Bump in the Dark: Revised Edition

Bump in the Dark: Revised Edition

Revised edition of Bump in the Dark, the Forged in the Dark game of hunting monster and building community with your chosen family -- with new art, streamlined rules, and more than 30 pages of new content packed into a premium hardcover!
$14,885 🎉
of $5,000 (USD) goal
Project Ended
Ended on at




Copy Link


It's 1994 in the region of the fictional Ontonagon Peninsula known as "Iron Country," a belt of mining towns barely clinging to life. These towns are surrounded on all sides by the Sylvan Wilds, a forest known for old-growth pines and strange happenings. All of Iron Country seems to be teeming with the supernatural, a fact those in power would like to conceal.

You are a hunter, and you’ve promised to keep regular people safe from the horrors in the darkness. You will investigate the strange happenings going on throughout Iron Country, attempting to put the pieces together and stop the monsters before people get hurt. Will you be able to stop the malevolent forces before their power grows too strong to contain? Will you stand strong with your found family and community or will you sacrifice yourself to spare the ones you love? Will you be lost trying to find solace wherever you can?

Inspired by media like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Supernatural, and more, Bump in the Dark: Revised Edition is a game of supernatural mystery and action-packed showdowns with regular folk caught in the middle. It's a game about chosen family, protecting your community, and standing up to the forces (mundane and supernatural alike) that want to tear down all you've built.

Bump in the Dark is a complete, standalone game using a streamlined version of the Forged in the Dark engine. No other books or supplements are needed. The revised edition comes in a beautiful premium hardcover with newly commissioned original art and a free PDF playkit

The goal of this campaign is to raise funds to print and produce Bump in the Dark: Revised Edition, a re-imagined and streamlined version of the popular Forged in the Dark game of monster hunting and chosen family.  

In this newly revised edition, you'll find:

  • Updated rules to streamline play and provide support for players and GMs
  • Almost thirty newly commissioned original illustrations
  • A polished downtime system perfectly tuned for drama, helping you tell the kinds of stories you want to tell
  • Expanded information on more than 25 factions that bring Iron Country to life
  • Guidance on changing the game, including making bespoke settings, creating new pact types, modifying the rules, and tweaking other elements of the game
  • More oracles and reference materials to help you prepare for and run the game 
  • Fully hyperlinked and indexed PDF
  • Text-only version for e-readers
  • All available in a gorgeous premium hardcover!

Mock up. Final layout and illustrations subject to change.

We've been working with our printer to help us deliver a hardcover that feels like a premium experience at an affordable price. With high quality offset printing, a bookmark ribbon, and smyth-sewn binding, Bump in the Dark: Revised Edition will not only be the definitive edition of the game; it'll also stand out on your bookshelf. 

Why new art?

Most of the art in the original version of Bump in the Dark is stock art. I'm really happy that there is a huge wealth of stock art available on the internet for an affordable price, and a lot of it is horror and action oriented. This allowed me to focus on making the best game that I could and put my money into the art that was most important to me: a gorgeous, full color cover by Eddie Monotone; an evocative spread for the introduction welcoming the readers to Last Pine, by Alison Cooley; and a perfect map of the town by Eli Kurtz. I don't think that money could have been better spent, but I always hoped to be able to include more original art.

One of the primary goals of this campaign is to do just that. I'm working with Alison on new art to represent each playbook, and we're going to have a ton of new spot art from Ashley Altadonna. Finally, Eli Kurtz has agreed to come back to create some new maps as one of the stretch goals. 

While there have been a number of tweaks to improve the experience of playing and running Bump in the Dark, the two biggest changes are to the action roll and the downtime phase of play. 

Risk & Impact

In this new approach, all actions are risky by default, and the keeper determines the impact of the player's action. Players have levers to adjust the impact: they can go for broke or play it safe, improving their impact by taking on more risk, or decreasing their risk by sacrificing impact. It's very satisfying in play.


The game's biggest evolution is a total rewrite of the downtime phase of the game which now focuses on beats, special scenes that players purchase using xp earned on hunts. There are two kinds of beats, arc beats, which focus on hunters' growth over a season of play, and basic beats, which is where hunters refresh their luck by seeking solace, recover from wounds, work on long-term projects, and more. The addition of beats focuses downtime on relationships, growth, and drama.

