OK so we’re getting dark here.
When you include Cthuhlu mythos in a game, you will always get dark.
Sometimes though it’s not the darkness that is scary, it’s the lengths people go to survive it.
And the problem is that you can choose one of two ways to explore it… either you play a character who slowly erodes into the darkness or those that embrace it in order to counter it.
I have been recently exploring that concept in Delta Green by choosing the latter… becoming a character that is not afraid to die and understands the power that comes from it.
However there is a fine line that you walk when you play these type of characters… one that is very interesting. This falls into two parts… one you have to deal with and the other which other players have to deal with… but what makes this type of character interesting to me…?
SPOILERS FOR SAW II BEYOND THIS POINT!!!
To give an example, take SAW II and John Kramer.
He had a goal that to his eyes was pure and, if his method had been different, something someone could actually agree with. The idea that life is sanctum and worth living properly.
But because of his method, he was seen as adversarial; he sets up death traps that can be escaped if they are both willing and wise but they would die if they failed.
He never actually killed anyone, it was always someone else’s hands. The reason for death is either they are scared to act OR they believe John is lying (when he always tells the truth).
To summarise the trap, Eric Matthews goes to arrest Kramer but then discovers a bank of monitors showing his son trapped in a death trap that would end in two hours.
However, towards the end, it was revealed his son was “In a safe place” (John telling the truth again) as the game was recorded and streamed from another bank of monitors. If you listen to the conversation, you notice enough to suggest this if you take his words at face value.
Eric Matthew’s game relied on one factor; Eric remaining with John Kramer in that room so that when the safe opens, he has his son… the clock wasn’t a death clock, it was a time to epiphany.
This is what makes characters like this interesting… they can have the purest intentions but they are seen as adversarial.
While I do not play John Kramer, nor do I see him as a hero or anti-hero; I do like to play characters with strong positive goals and a willingness to do anything to complete it; but still I find that the question arises… how do you balance the way someone acts with their intentions when they appear to be polar opposites?