Of course with the good comes the bad. Horror has always been a genre that seems to draw the untalented and the uninspired (not to mention underfunded) in droves, so there's a lot of crap to wade through to find the good stuff.
Tonight, I'd like to present you with some of this mythical "good stuff" that can be so hard to find. Keep reading to enter the dark streets and creepy forests of Ichor Falls, Virginia.
Ichor Falls is not a real place. This is important to note (and easy to verify with a simple Google search) because the author, Kris Straub, in his opening chapter "Welcome to the Falls" paints a picture of an ancient Virginia town that is both researched meticulously and entirely fictitious. What started as a collection of oddball little online horror stories in the vein of Creepypasta grew into it's own little horror collection painting the picture of the worst, most cursed place on earth. I think I was first drawn into Ichor Falls when I read the forum threat somewhere simply titled "Candle Cove." The worst thing I could do to you is spoil even a bit of the story, but I will say this - it uses the medium of an internet message board to its fullest. Just read it here, because it won't take long, but it will make you feel incredibly uncomfortable.
Ok, read it? Let's continue then, shall we? The book itself is shockingly tiny weighing in at only 79 pages in all. Besides the "Welcome to the Falls" opening chapter we get 16 short stories to painfully inch our way through, one miserable page at a time. I say this last sentiment with the utmost respect for Ichor Falls. As short as it was, I couldn't read it all in one sitting because it honestly freaked the crap out of me at certain points.
The real appeal of IF is the format. Like I said above, the introduction to the city gives you plenty of story seeds and locations to build an entire horror campaign out of. With the foundation built firmly in this chapter, we then construct the rest of this creepy run-down house of a book with the 16 short stories. I love how they're all so short and (mostly) get right to the point and the creepy. There's very little lag time in each story and they're all very carefully crafted to maximize the freak-out factor. Each story is like its own little rollercoaster ride of dread. I've read several different horror anthologies and short story collections, and IF is my favorite I've read so far simply because of the format of the micro story.
In general, we here at The Hopeless Gamer are all about the fast and cheap. Let me rephrase that - we like inexpensive supplements that we can pull gaming fodder from a half hour before we have to GM a game on Friday night. As a cheap gaming supplement, Ichor Falls is a great product that I couldn't recommend more. Every story in here is worth at least a single one-shot session and could easily be combined with other stories to make for one very unnerving and unpredictable setting. Of course the weakness here is the total lack of stats for Your Favorite System game brand (you know, Call of Cthulhu, World of Darkness, Savage Worlds, etc.), but I find NPS stats are usually not the hard part in trying to prepare a game quickly. So to that end, Ichor Falls is a great little book to pick up for yourself (just click the link below for its Amazon page to purchase!). (INSERT WITTY CLOSING COMMENT ABOUT ENTERING ICHOR FALLS AT YOUR OWN PERIL HERE)