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.

14 August 2018

Injuries and Death and Dismemberment v1.0 - Below 6HP, Abstract, Simple, Lethal

EDIT: I don't like this anymore. Find my current system here.

I've been collecting Death and Dismemberment tables since I started this hobby. I've found several I like very much, but none of them quite suit my game.


Injuries Before 0 HP

Philotomy's Musings recommends describing all injuries that place below 6 HP as doing physical damage and to describe the rest as "muscles getting tired, sweat getting in [...] eyes, [...] breath running short, [...] resolve weakening, [...] reactions slowing, and [...] reserves of skill and luck being used." This is because, in OD&D, the average person only has 1-6 HP and every weapon does 1-6 damage.

This made me think about making damage below 6 HP mechanically different. Relatively minor injuries are incurred when damage brings a character below 6 HP.


My favorite Death and Dismemberment Table (from Perdition by Courtney Campbell) is specific to his rules system and also has very specific flavor text such as: "A cut to your chest punctures a lung and makes it hard to breathe." My mind feels limited by such concrete, descriptive sentences. I should feel free to interpret the result as I like, but my imperfect mind has to navigate that wall first.


I've read several Death and Dismemberment tables that I wanted to use but never tried because they were more too complicated. They take too much time to understand and use. I wouldn't feel comfortable handing them to a player without at least a minute of explanation.


Odd as it may sound, most Death and Dismemberment tables make it difficult to die. They don't just mitigate death a little, they make it improbable. My table makes it very difficult to roll on it more than once without major consequences.


A lot of the ideas here, though mostly unrecognizable now, were inspired by Courtney Campbell's fantastic book, Perdition. Perttu Vedenoja made some great suggestions.

Death and Dismemberment

When a character's HP is reduced to fewer than 6, roll 1d6 on the Injuries table.

At 0 HP, a damaged character must roll 3d6 on the Injuries table. HP cannot drop below 0.

If an Attribute drops to 0, the character dies.

All attribute damage may be recovered as usual unless noted otherwise.

Injuries that are interpreted as severe bleeding or any kind of head trauma cause unconsciousness.


1 -1 to related Attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
2 -2  to related Attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
3 -4  to related Attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
4 -1/4th Movement (foot injury)
5 -1/2 Movement and knocked to ground (leg injury)
6 Minor Brain Damage (Roll 1d4 on Brain Damage table)
- Critical Injuries
7 Severe Brain Damage (Roll 1d4+4 on Brain Damage table)
8 -10 to related attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
9 -6  to related attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
10 Maim/remove body part (save vs CON)
11 Maim/remove body part (save vs CON)
12 -6  to related attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
13 -10  to related attribute (roll on Body Part Table)
14 Death
15 Death
16 Death
17 Death
18 Death

Body Part

Roll 1d4 when appropriate. Reroll if the result does not fit the situation.

1 Head (D6: 1-2 Intelligence 3 Wisdom 4-5 Charisma 6 Blind)
2 Torso/Groin (Constitution)
3 Arm (Strength)
4 Hand (Dexterity)

Brain Damage

Become unconscious, then save vs Constitution to prevent permanence. (D4 for minor damage and d4+4 for severe damage.)

1 -1 Intelligence and -1 Wisdom.
2 -3 Wisdom.
3 -3 Intelligence.
4 Save vs lowest Attribute (Wisdom, Intelligence, or Constitution) at the start of battle. Flee on failure. Permanent, no save.
5 Unable to speak. Permanent, no save.
6 Change personality and lose one level. Permanent, no save.
7 Intelligence and Wisdom become 3.
8 Intelligence is 1.

09 August 2018

Orc GLOG class

Offer this class when your players are frustrated and just want to kill something.

Class: Orc

Setting Context

"Since suffering and violence are the only things that appease the gods, orcs believe that it is only the violence of the world that keeps the gods from destroying it." - Arnold K


Starting Equipment: leather armor, any 2-handed weapon.

Starting Skill: Warrior. See Professions for a second skill. Keep rolling until it makes sense.






You gain +3 ATK for each Orc template you possess. An adventurer's first template must be an Orc template or none will ever be an Orc template.

Intelligence maximum = 5 in non-war things. Wisdom maximum = 5 in non-war things.

Bright light causes -3 to all your rolls.

If you drop below 0 HP and are incapacitated, the other PC orcs in your party may make a free attack roll with a melee weapon.

Gain +1 to all damage rolls.

You are immune to most diseases. Diseases caused by contact with the undead are still effective.

You have lived too long to evade sacrifice. If you don't dedicate at least one humanoid kill per week by ritual (any ritual) to the cruel gods, you will waste away. Lose one CON per day until this is rectified. CON lost in this way cannot be recovered by rest or by magic.

Gain an additional +1 to all damage rolls.

Save against Intelligence whenever someone else kills someone you attempted to kill. If you fail, jealousy forces you to make an attack against that person.

Gain an additional +1 to all damage rolls.

