With Dungeons & Dragons playing a big role in the beginning of the series, it’s no surprise that Stranger Things has captured the imaginations of RPG players everywhere. The foreboding atmosphere and suspenseful setting of the Netflix original series couldn’t be better suited for a RPG itself, something that Mass Effect: Andromeda lead designer Ian Frazier took note of.
Frazier devised a detailed and spooky scenario inspired by Stranger Things that can be played with the horror RPG Dread. And best of all, it’s free.
In Stranger Dread you won’t find Will, Barb, or Eleven—it’s only loosely based on the series, not a re-creation—but you will find characters and a setting that are easily recognizable to anyone who has watched Stranger Things:
July 12, 1984. In the town of Mt. Pleasant, Illinois, 12-year-old Cory Settler vanishes mysteriously from the county fair. Cory’s older sister searches for him alongside her crush and her best friend. Meanwhile, Cory’s young friends launch an investigation of their own. The two groups converge to reveal the truth while shadowy government agents seek to cover it up, and unspeakable horrors wait beyond the funhouse mirror.
Frazier also provides quick backgrounds and character questionnaires for the six playable characters, which consists of some familiar plucky kids and teens, along with a cast of NPCs to supplement the story.
You’ll also find details on locations, the back story, and much more, along with tips for running the game. Even if you’ve never been the Game Master for a game of Dread before, you’ll feel ready for whatever this version of The Upside Down might bring thanks to Frazier’s incredible preparation.
Not familiar with Dread? Watch the gang on TableTop with Game Master Wil Wheaton to get a crash course on the unconventional horror RPG that’s played with a Jenga tower instead of dice.
Alternatively, Rat Queens creator and experienced Dungeon Master Kurtis Wiebe was similarly inspired by the Netflix series, and recently ran a Stranger Things themed game of Dread himself. Watch the d20babe “Strange Dread” session for ideas for your own Dread playthrough, or just to get a few goosebumps.
Have your role-playing sessions been inspired by Stranger Things? Tell us about it in the comments!
All images: Netflix