24 December 2018

Sci-Fantasy Extraterrestrial Race - Secret Santicorn for wr3cking8a11

The entire race was struck by poverty, once. For this reason, etiquette is often built around the idea of hiding whatever luxuries exist in one's life, even if most people share in those luxuries.

Race name

The aliens call themselves planet-ers, in their own language.
The word for "planet":
  1. Scrin
  2. Hird
  3. Plett
  4. Plor
  5. Sand
  6. Lith
The suffix for "er":
  1. -nat
  2. -ar
  3. -ho
  4. -che
  5. -anan
  6. -ip


  1. Blood alongside a door marks that a child has recently moved out of the house or died.
  2. Reverence is shown to a guillotine symbol, but no actual guillotines seem to exist.
  3. Wiping sweat from the brow is the standard ranged greeting (like waving.)
  4. Emptying one's pockets in front of someone else is a (usually offensive) sexual gesture.
  5. Inhaling a deceased loved one's ashes in full is considered proper. Inhaling incompletely or not at all is frowned upon. (Contributed by wr3cking8a11.)
  6. There's an insanely popular canon of plays that were almost a hundred hours of performance time in total. People frequently communicate using only lines from these performances. (Contributed by Spwack.)


  1. Children are raised by the parents until the parents have something better to do. Then the children are raised by whoever has been assigned to nursery work.
  2. Maintaining or safekeeping ancient Tech is the most vital task one may aspire to.
  3. You are expected to grow a bonsai tree trimmed in exactly the same ways as everyone else's. If the shape is improper or if the plant looks unhealthy, neighbors will involve local authorities.
  4. When asked "How are you?" the polite response is "starving, but we'll be fine" or anything similar, regardless of the availability of food.
  5. Wearing clothing with a noticeably different color than the clothing worn on the previous day is a show of luxury and therefore a rude act of hedonism. It brings attention to the fact that the wearer is not wearing the same clothing two days in a row. To avoid this appearance, one must slowly transition to other colors or never transition at all. It's perfectly acceptable to have hundreds of outfits so long as three different colors aren't seen in the same week.
  6. Adults don't wear pants because kids wear them. Adults wear shorts, skirts, dresses, etc.
  7. No one has pockets. Wearing backpacks is weak and suggests deviant sexuality in the stronger sex. Carrying things in a bag is the norm.
  8. Speaking kindly of the dead makes elderly people very upset. They make religious signs in response and huff or sigh or swear.
  9. Working on an even day of the week is taboo. "Working" refers to minor labors like lifting objects from the ground, not real work like cooking or farming.
  10. The elderly act as if they are unwise in order to boost the confidence of the young.
  11. A tip is expected for service before service is rendered. The tip amount seems to have no effect on the quality of the service.
  12. Applause is rendered by way of a single clap in unison. Nearly everyone seems to know the right moment to clap, though a few claps lag behind in larger groups.
  13. Guests are always offered a bath just after arrival. A "bath" is a wet towel and a bar of soap prepared for you in a private room.
  14. Anything that might be personal, private, or valuable is handled by non-owners delicately with two hands and closely examined with false awe.
  15. Different colors of flat objects (traditionally flowers or leaves but paper or cloth may be used) may be left at a person's place of residence (with a signature marking) or handed to them to communicate basic messages interpreted by context.
    Add blood to any of the following to make the communication very serious/demanding/threatening. (Roll once and read across or roll twice until all colors are assigned.)
    1 ApologyYellow
    2 RequestWhite
    3 GratitudeBlue
    4 OfferGreen
    5 ChallengeRed
    6 InvitationBlack
  16. They treat all juices as delicacies and drink them socially. Juices are highly concentrated and sipped slowly over a one or two-hour conversation.
  17. Drinking milk is as offensive as forgetting to cover yourself.
  18. Used to offer virgins to the god of Cracks, Fissures, and Pits but now everyone regards this as barbaric and dumps undesired food in such places instead.
  19. Unlucky number only referred to by euphemisms: roll 1d10.
  20. Chewing food whilst in the streets is a symbol of prosperity and good health.


  1. Those born in space have lesser intelligence and are likely to be physically weak.
  2. Nut butters enhance the following, but only for this race
    1. thinking
    2. strength
    3. speed
    4. pheromones
    5. subtle urges sent by the dead and other spirits
    6. lie detection
  3. When anyone burps or farts, it's polite to say "wash your hands" but the young say "curses off" to make the saying more relatable to the younger generation who don't believe in the old "Hygiene"superstitions.
  4. [I need more. Please submit more ideas in the comments.]

Skin colors

  1. pale gray
  2. light gray
  3. medium gray
  4. dark gray
  5. black
  6. no light is reflected at all
The young have a blueish tint. Those in puberty often have blue spots. The elderly often have raised blue spots, like moles.

Mirror race

There are creatures living beneath the settlements.
They're referred to only with phrases like "our miserable cousins."
A watch is kept near the local passage to the underground, built by this race, long ago. The underground is a ruined city, never really used by the mirror race. They respected their deviant, nearly-mindless brethren enough to build a place for them, but public sentiment favors their destruction now, if a way is found.
  • They cannot survive in sunlight.
  • They act stupidly, but always in tandem, for they share what appears to be a simple hive mind. This means they will attempt to surround and flank but won't use complicated tactics.
  • Number appearing: d20. Unless they are all killed by the end of round x (roll 1d4), d20+3 more will appear from the d10x40 that are nearby.
  • AC [12]
  • Move 12
  • HD 0 (1 HP)
  • Morale 12
  • Attack: Claws or bite 1d6. (I'm assuming that all attacks do 1d6 damage as in OD&D.)


  • Only two people can fit in a 10x10' space.
  • Only one boilermail* can fit in a 10x10' space.
  • Every passage is very narrow but connected to many other passages like a maze with few dead ends.
  • If you use a published dungeon, each square is now 5' per square except when only one square wide (those are still 10'.)

Encounter table for expeditions underground:

  1. One of them has d6+1hp.
  2. One of them has 3HP.
  3. One of them does d6+1 damage.
  4. One them does 3 damage instead of d6 damage.
  5. Half of them are behind you and half are in front.
  6. One of them makes a stealth attack against whoever is in back at the start of the encounter.



20 December 2018

Hired Hands and Henchmen


  • Hired Hands are worthless in combat and aren't likely to be targeted by enemies.
  • Henchmen do pretty much whatever the players want, so long as they're not treated worse than a PC.
  • Henchmen must succeed at a morale check or seek other employment at the end of an adventure, but they stop checking morale at all once they've passed two morale checks.
  • Henchmen take only a half share of the entire party's loot and XP.
  • Henchmen are rare and usually sought for hire from factions whom the PC must have gained favor from.

Hired Hands

  • Hired Hands are ordinary, level 0 folk, not adventurers.
  • If forced to do anything dangerous, check their Morale. Regardless of success, remove one point from their Morale score afterward.
  • A Hired Hand is usually an incompetent outcast, such as a street urchin, addict, or bum. They're not willing or able to meaningfully contribute to combat, nor are opposing combatants likely to pay much attention to them.
  • Standard wage: 5 SP (silver standard) per day plus living expenses.
Example Hired Hand jobs:
  • Hold a torch or lantern
  • Carry treasure
  • Manage pack animals

Default Hired Hand

HD: 0. Grit: 5. ATK: 10. AC: 10.
Morale: 6. ATR: 10 each (roll 3D6 if needed.)
Random Profession + associated gear and dagger, club, or other minor implement of self-defense.


  • Henchmen require one half-share of the party's loot and XP.
  • A Henchman can replace a dead employer as a player character.
  • They obey fair orders and act at the same time as their employer (a single PC.) They are bound to their employer and will not leave in order to complete long-term orders.
  • Check Morale when the situation becomes nigh-intolerable. (Participating equally in a fight does not require a Morale check.)
  • Check Morale at the completion of an adventure (such as a return from a dungeon). Any failed Morale check results in abandoning the party, never to risk their employment again, at least not without very special circumstances.
  • After a Henchman has passed two Morale checks, they do not make any more unless mistreated/misused.
  • A Henchman is generally hired from a faction or while adventuring.
Note About Half Shares
When a party contains only PCs, everyone has a full share. 4 PCs get one share each. If they're sharing 400 SP, they each get 100 SP. If they brought one Henchmen along, she gets a half share. The result of this is that each PC has 2 shares and she has 1. This makes a total of 9 shares. Divide 400 by 9 to determine the size of a share. It's 44. This means she gets 44 SP and each PC gets 88 SP.

Default Henchman

HD: 1. Grit: 5. ATK: 11. AC: 10.
Morale: 7. ATR: 10 each (roll 3D6 if needed.) 
Random Profession + associated gear and weapon.

Hiring Hired Hands and Henchmen

2D6Hiring Reaction
12Refuse, insulted*
6-8Roll again
2Accept, impressed**
*Insulted: Reactions of other potential employees in area/Faction penalized by 1. **Employee's morale gets +1 bonus.

