Tales of Terror - 1996

Tales of Terror 1996This is the second Tales of Terror

booklet, published by Pagan Publishing. This time my co-editor was Simon Taylor.

This is probably my favourite collection - there are some real gems in here. I have to say that I'm not convinced by the cover - I think Pagan were trying too hard...

The 1996 volume of Tales of Terror contained the following Tales:

Here's the introduction:

An Apology

Steve Hatherley

The constant demands of inventive investigators can strain even experienced Keepers to breaking point. Strange avenues of research, odd characters to follow, distractions and red herrings; investigators are always going where no Keeper ever expected them to. It's no surprise to see harassed Keepers plundering published scenarios, hunting for ideas and tidbits to be cannibalised and converted.

Tales of Terror was created to fill this niche; a showcase of ideas, thoughts and flashes of inspiration - ready for use. Each Tale is a scenario idea stripped clean of dead meat, rotting statistics and wretched prose.

Well, that was the original idea. That was (I think) going through my head seven years ago, when I edited the first Tales of Terror collection. That was a long time ago and I vowed never to do another.

But the monster will not die. Tales of Terror currently lives on in the pages of The Unspeakable Oath and has now spawned a second edition, the book you are reading.

While I am not sure if Tales of Terror succeeds in its original brief, it has produced an interesting effect. While many scenarios (and this is especially true of campaigns) are Earth-shattering romps of cosmic significance, most Tales tend to be quite the opposite, concentrating on the personal horror and quieter weirdness encountered by our poor heroes.

If scenarios are analygous to horror novels (and campaigns to multi-book epics), that makes the humble Tale of Terror a short story. And while I enjoy horror novels, it has always been short stories that send shivers down my spine. Hopefully, when you drop these Tales on your poor unsuspecting players, they will feel equally unsettled.

Above all, this collection is yours to do what you will. Adapt them, twist them, steal them. But most of all, please use them.