Saturday, October 31, 2009

HF2009] A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The RPG Part 2

Here’s a continuation of some notes on a Dream Warriors RPG. The first part is here.

The Setting

An RPG spun off from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors would need to have a more expansive world to game in than the movies provide. Of course, an RPG would have to determine if the sequels would affect the setting, but that is beyond this discussion. For now we are spinning off from Dream Warriors.

There are two realms that the PCs will adventure in: the Dream World and the Waking World. The Worlds are reflections of each other in many ways. What happens in one World can affect the other. A battlefield in the Waking World may be a spawning ground of demons in the Dream World. A person killed in the Dream World will die in the Waking World as well.

The Dream World

Most of the action of the game will take place in the Dream World. In this game it is the collected Dreamscapes of mankind. Most of the time, the Dreams of mankind play out quickly and fade away. Memories, fantasies and fears all infuse the dreamscapes that most people wander through in their sleep. Powerful minds and traumatic events can scar the Dream World, leaving permanent areas that do not fade. Examples of this are Freddy’s boiler room and the Dream Elm Street itself. When no one is dreaming in a certain area, the Dream World appears to be a warped reflection of the Waking World.

No one knows exactly what lives in the Dream World when no one is dreaming. What is known is that there are creatures born of fear, pain and death. Such beings are called the Nightmares. It is these creatures that the Dream Warriors battle in the shifting dreamscapes of the Dream World. These deadly creatures can come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and abilites, but they have several things in common.
  • They feed on fear, whether they have to kill or not.
  • They can manipulate the Dream World and themselves with an enhanced ability. These manipulations include shapeshifting, possession, dream warping, or pulling victims into the Nightmare’s personal dreamscape.
  • They can enter the dreams of their victims and stalk them there.
  • They are bound by rules and boundaries that define their strengths and weaknesses. Each Nightmare is different.
  • Their predations can affect the real world.

Not every Nightmare is a Stalker like Freddy Krueger. Some Nightmares are Bezerkers, hiding their killings on battlegrounds and killing fields. Others are Possessors who ride an unwilling victim playing deadly games until everyone around them is dead. Some are the personifications of stories told to frighten children, others are men driven beyond the point of madness who find dark power in dreams. All are deadly, and the possibilities are endless.

The Waking World

The Waking World may seem safer to the Dream Warriors, but it has dangers of its own. Most authorities don’t believe stories about a burnt man with razor claws killing your girlfriend. A string of suicides in a small town may lead to therapy and church going, but police wouldn’t expect a Nightmare feed off of the town. Pressing these issue can lead to commitment to an asylum, imprisonment or worse.

Many of the Dream Warriors are considered sick or crazy by societies’ standards. This can affect investigations in the Waking World, as many people won’t talk about that strange dream of a man trying to kill them. And most people will not be happy if you’re found with their son who has just been killed messily in a dream.

On the other hand, those in the Waking World who know about Dream Warriors and Nightmares may not have the PCs best interests at heart. Some in the Government knows about the Nightmares and is trying to capture or control them. Occultists and misguided dabblers tap in the Dream World to unleash “magical beasts” and “demons” into the Waking World. Some Vigilantes consider the Dream Warriors as bad or worse than Nightmares, and hunt them accordingly.

And then there are stories of Dream Warriors who are corrupted by unknown forces, preying on those they were created to protect. These are considered just stories…

System Ideas

Baring the development of a new system for a Dream Warriors game, I would consider some of these systems for roleplaying:

The generic systems: GURPS, Hero, Basic Roleplaying, True20, Savage Worlds, etc all have tools for this type of campaign.

World of Darkness: Give it a Dream Control stat and some cool powers, crib the Spirit rules for Nightmares. Or go classic WoD and steal from Mage, Werewolf, and Wraith.

Over the Edge: Freeform gaming in one of the weirdest settings in RPG History. Dream Warriors would be great in Al Amajra.

Sorcerer (Yes, that Sorcerer.) There is a great thread on the Indie RPGs board about using this game for an A Nightmare on Elm Street-style campaign. I may not agree with all of the pretentious game theory pap in the book, but I really like the system as a modern horror RPG.

Risus, PDQ, QAGS: These rules-lite games share the flexibility of Over the Edge, with their own flavors.

Slasher Flick
: Spectrum Games’ new slasher movie RPG can do a Dream Warriors game with a little tweaking.


