Content of the article: "Best “play mode” for horror settings?"
Lately I've been thinking about how a Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden (RotF) campaign might look like in covid times. It's unlikely for a lot of us that we'll get to play together at the table any time soon, so the campaigns will likely take place online.
What I'm wondering is what the best "play mode" for these would be. Obviously you could go with a platform like Roll20 or Astral Tabletop, use maps and tokens, but I'm not sure if that's the best approach with this theme, namely horror.
If for example the group gets caught in a snowstorm where visibility is bad and all they hear is the hissing of the violent wind whipping at them. There are no settlements nearby and the group has no chance of surviving this weather out in the open over night. Suddenly the group notices vaguely humanoid shapes behind some of the firs, though the snow makes it impossible to identify who or what they are. When the group looks again, the silhouettes are gone.
If an encounter ensues, I would usually switch to a battle map, but I feel like in this kind of setting it might somewhat break the immersion. Suddenly you see the tokens of the creatures and you know what they look like (or may even know what they are) and where they are. You also see the environment (battle map) around you, so the all the creepy mood that was built up just sort of evaporates because now there are no longer any "unknowns" and everything has become very concrete.
So I was wondering if maybe theatre-of-the-mind might be a more suitable "mode of play" for RotF (especially when played online). But I'd love to hear what your opinions are and how you usually maintain the creepy horror atmosphere.
TL;DR: In Horror-Settings such as RotF, do you think using platforms like Roll20 breaks the immersion and theatre-of-the-mind might be a more sensible option? What are your experiences with this?
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