Axe for the Frozen Sea
A downloadable game
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
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:
Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.
For people with low or precarious incomes. If you want to check this out but it isn't in your budget right now, please grab a community copy.
Purchasing this game adds 1d6 community copies to the pool, +1d6 for each multiple of $5 if you're feeling generous ;-)
If there are no community copies left but you really want a copy, get in touch with me.
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