A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
The other A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
Dreamscape (1982)
Multiple Elm Street rip-offs
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The Night Warriors series by Graham Masterton

Monday, October 26, 2009

[HF2009] Yellow Rhapsody, A Tale of Terror

This is yet more game material written when I was a member of All of the Above, the GURPS APA. Yellow Rhapsody is an adventure seed featuring The King In Yellow. It was written in the systemless style of Steve Hatherley's Tales of Terror. I first saw this format in Pagan Publishing's legendary Call of Cthulhu zine The Unspeakable Oath. Written in 1997, I consider Yellow Rhapsody one the best things I have ever created. The only changes made here are spelling and formatting. Enjoy.

Yellow Rhapsody
A Film by "Alan Smithee"


Man in the Mask:
To what do you hold dear?
Life, love, happiness, what all men hold dear.
M in M:
They mean nothing in the Tremors of the dance.
Then why do you dance if you have no pleasure?
M in M:
There is no question in the dance, no why, no how. We dance for the king. That is enough.
Who is the King?
M in M:
The name is all around you.
I see nothing.
M in M:
That is his name.

The packaging is deceptive. It is a video box decorated by colorful computer generated art with the title Tales of the Weird set in garish red. The back has text that promises terrors from these three college films. The only film company mentioned on the cover in "Weird Press Films".

The first and second films are normal horror films. "Early for Dinner" is an EC Comics-style fable involving a grifter who attempts to con a beautiful gourmet cook. He gets his comeuppance when she makes him the meal for a family of ghouls. "Last Call" is a bizarre black and white blending of German Expressionistic film and Italian zombie films. Two couples spend a night in a deserted Midwest farm and stumble onto a devilish device that alters their reality.

"Yellow Rhapsody" is the highlight. It is an animated film done in a minimalist, Alex Toth-like style. The plot involves a young man named Robert Chambers who gets a strange book from his grandfather—The King in Yellow. As he reads the play, characters inspired by it begin to haunt him day and night. Helped by the mysterious Man in the Mask and the lovely Cassilda, he pierces the veil and walks the halls of Carcosa. After a surrealistic journey he meets the King, who envelopes him in voluminous cloaks of yellow. The film ends with Robert dancing with Cassilda in the King in Yellow's court. The Man in the Mask looks to the screen and pulls of his mask, revealing nothing but a starry field and a yellow rune where his left eye should be.

Tales of the Weird
has become a cult classic due to the amount of disappearances connected to it. According to the legend that has grown up around it. The legend claims that "Yellow Rhapsody" was animated by a recluse who slit his own throat over the original cells of animation. It is a challenge, they say, to watch the film the whole way through. Something about the colors and the sound has a tendency to lull the viewer asleep or blur his vision. The ones that do claim that the camera plunges in the starry field and the credits begin to roll. An evil looking little boy with milky white eyes grins insanely as the credits begin to blur and break up, becoming unreadable.

Police are starting to take this case seriously. The suicides and disappearances on college campuses are starting to mount. Most of the original print run of the film has been seized and/or destroyed. Weird Press Films cannot be reached for comment.


1. The film itself is not the problem. It is the spirit of the animator that is the cause of the disappearances. The Mythos references were unintentional; he simply liked the King in Yellow. "Alan Smithee" lives within the original print of Yellow Rhapsody. He can perceive anyone who watches the entire film. After each viewing he attempts to take over the watcher. If he succeeds, Smithee drains life force or implants commands to watch the movie again. The disappearances are caused by the eventual destruction Smithee can visit upon a victim by draining them until they turn to dust.

2. The film is actually nested with subliminal messages put in by cultists at Weird Press Films. Throughout the video the Yellow Sign and other Mythos sigils and symbols are present. The other two short films also have references to the Mythos hidden within their narrative. The subliminals are a tool used by the cultists to recruit and identify. The curious ones are drawn to join the cult, while those who investigate the Mythos can by drawn out and eliminated. If innocents are driven to harm, that is not their concern.

3. "Yellow Rhapsody" is a cleverly disguised gate to Carcosa. If a person watches the film in its entirety (up to the grinning child), they become touched by the film. The viewer begins to watch the film over and over again and begins to see more detailed backgrounds. The sky forms into strange runes, the details in the clothes, and the characters' lines not heard before all become apparent. As the viewer becomes more drawn into the animation, the film becomes more nightmarish and surreal. The landscapes beyond the window become strange and alien, their inhabitants staring back. Screams of torture can be heard beneath the etherial music. Hallucinations begin to set in as the victim sees the characters come to life around him.

When sanity finally slips away, the Man in the Mask comes to snatch away the viewer, while Robert and Cassilda hold open the way to the city of Carcosa. The victim becomes one of the dancers whirling away to the dance of the Yellow King. A friend who watches the video might be lucky enough to see an old friend dancing for eternity in wild abandon as the Man in the Mask laughs mockingly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

[HF2009] Random Halloween YouTube Trailers and More

Here are some spooky, strange, and funny YouTube trailers for you:

The Inhumanoids intro--the best kiddie Lovecraft on Television!

