Tabletop Terror: The Dread House Kickstarter

Tabletop Terror: The Dread House Kickstarter

The Dread HouseI have previously discussed the great horror-themed supplements that Paizo is putting out for the Pathfinder RPG, but they aren’t alone in this. With the advent of digital publishing and crowdfunding sources like Kickstarter, there’s an array of new, independent publishers who are finding under-served niches in the gaming industry and creating projects to serve them.

One of these current Kickstarters, The Dread House by Hammerdog Games, is currently fully funded and building toward its initial stretch goals. It has some really unique features:

  • A 128-page hardcover (or digital) adventure/setting book of a haunted house, containing adventures for the Dungeons & Dragons (5e), Pathfinder, and Call of Cthulhu roleplaying games, including multiple possible time periods within these games.
  • Rules for powerful new creatures, including the Dread Ghost.
  • Optional Fear, Sanity, and Soul Point rules.
  • Fictional “ghost stories” written by Kevin Andrew Murphy and Richard Lee Byers.
  • A set of haunted house tiles, matching the maps within the adventure book.
  • Sets of room decoration miniatures, including furniture pieces such as beds, bookcases, bathtubs, and, yes, even a couple of privies!
  • Additions of more adventures, miniatures, and tiles as stretch goals are reached.

The main adventure is a Pathfinder/D&D 5e adventure called “The Dread Wedding,” and a set of miniatures (including the “Dread Wedding pack” shown below), but the multiple Call of Cthulhu storylines allow for play in different time periods, making it a versatile supplement for those who play with different groups in different systems. And, if you want the physical rewards but prefer to create your own adventures, the Mummy King support level gets you the miniatures alone (and you can pledge more to buy the tiles as an add-on).

You can check it out on Kickstarter, if interested. The Kickstarter completed on October 29 … with a digital reward that should be available to backers before Halloween. If you’re hesitant to back an unknown Kickstarter, let me offer a brief testimonial in support of this one, based on my experience with their previous Kickstarter.

Hammerdog Games

I first encountered Hammerdog Games, and its owner Danny O’Neill, when I came across their previous Kickstarter project: the megadungeon The Grande Temple of Jing [Amazon]. This was a setting/adventure book for Pathfinder RPG that explored a massive realm ruled over by a primordial trickster god, which could be woven into any world with ease. The quality of the project instantly impressed me, including contributions by such impressive legends in the field as Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Dave Gross, Ed Greenwood, Jim Ward, and Grimtooth the Troll.

After supporting the project, then came the wait. If you’ve backed on Kickstarter, you know this feeling. Life goes on, and you’ve already laid out the money for the game to be developed and completed, and you have faith that sometime down the line you’ll receive the thing you paid for. (In backing dozens of Kickstarter projects, I have only had one time where the project failed to get created and delivered.) In that time, I went to GenCon, so decided to go to the Hammerdog Games booth to introduce myself.

The Dread Wedding Pack
Three pieces from The Dread Wedding pack of miniatures tied into the main Pathfinder/D&D storyline in The Dread Wedding

Danny is a very approachable, outgoing guy (which isn’t always the case with gamers, even at GenCon). He showed off what was ready on the project, and I became even more excited to get a chance to run the temple. I introduced an NPC in my Pathfinder game who was a cleric of Jing, to set the stage to eventually incorporate the Temple in my campaign.

The project came out and Danny asked for some volunteers to help him run the game. He didn’t know me from anyone, but I volunteered, and I ran a group through a starting level of the Temple, with only having briefly looked it over before showing up to GM. They were thrilled, survived the adventure (barely), and decided to show up for the “Grande Finale,” where members who had survived the starting levels were invited to proceed on to a large group session, that Danny was running. My group enjoyed it enough to come back for more.

This year at GenCon, Danny and I tag-teamed running a group through the Temple in an 8 hour session, with rotations of players every 2 hours (though several stayed for the whole day). It was a blast (aside from when the concessions stand kept me waiting 45 minutes for a bratwurst, because they ran out).

What’s great about the way Hammerdog set up The Grand Temple of Jing (and they’re doing the same with The Dread House) is that it’s designed so that the complete adventure storylines can be used, or they can represent stand-alone adventures to fill in your own campaign on those days when you just haven’t gotten around to planning anything. While Jing was a massive megadungeon full of dungeony badness, The Dread House provides haunted house badness that can be used for the storylines that it provides, along with the miniatures and tiles that would be useful across many potential games and game groups.

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