Old-School RPG Stuff

tnu_full_coverThe 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.

nu-1Stuff 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.

Purchasing The Nightmares Underneath

The Nightmares Underneath is available at DriveThruRPG for US$15 in pdf, $25 in softcover print and pdf, or $30 in casebound hardcover print and pdf. Both print versions are US Trade sized (6 x 9 inches) and perfect bound, with white pages.
Link to The Nightmares Underneath at DriveThruRPG.

nu-4Print versions of The Nightmares Underneath can also be purchased at Lulu, for $25 in softcover and $35 in hardcover. Both versions are trade sized (6 x 9 inches) and include cream-coloured pages instead of white pages. The Lulu hardcover version includes a black linen cover with a matte finish dustjacket and sewn binding that lies flat, making it probably the most attractive and useful print version of all.
Link to Lulu SOFTCOVER.
Link to Lulu DUSTJACKET HARDCOVER.

The free version of the pdf contains the full text of the game without the art.

Read a review by Christopher Helton, at EN World.

Read a review by Ben L. at Mazirian’s Garden.

Read a review by Paul Baldowsky, at the Boreders blog.

Read a review by Patrick Stuart, at the False Machine blog.

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City of Poison

city_of_print_picIn the city of Neth, the painter Bashir al-Barati has not been seen for several days. His house is said to be haunted, as is the abandoned market that lies beneath it. Will a party of brave adventurers destroy the nightmare incursions before they spread further, or will the city fall to corruption?

City of Poison is a free adventure for The Nightmares Underneath. It contains two Level 1 lairs and one Level 2 lair, a dozen new monsters, a couple of new spells, and illustrations by Nate Marcel.

Download the pdf at DriveThruRPG for free (or pay what you want). A print version is available from Lulu, as a US Trade sized staple-bound booklet.
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The Metamorphica

meta_rev_picIf your game has a need for random mutation tables and procedures for creating all sorts of mutant abominations or unnatural things, whether they are corrupt demons and unique monsters or strange aliens and new superheroes, The Metamorphica is the book for you.

As a collection of biological, psychic, and supernatural mutations, all grouped into tables so results can be randomly selected using dice, this book is a system-agnostic resource for campaigns of such diverse genres as dark fantasy, four-colour comic book, post-apocalypse, modern horror, science fiction, transhumanism, and weird high fantasy.

The Metamorphica contains:

  • Over 700 individual mutations, all with their own descriptions.
  • Physical and mental mutations, as well as psychic and supernatural powers.
  • Several different types of mutation-generating tables, from mad-libs to genre-specialized lists of specific details.
  • Lengthy random creature tables.
  • Procedures for using mutations in post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, superhero, and fantasy campaigns.
  • Procedures for creating aliens, demons, and monsters.
  • Procedures for creating mutant animals, humans, and plants.

The revised edition also contains procedures and extensive tables for generating scientific devices and magic items, exactly the kind of equipment strange, mutated creatures might be carrying around. It has also been re-organized for easier use, numerous mutations have been revised, new mutations have been added, and there are more tables for generating specific details for aliens, demons, monsters, mutant animals, and the various campaign settings.

The Metamorphica Revised can be found at DriveThruRPG for US$10 in pdf or US$20 for print and pdf together. The pdf is 5.5 x 8.5 Digest size, the print is 6 x 9 US Trade size.

The Metamorphica Revised is available from Lulu in both softcover for US$20, and in hardcover for US$30. The hardcover has a black linen cover, a dustjacket, and lies flat the table for easy reference during play. Both versions are 6 x 9 US Trade size.

The classic edition of the Metamorphica is still free to download and will remain available indefinitely (even though I don’t like it anymore and never want to see it again). Please help yourself.

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The River Knife Module Series

The RK series of modules are all set on the River Knife, as it winds its way down from out of the dim, dark mountains to the sea. These modules are written to be compatible with both Labyrinth Lord (and thus any other old-school fantasy rpg) as well as Dungeon World. They feature a mix of dungeons, hexcrawls, random encounters, and intelligent villains. They can be played together as part of a sandbox campaign, or used individually as one-shots or dropped into an existing campaign. The element of horror features prominently in these modules.


RK1: Knives in the Dark

116449-thumb100Two centuries ago, the dreaded secret society of assassins were buried in their mountain fortress. But now a group of miners have uncovered this ancient stronghold, unleashing the evil held within. The shadows of the assassins have been waiting patiently for their freedom to come, and now it has. With their fingers like knives and their hearts calling out for vengeance, they emerge once more into the world.
Knives in the Dark is available from DriveThruRPG in pdf for US$5 and in a print+pdf bundle for US$12. Print is a perfect-bound, softcover book in B&W with white pages.
Knives in the Dark is also available from Lulu, as a softcover, staple-bound booklet in B&W with creme-coloured pages, for US$10.

Still not sure?
Read a review of Knives in the Dark on the Nerdwerds blog.

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RK2 Evil Wizards in a Cave
119066-thumb100The Tellurine Monastery has a serious problem—a band of evil wizards have stolen their holiest relic, the helmet of Saint Anglard, and fled. The abbot believes they are hiding out in one of the region’s many caves, judging by the recent increase in weird occurrences. But this sandbox adventure offers more than just a quest! Dragons prowl the valley, a beastman is on the loose, and there are tales of a haunted house up in the mountains somewhere, full of treasure. What sort of trouble will you get up to here?
Evil Wizards in a Cave is available from DriveThruRPG in pdf for US$5 and in a print+pdf bundle for US$12. print is a perfect-bound, softcover book in B&W with white pages.
Evil Wizards in a Cave is also available from Lulu, as a softcover, staple-bound booklet in B&W with creme-coloured pages, for US$10.

Still not sure?
Read a review of Evil Wizards in a Cave at the Geek Native site.

Read a review of Evil Wizards in a Cave at the Nerdwerds blog.

Read a review of Evil Wizards in a Cave at the Take On Rules blog.

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THE THIRD VERSE!!!RK3 The Third Verse
Culled from the many exploits of Red Box Vancouver and drawing inspiration from four microdungeons drawn by Tony Dowler, The Third Verse is a vast, subterranean labyrinth full of doom. Can you find the missing third verse and use it to banish evil from the land?
MARVEL at the malign magnificence of the Red Mummy’s terrifying tomb!
GRIMACE as the grinding gears of evil engines churn beneath the earth!
FLEE when the God of Hellfire’s blazing tongue comes dancing down!
DO YOU DARE to brave the Shrine of the Doomed Celestial?
The Third Verse is available from DriveThruRPG in pdf for US$5 and in a print+pdf bundle for US$12. The print is a perfectbound, softcover book in B&W with white pages.
The Third Verse is also available from Lulu as a softcover, staple-bound booklet in B&W with creme-coloured pages, for US$10.

Still not sure?
Read a review of The Third Verse on the Nerdwerds blog.
Read a review of the Third Verse on Board Game Geek.

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4 Responses to “Old-School RPG Stuff”

  1. What level is the LL version of The Third Verse for?

  2. I’d like to see more adventures for Labyrinth Lord.
    The pbtA-derived rules implemented are quite nice.

    However: DungeonWorld (rules) doesn’t do it for me.
    It’s one of the (few) pbtA games that aren’t my cup of tea.

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