Interview: Cameron Rice looks back on Hyper RPG's Bloodcurdling Tales series
After countless adventures, the end is here for Hyper RPG's Bloodcurdling Tales In Time. Stemming from the Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror series, this weekly show revolved around four teenagers trying to unlock the mysteries of their town. Ellie Parker (Emily Rose Jacobson), Leanne Hamilton (Janel SantaCruz), Ricky Donovan (Scott Rubin), and Chrissy Jacobs (Jessica Lynn Verdi) got more than they bargained for with possessions, robot hands, and the occasional Giant Replacement Baby. The chat room's interactive involvement makes the show much more chaotic for everyone at the table.
Tonight (October 8), Bloodcurdling Tales In Time will have its live finale on Hyper RPG's Twitch channel at 6 p.m. PST/9 p.m. EST. We talked to Bloodcurdling Tales’ GM Cameron Rice about the show's origins and whether we'll see the gang back together in the future.
MP3s and NPCs: Bloodcurdling Tales of Terror paid homage to horror films with a different cast every week. When did you decide to cement a firm storyline and set of characters?
Cameron Rice: Credit where it’s due, that was Zac. The concept of revolving cast with Scott and Kate Elliot as the constant hosts came about after the Nightmare on Elm Street RPG and Indomitable coming to an end. At the time we wanted to keep Scott and Kate on the channel, and the audience dug the Nightmare RPG, so we started the anthology version of the show. That seemed to hit an eventual plateau. And it seemed like the audience wanted to invest more in ongoing narratives with characters they could continue on with, and it was actually Bert Jennings who told Zac about the Loop system we eventually used.
MP3s and NPCs: How did you pick the cast for Bloodcurdling Tales From The Loop?
Rice: That was a mix of things. Scott was already doing a great job on Terror, and I knew I wanted an anchor player, someone who was good at keeping the story together and going. Kate got incredibly busy, so she wasn’t able to continue. I will reveal I did have plans for her to play Chrissy and Ellie’s other friend. In fact, many past guests who ended up not being able to do the show were supposed to play Nancy, but it just didn’t come to pass. I legit had four to five people lined up to play Nancy and day of couldn’t make the show. Nancy was a strange curse in some ways.
It being an ongoing narrative, I knew I wanted someone who could do that, keep track and going over a long stretch, and Jess with the Ripley’s has shown she could do that and do it damn well, and by this time, Jess was a fairly regular guest on Terror and always amazing.
We wanted Emily onto the channel after having done a number of HyperDrives and episodes of Terror. She was, at this time, the newest voice, and seeing her on the channel more made sense.
And Indomitable was ending again, I wanted to make sure Janel was still on the channel and also making sure there was someone with a different energy and life experience. Also someone who was a horror fan. And Janel had shown on Terror and the Avengers RPG, she could throw down amazing curveballs.
MP3s and NPCs: What were some inspirations behind the Tales From The Loop/Tales In Time storyline?
Honestly more then anything Stephen King and 80s X-Men. If I was going to do a large ongoing horror sci-fi narrative, then pulling from King and Claremont seemed like no brainers. The main thing was keeping it away from the Stranger Things-esque King influences. I love Stranger Things, but I wanted to lean more Dark Tower and Carrie then It. And the kids in school aspect and how heady the sci-fi gets is straight 80s X-Men/New Mutants.
MP3s and NPCs: Fans have brought in numerous NPCs to interact with the players. What have been some of your favorite NPCs on the show?
Rice: Obviously Giant Replacement Baby and Toblerone are the two creations who made it over from Terror to the narrative show just off the backs of how popular they became. To just this show, the sassy Robot adult store operator was very fun.
MP3s and NPCs: With the show winding down, you'll be working on a script for a Bloodcurdling Tales movie. What inspired you to turn your vision into a possible film?
Rice: It’s going back to the roots, the anthology. Taking what I’ve learned and seeing what works well on an audience, and also, it’s a chance to keep working with my friends and get more eyes on them. From the cast to guests to people who didn’t get to make it on the show. I figure if I get to make one movie, why not take the two plus years of essentially researching and telling a weekly horror story and make that movie?
MP3s and NPCs: The entire Bloodcurdling Tales run is one of Hyper RPG's longest running shows. Did you ever think the show would've been a staple of the channel for so long?
Rice: I thought I’d always have something to do at Hyper, but no. I didn’t think this would last as long as it did. In many ways, it was a series of flukes. I had never GM’d before the Nightmare RPG, and I got asked to do that with a week before that HyperDrive. Had no idea how to do it and kind of did it on the fly, and it kind of went over like gangbusters. Well enough that it was actually a Hyper viewer who had said they’d put up the money for me to do a four week horror show, which became Terror. Those four weeks went well, so the show came back for two more runs then seemed to taper off, and I thought “well that’s it!” But then I got the offer to make a long ongoing narrative. It all just kind of rolled into itself like a snowball. So the fact that it went on to become a staple of the channel is very rewarding and surprising.
MP3s and NPCs: Will fans see Bloodcurdling Tales returning to the channel in the future?
Rice: In some capacity, be it a one off on a HyperDrive or something along those lines I could foresee some return. It wouldn’t be for a while. Between my other careers which have begun since the start of the show and getting ready to go into pre-production on the film, it might be a minute till I’m back at a gaming table. And I think the story of Chrissy, Ricky, Ellie and Leanne have concluded. That said, if any of the cast wanted to do their own spinoff, they’re more then welcome to with my blessing. The great thing about RPG’s is they are a narrative you build together. Those characters, they also created and built and crafted and it’s not up to me to say they shouldn’t continue on in some narrative capacity.
Plus Giant Replacement baby is still out there, and Bloodcurdling Tales from the Flood does have a nice ring to it...
Follow Cameron Rice on Twitter for updates on the Bloodcurdling Tales movie.