Thursday, June 16, 2011

Devil, movie where Devil himself is caught in elevator. Also RPG scenario idea

About The Movie

Link to imdb and link to trailer at Youtube.

A group of people are trapped in an elevator and the Devil is mysteriously amongst them.
-From imdb.

Devil is movie where the tension is built within the people stuck in elevator. Among them is the Devil himself and he wants souls of those people. Movie could have been ok if it wasn't so stupid. I spotted several "mistakes" or stupidities in the movie like why was one character let in the building when it was closed, who would go move with a wooden stick a broken electric cord what's in a pond of water etc.
And the movie wasn't scary. It could have been more scarier if it was just made a bit differently. It is not easy to create movie where all the horror happens in one location. And when the horror happened, it was lame. When lights went out in the elevator, Devil worked. You didn't see anything interesting happening and you knew that now when lights flicker, you get to see darkness and after it see what happened. On the paper it could have seem to be a good horror and suspension effect, but for me it didn't work.

I wish this would have been better movie, but it failed miserably. It had potential, so I'd give it 2 stars out of 5. Nothing special, not that good, not scary or thrilling.

But let's get down to the business...

Inspiration For Roleplaying Game Scenario

Warning! Might contain spoilers of the movie!

Basically, you could choose any modern horror game for this. Or any other modern game if you don't want to put that horror RPG of yours on the table when players might know already what's coming. I think this scenario could work best, if players don't know before game that it's supposed to be horror. But if you start running game with average characters set in modern time where player characters are supposed to do what they normally would do, wouldn't players anticipate horror anyways?

Player characters should be normal average people. They live normal life but you should ask players to write one "dark secret" per character, which other players shouldn't know. Those dark secrets are the key, why they are later stuck in the elevator and why Devil wants them! Also, it could be good to add a couple of NPCs. Those are the ones who you kill first and those are the game elements what tell players that something is not right in the elevator!
So, characters are normal people and they don't know each other. They just happen to be in the same elevator because they have errands to run in the same building. Ask players what their business should be in the building during the character build.

In my opinion players shouldn't be aware of each others characters and who they are, what they do. That should be drama and they could talk to each other when stuck in the elevator.

So, now we got characters, who have dark secret and the reason why the Devil wants them. Characters have a reason to go to that building and they have background they can in-character talk about with each other.

In the movie trigger for the Devil to come visit the building was suicide. Suicide invites the Devil. So one or more of the characters might see that there was a suicide before they enter the building. It's up to them how they take it, but you could lighten it up and try to make it just "normal every day life what happens". Someone might know that there's one firm what lost great amounts of money, or have heard rumors of it. Anyways, great business building and bad economics or failure in business could end up someone killing himself.

In the elevator they are strangers. Might say "hi" out of politeness if it's their character. But then there's power cut or something and the elevator gets jammed! For some reason (in the movie) there were no floors near to get out from the elevator, but if there was, the doors would be stuck and cannot be crammed open. They might buzz alert button but microphone doesn't work. They can hear voice from control center though. Or if you don't want to add more NPCs they could be totally alone in the elevator.

Now I suggest you let players interact together. Let them do what they do. Let players play their characters. More you are silent at this point, more players realize that hey, we are stuck here and maybe they start to interact or co-operate trying to figure a way out. Or maybe one of the NPCs stuck with them is an ice breaker.

Then, let the small things happen. Scratch/bitemark on the back or something small. They might accuse each other for that, be paranoid but only you know it is supernatural. When things start to go wrong, lights go out and when they come back, one of the NPCs is dead. Who is guilty of manslaugter? But that wasn't the last one to come...

Problem here is that this is not terrifying if after NPCs you continue killing player characters one by one. Some of the players would be left out of the game, and that is not fun. But if you just kill the NPCs but let player characters alive, that is boring as well. One suggestion is that when a player character is killed, he gets to play a NPC and gets more insight knowledge and can try to help other players. At this point you can open communications to the elevator and let one dead player at first be the security guard. The next possibly police officer etc. Maybe even someone who tries to fix the elevator.

If some dead player character's player becomes elevator repairer you might want to get him on top of the elevator but he cannot get in. That's how that player can communicate with other's through the elevator ceiling. Point is though, that player character's are stuck in the elevator as long as Devil wants them to be there.

Also, if dead player characters get to play NPCs you can share some extra infromation for them and it is up to them how they use the information in the benefices of other players. Will they help, how much they will tell what they know etc. For example one NPC in command center might tell about this myth about Devil and he suspects that the Devil is here because of the suicide (like in the movie) and one dead character's player gets to play his co-worker hearing these stories. Does he believe it? And after another player character dies and player gets to play police officer, how does he take these Devil talks?

This is thriller where player characters actually co-operate and get to know (after their "main characters" death) other corners of the story. But who is the Devil? I suggest, it will be another of the two player characters still alive. Give one note per survived character. Other note reveals the mystery and tells player that he is actually the Devil, and note tells what he actually wants to do in the elevator and reveals that this player's character killed everyone else there. Other player gets just some random note. Something about... well, go figure it out. Something that doesn't yell out loud "I am just a note and this message is nonsense, I bet other player got something reeeally sweet!" Try make irrevelant note also something that will make player think that other player didn't get anything more revealing.
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