Two dark, lyrical roleplaying games about people pushed far past their limits.

Out of stock


Published by Bully Pulpit Games
Distributed by Deernicorn Distro

Two games of survival horror, often without the survival. Desperation is two small roleplaying games, built on the same dark tone and mechanics, that are truly pick-up-and-play experiences for you and your friends. These dark, lyrical games, Dead House and The Isabel, are steeped in actual history and tell the stories of people pushed far past their limits.

Desperation asks you to assume an unusual point of view—instead of deciding what people say and do, you decide who says and does the things that must happen. The sense of dread is palpable with each card reveal, because in these games, the things that must happen are a gradually escalating kaleidoscope of unimaginable horror. If you like card-based roleplaying games like The Quiet Year and For the Queen but have a dark and unmerciful heart, you’ll love Desperation.

Dead House

Dead House is set during the great blizzard of 1888. You’ll meet the people of the tiny town of Neola, Kansas, who find themselves unprepared in the teeth of the storm. As supplies and sanity dwindle in equal measure, who will live and who will be added to the dead house?

The Isabel

The Isabel is set aboard a three-masted cod schooner fishing in the Gulf of Alaska in 1888. Her passengers and crew have unpalatable secrets, and they are sailing into a storm the Isabel cannot weather. A doomed ship, raging seas, and a handful of leaking dories await them—and then the hard times begin.



  • Two 64-card game decks, Dead House and The Isabel
  • Two game rulebooks and one informational card
  • Magnetic storage box

Number of players: 1-5 players
Style: GMless lyrical card game, no prep or materials required
Creators: Jason Morningstar



“Dead House harvests dread from the smallest seeds… My students couldn’t stop talking about how much they were into this game.” — Rick Dakan, writer, game designer, and professor of Creative Writing, Ringling College of Art and Design

“It’s intense and immersive and we all agreed it could be the perfect way to introduce people to these types of games. We cannot wait to play again!” — Craig Shipman, Third Floor Wars

“It was very dire and we all felt the stakes of it. We all felt that loss when a character died. A really good immersive experience.” — Jillian Kiefer, narrative Designer of ScreamCap



Interview with the Designer – Wandering DMs
Interview with the Designer – Third Floor Wars

Additional information

Weight .8125 lbs
Dimensions 5.75 × 4.125 × 1.75 in

You may also like…

Scroll to Top