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Monday, April 20, 2015

Random Encounters: Horror in the Old Manor

Generally when you run a horror game, you want to be very prepared. Horror is a tough genre to GM in most systems because players tend to be immune to fear. If you're running a game like Dread or a well-executed Cthulhu mythos game, then you've (hopefully) already mastered inflicting fear upon your players.

But what if you're just running a one-shot game with a haunted manor? Or if your PCs decide to leap off of the beaten path and investigate the abandoned keep a few miles outside of town before you even know what's there? In that case, I'd suggest rolling a few times on the three tables below.

In fact, I hope that these tables can inspire even the most seasoned GM to create a new and delightfully frightful encounter for her players.


1. Something is thumping from inside the cabinets along the wall.
2. A dark shape darts around the corner just as you enter the room.
3. A cracked mirror shows something standing right behind you.
4. Hot, thick saliva drips onto your shoulder from above.
5. Sounds of movement are coming down the hall toward you: *thud, scrrrt, thud, scrrrt.*
6. The smell of singed flesh is growing stronger with each step you take.

Environment feature

1. A muffled radio warbles out the time and date, but it's neither accurate nor consistent.
2. The window curtains rustle, though the window is definitely closed and intact.
3. Cobwebs are thick everywhere, except against one miraculously clean wall.
4. Blood seeps up from between the wooden floorboards.
5. Dried, curling wallpaper reveals the words, "the cellar."
6. Dishes cover every flat surface, and each dish contains a single stinking, decaying apple.


1. A scream from below echoes through the building.
2. All lights in the area flicker and are extinguished.
3. A blast of hot, moist air blasts through the room, accompanied by a low rumble.
4. The antique furniture begins to smolder and burn.
5. The floor gives way beneath your feet.
6. The nearest door creaks open slowly, and the smell of lavender drifts in from the next room.

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