Using Heroquest for Horror

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Using Heroquest for Horror Submitted by PST on Mon, 16/07/2012 – 19:52

I had the previous edition of HQ but never got round to running a game using it.

My players want me to run an Occult Horror game with urban fantasy elements, incorporating assorted horror and modern fantasy genres (secret history, cabals, demonic pacts, ghosts, vampires, sanity-blasting horrors etc.).

 

While dithering about what game to run it with (mostly deciding between Unknown Armies, GURPS, Unisystem and ORE), I debated HQ.

 

So, how is Heroquest at horror, how would it be at urban fantasy, how easy is it to develop antagonists (zombies, vampires, the risen Black Pharoah) etc.?

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Depends. How much effort do you want to put in?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Tue, 17/07/2012 – 14:01.

First, are you thinking to run the game using HeroQuest 1 or 2? That may color the answers you get here, as HeroQuest 2 was the system developed for use with any genre.

Second, do you have other references for running horror- or urban fantasy-themed games or were you hoping for published material on how to use HeroQuest with those genres?

To your questions, here is how I would respond:

HeroQuest is largely about the narrative created by the participants and it is incredibly dependent on player buy in. If the players are interested in minutia (which can sometimes add to the suspense, like with the amount of ammo remaining to hold of the evil cultists or zombies), it tends to stumble a bit. If the players are willing to gloss over minor details, the system keeps the dialog and narrative moving along at a swift pace. Besides, the players can still volunteer that they are running low on (or completely out of) ammo. Do you think you can get your players to buy in to the narrative nature of the game? From personal experience, switching from a largely task-based resolution system (every last little action accounted for) to a conflict/contest-based resolution system (the whole picture) took me a bit to adjust.

As far as developing antagonists, it is as easy as coming up with a description. You can let the system handle the ability ratings, or you can assign them as needed.

A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

I have HQ1, I was considering

Submitted by PST on Tue, 17/07/2012 – 23:54. I have HQ1, I was considering whether to get HQ 2 for it. I’ve not actually run anything with HQ 1 but have read it.For other references on Horror/Urban Fantasy, I own Cthulhu, GURPS Horror, Kult, Chill, Dark Matter, Dreaming Cities, Assorted Unisystem, assorted WoD (and on, and on. I have a large gaming collection).My main stumbling block on conceptualising a narrative game for Horror is that the narrative/conflict resolution aspect would seem to empower the players/characters, which takes away from one of the primary horror themes, that of being disempowered.

Philmagpie's picture

HQ2

Submitted by Philmagpie on Wed, 18/07/2012 – 04:48.

Hi PST,

I would absolutely use HQ2 for your horror game.

Firstly, it is written as a generic system, so has far less Gloranthan content to obscure the approach that you would want to take.  Plus, there are examples from many genres included in the text, which could spark ideas for you.

More importantly, I think that it offers up a simpler rules system.  The combat rules for HQ1 are rather complex.  HQ2 simply applies the same types of contest to ALL conflicts, which makes it easier to learn and to run.

I have found that by using a simple, yet flexible set of rules, I can concentrate more on the plot.

Happy Gaming

Phil

Disempowered or overwhelmed?

Submitted by Dreamstreamer on Wed, 18/07/2012 – 01:06.

It looks like you have a wide asortment to draw from. As to the idea that narrative games empower characters? Well, it does require a measure of player buy in, but I don’t think it would necessarily empower the characters.

A few additional things I’ve been thinking: First, I would make sure to stick to the credibility test. If it is genre-appropriate for them to be weaker than the antagonist or physically incapable of harming supernatural evil, I’d play to that. Second, I think I would also rely more on arduous auto-successes to wear the characters down until they are suitably disempowered or vulnerable. And third, depending on the type of horror expected, I would probably have my players create multiple characters, with an acknowledgement that death (or worse) is very much a part of the genre.

N:”Your group sprints back across the field to the well-lit Wimbley Manor. Stumbling a bit, you manage to get everybody inside and close and lock the large iron doors. The screeching outside fades to silence.”

P1:”Phew! We made it! Those things can’t pass through iron, right? We just have to make it till morning.”

N:”Taking a quick head count, one of your group is missing. Carlos is no longer among your number.”

P2:”Where’s Carlos?”

P1:”I thought he was still with us. Ah well, serves him right! He was a terrible guide, anyways.”

P3:”Oh no! He had the only flashlight!”

P1:”Big deal! This old place is lit up like a stadium!

N:”As if on cue, the lights flicker and go out. But not before you see a shadow slide across the ceiling. Something is already inside.”

A billion years is too short a time to accomplish everything you can imagine, for imagination is infinite.

cj.23's picture

My little horror scenario

Submitted by cj.23 on Mon, 23/07/2012 – 19:32.

Dunno if of interest, but it’s HQ2 and may amuse —

Heroquest 2 Scenario: A Summer’s Eve (download link)

all the best

cj x

 

 

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