Chill was a somewhat lesser-known horror RPG, originally published in 1984 by Pacesetter, then released to a second edition in 1990 by Mayfair Games.
In Chill the player characters are sometimes called away from their routine lives to investigate cases by the secret society known as S.A.V.E. ("Societas Albae Viae Eternitata" note ). The organization reaches out to people who survive a harrowing encounter with a paranormal being, then asks such people to investigate on its behalf into incidents involving other supernatural dangers (collectively referred to as "the Unknown"). The most gifted members of S.A.V.E. can even learn to wield the power of "the Art", a nebulous conflation that's a bit magic, a bit Psychic Powers.
The game is a little more optimistic than others in its genre, as the players belonging to an organization that actively hunts down the supernatural might suggest. The odds are certainly stacked in the monsters' favor (it wouldn't be too scary otherwise), but careful investigation can unearth their Achilles' Heel and allow the players to halt a great danger.
Tropes found in Chill include:
- Amusement Park of Doom: Module "Isle of the Dead" has the players trying to exorcise a haunted amusement park.
- Anyone Can Die: The rules are pretty bluntly honest about how PC turnover is expected to be fairly high.
- Call-Back: One of the vampires in the "Vampires" sourcebook is Jackson De La Croix, stage name Jackson Jammer, who was originally one of the featured evildoers hopefully killed in the module "Death On Tour".
- Celebrity Endorsement: Certainly the weirdest book in the Chill library was "Evenings of Terror with Elvira'', where the Mistress of the Dark provides ingoing and outgoing commentary on each of a series of short adventures meant to last a session apiece.
- The Dark Arts: Known as "the Evil Way", meant to be an evil counterpart to "the Art" available to players. Ends up more of a catch-all for the various supernatural powers monsters can have, than a set of special skills that such characters can learn.
- Dracula: Appears in, obviously, the Victorian-era adventure "Vengeance of Dracula", the mini adventure "Castle of Dracula", and got top billing in the "Vampires" sourcebook.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: One special power available to players through the Art. Premade adventures for the game actually had all relevant prophetic dreams for the adventure written in advance, which would give vague clues on how to uncover the enemy monster's weakness.
- Evil Old Folks: One of the monsters detailed in a compilation book was the "Mean Old Neighbor Lady", a monster who looks like an old lady and kidnaps neighborhood children (but is clearly a monster by dint of her supernatural powers and the lesser monsters who usually work for one).
- Guns Are Useless: By and large, as the fear element wouldn't work well if every adventure ended successfully with a shootout. The rules point this out, that the characters will want to carry guns and they're right to do so, but not to expect much from their firearms.
- Harder Than Hard: The "Creature Feature" rule supplement had a part that talked about S.A.V.E. having trouble staying out of the red and its agents dying a lot more often than in the past, if the GM wanted to make things even tougher for the players (and to be clear, as writ this is already a hard game to win).
- Nigh Invulnerable: Most monsters powerful enough to drive an adventure, and their main servitors. Players will have to find and exploit their one weakness to get around this.
- Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: The "Vampires" sourcebook has a vampire who's also a ninja for the players to deal with.
- No Ontological Inertia: In some cases, killing a monster will kill all of the others of its kind it created too. Sometimes even the restless spirits whose deaths were caused as a result of those monsters are allowed to travel to the afterlife at the originator's destruction.
- The Order: S.A.V.E.
- Our Vampires Are Different: There are multiple strains of vampirism in the game, each with its own abilities as well as weaknesses and immunities.
- Rock Me, Asmodeus!: The module "Death On Tour" was about a network of rock stars who are secretly monsters, and use their tours to hunt for prey while going unnoticed.
- Silver Bullet: Carried by most characters and effective against common werewolves. Useless against the big ones, known as the Loup-du-mal. Only the blood of a righteous martyr hurts them.
- Villain Protagonist: There were supplements with rules in both editions for switching roles, playing monsters instead and S.A.V.E. being the antagonists.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: In the second edition at least there's a type of real "monster in the closet" created by the fear of a child believing there is one. The only way to defeat such a creature is to hypnotize the suffering child and tell them to imagine the monster getting weaker. Otherwise it'll just come right back at full strength as soon as the players kill it.