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Author Topic: (OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?  (Read 712 times)

Doc Sammy

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« on: December 30, 2019, 02:53:49 pm »
So, a while ago I bought Lion & Dragon and I must admit, it is a wonderful book and I aim to buy more of Pundit's Medieval Authentic supplements for Lion & Dragon/Dark Albion, but I've also been reflecting on Ravenloft, which is my favorite official D&D setting and it got me thinking on some things...

Is the Medieval Authentic campaign compatible with old-school Gothic Horror?

Ravenloft draws heavily from the tropes of Gothic literature of the Regency and Victorian eras alongside the horror cinema of the early-to-mid 20th Century, with Strahd Von Zarovich being the D&D equivalent of Dracula as portrayed by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.

However, I've been wanting to try a "Survival Horror" game of sorts that is based in the Medieval Authentic rules of Lion & Dragon, but I also want to mix elements of later horror elements such as zombies, vampires, werewolves, and the like.

Now, from what I understand, werewolves as we know them got their start in the Late Medieval/Early Modern era and there were concerns over witches and demons back then (although the witch hunts were more of a Early Modern thing than a Medieval one) but would it be too much of a deviation to include monster and horror tropes of the 19th and 20th Centuries (Romero-style zombies, Hammer Horror-style vampires, etc.) in a game that is otherwise Medieval Authentic?

I'm particularly interested in Pundit's opinion on this, since it's his system that I'm using, although I would also love to hear from Armchair Gamer and SHARK as well, since they are both well-versed in history.
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Spinachcat

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2019, 03:09:40 pm »
Medieval Horror is a great genre.

I recommend Vincent Price's 1963 film The Raven for atmosphere and dueling medieval wizards, and of course Vincent's 1964 Masque of Red Death which is awesome. If you want more modern action oriented medieval horror, then check out Nick Cage in Season of the Witch and Sean Bean in Black Death, both made in the last 10 years.



PS: If "metal rules, punk sucks", you must have missed the genre defining contributions of Slayer and Anthrax, both proudly metal bands with punk roots.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 03:12:24 pm by Spinachcat »

Doc Sammy

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2019, 03:17:20 pm »
Quote from: Spinachcat;1117710
Medieval Horror is a great genre.

I recommend Vincent Price's 1963 film The Raven for atmosphere and dueling medieval wizards, and of course Vincent's 1964 Masque of Red Death which is awesome. If you want more modern action oriented medieval horror, then check out Nick Cage in Season of the Witch and Sean Bean in Black Death, both made in the last 10 years.



PS: If "metal rules, punk sucks", you must have missed the genre defining contributions of Slayer and Anthrax, both proudly metal bands with punk roots.

I'll definitely check out The Raven and Masque of the Red Death. I'm wondering if the movies have any connection to Poe's writings, because Poe is one of my favorite authors.

I saw Black Death a few years ago, I don't remember much about it specifically, but I do remember liking the movie and enjoying it. I'll definitely rewatch it.

As for Slayer and Anthrax's punk roots, I'll grant them a special exception.

From what I can tell, they were influenced more by the punk music sound as opposed to the punk culture (which is the reason why I am anti-punk)
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SHARK

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2020, 03:47:53 am »
Greetings!

Well, mixing horror with Medieval environments is always fun! In history, while werewolves and vampires for example didn't develop much until later in the Middle Ages, in Northern Europe and Eastern Europe such myths go back centuries. There's also some Germanic and Norse myths involving undead zombies, that kind of thing. Definitely in Eastern Europe and Russia though.

Your environment should be rough, and brutal. Lots of fog, dense, mysterious forests. I know D&D likes to fireball everything, but embracing such an Medieval-Horror environment where magic is kind of dialed down a notch or two, somehow, seems essential. Vampires and Werewolves are terrifying to fight, and to maximize any sense of genuine horror, the players should feel hard-pressed, and desperately challenged.

Make it so that players can't just dial in an "airstrike" or two and be done with it.

Pious priests, heroic villagers, superstitious villagers, various country nobles, there are many interesting characters to fill the campaign area with for plot development as well as roleplaying.

Such campaigns can be great fun!

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2020, 12:40:05 pm »
Quote from: Doc Sammy;1117708
However, I've been wanting to try a "Survival Horror" game of sorts that is based in the Medieval Authentic rules of Lion & Dragon, but I also want to mix elements of later horror elements such as zombies, vampires, werewolves, and the like.

Now, from what I understand, werewolves as we know them got their start in the Late Medieval/Early Modern era and there were concerns over witches and demons back then (although the witch hunts were more of a Early Modern thing than a Medieval one) but would it be too much of a deviation to include monster and horror tropes of the 19th and 20th Centuries (Romero-style zombies, Hammer Horror-style vampires, etc.) in a game that is otherwise Medieval Authentic?

You might want to check out Warhammer FRPG 1e.  You can easily ignore the Chaos elements and run it as a gritty faux-European setting.  

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Doc Sammy

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2020, 01:50:06 pm »
Quote from: SHARK;1117847
Greetings!

Well, mixing horror with Medieval environments is always fun! In history, while werewolves and vampires for example didn't develop much until later in the Middle Ages, in Northern Europe and Eastern Europe such myths go back centuries. There's also some Germanic and Norse myths involving undead zombies, that kind of thing. Definitely in Eastern Europe and Russia though.