Morale Adjustments

  • if housed
  • if living expenses provided for
  • if given more than their share
  • if provided extra comforts
-1 per
  • insult to them
  • unnecessary danger faced
-2 for
  • harm that could have been avoided

18 December 2018

Death and Injury

Before you read the table, you need to understand Flesh, Grit, and how damage effects them. If you're already familiar with the concept, feel free to skip ahead to Death and Injury.

  • I first learned about the concept of Flesh and Grit from Logan Knight, though my version isn't 100% the same.
  • If you're not into my system, here's my favorite system other than my own.
  • The goal of this system is to be specific, deadly  and minimal while still giving players meaningful decisions to make, generating tension, and encouraging narrative variety for the referee. 



Every Damage roll removes Grit from the victim in an amount equal to the result of the roll. When there is no Grit, remaining damage is applied to Flesh instead.


  • Grit is derived from HD. It's basically the same thing as HP, just renamed.
  • Grit is an abstract measure of a PC's well-being and fitness for combat. Losing Grit represents bruises, scratches, dented armor, torn clothing, aching muscles, depleted breath and so on.
  • Sneak attacks ignore Grit and apply damage directly to Flesh.


  • Flesh loss represents broken bones, torn and punctured flesh, blood loss, et cetera.
  • You have 1 HD of flesh. You never gain more.
  • When a character loses any amount of Flesh, use the Death and Injury system below.
  • Rest heals 1 Flesh per week.


Death and Injury

If any Attribute drops to 0, the character is dead.

Flesh Loss

When your character loses any Flesh, make a Saving Throw. Success indicates Injury. Failure indicates death. Additionally, if the Save is succeeded by a margin of only 1 or 2 points, gain a Scar in the affected area (see below.)

When Gaining an Injury, roll 1D6 for anatomy and 1D6 for severity, below. Your character will also lose consciousness.

Injured characters may be revived after combat with 0 Grit. Any further damage to an Injured character results in immediate death.

Injuries may be treated in a settlement.

Injury Table

1Head13D6 days to recover
2?23D6 days to recover
3Arm33D6 weeks to recover
4Leg4Permanent injury (partially disable anatomy or reduce related Attribute by 1D6+1)
5Hand5Severe bleeding
6Foot6Permanent horrible injury (maimed, severe bleeding)
maimed body part is no longer functional. It might be removed or crippled.

Severe Bleeding

Severe bleeding causes -1 CON per Turn until the bleeding is stopped. (This Con may be healed at the usual rate for damaged Attributes.) Also roll 1D4 each round that the bleeding continues: on a 4, you die. At the moment battle ends, anyone may attempt to stop the bleeding. If they fail to do so, you die.

Anyone may Check INT, once per round, to attempt to reduce the bleeding (so you will only have to roll 1D4 once per turn) and then anyone may Check INT to attempt to stop the bleeding.


When you gain a Scar, gain 2 max Grit, and roll 1D6.
  • 1: Just a dent.
  • 2-4: Quite a mark.
  • 5-6: Disfigured.
Your scar can be used to impress or intimidate. If it's more than a dent it can be used to disgust and will also modify some reaction rolls (sometimes negatively, sometimes positively) if it's visible.

Death and Debilitation

If a player's character is dead or temporarily debilitated, the player should create a new character or take control of a Henchman, Hired Hand, or neutral character.

13 December 2018


Each of these conditions should be important to modeling issues of survival in harsh environments, but mechanics for them are usually much more complicated than I would ever enjoy as a player or as a referee.

Making conditions simply occupy inventory slots is a meaningful, appropriate mechanic, and you could really just stop there, but I added a bit more for some conditions.


Fatigue, Soaked, Cold, Overheated, Starvation, Famishment, and Thirst use 1 Inventory slot each.


Fatigue is gained as a result of exhausting activity. A character may have more than one Fatigue.
Fatigue applies a Bane to all rolls. (this effect does not stack.) A night's rest only removes one Fatigue.
Fatigue can be caused by:
  • getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep in a day.
  • traveling more than 12 hours in one day (+1 Fatigue per additional hour. A player character may check Constitution to resist gaining Fatigue from travel.)


Soaked is caused by being very wet. Soaked things are not on fire and may not be lit.


Cold is caused by exposure to a very cold environment.


Overheated is caused by exposure to a very hot environment.


Every 24 hours without food, gain one Famished and lose one Constitution point.


Lose 1D6 Con per day (or per 12 hours if overheated) without water. Assume there is a water source available nearby whenever characters are outdoors unless the environment would indicate otherwise.

11 December 2018

Retrieving Items from Inventory

UPDATE: rule greatly improved due to the comment below!

Another simple rule that probably hardly seems worth posting about, but I really like it, and it's my own.


To retrieve an item from your inventory in combat, roll 1d4. If you roll a 1, you've found it. Otherwise, you've wasted your combat round. If you want to look again, you find what you're looking for if you roll a 1 or a 2. Chances increase to 3 in 4 on the third attempt and on the fourth attempt, you find it immediately.

Outside of combat you may place an asterisk next to one item which you can place in a handy spot; you will find it without making a roll, though you will still spend a combat round to retrieve it.

06 December 2018

Grappling should be simple, advantageous, and risky

UPDATE: I no longer like the rules I placed here and have now deleted them. I am replacing them with the following:

Yes, every oldschool RPG blogger eventually seems to make a post about grappling. Here's mine.

I tried to keep mine as simple as it possibly could be while still giving players clear access to some important choices to make before entering combat, not just during it.

I also made grappling risky instead of just a way to automatically remove an enemy from combat. It's a tactical decision, not an easy out.

Combat Maneuvers

Instead of attacking, a PC may attempt a combat maneuver against an enemy.

  1. Roll a Check (usually Dexterity, Strength, or Attack.)
  2. Add a Boon if the enemy would find it difficult to prevent this Maneuver or add a Bane if the enemy would be likely to prevent it. 
  3. If the Check succeeds, the maneuver occurs.
  4. If it fails, the enemy prevents the maneuver, putting the PC in a disadvantageous situation if possible.


  • Shoving
  • Tripping 
  • Disarming
  • Grappling
  • Breaking through enemy lines to engage in melee beyond the first rank.

Notes on grappling:

  • When a grapple is in progress, the grappler must follow the combat maneuver procedure again each combat round.
  • Anyone involved in a grapple who is armed with a close weapon (a dagger, brass knuckles, a derringer, fangs, claws, etc.) is granted a successful attack each combat round.

05 December 2018

Improve your game with bits of OD&D

I've acquired a lot of the best elements of my game from the OD&D school of design.

OD&D (Original Dungeons and Dragons) isn't just a worse version of B/X (Basic/Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.) It's a different thing. The two systems have a lot in common, but they're different.

Reading List

In order:

0. Mentzer's Basic Dungeons and Dragons Player's Guide and DM's Rulebook (so you can learn what an RPG even is. Probably every last one of you reading this can skip this one.)
1. Philotomy's Musings (so you can see the kinds of design choices OD&D is likely to push you toward)
2. Delving Deeper (so you can read OD&D without reading those messy little brown books, Greyhawk, Chainmail, etc and mash them together as best as you can)
3. White Box: FMAG (for a somewhat interpreted/altered OD&D)
4. Dungeon of Signs blog (For some of the coolest stuff I've ever seen anyone do with OD&D, especially the player's guide and this post which contains some updated rules. You can browse through the player's guide tag to find more classes and such.)
5. Into the Odd (for a modern game that feels like OD&D might have been if it had been written a few years ago. The blog posts are some of the best blog posts anywhere too.)
6. Necropraxis (a blog with a lot of good OD&D-related theory and house rules.)

But I don't know anything, so please comment to tell everyone what else is great.

04 December 2018

Consulting a Book

The following is almost entirely stolen from James Young. I added the bit about INT MODs and slightly simplified the result table.


  • Player characters start hauling a library around in a cart.
  • You know what to do when players want to do research.
  • You know what to do when players try to read a book and you have to make something up.
  • Intelligence is now a more interesting Attribute.


How many books do you have and how long will you spend researching your question?

Time spentDice rolled on table below
1 hour1d6
3 hours1d6+1
6 hours1d6+2
9 hours1d6+3
2 days1d6+4
4 days1d6+5
1 week1d6+6
2 weeks1d8+6
3 weeks1d10+6
4 weeks1d12+6
Roll on the following table before asking a question you believe might be answerable by the book(s) you're consulting.

You may add 1 to the roll if you pass an INT test.

You may add 1 to the roll for each additional relevant book consulted.

Penalties might be imposed if the reader is of very low Intelligence or doesn't have sufficient background to easily understand the book.
2One word
3One word and roll again
4Three words
5Three words and roll again
6Full sentence
7Full sentence and roll again
8Detailed explanation
9+Detailed explanation and roll again
Note: the Referee will say "your question isn't relevant to the text of this book" if you've simply wasted your time.