When you back the Revised Edition at any level, you'll get access to a preview of the new rules, which you can immediately implement in your games.

"While Forged in the Dark may have been written for heists, Bump in the Dark shows how it shines for monster hunting and investigation, and Last Pine is a place that needs monster hunters. Jex's take on Iron Country may challenge Stephen King's Maine for one of my favorite horror locales." - Richard Ruane, ENNIE-winning author of Moonlight on Roseville Beach and Sherwood

"Bump in the Dark is my go-to RPG for urban fantasy. If I ever want found family paranormal stories like Buffy, Night in the Woods, or Supernatural, I reach for this game." - Michael Elliott, Not Writing Games

"Bump in the Dark cuts right to the good stuff, never losing sight of juicy character drama amidst all the action and intrigue. The emergent mystery mechanics are a fantastically simple way for your table to engage in complex, dramatic investigations while letting the (complex, dramatic) player characters shine." - Sarah Bolling, contributing writer to Brindlewood Bay, The Between, and Public Access

 "With Bump in the Dark, Jex Thomas has bottled pristine small-town horror into a delicious, retro TTRPG. Like Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and Alan Wake before it, the game isn’t actually about hunting really, really cool monsters. It’s about hanging out with the local weirdos, shining a light on the evils of late-stage capitalism, radicalizing a small community, and, ultimately, sabotaging the plans of the Reaganite elite… with the help of really, really cool monsters. Which, frankly, absolutely kicks ass." - Mynar Lenahan, cohost of Inside The Table: A Tabletop RPG Talk Show


Bump in the Dark combines the monster-of-the-week format of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Supernatural, and X-Files with the small town melodrama and weirdness of shows like Twin Peaks or Riverdale. Additionally, the way movies like Matewan and Harlan County, USA represent the struggles of regular people caught up in dehumanizing systems also influences the game's central themes.

Other media inspirations are comics like Hellboy and Hellblazer, the video game Night in the Woods, and podcasts like The Unexplored Places, A Horror Borealis, and Friends at the Table: Bluff City.

Mechanically, the game is most inspired by Blades in the Dark by John Harper, Monster of the Week by Michael Sands, External Containment Bureau by Lexi Antoku, Eric Brunsell, Michael Elliott, Justin Ford, and Eli Kurtz, and Slugblaster by Mikey Hamm. There are also some helpings of Apocalypse Keys, Brindlewood Bay, Copperhead County, and The Between. These all influence Bump in the Dark while leaving plenty of room for the game to have its own unique take.


Most of the funds for this project will go to the production of the Revised Edition hardcover, with the rest going toward commissioning new art, hiring someone to professionally index the book, as well as an "Uh-Oh" contingency fund in case something unexpected comes up. 


Shipping will be calculated and collected after the campaign through the Pledge Manager.

As you're aware, things are pretty chaotic in the world right now. The global pandemic has disrupted supply chains and exacerbated many already existing problems. Due to this, shipping is not included in your initial pledge and will be calculated after the campaign, when your rewards are ready to ship. This is so you can get the most accurate shipping rate based on the time we ship and your specific location.

Shipping rates will be announced as soon as they are available. From that time, backers will given two weeks until cards are charged. We'll then make another announcement a week out, and then again 48 hours before we charge cards. Then, we'll charge for shipping and work with our fulfillment partners to make the process as smooth as possible. 


