28. Scariest Game You’ve Played. Castle Ravenloft, specifically one of the sessions I ran more-or-less annually on Halloween for my college gaming group.
Now there are certainly scarier roleplaying games. Ravenloft can easily slip into camp, and the nature of D&D is that powerful heroes can overcome the monsters. By design, it’s a little more Buffy, a little less Night of the Living Dead.
This particular session of Ravenloft was scary in a few different ways. We played by candlelight, as one does. I opened the windows to let in the October breeze. We took a break at a certain point for me to tell the bear story, which has its scary moments. Only this time was different.
While I sat on a couch and almost everyone else piled up on a couple of mattresses we’d pushed against the living-room wall, my “friend” Mike slipped out of the room. It looked as if he was going to the upstairs bathroom. He’d heard the story before, so that didn’t surprise me. But what the skinny little weasel really did was creep back down the stairs and snake his way down the hall to crawl under the couch on which I was sitting.
Just as I was describing the most suspenseful part of the bear story—a couple of the girls were already hugging each other, worried about what I might say next—a pair of hands grabbed my ankles tight. I stood straight up and screamed. Everyone across the room screamed back.
Mike, of course, rolled on the floor, incapacitated with laughter.
Everyone remained nervous for the rest of the evening, making the game that much more effective.