30 November 2018

Boons and Banes

This idea is not my idea at all. However, I'm posting this for reference since I'll be mentioning the mechanic in other posts.
If you don't want to use boons and banes, you may
  • replace the word "boon" with "bonus of 3" or "advantage"
  • replace the word "bane" with "penalty of 3" or "disadvantage."


Boons and Banes

  • Each Bane or Boon is 1D6.
  • Banes and Boons cancel each other, so only Banes or only Boons will be added to a roll.


  • When making a D20 roll (only a D20 roll) in an advantageous circumstance, the player gains a Boon. 
  • Of all the Boons rolled, the highest number is subtracted from a roll's result.


  • When making a D20 roll (only a D20 roll) in a disadvantageous circumstance, the player gains a Bane.
  • Of all Banes rolled, the highest number is added to a roll's result.

Minimal Chase Rules that Retain a Small Variety of Outcomes

I've been rewriting rules for chases for a long time. I don't really want to use anything else I've ever read, but I like this. I haven't been able to playtest them yet, but Luka Rejec is planning to try them out soon, and I hope to do so in my game in a week. They borrow heavily from Gus L's Appolyon  Player's Guide Part 1, which is a document I've returned to again and again, always gaining inspiration.

If you'd like to have a look at other good chase rules, here are my recommendations:


  • Fast.
  • Not a minigame.
  • Allows a round of missile fire in some chases.


  1. Determine how far the Chased move away from the location of the original encounter: 1D4: 1. near. 2. far. 3. very far. 4. distant. *
  2. To flee or to chase the party rolls 1D6+modifier of slowest party member (-6 to +6. See chart below.) 
    • The slowest party member may drop an item held in their hands to +1 to this roll. 
    • If the party is far before they begin to flee, +1 to this roll.
  3. The non-player party rolls 1D6+modifier (-6 to +6 according the referee's discretion - see chart below.)
  4. Compare the results.
    • If both roll results are the same, each side may exchange a round of missile fire. Then return to step 1 of this procedure.
    • If the Chased roll result is higher, check the enemy's Morale to determine whether they search for the player party. If the Chased dropped something the Chasers desire, add 2 to this Morale roll.
    • If the Chasers's roll result is higher, they catch up to the chased and gain Initiative in the resulting encounter.

Chase bonusCreature
-2Injured or Encumbered
0Heavy armor wearer
+1Medium armor wearer
+2Light armor wearer
* Define these distances however you like. You may wish to make them less abstract by using a multiple of 10' for each, for example. In a dungeon, I would define far as 30'

29 November 2018

Creating a Terse Key (and more) for Caverns of Thracia

We started a group project with the intent of looking back at the classic Judge's Guild module Caverns of Thracia and rewriting it with terse evocative language and formatting to make it more practical for the table.


We've already contacted Jennell Jacquays who suggested contacting Judge's Guild. We’re contacting Judge’s Guild to find out if there’s any possibility of making this an official release, but for now, please do your best to keep it legal and to ensure that it doesn’t function without the Caverns of Thracia book.

  1. We have a style guide and would appreciate your help with
  2. Writing out rooms
  3. Writing out overviews for sections of the dungeon a la Stonehell
  4. Writing faction summaries and other reference appendices
  5. Correcting/understanding the weird bits.
  6. See the document for more information.

We're working on it in a Google Doc. Please leave a comment there requesting permission if you'd like to edit. You can leave comments in the doc, even without permission.

You can chat with us about it in the OSR Discord.

And of course I'll be reading your comments here.

Sample of the Key

Bold text is immediately observed. Normal text is easily observed. Italicized text requires examination/experimentation/etc.

28 November 2018

Cavegirl's (Emmy Allen's) Horrible Wounds formatted for print (the best Death and Dismemberment system)

I made this as a Google Doc, so you can edit it or just export it as a PDF and print it. You can get it here, but don't forget to read the original blog post and tell her what you think about it.

Emmy's Horrible Wounds is the best system for "Death and Dismemberment" I've seen... by a longshot. Other than the very minimal one I wrote, it's the only one I would every actually use in a game. It's wonderful, evocative, and suits lots of situations - probably even all of the ones you'll ever face.

19 November 2018

Universal Oldschool RPG Mechanic Toolkit

Before I even explain what this is, I want to show off my favorite part of my Universal Oldschool RPG Mechanic Toolkit:


When playing an oldschool RPG, the usual procedure is of play is:

1. Referee describes the situation through the characters' senses.
2. Players ask questions.
3. Players take personal action with their character.
4. Referee resolves the consequences of the action and returns to step 1.

Step 1 is usually accomplished naturally based on the Referee’s knowledge of the overall setting and of the specific circumstances involved. When it isn’t, refer to Other Adjudication Methods in the linked document.

Step 4 usually happens according to the rules described in whatever system you’re using. Sometimes, however, you will find a gap in those rules requiring you to resolve consequences without a specific rule to help you do so. When that happens, refer to Player Action Resolution Methods in the linked document.

30 October 2018

B/X Spells Adapted for a Low-magic GLOG Game

(Image by Evlyn M)

I believe none of these are exactly the same as I found them, but I definitely adapted a few from Lungfungus and Skerples.

I only selected spells that suit my low-magic campaign.

If you feel like remaking the Orthodox Wizard or adding spells to it, this list might be useful.


R: Touch T: Self D: Instant

Teleport up to [dice]x20' in the direction you are facing. If teleporting while moving, check Dex or fall prone.


R: 20' T: [Dice] creatures D: [Sum] turns

A humanoid of equal or lesser level than the caster regards the caster as a trusted friend. Invest 3 [dice] to instead target a monster up to 1 HD greater than the caster's level or 2d6 monsters of fewer HD than the caster's level.
Save to negate effect.


R: Touch T: Creature D: [Sum] turns

A creature obeys one non-violent command, so long as the command is within the scope of the creature's personality. The command may be made of [dice] words.


R: Region of Deity T: A deity you have met D: Instant

Contact a deity you've met and ask [dice] yes/no questions. If [sum] is 10 or greater, you may ask any question using [dice] words.

Comprehend Languages

R: 0 T: Self D: [Dice] turns

Understand any communication. This allows reading ancient languages and interpreting wildlife, but it does not allow speaking any unknown language.

Control Weather

R: 0 T: Self D: [Dice] hours

Command the weather in a general manner, such as summoning powerful wind, covering the sky in clouds, or causing a downpour. Limited by what is appropriate in this location and in this season.

The weather will be horrible in the affected locale [sum] hours after the effect ends.

Cure Light Wounds

R: touch T: creature D: Instant

Target creature heals [sum] HP. It costs 2 HP to remove one negative HP. This spell cannot remove Fatal Wounds, cure diseases, or heal lost limbs.


R: 50' T: 20' radius area D: [Dice] turns

Creates darkness in an area.

Detect Evil

R: 100' T: Objects/creatures. D: [sum] turns

Find malicious or antisocial intent.

Detect Magic

R: 60' T: Objects/creatures D: [Dice] turns

Magical objects/creatures within 60' are known to you.

Detect Poison

R: 50ft T: Person/object D: [Dice] turns.

Detect whether one target has been poisoned or is poisonous.


R: 50' T: Book or scroll. D: Permanent

Erases mundane writing. Erasing magical writing requires an Int check. Up to [dice] magical scrolls or 2*[dice] pages in a book.

False Sound

R: 150 ft T: D: [Dice] rounds

Create any sound (except speech) no louder than a screaming human, originating at a location of your choice.

Feather Fall

R: T: D:
R: 10ft T: [sum] creatures or objects D: [dice]*2 rounds
Target(s) float gently downward at a rate of 25' per round.


R: 200' T: 20' diameter D: Instant

Does [sum] fire damage to all objects within the sphere. Save for half.

Floating Disc

R: Touch T: Point D: [Sum] turns

Additional 10 inventory slots moved alongside caster by floating disc (3' above ground.)


R: 50' T: 30' area D: [Sum] turns

Obscures anything beyond 5' away. Sunlight, wind, or heat dissipate the fog in 1 turn.

Freedom of Movement

R: Touch T:Self D: [dice] turns

Unhindered by magical/nonmagical terrain including water/fluids. Move as if walking/climbing normally.

Gust of Wind

R: 150' T: Direction D: 1 round

Snuffs small flames or increases large flames. [Sum] HD or below creatures must Save or be knocked down.


R: Touch T: Object D: [Dice] turns while motionless + [sum] rounds in motion.
Causes target to become temporarily invisible (but not silent.)


R: 50ft T: [dice] objects D: Instant

Object is opened. Doors are flung wide, locks are broken, shackles are bent open, belts are undone. Treat this as a Strength check made with Str 10 + [dice]x4. If target is an armored creature, Save or armor is undone.

