Get Your Freak(out) On


If you're left scratching your head for ideas of what games to play for the remainder of the Halloween season, I've got a few recommendations of horror-themed fun to toss your way. All prices below are in USD, so remember to check current currency conversion and if retailers are currently offering international shipping. Murderous Ghosts In Murderous Ghosts, you have two players with opposite goals. The Ghost wants to kill you. You want to escape. You're odds aren't looking so … [Read more...]

To Make Nightmare Fuel, We Must Consume It

The Path

Nightmare Fuel: a catchy phrase for the kind of horror that lingers to traumatize its consumers for years. It's so common as a descriptor to have its own page at TV Tropes, and it's the bread and butter of people who want to create the same kinds of lingering terror. To be the grand masters of fear, whether you're running a game or designing one, you have to mainline some Nightmare Fuel before you start making it.   Nightmare Fuel Master (Online) Classes There's a mind boggling … [Read more...]

In The House of Little Fears: An Interview With Jason L Blair

LF Nightmare Ed

Jason L Blair is currently a writer at Volition Inc, the developers of the Saints Row series. But his career as a game writer and designer began over ten years ago, when Blair created the award-nominated tabletop roleplaying game Little Fears. In the world of Little Fears, players take on the roles of pre-adolescent children struggling against terrible monsters they know are real. Through their imagination and belief, these young children stand center in a story of surviving unimaginable horror, … [Read more...]

Murderous Ghosts

Murderous Ghosts is a game from the mind of D. Vincent Baker. It pits two forces against each other: a young urban explorer, and murderous ghosts. The game has two players. One is the M.C., who provides the ghosts, atmosphere and reactions of a dark and ghost infested basement. The player is the athletic, young twenty-something who is going to discover that there are worst things than being lost when alone and deep underground. I played with a full physical set—little folio, sort of like a … [Read more...]



I've only played Monsterhearts twice, both times at conventions in 2012. The story game from Joe Mcdaldno is based on the same rules mechanics as D. Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World. I feel a bit strange calling it "rules" since it feels far more like narrative guidelines that keeps the forward momentum going. Monsterhearts is described by its cover as a story game about the messy lives of teenage monsters. I can say with confidence that I've rarely found cover copy so succinct and yet … [Read more...]

A Year of Zombie Fear


When I was little, my nerves were unshakable.  I read and watched anything that was scary and age-appropriate (and quite a few things that weren't).  Goosebumps?  Had it covered.  Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark?  Sure thing.  I wrote short stories that were likely ripped off from inspired by the Poe and Bradbury I was reading and the episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? I was watching.  The only time I can remember being scared by something I read was the topiary scene from The Shining.  I … [Read more...]

More Than Cheap Thrills: Keeping Horror Scary

kitteh-krueger: your antagonist should be scarier than this.

Call it horror fatigue. For those of who grew up cutting our narrative teeth on spooky books and scary movies, we can cite, reference and recite the appearance of numerous common horror tropes without ever having to bust out a smart phone. If you have one of the Children of the Genre among your players, they’re going to prove one of your hardest nuts to crack in a horror game. Follow me through a whirlwind tour of some of the top tropes many horror fanatics at the table have already seen play … [Read more...]

Orpheus: Into the Maw


Orpheus was the first time I felt confident as a tabletop GM. It's nine years old now, I still don't own all the books, and it laid the foundation for me sticking with the hobby. In White Wolf's game Orpheus, you are racing a clock. There are six books in the line, including the mainbook. The plotline for those books doesn't just have a timer, it has a detonator. In that respect, Orpheus laid the groundwork that would let me come to story games later on in my gaming experience. Story games, more … [Read more...]

Genre Invasion: Aliens, Zombies and Werewolves, Oh My


I'm calling it now: vampires are on their way out.   Okay, let's be real.  Vampires will never really die (pun intended).  They've been enjoying a slow, steady burn of popularity for the last 30 years at least.  The combination of sheer horror and a monster who looks normal - or attractive - has ignited our imaginations for years.  The vampire mythology is loose enough that you can make nearly any kind of vampire you like (as evidenced by Whitewolf's Vampire: the Masquerade series).  Vampires … [Read more...]

The Best Sixty Cents I Ever Spent (Plus Tax): Part One


The Silver Snail is among Toronto’s eldest and most venerable of comic book establishments, and a frequent stop on my downtown journeys (partly because it is close to four different tea shops and two yarn stores, but that’s rather beside the point). Besides its huge selection of comics, toys, and memorabilia, it is also notable for the fact that it is entirely above ground! I love comic book shops, and one of the reasons that I love them is that they are usually in basements, attics, or, in one … [Read more...]