Dread- A Damned Fine Horror Role-Playing Game- and my own Questionnaires

I’ve been waiting for quite some time to get my hands on Dread. The printed version has an expensive price point however, and also it is quite an adventure to even track down an available copy. Luckily it is now available on PDF at Drivethru RPG! You bet your ass that I nabbed that as soon as I realized it was there.

The book itself is small, but packed full with great information. The info isn’t just for a dread game but viable for any rpg you are running where you want to instill a sense of thrill, terror, anticipation, and, yes, dread.

For anyone not familiar with how Dread works; it is a dice-less and, in a manner of speaking, traditional character sheet-less system.

Resolution is handled in a most interesting and intense manner, through a Jenga tower. Whenever a player is attempting something that has a questionable outcome the GM will ask the player to do a pull.

The player can elect NOT to pull and suffer some unfavorable outcome, but not totally detrimental.


The character is on a roof top when the door bursts open and a horde of zombies come spilling out. The player states that they want to run and jump over to the next building. The GM agrees and says that will be 2 pulls; one for the running and one for the jumping.

The tower is already rickety, and if it collapses the player is removed from the game, most likely dying in a totally grisly fashion. The player states he is only going to do one pull and if successful, will determine which action it is for.

After a tense moment the player makes the pull and says it was for the jumping. The GM then paints a scene where the character didn’t have enough running room because of the zombies coming at him and basically had to cold leap across the alleyway. The player slams into the wall and feels a sharp pain in his side and is hanging on, his feet scrapping against the wall. He can hear the zombies below moaning in some sort of perverted excitement at the dangling meal. The character manages to pull himself up onto the roof. The sharp pain in his side burns and catches his breath. “I think I may have fractured a rib”, he thinks to himself.
Mechanically this means that the GM can require the player to make 2 pulls whenever attempting something physical.

If the GM didn’t want to do the above route he could make the player hang on the edge, but instead now has a fear of heights or whatever, require two pulls when having to get near a ledge.

No Character Sheets?

Well not in the traditional sense. The GM makes up a bakers dozen (13) questions for each player. Some of the questions may be the same, but usually they are unique for each character. As the players go through the adventure they will make notes of things that may shape/change their characters. See the end of this post for my examples.

What I am Planning to do

Dread hits a sweet spot for me in its enthusiastic embrace of the abstract. As I recently posted, this is where I’ve been leaning more towards in my normal gaming sessions.

I love running Horror One shots, especially around Halloween. However I’ve been getting the bug again recently to run a horror one shot. This feeling has been egged on by purchasing Dread and the fact that I just started playing Alan Wake for Xbox 360. I really am enjoying it! Has a great narrative flow (although I do agree with many people that his constant narration of stuff can be slightly annoying).

Another thing that has really got me in the mood to run another horror one shot is the entire original Twilight Zone TV series is on Netflix Streaming! That is enough to make me do cartwheels around the room!

I am planning to do a game inspired by Alan Wake, Twilight Zone, and Silent Hill.

The group will be staying at a resort lodge called, “Crane on the Water Relaxation Resort.”

I am writing up this session in a manner that will make it accessible for others who wish to use it or steal stuff from it as inspiration for their own horror game. As soon as I run it I will put it up here on the blog.


Here they are:

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 1

1) What made you want to come on a relaxation retreat alone?

2) What is unique about you?

3) Your major in college was pharmacology until recently. Why did you suddenly change your major and to what?

4) How do you think having your mother be killed in front of you as a child has affected you?

5) What do you feel you are particularly good at?

6) What’s your nickname and how did you get it? How do you feel about it?

7) What do you think is terrible about yourself even though it actually isn’t that bad?

8 ) What was your favorite childhood toy? Why do you still keep it around?

9) You secretly hope to find romance on this trip, what do you plan to do to make that a reality?

10) Do you believe in the supernatural? Why or why not?

11) Is the class half empty or half full? Why do you feel this way?

12) What did you bring with you on this trip?

13) What is your name?

