Justice Playthrough #57: DREADFUL

What makes an good Dread supplement?

Seriously. I’m asking.

Page 34, Game 18: DREADFUL by LostDutchman

DREADFUL is three adventures for the horror RPG Dread. Dread’s big mechanical shtick is that conflict is resolved with Jenga. Make the tower fall? Then ya FUCKED. Pretty dope conceit, if you like a sense of escalating danger and tension — and if you’re playing a horror RPG, seems safe to assume you do.

The first scenario in this bundle puts the PCs in a slasher movie, the second a haunted house, and the third a monster movie. In all three cases, the author put a lot of work into resources allowing the PCs to define their characters. I don’t know if that’s just standard issue for Dread, but it seems like the sort of thing that would really get the players to invest in the over-pressurized blood blisters they’ll be portraying.

I’m less convinced by some of the details in the scenarios. The first one, the slasher pic, has a lot of guidelines for escalating the tension as the PCs investigate just what the hell is going on, hopefully before they get killed. What IS going on? What is the killer? What’s his deal? How does he/she/it operate? Cool questions, bro. Come up with something awesome and just slot it on in there, eh?

The haunted house does a lot more work laying down the backstory, which seems like it would give the GM a lot more to work with by allowing the PCs to be chasing something concrete. A lot of the recommended tension is supposed to come from the fact that the house is basically an ever-shifting TARDIS, and the PCs will be unable to escape — despite recommending that the GM steer them towards making that their goal. So, how do you execute that without feeling like you’re just fucking with them (which you very obviously are)? How do you keep them invested in trying to escape when you’re just going to respond to everything they try with a sadistic “Nope!” even if you have to ignore rudimentary physics to do it? How do you keep your horror game from feeling like a horror movie with a lazy screenwriter? That’s a YOU problem, bro.

The monster one has an interesting twist, in that the PCs are supposed to be able to make peaceful contact with the obvious monster, and that it’s the monster’s MOTHER you really gotta watch out for. Even though the monster horrifically kills people, too. We’re kinda grading on a curve here.

I dunno. I’m not sold on these, but a lot of care clearly went into producing them. It’s entirely possible that a veteran Dread-head would read this book and be all “Dude, STFU, these are fabulous! These are gonna make my players literally shit themselves in terror!”

So if that’s something you aspire to yourself, what the hell. If you play Dread, these might be worth a look. Or they might not. It’ll only cost you $3 to find out one way or the other.

Are we gonna do three Jenga games in a row? Perl script, hit me!

Page 58, Game 27: Pocket Square by CodyMace

No description.

I have literally no idea what to expect, but I’m going to guess the answer to my question is “No.”