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Axe for the Frozen Sea
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Axe for the Frozen Sea

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This is the v0.1 release. It is playable, but will be expanded upon as I write more random tables and refine the rules with playtesting.

This is a lightweight ruleset for fantasy RPGs. Its goal is to be playable with minimal equipment or in a situation where dice aren't feasible, such as bushwalks, road trips, or in prison. Because of this it loses some of the texture of more complex rulesets. I don't expect it to be anyone's favourite or preferred ruleset, but perhaps it can help fill a neglected niche. Failing that, hopefully the included system-neutral random tables spark some creative, memorable play in your other games.

Because it is lightweight, it suits simple characters, common-sense adjudication and theatre-of-the-mind play over tactical miniatures, character builds, and leveling up a character over the course of a few dozen sessions.

Like most "old-school" RPGs, it has no mechanics designed to create an act structure, a hero's journey, or any similar storytelling devices. Unlike most old-school games, it's a little softer when it comes to character death. That said, hack this game into whatever suits your group.

An incomplete list of inspirations for this game:

  • Whitehack by Christian Mehrstam
  • The Black Hack by David Black
  • Troika! by Daniel Sell
  • Sherpa by Steffan O'Sullivan
  • Maze Rats by Ben Milton
  • Fate: Accelerated Edition by Fred Hicks and Clark Valentine
  • The wealth of creative material written for OSR games and for games like Dungeon World that stress the principles of "prep situations, not plots" and/or "play to find out what happens".
  • In particular, the luxuriant random tables of Brian L and Zedeck Siew, and the sprawling, anti-canon Pentola setting of Michael Lombardi.
  • Many other blog posts and twitter threads, the nascent #sworddream, the massive influx of new D&D players changing the game, the accumulated wisdom of the old guard
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File Last Updated:
August 04, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on August 08, 2019.
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