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 2

1) You and your spouse are in a loveless relationship. Do you think this trip will help you rekindle your feelings for one another? If not, why did you come?

2) You really love nature. What about it brings you peace of mind?

3) Why did you have a melt down at work? What happened?

4) What motto did your father ingrain into your head as a child? How has it affected you as an adult?

5) What musical instrument can you play? Why is it important to you?

6) Why are you so angry all the time? What are you afraid you’ll do?

7) Why are you afraid of the dark?

8 ) What is your happiest memory?

9) Do you believe in second chances? Why?

10) Are you a big picture person or a detail orientated person?

11) How does being a parent make you feel?

12) What did you bring with you on this trip?

13) What is your name?

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 3

1) You and your spouse are in a loveless relationship. You planned this trip at save your marriage. Do you think it will work?

2) How do you think your child sees you and your spouse? If negative how do you want to change it?

3) What is your favorite food? Do you over-indulge on it?

4) Your father beat your mother and you when you were a child. Why do you think he never touched your sister?

5) Where did you get that scar?

6) Where do you work? Why were you recently passed up for a promotion?

7) You used to be a big camper until 8 years ago. What happened and why did you stop?

8 ) What is something you accomplished that you are extremely proud of?

9) Why do you think you are always right? What trouble has this gotten you into?

10) What addiction do you hide from your family?

11) Why do you cry when it rains?

12) What did you bring with you on this trip?

13) What is your name?

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 4

1) Your parents fight constantly. What do you want to do about it?

2) How does being forced on this trip make you feel?

3) What happened to your pet recently? How has this made you feel?

4) Why haven’t you told your parents you hear voices? What do they say?

5) What was your first brush with what people would consider supernatural?

6) Why won’t your parents like that you are in a relationship?

7) What are you hoping to experience on this trip?

8 ) What is your favorite subject at school?

9) Do you participate in any after school sports or activities?

10) How does being the youngest person on this trip feel?

11) Which of the guests give you the creeps?

12) What did you bring with you on this trip?

13) What is your name?

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 5

1) Why are you on a vacation retreat? What do you hope to accomplish?

2) What difficulties has OCD caused for you? What is the worst experience you’ve had because of it?

3) What made you start to lose your faith?

4) Why do your friends look to you as a leader? Why does it scare you?

5) You’ve woken up at midnight every night for the past several years. Why? What do you do?

6) Where do you work? Why do you like it?

7) What did you inherit from your father that you keep with you although you’ve never used?

8 ) If you could only save one person would you save a child you didn’t know or friend? Why?

9) What does the color red make you think about? Why?

10) What do you feel is lacking in your life?

11) You’re not a vegetarian, so why don’t you eat chicken?

12) What did you bring with you on this trip?

13) What is your name?

Vacation at Crane on the Water Resort- Questionnaire

Character 6

1) Why is the book, “400 most haunted places in America” in your possession on this relaxation retreat?

2) What happens when you don’t get your morning cup of coffee?

3) What is your earliest memory? Why does it still terrify you to this day?

4) Why were you fired from your job?

5) Why does the sound of rain terrify you?

6) Why do you always act tougher than you really are?

7) Why don’t you mind being alone?

8 ) Who of the guests at this resort grate on your nerves?

9) Why did you drop out of college when you had a 4.0 GPA?

10) In what ways are you like your father? In what ways are you dissimilar from him?

11) Why do you read out-loud?

12) Your luggage was lost at the airport. What is left in your carry on bag?

13) What is your name?

Author: wrathofzombie

I am a History major attending a community college until I can get more financial aid and attend a four year school. I am living in NJ with my girlfriend who is currently wrapping up on obtaining her PhD in Toxicology. I love Star Wars, Role-playing, video games, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with my girlfriend, dog (Perfect), and two kittens (Birch and Brambles). My main focus on this site will be my discussion of Role-playing games and ideas and hopefully contribute something worth a damn.

4 thoughts

      1. It went well, thanks for the awesome questionnaires. I did some ghostly and possession stuff, and the wrest was blood and gnashing of teeth. hehe.

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