Hidden Menace Games

I was talking to my wife a while ago about some scenarios and the idea of a hidden threat whose nature is revealed in play came up. It’s an intriguing idea so I did some posting around rpg.net to see if there’s already a game in place that does this. Here’s the initial post:

Hi folks. I’m coming back to game design after a bit of a hiatus and was looking to work on a “hidden threat” style game were the big bad’s nature comes out during play. I’m thinking it would start of with signs of trouble with more being revealed during play. This would ideally be set up to handle quick on-shots so I’d like it if the threat can be made up on the fly from random elements rather than having to rely on pre-planned scenarios.

So my question to you folks is: Do you know any systems that already handle this well? If not, I’ve got some seed ideas to work from, but I’m definitely open to suggestions.

For those familiar with the series, I know the old Buffy the Vampire Slayer series had a similar narrative flow. I’ll have to check how the rpg based on the series supports that. I also vaguely remember an old ghost busters inspired game (Inspectors?) which might have some useful elements.

If any of you fine folks know a game system like that let me know. Currently I’m coming up dry on the rpg front. However, I have seen some board games and card which might be useful. For example, “Betrayal at House on the Hill” captures the feeling of unknown danger fairly well, while “Once Upon a Time” is good at mixing randomized elements with player improvisation.

I’m still working out the details of how I’d want this to play out, so suggestions are certainly welcome. Right now I’m thinking of something like this.

  • Play Starts with a location and a “shadow” card, representing the first hint of danger.
  • “Hero” players call out quick character descriptions for “seekers” appropriate to the setting.
  • Seeker characters reveal additional shadows through investigation, while also uncovering both dangers and useful items/information.
  • As revealed shadows increase, a few become more dominant and powerful.
  • At end game, shadows condense to a single final threat which must be overcome.

So that’s what I’m looking at right now. Having written it out, it looks like I may want to give a second look at “Betrayal at House on the Hill” as it has a similar tempo but with fixed ending scenarios. Any other ideas you folks would like throw on the pile?

Published in: on September 13, 2012 at 4:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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