Close
Close
Advanced Search

The Nightmares UnderneathClick to magnify

The Nightmares Underneath

ADD TO WISHLIST >
Selected Option:
ZIP File
$20.00
Hardcover, B&W Book
$40.00
ZIP File + Hardcover, B&W Book
$40.00 
$60.00

The Nightmares Underneath is an old school role-playing game with a strong horror theme, set in a fantasy Middle East where dungeons are invading nightmares intent on the destruction of civilization. This product includes both the first edition and the newly revised second edition.

In the Kingdoms of Dreams, all is right with the world—except for one thing. Even though the Law has triumphed over the powers of Chaos, banishing idolatry and superstition in favour of science and reason, humanity is still threatened by a dangerous, otherworldly force. The Realm of Nightmares invades the physical world, sending incursions in the form of dungeons to undermine and destroy society. Perhaps you might recover items of great magical power from the ruins of the Ancient World that will help you banish these nightmares. But can you trust these devices from the Age of Chaos?

The Nightmares Underneath conforms to the following common assumptions of other old school games: six attributes, 3d6 in order, class and level, xp for treasure (but not magic items), and there is a simple system of rolling under your attribute scores for saves and skill tests.

Some aspects of the game are less common:

  • Initiative is rolled again each round, but only by the players—monsters always use the same initiative scores.
  • There are 5 alignments, instead of the usual 3 or 9, and they affect the way a character interacts with magic and social institutions.
  • Instead of hit points, this game uses a Disposition score, which you roll for each day of adventuring. Once your character runs out of Disposition, instead of dying, successive damage reduces your attributes, and may cause you to be crippled, maimed, or knocked unconscious before being killed. The special attacks of monsters may also reduce your attribute scores instead of causing normal damage. Disposition does not increase with level, however. Only a good night's sleep and a hearty meal will give you a high score.


So what is unique about The Nightmares Underneath?


Nightmare Dungeons
The justification for dungeoncrawling in this setting is that adventurers are raiding nightmare incursions, to find the treasure that keeps an incursion anchored to the physical world. Once the treasure is looted, the incursion is destroyed, and the adventurers profit. Individual creatures made of nightmares can be killed, but as long as the incursion exists, it will continue to spawn more. This is reflected by a countdown die, used in addition to encounter checks for wandering monsters.

There are procedures for creating nightmare incursions, the creatures that stalk them, and how they grow larger and more dangerous the longer it takes adventurers to deal with them. The rules also include procedures for creating ancient ruins that may or may not be plagued by nightmares.

Nightmare Curses
The terrible experiences adventurers face inside these nightmare incursions can leave lasting damage in the form of nightmare curses. When the darkness creeps into your soul, the result is madness, or supernatural restrictions, or even physical changes.

The players’ characters only suffer these curses when they are severely injured inside an incursion, while normal people can be driven mad simply by being inside an incursion to long. Be careful what hirelings you take into the dungeon with you!

Social Institutions
Once the dungeons have been looted, the carousing chapter includes guidelines for investing money in social institutions that can then provide favours and much-needed services to adventurers later on. Once you’ve spent enough money in town, you can attend classes at the local university to become more intelligent, the local druggist starts stocking the good stuff, and the geographical society lets you use its maps of the wilderness.

Characters can also turn communities against them, by committing crimes, leading villagers to their deaths inside the dungeon, or using chaotic magic items in public. Settlements have resentment ratings with each of the players’ characters, which may cause them to be forcibly driven out, if they get too high.

Spellcasting
Players must roll to control a spell they cast. A failed roll makes that spell harder to cast and may result in unexpected results. There are 100 spells, and though they have levels, this does not restrict them to characters of specific levels, it only makes them harder to control. Beginning characters have the same chance of knowing any spell.

The 1st edition rules are somewhat different and feature spell memorization, similar to many other old school fantasy rpgs, but still require a roll to cast spells properly.

The Second Edition
The revised edition includes better explanations of the rules, some more setting material, more support for normal dungeons and looting them of their magic items, and perhaps most significantly, the spellcasting system no longer uses memorization (you can still use those rules from 1e if you prefer them). I have also removed the bestiary and the wilderness exploration rules, both of which will be expanded into full-sized supplements to be released in the future.

