So today, I just finished reading my preview copy of Cthulhu Dark. I will probably wait to write a review of it after I have read the released version sometime around the end of the year, but I did want to talk about the concept of Creeping Horror that it has and some thoughts on how I am thinking of using them in my Deadlands Noir game.
First what is a Creeping Horror? It is a reoccurring unexplained, unsettling moment of weirdness that happens during a mystery. One of the examples they give in the preview of Cthulhu Dark is the odor of rotting flowers, or the sound of children singing. Whatever it is, it should be tied to both the mystery and the horror of the session, so for the children singing, the mystery might be about children being abducted. The creeping horror doesn’t have to make sense, be explainable.
So based on this, I have several threads in my Deadlands Noir game that I could start upping the creepy factor with these. First off there is Theodore Sedgewick the swarm man. Ideas for creepy things that I can use to point back to him deal with bugs. I could use audio hallucinations of a bug buzzing in their ears. Or when they talk to someone, have a fly land on the person’s face and walk around without the person they are talking to seeming to notice or react. I have another idea for him as well, that I want mention yet, because I think I will use it in the game.
Another thread that they are currently dealing with is a surgeon who dismembers people and puts the body parts together in weird ways. For that I could use something like finding surgical thread dangling from various things, or maybe drops of blood that they notice on the ground in each place that they visit.
Another thread is the hunt for who murdered Katarina’s father. For this I might use the sound of a car crashing or maybe the sound of chanting. Again I have a few other ideas that I am thinking of using.
If I were to do more with things that lived in the swamps or required more trips out to the swamps, I might include the smell of rotten vegetation or maybe the sidewalk oozes around their shoes as they walk down the street.
I have a couple of other ideas, and a couple of other threads that I could use this concept for that haven’t been revealed to entire group yet.
Now as to when I might use these ideas, I would probably use them to hint at who is behind the mystery, or that certain mysteries are connected. So each of the plot complications would get its own theme.
Anyway, this was just some ideas that I wanted to get down that might provide inspiration for others.