This might not technically be a Dead World game, since Tom didn't go with his usual zombie standby, but since Tom ran a horror one-shot, I'm putting it under this tag. We played Dread, which is an indie horror game where the clever mechanic is using a Jenga tower instead of dice for the "mechanics." I've heard of the game, & watched it on TableTop (Part II), & was anxious to give it a crack. Like Lasers & Feelings, this falls into a casual area of gaming that kingtycoon & I have been talking about a lot lately. Dread doesn't have anything mechanically that really applies to Oubliette, but this is as much an RPG as anything: we all pretended to be someone else & there was a randomizing element that made the game suspenseful to everyone, including the narrator.
& it was a solid one-shot! Tom always asks for feedback & I always give it to him but I'm notoriously terrible at one-shots-- they sprawl out longer-- so I am trying to learn from him, if anything. I think his best skill is his sense of escalation. He keeps pushing up the threat level when the shit hits the fan. That, & his use of visceral descriptions & a sense of vulnerability; in traditional RPGs, stepping on a trap has been contextualized as mundane, but when my character Meredith stepped on the board of broken nails...when Tom mentioned the nails were clipped into hooked points & I decided to step all the way down before I could change my mind....when I found out the board was 8' & I couldn't even crawl away. Yeah. Or further back, the moment when Luke's character Aleksander stepped in a bear trap & we all winced.
I played Meredith Palmer, the former pageant girl & spelling bee champ turned head cheerleader. I always play Tom's games with a "horror movie problem," like the film nerd who stays too long to shoot footage, or the special forces guy who is secretly working for a corrupt PMC, or a Lovecraftian "nervous condition." This time my "dark secret" was cocaine...& then half of the rest of the group were power drug users. Instead it became "frustrated that these stoners & pill poppers don't have any blow." Nicole played my boyfriend, Daniel Lee, the basketball jock & tinkerer. Lilly was the stoner, Luke the pyro nerd, Alicia the girl next door, James the rich kid.
The set-up: creepy abandoned island with mansion on it. The owners had tons of trained attack dogs & when they died the dogs went feral. It's a dangerous place, an urban legend, as the incest twins of the mansion part attests. Our boat crashes there. There is a creepy house with a very creepy flooded basement. The back yard is full of dog skeletons; the spooky woods are filled with traps. Twincest. I mean, obviously twincest. Then of course comes the slasher. & the rescue boat of dubious provenance. Pretty spooky stuff, but somehow, we survived! Not without some serious injuries, but we made it!