Whenever you reduce a creature to 0 HP with an attack, you can make another attack with the same weapon against a target within 5’. You can only cleave an number of targets equal to your Level in a single round.

Bargain with hateful, violent gods.

Bargains always include promises of violence, gifts of violence, or both. The gods hate orcs and will punish any debt that lasts more than short while. The GM may decide to alter circumstances in response or grant bonuses to rolls up to +3, as best suits the request and the payment. The penalty for an unpaid debt must always be double the benefit granted.

Surviving any situation against the odds requires a sacrifice, even if no bargain was made. The bargain was implicit.

"If my clan survives this battle," the warchief says, "I will sacrifice ten of their number atop the Red Tree. Grant me this covenant, O Lord of Teeth, O Cracker of Bones, and I will fulfill my vow." - Arnold K. The orc gods do not speak or communicate in any way other than direct action. Orcs may only assume their request has been granted when the desired outcome occurs.

07 August 2018

Treasure of a Dungeon Gourmand-Chef

Roll once per column. Describe valuable items properly. A 5 gp pot is inlaid with gold. A 50 gp pot is nearly indestructible and/or inlaid with gems and gold. A 100gp item also has a magical effect.

1 [Adjective Interesting Treasure] (see below) 5GP Slimy
2 [Adjective] pot or pan 10GP Crusty
3 Sharp, rusty, [adjective] chopping knife 20GP Blackened
4 3 [adjective] vials of olive oil 30GP Moldy
5 Sausage in [adjective] wax paper 50GP Muddy
6 [Adjective] Bag containing a spice (d6: brown, red, yellow, orange, black, white) 100GP Pastel blue

Interesting Treasure

  1. Aquarium of live, very rare, ultra delicious shellfish.
  2. The sharpest paring knife ever used in a kitchen.
  3. Special salt that almost instantly dessicates anything down into jerky.
  4. Auto-spicing spoon that spices a dish to perfection.
  5. Localized gravity cutting board, ensuring no slippage.
  6. Condenser that makes one gallon of broth into a marble.
  7. A bracelet with cooking utensils for charms that grow to full size when detached.
  8. Extractor fan that sucks up cooking smells into a bottle.

01 August 2018

Road Trip One-on-One Session Prep

I want to GM a one-on-one game while I drive for many hours on a few different days. I'm writing out my plans here in case anyone else wants to try it. You probably shouldn't. The GM should probably be the passenger while someone else drives. In my case, this is not true.

DO NOT EVER do anything that distracts you from driving. If you can't keep your mind on the road, don't do this. Don't listen to audiobooks. Don't listen to podcasts. Etc.

Please make suggestions! Tell me what you would try. Tell me how I will horribly fail.


  • The GM cannot reference anything.
  • Only the player may roll dice. 
  • System: Knave (Simple, OSR-compatible rules with surprising depth. Designed to accommodate player-rolls.)


A deck of index cards labeled 1-20 could replace dice.
Instead, we'll place dice in a baby food container and shake them inside of it. 

Scenario options

  • Generate a Yoon-Suin situation, write notes, leave notes at home.
  • Memorize a one-page dungeon and leave it at home
  • Run one of my own dungeons to the best of my memory.
  • Guard a caravan (See Incorporate the Drive below.)
(I chose the third option because I suspect I will be best at remembering it and improvising what I don't. The dungeon I'll be describing is one that I hope to eventually release to the public.)

Incorporate the Drive

Pause the game when anything interesting on the road happens. When the moment is over:
  • Other Car Causes Danger: Random encounter.
  • Enter Traffic: Obstacle.
  • An Out of State Plate: add a trap or other danger.
(Adapted from an idea by Kurt Potts.)

Mystery Box

The player must only look in envelopes when instructed and must only read the appropriate cards.

Pre-rolled Index Card Character Sheets

Blank Index Cards

The player will write notes for herself on these. The GM will occasionally dictate further notes if absolutely necessary.

Monster Envelope

Write monster names and/or descriptions on index cards. Description should give hint to players about monster and should remind GM of special attacks and such. GM makes up stats on the spot. 

Random encounter = player pulls card at random. 

NPC Envelope

Write character names and player-facing descriptions that the player will read aloud to the GM.

Map Envelopes

Map Envelopes 1-10 correspond to keyed areas of the dungeon (areas 1-10) and each contain a player-facing map piece, a la Sleeping Place of the Feathered Swine. Each piece says what numbers it connects to, so the GM doesn't have to tell the player which envelope to open next. Each piece also has a brief player-facing description that the player will read aloud to the GM.

