Someone over on RPG.net started a thread about curse the darkness, which is gratifying, even if it hasn’t gotten much traffic yet. 🙂
But anyway, the poster mentioned that you could very easily do a Walking Dead kind of scenario with curse the darkness, and I agree. That got me thinking about the world of the game, and why I didn’t include more fantastical elements. Zombies, magic, and so on – I love these things, why not include them?
Mostly because I like a game with a laser-tight focus. It’s why I love Don’t Rest Your Head and Ganakagok and Promethean: The Created so much. It’s not that these are games without options – they all have lots of options. But the games are tight, with regards to theme and how the systems back up the theme. I included the Between and travel through it because it dovetails nicely with the themes of curse the darkness – do you go into the dark, use the tools that He gave you, and if so, what do you do with them?
But I’m a big fan of adding stuff into games if the stuff makes your games better, and as Eden Studios pointed out years ago, everything’s better with zombies. So with that in mind, here’s a scenario for you:
Where are you? Mexico, a few miles outside of Puerto Vallarta, in a little town called Luna y Sol (this town really exists, I’ve been there and it’s an awesome little place. It stuck in my mind so much that it shows up in fiction I’ve written since; once piece was published in Spirit Slayers for Hunter: The Vigil). The buildings there are small, adobe houses, the ocean isn’t far away, but outside of town you have hills and fields and some fun hiking terrain.
Since the end of the world, the population of this area has actually gone up – the climate is pleasant, there are beach houses standing vacant, and the fishing is good and the surrounding area grows various kinds of veggies (and weed, which no one shoots you for anymore). But all is not well – people are sick. It started a few weeks ago with what seemed like a flu. Some folks got over it, others just got sicker and sicker. They lost weight, got dehydrated, but didn’t die. And they don’t stay still unless you physically restrain them.
What just happened? A group of the sick people attacked another person, biting him open and ripping out his innards. And now the sick folks are staggering around, covered in blood and viscera, looking for more flesh.
How are you following the rules? The village works pretty well most of the time. Everyone takes a turn on the fishing boat, pulling in fish, gutting them, cleaning them and cooking them. When it’s your turn on fish duty (pescadores), then you get to have tequila with dinner if you want it (there’s not much to be had anymore, and it’s a nice perk for the folks gutting fish all day).
How are you breaking the rules? Shooting people. Yes, they’re killing people, but He’s made it very clear over the years that anyone caught in a violent conflict gets yanked into the Between, it doesn’t matter who started it. Defending yourself against the “zombies” is a smart thing to do, yes, but shooting them carries the risk of getting you killed.
What is the goal? Let’s assume we’re playing a multi-session game, here – probably 5 to 10 sessions, everybody needing 5 sections of Wick to light a candle. If that’s the length, then the goal is to find out what the hell happened, find a cure for the disease, and administer it before it spreads.
I’d note, by the way, that this game only works as a one-shot if no one is an Opener. Otherwise, you just Open and walk to anywhere else…unless, of course, They keep you here to keep the disease from spreading.