We’re back and we’re counting our shells, holding our breath and searching for somewhere to hide until dawn. This is our look at the subgenre of survival horror. While we might normally associate survival horror with video games, it certainly has a role in Call of Cthulhu. Sometimes you go looking for secrets man was not meant to know, and sometimes they come looking for you.

“He’s behind you!”

Main Topic

We start out by trying to define what survival horror is, using examples from media. It’s a surprisingly hard thing to pin down. What are the common factors that define the genre and only the genre? Where do slasher movies end and survival horror begin? Who ate the last protein bar, probably condemning the rest of us to death? From there, we talk about how (and if) we would run a survival horror game. Finally, we wrap up the discussion by brainstorming a few survival horror plot hooks.

Some hooks are grabbier than others.


We have started playtesting the final chapter of A Poison Tree. This is the massive multi-generational campaign we are writing for Trail of Cthulhu. The first playtest started over 3 1/2 years ago, so this has been a long, strange trip. Given that the campaign takes place over the span of 350 years, this may not be unreasonable. It will still take us a while to finish writing this beast up, so don’t expect to see it before next year at the earliest. We shall keep you posted.

Speaking of epic campaigns we developed, Seth Skorkosky has released the first of a series of video reviews of The Two-Headed Serpent. His first episode covers the opening chapter, set in Bolivia. These reviews are aimed at potential Keepers, offering tips based on Seth’s experience of running the campaign. Unsurprisingly, spoilers abound.

Paul will be joining Mike Mason on the RPG Design subreddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything — Reddit-speak for a Q&A session) from the 6th of May. Join them there if you have any questions about game design or would simply like to know if Paul would rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck.

If you hold on until the end of this episode, you will also find an interview with Susan O’Brien of Chaosium. She talks to Paul about the ongoing Kickstarter campaign for their new board game, Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection. The campaign has been chewing through stretch goals like a hungry bookworm, so there are plenty of sanity-blasting goodies on offer. At the time of posting, you have just 7 days left to back the project. Best be quick!

Other Stuff

In our social media catch-up, we pick out a few choice posts from the Google+ thread about our Yog-Sothoth episode. Our discussion of Linus Larsson’s comments sent us off on tangents, namely Flatland and Flat Stanley. To keep things to time, we only pick out a few choice snippets from these threads. If you are interested in the topic, we highly recommend checking out the full discussion on our G+ Community.

Survival horror is all about struggling through situations that would destroy lesser people. The same can be said of any episode in which we sing, such as this one. This assault on your senses and moral fibre is our way of thanking those special people who back us at the $5 tier on Patreon. Just hold tight and wait for dawn.

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2 comments on “Survival Horror

  1. Michael Lewis May 2, 2018

    Great episode as usual, but I think you danced around an important piece of survival horror, a safe area. Characters tend to start in or spend most of the movie trying to get to a specific point as opposed to general “safety.” For example zombie movies often have the survivors in a military base, house, or shopping mall. The protagonists are driven out, usually due to a lack of resources or being invaded by the threat. Alternatively, in Tremors or Predator (both survival horror imho) the characters spend the film trying to reach the rock formation of the extraction point. 47 Meters is a great example where the divers start in the shark cage and the action is around them trying to reach the boat.

  2. Thanks Michael, I like that, and yeah we totally missed it!

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