A downloadable game

Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

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 (print)
  • The Black Hack by David Black (pdf, print)
  • Troika! by Daniel Sell (pdf, print)
  • Sherpa by Steffan O'Sullivan (html)
  • Maze Rats by Ben Milton (pdf)
  • Fate: Accelerated Edition by Fred Hicks and Clark Valentine (pdf & print)
  • 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


Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Axe for the Frozen Sea v0_1.pdf 1 MB
Axe for the Frozen Sea v0_1.html 170 kB

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