife. However, this shapeshifter has mob connections of a sort - and not good ones either, the shapeshifter managed to get a bunch of money from then, and they only caught on to this due to conspicuous spending (hence the need for a new job). The mob knows they are in over their head - shapeshifters are bad news, so they call in a detective who has gone to the criminal elements, a guy by the name of Lucky Draco. The guy's an eccentric, spends a lot of time at night clubs, buys all his groceries around midnight (normal food and such, as cover), and seems uncannily good at surviving. He's been shot, ambushed, had his car crashed, and somehow miraculously survived all of it (hence the nickname). Moreover, he tends to show up in cases brought on by the crazies. A ghost gets mentioned here, a werewolf there, and given the amount of drug use in the town its all brushed off as drug induced hallucinations by most.

Of course, some of it is very real, and Julie's failing relationship somehow gets caught up with the mob, vampires, and a shapeshifter.

Now, lets get to her actual boyfriend/girlfriend/fiance, the one being impersonated. They are still around, and becoming angry at Julie, due to the strife brought on by the doppleganger - the same doppleganger that is always polite and reasonable. Moreover, they start getting in trouble, develop a gambling habit, start getting drunk. His life is falling apart, and soon he is deep in debt, only to be bailed out by an eccentric detective. Only the loan isn't getting paid, it can't be his money keeps mysteriously vanishing (shapeshifter), and he thinks that Julie is siphoning it off, and that the detective has something to do with it. So he appeals to a faction within the mob, some of the mob enforcers, who aren't happy about their job being taken by some eccentric nonce. They start looking into the detective, trying to blackmail him into abandoning the mob entirely.

So, the entire situation is obviously about to brim over into a mess. It does, and as for how, well, that is where improvisation is.

The [-] die.

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