GWJ Plays Dread - Part Three (Final Episode!)


One of our 2014 Donation Drive stretch goals was for us to record an RPG session at rabbitcon so you could finally see what all the fuss was about! We've brought together some of the finest roleplayers around along with master GM Kevin Kulp to take you through a complete game of Dread.

Daring adventure! Space! A Jenga tower! Horrible visions that will keep you up at night! This is the third any final episode of the adventure. Will they make it out alive?! Youtube link in case embedded video doesn't work for you.

Once you've watched all three parts you can read the Q&As the players filled out ahead of time to fill out their character backgrounds and give Kevin ideas on how to tie everyone into the story.

Starring Lara Crigger, Karla Andrich, Graham Rowat, Rob Daviau and Shawn Andrich as the players.


Definitely, definitely read the questionnaires linked above that make up the character sheets. They're really fun.

I really enjoyed all three installments. Thanks for sharing.

Why didn't anyone think of using Jenga before in a P&PRPG before?!

That was awesome!!! I need to find people around me to play this game. You must do this again.


The ending was quite touching with Jason sacrificing himself for the greater good. And his final confession was beautiful.

A few questions:
1. As the game runner how do you balance how frequently you encourage pulls with how long you'd like the event to last overall?
2. How do you handle situations where a player makes a bad pull and knocks over the tower much sooner than you'd anticipated?
3. In setting up scenarios do you often consider pitting the players against each other?
4. As players you seemed to have a lot of latitude in what you decided you would do. Did you self regulate to not magically find a mcguffin to solve the crisis or is that the responsibility of the game runner to just go with it?

One great moment from the video:


I loved when you tried to set up a situation where the players were set to play 'chicken' and pull against each other. Sorry it didn't work out under the circumstance

A few answers!

1. The secret to Dread is really in the pacing. My favorite strategy is to require a lot of pulls up front, thus destabilizing the tower in the first act; require fewer pulls during the second act, leaving everyone to feel more and more nervous as the tower wobbles; and then ramp things up in the third act. If the tower comes down near the end of the second act, all the better. I did the math once about how often you need pulls to (ahem) pull this off, but I don't remember the timing.

Tower life really depends on the players as well. If they opt for center pulls instead of removing the two blocks along the edge, the tower's life is much shorter.

2. The game has a wonderful concept called "dead man walking." If the tower comes down really early, that character stays in the game for a time, but becomes The Person Everyone Knows Is Going To Die. They may no longer pull, and the GM can declare them as dead any time they please. This can make for some wonderfully dramatic scenes of brutal, unanticipated slaughter.

Kevin: "Your four characters huddle around the tiki torch, shadows pooling ten or fifteen feet away. Elaine and Jack's characters are down by the cabins. You can hear the sound of the man circling you in the darkness, scraping his machete against the sharpening strop. Suddenly, something arcs in out of the darkness and rolls to a stop at your feet."

Elaine (relieved that her character isn't there): "What is it?"

Kevin: "Elaine, it's your severed head."

Elaine: "Oh, thank goo... wait, WHAT?

I like games where the bad guys can possess characters when the tower falls early. Those characters then secretly act against the group's best interest, and no one knows it.

3. Conflict drives drama. I love splitting characters up into two or more rough, awkward factions at game start. That way they can compete against each other instead of the world, and they have some difficult decisions to make when everything goes to Hell and they're forced to ally.

In the first Dread game I ever ran, two characters wrestled over a pistol when the tower was already shaky. They went back and forth pulling blocks a good 8 or 9 times. We KNEW it was going to go off and kill someone, but we had no idea who. It was amazing.

I formalized conflict in one game I ran for most of this same crew, "Separation Anxiety," where everyone were divorcing couples on a reality TV show filming on the Mexican coast. The backstabbing and subsequent teamwork (and Lara Crigger's heartbreaking sacrifice) made that one of my favorite RPGs of all time!

Thanks for the answers. It looks like a great time for everyone involved.

You all have talked about Dread on so many episodes for so many years I have in the past tried acquiring a copy, but it has never (at least when have looked) been easily Amazonable or on Google Shopping. Where do I get Dread? Can I just use a standard Jenga set and get rules from BGG?

The offical site for Dread: (Jenga set not included)