How do I show my players that world is full of horrors and dangers?
How do I induce paranoia?
Mimic and shapeshifter come to mind. Ideas how to apply them are very welcome.
World is Hostile and Nasty and no, returning to CRPG-like Willage at the end of the day does not mean encounters are over. That is what I want to get across.
But not by just tossing more and more monsters at them.
>How do I induce paranoia?
Make them roll perception for things that aren't there. Make rolls behind the screen with no meaning. Pass a note to a player telling them not to share the contents of the note with any other player. Ask them questions about EXACTLY how they're preforming an action. Ask them what one of their saves are, or if anyone has ranks in a particular skill.
Rule One: No dungeons. No fucking dungeons!
Having dungeons segregates the world into "Monster space" and "Not-Monster space." Sure, there can be random encounters when you're headed to dungeons, but that's part of the dungeon experience.
Rule Two: No stupid monsters.
Now, I don't mean the monsters have to be erudite, or even capable of speech. But they can't be morons. They need to be cunning. Hunt the PCs whenever possible. You want to use zombies? Fuck you, you're not using slow, shambling movie zombies. They have to have that spark of human cunning that allows them to hunt properly. Make them fast and agile.
Rule Three: You can never go home.
There should never be a space that feels like "home." Either the players are itinerant, in which case they need to be constantly denied the chance to form social infrastructures, or they stay in one place. If they stay in one place, that place must be infiltrated. You mentioned returning to a village at the end of the day. Fuck that. Either they show up somewhere new, or they don't leave the village in the first place because the horrors come from within the walls.
This is one of the suggested ways to use Scenic Dunnsmouth. Introduce it as a small foggy village at the foot of a mountain where the actual dungeon is, with some kooky and quirky characters. Let the players have a good time with the crazy old priest, the eccentric hillbillies, the young squire certain there's a gold treasure buried near his house.
Then one day they sleep at the inn, and one of them wakes up with
a loli version of Llolth draining the blood from their paralyzed body. They head out into the swamp to look for their missing friend, only for a bear trap to clamp shut on one of their legs, and an axe wielding maniac drops from the trees and drives the rest back because he wants to play a little game. Their friend eventually reappears, but is tight-lipped about where they'd been. While planning a rescue for their captured friend, they head to the friendly fellow who told them lots of information about the dungeon, only to find him ritually sacrificed with a dead bird stuffed into his mouth. Soon, wherever they try to rest, they awaken with signs that their room was broken into, and violent sexual threats scrawled in elvish on their bodies. And then Yog-Sothothshows up.
This, plus use phrases like "you think" and "you believe" a lot.
Let's say they're searching for traps and find none. Tell them "you believe there are no traps".
"You don't think he's lying."
"He appears to be human."
Always keep them uncertain. Let them think that everyone around them could be something else. That every floor could be a trapdoor, that every cloak could be a monster in disguise.
People being found murdered in their beds.
The players being framed.
Finding that things in their rooms have been disturbed while they slept.
A love interest returns their affections, but the next time they meet her, she has no recollection of the meeting and reacts poorly.
"Strong NPCs" are introduced then brutally murdered (roll dice and everything). "Roll" to hit the players too, but it will miss.
People with creepy personalities.
1. Passing secret notes, and encouraging them to do the same.
2. Kill some of them, and do it quickly, offer few chances to restore damage dealt.
3. Little human contact, what little there is should be either hostile or incredibly cautious.
4. Everything that could reasonably have a trap, has a trap
5. Warnings in legends, rumors, or from locals should always be valid for the first three sessions.
6. Poison them (players or characters, it doesnt matter which).
That's a hell of an escalation.
Ever see the movie, The Thing?
Pass infected players a note saying they're infected. Pass everyone else a note too, but giving strange advice
>The moon is hungry tonight, the undead shall be hiding
>The orchids fear the blood of swine
>What's the difference between a village and a wood?
The first thing is to show them that there is danger. but be vague in what exactly it is that's dangerous. Show the gory results, not the monster itself.
Have a method to the madness. But toss in a few re herrings. So when the players think they've figured things out, you can prove them wrong.
So now they know shit's real, and that they don't know anything beyond that. That'll keep them on their toes.
>If they stay in one place, that place must be infiltrated.
Yeah. Let them have a home. Let them feel safe. And then home stops being safe. What they thought they knew about safe places was wrong. Apparently nowhere is safe. Fuck.