Works on doors locked by wizards (including doors locked by Slam Portal.)

Locate Object

R: 60' + 10'*[Level] T: Object D: 2 turns

[Dice] turns of knowing the direction of the nearest desired object within 60'. Must be something the caster has seen before. Description of the item may be general (example: a guard) or specific (example: the captain of the city guards.)


R: 0 T: creature or object D: Concentration

You will an object to raise, lower, or hover. You cannot move the object horizontally, and you cannot move it more than 10ft per round. Maximum weight is [dice]x250 lbs. Lasts as long as you concentrate, but you take 1d6 psychic damage per round after [dice]x3 rounds.

Purify Food and Water

R: Touch (container is enough) T: [Dice] rations or [sum] drinks D: Instant

Removes poison or causes good food/drink to spoil and become rancid.

Resist Weather

R: Touch T: Creature D: [Sum] turns

Resist intense environmental conditions. This applies to storms, temperature, magic spells, etc. It grants a Boon to related Saving Throws and decreases related damage die results by 1.


R: Unlimited T: Someone you've seen before D: [Dice rounds]

Watch a person as if you are present. Target may Save to notice your floating head.


R: 0 T: 25' area D: Instant

Brittle objects of up to 1lb must Save or shatter within 25' radius.


R: 50' T: Creature or 15' area D: [Sum] turns.

Save or be enveloped by a 15' sphere of silence.

Slam Portal

R: 100ft T: door D: instant

Slams a door shut and locks it (if it has a lock.) Wooden doors will become stuck and require a Strength Check to open.

If you invest 2 or more [dice] the door becomes magically locked for [sum] hours.

If you invest 3 or more [dice], you may magically lock any number of doors in range for [sum] hours.

A Knock spell will open a magically-locked door instantly. Creatures with at least 3 more HD than the caster can noisily open a magically-locked door.


R: 100' T: [Sum] HD noticed living creatures D: 4*[dice] turns

Puts creatures to sleep.

Speak with Dead

R: Touch T: Corpse D: [Dice] real-time minutes

Target will speak and knows what it knew in life, if it wishes. It might lie. It might ramble. It probably doesn't remember how it died.


R: Sight T: Object D: [Dice] turns

Your voice seems to originate from another source visible to you.

Water Breathing

R: Touch T: [Dice] creatures D: [Sum] turns

Duration divided evenly between all creatures touched.


R: 20' T: Room or segment of passage D: [Dice]hours

Fills area with a web which takes [sum]/2 rounds to get through. Flammable.

27 September 2018

Fomalhaut/Kowloon Planet - Barzon Session Report 2

September 25, 2018. Session 2 on the planet Fomalhaut-1, on Barzon, an island of the Emerald Sea (a module by Gabor Lux aka Melan.)

Last time! Summary: Powerful figures are searching for Zena and Pangea who are
now in disguise: Denna Swaura (head of the empire's soldiers on the island of Barzon who's heard they're here and nothing more, but is suspicious that strangers have been allowed in by the xenophobic Svanth), Ullkmaran (the despicable merchant, whom they utterly despise and seek revenge on who tried to paralyze them with wasp poison under friendly pretense so he could sell them as slaves in a larger city), and Svanth (local ruler of the island who plans a coup againt Denna and has hired the players to aid him in ensuring it's a sheer massacre with little losses for his 30 loyal soldiers.)


Though they're in disguise,they're also the only two strangers in the whole city. Anyone who's looking for them is looking for a pair of women strangers. Zena and Pangea split up to carry out their plans as quickly as possible and to avoid detection. They only have two and a half days until the coup, the day the Flying Gods descend upon heretics, according to their purpose. (For now though, the giant wasps are only interested in preying upon sheep.)

Zena searched the docks, hoping to discover information or contacts advantageous to the party's goals of 1. exploding Ullkmaran's ship and 2. getting off the island of Barzon. She found guards, sailors, and other workers at the docks. One of them left Ullkmaran's ship and still worked for him after several voyages. She was able to learn a bit about his treacherous habits. This sailor helped her get a job as sailor aboard the ship, prompting it's likely departure within the next few days, possibly the very next day.

Meanwhile, Pangea was in the Public House eating lunch and buying beers for a table full of miscreants. They were immediately impressed with her and her generous, confident attitude and stories of foreign oddities. After much discussion, she convinced them to help her rob Ullkmaran's warehouse, load supplies into the ship, and steal the ship itself for the excitement of foreign travels.

Zena rejoined Pangea in time for Swaura, the Amazon-like captain of the empire's local army to search the room for the two of them. She'd heard about foreigners whose arrival her ship had failed to detect, and whom Svanth had failed to restrain, expel, or murder in his usual fashion and she suspects them of consorting with him for some purpose. She scanned the room and Zena stood out as unfamiliar to her, but she didn't notice Pangea.

When she approached the table, Pangea slipped into the kitchen seeking another way out of the building. A bribe kept the extortive cook quiet and informative. Pangea informed the table quietly while Swaura stood nearby, silent and attentive. When Zena attempted to leave, Swaura attempted to interrogate her, but Zena fled to the alley with Pangea and the two both tripped Swaura from opposite sides of the exit door, and injected her with paralyzing wasp poison they had obtained from Ullkmaran. Zena did her best to apologize and explain that they were really on Swaura's side of things in the end and were refusing to aid in her murder at their own peril and loss. They left her in the alley, knowing she may regain control of her muscles within a couple of hours.

Their newly-collected gang (3 mooks and 3 scoundrel adventurers) had fled out the front door, so they feared they had lost their chance, but the gang was merely watching them from a block away, waiting for safety.

They hurried to the warehouse that night without time to case the place and learn guard routines for fear the ship might leave in the morning. After tricking the guards, a few at a time, into falling downstairs with armor loosened (from a powerful magical item the party got from their previous Hot Springs Island campaign) and then killing them, the party grabbed everything of value from the warehouse and shared it with their new gang equally without complaint.

They dismissed one of the gang who feared their heretical magic (I rolled a morale check for each member after they saw magical tactics used in battle) after interrogating him to ensure he wouldn't snitch.

Next time, they'll have to find a way to get the necessary supplies from the warehouse to the ship without city soldiers, harbor guards, or their named enemies catching on and killing them for their crimes.

17 September 2018

Fomalhaut/Kowloon Planet - Barzon Session Report 1

September 16, 2018. Session 1 of a new campaign on the planet Fomalhaut-1, on Barzon, an island of the Emerald Sea (a module by Gabor Lux aka Melan)
Pangea and Zena are foreign heretics who arrived in the palace's court by an ancient, long unused portal from Hot Springs Island. They can escape punishment by secretly helping Svanth. The flying gods (giant wasps) will rend the Empire's soldiers on the day of Ascendance (three days from now.) Some of the Empire's soldiers are loyal to Svanth, who is the Trademaster and a local ruler. He needs their commander dead, he needs his untrusted merchant ally Ullkmaran kept indoors and away from the events of that day, and he needs the empire's soldiers dead. It's absolutely necessary that no one learns that anyone local is involved. The flying gods will be the only recorded cause of the coup.
This seems like I'm railroading the party a bit. That's slightly true, but my players know they can do whatever they can get away with, even when pinned down. Read on to see.
Svanth sent some of the city soldiers with Pangea and Zena to prevent the flying gods from tearing them to bits, since they are foreigners and, by necessity, heretics.
They went to meet with Ullkmaran in his home. They sensed ill portent when they saw teenage girls in skimpy clothes accompanying him. He offered wine and they bargained with him, offering drugs or silver for paralyzing poison he makes of flying god remnants when they land in the wasteland to die.
I felt weird about including something so distasteful even though it's in the module. It really characterizes him strongly and gave me a sense of how to play him. I gave him a very gentle, effeminate voice.
He agreed and they drank together as he inquired about their lives and the lands they had been through. Pangea was leery of the wine and only sipped it, but Zena downed it in one gulp, after checking to see that the city guards were not poorly affected, and she immediately became paralyzed. Before she did, however, Ullkmaran convinced the city guard to leave the room to get more wine and he ordered one of his two present bodyguards to leave as well.
Pangea. the merchant, and his remaining guard fought. The battle was very chaotic due to a magical object and the merchant used all of his laser gun ammo at once (due to an unlucky roll) to do very little damage and Pangea killed his guard with a crossbow.
They agreed to part peacefully in the end, due to ramifications for either party. Ullkmaran did not appear to desire to act with hostility with the city guard present, though his bodyguards (11 were then present) laughed a bit when they ascertained his intentions. The party didn't want to die fighting so many of his men.
Ullkmaran (a 5th level thief) is stalking them. He normally wouldn't go to such trouble for slaves, but he would like an opportunity to steal Pangea's powerful magic necklace (which was used in the altercation.)
They found ancient, fragile explosives in wreckage at the bottom of a green-tinged crater (the wasteland that the gods supposedly go to when they're ready to die.)
The explosives each do 6d6 damage and could explode on a 1 in 6 if jostled. The city guard warned the party of their danger and fragility, but the party doesn't know the specifics. Zena and Pangea each stored one in their own pack, "carefully."
Only one ship is big enough to travel much distance. This is a small island they want to get off of, so they had been planning to steal the thing or secure passage, depending on what was most feasible. The rest of the harbor is populated by fishing boats. The players then tried to work out how to blow the big ship up because it belongs to Ullkmaran, and they just hate hate hate him.
They wrote him a love letter from the commander of the Empire's army, asking him to her room at a specific time. They intend to poison her with a lethal overdose of paralysis poison and get him to show up just afterward.
The party finally bought new clothes in town, went into a changing tent, put on heavy makeup and went out the back in an attempt to evade their personal soldier escort. It worked. Additionally, the flying gods did not attack them when they were unattended.