While there are many unknowns and opportunities for hiccups, I've been working very closely with our printer and artists since very early in the process. As this is my first crowdfunding project, I am trying to do everything I can to make things go smoothly. Because of that, a lot of the tasks are already done or well in process:

  • 100% of playtesting and feedback process is complete ✔️
  • 100% of the new playbook art is complete ✔️
  • 100% of the new spot art and other interior illustrations are complete ✔️
  • 100% of game's text has been written with developmental and copy editing complete  ✔️ 

Fulfillment Timeline

With so much of the book already done and being in regular communication with printers, we should be able to get to print fairly quickly, I'm projecting our timeline to look like this:

  • ☀️ Summer 2024  
    • Funds released from Backerkit
    • Indexing starts  ✔️ 
    • Art is completed  ✔️ 
    • Stretch goal development begins
  • 🍂 Autumn 2024  
    • Text and layout are finalized and files are sent to our printer
    • Digital fulfillment begins
  • ❄️Winter 2024/2025 
    • Printer ships completed books to our fulfillment partner and print fulfillment begins
    • Fulfillment of digital stretch goals

Should this timeline change, I promise to communicate any and all delays as promptly and transparently as possible.

Help us add additional rewards based on backer and funding goals! 

Backer Count

  • 69 backers: Nice 😎  ✔️ 
  • 100 backers: Bump in the Dark stickers unlocked as add-ons  ✔️ 
  • 200 backers: How to Run a One Shot video  ✔️ 
  • All art complete: Get a sneak peek of some of the unseen art ✔️ 
  • 666 community copies: 666 community copies added to each of Jex's paid hunts on itch.io 

Funding Level

  • $5500: New pamphlet hunts from Sarah Bolling and Richard Ruane ✔️
  • $6000: Two new maps by Eli Kurtz representing Sawyer Harbor and the Sylvan Wilds ✔️  
  • $6600: UV spot gloss finish on cover  ✔️ 
  • $7000 or more: All contributors get paid more  ✔️  

Jex Thomas (they/them): Writing/Development/Layout

Jex is a part-time writer and game designer from Milwaukee, WI. In their other life, they are a mental health professional and help parent a dungeon goblin. Their work is primarily concerned with finding hope and humanity in hopeless, inhumane times.

Eddie Monotone (he/him): Cover Art

Eddie is a cartoonist and illustrator from Mohua, Aotearoa New Zealand. He makes comics and games and stuff.

Alison Cooley (she/her): Interior Art

Alison is an artsworker based in Toronto, ON. As Imp in a Sweater, she makes illustrations and ceramics.

Ashley Altadonna (she/her): Interior Art

Ashley is a transgender filmmaker, illustrator, and graphic designer. She started her own production company, Tall Lady Productions, in 2008. She lives in Milwaukee, WI with her wife and son and their cat Gatsby.

Eli Kurtz (he/him): Cartography and Stretch Goal Artist

Eli is a game designer and theoretical cartographer based in the Midwest US. Eli has been publishing games as The Mythic Gazetteer since 2016, and collecting and drawing maps for 30 years. He has worked on projects like The Company by Logan Dean, his grandma's local history books, and the original map of Last Pine for Bump in the Dark. In his spare time, Eli likes searching for critters and cryptids out in the woods. He's thrilled for the chance to explore Ontonagon a little more!

Michael Elliott (he/him): Additional Writing

Michael is a writer and game designer in Vancouver, Canada. He makes narrative games and stories with anti-capitalist themes.

Nychelle Schneider (she/her): Sensitivity Consultation

Nychelle engages within various spheres in and outside the analog games space using her indigenous voice to create community, representation. She wishes to foster a precedence in which minorities and those with disabilities are acknowledged and treated as equals in these spheres.

Max Hart (they/them): Proofreading

Max is a technical writer based in Chicago. Their hobbies include TTRPGs, 3D printing, and teeth.

J. Boone Dryden (he/him): Indexing

Boone is a writer and editor turned lawyer who lives in St. Paul, MN with his cats. His love of games brought him from the publishing world to the TTRPG world in order to edit texts to their finest forms.

Sarah Bolling (she/her): Stretch Goal Writer

Sarah is a writer based in New York City. Her work is fueled by her quadruplicate love of the uncanny, the campy, the sumptuous, and the sordid.

Richard Ruane (he/him): Stretch Goal Writer

Richard is the creator of Moonlight on Roseville Beach, Sherwood, The Haunting of Cliff Cove, My Chivalric Bromance, and  Barrow Keep. He began publishing as R. Rook Studio in 2019.
If you believe that this project is not in compliance with BackerKit’s Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, you can file a report by sending a message via this link: Report this project