Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Haunting of Dragons Cliff: Arron of the Black Forest

I try to keep my price point of ebooks fairly low. Even when there is an author you enjoy, there's no guarantee that you'll enjoy every book they make. In addition, thanks to living in Chicago, I can often find books very inexpensive at Half Price or at various book fairs. But when I see something like The Haunting for $2.99, I'm willing to take a chance on it.

I'll be discussing one of the elements from the novel below, so if you want to avoid spoilers, read no further.

Alright, the thing to steal from this book is how they set up a haunted house. Dragon's Cliff is the name of the manor where an old captain went to die after failing to finish off some great sea wyrm. The manor is haunted by various retainers of the captain who want the captain's funds that he supposedly saved away.

But while those details are important to the novel, they're not important to the set up of the haunted house itself.

When the main character, Arron of the Black Forest, gets himself into this location, it's not a typical exploration of a house. If you or I go to a house to do a tour, we know where everything is, or at least, we can do the tour and find it.

Not so here.

Every time Arron opens a door to try and escape from the house, he discovers another room, without rhyme or reason. In a role playing game, this would be the perfect opportunity to make a haunted house entirely out of randomly rolled rooms. This would make preparation very quick and easy and could be something that you could use in several different styles of haunted house.

You could assemble common cards of each of the standard type of rooms if you wanted to lay down maps for example, and each time the characters open a door, take out a new room tile to showcase what the room is.

You might have a few keyed encounters for specific rooms, like perhaps a certain haunt runs in that room and if the players defeat it, that room is no longer encountered. You could do this until they defeated the 'end boss' at which point the house becomes normal.

Hell, that would almost make for a good random board game. Someone get on that right away.