29 August 2018

Knave Mini-Review, Hacks, Additions, and Other Resources

v1.1 changed/added classes.
v1.2 added Brian Harbron's resource management system.
v1.3 added debt
v1.4 Added a second Stunt Hack, Scars, and Debt
v1.5 added Sigve Solvaag's Brainspace Hack.
v1.6 added d20 Knave Talents Inspired by The Original Game by Marshall Brengle.
v1.7 added weather.
v1.8 added Dungeon of Signs' Death Save

Knave Mini-Review

  • Knave has one of my favorite spell lists ever. Wonder and Wickedness is a better cohesive list
    of level-less spells, but the one in Knave is great if you want short, simple spells and don't
    want spell schools.
  • Knave does not have classes. It does have a very limiting inventory/encumbrance system. This
    means that players specialize by choosing what to carry rather than being permanently stuck
    with their class choices.
  • Questing Beast (aka Ben Milton) designed Knave with a focus on inventory management,
    classlessness, OSR compatibility, and simplicity of rules. He also designed it to be easily
    hacked, so that's what I'll be doing a bit of here.
  • Knave uses a weird, neat Saving Throw system that replaces skill checks. All successful rolls
    must exceed 15 on a d20, so the GM must call for them responsibly and players must beware
    risky choices.
  • Knave is 7 pages long, but it feels as if it manages to do everything necessary for the real oldschool experience, not just a modernized rules-light system that is missing major aspects of "OSR play." (By the way, this is how Ben Milton defined OSR once, and I generally agree:
    "The more of the following a campaign has, the more Old School it is: high lethality, an open
    world, a lack of pre-written plot, an emphasis on creative problem solving, an exploration-centered reward system (usually XP for treasure), a disregard for "encounter balance", and the use of random tables to generate world elements that surprise both players and referees. Also, a strong do-it-yourself attitude and a willingness to share your work and use the creativity of others in your game.")
Knave is my favorite system for
1. Running a one-shot with full OSR adventure compatibility.
2. Running games for newbies and those who are intimidated by crunchy rules with full OSR
Note: Into the Odd is my favorite for both of the above if I'm going to be creating most of the content myself (with lots of help from Chris McDowall's fantastic blog, which is a great resource even if you don't run his game.)
It would be excellent as a primary system, even for running a gigantic campaign in, but I happen to already be using the GLOG for that. 

Hacks and Additions

I'm working with an emphasis on minor changes that (mostly) don't lessen the result of Knave's
design goals. Some of the hacks (especially the Experience hack) increase Knave's emphasis of
inventory management. Whenever a heading includes the word "Hack," it's meant to
replace some rules in Knave. Otherwise, each section functions as an addition to Knave. You can take any one (or all) of these sections and copy and paste them into your own copy of Knave.

Outside Resources

A superb alternative character sheet
My own index-card character sheet. Print on letter-size paper (preferably label paper so you can just attach it to index cards.)
A lovely Knave generator.
Several hacks.
The official G+ community.
What else may I add? Please let me know.

Restful Lunch

When spending an hour to eat one full ration, uninterrupted (only once per day), a Knave recovers
d6+CON HP.
Rationale: Spending a ration to get only d6+CON HP (instead of the standard d8+CON received when resting after a meal at night) encourages players to hunt and eat monsters, which is a great deal of fun when you also use Monster Menu All.


Hunting and Gathering

A dead monster has a 1-in-6 chance of being unusable.
  • Dead monsters can provide 1 field ration per hit die (Field rations last for 1 days).
  • Salt, fire, and HD hours can turn a dead monster into HD*2 standard rations.


Base preparation chance is 1-in-6. Increase success odds by 1 for each of the following.
  • Fire
  • Water
  • Utensils
  • Pots & pans
  • Spices
  • A well-supplied party able to take time while camping succeeds automatically.

The Meal

For normal meat, roll d6. Add +1 if the food was properly cooked and prepared, subtract -4 if the
meat is rotten.
  • 0 or less: Save vs CON or lose d6HP from food poisoning.
  • 1: Save vs CON or no benefit from meal
  • 2-5: No extra effect.
  • 6: Heal 1 additional HP.
Rationale: eating monsters is great.
Alternatively/additionally, see Dan D's Dan D Unified Cooking Rules
Consult Monster Menu-All for other properties.


For every 24 hours without food, save against Constitution to prevent one Constitution point being
lost. Without water, save against Constitution to prevent Constitution being halved. After 72 hours
without food, die.
Rationale: Realism. Food should be very important.


Fatigue, Soaked, and Cold

use 1 inventory slot each.

Fatigue is gained as a result of exhausting activity. Traveling more than 12 hours adds 1 fatigue per hour. A player character may check Constitution to resist gaining fatigue.
Soaked is caused by clothing and backpack being wet.
Cold is caused by exposure to very cold temperature.
Rationale: Even more ways to make inventory central to Knave play.


Less than 8 hours sleep in a day causes exhaustion. Exhaustion uses one inventory slot and causes
-1 to all rolls. Cumulative Exhaustion may be added each day.
Rationale: Another way to make inventory central to Knave play.

Currency and Equipment

If you aren't happy with equipment costs or with the copper standard, just use the equipment list
from any other game. Perdition, Into the Odd, Osric, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Basic
Fantasy, Labyrinth Lord, Castles and Crusades, and Swords and Wizardry have good equipment lists.
Rationale: This isn't really even a hack. It's just instructions to guide you to your own hack.

Light Sources, Usage Die

A Light Source depletes according to die rolls and illuminates an area. Each turn, roll. If the
result is less than four, use a lower die. If anything less than a four is rolled on a D4, the
light source is depleted. Use these steps: D20 -> D12 ->D10 -> D8 -> D6 -> D4 -> depleted.
Torch: D8. 20’ bright light, 40' shadows. 5 per one slot.

Lantern: D20 (per bottle of lamp oil.) 30’ bright light, 60’ shadows.

Candle: D10. 5’ bright light, 15’ shadows. 10 per 1 slot.

Flint and tinder requires 1D4 rounds to ignite a light source.

Credit: This might have originated with the Black Hack? I have no idea. It's a popular mechanic.

Rationale: For players/referees who don't want to keep a tally, this can simplify things.


1. Set a dice-price for the item (5d20 gold, 3d12, etc)

2. Player and GM both roll.

3. The GM keeps their roll secret.

4. The player can either accept their own roll, or accept the (unknown) GM's roll. For more
granularity, make the decision dice roll by dice roll, going back and forth until the total is
agreed upon.
Credit: David SchirduanG+ Post.
Rationale: This allows haggling without endless Charisma rolls and shopping/selling debate.

Initiative Hack

Roll under Wisdom to act before the enemy party. Those who failed the Wisdom check must act after
their enemies. Other than this exception, player characters act in order of their results, lowest to
highest. (Stolen from the GLOG.)
Rationale: I don't like requiring an entire side to go first. It makes combat unreasonably
one-sided much of the time. Also, it's nice to give Wisdom another (quite natural) use.


  1. Before anything else, a pursued may drop an item. If it is something a pursuer desires, roll morale to see if the pursuer stops pursuit to take the item.
  2. To flee or pursue, the party member with the lowest Dexterity in the party does an opposed Dexterity save against the enemy's Dexterity.
  3. Find the difference between the rolled result and the Dexterity score. The player party gains
    that many "steps" if they succeed. The enemy gains that many "steps" if they succeed.
  4. A. If the pursued are 5 steps ahead, they've lost the pursuers. If the player party has
    successfully fled, check the enemy's morale to determine whether they search for the player
    B. If the pursuers catch up to the pursued, the chase is over and the pursuers automatically win
*A "step" is usually about 10'.
Rationale: This is the best simple chase system I've encountered.

Stunt Hack: Option 1

  • Make two attack rolls.
  • If both hit, the stunt occurs.
  • If one attack hits and one misses, it's a partial success or a success at a cost.
  • If both attacks miss an ironic reversal occurs. Example, a knave tries to trip an enemy but
    loses her footing in the process.
Retrieving an item from inventory is a Stunt.

