Disclaimer: This post includes bad language and attitudes that really aren’t a representation of what we actually think. It only goes to show out we have bad taste.
As we grow more and more accustomed to this hack and how it works we manage to extend the game and bring in more interesting elements to the game.
This week I send two of my players a love letter. Now I am not sure I actually used them the right way but since this is after all our game I think the point was that they were successful. Or at least one was.
Due the first letter and the roll that followed one of the PCs got a prison tattoo. That was not too interesting. That taught me to be more considering when making the letters. Dull outcomes bring a little to the game.
The second letter was much more interesting. It bring out demonic possession and end up nearly killing the whole group.
It isn’t really demon week anymore but as Halloween (weekend) is here I decided to “wrap up” what I started back then.
Previously I discussed a little about demonic possession and how it was handled in a couple of games I have played or read. This time it I plan to give you some pointers of what to watch for inspiration.
Movies and TV have given us a wide variety of examples of demonic possession. Mainly this works (for those who make them) because it present an opportunity to play up a wide range of our fears with little financial cost. Ie. it does not cost as to get someone to play possessed as it would cost to get someone in a suitable mask to play a space alien (or create a believable monster with CGI).
The effect of possession in roleplaying games is not as strong as in visual media. Most players can relate to their characters and into some extent to the NPCs but I doubt it is likely they will be as intimidated or related as they would be while watching what is actually going on. (I am not saying this is the case always. I am just using this assumption as the basis of choosing what movies to discuss.)
Spoilers from movies will follow.
The latest movie I watched in this genre was the Possession. It is not very imaginative when it comes to script but it does present an interesting MacGuffin to be used – the Dybbuk Box. In essence the box works as a demon prison. It demon is trapped in the box with personal items and it is forced to look at itself from a mirror for all eternity. Now I don’t get why the demon needs the personal items or why it is necessary to make its imprisonment torture but a similar item could easily be used in supernatural/horror games. An insane demon that can be freed to cause havoc is always fun.
Demons in RPGs are nothing new. They tend to be something like Aki discussed yesterday – big and scary. Rarely something else. It might have to do with same kind of prejudice as in the case of MtG. Or not. It actually does not make that big of a difference.
I do not pride myself as an expert of RPG lore. But I have played several games and read even more. So as a part of Demon Week I decide my angle to be demonic possession as it will feature heavily in the Wayward Sons hack.
My first encounter with demonic possessions was with the original Deadlands. My character died and returned as a Harrowed with a demon inside of him. It so was fascinating the play a character who had two different goals (and actual identities) that I was intrigued ever since.
Deadlands handled the thing quite nicely. Once you had a demon in you there was no escape. Except death. It was raiding you until it took total control of your character or your character faced the final death. This was the kind of doom and gloom I liked. Later supplements introduced Voodoo possession too (at least if my memory serves me right) but they did not feel that interesting to me.
Later on when Dark Heresy was published I was once again fascinated by its approach. The demonic possession in WH40K universe was introduced (to me at least) by the Inquisitor war game and Dark Heresy did a good job adapting the power of possession. I absolutely loved the random table for side-effects of possession and ended up using them in a game of WFRP I ran.
For all the rpgs I’ve read and played I’m yet to find an interesting representation of exorcism. I suppose it is somewhere to be found. But actually having missed something like that is an interesting point by itself. Sure, there are numerous magic spells and rituals to exorcism. But no such imaginative rules as those of possession spring to mind.
This is likely because of the specific nature of such an act. In most games the roles of the characters are definite and diverse. Having one character with a special kind of “mini-game” to exorcism just is not that important. Anybody could be possessed by an evil spirit but it seems to be more that a group of characters could/would be involved banishing it from its host.
For me this seems fair. Exorcism is not as important when considering the flow of the story as the actual possession. But it could be. I think that Dread could make an excellent game for exorcism. The characters would all be taking part in the ritual while the demon would be fighting against them. “A little Exorcist and Poltergeist for the evening” so to speak.