The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo intro--Vincent Price on Saturday morning. I loved that show, even with Scrappy and the annoying con artist kid.

The Masque of the Red Death--the trailer to my favorite Poe/Corman/Price film

A short horror film from the guys and gals at FEWDIO called Viral. As the descrption on YouTube says: "There were supposed to be no photos of Albert "The Carnivore" Carneghy, and for good reason."

These FEWDIO guys have put out some really good horror short films. Check out their YouTube page or their website.

Finally, I got to end with some Italian Zombie films! Here are the trailers for Lucio Fulci's Zombie (Zombie 2 in Europe) and Dr. Butcher, MD (the cut-up American version of Marino Girolami's Zombie Holocaust).


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Obelisk of Kronos Redux--In d30!

In the spirit of the really fun science fantasy material that is appearing in several blogs throughout the RPG Blogosphere, I present this random table. Set in the mighty world of Vanth from Encounter Critical, this table originally appeared in the world famous Encounter Critical Mailing List Files section using a d20. I’ve dropped some of the reference notes, but added 10 more possibilities, ‘cause daddy’s using a d30!

The Obelisk of Kronos

An Encounter Critical Adventure Starter

The Players touch a strange obelisk and are swept away to a strange new place.

The Obelisk of Kronos: An indestructible 6-foot tall crystal carved in the shaped of an obelisk. References in the Dimensionomicon tie these artifacts to the mysterious Kronosians. An Obelisk of Kronos not bound to a Table of Thoth is prone to cause a lot of chaos.

When a character touches the obelisk they must make roll against the Saving Throw skill. Success leaves the victim shaken but not hurt. Failure results in a multiversal shift.

Roll a 1d30 and Check the table below.

1 Alternate Vanth—Roll a d6
1 Reverse Alignment Vanth: Evil guys are good, good guys are evil.
2 High Tech Vanth: No magic, just psionics and technology.
3 One Race Vanth: One intelligent race on Vanth, with many variants.
4 Robodroid/Lizardman War Vanth: terminators vs. serpent men for control of the world.
5 Super Vanth: Vanth with superpowers and comic book tropes.
6 GMs Choice. Go nuts.
2 Throneworld of Price Dax, Protector of the Insector Alliance

3 The home of the gods. Pick a pantheon and run with it.

4 The World of Mythika

5 Asteroid 1618

6 The Bridge of the Starcruiser Durandal

7 Victorian England Roll a d6
1-4 Historical
Steampunk stuf
8 Megatheira: Gargantuan monsters rampage this world

9 The Planet Klor, rotating around the star Betalguese

10 One of the Elemental Planes: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Others

11 The Prison Dimension of Lord Dire Killblade, Thanatosian Overlord

12 Camelot Roll a d6
1-2 Classic Arthur
3-4 Twist on the Legend
5-6 Alternate Arthur
13 The plane of Limbo. Roll again or make up something REALLY weird.

14 The jungle realm of the Animal Lords

15 Post Apocalyptic America during the Neo-Luddite/Cyclor Empire War.

16 The Citadel of Honor, New Liberty during the Megaforce/Allied Battalion reunion

17 The Realm of Shatterstone, Crystal Warrior sector

18 The castle of Baron Bramm von Vulkav, country of Vulkavia

19 The Known Lands

20 Neo Chicago, 2255. You land in the middle of a battle between the Defender and Conqueror factions of the Transchangors.

21 Carcosa. One of them (Biercian, Chambersian, Tynesian, or McKinneyian)

22 Harlem, 1970s. Prince Mamuwalde is gathering monsters to his noble cause to fight inhuman creatures worse than he is.

23 Atlantis. Pick one of the thousands of version of Atlantis.

24 The Gothic Empire of Terra during the Andromedan Crusade against the NecroOrks of Antares.

25 The Keep on the Borderlands

26 New Georgia Megastracture, Mecha Police Squad

27 Modern day Earth, Illuminated.

28 The middle of an active wormhole. The players get stuck wherever the wormhole leads, and with whoever was going through it.

29 Somewhere in the history of Vanth.

30 GMs Choice: Anyway from TV, movies, books, other games or anything else.

Some Notes:

Multiversal Shift: The act of traveling through the multiverse at random.

The Dimensionomicon: A tome containing vast amounts of information on the multiverse and the omniverse. There are many different editions and versions of the Dimensionomicon, so not all of the information is valid, honest or up to date….

