Behind the veil – so to speak – of this ARG (alternate reality game) meets RPG, you find a simple puppetmaster.
You came expecting glory, you came expecting wisdom; but to find nothing more interesting or spectacular than a dork in geek clothing…
"Are you disappointed?" a bubbly voice asks, half turned away to watch the last of the credits for Battle Star Gallactica. The self-proclaimed puppetmaster is nothing more than a degenerate former college student. Posters from comic book movies, a shrine to Batman, and an Army of Darkness lunchbox decorate the tiny one bedroom apartment of this now 9 to 5 government worker. She sips a glass of barely filtered tap water and spins in her chair to face you fully. "Yeah, ruins the mystery to see the man behind the curtain, doesn't it?"
Her gaze returns to her computer as a message pops up, and she moves closer to examine the screen. You now see a table beside her. Actually you see a hulking mass of books, notebooks, and spreadsheets covering every visible inch of what MUST be a table. A dry erase board covers a far wall, littered with scribbles, post-it notes, and what looks suspiciously like a timeline.
Sharp, eyes – brown like old pennies – startle you from further examining the board. "So, are you here to get started or do you just have a question for me?"
A distinct feeling of unease creeps up from the pit of your stomach as the bright smile suddenly feels sinister. In your imagination, her lips draw back over her teeth to reveal long blackened fangs and greyish slime drips from them as she reaches a clawed hand toward your throat.
Small hands turn you around by the shoulders. "Now, you really do need to get back in the game my friend. How about you glance through the material I've set up for you and if you can't find what you need – give a shout. Hmm?"
She's normal again, smiling up at you like she wasn't a snarling fiend only seconds before – and how can you be sure that was even real? Your mind has been playing tricks on you lately. Maybe you need to just take a break, relax, play a little more of the game. Yes, that's it – just play a little more.
Not a hardcore geek – I fear ideo games come and go as a passing fancy, but my interests parallel the books, music, computers, sci-fi, role-playing, ad infinitum of greekdom. I suppose fringer-geek is the most accurate label.
I gave up old WoD (VTM and WTA) because it was eating my soul, but turned to DND (3.5) and lost myself again to 12-14 hour sessions of dungeoncrawls, demonwars, and oathbreaking. With the breakup of my last rp-group at college's end, I am left bereft of RPG companionship for now. Thus, this experiment in RPG Building…but we'll get to that. Want to know more about me?
Well, I’d happily blow my entire paycheck on Batman/Superman, Batman, Punisher, Hell Blazer, and Ironman if I had no bills to pay. (Truncated comic title list) I've seen every episode of every series of Star Trek(excepting Enterprise because Bakula and I have been at war since that one episode of Quantum Leap – Don't ask. That's a minefield topic.). I adore the <u>Die Hard</u> flicks, any vampire film with Christopher Lee or Peter Cushing – especially those where the two titans are locked in the eternal battle of Van Helsing versus Dracula-, and the cheesy bad horror genre that spawned <u>Evil Dead</u>, Kolchak the Night Stalker (TV Series), and Supernatural (TV Series).
My horror-hunger was begun at a young age with a tatter copy of <u><u>The Doom That Came to Sarnath</u></u> by HP Lovecraft. Stories like From Beyond or The Nameless City inspired terror and awe and opened my eyes to the wonderful sensation of being safely-afraid of something you don't want to believe is real.
So – why try to make an RPG into an ARG?
I've loved RPGs for a long, long time, and after a very positive experience playing one of the new "trendy" Alternative Reality Games for the ad-campaign of an up coming movie, I found myself toying with the idea of creating a massive roleplaying game that took the same rules-light approach of many story oriented Play-By-Post games and offered players a chance to remake their hometowns and neighborhoods.
This horror game is dedicated to evoking the kind of eerie paranoia one might find after reading a good spook story or playing a horror game like Call of Cthulhu or Paranoia. I hope this game grows into a haven for online horror gamers and lets us explore the depths of our own (in)sanity.