Little Spaces Design: Scary Basements

Today we’re going to look at a slightly modified approach to the next Little Spaces supplement – Scary Basements.

The idea for this one is much like it was for Ghostly Effects – to offer some inspiration when describing spooky places for your Halloween-themed game. In this case, it’s all about those creepy basements you see in horror movies. Why anybody goes down into them is beyond me… Do they have a death wish? But you can’t have an EMPTY basement for your horror story, can you?

So to help you generate the mood, we’ll come up with a few things to inspire your creep meter.

We’re going to break this down into a collection of three tables…

Mystica - Lava Lamp - OpenClipArt.org
Mystica – Lava Lamp – OpenClipArt.org

Sense to Use (D8)

  1. Sight
  2. Hearing
  3. Smell
  4. Touch
  5. Taste
  6. Roll again
  7. Roll twice
  8. Roll three times

Descriptive Element (D10 for now, more later)

  1. Animals
  2. Bugs
  3. Toys
  4. Print
  5. Art
  6. Kitch
  7. Entry
  8. Sports
  9. Storage
  10. Tools

Sensory Descriptor (d10 for now, Many more later)

  1. Wet
  2. Dry
  3. Greasy
  4. Hot
  5. Cold
  6. Hairy
  7. Metallic
  8. Clammy
  9. Bright
  10. Colorless

Some examples

Once you have these tables in place, you just roll a few dice and see what your brain throws out at you. Here are a few things I came up with on the fly…

  • (1) Sight/(9) Storage/(8) Clammy – Could be interpreted as… “You reach into an ancient leathery chest in the basement and your hand is greeted with the clammy feeling of damp flesh…”
  • (5) Taste/(4) Print/(6) Hairy – This one is tough… Perhaps “The smell of newspaper is so strong in this room you can taste it, but it’s not the taste that has the hairs on your arm standing straight up…”
  • (2) Hearing/(6) Kitch/(4) Hot – Might be able to go with something like… “It’s pitch black in here, but you can hear the crackling of a fire hidden somewhere in the room. When you finally turn the lights on you see a collection of lava lamps melting on a small gas stove in the corner…”

With enough descriptors or elements, you have a virtually limitless supply of weirdness to inspire your imagination and freak out your players. Who knows what weird stuff you have floating around in your in-game basement?

Looking for more inspiration, check out…

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