• Kantalope

    October Challenge: The Thrills of Horror



    Welcome all to the spooky thrills of the October design challenge! Will you test your fate in the bowels of an insane asylum? Escape a mad man on the loose? Take on a cult of God fearing abominations? Maybe even run from a more everyday horror? Then set your players off on the thrill ride of their lives!


    So what's the challenge?

    Sticking with the themes of Halloween, design a scenario and level that enforces any chosen feeling of horror, the more the not-so-merrier. The player could be chased or on a desperate chase, under a looming threat, or any other thing that you can imagine. Be creative with how you torture your player! Don't get too caught up in the excitement, though; you gotta explain why you chose to do what you did.


    Since this is also Inktober and Blocktober, feel free to share some sketches and block outs of any horror related concepts and designs. It would be great to see what existing horror designs and concepts you all have already come up with, too!



    Only three guidelines apply to this challenge:

    1. The level should be designed to instill feelings of horror and the like
    2. The level needs to be posted on the October Challenge: The Thrill of Horror Submission Thread
    3. The post needs to include at least one picture of the design

    If you're not registered on the site, it's an easy process. Here's a link to where you can do so: [link]


    The submission thread will remain open until October 28th. There is no limit to the number of levels and designs you can submit. Submit one and go into as much detail about it as possible, or submit many with the bare minimum of detail. Take Whichever route you feel will be the most beneficial to your own development.


    A couple of details that could be included in the level post as a way to better convey the design process are:

    • The sandbox of which the level is designed for (No weapons, limited weapons/precision necessary, specialized tools, small arsenal, etc.)
    • Multiple pictures and/or video footage of the level
    • An overview of the layout
    • A flow diagram of the map
    • An explanation of the source of inspiration for the level
    • Anything that helps convey the thought process behind the level

    Here's a link to the Submission thread for this Challenge:[link]


    An Example:

    In a D&D game that I had been DMing, there were almost exclusively fighters, a bard, and a rogue. Not that creative, but this gave them almost no ability to deal with magic (mind you they were only level 3 at this point), and they always wanted to pick fights. This gave me an idea for a location; a tavern that appeared to have only large barbarians and a few wanderers that were clearly unaware of the tavern's reputation. This tavern was in a holy town, so this should have set off some red flags already. Basically these barbarians were bait for the fighters so that they would all stand in one general area, then *whoosh* the floor opens, dropping them into a deep pit. If the rogue had suspected fowl play due to the tavern's location, they could've noticed this and completely ignored that section of floor.


    Once dropped into the pit, they'd need to roll at least a 21 (with modifiers) on an Acrobatics check to not fall to the bottom, becoming unconscious. If anyone rolled high enough, they'd be clinging to the sides of the contraption, and the tavern owner would take notice, beginning to fire eldritch blasts at them until they lost grip. This whole opening section was most likely to be thwarted by the rogue, but I think that they were being to dark and brooding to notice what was actually going on.

    Once they were down their, their belongings were stripped away from them, leaving them with no special items. When they woke back up, they were in a cramped room, supposedly underground. This is where the fun begins! As they came to terms with what just happened, the door to this room slowly opens with no one on the other side, only a dark hall with a few branching paths. Much of the ground is coated with blood and maybe some guts? Maybe just normal flesh? For a majority of these paths, along with the main dark hall itself, they were littered with traps, some obvious, some not. Gotta give them a false sense of security.


    A few of the rooms have tools that aid the players; early on in one of the paths there's a wrench attached to an enchanted torture device, requiring one of the player characters to endure a major wound upon their hands (the obvious choice was to make sure that the rogue would be safe to continuously check everything, and keep the bard okay to make sure that they can inspire at important moments).


    Similar events like this occurred elsewhere; one device caused a player to be inable to walk, making traps that chase the characters extra intense. Another requires a character to use wrench to tighten a steam leak from a system so that a few doors open, but also incapacitating said character due to the amount of steam released onto them. The whole floor plan was designed to imitate the police station in Resident Evil 2 to a certain extent so that exploration would be important to the party's survival.




    A quick run down:

    - get short bow and 5 arrows, both hands injured

    --- shoot arrow at target down jagged hallway to turn off steam blocking off said hallway

    - grab wrench, leg injured, hard to ignore floor traps

    --- turn release valve to open all steam doors, getting severe burns in the process

    ----- beast released from cage

    - assemble lever from parts found in beast room and main hall

    --- place lever in wall near red door, thinking that the door opens with lever

    ----- boulder releases from other end of hallway, quickly approaching red door

    ------- boulder crashes through door, forcing characters to crawl under

    - shoot target near door at end of hallway to close spike pit

    ---------> escape



    If you'd like to suggest some changes and/or improvements for subsequent challenges, feel free to do so in our Challenge Feedback thread here: [link]

    Article Preview: In this month's challenge: design a level or scenario that instills dread, anxiety, and panic into the players.

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