A free pdf version of The Nightmares Underneath is available here. It contains the full text of the game (both editions) without the art, plus character sheets and rules reference sheets for the new edition.


pixel_trans.gif
pixel_trans.gif
 
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
pixel_trans.gif
pixel_trans.gif
Reviews (3)
Discussions (20)
Customer avatar
Neil S June 04, 2022 7:21 am UTC
PURCHASER
Has the monster manual been released
Customer avatar
Nunya B March 01, 2022 8:29 pm UTC
Are you ever going to update this PDF with bookmarks? Navigating it is a trial.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M March 02, 2022 12:47 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The bookmarks are there, you can access them by clicking on the bookmark icon. If you're using Adobe's pdf reader it's the ribbon icon on the left-side collapsed panel.
Reply
Customer avatar
Nunya B March 10, 2022 2:03 am UTC
These bookmarks don't exist when I open the PDF is SumatraPDF, when other PDF have these bookmarks present.
Customer avatar
kris C January 15, 2022 1:20 pm UTC
PURCHASER
i just bought the hardcovers of this and the grimoire on the Lulu website-do I get a PDF as well? Happy to provide the receipt if you provide an email.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M January 15, 2022 5:00 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Yup no problem, just email me at johnstone (dot) metzger (at) gmail (dot) com.
Customer avatar
Patrick B April 16, 2021 8:03 am UTC
It says " I have also removed the bestiary and the wilderness exploration rules, both of which will be expanded into full-sized supplements to be released in the future." Have these been released yet?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M April 16, 2021 7:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No not yet, but hopefully I can get the monster manual done later this year. Right now I'm working on a setting that has overland exploration rules in it, but isn't the book promised above.
Customer avatar
Eron R October 08, 2020 4:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
Since Exalted Funeral is currently out of stock, where can I get a physical copy now?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M October 09, 2020 1:21 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Oh hey, so they are! POD copies of the revised edition are now available right here and over on Lulu as well.
Reply
Customer avatar
Charles B October 10, 2020 3:26 pm UTC
Can we still get print copies of the first edition?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M October 31, 2020 2:11 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Yeah, I reactivated the first edition versions over on Lulu, so they are still available there (revisions here on DriveThru replace old versions). Hopefully they are labelled well enough that there is no confusion.
Reply
Customer avatar
Vampire R March 04, 2022 2:44 pm UTC
What is the LuLu link?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M March 05, 2022 6:11 am UTC
PUBLISHER
www.lulu.com/en/shop/johnstone-metzger/the-nightmares-underneath-first-edi/hardcover/product-1jzgy6e9.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Customer avatar
Maciej R May 22, 2020 2:07 pm UTC
Again, can we expect Print on Demand version? I wanted to order directly from US, but 40 dollar shipping fee is just too much for a single $60 book.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M May 22, 2020 8:26 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Maciej,
I am sorry, but there won't be a POD version while I have the print run for sale.
Customer avatar
George M May 02, 2020 9:46 am UTC
Hi Johnstone,

Is it still possible to purchase the black linen cover with the matte finish dustjacket? I'd promised a friend of mine i'd get if for him as a present, as i think he would love the setting. And also one for myself. Hoping it will still be an option! Thanks!
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M May 03, 2020 9:55 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi George,
Right now, the only print edition currently available is the casebound hardcover print run sold by Exalted Funeral. They are also currently moving, though it should go on sale again May 8th, according to their website. Possibly in the future I will go back to print on demand, but I can't say when for sure.
Reply
Customer avatar
George M May 04, 2020 9:07 pm UTC
Ok, thanks for letting me know.
Customer avatar
Matthew S February 05, 2020 8:45 am UTC
What are the stats for normal humans and retainers that don't have classes? Is it a standard 1d4 HD with no mods?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M February 05, 2020 9:27 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Pretty much yeah. You can find more details on page 342 of the first edition rules.
Reply
Customer avatar
Matthew S February 16, 2020 10:16 pm UTC
I totally missed that, thank you!

Can a classless NPC gain a class if they adventure with PCs? Like, if they earn X xp can they become 'real' characters, or are they always stuck at 0 level?

Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M February 20, 2020 12:34 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Sure! The GM can decide that an NPC has changed based on their experiences. Maybe they should be higher level and/or have an adventuring profession now, having survived some danger. A player could also start playing an NPC hireling, and turn them into a PC.

I am personally not the biggest fan of including NPCs in XP divisions (I don't hate it but I would prefer to just play two PCs or something) but if you like the idea, half a share of XP per NPC hireling is a pretty classic old school rule.
Customer avatar
Matthew S December 09, 2019 11:07 pm UTC
Why no Print on Demand? Where did the Lulu POD go?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M December 10, 2019 8:56 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I did an offset print run this time, which is currently available through the Exalted Funeral website, instead of using PoD.
Reply
Customer avatar
Matthew S January 11, 2020 4:54 pm UTC
Sadly that really hurts us UK audience. The shipping costs are far too expensive.

