Showing posts with label Tales from the Other Side. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tales from the Other Side. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tales from the Other Side

Growing up the shows I really loved (in addition to Doctor Who and Star Trek) were the various horror anthologies that came and went during the 80s, 90s, and before. "The Twilight Zone (all versions)" was chief among these, but so were shows like "Night Gallery," "Monsters," "The Outer Limits (both versions)," "Amazing Stories," and two of my favorites, "Tales from the Crypt" and "Tales from the Darkside."  It was "Tales from the Darkside" that influenced me the most. I wanted my games (at the time largely AD&D) to be more horror-like.  Even in sci-fi, I could not help but notice how many of the elements in The Outer Limits would also appear in Star Trek, or more to the point the other way around since I watched Star Trek first.

In the end, I got my wish. NIGHT SHIFT is the perfect distillation of both Horror and old-school adventure rules. A rule system I have been doing in one form or another along with a horror-filled background that is perfect to model the horror and dark sci-fi I grew up loving.

The only thing missing is the anthologies. 

I spent my weekend (like every weekend in late spring early summer) out in the garden helping my wife. I was doing some weeding and thought I needed to do a set of themed adventures I could publish. They are unrelated to each other, but all have a common thread of horror.

Then I realized something. I had already started this.

Tales from the Other Side

I have written a lot of adventures for many different games. All of them (for the most part) have a horror feel to them.

So to get the ideas rolling for Tales from the Other Side, I figure I will talk about the adventures I have already done and how they can be used with NIGHT SHIFT. I am just going to focus on ones that are readily available. I am looking back at some of my old docs and seeing which ones I own outright and can re-do and which ones never saw the light of day.

The Dark Druid
The Dark Druid
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG
Published in Games Unplugged, July 2002

This adventure was a prequel adventure to what was called "The Djinn Arc" that never got going. It's purpose was to introduce new players to the game, and it featured the original cast of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." It focused on Willow and Tara as the reincarnations of Bohdmal and Liath (respectively) as the foster mothers of the great Irish hero Fionn MacCumhail (Finn McCool). It features the return of an ancient evil and two new kinds of vampires. The biggest issue with it is that it is an introductory adventure for what should be a "season" of related adventures, not an anthology.

So much of my writing from that time is baked into the DNA of NIGHT SHIFT that converting the game's tone is minimal at worst.

Mechanics changes:

  • Use the vampire and vampire spawn from the NIGHT SHIFT core. Give them the unique kill listed in the Dark Druid adventure.  
  • The Dark Druid himself is a weak (CON = 6) warlock of only 3 or 4 levels. 

This adventure gives some argument of while the stories are anthologies, the characters remain the same throughout.

Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition
The Haunting of Oakcrest Manor
Labyrinth Lord
Published in Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall Special Edition, 2017

This adventure has been successfully converted to NIGHT SHIFT many times. Since it uses Labyrinth Lord rules, conversion is trivial. I ran this both at Gary Con 2021 and Gen Con 2021 as a NIGHT SHIFT adventure where I changed the name to Willow Crest Manor. Both manors are based on a real-life place from my old hometown known as Maplecrest.

The biggest change here is to update when and where you put it. Personally, any small town will do. It just needs to have about 100 years worth of history. Dark woods are good too, so somewhere above the 40º North Latitude line is good in my mind. When I did it for Gary Con I set it near Rockford, IL. 

Six of Cups
Witching Weather
Blue Rose AGE Edition
Published in the Six of Cups, July 2022

I do adore Blue Rose, I love the optimism and the feel of the game. So of course I bring horror to it. I must be damaged. This adventure requires that you find and rescue five psychic children. Trouble is there is a monster that wants to eat them (thinking they will make it more powerful) and a demon lord of storms that thinks they are his children. In Blue Rose this is all set in the town of Garnet, but in my running of this using NIGHT SHIFT, I set it in Alton, IL. It features another member of the unpleasant Meacham family and my homage to the Piasa Bird.

For changes, there is the tone and location.  Use the demon stats from NIGHT SHIFT and one of the many versions of the Piasa Bird I have posted here. 

The Nightmare
The Nightmare
Chill 1st Edition
Published by Yeti Spaghetti and Friends, April 2023

My most recent adventure is horror through and through. A night hag, or in this case a dab tsog, has been attacking members of the local Hmong community. There is also a Will-o-the-Wisp feeding off of the dying energies. Tone wise this is perfect for NIGHT SHIFT.

Chill's skill checks are little different than that of NIGHT SHIFT, but as a rule of thumb, and roll pf +1 above what a character makes in NIGHT SHIFT is 5%.  The Nightmare, in addition to being written for Chill, is fairly self-explanatory and can be used as is with a variety of systems.

For the Will-o-the-Wisp you can use my stats for them here. For the Night Hag you can use the hags in the core rules of NIGHT SHIFT.

The next two are total cheats since I did not write them but I did do the D&D 5e conversions for them.

The Shrine of St. Aleena
The Shrine of St. Aleena
Labyrinth Lord and D&D 5e
Published by Peter C. Spahn on DMsGuild

This adventure is a conversion of the Labyrinth Lord adventure created by Peter C. Spahn. The horror elements here are light, but as St. Aleena is the patron Saint of adventurers she is still a good choice. The characters come here and then the horror ensues. There is still an evil cult and still unnamable evil spawn here. 

The Shrine of St. Aleena has thematic connections with my own Dark Druid, or at least, it did when I ran it for my group here

To update this adventure change it over to some modern location, I would say on the outskirts of some town, but it has to be old. So East of the Mississippi River.  Otherwise you are good to go.

Death's Ride
Classic Modules Today: CM2 Death's Ride
Basic D&D and D&D 5e
Published by TSR and Classic Modules Today

This is even a bigger cheat than the Shrine of St. Aleena above. But it is solid horror. Death's Ride is an old-school TSR adventure for Basic (Companion) D&D for characters 15th level and above. It has all sort of nasty things going on and really tough monsters.

My D&D 5e conversion scales them down a bit (but not much). It fits with the whole "weird shit going on in far off places" horror. I mean in this respect it is not much different than "The Children of the Corn."


Almost enough for a mini-campaign.

I'll have to work on some more and see what I have that I can resurrect. 

Hopefully there will be more Tales from the Other Side.