Hope is forgotten, the gods are absent, and civilization desperately struggles for survival in a harsh, foreboding world. Adventures in a world like this are fraught with peril on every front, and taught with tension. Grim dark fantasy entices and appeals to funny-shaped dice enthusiasts the world over, and Grim Hollow, currently live on Kickstarter, embraces these themes to create a campaign guide designed for Game Masters and players of the fifth edition of the world’s greatest roleplaying game alike. This grim dark campaign setting guide checks the boxes I look for in a product like this. Here’s why.
Grim Hollow is versatile grim dark roleplaying
It’s not just for Game Masters, and not just for players. It’s not strictly material for a standalone grim dark campaign setting, but includes plenty of content about a particular one. My favorite Fifth Edition content hits these notes, presenting great tools to add to my GM toolbox. I’m particularly intrigued by the new game mechanics designed to invoke the dark themes Grim Hollow aims to fulfill. While I have not seen what these mechanics are, I find this kind of material an excellent resource for games in my own setting. New ways for adventurers to mechanically interact with the setting — and the setting to interact back — help create the kind of engagement I love.
New NPCs and locations fit the same bill, adding to the wealth of content I collect and draw from whenever I run a game. And I’m a sucker for a good map to inspire dynamic adventures. As a content creator myself, it’s fun to consider (and sometimes hear feedback) from players who connect with something like a single NPC that facilitates memorable experiences for another group of players. Grim Hollow has got me intensely curious about these modular components and how I can incorporate them into my campaign world.
A grim dark city or region of the world, with people and places ready to drop in, sounds like a lot of fun to me. And if there’s unique new game mechanics to help set this apart from the way the rest of the world operates, I’m ready to introduce some dark themes into our games and see how the players respond.
Bring me your grim dark characters!
There’s one big reason I like an RPG product with content for Game Masters and players: there’s material to entice the players, and once they’re engaged with the content there’s a possibility of creating a new GM! A mysterious new background system, new weapons and feats, and character options like playing a lich or a vampire will undoubtedly grab player attention. Along with the accompanying Grim Hollow setting information and guidelines for creating your own grim dark campaign setting and adventures, I like to think this is just the sort of book to turn a player into a new GM.
In my experience, players who bring new character options to the table are also bringing me a gift. The elements that make their characters different add new twists to the party and also the larger world. So having the mechanical components along with a rich bounty of material to support how, why and where these characters come from gives me an opportunity to collaborate with the player and create something new together.
More than once, this collaborative process has turned out a new GM or a new adventure idea for an existing one. If you’re typically a player, and the themes and options of Grim Hollow have got you thinking about a new grim dark character to play, I definitely encourage you to check out the Grim Hollow Kickstarter. Our hobby always needs more people to run games. So after your grim dark character comes to life, explore the rest of the material in this book and bring your creativity to bear for your gaming group.
New and experienced GMs alike love to see the kind of content included in Grim Hollow that makes creating new adventures and settings easier. Easy to understand NPCs, atmospheric locales and most importantly, compelling hooks and conflicts are all indispensible GM tools to help you help players tell the story of their characters.
Grim Hollow is locked in
With just under 2 weeks to go for the Grim Hollow Kickstarter at the time of this writing, the campaign is already fully funded and working to achieve their stretch goals. The first one — new spells and curses designed for dark fantasy — is already unlocked. Blood-tingling side quests are on deck, and after that new options for fiend and lycanthrope player characters join the legions of liches and vampires.
For the fully-funded Grim Hollow Kickstarter, US $18 snags you a PDF campaign guide and all digital stretch goals, with more variety and options with higher pledge levels. “Everything you need” is a phrase we hear and use pretty often in the content creation gig, and Grim Hollow looks to fulfill that claim if you ask me. Any sort of custom content for your Fifth Edition games helps create and define your setting, whether you play in the Forgotten Realms, your own homemade campaign world, or Etharis, the dangerous grim dark world detailed in the Grim Hollow campaign setting guide. Armed with the scope of material in this book, I’m excited to explore some dark themes and character options in my games with the help of this toolbox resource.
Check out the Grim Hollow Kickstarter page here and see what pledge level is best for you. Tell ’em we sent you and, of course — stay nerdy!