Kronosians: A morphic race of mutiversal travelers who observe (or try to protect) the omniverse. They can incarnate 9 times before their energies fade into the omniverse. All Kronosians have a tendency towards overconfidence and curiosity.
Thanatosians: The opposition of the Kronosians, the Thantosians are a morphic race that feed of the death and destruction of the omniverse. Whiles they do not Incarnate like the Kronosians, they can take over bodies and make them their own.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

[HF2009] Local Horror: The Spade County Massacre

I went to ZombieCon X on Sunday. This was a local horror movie convention I heard about by luck. I had a blast, watching movies, talking horror movies and getting some autographs. My camera took a puke, so I don't have any visuals. I got Sid Haig and Dee Wallace's autographs, and both of them were really cool.

There were also some independent film makers there. The movies were good, but the one that intrigues me the most was the New film by local Milwaukee filmmakers Sixth Street Entertainment:

The movie isn't out yet, but check out the trailer:

And check out the Spade County Massacre website. It's full of great background material about the movie.

I love the fact that people are making horror movies in my neck of the woods, and I'll throw some love their way for doing it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blackest Breakfast

I got this from The Groovy Age of Horror blog. The image has been surfing around the web today. It's based on DC Comics latest mega-crossover Blackest Night. I thought it was funny.

Friday, October 9, 2009

[HF2009] A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors: The RPG

One of the better sequels of the Nightmare on Elm Street series was A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. The dreamers fighting against the Nightmare Freddy Krueger with enhanced abilities was a concept I’m surprised no one ever “borrowed” for a roleplaying game. For fun, here are some system-less notes on making a campaign based of the movie. So in honor of Halloween, I give you:

A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors the RPG


Freddy Krueger is dead.

Freddy Krueger was not the only Nightmare stalking the Dreamworld. There are other predators that can kill you in your dreams. Twisted beings that can affect the Waking World by guile and brute murderous force.

But there are guardians of humanity that can fight the Nightmares in their dreams. Forged by trauma, fear and will they may be the last hope against an onslaught of terror.

They are the Dream Warriors.

The Players

The Players in the Dream Warrior RPG portray Dream Warriors, people who are able to wield strange powers in the Dreamworld to battle the deadly Nightmares. Characters can come for all sorts of backgrounds. Some may even be in comas or institutions. What they all have in common is that they have amazing abilities when they go to sleep. Some Dream Warriors have enhanced strength or amazing combat abilites. Others can change shape or wield “magical” powers. Beyond Dream Warriors are the rare and hunted people who can manipulate the fabric of the Dream World itself. These few are called the Dream Masters.

Character creation involves creating a character with two aspects: a Waking Self and a Dream Self. The Waking Self is the character in the Waking World, which is similar to our world (or the movie version thereof). The Waking Self will have little access to Dream Powers in the Waking World. A central concept of the Dream Warriors RPG is conflict, both within and without. In addition to stats, skills, etc, the characters each have a trauma, a secret, and a goal. These are not only role playing notes, they are anchors for the character, and why they fight.

The Dream Self is an idealized image of the Dream Warrior. In the Dream World the mute can speak and the paraplegic can walk. The Dream Powers that Dream Warriors wield are what set them apart from other Dreamers. This is not a superhero RPG, though. A character will manifest powers that tie into the goals, personality and traumas of their past. Examples include Joey’s (the mute kid’s) sonic scream, Kincaid's super strength, and Kristen’s ability to draw people into her dreams. Dream Powers could work as various powers or tied to a Dreaming stat or skill.

Coming next week: A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors the RPG setting ideas and thoughts on different systems. Ciao!

Monday, October 5, 2009

[Halloween Fun 2009] Why Peter Cushing Is A BAD Man!

From the classic Hammer Film Brides of Dracula:


[Halloween Fun 2009] Trailers From Hell

It been over two weeks since I last posted. I've been busy working at a new Pick 'N Save, and been a little worn out. But now until the end of the year, I plan to post more.

October 31 is, of course, Halloween. The rest of the month I'll be posting videos, game ideas, and fun RPG stuff.

First up is Trailers from Hell!

This awesome site is full of B-Movie trailers spanning years and genres . The twist to Trailers from Hell is that each trailer has commentaries from B-Movie Luminaries like John Landis, Joe Dante, and Larry Cohen. It a fun site to waste a couple of hours tooling around the over 300 reviews. Plus, you can view or download the trailers with or without commentary.

On the RPG front, Trailers from Hell is a great site to get adventure ideas. Pick a couple of trailers, steal--I mean, borrow some ideas, and run an adventure based off of them.

Big Mike David says check it out!