Ghostfire Gaming has an ambitious Kickstarter project that’s going well. How ambitious? They’re asking for AU$43,000 which is about £24,500 for their grim fantasy setting that uses 5th edition.
They’ve done it too. At the time of writing, there are 25 days still to pledge, and Grim Hollow has nearly AU$47,000 pledged. You can follow progress at their campaign page.
The Guide is over 200 pages of material, and it can be used to run adventures in the setting of Etharis or by DMs looking to create their own dark fantasy games. D&D does have a form in this area with Ravenloft.
Part of the grim adaptation is a new background system which adds extra depth to character generation and rules for transformations. Transformations are, of course, those horrible times when players become vampires or something even worse like a Liche.
A pledge of AU$27 (about £15) is what it takes to secure your name in the book and a PDF copy of the Grim Hollow campaign guide. Step up to AU$55 (about £31), and you get a hardcover guide instead.
Higher tiers exist, and their bonuses include extras like a Game Master’s Screen.
What makes Grim Hollow a dark setting?
There’s only ever limited space in a Kickstarter pitch, but D&D by default isn’t that dark. Characters who can fling fireballs, inspire their mates through song or turn into chipmunks don’t naturally with a genre that Wikipedia suggests is defined by gloom, a sense of dread and horror.
However, Grim Hollow offers up realistic characters with their new background system and a world of relatable NPCs with complex and realistic motivations. This works. One way to instil a sense of dread is to have horrible things apparently and unavoidably stalk charismatic people.
Etharis will also come complete with gritty locations (or you could port these same locations over to a game of your choice). This technique can also work, just ask anyone who watched Artax the horse vanish into the bog in Neverending Story.
Most significantly, perhaps, Grim Hollow comes with compelling story hooks to get your PCs caught up in the bleak and dangerous plots that lay in wait for them.
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