Cthulhu Dark is a new Lovecraftian horror game raising funding on kickstarter now. From the information that I have seen, it looks very interesting, and is inspiring for horror games in Savage Worlds. You can find the kickstarter here and it has a three of previews up, one for the basic rules which is what inspired me to back it, another for the start of the keeper’s section, and a final one on for the London setting in 1851.
So as to what the rules got me thinking about that might be of use in Savage Worlds is the rules on Insight. As some basic background, for any investigation task you roll one six-sided dice because you are human, one six-sided dice if the task is related to your occupation, and an optional six-sided dice if you want to risk your mind called the Insight Dice. Mechanically if your highest roll is a one, you get just enough to move on to the next task, if you get a four, you find out everything that a competent investigator would discover, on a five you get everything from the four plus you remember a related folktale, rumor, or scientific experiment. Finally on a roll of a six, you get everything from the five plus you glimpse some horrific truth that is beyond human understanding.
Alternate Rule Option 1
So here are some of the ideas that I have had on how something like this could be used in Savage Worlds. For the hard horror settings like Realms of Cthulhu, maybe make the wild die act similarly to the insight die where if you roll a six, you have to make a fear test because you glimpsed something of the true nature of the universe. I would only do this for Investigation and Notice rolls instead of any roll especially if you want to run a campaign as opposed to a one shot. In addition if you rolled a five on the wild die, you recall some unexpected connection to whatever you are searching or happening to notice.
Alternate Rule Option 2
For settings where the Horror is something that the players are supposed to be able to defeat and thrive against for example East Texas University, Deadlands, 50 Fathoms, Weird Wars, etc. I would make the horrific insight only happen when the players get two or more raises on a Notice or Investigate roll (skill or wild dice). When that happens they would need to make an appropriate roll on the Fear table because they glimpsed something that Man was not meant to know. For most cases this will mean that it is not likely to come-up unless they get a d12 on either Notice or Investigate which again would be the only skills that I applied this rule to. If you only rolled one raise on the skill roll, you would make some unexpected connection to whatever you were doing.
Anyway with a little bit of planning I believe this concept could add a lot to a horror themed game. The planning part comes from the unexpected connections and horrific insight gained by the better rolls. As it stands, I don’t know if this is something that I would want to do yet. I want to think about the implications a little bit longer before I make any decisions on how to incorporate it. I might start without the fear check and just use the concept for inspiration on what kinds of information is given out. I will definitely be thinking about this over the next week and I would recommend checking the kickstarter out to those who find this idea interesting.