RPG Accessories: Five Horror Games to Play Your Halloween One-Shot With
It’s time to plan your Halloween horror one-shot. And these five tabletop RPG systems may just be the perfect way to scare your players.
Halloween is practically here–parties are going on this weekend, and if you don’t have your candy ready, now is your last chance! But if you don’t have any big plans for the 31st itself, it’s a perfect time to run your own Halloween horror one-shot. And one of these systems will probably be perfect.
1. Call of Cthulhu
When it comes to horror tabletop gaming, Call of Cthulhu is an absolute cornerstone. This game, based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft throws you into a world of unthinkable monsters and madness. It finds a way to quantify your character’s fear with real consequences, and in no way guarantees that you’ll make it to the end of the game. But that’s part of the fun. Of course, Call of Cthulhu isn’t known for being an easy game to set up or play. So if you’re looking for this vibe on more of a beginner or quick-play setting …
2. Fate of Cthulhu
Similar but also very different, Fate of Cthulhu updates the genre and simplifies the gameplay experience with the generic and customizable FATE system. This game also uses your fear against you—as well as any eldritch horror-style game should—but it’s also a little more in tune with a gamer in 2023. Plus there’s a time travel aspect.
If you’re looking for a game to run as a quick one-shot for Halloween, Dread is easily one of my favorite quick systems out there. The book is really thin, coming in at under 170 pages, and the system couldn’t be simpler. You come up with your character, stack up a block tower (like Jenga), and pull blocks out whenever your character wants to do something that would be dice-rolling-worthy in other systems. If you knock the tower down bad stuff happens. Good luck!
4. Mörk Borg
If you’re looking for a little less classic horror, and a little more ‘the general vibe of death metal’ Mork Borg is a wild and very stylistically cool game. This is another pretty simple system with a light- but not quite Jenga-tower light- set of rules and a setup where the DM may never even need to roll. But what it does have is a full, unique, and very dark world. This is a sandbox to play in like few others, but it’s a sandbox really worth playing in.
Another horror game with a very specific style and setting, Vaesen takes us into the Nordic mountains where the old, old monsters live. This is a game deeply inspired by Scandinavian folklore and myths and invites you to explore what goes bump in the night. This is another game where your character can take physical or mental damage, so it’s important to keep your wits about you at all times. But sometimes the things you can’t quite see outside are really darn scary.
Oh hey! BoLS might make a little dolla-dolla if you decide to buy these items. We need that money to buy extra nightlights!