Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fright Night

Back in 2007, with the arrival of the eminent Marcus Bone, I suddenly realized that there might actually be enough horror loving GM’s in Wellington-town to run a mini-convention. To confirm these suspicions I ran a poll on NZRag and found that there was probably enough support for such an undertaking; although several people were clear that they were not interested in horror-themed roleplaying.

In my head this was to be a Cthulhu-con, with perhaps a smattering of other games. After all; it seemed evident to me that Call of Cthulhu is simply the best horror game out there, and is rich with published scenarios for precisely this kind of outing. Of course, my own personal bias had meant that I was entirely detached from the reality of the Wellington gaming community. Other than me, nobody pitched a Cthulhu game, and instead we had a wide variety of other styles and genre of games, which were met with enthusiasm by the ‘con attendees.

However, I know some people don’t enjoy horror games. Usually this is driven by a dislike of the premise of horror (splatter seems to dominate Hollywood horror flicks), compounded by second-hand stories of gleeful TPK’s, where the GM ruthlessly wiped out the characters - because that’s ‘horror’. My own belief is that horror games (and movies) can be considerably more nuanced than that; but how to convince people not only that this is true, but also lure them to the ‘con one Saturday night in October, and convince them to pay for the pleasure?

To try and be clear about what kind of game experience you could expect at the ‘con I borrowed a system from popular Canadian horror film festival, where the movies were scored in categories such as ‘strange, splatter, scare and suspense’ and also borrowed the film classification ratings.

The first Fright Night just scraped together enough players to fill all the available slots, and break even. It was a stressful time, largely because we had one GM pull out on the day and I hastily had to run a replacement game (Simply Red from Call of Cthulhu’s Blood Brothers 2) in its place. In the intervening years while I’ve been out of the country, Alaisdair has done a great job of running the ‘con, and introducing the kind of things that are now more popular in the community, like LARP’s and so forth.

Now it’s time to start drumming up players for Fright Night once again. Please register and help to keep this fiesty little ‘con going!


  1. Go Fright Night!

    As for people not enjoying horror RPGs, I thought the issue with Horror RPGs had more to do with the medium struggling to live up to the promise.

  2. I think that's also an issue - thus my EPOCH manifesto - but if you can't even get them to the table in the first place, it's hard to challenge preconceptions.