tremulus is a storytelling RPG where you and your friends get together and create a haunting story in the vein of HP Lovecraft's works.
Want to See Something Really Scary?
We all do. tremulus lets you and your friends make terrifying stories together. No experience necessary. And dice? You only need a pair of regular old six-sided dice, like you find in most family board games. If you've never played any roleplaying games in the past, then this is a great game to start with.
"tremulus looks creepy and intense. It's the kind of thing you think you want to avoid at all costs, but instead can't help but be drawn toward..."
-Monte Cook, Co-designer Call of Cthulhu D20 Roleplaying Game and the creator of the upcoming Numenera
What if I Know Nothing About Lovecraft?
If you know what scares you or your friends, that knowledge and the guidance found in tremulus will give you more than enough to get going. (It's not homework, but if you haven't read any of HPL's work, go find some. You're in for a real treat.)
"Sean Preston wrote a game that reflects the horror play style I've always had to shoehorn into existing systems. tremulus takes you from zero to full immersion in mere minutes, and its narrative unfolds like a story penned by Lovecraft himself."
-Ron Blessing, Co-host of RoleplayDNA and Smiling Jack’s Bar & Grill (and the much missed The Game’s the Thing…let’s bring this back).
Is it Easy to Learn? (Short answer: Yes!)
Novices and experienced gamers alike can sit down and start playing right away. All the information you need to play your character is found in your playbook, so there is nothing to memorize, and once you get going it becomes second nature. And you only need 2d6. All rolls are player-facing and serve to drive the story forward.You never roll without a reason. (And the Keeper never rolls at all.)
"Deceptively simple, never dull, tremulus is not for the faint of heart but the inquisitive soul. It makes it dead easy — frighteningly fun, even — to tell stories to scare the hell out of yourself."
-Matt Forbeck, Award-winning game designer and author
Based on the Apocalypse World Engine
The rules of tremulus are based on Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World and influenced by elements of Fiasco and FATE. New elements drive the game into more investigative directions, handle sanity loss and madness, and streamlines the role of the Keeper (the game master.)
"tremulus takes classic Lovecraftian gaming and combines it with the growling, dangerous engine of Apocalypse World. The playbooks have all the flavor you want and everything you need to play on a single double sided sheet. Every decision that sends poor Dr. Meridian on the spiral of lost sanity and health is in the hands of the players. Perfect for a spooky one-shot, a campaign built through play or something to get jaded fans of Cthulhu Mythos roleplaying excited again."
-Rob Wieland, Flames Rising
When some folks think of storytelling games, they think of games without a central game master or dice or task resolution system. This is not always the case. There are a wide variety of storytelling games. tremulus has a game master called the Keeper, and each player has a character (as defined by their playbook). Rolls determine success, partial success, or failure of their actions (called moves). Wanna surround yourself with wordnoise about tremulus? Check out RWR: Episode 1: The tremulus Edition!
"tremulus is one of those rare games where things can go horribly, horribly awry, and you love it all the more."
-Clint Black, Savage Worlds Brand Manager
Low to No Prep Before Play
You'll find it remarkably easy to get going. In fact, if you use the playset found in the book (the town of Ebon Eaves), you don't have to do any prep whatsoever.
"tremulus is probably among the most entertaining and unique games I ever played. If you are interested in Lovecraftian horror this is definitely the game for you. While other games are fun as well, tremulus is the only Cthulhu roleplaying game I know that allows the Keeper to run a game with no prep at all. I can't wait to hold the final copy in my hands!"
-Michael Wolf, Stargazer's World
Ideal for 1 to 5 Players (and one Keeper)
With horror games, small groups are usually better, but too small and they don't work at all. tremulus handles a broad number of players effortlessly. During the playtesting of the game, it was discovered that tremulus not only plays well, it plays exceedingly well with just one player. This complements weird literature perfectly, as there is often only a central, solitary protagonist. As with any game, more than five players can be a bit much, and can actually detract from the atmosphere of the story. For group play, the sweet spot seems to be three or four players.
Why Does It Work Well with Small Groups?
tremulus works so well for small groups because all characters begin with the same common moves . These allow them to do all the things you'd expect protagonists to do to one degree or another. The special moves each character has are specific to their role, be they a doctor, dilettante, or detective. Each player also gets a Lore move unique to their character as well. (No. We shan't be talking about Lore moves here quite yet. Yes. We're horrible. And we're sorry.)
Flexible Character Choice and the Playbook
Choosing the type of character you want to play is integral to the roleplaying experience. In tremulus, you have eleven classic characters to choose from in the core book. Additional playbook sets and playsets are available. Each of these choices has an attendant playbook, which is all each player needs to play the game. There is a brief background, choices of name, looks, and so on, and places to keep track of attributes. Everything you need as a player will be included on a tailored, printable playbook. There is niche protection, as no two players may use the same playbook, and when death or madness occurs, you can just get a new playbook and jump back in.