Oh well, I just printed a copy of the 1st ed pdf through Lulu. I already had Nameless Grimoire so I will probably stick with 1st ed for now.
Reply
Customer avatar
TM R February 04, 2020 1:53 pm UTC
I agree with Matthew. Taking the book off Lulu is a (literal!) disservice to customers outside the US.
Customer avatar
Francesco P November 05, 2019 8:28 am UTC
Is the print version updated to the 2nd edition? If not when? Is there a date for the monster manual? Where can I find some adventures?
This interview is over thanks for the patience.
Reply
Customer avatar
Michael S November 05, 2019 8:16 pm UTC
PURCHASER
The second edition isn’t even out in PDF yet, so no.
Reply
Customer avatar
Francesco P November 05, 2019 9:04 pm UTC
I'm sad, but thanks.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M November 06, 2019 1:11 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Francisco,
The second edition should be available later this month (November). I am doing a print run this time, so there will not be a PoD print option for the time being. I don't have a date for the monster manual, other than "some time next year." City of Poison is the only adventure currently available. I am working on more stuff, but nothing is finished yet.
Reply
Customer avatar
Francesco P November 06, 2019 7:00 am UTC
So where can I buy print copy? I'm a hoarder...
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M November 06, 2019 3:39 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Once they're printed they should be available through the Exalted Funeral website, and directly from SoulMuppet Publishing at conventions in the UK.
Reply
Customer avatar
Francesco P November 07, 2019 7:34 am UTC
Thanks for the reply.
Reply
Customer avatar
Michael S December 03, 2019 3:17 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is it available in any Canadian stores or stores with Canada-friendly shipping?
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M December 04, 2019 2:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Unfortunately no. I'd like to manage Canada-friendly shipping but I don't have the means currently.
Customer avatar
DOUGLAS M September 15, 2018 2:08 pm UTC
PURCHASER
What are the future plans for this line? Because I am incredibly impressed by text, art and layout! I own the Nameless Grimoire already and I certainly would buy anything new right away.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M September 17, 2018 10:48 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
I have plans for a monster manual, some more adventures, and possibly a sort-of sequel game. Work is going a little slow at this point! But there is more stuff to come for sure.
Customer avatar
J. W August 20, 2018 2:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I know that on Lulu you have "A World full of Nightmares" available. Will that be coming available here as well ?

I ask because I like keeping my online PDFs coming from as few sources as possible. Thank you for all of your lovely products. I love this setting, and prefer the game style of AW. Thank you.
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M August 21, 2018 3:20 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I didn't really think about printing it here because I wanted to have it be a free bonus pdf bundled with TNU, so I did that instead.
Reply
Customer avatar
J. W August 21, 2018 4:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
Not a problem. I own TNU and I hadn't noticed that file ( or recognized it appropriately ) ... so I'm covered. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Customer avatar
Brian S March 14, 2018 10:47 pm UTC
i notice in the video that there seems to be full-bleed printing, but my understanding is that DTRPG doesn't support full-bleed for B&W books (which is the POD option currently available).

will the b&w POD option here also be full-bleed? if so perhaps it's the product dimensions which allow for this (ie being under A4 or whatever).
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M March 15, 2018 12:14 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Brian.
It's full bleed, absolutely, just like you see in the video. DriveThruRPG implemented the full bleed option on their B&W books a couple of years ago, and I use it for all my books currently available.
Customer avatar
David V September 03, 2017 5:03 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Hey thanks for including the Apocalypse world hack rules with the PDF. That was quite the bonus. Thank you. Have you thought about doing POD rules for here for the Apocalypse world hack rules. I get revenues here is only reason I ask. I use it as credit to buy things from here.

David Vershaw II
Customer avatar
David V November 29, 2016 7:02 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Print order shipped out on 28th so I am guessing that the PDF print
File would not been updated to reflect the change with the Fighter
Profession.

David Vershaw II
Reply
Customer avatar
Johnstone M November 29, 2016 7:40 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No, sorry. Updating the pdf is a fairly easy process, the print files very much not. If there's any confusion in play, remember that the combat chapter is correct!
Reply
Customer avatar
David V November 29, 2016 10:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
No worries. I was not sure if the PDF and print files were linked. It is not that big an issue since the combat chapter is correct and the PDF is updated.

David Vershaw II
Customer avatar
David V November 28, 2016 2:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for updating the PDF so fast with links and Index! I see added the fighter adds level to the to hit roll. Not sure that once you update the PDF the print files/POD are updated or not. I ordered 3 print copies but it (fighter add level to hit) is mentioned in other sections so all good.

David Vershaw II
See 16 more
Browse Categories
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!
 Recent History















Product Information
Gold seller
Author(s)
Rule System(s)
Pages
400
Publisher Stock #
TNU01
File Size:
158.12 MB
Format
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
pixel_trans.gif
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
September 29, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on November 14, 2016.
Publisher
Chthonstone Games
Publisher Average Rating