About Dread the Game

Dread is a game of horror and hope. Those who play will participate in a mutual telling of an original macabre tale. The goal of Dread is to sustain the delicate atmosphere that invokes the hand quivering emotion that lends its name to the game. The thrill of a Dread game lies within the tension between desire and loss. You will take on the role of someone trapped in a story that is only as compelling as it is hostile—someone who will find themselves making decisions we hope never to face in real life.

It is the horror roleplaying game that uses Jenga® instead of dice. Pull from the tower and you succeed. Refuse to pull and you fail. The choice is yours. But if the tower falls . . .

You can get:

About Epidiah Ravachol, the Author

In addition to his writing in Dread, Eppy is the overeditor of and a contributor to the sword & sorcery ezine Worlds Without Master as well as the creator of other games, like Vast & Starlit—a game of interstellar crime that fits in your wallet; Time & Temp—adventures in history and underemployment; and What is a Roleplaying Game?the game his mom has used to successfully explain the hobby to his aunt, which in turn may be the proudest moment of his life. Learn more about these and his other projects at Dig a Thousand Holes Publishing.


  1. Wendy E said,

    I play tested the WWII War is Hell scenario at Gen Con on Friday 8/14/09 and loved the experience. Even though the room conditions were not ideal (in the con ballroom setting) the RP was excellent and the “tower” game mechanic really built tension. I got the book today and the guidelines are well written and easy to read while including enough flavor text to keep you in the spirit of the system. I haven’t seen a system as concisely or elegantly written in my many years of gaming. Even after 4 straight days of gaming I am already building my own Dread scenario to try my hand at hosting. Very innovative system. Thanks!
    (aka Landon Caldwell)

  2. Recommend A Zombie Apocalypse Game System? - EN World D&D / RPG News said,

    [...] [...]

  3. Der Turm des Grauens « Diesem Herrn kann nicht vertraut werden said,

    [...] ich vor einigen Jahren das Horrorspiel Dread entdeckt habe, hatte auch Jenga wieder seinen Reiz: Die Dread-Regeln sind würfellos, aber die [...]

  4. RPGs General/Other Non-combat RPGs? - EN World: Your Daily RPG Magazine said,

    [...] mechanism is a Jenga tower and it's straight up amazing how well it works. You can read more here: About Dread the Game Dread I think you could also mimic real-world style investigative drama with a low-PL Mutants and [...]

  5. (Indie) RPG publisher? let’s get a bundle of PDFs for the Wayne Foundation together! | Troll in the Corner said,

    [...] The Impossible Dream [...]

  6. The Wayne Foundation Charity RPG Pack is here! | Troll in the Corner said,

    [...] The Impossible Dream [...]

  7. Robert Lindauer said,

    We need some Drad judges for Wolfcon, which is in Chicago the three days after Thanksgiving – Nov 25, 26, 27. Judges get in free at Wolfcon on any day they run a game – and we have a giant Jenga set (5′ tall) for anyone who wants to use it! Contact Rlindauer@LindauerConsulting.com if you have any interest.

  8. My Five Games | Character Generation said,

    [...] Dread – This game changed me. Like,when I received my first character questionnaire, there was a fucking disturbance in the Force as I realized that RPGs didn’t need dice or stat blocks. RPGs need stories. And people willing to tell them. That’s it. [...]

  9. True Tales of a Gaming Harlot: DREAD! | This is My Game said,

    [...] one got away from me a little. At any rate, I got try a late-night punchy-as-hell run of the game Dread! All I knew about this game was that it was survival horror and involved a jenga tower to increase [...]

  10. Friday Rules: 08/06/2012 | Rules of Play Cardiff said,

    [...] Fiasco (and The Fiasco Companion); live-action zombie survival in Shelter in Place; Maid, Dread; Don’t Rest Your Head (and the Don’t Lose Your Mind supplement) and A Penny for My [...]

  11. Friday Rules: 15/06/2012 | Rules of Play Cardiff said,

    [...] RPG systems for you, including Fiasco; Polaris; Diaspora; Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple; Dread; Don’t Rest Your Head; A Penny for My Thoughts; How We Came to Live Here; In Dark Alleys; [...]

  12. Episode 139: The Horror Genre | The Jank Cast said,

    [...] Links: El Circo Cheapo Descent 2 Call of Cthulhu Trail of Cthulhu Stealing Cthulhu Dread Final Girl Zombie Cinema Sorceror Murderous Ghosts Don’t Rest Your Head Matt Snyder 44: A [...]

