• Justin Handlin

How to Run a Great Horror Adventure in Dungeons & Dragons

Updated: Oct 4

Join us live on youtube 10/3/21 @7pm Eastern!

How to Run a Great Horror Adventure in Dungeons & Dragons

Are you looking to run a horror adventure for this Halloween? Then you’re gonna want to stick around as we speak with an expert!

Phil Beckwith creator of the adamantine best-selling Dungeons & Dragons horror trilogy 'The Haunt'.

Write and DM/GM a horror campaign for Dungeons and Dragons 5e or any other tabletop RPG with these storytelling elements: Phil joins us to share some of the core features that make a successful horror Dungeons & Dragons Game

Include horror, tension, and scares

  • Horror is made up of carnage, death, and gross things in general.

  • Tension, on the other hand, is the magic that pulls players deeper into the scenario.

  • The scares come after or during the tension. Any moment a player is on edge with an unknown danger is a perfect moment to drop a sudden explosion of action. This is the time to attack the 5 senses.

Build empathy and connection to characters

  • Whether it is an NPC or a PC, we need to care about the characters involved and what happens to them.

Use the uncanny and unknown as a tool for fear

  • The uncanny means a situation, object, surrounding or person is off from what it should be. It’s a peculiar sensation, like something in your gut is telling you to run away. What makes dolls and clowns so creepy?

  • The fear of the unknown haunts us all the time. This simply means a situation unfamiliar to us is playing out. We could end up dead in a number of horrible ways, and information about our surroundings is key for security.

Create a spooky setting

  • Building a horror setting should be a fun exercise in creativity. We all know creepy elements of a place that send chills down our spine. Building on what we’ve gone over so far, we can build a setting that brings the fear to life.

Create a significant threat

  • To build tension, our killer, monster, or ghost needs to be a serious threat. This is the case with most tabletop RPGs in the genre, but it’s important to reiterate this point to heroic games as well.

Don't be afraid to kill your player characters

This isn’t your typical loot and pillage dungeon raid. For the stakes to be real, the players have to be willing to allow their characters to die. We should definitely state this to everyone before playing.

Pick up this legendary trilogy to the delight or potential misery of your players!