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The GameMaster's Apprentice: Horror Deck

The GameMaster's Apprentice: Horror Deck

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Stay Home and Game--and Help Save the World! 

Because I (Nathan Rockwood/Larcenous Designs) am a high school teacher by day, I'm very much aware of the need to practice social distancing in order to 'flatten the curve' of demand on hospitals right now. For the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis, I'm setting my PDF prices to 90% off, and my Print on Demand products to a significant discount (about $1.50 more than their print cost). Please, please, PLEASE take this opportunity to stay home and game solo, or use my cards to prepare awesome stories for remote-play sessions for your friends!

Also, please note: If you are a student, a teacher, or in financial hardship, and cannot afford even these reduced prices, please email me at and we'll work something out! Let's get through this together!

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The GameMaster's Apprentice: Horror Deck is a system-neutral deck of cards that can be used as either a supplement for traditional tabletop RPGs or as a complete game engine for GM-free solo or group RPGs, aimed at providing horrific inspiration for anything from a slasher-flick to a Lovecraftian investigation! 

You can view the cards' complete instructions for free by clicking the preview link beneath the thumbnail above, or view the Quickstart Guide and a set of quick-reference PnP/PoD Instruction Cards here on DriveThru if you prefer (if you wish to purchase the Print on Demand instruction cards to keep with your deck, be sure to combine the order with the deck itself! They are only six cards, and DriveThru will not print orders that small). You can also scroll down to view the card overview image and watch a video of the cards in use! 

On each card is a set of fourteen individual randomizers; with 60 double-sided cards, you can generate literally millions of possible adventures, all without having to hunt through a book or PDF for a single table!

With these cards, you can:

  • Instantly generate NPCs with randomized names, motivations, and backgrounds.

  • Create random events or story seeds.

  • Provide sensory details or random loot for characters searching or stealing.

  • Run games without a human GameMaster!

And more--they even work brilliantly as creative writing prompt generators, and have been playtested by 9th-12th grade students of both English and Game Design.

If you want specifics, including examples of how to use the randomizers on the cards, the complete instructions are available in the downloadable PDF preview linked below the cover image/thumbnail, but you can take a look at the overview below to see the quick and dirty version of what is on each card, and you can view a video preview from the original Kickstarter (using the base, genre-neutral deck) that explains how to use the cards to run a GM-free game or generate a story for a traditional RPG. This video is the second in a series; the first (which details initial generation of the story), is on our webiste. 

Card Overview

These cards were created with the support of over 360 individuals on Kickstarter, and would not exist in their current form otherwise! Thank you!

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 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (3)
Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Robert R April 30, 2020 10:14 pm UTC
I want to thank GMA for the deep discounts they have extended. I already own the Base and the Fantasy deck. I just purchased the Age of Sail, Horror, Sci-Fi and Steampunk decks with a case. Thanks again. And stay well all.
Customer avatar
Massimiliano L April 28, 2018 7:58 am UTC
i have just downloaded the pnp version but the file with the cards have only the " grey scale " option. Is that right ?
I see the images of the cards in the preview and they are colored. Perhaps the pnp version is only black and white ?
Thanks and sorry for my english.
Customer avatar
Nathan R April 28, 2018 11:28 am UTC
The color cards are at the end of the file called “GMA_Horror_PnP_Updated.pdf.” There is a set of instructions first, but the color cards are the last 20 pages. I apologize for the confusion; when I made the new “universal instructions” I didn’t remove the old ones.
I hope this helps, and that you enjoy the cards!
Customer avatar
Massimiliano L April 28, 2018 11:47 am UTC
Great, i have watched only the first pages of each file. Now i have printed the colored version.
Congratulations for the wonderful work. I'am trying it with the CoC system.
thanks for all.
Customer avatar
Antonio M November 23, 2016 3:02 pm UTC
Do you need any other deck to run solo horror games?
Customer avatar
Nathan R November 23, 2016 3:31 pm UTC
Any one deck should be enough to run a solo game, so this should be all you need! However, while I like this for most horror, I sometimes use the Steampunk deck for Lovecraftian horror games or the Scifi deck for Alien-inspired horror. You can definitely use the Horror deck for both of those, though--it all depends on how much you want to "tune" your random results.
Customer avatar
Paul R October 23, 2018 12:19 am UTC
Do you combine the steampunk and horror for lovecraft inspired or just use one deck?
Customer avatar
Nathan R October 23, 2018 1:10 am UTC
I definitely injected some Horror/Lovecraft/Mythos elements into the Steampunk deck. If you want a game that is explicitly Steampunk but with mythos creepiness in the background and as the Big Baddies, then Steampunk by itself should work.

If you want a Horror game and just assume a more realistic Victorian setting, I’d use the Horror deck by itself.

If you want to combine the two, you’ll definitely have a stronger steampunk setting with explicit horror themes, but that could be a lot of shuffling!
Customer avatar
Christopher L January 20, 2019 12:45 am UTC
So which deck is the most Lovecraftian?
Customer avatar
Nathan R January 20, 2019 2:13 am UTC
Probably the Horror deck, in terms of general bad-stuff-is-happening descriptions and items! However, if what you really want is the Victoriana, then Steampunk does that atmosphere better.
Customer avatar
Christopher L January 20, 2019 2:59 am UTC
No, more 1920s. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Richard S December 15, 2015 10:29 pm UTC
Another great deck but my poor computer is having a hard time with this PDF. Its 14 mgbs as opposed to the Sci Fi deck which is about 4 mgbs for the same amount of cards. could you please make a smaller file??
Customer avatar
Nathan R December 16, 2015 12:04 am UTC
Hey--I'm sorry to hear it's proving an issue. I have identified the problem (Adobe is not wanting to properly remove duplicate fonts, bloating the file size), and am working on fixing it! I'm afraid I can't offer a guaranteed timeline 'til its fixed, though. It will depend on how cooperative my software is...
Customer avatar
Nathan R December 20, 2015 3:25 am UTC
Done! We removed the excess fonts, and it should now have the same print quality but be 10% of the former size (1.2 mb!).
Customer avatar
Richard S December 20, 2015 11:48 am UTC
Thanks a lot mate. Happy Christmas!
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