Two different takes on a single theme
I come to you today with a few ideas of different themes. Those themes being hidden calamity, a struggle for sanity, ever-changing reality, and coming together to overcome conflict. I will explain in better detail below.
Idea #1: A Living Hell
No, that's not the official title, both of these ideas are still in the works and I've yet to come up with a concrete idea, although I've got a baseline. The basic point of this RP will be that at certain points, reality will shift to take on a more devilish appearance. Quite literally. During this event, sadistic images that haunt the mind and torture the soul will be ever present. Cracks will line empty streets stained with blood, rusty chains, broken windows, demonic runes, black clouds, and pitch black that not even the strongest light will pierce. Think of what you imagine the end of the world to be, or what Hell really is. Yep. It's that. Illusions will cloud your mind as fear will cloud your judgement, and you can never be safe. But worst of all is the creatures. There are several varieties of hideous monsters that kill for food and fun, and you, squishy human, happen to be the easiest prey. When you snap back to what you think the real reality is, nothing has changed. Everything is as it should be. But which reality do you live in, the normal one or your own personal torture? Is coming back to reality and living with those images while dreading the next change just part of the torture? You can't be certain.
Now, what I'll need to work out is how the reality-shifts work. Are they completely random, or are the triggered? I've thought of traveling to that realm in your unconscious state (when you sleep) and waking up in reality, and it doesn't matter on how many different characters are sleeping at once because time is constant in the nightmare world. If you sleep at one time and this guy sleeps later, you'll be there at the same time and spend the same amount of time there. The other one being when the sun sets and the moon rises. More predictable and less to worry about with the timing, but not as potentially interesting. When the moon sets and the sun rises once again, you will find yourself where you would normally be. As if your body was on autopilot while your soul was in Hell. If you survive, you wake up. Nothing changes. If you die, you don't wake up. Now, you could either be dead or permenantly stuck in the nightmare realm. You could even be one more abomination that roams the wastes. It could have an overarching plot or just be freeform survival sandbox. Now the hook for character development that I won't budge on: every single character must have blood on their hands somehow. This means that intentional or not, direct or not, in malice or not, your character's actions must have led to the grisly death of another human being. Be it that you are a serial killer that deserves to be there, a police officer who ended the life of said serial killer, or even someone who could have prevented a drunk driver from wrapping themselves around a tree. Regardless, your character must face their action (whether they regret it or not is up to you) and enter this hellhole. Surviving alone is possible, but not recommended.
Just a little more detail, this will be extremely mature and gory. It will also be advanced, as you really can't convey the horrors of hell well enough with two paragraphs minimum. I will also be drawing a bit of my own twisted horror art (I'm pretty good at it. I don't know if that's a good thing) that I'll throw in whenever I get time and an inkling. This will also be heavy in the vein of realism. Make mistakes, you pay the price. If something happens to you, convey it. If one of the beasts claws you in the ankle, you're not running anywhere for the rest of your stay at the River Styx. Let's be serious. If I'm the GM, I can create the world or it'll be up to everyone to throw in their own spice. In such a case I'd be more of a narrator, like a DM than a GM.
Idea #2: World Corruption on a Digital Scale
You happen to be an average, everyday college student. You might be full-time, you might be part-time, you could have a job or be a mooch. Whatever. College. You happen to notice certain things not behaving the way they should. Perhaps a shadow seems to be moving a tad slower than its object or the water in the faucet flows up and then down. Subtle or scary, it's not right. But then all hell breaks loose. The world freezes. It crashes. Physics is functional some of the time, if at all, textures are mixing, the universe just decided to glitch out hardcore and it's not going back. Everyone is frozen or repeating themselves on a loop, some of them stuttering like a bad VHS, but for some reason you can move. So can a few others, and you can all manipulate the world to an extent, correcting and exploiting glitches. It's up to everyone not constrained by the fact that Earth is having a spaz attack to attempt to fix it by finding the "source" of the glitch and correcting it. Once corrected, everything goes immediately back to normal, as if nothing ever happened. But the thing is, if anything was damaged beyond repair in the glitch, it won't be there when you come back. Because it never even existed. You remember it existed because this worldwide problem doesn't affect you. Unfortunately, this is the part of the glitch that does apply to you. So, can you fix the Earth or break when it does?
I've yet to work out the finer details of this, but it will be just a bit more on rails than the other one. You're limited in the scope that you're a college student going to the same college and that all the events have a focal point, but outside that you're free to do whatever. It will be extremely surreal, so you'll have to have an active imagination for this one. It will be a bigger puzzle solver and "thinking with crazy logic" than "fight to survive". You'll be overcoming hurdles and obstacles, trying to figure out the source of this event, and working with others to get their thoughts on things. Given that you can manipulate the glitches a bit, you won't have "superpowers" or any kind of specialty. If you can work out in crazy brain to drag-and-drop a couch into the air with your fingers and use it as a staircase to get through a door in the ceiling, go for it. Depending on what happens in the glitches, the world can change drastically. This is extremely open ended and I don't have a plot for it, either.
I'm thinking that this one could go Casual depending on who it interested, but it should still be fairly detailed. You can go outside of realism here, but have a shot glass of it once in a while. If you're character gets thrust into a glitch for the first time, they're not going to shout "Holy shit!" and immediately know what it is and move on. They probably won't pick up on the more subtle glitches, either. They will freak out like you know you would if you opened your front door to find the ocean there but were able to climb out your window to the Alps. Taking major suggestions on this one, but I'd like to avoid stereotypes here. Like there are enemies you must fight or something. I never liked the John "has a black belt in <insert obscure martial art> and was in the military" Doe or Mary "super genius extraordinaire with tons of cash" Sue. Real people please.
Given those details, if anyone could give me some feedback, I would appreciate it. For now I'm just throwing these out there. If I can get some decent interest, I might start one. If I don't have the time, ask me and I'll lend you these ideas wholesale. Might not even participate. Whatever. I'd just like to get some input, please and thank you.