With Haunt right around the corner, let’s hear from James to see what makes Haunt so unique.
Haunt is a game about secrets. Players have secrets, Game Master’s have secrets, and even NPC’s have their secrets.
Let’s explore these secrets in detail.
When creating a character in Haunt, the Game Master needs to physically get up and leave the room. He cannot be here during this time, otherwise the game becomes trivial. Once the Game Master is gone, you can really dig into these dark secrets. There are three secrets each character has, and each one has certain limitations to it. These secrets are the Haunt Secret, Character Secret, and Background Secret. The players talk together to explore their secrets. It is important that each player knows everyone’s secrets. The reason for this is it makes sure that no individual player can lie about their secrets.
The first secret is the Haunt Secret. Think of a phrase that fits within these guidelines: something that has to do with why your character came to this location or why they hunt the supernatural. Let’s look at a few examples. At the beginning of the game the Game Master explains the setting to the players as much as he can. The players use this knowledge to choose their haunt secrets. In this example, the haunted location is an old abandoned house that several people have not returned from. One character’s Haunt Secret might be “I was left behind while my friends went to this house,” and anothers is “I am a paranormal investigator who wants to get to the bottom of this!” The Haunt Secret gives your character a reason for being at this location.
The Character Secret is the most fun secret to choose. The limitations of this secret is that it must have something to do with another character. This secret strengthens the bonds between the characters and helps build up even more of a backstory. Some examples of these secrets would be “I am secretly in love with Mary,” and “The people I murdered had a son. He is another character.”
The Background Secret has the most freedom connected to it. It is simply a secret from your characters past. This is a good way to flesh out your characters background a little bit. Some examples of these secrets would be “I stole another mans identity.” and “I was convicted for a murder I did, but got away.”
Something magical happens when creating these secrets. Talking about them with your friends at the table, you will start to make connections between your secrets. A detailed and interesting backstory begins to reveal itself. When you create your characters’ secrets you will see how your characters’ backstories interact. This makes a small web of interconnected events that can make for some very interesting stories. Of course, you can ignore all of these connections and just play these secrets mechanically, but I have noticed that the kind of people who truly enjoy roleplaying games cannot help but to create these connections instinctually.
Now that we know what the secrets are and how they are formed, the Game Master needs to know how to discover them. Throughout play, the Game Master will gain the opportunity to ask a player a question. This question is the primary technique for finding the players’ secrets. Did you murder anyone in your past? Is your character in love? Are you a runaway? Who is your character secret with? These are all types of questions that you can ask. Each one whittles away at a character’s secrets until the darkest ones are revealed. It is important for the Game Master to use context clues and gauge the players reactions to your questions. The human element of investigation is very important, because once the Game Master uncovers all three of a character’s secret, that character is out of the game.
The three secrets, Haunt, Character, and Background, are just the tip of the iceberg. There are a few other optional secrets as well which will be in the full version of the game. These include Legacy secrets, Outsider secrets, and Hellbound secrets. And many more varieties are possible as well. As long as they are consistent, Game Masters can even create their own.
You can get the playtest version of Haunt for free by CLICKING HERE.
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