Monday, September 27, 2010

Need a Horror One-shot? Try out Mysterious Places

Tis' the season for horror one-shots. I've seen the discussions pop up from one corner of the gaming net to the other. Although we've got some great stuff planned for the entire month of October, I thought I'd throw an early bone out to those that are doing their best to plan ahead. I also thought I'd throw White Wolf a bone after the rough/disappointing weekend they had with their non-announcements.

One of the most amazing things about White Wolf's new World of Darkness line, specifically the mortals or "blue book" line, is how easy it is to take their books and use them for your own purposes. There's a ton of great writing and fun little story hooks throughout all these books. One of my favorite of the blue books is Mysterious Places. It's a bit on the smaller side but filled with nine different settings that do a great job of setting a scene, providing a couple of important NPC's, and gives you ideas for players and story arcs to play out.

It's a great book full of one-shots. When I opened this up for the first time I knew I had to plan a game using just the very first scenario in the book - The Swimming Hole - for a Halloween game this year. Now I like the World of Darkness rules a lot, but mostly I take the ideas from the game and take them for my own games. With that in mind, I'm having no trouble at all preparing a one-shot and characters for The Swimming Hole using the rules for Dread -  a.k.a. the best horror game ever. Of course you can use Mysterious Place with any rule setting - it's presented in a very versatile format that lets you pick and choose what aspects you want to keep or drop and it usually won't hurt the setting at all.
Interested in buying Mysterious Places? Find it at Noble Knight at the link below. You'll get it at a nice discount and The Hopeless Gamer will get a bit of support as well.

Here's a quick summary of what's in the book:

The Swimming Hole
- What's really true about the town's old rock quarry and the man-made, bottomless lake that now lives there?
The University - Modern day University of Arkham with brutal secrets hiding just beneath the surface.
Swamp Indian Hollow - What kind of unnatural ceremonies does old man Weiss perform in his crematorium deep in the swamp?
The Village Secret - What is The Village and what depths will they reach in order to protect their secret?
The Statue of Weeping Alice - What price will the town have to pay to remember the lesson learned long ago by Alice?
Hillcrest Center for Elder Living - You know those people that seem just off? Where do they go when they get old?
The Whispering Wood -Things and people get lost in the woods all of the time. This is where they show up.
The Junkyard - What happens when you find yourself lost surrounded by hundreds of acres of barely usable junk... and other things?
The Empty Room - The Empty Room is 12-foot x 18-foot with a 10-foot ceiling. Do not go inside it.


  1. I have played through the Junkyard. It is a rather scary place to be especially when it will not let you out.

  2. Methinks that I have a new purchase for my Deadlands game on thr horizon. Thanks for this review! :D

  3. @seaofstarrpg: That sounds like a lot of fun. The Junkyard looks to be one of the most outright dangerous of the settings.

    @PlantinumWarlock: Although each scenario is in modern day, I could easily see several of them changed up for a Weird Wild West setting like Deadlands.

  4. Indian Hollow was a fun one to run as well.


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