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Horror Campaigns

Types Of Horror

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 47
Listed hereafter is a selection of horror subgenres that meld well with other Starfinder genres. As you prepare to play a horror campaign, discuss the characters’ role within the subgenres you’re considering. Establish whether the PCs are potential victims of the horror, its witnesses, or both.

Action Horror

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 47
Starfinder is about action heroes braving challenges others are unwilling to face. Action horror is about that, but with a menace that is just as relentless as the heroes, whether it’s hordes of undead or one monstrous alien crawling through the ventilation system of a starship. This sort of horror pits the protagonists against a problem they might not be able to confront with their usual methods. Even if those techniques are effective, they might not be reliable or they could produce unexpected results.

Witnesses of action horror discover this unrelenting threat when it plagues someone else, perhaps those close to the heroes. Such a situation plays out like a normal Starfinder game, but with dreadful stakes. Victims of action horror know or learn that standing and fighting is a last resort—far better to run, find safety, regroup, and attack only when conditions are at their most desperate or when the moment is just right.

Body Horror

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 47
At its heart, body horror is about physiology behaving in unnatural ways, betraying its owner’s expectations and sense of self. Starfinder is filled with aliens and other creatures that have unusual forms. These facts provide ample opportunity to introduce body horror, but they can also lessen its impact. When any character can have a body that behaves as human and insect, lizard, or rat, it can be hard to find the terror in a misplaced limb or waking up with a new mouth growing on your arm.

The key is to anchor body horror in the mundane. Witnessing body horror means interacting with creepy monsters that begin as normal individuals but whose bodies behave in troubling ways. Victims of body horror might suffer according to the affliction rules, the phantasm rules in "The Diaspora Strain" (see page 20), and the "Corrupted by Shadows" article in this book. All of these can be used to sever the bond of trust between PCs and their bodies.

Cosmic Horror

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 47
The stars have aligned and awoken a being older than time whose very existence renders our own moot. Cosmic horror relies on the existential fear that we aren’t the most significant creatures in the universe. Instead, some horrific intelligence from eons past holds dominion over the cosmos. This subgenre pairs well with others, since the true nature of the universe is in question.

Witnesses of cosmic horror might be able to do something about it. They look upon this terror and despair no more than when they face any other titanic fiend and its worshipers. Victims of cosmic horror are forced into despair that their world is not what it seems. They tangle with cultists and lesser monsters, but faced with the true menace, corruption and afflictions turn their world upside down.

Psychological Horror

Source Starfinder #10: The Diaspora Strain pg. 47
Characters in a psychological horror story are victims of their own anxiety, belief, doubt, guilt, and passion. Psychological horror is rooted in the personal. It can manifest internally, driving a character to self-destructive or appalling action. If this horror occurs externally, a character’s troubles could take phantasmal form or manifest as a monster.

Witnesses of psychological horror encounter NPCs with unnatural or troubling behaviors. Each one’s psyche compels them to do the shocking and unthinkable. Victims can find themselves facing a creature, phantasmal or real, that mirrors their own fears or guilt. Alternatively, they might instead struggle internally with a curse-like affliction using the normal Starfinder rules.