  13. Friday Rules: 27/07/2012 | Rules of Play Cardiff said,

    [...] Luke Crane and Jared A. Sorenson, Free Market.  Also in stock are favourites Fiasco, Microscope, Dread, Perfect Unrevised, Maid and Diaspora, and new systems including Aeternal Legends, Forsooth!, A [...]

  14. Roleplaying Gaming in Gloucestershire | iwarpuk said,

    [...] d20 (more info) DragonAge RPG (more info) FATE (more info) Trail of Cthulhu (more info) Dread (more info) Fiasco (more info) Hollowpoint (more info) Traveller (more info) Warhammer Fantasy (more info) [...]

  15. Augustspillsalong i Oslo den attende – Imagonem said,

    [...] til spillnerding igjen! Det ryktes om spilling av og prat om brettspill, samt rollespillene Fiasco, Dread, Mouse Guard og Vornheim. Sjekk detaljer på Facebook og [...]

  16. GenCon 2012 Wrap Up - The Night Life | This is My Game said,

    [...] bikers (it was a mess) to catch up with my wife over at the JW Marriot. She had been invited to a Dread game led by Liz Bauman of The Illuminerdy and Character Generation. While too late to actually [...]

  17. Episode #29 – QCC Wrap up and Tracy Hurley (AKA Sarah Darkmagic) » Misdirected Mark said,

    [...] City Conquest Engine Publishing Dungeon World Mini Con Dread Artemis Malifaux D&D Next Shadowrun Fate Pathfinder We Be Goblins Descent 2nd edition [...]

  18. Friday Rules: 05/10/2012 | Rules of Play Cardiff said,

    [...] of US indie RPG books coming in shortly.  As well as restocks of favourites such as Fiasco, Dread, Microscope, Maid, Polaris, and Don’t Rest Your Head, look out for new books including [...]

  19. The Walking Eye Podcast » Blog Archive » Bonus Episode: Further Metagaming Discussion said,

    [...] Dread [...]

  20. Unreal Worlds: Scooby Doo, Where Are You? | The Illuminerdy said,

    [...] friends to torture. My preferred system for horror (or at least high tension) is the incomparable Dread, in which characters are based entirely on questionnaires supplied by the GM and then filled out by [...]

  21. » Pax East Megahaul! max gladstone said,

    [...] also ended up with a copy of Dread, which OH MY GOD I am terrified to play that game when she decides to run it.  Also, Dread’s [...]

  22. Horror Genre in RPGs | Play On Target said,

    [...] of Darkness Geist Orpheus Changeling: The Lost All Flesh Must Be Eaten Don’t Rest Your Head Dread Eclipse Phase Traveller Delta Green Hamlet’s Hit Points Dresden Files RPG Dungeon Crawl [...]

  23. Unique Mechanics | Play On Target said,

    […] Dread […]

  24. Folge 37: Würfelglück | Polyeder Podcast said,

    […] Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition auf Kickstarter Dread Amber Diceless […]

  25. Voices in My Head: The RPG | F. Wesley Schneider said,

    […] Paizocon, one of which is a visit to Ustalav’s notorious Saffron House, driven by the Dread RPG rules rather than Pathfinder—but more on that later. Recently Ryan Macklin introduced me to the […]

  26. Sell Me on a Game | Play On Target said,

    […] Dread […]

  27. Meanwhile, Not At GenCon. . . . | Rogue Princess Squadron said,

    […] Or it might have been a large game of DREAD. […]

  28. Demon Week: Demonic Possession, Part 1 | Guild Blog said,

    […] when considering the flow of the story as the actual possession. But it could be. I think that Dread could make an excellent game for exorcism. The characters would all be taking part in the ritual […]

  29. Horror if You Don’t Like Horror | Rogue Princess Squadron said,

    […] king of the terrifying one-shot is Dread. The core mechanic of the game is elegant in its simplicity yet heightens the suspense to epic […]

  30. Episode #86 – Horror Games and Con on the Cob Part II » Misdirected Mark said,

    […] Dread […]

  31. DunDraCon 37 - No Ordinary Obsession said,

    […] final game was Calling Call All Stations!! This is Attu!!! by Frank A. Figoni which used the Dread system.  I had heard of this system but never had a chance to play it.  It was a great way to […]