Credit: adapted fromJames Young.
Rationale: This isn't noticeably more complicated than the rules in Knave but allow for more
interesting results.

Stunt Hack: Option 2

If the players want to do something like disarm or trip someone in combat, the side most at risk
makes a Save to avoid consequences. Credit: Adapted from Chris McDowall's Electric Bastionland.


Check Strength or Dexterity to climb. If a new segment of the climbing path becomes visible, do a
second check to progress. Each exploration turn spent studying the climbing route will add half of
one attribute bonus (rounded down) to the roll. If the roll fails, the referee should roll a D10 to
see what percent is climbed before the fall.
Rationale: Climbing isn't the easiest thing to make a ruling on, and this system is simple with interesting results.


Every 10 feet fallen beyond the first 10 feet incurs 1d6 damage. If falling more than 40 feet, check
CON to avoid death. Hanging from a ledge reduces the calculated fall distance by 10 feet.
Intentionally falling causes a Dexterity check; success reduces the calculated fall distance by 10
Rationale: See above.


When on fire, take 1D6 DMG per Combat Round. Extinguishing a fire normally uses one Combat Round and
requires a successful DEX check.
Rationale: See above.

Time (Overloading the Encounter Die)

When the party moves into a new area or spends time on an exploration activity, roll the encounter
die and interpret the results as follows.

Encounter Die

  1. Encounter
  2. Percept (clue, spoor)
  3. Locality (context-dependent timer)
  4. Exhaustion (rest or take penalties)
  5. Lantern
  6. Torch

One might object: does this not lead to absurd results such as torches going out on the first turn
or PCs needing to rest on the second turn? Well, yes, but you are an intelligent human, so ignore
results that do not make sense. A result should be interpreted as not “X happens,” but rather as a
prompt. A result can be deferred, but only so many times. The weight will naturally build up in the
back of your mind as events proceed. As a guideline, ignore results above 3 for the first 6 or so

You could have a general “light source” entry and just pick one light source randomly each
time (this has the advantage of not having all torches go out at once), but I prefer to distinguish
between the two main types of light sources given their differentiation on the equipment list.
Conceptually, I think it helps to have different spaces in your short term memory for each, as you
can have the sense that 5 has come up several times already and know that is relevant for lanterns.
Torches should probably go out almost every time a 6 six comes up and lanterns should deplete
approximately every third or fourth result of 5.

 “Locality” is meant to be used for area-specific state that should be kept separate from standard random encounters. Examples: water rising, the stalker drawing nearer, a prisoner loosing an appendage to the torturer, doors locking behind PCs, and so forth. The possibilities are limitless and make every location potentially mechanically different in a way that is player-salient.

Credit: adapted from Brendan S.
Rationale: Time is important, and Brendan's Overloaded Encounter Die system is a great way to skip
a lot of the work in tracking it.

Experience Point Hack

Sold Treasure Becomes Experience

1 experience point is gained for each gold piece of treasure spent. This is the only way to gain XP.

Items stolen from civilized settlements does not count. Only treasure taken from a dungeon, wilderness hideaway, bandits, or other such "adventure locations" counts for experience.

Division of Experience

Each surviving player character receives an equal percentage of all experience gained from treasure
that was obtained through a collaborative effort. Any NPC who willingly chooses to take combat risks
or exploration risks (such as going first into an unexplored room) also receives an equal share of

Maximum Experience in One Day

A character may not gain any experience past what is necessary to attain the next level until the
following day.
Rationale: Requiring that money be spent before it's converted into experience points makes
experience about inventory management, in line with Knave's design goals.

Character Specialization

d20 Knave Talents Inspired by The Original Game

Roll or choose one at first level. When advancing a level, you may choose another in lieu of raising ability scores.

1. Abjurer: In lieu of attacking, you may repel the unholy, immediately forcing them to make a morale roll with a penalty equal to your level, even if they are otherwise incapable of fear.
2. Acrobat: You gain advantage on attempts to jump, tumble, balance, and attack with a staff or polearm.
3. Armiger: Name a specific weapon with which you always gain advantage in combat.
4. Assassin: When you have advantage in combat, you may expend it to automatically score a critical hit.
5. Bard: In lieu of attacking, you may beguile listeners and onlookers with a performance. Lesser foes will stop and observe for as long you continue or until they are attacked. Worthy foes require a save to be affected.
6. Berserker: When reduced to 0 or fewer HP, you continue fighting for 1 turn per level but you always attack the nearest creature whether friend or foe.
7. Burglar: You gain advantage on attempts to move silently, hide in shadows, climb sheer walls, pick pockets, open locks, and find & disable small mechanisms.
8. Butcher: In melee, when you kill a lesser foe you may immediately attack again.
9. Cavalier: You gain advantage on trick riding attempts and attacks while mounted.
10. Charlatan: You gain advantage on attempts to deceive and disguise.
11. Druid: You know the language of birds and beasts and never risk a hostile reaction from them.
12. Dwarf: 1st level only. +1 Constitution. You never risk becoming lost underground, and your sense of smell is strong enough to identify creatures and minerals.
13. Elf: 1st level only. +1 Wisdom. You can pass through wilderness terrain without leaving a trace, and see by starlight as well as a human in broad daylight.
14. Gnome: 1st level only. +1 Intelligence. You are small enough to fit into spaces that larger folk cannot, and can create minor illusions no larger than a person to deceive sight and hearing.
15. Half-Elf: 1st level only. +1 Charisma. You never risk a hostile reaction from sentient creatures, and you can see by starlight as well as a human in broad daylight.
16. Halfling: 1st level only. +1 Dexterity. You are small enough to fit into spaces that larger folk cannot, and can generally move about unnoticed in their civilizations.
17. Hospitaller: With 10 minutes of undivided attention and the proper tools, you can heal a creature for a number of hit points equal to your level plus their Constitution modifier.
18. Pugilist: Your bare hands count as both a d6 weapon and a shield.
19. Ranger: You are skilled in orienteering and never risk becoming lost in the wilderness.
20. Wizard: After a good night’s sleep, you can memorize a number of spells equal to your level, allowing you to cast them without a spellbook once each.

Credit: by Marshall Brengle. Current version lives here if it updates.

Classes Option 1


Place an asterisk next to the weapon you start with. When you gain advantage when using this weapon, roll a d12 for damage.
Alternate Fighter: Place an asterisk next to the weapon you start with. You may parry/dodge once per day when using any weapon of this type to reduce damage by d12. I don't like this as well because this ability is passive and does not require planning, cleverness, tactics, etc.

Put an asterisk next to each item you start with, not including weapons, and shields. You gain
advantage on any saving throws that depend on the expert use of these items.


Gain one random spellbook which contains one spell.


Gain one random herb. (See Replace Clerics with Herbs below.)


Gain advantage on saves when 5 or more slots are occupied by treasure.
Rationale: These minimal classes do not pigeonhole characters into a playstyle, keeping Knave still nearly classless.

Classes Option 2


Replace your armor with the next higher armor class.


Trade one of your items for a toolkit.


Trade one of your items for a spellbook.
Rationale: These minimal "classes" aren't even really classes. They just give players a bit of control over their starting equipment - just enough to help them specialize into a playstyle until they change their equipment.

Failed Professions

Note your failed profession on your character sheet. Gain advantage on any saving throws that depend
on your expertise.

1d100 Professions

(Taken from Skerples' blog "Coins and Scrolls":

1d100 Actually Medieval Professions
Rationale: This change is quite a lot like adding classes to the game, but it feels very different
and only really changes a little.


At character creation, reroll the stat in the Reroll column and pick the higher value.