Treasure Tables

The player will roll on a standard treasure table when the GM wishes to describe most treasure:
1[Adjective Interesting Treasure] (see below)5GPSlimy
2[Adjective] pot or pan10GPCrusty
3Sharp, rusty, [adjective] chopping knife20GPBlackened
43 [adjective] vials of olive oil30GPMoldy
5Sausage in [adjective] wax paper50GPMuddy
6[Adjective] Bag containing a spice (d6: brown, red, yellow, orange, black, white)100GPPastel blue

The player will also occasionally roll on a rare treasure table:
1Aquarium of live, very rare, ultra delicious shellfish.
2The sharpest paring knife ever used in a kitchen.
3Special salt that almost instantly dessicates anything down into jerky.
4Auto-spicing spoon that spices a dish to perfection.
5Localized gravity cutting board, ensuring no slippage.
6Condenser that makes one gallon of broth into a marble.
7A bracelet with cooking utensils for charms that grow to full size when detached.
8Extractor fan that sucks up cooking smells into a bottle.

Mushroom Envelope

Sampling Mushrooms


Common Mushrooms

1-2White (Agaricus bisporus)NutritiousSweet tar
3Bearded tooth (Hericium erinaceus)NutritiousMusk, citrus
4Shiitake (Lentinula edodes)NutritiousEarthy
5Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)Poison. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting. Save or: jaundice, delirium, seizures. Save again next morning or kidney failure -> Death in 6 days.Honey sweet. Eventually rotten-sweet.
6Magic Mushroom (Psilocybe zapotecorum)Time is slowed. +1 to rolls involving speed. Surprising or strange things cause Fear (flee in random direction 1d4x10 seconds.) Hallucinations at edges of vision and when studying things for 20 minutes.Starchy. Like cucumber.

Rare Mushrooms

1Brown, fuzzyFecalHair falls out. Your scalp sprouts tiny, sentient mushrooms. They're equally loyal to host and other mushrooms. Mushroom reaction, d4: 1. Worship and try to live in clothing. 2. Treat as own. 3. Laugh and offer stay of any hostilities. 4. Kill the abomination.
2Squishy pink, like geode sliced in halfRaw meatSneeze mood-altering spores. d4: 1. Fear. 2. Hunger. 3. Violent Rage. 4. Melancholy
3White, branching stalks with separate capsFeetMutate. D6: 1. Enlarged skull. Gain 2 spells that reside there. -2 INT. 2. Steel body when sleeping. 3. Magnetic hands (only relevant to iron.) 4. Speak with cooked vegetable matter. 5. One limb is dead. 6. You shrivel to half size. -1d6 to STR, DEX, CON.
4Upside-down, purple carrotRoseGrow by 1d6x10% upon touching a water source larger than the total drops of water in body. When thirsty, shrink to 1d6% less than normal size.
5Spongy, grey, dry like chalkRye BreadYour nervous system becomes like mycelium. As long as you are not wholly disintegrated, you can regrow limbs, even your head. Save or decrease one CON. Henceforth, save every morning or decrease one CON per day.
6Giant rhubarb, cratered center.OnionPoison. D6 CON damage, one per turn. Whenever damage is taken a different limb turns purple, bloats, and loses sensation. Then head. Mushrooms grow from body if death occurs from the poison.

Random Encounter Envelope

The player will not open this until the mushrooms have been met.
Mushroom Friendliness (circle current)-2-10+1+2

-21d6 edgy mushrooms hunting and raging Amée
-11d6 edgy mushrooms hunting
11d4 wary mushrooms and a leashed pig patrolling
21d6 mushrooms
35 mushrooms stomping on a puddle
41d3 (or 1d4-1) mushrooms gardening
51 mushroom digging
7Amée and 1 annoyingly inquisitive, helpful mushroom
8Pig on leash, wandering alone

Know One Important NPC by Heart


Player-facing NPC card: Amée is a pot-bellied pig humanoid woman with a sunken face. Seems very reasonable.

GM secret knowledge: She rages at intentional or careless violence against mushrooms.

To help mushroom-friends.
To cook and eat fancy mushroom dishes. Doesn't know she's addicted to mushrooms.
To remember her husband fondly and await his "return." (She saw the mushrooms kill him. She is in denial and pretended he was an elk and ate him.)

Doesn't want:
To step on mushrooms.
To eat food without mushrooms.
Unnecessary violence.
Anyone to know she's the daughter of a lord.

Attacks: 2. Barbecue skewer, d4 "exploding" (Result 4 = roll again and add results together.)
Special: Has 2 mushroom effects on touch. If raging --> High health + attack bonus, coughing spores with mushroom effects on failed save.

Other NPCs


Poisonous unless cooked. Cause mutations if cooked.  Odor: Sweet tar, earthy.

Attacks: 1. Damage: 0.

Special: Release spores. All non-mushrooms save to avoid or to suffer partial effect (GM choice.) (Their heads fold back nearly 180 degrees to fully open their mouths.) Each group of mushrooms has 1 mushroom effect per 4 mushrooms. For example, a group of 5 mushrooms will have two mushroom effects. Only apply one effect for each mushroom's combat turn.

Friends to transport buttons.
Interesting bacteria.
To meet new kinds of mushrooms.
Doesn't want:
To be eaten.
To be alone.

Leashed Pig

Special: Follows scents. d4-1 turns to find smelliest party member. If scent is difficult to follow, roll d6.

Yummy mushrooms.
Doesn't want:
Anything scary.
Yucky mushrooms.