9 thoughts on “I’m thinking of using DW to run a game in a horror themed setting.”

  1. If it were me, I’d handle fear with a second alignment for each character – that way people are being rewarded for acting fearfully. For example:

    Hesitant – Mark XP when you convince others to play it safe.

    Oblivious – Mark XP when you convince others it’s nothing to fear.

    Flighty – Mark XP when you turn tail and leave others to do the fighting.

    Noob – Mark XP when things get tense and you’re chastised for babbling.


    For insanity, I would make custom moves that modified the basic moves – that way when you become less sane, you are actually operating in a different mechanical reality. You’re still playing the game but you have to behave abnormally to achieve the desired result. For example:

    That’s Mr. Monk to You

    When you Discern Realities, roll twice as you meticulously inspect every detail. Both rolls count.

    This way, you can’t look around without obsessively looking around, taking up time, and exposing yourself to further danger (but you also might get two successes and get a ton of information). Make them change their behavior in the fiction to achieve the same basic move result.

  2. Tim already said it, but temulus is a perfect fit. It’s actually really simple : give “sanity damage” to things that could make you go mad, and give each PC sanity points (modeled on HP). Here is the tremulus basic rule for it :

    “When a character sees something terrifying or potentially startling (and thus, could reasonably cause shock), he must immediately Act Under Pressure. You can refer to this as a sanity check. It is a roll +reason (unless they have moves that indicate otherwise). 

    On a 10+, they take 1 less shock and may act normally.

    On a 7-9, they take 1 less shock but are -1forward.

    On a miss, they take full shock and are either -1ongoing (for the scene) or the Keeper holds one (Keeper’s choice).” (tremulus KS edition 1.31, p. 116)

  3. Thanks for all of the ideas.  I forgot about tremulus (even though I’m a backer and have a copy), I’ll check out how they handle it.  Maybe a “defy danger” using WIS, the danger being that you give in to your fear or go into shock.

  4. Marshall, I love the idea of “fear alignments”. That’s one of those concepts where I read it and suddenly a whole new dimension of possibilities opens up.

  5. I’m thinking about Custom GM Moves for things like insanity, ostracising, diseases, etc. The debilities are fine for minor stuff, but I’m thinking that some debilities might come with a Custom GM Move which you can make as soft or hard moves on player partial successes and failures. I don’t mind a “Sanity Damage” mechanic as it helps emulate Call of Cthulhu (and the *W games seem to be about emulation as much as anything), but there’s almost something “Aspect-like” (in a Fate sense) about Bonds, Alignments, Debilities, and Player / GM Moves that bears a closer look imho.

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