Every year around this time DMs are inspired by Halloween and PCs find themselves facing off against skeletons, zombies, vampires and werewolves. Campaigns become darker as the DM taps into the fear associated with Halloween. But creating something original can be more challenging than many DMs realize. In order to help, we’ve combed through our archives and found 7 articles that we think will help DMs add that Halloween flavour to their campaign without just rehashing the same things you’ve done year in and year out.
The Zombie Apocalypse
Whether you’re a die hard, long-term, hard-core fan of the zombie genre or AMC’s Walking Dead is your first real introduction to the awesomeness of zombies, a D&D adventure featuring a zombie apocalypse has tremendous potential. Whether you make it a one-night affair where the PCs have to help a town overrun with zombies, or the world is in the midst of the Zombie Apocalypse, we’ve got tips and suggestions to make the adventure more exciting.
On the lighter side of things we’ve got the Zombie Survival Flowchart. Would you be ready if the zombie apocalypse happened tomorrow? Go through the steps presented in this flow chart and judge for yourself if you’re adequately prepared. It works for your characters or for the real-life you.
The Power of Fear
It’s difficult to get the players to role-play the emotional reactions of their characters at the best of times, but how do you get them to play scared when they themselves are not? Easy, scare the players. The more fear you can instill in the players running the characters the more likely they are to actually play the PCs with the fear they should have given the circumstances.
Now that you’ve managed to scare the players take it to the next level. One reason undead are so scary is because they often take the form of the familiar. Fighting a creature that it inherently different from a human makes the decision to kill it easier. But what about a monster that was once the PC’s friend, family member or lover? Get players to tap into the emotional part of the PC that once felt love and friendship towards the zombie or vampire that’s trying to kill them.
Undead Does Not Always Mean Mindless
Zombies and skeletons may be the most common forms of undead, but they far from the only stock monsters in the undead catalogue. Most of the really powerful undead possess superior intelligence and have survived for decades or even centuries. A Mummy, Lich or Vampire can be a particular deadly foe under any circumstances. Don’t assume that all undead are mindless and driven by an instinct to feed. With an intelligent undead in control of a vast army of walkers it’s entirely possible that PCs will underestimate their foes and make assumptions that will quickly prove to be false.
Beware the Werewolf
In a world with 13 moons Lycanthropes take on a whole new dimension. In the Eberron campaign setting Lycanthrope were hunted to the brink of extinction, partly due to prejudice and partly because of the extreme power they represented. With so few Lycanthropes remaining, people forget what werewolves are capable of, something a creative DM should exploit. As the moons and planes shift, Lycanthropes may gain new powers or attributes making them even deadlier, as described in the article below.