Spotlight: Indie Horror II
Updated: Oct 26
On Halloween night last year I published a post containing some horror-themed Indie titles and releases that excited me, and I really wanted to do the same thing this year! Because, if you're anything like me, Halloween is over FAR too quickly and you are still in the mood for some spooks!
There have been some AMAZING TTRPG games, supplements, hacks, and expansions that are sure to thrill at what is commonly known as the most terrifying time of the year. Whether its eldritch cosmic horrors, classic ghost stories, cosy scares, creepy fairy tales, or dark humour that is your jam, I hope you'll find something here that floats your boat! I've decided to divide it into categories this year, to make finding what you're looking for a little easier!
I'm of course starting with Solo TTRPGs because they are my not-guilty pleasure, and I did previously write an article on some of my favourites. I love them. And I can think of nothing better than sitting in a dimly lit room, with cocoa and creepy music, and journalling. Here are a few suggestions:
Bloodless (Ennio Goes)
You've messed with the wrong person and they’ve been hunting you down for days. You’ve lost a fight and you’re badly injured. You’re exhausted. Chances are good that you won’t see another twilight. If you can make it to your haven you might survive; but that’s a big if.
Bloodless immediately caught my eye as soon as it was released! It not only looks like a lot of fun, but a LOT of thought has gone into the design of it (especially the itch page). It is built using the Caltrop Core system, and requires a few things to play - a pool of d4s, a d6, two d20s, a deck of cards, a method of recording journal entries, and some tokens to track the game's currency. The plot premise is simple, yet very effective, and the prompts are great! This is Ennio's first game, but I'm looking forward to seeing more!
You're Dead. And life? Well, it's Moved on, will you?
In this game, players are ghosts guided through the last moments before the afterlife as they work through severing the tethers that keep them attached to the world—making the ultimate decision to move on from this mortal coil or to remain. This game can be played in tandem with characters from other stories who have met their final chapters to commemorate their journey.
Death is a tool of storytelling. A necessary one. The most human thing we can do as storytellers is to show how to deal with moments in life,
no matter how difficult they may be.
The concept of Ghost-fi may not be 'scary' but it is an excellent game for reflection and storytelling told from the perspective of a ghost, and I love that it can be played as a Solo experience, or as a form of Collaborative Storytelling. It requires very little preparation - a deck of cards, a pool of d4s, and a means to record your story. This gorgeous game is really worth checking out and the design inside is BEAUTIFUL.
Bluebeard's Castle (klawzie)
This game offers you the chance to step inside one of the most famously dark fairytales and take your chances escaping unscathed. Through the use of a deck of playing cards, some tokens, prompt lists, and a journaling method, you will tell your own version of this gruesome tale through roleplaying your character.
While browsing for some interesting content for the game Bluebeard's Bride, I stumbled upon this gorgeous solo journalling take on the famously dark fairy tale - Bluebeard's Castle. First of all just LOOK at that gorgeous cover art. It perfectly captures the mood of the game. When purchased, you are actually getting two versions of the game - both using the Wretched & Alone system, but one being modified to work a little more in the favour of players. To play you need a deck of cards, a d6, things to use as tokens, a tumbling block tower, and a means to record your story. The prompts are detailed and themed well around the story, and I can definitely see the replayability within this one!
Dead Belt (A Couple Of Drakes)
Not everyone’s got the temperament to be a Belter. Plenty of folks crack when the grav cuts out and the lights go off. Plenty more jump at shadows when their flash starts to flicker. Others are too busy watching their O2 to see opportunities.
But that isn’t you. If you can only rely on your gear, your smarts, and your grit, you’re going to make a stack of cred out here among these hulks. Or you’re going to die trying. Either way, you’re going to do it alone.
No one’s coming looking. No one knows you’re here.
After backing, I very recently received my copy of Dead Belt and this game has me exceptionally excited. Mixing up a sci-fi space thriller with some wild west and folk horror, it is a beautifully designed game and contains a lot of content to make sure that you never have the same game experience twice. Not only can this be played in Solo mode, but there are also rules for Co-Op and Rivalry modes too! To get going, you need a couple of d6s, a deck of cards, some tokens and a character sheet. Don't pass this one up!
I spent my Halloween playing a horror game with friends, and had an absolute BLAST. If that sounds like something you want to do as soon as possible, then here are some of my recommendations for some group fun!
Our Haunt (Rae Nedjadi)
We are ghosts. We are in a house we don't recognize. We have a handful of memories, and these memories are brief moments and flashes of barely something. The Living are nearby, and they encroach on our space, making their demands.
Worse, there is a Thing in the Walls. It is ancient, inhuman. Hungry, yearning. Angry.
But this is Our Haunt now. This is our home, and we only have each other as family. If we take care of each other, good things will happen. We just know it.
I absolutely adore this very creepy, cosy game. If you prefer an unsettling vibe that is ultimately wrapped up in a big, safe blanket then this might well be the game for you! Using the Belonging Outside Belonging system, Our Haunt creates a collaborative environment for players to tell a story about the ghosts residing in the manor in which it is set. It requires no dice or GMs, only something to record notes with and tokens. It is a very sweet game, that is sure to touch the hearts of its players along the ride.