1-15HumanChoiceStart with 1 extra Dungeoneering Gear itemDisadvantage to resist being mutated or transformed
16-20ElfCHAEat half as many rationsSave vs Ugliness or shun it
21GnomeINTCan become invisible if you close eyes, hold breath, don't moveDisadvantage to DEX when legs are used
22SpiderlingDEXCan secrete 30' of rope per dayCannot see more than 30'
23MagpielingDEXAlways knows the approximate value of mundane itemsMust Save or pick up shiny objects
24EellingINTTake half damage while grapplingCannot see anything nearer than 1'
25AntlingCON+2 Inventory SlotsSave vs Fear when alone
26HedgehoglingWIS+2 ArmorCannot wear armor on chest or limbs
27DeerlingCHAAntlers (as a club)When afraid, will run instead of freezing
28SlothlingSTRCannot be FrightenedAlways Surprised
29MouselingWISCan very convincingly play dead-2 Inventory Slots
30BoarlingCONTusks (as a dagger)Constant snuffling. Disadvantage to stealth rolls
31HawklingINTCan see detail at a great distanceMust eat uncooked food
32HoundlingCHACan track a creature by smellSave vs Commands
33BeetlelingSTR+1 Armor, half fall damageCannot wear armor on chest or limbs
34FishlingCONCan hold breath for 5 minutesDrink twice as much water as usual
35SwanlingDEXCan shout and sing incredibly wellCursed. Disadvantage to Save vs anything.
36OwllingWISCan rotate head 180 degreesCough up disgusting pellets after every meal
37SluglingSTRCannot be pushed in combatSalt is deadly to you
38FlylingDEXCan eat rotten food as rationsWill never notice details unless they move
39RabbitlingDEXJump twice as highWhen afraid, will freeze instead of running
40GooselingCONPrehensile neck, can fit through small spacesWhen afraid, Save or attack enemy
41RavenlingCHACan eat rotten food as rationsMust Save or pick up shiny objects
42WeasellingSTRCan crawl through narrow spacesMust eat uncooked food
43FroglingCHAPrehensile tongue (as a whip)Drink twice as much water as usual
44ToadlingSTRJump twice as highContagious warts
45RatlingINTCan crawl through narrow spacesSave vs Fear when alone
46GoatlingDEXNo penalties for broken or hilly terrainPervasive, unique stink
47FoxlingWISWhen foraging, gain double rations.Cannot tell the direct, blunt truth
48WormlingINTCan shrink or grow from your base height by 25% as an Action-2 Inventory Slots
49FlealingSTRCan drink blood as rationsCannot wear armor on chest or limbs
50BatlingWISCan roll Wis to "hear" walls and major fixtures in the dark.Will never notice details unless they move

Modified from Skerples' Table of Races for the GLOG.
Rationale: very minor race effects provide further characterization and opportunities for
character motivation to emerge from play.


Use one of the following to add mutation effects to your game:
Rationale: mutations can provide tools, challenges, and characterization.

Dying Hack

Want to reduce lethality? Here are some options.

Hill Cantons Death and Dismemberment Chart

Roll d10 if a PC reaches 0 to -10 hit points (anything lower is an automatic death). If hit again
during the session, the player must make an additional roll at -1 (cumulative for each roll on the
chart). The GM can also adjudicate positive or negative modifiers according to circumstance. With
any result the character is out for the session unless magical healing brings hit points into the
positive range.

0 or lower
Grisly Death. Body so spectacularly destroyed that only a resurrection or wish spell can bring it back to life.
1 to 3Just Plain Dead. Dead as per the usual rules.
4 to 5
Fatal Wound. Character dies in 1d12 rounds unless magical healing is applied. Character is completely incapacitated and will remain an invalid for 3d6 weeks. Scarring makes for -2 toCharisma.
6 to 7
Severed or Mangled Limb or Digit. Roll randomly or GM pick for which limb or digit (can also be eyes, ears, or nose). Unconscious for 3d6 rounds. Character requires 3d4 weeks of healing before being able to adventure. -1 to Charisma.
Broken Bone. Roll randomly or GM picks limb. 3d4 weeks to heal bone. Also unconscious for 2d6 rounds.
10 or higher
Concussion. Unconscious for 2d6 rounds. 3D6 if not wearing helmet.

Credit: Chris Kutalik
Rationale: Chris' table still takes characters out of play most of the time and leaves them very
challenged if they survive.

Death & Dying

When reduced to 0 HP, make a saving throw. Success indicates unconsciousness, failure indicates
death. Unconscious characters may be revived after combat with 1 HP.
Credit: Brendan S.
Brendan's solution provides a tiny bit of protection against Total Party Kills.

Death Saving Throw

When a character is reduced to below zero Hit Points, the player may elect to make a final saving throw against death, and if successful the character will return after the combat or other damaging incident is concluded with a single hit point, gravely injured.

In this state a character cannot act in combat or engage in dungeoneering tasks unless healed. Additionally should a character that is gravely injured take any damage, it is a killing blow, without further recourse to the death save.

Death saves are static, but increase (making survival less likely) each time the character makes one. All characters begin with a Death Save of 10, but this increases by one point each time they roll against it.

Credit: Dungeon of Signs house rules document.

Replace Clerics with Herbs

In Knave, most classes can be represented, to some degree, by choosing what items are in a character's inventory. This doesn't work with clerics, so here is a system for allowing characters to get items that mimic a Cleric's abilities.



Herbs with a rarity of 0 may be found by scavenging for herbs. Roll a d12 on the Replaced Spells list when foraging for herbs to gain the associated herb. Those with special knowledge may roll a larger die. Rarer herbs must usually be found by questing, but may occasionally be available for purchase.


Herb LevelBaseline Cost
0100 GP
1200 GP
2600 GP
3800 GP
41000 GP

Replaced Spells


Rarity - Spell Name - Duration - Save - Effect

1. 0 - Bless

1 min/lvl - SV no -+1 hit/+1 save VS fear. Opposite is Bane.

2. 0 - Cure Light Wounds

Perm - SV Wis ½ dmg Heal for 1d8/3 lvls (max 4d8). Hurt undead, get Wis save.

3. 0 - Detect Alignment

10 min/lvl - SV no Concentrate for 1 round in direction and sense alignment specified in range.

4. 0 - Invisibility to Undead

10 min/lvl - SV Int neg Invisible until ends/attack/cast buff/attack spell. Those attacking
suffer -8 at roll. Intelligent undead get save.

5. 0 - Protection from Alignment

3 rnd/lvl - SV no -+2 AC/Saves against chosen alignment. Protects against possession as well.

6. 0 - Purify Food & Drink

Perm - SV no Make food eatable.

7. 0 - Remove Fear

Special - SV no -+4 to save effects. If already Feared get another save at +1.

8. 0 - Sanctuary

1rnd lvl - SV special Warded character can’t attack or cast offensive spells or ends. Attackers must make Wis save or can’t attack warded char.

9. 0 - Turn Undead - Salt

Perm - SV no
Repel undead of HD equal to the character's level+1. Roll 2d6 to determine the number of undead turned, with a minimum of 1. Turned undead will attempt to leave the area. Undead with the lowest HD are affected first.

10. 0 - Detect Magic

1 min/lvl - SV no Concentrate for 1 round in direction to sense magic in varying degrees of strength. Passes through thin barriers.

11. 0 - Detect Poison

10 min/lvl- SV no Detect whether one target has been poisoned/is poisonous.

12. 0 - Endure Elements

24 hours- SV no Ignore intense weather conditions.

13. 0 - Command

1 rnd - SV Chr neg One word command, 1 creature/2lvls. Can reverse magical effects like Sleep.

14. 1- Detect Undead

1 min/lvl - SV no Concentrate for 1 round in direction to sense undead. Passes through thin barriers.

15. 1 - Resist Elements

1 min/lvl - SV no -+2 save against specified element.

16. 2 - Augery

Instant - SV no Find out if particular actions have good/bad consequences. 70 + 1%/lvl chance for answer. Events up to 30 min seen.

17. 2 - Consecrate

2 hrs/lvl - SV no Holy land - +3 Turn undead/+1 VS fear. Undead suffer -1 to all rolls. Opposite is Bane.

18. 2 - Delay Poison

1 hr/lvl - SV Con neg Cannot be affected by poison during spell

19. 2 - Hold Person

1rnd/lvl - SV Wis neg
Hold person physically in place. Can do mental shit.

20. 2 - Remove Paralysis

Special - SV no Removes magical or non magical paralysis.

21. 3 - Dispel Magic

1d6 rnd - SV no Suppresses magic for 1d6 rounds in 60ft radius

22. 3 - Remove Blindness/Deafness/Curse/Disease

Perm - SV no Specify which one you are removing. One effect per casting.

23. 4 - Neutralize Poison

Perm - SV Con neg Stops poison and temp effects (but not ones that have already happened). Can be used on poisonous creatures.

24. 4 - Restoration

Perm - SV no Restores 1 level lost by level drain (not death). Restores ability scores affected by temporary drain, but not perm.

Herb Generator

I recommend using this herb generator by ktrey parker to create herbs for the above "spells." It's very good.


Michael R. Bacon. Spell format modified from Mike Evans. Ideas used (with permission) from James Young in a chat room. Herb generator by ktrey parker.

Wilderness Travel


To navigate accurately (without getting lost,) roll 1d6. A player character with relevant
(usually local) knowledge may improve the roll by 1.

Keeping a large landmark in sight ensures accurate navigation.

TerrainChance of Getting Lost
Plain1 in 6
Mountain, Hill, Forest2 in 6
Desert, Jungle, Swamp3 in 6

Getting Lost

When lost, the party randomly moves to a different hex adjacent to the one intended. Roll 1d6 to
determine which.
1-3The party wanders left
4-6The party wanders right

Travel Time Per Day

A party cannot partially enter a hex. They must spend the required time to enter a hex or remain
in their current hex. They may travel up to 12 hours. They may push it and travel up to 16
hours. If they do, they gain Fatigue and may only travel 6 hours the next day.

