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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

Mechanized Narrative

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.

What Playbooks Are Found in tremulus?

There are eleven classic archetypes: The Alienist, The Antiquarian, The Author, The Devout, The Detective, The Dilettante, The Doctor, The Heir, The Journalist, The Professor, and The Salesman. 

More archetypes are found in the themed sets of playbooks and playsets available separately.

Over 250 pages of horrific goodness!

Be sure to also add the FREE classic playbook package to your cart for printer-friendly characters!

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Reviews (1)
Discussions (11)
Customer avatar
Aidan O August 14, 2022 11:46 am UTC
Does anyone know what became of the extra playbooks from the "Echoes of Inssmouth" playset (sometimes referenced online as "Into Innsmouth")?

They're referenced as a completed stretch goal in the Kickstarter, and discussed in this update:

As you can see it's meant to contain the Special Agent, The Bootlegger and The Fisherman. In additon it has more playset options. It's weird cos all the other ones mentioned are on DriveThru RPG. Not sure if it's posible to contact Sean these days since I tried emailing and didn't hear back.
Customer avatar
Joseph S January 27, 2022 10:43 am UTC
This game sounds amazing, but we really need a manner of obtaining a new print edition. The used editions available via Noble Knight, Amazon, and whatnot are prohibitively expensive, it is out-of-print from the publisher, and we have no print-on-demand option (at least none I can find). While digital TTRPGs are fine, they simply cannot replace a print edition at the table, at least not for many of us.

Please, PLEASE, give us a POD option, or maybe run a crowdfunding project to do another print edition.
Customer avatar
Jorge B August 18, 2021 12:36 pm UTC
Also would love to see a POD option. Exploitative prices on ebay and amazon ($150). Though Sean is just getting over a serious illness, and I wish him godspeed back to full strength. Hope he gets back to making games as soon as he's ready.
Customer avatar
Vaggelis G June 13, 2021 12:50 am UTC
POD please :)
Customer avatar
Kevin B April 26, 2020 2:43 pm UTC
This is a great game. This is actually my go-to for Lovecraftian horror, supplanting even my beloved Call of Cthulhu. The reason why is in the mechanics. CoC was and is a classic set of rules. The flaw has always been the time it takes to generate a character. Yes, you get nuanced and detailed results that are a huge boon for serious roleplayers, but the characters are doomed. They could die or go mad in the first encounter of the first session. Can one achieve similar results without the investment in time? Yes. And Tremulus does this. The system in which the GM does not roll dice is actually an advantage: the GM cannot be accused of fudging the rolls or blamed for anything. This also eliminates distractions and makes narrative performance smoother for the GM, as well. If I have a complaint, it's that too little of this system is available in print. I'd own more of this material, much more, but I don't like PDF format for tabletop use. I like books. Stop fooling around, get the print product sorted, and wake...See more
Customer avatar
Oliver L April 07, 2021 4:42 pm UTC
What Kevin said. This is a fantastic system and very underrated.
Customer avatar
Sami K September 20, 2018 4:40 pm UTC
Hoping to get print version of this someday!!!
Customer avatar
ADOLFO L January 05, 2017 2:03 pm UTC
I am agree with Kris, Craig an Stefano. Please, pod
Customer avatar
Stefano C September 05, 2016 9:16 am UTC
I agree with Kris and Craig, how about a PoD ?
Customer avatar
Craig B November 03, 2015 2:17 pm UTC
I don't own this yet but I would agree, it needs a pod version.
Customer avatar
Harper J April 30, 2015 5:45 am UTC
I just want to hope and plead that you will allow PoD for this book. I've reached out to Reality Blurs through their website and haven't heard anything. I definitely want this, but I need a physical copy! Sorry for being redundant, but I'm very much hoping to reach someone who can make this happen and make my life complete :)
Customer avatar
Harper J February 16, 2015 10:24 am UTC
Are there any plans to make this available for PoD? I desperately, DESPERATELY want to buy a physical copy of this book, but the shipping from Reality Blurs' website is prohibitively expensive (for a $30 book, the cheapest option was $17). Please make this available for PoD. I would be ecstatic!
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File Last Updated:
October 09, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on October 18, 2013.