Running a scary game is a difficult thing to do. I have always wanted to run a game that had people scared. Closest I ever came was a Shadowrun game I ran of all things. That was a game that I ran off the cuff also and it haunts me to today because I cannot recreate the perfect storm it was born from.
It was when I was young and I was working in Launceston, Tasmania. Every month I needed to go to Hobart and spend a week there. I stayed with a mate and ran games at nighttime as payment for letting me stay. I decided to run a haunted house style game. Barghests galore and walls that seemed solid but would warp with the spirits contained in the area. I had most things work differently to what was expected so the players just struggled to work out exactly what was going on. It was scary and it was one of the games that I will remember for the rest of my life.
But I took that game straight back to Launceston with me and tried to run it for my group that lived there. It completely fell flat and was about as scary as a child’s Halloween movie. I keep trying to remember the bits and pieces that made that game so scary. I try to keep away from gore, but most players want that in a horror. I find the games I run now that are meant to be scary in fact draw more laughter than anything. When I crack the code I will report it back here! Keep rolling.