The Nightmares Underneath is an old school role-playing game with a strong horror theme, set in a fantasy Middle East where dungeons are invading nightmares intent on the destruction of civilization. In the Kingdoms of Dreams, all is right with the world—except for one thing. Even though the Law has triumphed over the powers of Chaos, banishing idolatry and superstition in favour of science and reason, humanity is still threatened by a dangerous, otherworldly force. The Realm of Nightmares invades the physical world, sending incursions in the form of dungeon to undermine and destroy society.
The justification for dungeoncrawling in this setting is that adventurers are raiding nightmare incursions, to find the treasure that keeps an incursion anchored to the physical world. Once the treasure is looted, the incursion is destroyed, and the adventurers profit. Individual creatures made of nightmares can be killed, but as long as the incursion exists, it will continue to spawn more. This is reflected by a countdown die, used in addition to encounter checks for wandering monsters.
Basically, I wrote this game in order to incorporate all my favourite house rules into old school D&D, in a setting where I could run any kind of dungeon I wanted to, and incorporate as many horror elements as I like to. Which is usually a lot.
The free version includes the complete text of the game, without the art. The full version of the game, including several different print options, will be available soon.
Stuff that you might find interesting:
- Settlement rules including downtime lifestyle, inflation, social institutions you can invest money in, and communities growing to resent adventurers and their crimin’ ways, and even perhaps running them out of town.
- Hit Points are re-rolled every day, and after resting, and injuries only occur after they run out and your attribute scores start to be reduced.
- Nightmare curses that afflict characters after they have awful experiences in the dungeon: madness, supernatural restrictions, and even physical changes.
- Wizards are better at spells, but almost anyone can cast any spell in the book, if they dare.