It's been my distinct pleasure over the course of my gaming life to be exposed to dozens, if not hundreds, of game systems and genres. It honestly astounds me at times that some gamers only play D&D or only play a particular version of a game system. And yet, I recall that once upon a time, my own experiences were exactly that: D&D and nothing more.
|A bad moon rising...|
My first real shock came in character generation. Used to (and rather sick of) the min-maxing of D&D, I decided to go all out in characterization, breaking from anything even remotely familiar. I settled upon writing up what I lovingly referred to as a "Wicca wench"--a heavily overweight woman who fancied herself something of an "occult expert", when her actual arcane knowledge came only from her part-time job in a New Age store.
BLof's scenario began with our characters investigating the disappearance of several campers in a nearby state park. After a day of fruitless searching, evening led us to the campers' cabin. And that? That's when the real horror kicked in.
|Run away! Run away!!!|
I'm not sure whether it was the setting, whether it was the stark contrast between this game and my prior forays in D&D, or maybe it was how BLof described the wails of these demon-children as we fled into the dark. Regardless, I was hooked. Call of Cthulhu had blown my mind, completely and utterly. That evening, I slowly made my way back to Ferncliff Hall beneath the blood-orange moon. With those hideous wails embedded in my ears, the horrified look of my characters' face emblazoned onto my imagination, I knew that I'd be back for more.
Our campaign lasted for the majority of that semester and, while many of our sessions were nowhere near as horrific as that first one--our highway-chase/gunfight in Harlem comes immediately to mind--that first session set me down quite the path. The flirtations with horror gaming I'd had in the past through Ravenloft were just that--mere flirtations. With Call of Cthulhu, I'd found real vehicle--and my options have only spread open since then.
By now, you're probably wondering what brought this entry on. Obviously, the holiday spirit is my primary motivation, but not necessarily for the reason you think.
You see, friends and neighbors: that fateful first session, which brought me full-bore into horror roleplaying...that session was played on Halloween, eleven years ago today.
Now, isn't that spooky!?