Top 10 Prompts for your Halloween One-Shot
With Halloween right around the corner, there is no better way to celebrate than to get together with some roleplaying friends for a scary game! If you’re looking for some inspiration for Halloween then look no further, as we’ve assembled a list of prompts to inspire you to present your group with an adventure that will really spook them.
The player characters are all passengers on the same ship, together or as separate travellers. One morning in the middle of their ocean voyage they wake to find that the whole crew has disappeared.
The undead horde has come to your players’ town! They must defeat them, but if someone gets bitten and fails a Constitution saving throw, they’ll need a new zombified character sheet and will join the enemies.
The party is tasked with spreading the ashes of a recently deceased noble in a specific location. Little do they know he planned for this and doing so will revive him, undead and powerful.
A powerful vampire is slowly taking control of the city and has many hidden thralls to help it succeed. A player is picked at random and is secretly working to help the vampire, the others know that someone is a traitor, but not who.
There’s a splendid Halloween party, everyone is in elaborate and terrifying costumes. Throughout the evening it’s discovered that not everyone is actually wearing a costume, there are monsters in our midst.
The party visits a huge pumpkin field following reports of a mimic sighting. Once they reach the center of the field they realise it’s the pumpkins, it’s all of the pumpkins.
In the bedroom of a player character, a portal opens. It’s the party, but from another dimension! Their world is infected with parasites and they want to escape to this world. It’s not too hard to tell that they are infected, and it’s not too easy fighting yourself.
The party meets in jail. When the guard never comes back they must break out, only to find that the city has been abandoned in a hurry. Something is coming.
This town is cursed: the dead reanimate. If the body is burned the ash reforms into a humanoid, if cut up the parts will find each other. These reanimated creatures seek only to live, but the town is running out of space.
The tooth fairy has gotten bored of waiting for children’s teeth to fall out, so she’s decided to start coming for the teeth of adults while they sleep.
What System to Play a Horror Game in?
Monster of the Week
Monster of the Week is built for one-shots. Like shows such as Doctor Who, Supernatural, or Buffy: the idea is that your group meets a new threat each session, and concludes their short adventure, ready to refresh for next week’s challenge. It’s one small book for the rules, and all the information your players will need is on their character sheets so it’s a great pick for one-shots where you don’t want to explain rules for the first hour.
Dread, as the name suggests, is the best system for making your players dread what is to come. When they try to do something, they must draw blocks from a Jenga tower. If it falls, they die. It’s so much more scary than watching your hit points dwindle to zero to actually have to pull the block yourself, knowing that it’s not just a failed roll that kills you but your own shaky hand. Aside from Dread, a wobbling tower of blocks adds great tension to a game in any system where you’d like a little more tension.
Dungeons and Dragons
D&D is built for medieval fantasy, but there are myriad resources to adapt it to any genre you need. As the best-known RPG system, for seasoned adventurers or those who prefer a d20 you can play a scary game with the system your players know best. Never be afraid to borrow some rules from a horror game or add some extra skills that you think will be useful in a spooky setting, and jump right into the scary adventures!
Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu is the best-known purpose-built horror RPG. It’s designed for investigating horrific crimes and monsters, and has skills and mechanics which back that up in gameplay. Your players have a huge range of skills into which they can specialise, making it surprisingly versatile, and the sanity mechanic means they’re not just avoiding a physical death, but going insane from the scares they encounter. Plus, there are extra sourcebooks to kickstart any horror campaign, be it eldritch, medieval, retro, or modern!