Variations

Ongoing game: While Dead by Darkness was designed with the intention of a one shot game it can also be used to create an ongoing game.  "Death is not an escape." This is the tagline for Dead by Daylight. And in it's over arching narrative this is very literally true. Survivors who are sacrificed or die don't stay dead. They find themselves awakening  by a bonfire in a desolate fog, memories of the past events swirling in their mind, vague echoes of horror and pain. Sooner or later they find themselves drawn back into this thick veil of fog, only to emerge in another horrific trial. A series of connected dangerous trials sounds like a perfect setup for an ongoing campaign, provided a few needs are met.

Progress: The key difference between a single adventure and a long running campaign is progress, the ability to build and grow on the previous session. Progress comes in two main forms: Mechanical progress and Narrative progress.

 

Mechanical progress: It's important that players feel like they are building, growing getting stronger and getting an advantage as they play and put in the effort and take risks. Fortunately world of darkness already has an excellent system for rewarding players using beats and experience. On top of that the new perk system in dead by Darkness further expands on the options for rewarding players. If you wish to award beats and XP here is the recommend ways to earn beats, in addition to the normal world of darkness options.

 

Beats and XP:

  • The following actions grant a beat to a survivor:

  • Healing another survivor to full health

  • Unhooking a survivor

  • Completing a generator

  • Stunning a killer

  • Escaping a trial and surviving grants a full XP

  • Killing the killer grants a full XP

 

Changing survivors: Some players may wish to frequent change their character, even as often as each trial and unless the storyteller has a specific reason to disallow it this should be encouraged. It's recommended to allow a player to track beats and XP earned independently of their character, so that if they create a new character they can give use the XP they've earned with each new character. After all, they earned it, and if changing characters means losing all your progress then it won't be a very tempting offer for long.

Items: Over the course of a particular trial players are likely to gain or lose items that they find in containers hidden across a level. At the storyteller's discretion these items  can carry over from one session to the next, though typically they're lost or dropped when someone is hooked and require an action to pick back up. By allowing items to carry over the storyteller can better equip the players for the next trial and make searching containers even more worthwhile. If an item has a limited number of uses or ammunition it's recommended replenishing the item after each session for the players.

Perks: Ordinarily it's left to the storyteller to decide before each game how many perks to give the killer and players, but Perks can also easily be repurposed into a rewards system of their own. There are several options to do this, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.

Specific Perks as rewards: In this variation, when players pick their starting perks, they keep those perks from play through to play through. After each session/trial the players may each select another perk to add to their repertoire, or if the storyteller wants to really customize things, they may even select a perk to award each player based on performance instead. These perks are available to be switched out and used, up to the limit of "Perk slots" that the storyteller wishes to use for a particular game. For example, a player who has played five trials, would have five perks available to choose from. When the storyteller declares the next trial will have 3 perks per survivor it's up to the player to decide which three of their five they want to use. And once the trial ends they'll unlock a sixth perk they have access to. This system has the benefit of making each player able to build a repertoire of perks that help them claim a niche or a role in the group, letting them really nail down their part in surviving and feel like they have a customized load out they can build. Optionally the storyteller may decide there can be no duplications among the perks, so each one is only available to a single player if they really want to help differentiate what players can do.

 

Buying Perks: Another option is to allow players to spend their beats and XP on buying new perks along with new skill and attribute dots. Using this method a perk should cost 5 XP. This option allows the players to buy perks as they go, breaking the convention that survivors and killers have the same number of perks. Of course it would be wise to still provide the killer new perks periodically, at a slower rate. Or you could make use of the rules found below for advancing the killer.

               

Advancing  the killer: Just as the players have an objective, so too does the killer. depending on the game you want to run it could be useful to award the killer beats and experience. A killer's earned xp and beats should pass on to all killers who come after, just as a survivor's do.

 

The following actions give the killer a beat:

  • Hitting a survivor

  • Hooking a survivor

  • Sacrificing or killing a survivor

  • Damaging a generator

Of course given that a killer doesn't have skills or specialties they have fewer things to spend their points on, and as such it's more common for them to boost attributes, Purchase suitable merits, and acquire perks.

 

Narrative progress: Of course advancing mechanically is important, but there also needs to be some narrative progression. The story too must progress and evolve or it becomes an endless series of life or death struggles with little reward. While the first few trials may be fine as a desperate struggle to survive, it will soon become beneficial to give players more to latch onto. Consider the following plot hooks as a starting point for expanding your narrative:

Is there a way to escape the cycle of awakening in the mist and being pursued by a killer?

Does the killer remember facing the same survivors as before?

Is there something more to the gates and generators?

What other secrets are hidden in the book of lore?

What is the entity that consumes those sacrificed?

What secrets are hidden in the trial grounds?

How many other survivors are there?

How long has this been happening?

 Building an ongoing story involving this core premise and these questions can be veryrewarding. A standard campaign plays with themes of battling hopelessness and fighting fate itself.

Playing the killer: In the regular Dead by Daylight game a human player controls the killer, and so this is an entirely viable option. After enough games you might consider letting a human player run the killer using all the same abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. In general this requires very little rules modification, and with the aboive system for rewarding killers you can even still continue to reward the murderous player.