Travel Chart

Hours to move 6 miles (the size of a standard hex.)
TerrainHours to EnterMi./day6-mi. Hexes/dayChance of Getting Lost
Plain32441 in 6
Hill41832 in 6
Forest51222 in 6
Desert51223 in 6
Jungle61223 in 6
Swamp61223 in 6
Mountain7612 in 6


Traveling at night is nearly impossible without a road. (You might choose to make an exception for
a full moon.) When night travel occurs, increase the probability of a random encounter by one die
face at night. Winter - 8 hours of light Spring/Fall - 11 hours of light Summer - 14 hours of

Overland Sight

Characters can usually see for three miles around them, in open terrain. This range may sometimes
be reduced (e.g. in overgrown terrain such as a forest) or increased (e.g. looking out from the
top of a mountain.)

Wilderness actions


Choose one of the below:ObviousNot ObviousHiddenWell-hidden
D6 result[No Roll]1-31-21

Obvious features are discovered upon moving into a hex. To explore the hex the characters are in,
spend the same number of hours it would cost to move into the current hex (consult the Overland
Travel Chart.) Then roll 1d6 to determine if unnoticed features of interest are discovered. (Give
a bonus to this roll equal to the Wisdom modifier of a party member who has knowledge of this kind
of terrain.) A second exploration reveals everything but the most carefully hidden features,
without need to make a roll.

Forage for Food

A party may forage when in a wilderness environment. (Doing this requires every party member to
search together.) It does not take extra time or slow travel, but it may only be done once per 6
miles per day. Roll under half the Wisdom of one party member to gain the party d3 rations.

Forage for Herbs

A character with expertise in herbs may search for a beneficial herb, if herbs are present. It
takes no extra time to randomly discover one (see Herbs) but searching for a specific herb takes 3 hours and is usually only found on a 3 in 6 check, if it's present in the hex.


A party may hunt when in a wilderness environment. It requires three hours of travel time
(decreasing the time that may be traveled that day) and causes two encounter checks. Roll under
half of a party member's Wisdom and decrease arrows twice. Hunting results in 1d6 rations.


A party may spend half the hours required to enter the hex to search for a defensible or hidden


1d4 exploding turns to find the source of tracks.


See Wilderness Travel

Wilderness Encounters

Encounters are checked once when the party is sleeping, once per hex moved through (or once per 6
miles), and whenever the party is loud.

Encounter tables

The following tables show typical results on a d6. You may wish to use different probabilities for specific locations.

Plains, Roads

NothingNon-combatMonster OmenMonster

Desert, Forest, Hills

NothingNon-combatMonster OmenMonster

Jungle, Mountains, Swamp

NothingNon-combatMonster OmenMonster

Rationale: Knave does not include any rules for overland gaming.

Resource Management

Expedition resources

Certain items are considered Expedition Resources. They have the following qualities:
  • If even one character in the group is carrying a single quantity of the resource, there is a sufficient amount for the entire group to use.
  • They have an expected use that does not ordinarily deplete the resource.
  • Creative uses of the resource trigger aLuck Rollthat may deplete the resource.
  • If nobody in the group has the resource, the party suffers some negative effect.
The meaning of "group" obviously changes if characters get split up.


  • Expected use: Eating dinner
  • Example creative uses: Dropping food to distract monsters
  • Penalty when lacking: Group is Deprived if they fail to eat their required daily meal. Remain Deprived until they eat food again.


  • Expected use: Drinking water duringShort Reststo recover HP.
  • Example creative uses: Dousing a fire, mixing a potion from herbs.
  • Penalty when lacking: Group is immediately Deprived. Remain so until they drink water again.

Lanterns & fuel

  • Expected use: Lighting the darkness.
  • Example creative uses: Pouring lantern oil to start a blaze.
  • Penalty when lacking: Stumbling blindly in the darkness. (Veins of the Earth has great rules for handling this.)

Basic camping equipment

  • Expected use: Sleeping comfortably outdoors.
  • Example creative uses: Catching a leopard in a sleeping bag and throwing it into the river.
  • Penalty when lacking: Group is Deprived if they try to sleep in the rough. Remain so until sleeping overnight somewhere comfortable.

Basic climbing equipment

  • Expected use: Assist with basic, vertical climbs.
  • Example creative uses: Tying something up with the included rope. Using included pitons to
    spike a door.
  • Penalty when lacking: Basic, vertical climbs become risky, require a DEX save.

Luck roll for resources

Creative uses of an Expedition Resource, occurrences that would put a resource at risk (e.g. falling into a putrid pit, dropping a lantern into the water, body engulfed in flames), and other situations that raise the question "Has this resource been used up?" should result in a d6 Luck Roll:

1The resource is depleted
2-3The Expedition Resource has 1 use (expected or creative) remaining
4-6No change

CreditAdapted from Brian Harbronhttps://blog.thesconesalone.com/2018/07/a-simple-resource-management-system.html
Rationale: If you prioritize simplicity in tracking, this does the job. I personally won't be
using this system for Knave, but I will be using it for Into the Odd, for which it was originally designed.


As a group, you share a debt of 1000 coppers. Debtholders pursue payment keenly. Your next character inherits your share of the debt and whatever else you own.

Credit: Adapted from Chris McDowall's Electric Bastionland.


When you are taken to exactly 0hp, you get a Scar. Your first Scar adds d6hp to your Maximum.

Scars only occur in deadly situations, not training.

Roll d6 plus the damage caused by the attack.
2: Busted Foot - Reduced to a limp until fixed.
3: Lasting Pain - A nasty scar that causes intense pain if pressed on.
4: Busted Lung - Your breathing is loud and you cough up blood often. It’s gross.
5: Smashed Jaw - You lose a lot of teeth and get a speech impediment.
6: Bloody Mess - It needs lots of Stitches, and you don’t benefit from Resting until it’s done by a someone who knows how.
7: Shaken Nerves - You stammer, twitch, or shake, unless you use something to calm your nerves.
8: Disfigurement- The injury leaves your face totally disfigured.
9: Mind Splinter - A specific element of this injury is stuck in your psyche. Lose d6 Intelligence each time you're forced to confront it.
10: Gouged Eye - A random eye is gouged out.
11: Obsession - Do not benefit from rests until you achieve revenge.
12: Hewn Limb - One of your limbs (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is torn off or in need of amputation.
13: Terrible Fracture - A random limb (1: right arm, 2: left arm, 3: right leg, 4: left leg) is broken in the worst way. It can be set by someone who knows how, but until then you cannot use it, or benefit from Rests.
14: Lost Sense - One of your senses is lost (1: Sight, 2: Hearing, 3: Scent, 4: Taste).
15: Heart Damage - This vital organ is in critical state. If you suffer this Scar again, you die.
16: Shadow of Death - You feel a cold hand on your shoulder and have nightmares. Any time you sleep, pass a Wisdom Save or scream through the night.
17: Fractured Skull - You drool and slur. If you suffer this affliction a second time your skull is utterly split open and you die.
18+: Doomed to Die - You shouldn't have survived that. You have nightmares of your own death. If you fail your next risky Save, you die horribly. If you pass, remove this effect.
Credit: Adapted from Chris McDowall's Electric Bastionland.

Brainspace hack

The following is a "plugin" hack for Knave. Feel free to use it as you like, but I appreciate a
shoutout or namedrop. Enjoy!

Brain Slots

PCs have a number of brain slots equal to their Intelligence defence. Brain slots are used for
proficiencies, be it use of armor, brewing potions or sneaking around. Whenever you are trained by
an NPC or fellow PC that is higher level than you, you gain one proficiency rank, which fills one
slot. Whenever you make checks pertaining to that proficiency, add +1 for each rank. Generally, it
takes 1 week * rank number to become trained in a specific rank. If your brain slots are filled up,
you can elect to forget a rank in a proficiency to learn another. Doing so doubles the time required
to learn a new rank.

Example Proficiencies

Alchemy - craft a single item of ink, soap, oil or tar by passing an Intelligence saving throw. For each new rank, you can make 2 more items with this proficiency. Crafting alchemy items usually takes 4 - 8 hours, depending upon your preparation and work space.
Armor - choose an armor type to become proficient with. You can force enemies to re-roll attacks a number of times equal to your proficiency. For each 8 hours of rest, you regain one spent re-roll.
Elemental Magic - you've become proficient in the use of elemental magics. You can add your proficiency ranks to spell damage and attack rolls.
Toughness - you're just really tough as nails. Add your ranks to hit dice rolls and maximum hit points.

Credit: Sigve Solvaag.


Roll d6 each morning/afternoon/evening.

1 Bad.
2 A little worse than it was. Signs of bad weather.
3 A little better than it was.
4-6 Typical for the season and locale.



Chilly, breezy.


Hot, sunny, humid, sweltering.


Hail, rain, thunderhead, storm, drizzle, hazy, snowflakes.


Cloudy, windy, breezy, mild, clear, overcast, foggy, dry.

Credit: Adapted from an idea Chris McDowall shared in Discord.