Elementals, by Michael McDowell

At first, it seemed as if written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Then it slid inexorably into Dan Simmons territory.

It’s not often I feel truly chilled by a novel and frightened for its characters. This one took me there. Definitely recommended.

(And thank you, to the anonymous Amazon ebook reader who chose to share this with a stranger. I’m much obliged.)

Elementals on goodreads

D13 RPG

Art from the D13 RPG

What is the D13 RPG?

Conceptually it’s a game for running truly horrific adventures in campaigns across time and space. Characters face the real threat of death or madness in individual adventures—unaware that they are also threads of existence for supernatural beings battling a greater darkness.

Mechanically it’s an easy attribute-and-skill based system—4 attributes, any sort of skill. Actions use 1d4+1d10 (read 0-9) for a number range of 1-13, with beneficial doubles at the low end. For adventures involving psychic abilities, a tarot deck (or a poker deck) depicts the uncertainty and danger of those powers. For combat actions and turn sequence, a Ouija board can be used.

Why a D13 RPG?

When I designed the Dark Conspiracy RPG in 1991, I envisioned a world into which any sort of horror tale could be adapted. But that setting’s framework also constrained the time, place, and even themes of those adventures. I’ve long wanted to do something more far-reaching.

Also, most horror RPGs either dial back the danger to let PCs survive from one adventure to the next, or make them part of a secret society, or abandon altogether the idea of campaigning so as to convey true horror.

The D13 RPG is a solution to all those problems. It lets GMs run truly horrific adventures that may maim, madden, or kill PCs—without killing the campaign.

Who Is the Artist?

Lenka Šimečková is an amazing young illustrator of the dark and bizarre, from the Czech Republic. I first became aware of her work while designing the D6xD6 RPG in 2014. She provided two character illos for that book, and I knew she’d be the perfect illustrator for D13 RPG.

More Game System Details?

You can learn more about the structure and mechanics in this #rpgnet Q&A transcript.

Character Sheets & Online Randomizers

Where to Buy

  • I have a few signed D13 RPG Limited Edition books remaining from the Kickstarter. Printed by Jostens, these are Smythe-sewn with custom end papers and vibrant color throughout.
  • Standard hardbound D13 RPG books are available on my webpage at Lulu.com.
  • The D13 RPG PDF version is available exclusively on DriveThruRPG.com.