Nightmares of Mine

Short commentary on an old horror reference book that is a mainstay in my collection of GM advice reverences. I absolutely love GM guides.


I loved reading this book in High School.

It’s a good read even now, but you may have to find the pdf.

I remember this fondly because it was one of the first treatises on game mastery I ever read. I read a lot of books on game mastery back in the day. I still do, but not as frequently. Nightmares of Mine by Kevin Hite and John Curtis. You can find it on Goodreads here. It’s still around in pdf and print anywhere fine rpg resources can be found. I still retain my dog-eared, well-loved, physical copy. It sits on my reference shelf next to my Heritage English Dictionary and my Book of Stagecraft. I still look back at all of the above from time to time.

It’s listed under Rolemaster, probably because both were produced by Iron Crown Enterprises. I loved Rolemaster’s critical tables, but the games themselves weren’t usually at the top of my list. No lie, I had a character die while being created more than once… Spacemaster was fun as a one-shot though. Anyway, Nightmares of Mine really isn’t entirely a nuts-and-bolts RPG book.

It is chock full of good GM and writer advice and I recommend anyone starting any kind of a horror project to give it a once over before you start, especially if you’re new to the genre. This little gem of a book got me through a couple of Call of Cthulhu games, Beyond the Supernatural campaign, and running things in old school Ravenloft. My favorite Storyteller game, Werewolf the Apocalypse benefitted heavily from this as well. That game was so fun…

It’s helpful advice for GMs looking just to improve their technique, especially when it comes to horror, but running games in general as well. Advice on description, pacing, embracing the genre/subgenres as well as safety tools all come into play here. There are also tips and tricks for dealing with different horror subgenres. Be forewarned, a lot of what we have in the RPG community now, wasn’t really discussed as much back then. A lot of the modern horror games we have now hadn’t even been written yet, save Call of Cthulhu. Even if you want your dungeon crawls to be a little scarier, this book is a good catch.

I’ll be curious to see how the advice from Nightmares stacks up with the FATE Horror Toolkit one of these days. I’m still contemplating a Space Horror game one of these days. Probably a one-shot, but maybe a short campaign, depending.

Just wanted to do a short bump for this cool little book. More things to come. Have a great week. Game on!

Author: Jeff Craigmile

I'm a tabletop role-playing game writer and designer from Des Moines, Iowa always looking for more work. I'm the father of four boys and human to three cats.

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