The Witch Of The Westmoreland (Laurie O' Connel)
"Pale was the wounded knight, that bore the rowan shield,
Loud and cruel were the raven's cries that feasted on the field,
Saying "Beck water cold and clear will never clean your wound, There's none but the witch of the Westmoreland can make thee hale and sound...”
The Witch of the Westmoreland is a tarot based Arthurian fantasy RPG inspired by the song 'The Witch of the West-mer-lands' by Archie Fisher, and horrors drawn from English and Welsh folk tales.
In last year's post I raved about Lichcraft, and this year I am going to do the same for another of Laurie's games - The Witch Of The Westmoreland. I couldn't not include a game about a hermit witch in this list now, could I? The game is absolutely stunning (both inside and out), draws upon folklore (which we all know is my kryptonite), and uses a tarot deck to play! It is specifically designed for a GM and 4 players too, so there is plenty of room for many friends at this table! Check out all of Laurie's content, it is INCREDIBLE.
Storyteller (Pandion Games)
Camping! S'mores! Spooky stories! Being too scared to go pee at 3 am in the deep abyss that consumes the forest each night when the terrors arise and feast upon those who stray too far from the glowing embers of the dying fire!
Storyteller is an ad-lib campfire narrative game of monsters, horror and mystery. Create engaging stories in the wilderness with just camping equipment.
Storyteller is a game that I stumbled upon accidentally but I'm so glad that I did, because it looks like a blast! Played in the style of a group of friends sitting around a campfire and telling creepy stories, it can be played as a traditional role-playing game OR in a way that allows players to tell an interactive story to an audience. All players will need are optional character sheets and filled in story prompts to play! That's it! If you want even more horror-filled goodness from Pandion Games, try out Whispers In the Walls (a solo TTRPG) or Camps & Counselors (a hack of Lasers & Feelings).
What about games that are hacked from others, or serve as supplements to them? I've got you covered!
This game bring adaptable modern horror to TTRPGs. It is a rules-lite, fail forward system that leverages creative problem solving in order to create memorable experiences at the table. Players act as 'investigators' navigating a modern world full of terrible and unknowable horrors.
I have only recently stumbled upon the backrooms and liminal horror phenomenon that is taking the internet by storm, but when I did I was instantly intrigued, so I was absolutely overjoyed to hear of a TTRPG that explored this content! Liminal Horror delves deep and creates an excellent game to dig your teeth into. Moreover, they have created two modules to play through - The Mall (set in a 1990s shopping mall) and The Bureau (set in an office), as well as a ton of tables, small adventures, and other additional content.
You reside in The Archive, an unending and depthless structure spiralling deep into the dark and misty depths, devoid of life and presided over by a being known only to you as The Archivist.
The Archive is made up of windowless rooms and halls that vary greatly in their height, size and danger. All these spaces house numerous shelves containing the collectedknowledge of the world outside of The Archive; a place you have been told you must earn your access to. The price of your freedom comes from the discovery of new or forgotten knowledge that can be found in the deepest parts of the structure.
You, and a few others, are known as The Breathing, in aplace full of creatures who were once like you but ultimately failed in their bid for freedom; now known as The Breathless.
Delve into the ever-growing Archive to win the price of your freedom, knowing each time you descend you inch closer and closer to becoming Breathless yourself.
The concept of The Breathing sounds absolutely terrifying to me, as I am petrified of total asphyxiation. I can't help but be drawn in by the gorgeous layout design, graphics, and design of it though. Designed for a GM and 2+ players, each one needs access to dice spanning d4-d20, and a deck of cards is also needed. Co-operative play is necessary between players as the Archivist will only allow a group that is together to leave at the end. If you've never checked out any of Fistful Of Crits' content before, then you absolutely should!
Oh the sorrow of Heretic House!
The creaking bones still sip the Bacchus blood that once did fill these halls. Slick with ichor and desire, the dire hostess, The Golden Masked Miraculous, sits alone atop the ruins of her father's cult. All heirs have been murdered: any drop of blood in the vein, and the sickly bell will whine again.
But who has decided the fate of the heirs? And can those who enter leave again before the Final Year is upon them?
Last year I highlighted a Mork Börg supplement by JC Darcy (Lady Hope's Garden) and it seems that it's a trend I'll be setting, as this year I'm looking at another one - Vanity Bleeder! Within its pages you'll find cults, masked figures, and a dying manor amongst many other terrifying encounters. And just LOOK how PRETTY it is! Fleet is super talented and you should definitely be checking out all of their stuff!
Price: Pay What You Want
Deep within the Sanguine Caves sleeps Mina the Vampire Bat Queen. Her dreams are becoming fitful as she longs to awaken and reclaim her power. Bat cultists gather in the caves, drawn by Mina’s presence in their own dreams.
They have been kidnapping local mice to slake their unnatural thirst . Some mice have died, while others have been transformed into desiccated creatures afflicted with the same desire for blood. Mina slumbers undisturbed for now, but it is only a matter of time before the cultists discover how to unseal the tomb...
When I think of Mausritter, horror is not necessarily the first word that springs to mind. But Philippa has made a cosier form of scare in Tomb Of The Slumbering Queen and I am here for it! The design is amazing, the maps beautiful, and the adventure itself looks like so much fun. What more could you want?
Wow, so much horror-filled goodness and I feel as if I've barely scratched the surface! I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the Halloween month inspired Indie TTRPG projects that have me excited! Have you ever played any of these before? Will you? Let me know!