Get Unlucky with D13 RPG

Get Unlucky with D13 RPG

By Jacky Leung     Twitter

Did you know that there’s a phobia for the number 13? It’s called Triskaidekaphobia. You might start developing it when you start playing the D13 RPG, a horror-centric tabletop roleplaying game by Origins-award-winning game designer Lester Smith (Dark Conspiracy, Mechwarrior 2nd Ed., Serenity RPG). Through a series of horrific adventures set across time and space, characters face the threats such as death or madness in individual adventures. All of which acts as the backdrop for supernatural beings battling a greater darkness.

The system utilizes an attribute-and-skill system with four primary attributes and a variety of skills. Actions are determined through a 1d4 plus 1d10 (read 0-9) for a number range of 1 to 13, wherein low-end doubles provide beneficial boons. The d4 mechanic adds an exciting element to tasks with uncertain results, with the GM rolling these in secret while players roll their d10. Tasks or actions that players should be capable of performing are rolled as usual, with possible rerolls. Any task posed as a moderate challenge can have Game Masters demand a roll and force a reroll of the d4. The unlucky number 13 is a catastrophic result, similar to rolling a natural 1 in a d20 system. Though an 11 or a 12 also result in failure too. Also, psychic abilities are depicted through a tarot deck (or poker card deck) as an homage to the uncertainty and danger of these powers. Combat actions and turn sequence are uniquely determined and tracked through an Ouija board or spirit board.

D13 RPG was designed to tell a horror tale without the traditional flaws experienced with other horror RPGs. The system, according to Smith, can be adapted to any horror story or adventure without the constraints of time, place, or themes from those adventures. Smith also cited that most horror-based RPGs tone down danger to let player characters survive to continue the narrative into the next session, or ingrain them into the plot, or altogether abandon the idea of a campaign in the traditional sense to keep the integrity of the horror dynamic. In essence, D13 RPG provides a solution wherein a Game Master can run these horrifying adventures that can kill characters without murdering the concept of a campaign.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, there are premium editions of the game that signed and numbered in full Smythe-sewn hardbound books. These copies will never be published again, and the slots are for the personalized versions are already gone, with only less than half of the slots left for the premium hardbound copies. Additional stretch goals met will expand the book’s contents and include more art. At the time of this article, the project has already achieved their funding goal and should have a few more days left before the campaign closes. This is an excellent opportunity to try a new horror RPG system, especially from an award-winning game designer with over 30+ years of experience and who worked along with the legendary Gary Gygax. You are in excellent and capable hands.

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I'm a blogger, writer, RPG designer, and longtime Dungeon Master living in eternally sunny Florida in the United States. Storytelling is one of the many core aspects of our human condition, along with food and music, I want everyone to share their stories. Always hungry to learn more, eat more, and discover more. You can check out my blog:

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