Archive for the ‘Dead of Night’ Category

So Dead of Night has been out for a little over a month now, and thoughts have turned to the inevitable question: what next? Of course there are countless other games on the go, including a couple that will surface sooner rather than later, but that’s not really what’s being asked. It’s what’s next for Dead of Night.

Well, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of it, as I have. Quite a bit. In the final stages of Dead of Night’s writing, both James and Scott suggested the same idea, which I’d also been mulling over – a book of scenarios.


Well, Dead of Night has been out a little over a month now, so this seemed to be a good point to pause and take stock of how the launch went. It seemed to go down well at Games Expo, leaving me with only a couple of books left at the end of the con. I think my last minute panic about not having enough stock proved to be unwarranted, so I’m glad I didn’t fast-track any extra books like I briefly considered.

Print sales are steady enough that I can comfortably handle posting them myself, but books should be on sale at IPR in the States in the next few weeks, and I’ll be glad that I won’t have to fulfil many more to the US. Unlike the first edition, I’ve made a digital download available too, and that’s been a huge success. I’m not sure if it’s folk recognising the name when it pops up on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, or whether it’s just Paul’s great cover drawing them in.


Hot on the heels of Monday’s release of the PDF version of Dead of Night, I’m pleased to announce that the print copies are now in. For the time being, they’re only available to buy direct from me – you can see a new “Shop” link at the top of the page, and from there a “Buy Now” button. The price is £15 and the link includes £2.50 postage.

Buying a print copy also gets you  a copy of the PDF – if you supply your email address when you buy it I’ll send you a link for the PDF shortly afterwards. You can, of course, still buy the PDF separately.

The book will, sooner or later, be available from IPR if those of you stateside want to wait for it to be available there.

Dead of Night second edition debuted this weekend at UK Games Expo in Birmingham and it seemed to go down well – I’ve almost ran out of copies, at any rate, which I’m taking to be a good sign. I should be getting my second batch from the printers any day now, and then I’ll open up orders here.

But, if you can’t wait till then, I’ve just put the PDF version up for sale at RPGNow, DriveThruRPG et al. It’s a snip at $10, so go check it out and let me know what you guys think of it. There are some sample pages available here too.

Finally, I’ve uploaded a Dead of Night character sheet, which includes 4 diddy character sheets on one page.

Risky Business

Posted: May 28, 2010 in Dead of Night, design

With Dead of Night’s release just around the corner – it’ll be on sale at Games Expo on the 5th-6th June, and then available from me on the 7th – you’ll be able to read all about the new changes for yourself soon enough. I’ve saved talking about probably the biggest rules change until last, however – the introduction of Risk Checks.

In 1st edition, the only way to lose a Survival Point was by losing a combat check – i.e. failing an Assault or Protect check. This worked nicely, making combat nasty for both PCs and monsters. But, it didn’t entirely play to genre. After all, in the middle of a slasher movie you shouldn’t have to tool up to take on the big bad. Similarly, it ensured that Survival Point loss was fairly unsubtle, ignoring all the other ways characters can come to a sticky end that isn’t necessarily through being eaten.


In a fortnight’s time it’s Games Expo, one of the UK’s best conventions. I’ll be there as part of the Collective Endeavour for the fourth year, debuting Dead of Night second edition. I’m also running a game of it but the automated booking system shows that games are filling up fast. There are still slots available in the following Collective Endeavour games (including mine), all run by the designers themselves:

Ends & Means (Covenant), run by Matt Machell at 10am on the Saturday

Unhallowed (Dead of Night), run by me at 3pm on the Saturday

Hell 4 Leather, run by Joe J Prince at 3pm on the Saturday

The Fir Tofa (Carnage Amongst the Tribes), run by Gregor Hutton at 10am on the Sunday


Well, the deed is done. Dead of Night has been sent to print. All being well, the first copies should be with me in a couple of weeks time. If they’re OK, I’ll print more. I’m taking the first print run to Games Expo in three weeks time, after which I’ll put it up for order direct from me. If you’re patient and can wait a few more weeks, there’ll be copies at Indie Press Revolution, which should make the postage cheaper for those of you not in Europe and the UK.

The book clocked in at 186 pages in the end – a good 96 pages longer than I was expecting, and almost as thick as first edition. Not too shabby considering 1st edition was physically half the size. The new edition is a good deal prettier too – I’ll post up some previews of the interior design over the next week or so so you can see Paul’s handiwork for yourself.

In the meantime, here’s a look at another of my favourite pieces of art – Path Lab.


Amongst the subtle tweaks to the rules, one of the things I wanted to change was how monsters worked to reflect how I’ve been using them in my game. In 1st edition, monsters were built like any other character, except you could buy monstrous specialisations – special powers, essentially, that bent the rules slightly – at the cost of a Survival Point each. Some of these monstrous specialisations needed a Survival Point to be spent to use them too. These two rules compounded and tended to mean that monsters with lots of cool powers didn’t last long, as they had either given up their Survival Points at creation or had to burn through Survival Points to use their powers.

In 2nd edition I’ve disconnected a monster’s pool of Survival Points from their powers, meaning that when creating a monster you simply pick some funky abilities, add in a vulnerability if required and then set its Survival Points to whatever number you want – the higher, the longer the game will last. And instead of forcing a monster to spend a Survival Point to trigger its powers, you spend a point of Tension. Simple.


The largest new chapter (scenarios excepted) is titled Genre, and is about emulating pretty much every horror movie genre in Dead of Night, from splatter horror to psychological horror and everything in between. In all there are 12 genres covered, including a sample scenario synopsis and set-up for each.

I’m really proud of this chapter, although at times it’s been a slog to do. At its most basic, the chapter is great for inspiring the reader to try out a different genre or style of horror movie. Did a little deeper and it provides suggestions for how to capture the feel of the genre chapter on the tabletop, including Tension settings, Survival Point ideas and suggestions for pacing the scenario.

Here’s a look at one of the genres, Body Horror, as well as one of my favourite bits of art for the accompanying sample movie, Symbiote.


One of the things I wanted to do with the Monstrous Archetypes was make it easier for the GM to go about creating his own monster, to take an idea and follow some easy steps to make it a potent foe in the game. But one of the things I wanted to keep from Dead of Night first edition was the ability for the GM to just go ahead and grab stuff ready-made out of the book, to really cut down on the prep time if that’s what the GM wanted. To that end, the book is packed with ready-made stuff, from pre-set Tension circumstances to complete scenarios and, of course, ready-to-eat-you monsters.

Each of the ten Monstrous Archetypes I talked about last week also comes with a sample monster, so you have ten fully statted monsters ready to go; everything from a vampire and werewolf, to a coven of witches and a haunted house (yes, as a monster, not a location). That’s not including the monsters included in the scenarios, which should be enough variety to keep even the most regular of Dead of Night GMs busy for months.