Your environment should be rough, and brutal. Lots of fog, dense, mysterious forests. I know D&D likes to fireball everything, but embracing such an Medieval-Horror environment where magic is kind of dialed down a notch or two, somehow, seems essential. Vampires and Werewolves are terrifying to fight, and to maximize any sense of genuine horror, the players should feel hard-pressed, and desperately challenged.

Make it so that players can't just dial in an "airstrike" or two and be done with it.

Pious priests, heroic villagers, superstitious villagers, various country nobles, there are many interesting characters to fill the campaign area with for plot development as well as roleplaying.

Such campaigns can be great fun!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Agreed to all of these points. I've been working out some ideas for the setting, and I do know that something like a vampire, a werewolf, or a witch would be a powerful opponent, and any combat encounter with them would be a boss battle.

Even monsters that would be considered lower end like zombies and skeletons would be terrifying for the average adventurer, and mid-tier enemies like ghouls or revenants would be downright terrifying and more in the vein of "Demonic Spider" encounters (to borrow a TV Tropes term) sort of like Hunters and Lickers in the early Resident Evil video games.

I also want to place some emphasis on mundane threats such as ordinary bandits, hostile wildlife, human cultists (both as a combat encounter and as NPC's who can deceive or sabotage the players) and environmental hazards too.
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Opaopajr

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2020, 01:51:00 am »
There is Gothic Literary Horror conventions, which are often baroque convolutions of secrets and revelations. And then there is Gothic Aesthetic Horror conventions, which are often baroque paeans to past macabre grandeur. Ravenloft rpg and Hammer Horror films do both, but mainly the latter as it is easier to pull off. :) Focus there.

The challenge with the early- and mid- medieval is a lot of our familiar concepts of "secrets & revelations" are tied closer to our time's world view. So our aesthetics & morality are closer to Gothic Lit. foundations because Gothic Lit. is derived from a horror upon collective self-reflection of our past mired in Monarchic Supremacy, Neoclassical, & Romantic cultural movements. The truly medieval is more collectivist in its transitionary period from the personal salvation standpoint into the Renaissance's refocus upon humanism... and the subsequent list of movements above.

Basically neither you nor your audience/players will recognize the truly medieval world view, let alone grasp or explore its existential fear, in a manner that will resonate with emotional satisfaction. ;) So don't sweat it.

What you should focus on is the Gothic Aesthetics, which is quite doable. :) And the best advice for that is Gothic is: a lovingly morbid reflection upon the past, accepting its high contrasts conflated into a breathtaking whole. Beautiful highs, beguiling lows, all part of an unbearable dying reality.

For that you'd have to relook at the medieval, in books, poetry, food, and song... as films do it complete injustice. Add in your loves, like Roman Baths, Pagan Festivals, and Bucolic Farmsteads to high contrast horrors like Plague Scourges, Crusader Wars, and Viking Raids. The secret is passionate outrageous highs and lows, and that is easiest to do about things you care about. :D
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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 02:44:24 am »
Lower key magic actually manages to dial up the horror aspects. Magic in L&D tends to be slow and methodical, so not much help against something right in your face, but it well suited to curses and other means of eventual doom which can be terrifying.

Cthulhu Dark Ages is another possible source of inspiration, the Lovecraft elements should be fairly easy to alter into something more appropriate.

Spinachcat

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« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 04:10:43 am »
Quote from: grodog;1117870
You might want to check out Warhammer FRPG 1e.  You can easily ignore the Chaos elements and run it as a gritty faux-European setting.

Agreed, WFRP 1e is definitely horror fantasy.

Its easy enough to switch out the actual names of places instead of the Warhammer faux-Europe. I personally like the faux-aspects, but if you want France instead of Bretonnia, its a non-brainer to make it work.

But I'd keep Chaos, especially as presented in WFRP 1e.

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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2020, 02:36:06 am »
If you want good medieval horror, you need to check out Cults of Chaos!

That's the sourcebook for making your medieval authentic game into an investigative campaign of occult terrors.
There's also a number of short adventures I did for RPGpundit Presents, entitled "Occult Killer Antagonists" and "more occult killer antagonists". There will also be a third one of these coming out sometime in the future.
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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2020, 04:00:29 pm »
Quote from: RPGPundit;1118134
If you want good medieval horror, you need to check out Cults of Chaos!

That's the sourcebook for making your medieval authentic game into an investigative campaign of occult terrors.
There's also a number of short adventures I did for RPGpundit Presents, entitled "Occult Killer Antagonists" and "more occult killer antagonists". There will also be a third one of these coming out sometime in the future.

I'm definitely going to be buying it!
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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2020, 03:31:02 am »
Hope you enjoy it!
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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2020, 03:47:25 am »
I can see apocalyptic Plague Zombies working as a manifestation of the Black Death. But for a Medieval-esque world view there should always be a religious context - maybe good souls/Saved go to Heaven while the Damned are Satan's, their shambling rotting husks try to draw more to Hell - not by killing them (that just sends them to Heaven) but through loss of Hope, by abandoning their Faith in Christ. Tolkien kinda riffs on this theme with the Steward of Gondor. Christ is strong and Satan is weak, but Satan can use the weakness and Evil of men to his own purposes.
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(OSR) Medieval Authentic mixed with Horror?
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2020, 07:16:17 am »
Well, the medieval understanding of the undead was that they were people who died in a state of sin, who died alone without last rites, who died a violent death, etc.
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