If what is grating to people about H n' S play is the attitude-- savage, imperialistic, kill things to solve problems-- this hasn't existed much in my sessions. My players' attitude is more generally one of trepidation, of, "God I hope we find enough treasure to at least pay for these torches."
I like the idea of them treating the mystic underworld as a place they are a visitor in, not a master. The system does a lot of that with limited hit points and limited damage capability. But I like to try to push players to feel vulnerable. Here's a brainstorm of some situations that might make players feel out of control, uncertain, and at risk:
- Water slowly deepening-- once chin-deep I would start to wonder if we should head back
- Something moving around in that water
- Or the water beginning to move, faster and faster
- Not water, but mud or muck that must be waded through-- getting thicker
- Trapdoors, cupboards, or curtains that open face-high or above the head.
- Uncertain footing: walking on rotten boards or broken glass, ramps that look slick
- Unsafe terrain: "That ceiling looks really cracked," "This hall could hide archers all along here"
- Low ceilings that make them crawl
- Small holes to be investigated-- hand-sized-- in walls, on altars
- Ledges half-a foot length wide
- Steam or fine webs obscuring vision.
- Suspicious, sharp protrusions covering sections of walls.
- Skeletons, suits of armor, statues, or strawmen-- anything human-shaped propped against walls and they expect them to attack at any moment
- Similar doors/corridors so they have a feeling they may be lost
Anything you'd add to the list?