As Halloween rapidly approaches even gamers who don’t normally invest themselves very heavily into horror roleplaying games begin to turn an eye toward playing a few sessions devoted to spookier fare. Of course, there are also many of us (myself included) who run RPGs specifically focused on tales of terror as our genre of choice and this also tends to be the time of year where we look to concoct something really special for our players. What follows are a baker’s dozen of roleplaying systems sure to run a chill up nearly every gamer’s spine, regardless if you’ve been playing for years on end or are just now looking to gather your friends around the table for the first time.
I will mention horror roleplaying does normally require more mature participants than just about any other genre of RPG. I don’t necessarily mean to imply a minimum age for the players (I began running Call of Cthulhu when I was fourteen) but horror, in any medium, needs to touch upon things which tend to make the average person a tad uncomfortable. Subjects such as black magick, the dead returning from the grave, mysterious dark gods, and vampirism are only a few tried and true tentpoles of many classic terror tales and games but certainly aren’t topics brought up in conversation in polite company. Just be aware of your fellow gamers around the table in order to provide great scares and shocks without crossing the line of what they feel is in good taste; what may be all in good spooky fun for one person may be completely inappropriate for another.
Also, as of this writing, many of the game titles you’ll read about on the following pages are currently on sale in PDF on DriveThruRPG by way of their annual Halloween sale. The special pricing runs through November 1st, 2017 and I’ve linked to the sale pages appropriately if you’d like to save around 31%.
I certainly don’t claim this to be all encompassing list of every horror RPG but simply titles I think are deserving of attention. By all means if you feel I’ve left out a worthy entry be sure to share it in the comments section below. If you disagree with any of my picks I welcome your (polite) comments as well!
While thirteen is normally an unlucky number I think it’s exactly the right tally when talking about spooky roleplaying games so, without further ado, let’s look at titles I feel are not only perfect for Halloween but great to play all throughout the year.