  32. Designer / Developer: Games With Gimmicks | Developer Jekyll & Designer Hyde said,

    […] have discussed horror games before, and the difficulty in making them scary.  The game Dread uses a gimmick to build tension: to see whether you are successful, you have to play Jenga – […]

  33. RPG Fantasy Table: Authors Edition | Rogue Princess Squadron said,

    […] Dread –I think Mr. Miéville would be brilliant in a horror RPG (I will never forget how terrifying the slake moths of Perdido Street Station were) and Dread is really my favorite horror RPG. […]

  34. Licensed RPGs with the Serial Numbers Filed Off | Play On Target said,

    […] Dread […]

  35. 9to5 (dot cc) - GenCon: My Pilgrimage to the Mecca of Geekery said,

    […] up was an original horror game system called Dread that uses a Janga tower as its main game mechanic. As the game progresses, you pull away blocks to […]

  36. Virtual Table-Tops – Impact on Games and Gaming | Eric's Gaming Pulse said,

    […] with online folks. Games with a physical components are impossible to play with online players. Dread requires the tower to get the tension and this doesn’t work with online players. Do: Pilgrims […]

  37. Role Playing Games – Ramblings | My Blog said,

  38.   פרק 61 – הגמדים חופרים בגיבורים 2014 | טקטיקה said,

    […] שיטה בסיסית כלשהי לקרבות. פרק 34, חופרים באייקון 2013 Dread […]

  39. RPG in Focus Diceless Double Feature: Dread & Microscope | Jetpack Joust said,

    […] horror comes from mounting tension. It comes from uneasiness and suspense. Dread is a game that feeds off of these emotions and uses an incredibly interesting mechanic to draw them […]

  40. Wes’s Paizocon 2014 Schedule | F. Wesley Schneider said,

    […] And, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you might even get me to run a game of Dread. So stop by and say […]

  41. Backpacker Gaming | Melvin Smif's Geekery said,

    […] If I spent more time on this I could find some more examples but this gets you a good idea of what to look for.  Basically, keep it light in weight and simple!  Sadly, I’m not certain any of my co-hikers would go for an RPG but I think I may take Chaos & Alchemy and Survivalistic. Those are awesome games and wouldn’t weigh me down too much. We’ll see though. I’ll probably bombard you all with some pics when I get back from the trip though, so I hope you are anxiously awaiting it!  Now, if only I could convince someone to carry a Jenga Tower so we could play Dread… […]

  42. GameTech: Push Your Luck | Magpie Games said,

    […] me focus on is the visceral effect of resolution mechanics, and it makes me think most directly of Dread, by Epidiah Ravachol. Dread uses a Jenga tower for its primary mechanic. You have to pull a block […]

  43. Uncertainty in Analog Role-Playing Games, Part 2 | Analog Game Studies said,

    […] of games of discomfort, Epidiah Ravachol’s horror RPG Dread famously uses a Jenga tower to help pace the characters’ slow descent into the abyss. Horror […]

  44. Trying out: Dread | Guild Blog said,

    […] For during Saturday of this year’s Ropecon I was lucky enough to get a seat in a game I have been itching for ages to try out – The Dread. […]

  45. Lauri Maijala said,

    My experiences of playing the Dread: http://blog.guildredemund.net/2014/09/04/trying-out-dread/

    It was awesome.

  46. פרק 61 – הגמדים חופרים בגיבורים 2014 - על כתפי גמדים said,

    […] שיטה בסיסית כלשהי לקרבות. פרק 34, חופרים באייקון 2013 Dread […]

  47. The Best Words in the Best Order | Stark Salon said,

    […] We will be playing a round of the spooky storytelling game Dread. So come ready to scare and be […]

  48. Acts of Geek » Game the Game: Horror Gaming said,

    […] Dread is an RPG that strips away pretty much everything that other RPGs have: stats, skills, etc, they do not matter. What matters in Dread is building tension, and that sense of impending death with any action. […]

  49. Kessel Run II | Jules Ingame said,

    […] Memories is a free game/scenario/setup based on Dread, a horror game that uses a Jenga tower as a skill check, as a pacing mechanic and as a horrible […]

  50. Kessel Run II: Silent Memories | Jules Ingame said,

    […] Memories is a free game/scenario/setup based on Dread, a horror game that uses a Jenga tower as a skill check, as a pacing mechanic and as a horrible […]

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