Friday, October 8, 2010

'Tis the Season!



Like with many gamers, Halloween, rather than Christmas, is my favorite holiday/season. The time of year is so evocative. No matter what else is going on I usually try to make some room for horror gaming. This actually goes way back to the first year I was regularly gaming, back as a freshman in high school.

I had received Call of Cthulhu as a birthday present the year before, and my diminutive, nascent gaming group (all two of us!) was itching to try it out. So, on the game day closest to Halloween, we inaugurated the First Annual Call-of-Cthulhu-a-thon. The idea was for each of us to take it in turn to run a horror game over the course of a single evening (since to a 14-year-old more is always better). Interestingly, although I did use Cthulhu to run my game, I opted for a vampire-centric scenario, inspired by an article in a back-issue of Dragon magazine I had in my collection. And my buddy Alex, for reasons unknown, opted to run a GURPS Horror scenario. As he only had a couple months of gaming experience under his belt (and zero experience with running GURPS!), I seem to recall the scenario consisted mostly of moving through a graveyard as various creatures selected on the fly from the GURPS Horror bestiary literally jumped out from behind tombstones to threaten my PC.

Needless to say, subsequent Call-of-Cthulhu-a-thons have been somewhat more sophisticated. The idea of cramming as many games into a single evening was eventually dropped as sanity prevailed. I wish I could say that the tradition goes back in an unbroken chain to 1992, but that's sadly not the case. There have been gaps, years in which I wasn't gaming and nothing happened, or else I was in the midst of an ongoing campaign and didn't feel like taking a break to do a special one-shot (although I'd usually try to inject a little Halloween-y themes into the session nearest the holiday). Then there was the one year we were really into miniatures gaming and we did a Halloween-themed Warhammer game instead (goblins versus undead).

I had plans to run a game last year, but things fell through at the last minute. This year the CoC-a-thon is on like Zombie Donkey Kong, though! It'll probably be a proper Cthulhu session, although I haven't ruled out All Flesh Must Be Eaten or maybe a straight BRP horror game.

So do any of my gentle readers share similar annual horror gaming traditions? If so, what are your plans this year?
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