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Terrifying Hieronymus Bosch paintings come to life in this horror TRPG

Hell never looked so awful.

Attempt to escape a terrifying land of Hieronymus Bosch paintings in the tabletop roleplaying game, Hieronymus.

Named after the 14th century Dutch artist whose notoriously gruesome paintings of hell inspired the tabletop RPG, the game has players taking on the role of a group of characters unfortunate enough to stumble into a series of chaotic and disturbing worlds.

Players in Hieronymus become refugees of reality, with the urge to flee being driven by the fact that they’re being pursued by a mysterious and frightening astral terror called The Follower. In the game, the player characters make their way through strange worlds inspired by the work of Bosch, with The Follower close on their heels the entire time. The player characters don’t know what will happen if The Follower catches up, but they can tell that it’s not anything remotely good.

An image of the book for Hieronymus TRPG.

A horror tabletop RPG for up to five people, Hieronymus has one player taking the role of the games master, with the others controlling characters. As Bosch was a medieval painter, the players are encouraged to create characters who are period appropriate. Depending on the playbook they choose to make their characters with – options include a Scoundrel, a Priest and a Merchant – the players will have a select number of, advisable, approaches to various scenarios. Though each playbook includes certain set elements, players are also able to form whatever kind of character they want to see explore worlds inspired by Bosch’s paintings.

Throughout the game, the GM will use the various paintings of Bosch in order to illustrate the different worlds the player characters find themselves in. The GM is also allowed to use other artists’ paintings as inspiration and demonstration for the players too. Hieronymus uses a hexcrawl gameplay system – which first originated in older editions of Dungeons & Dragons – meaning that players will be travelling across maps that have been divided into a series of hexes, with each hex in Hieronymus representing a different part of a chosen painting.

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Hieronymus was created by Laurie O’ Connel, a TRPG designer whose previous works include queer tabletop RPG Lichcraft – which has players becoming transgender necromancers – and multiple adventure modules designed to be used with the mech TRPG Lancer. The layout for Hieronymus was made by Chris Bissette, who has worked on the likes of The Wretched and Dark Souls inspired TRPG Dice Souls.

The Kickstarter campaign for Hieronymus is live until July 28th, with a pledge of £35 ($41) getting backers a copy of the hardcover version in September. Alternatively, a softcover version is available for a pledge of £15 ($17) and a digital PDF copy can be obtained for £10 ($11).

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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