Miniatures need to take a back seat in a horror roleplaying game. You can have them, but don’t use them unless you absolutely have to.

Why? Because they take away the fear of the unknown.  The horrors the players are imagining are suddenly manifest in miniature on the tabletop. Their fear is lessened or completely gone.

It’s like in horror films when the monster steps from the shadows or comes out from behind the door. “Oh, it’s not some supernatural horror haunting from the realm of sleep, its just some dude dressed up like Freddy Kruegar.”

The fear is still there. But the horror is gone.

If you go farther back in film, you might even see the monster’s zipper running up its back.

But at least with television and film the monster is still animated, stalking its victims.

On the tabletop, the monster-miniature might get one introductory shock (an “oh crap” moment) before the players get to business as usual.

So what do you do if you end up running a miniatures-intensive RPG?

Adjust the gaming environment.

As we’ll discuss next time on “Horror in RPGs: Environmental Challenges.”

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