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 Horror and the Paranormal (Style and Theme)

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Broeckchen
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Post Count : 88
Date of Registration : 2012-12-06

PostSubject: Horror and the Paranormal (Style and Theme)   Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:26 am

If we're gonna play this together we need to be all on the same page of what kind of feel and theme we're going for with this.
This game is set in a world where paranormal horrors are everywhere but usually not experienced by most people. Some people, though, do notice something is amiss and some are haunted and tortured by unspeakable monstrosities.
It is meant to be scary, as the characters try to hold onto one last hope in their fear-filled lives. A small group of people, who share stories and offer advice, just to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.
This game is NOT about pretty vampires who woo young girls and it's not about hunting werewolves. It's also not about mythological creatures like Leprechauns or Minotaurs. It is meant to be far more subtle than that.
Don't go for Twilight, Vampire the Masquerade or van Helsing. Go instead for Paranormal Activity, Vanilla Sky or Marble Hornets.
And while you're at it, we recommend reading some creepypasta, too. Some of those give a really good impression of what this is all about.

Of course this doesn't mean that you can't introduce paranormal creatures that are like mythological creatures. But keep in mind that "horror" does not have to equal "monster". Events, objects and even words or dreams can be creepy enough as well.

Bad Example:
"Holy fluff, there's this cow thing with horns, but kinda like a humanoid on my lawn and I think it has a huge axe. I hope it won't kill me!"

Good Example:
"Guys, I have a problem! Really big problem! See, I was just going out the the 24/7 to get some food for my cat and when I went back, down the main alley, I noticed something in the corner of my eye. I saw this weird man standing below a street light. He has this weird hat and long clothes. I was kinda creeped out, so I went back home as fast as I could. While opening the door I turned around and there he was again, right under the street light across from my house. I blinked and oh gosh, did I wish I hadn't, because he was suddenly under the street light directly behind me.
I went in the kitchen to feed my cat and when I switched the light on, he sat at my bloody kitchen table and I fluff you not, his face is some kind of macabre, bloody mess, like someone etched his facial features into a piece of meat with a knife! I locked myself in my room. Somebody tell me what to do, please. I haven't heard a sound from either him or my cat. I'm scared!"


Try to make the paranormal creatures, activities and objects your character faces as unique as possible. Ask yourself what scares you and work from there. Paranormal occurences defy categorization.
You are however allowed to have multiple paranormal activities follow the same trends and tropes. Clock-Face and Looking-Glass is a support community after all. Similar creatures might be possible to get rid of in similar ways. Like a mirror-themed monster might be vanquished by throwing out the mirror. Note that these things should never be too easy, though.

When in doubt, ask yourself these questions:
-Is it scary?
-Is it incomprehensible?
-Is it dangerous?
-Is it alien? (note: Please no UFOs or extraterrestrials)
-Is it new? (note: This can be dropped in favour of creating a small trend in appearing monsters, but should usually be considered)

Of course, people won't constantly be fearing for their lives. And even if they do, they will try to distract themselves whenever the danger is not immediate. The Ingame-Forum has an Offtopic-Subforum for this kind of stuff. Have the characters socialize!
In-character drama is definitely allowed. Love-triangles, friendships breaking apart, drama, sure, go for it. Things like that do happen in almost any community ever. Moreover, these social situations set the general tone of the mundane that is good to make the horror really stand out.


Sources of Inspiration:
(Note: There are more in the according thread)
MarbleHornets - A series on a paranormal mystery, that fits the theme of this game rather perfectly. In fact, the occurrences in MarbleHornets are to be considered canon. (Which means that the troyhasacamera channel does not exist in this universe.)
The Memetic Symbol - This shows that you don't need a monster to create a creepy atmosphere.
The Mirror Box - Another excellent pasta. Nice inspiration for Rituals.
I Don't Sleep Anymore - Dreams can be scary as well.

Resource for creating Literature with this tone:
Writers Helpers - Genre Help: Horror


Last edited by Broeckchen on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:14 am; edited 1 time in total
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Broeckchen
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Post Count : 88
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PostSubject: Rituals   Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:40 am

A big part of this is probably going to be the Rituals Forum.

Rituals are basically recipes or algorithms one can follow to achieve some kind of paranormal effect. Though useful, Rituals should come at a price. Coming at a price means that there really, absolutely has to be an exchange made. Either the well-being of a person should be affected by the ritual, or they have to live with some kind of enhanced risk. Big Effects should require great sacrifice and naturally, to fit the theme, rituals should be scary.

When in doubt about how much your ritual fits the theme, you can put your ritual up for feedback in this thread. If you want to keep the ritual or certain side-effects of it a surprise for you fellow players, you can always PM Broeckchen, JPunkt, Nichtschwert or mapp about it.

There are basically two kinds of rituals. Place-specific ones and general ones.

An example for a place-specific one:
Okay, guys, I did some research on a local legend and pieced together this Ritual:
There's an old abandoned school in Redmond, Seattle. The adress is [Adress]. This school has an old elevator in the east wing. It looks really old and broken, but it still works, even though I have no idea where the electricity comes from. The elevator can go to [B] - Basement, [1] - ground floor, [2] - first floor and [3] - second floor. It will work as usual but with a lot of creaking and other unpleasant noises.
Ifyou press both the [1] and [3] buttons, the elevator will go down and even below the basement. There you will find a signature sheet. Sign your name and leave. Now according to my sources, this should increase your creativity for a few days. You will have great ideas and do great at all kinds of mental labour. However! There are reports of people having terribly realistic dreams of being chased around the house by something terrible and some accounts speak of things they broke in their dreams while fleeing being broken for real, when they woke up. So this ritual MIGHT open the doors for some kind of paranormal horror. We will see about that.
For information how I unearthed this, check my thread in the "Research and Information" Subforum.
I will try this out and keep you people briefed.


An example of a general Ritual:
Heya.

I read up on Rituals and found this one at [link]:
-Get yourself a needle, a mirror and and salt. It also helps to have a few millilitres of your own blood.
-Pierce three wounds into your forehead, with the needle, so that they form a roughly symmetrical triangle.
-Set up the mirror in front of you, best is probably fixing it to a wall and sitting down on a chair in front of it.
-Now, while keeping your head as still as possible, use blood from your forehead or other prepared blood (It still has to be yours) to draw a rectangle on the mirror. The corners of that triangle have to be where the holes in your forehead appear to be.
-The mirror will now show any kind of normally invisible paranormal entity in your house. Stay calm. Don't move your head and don't turn around.
-Throw a handful of salt against the mirror.

According to the site, the salt should pass right through and instantly repel any paranormal entity from the room for three days. During these three days, you will be haunted by migraine-level headaches and apparently hallucinations.
From my experience, I doubt that this gets rid of everything. Might work against what ArkMaster likes to call "Evil Spirits".

Do you think this thing is legit?


Rituals are a great way to get creative, but make sure you don't set the effects in stone. Rituals are always mysterious and wonky and likely to spark a lot of disagreement and speculation.
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