Lamplight RPG – 2nd Edition

Thanks to the eagle-eyes and proof-reading abilities of my friends I have revised the 1st edition.

You can find the second edition at the bottom of the Rules Downloads page.

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Lamplight – Random map generator

A friend of mine called Tim asked if I had considered a random generator to create maps for the mines and for solo-play. One quick flash of inspiration later and I’d knocked up a one page generator – which you can now find in the Rules Downloads.

However, I had not tested it as I did not have the time. So this morning, with a few minutes to spare I used it to create a small map for a section of the mines – voila!

Random Mines map for Lamplight

I took some graph paper, a pencil, a couple of pens and 2d6. The generator produced all the detail you see above in about five minutes. Not bad eh?

The thing to understand when you use random tables like this is that it cannot cover everything. Thus you have to apply a little of your own creativity, e.g.:

  • I chose which direction the tunnels came out of the caverns (erroneously called ‘chambers’ on the map), and how many.
  • I added cart rails to a couple of tunnels to connect caverns that had randomly generated cart rails.
  • I made a little key for the symbols I invented.
  • If I rolled one cavern straight after another I put a small connecting tunnel between them (i.e. from cavern 2 to cavern 3).

Then I ran the Encounter table across each cavern, and produced what you see above.

  • Cavern 1: 3 Brigands scavenging for equipment and maybe Orichalcum. They probably don’t want a fight if outnumbered. You can choose to roll Hostility on that or make your own mind up.
  • Cavern 2: Nothing.
  • Cavern 3: A Slith. These have spells so I rolled three times on the Spell table in Lamplight 3 – Foul Sorcery & Thaumaturgy. I got Counter-magic twice so I re-rolled the second one.
  • Cavern 4: A Man’o’War – could be a tough fight for a new party, so I ignored the die roll saying there should be 3 of them, and just put 1 in there.
  • Cavern 5: 2 lost miners, who probably engineered the roof fall to keep the Man’o’War at bay.

I think that this map would probably cover an evening’s play. Then it’s breaking through the roof-fall, saving the miners and into the caverns beyond!

Note: If there does not seem to be enough loot, just hide some for the players to search for.

So, there you go. Try it out and if you have a fun session please tell me about it, or send a like to your blog or wherever you write it up.

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Lamplight Fantasy RPG

“Since the death of the King and most of his Great Knights, the land of Albion has been plagued with many ancient terrors.
The characters have banded together to search out and destroy the terrors surrounding and below the mining village of Lamplight. The locals are happy to see them and are supporting them with what little they have.”


An inspiring piece for Cadwallon, by the inestimable Paul Bonner.

This is my latest venture into writing a very simple fantasy roleplaying game. This time I have abandoned the old 1d20 and moved to a 2d6-based system. The main mechanic is very easy to pick up and allows for considerable character development.

I have also returned to the two-page, three column format after a lot of players asked me to do so. Some people like booklets and some like two-pagers, so here you all go.

You can find the rules and the first three setting supplements on the Downloads page, just scroll right to the bottom. Further expansions are in the works and most will be 1-4 pages in length.

If you find any typos or illogicalities please let me know so that I can improve these rules further. The best place to discuss them is on the Dead Simple Facebook page:

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Dead Simple RPG – 8th Edition

So, here it is, the idiot edition.

I call it the ‘idiot edition‘ as, until you good people have trawled through it and pointed out all my obvious errors, and I have corrected them, it will not become the official 8th edition.

Most significant changes to the rules and the text are in blue, and there are some significant changes which I hope you will see as a natural evolution to the game.

These are the player’s rules, so I am now working on the GM’s rules, including a fairly comprehensive set of monsters and races for your players to go all murder-hobo on ūüôā

You will find it in the Rules Downloads page, right at the top.

I am now retreating to my writer’s bunker to await the storm.

As usual the best place to comment is on the Facebook Page:


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IHMN Adventures RPG

I am currently running a campaign using my new DS game – IHMN Adventures.

This is based in the In Her Majesty’s Name universe my friend Charles and I created for our skirmish games. The advantage of doing this is that most of the background, and quite a few of the NPCs are already described in detail.

The crew includes two RPG Grognards, one with some experience and two complete novices. I am pleased to say that the two novices picked up the rules very quickly and were pretty much familiar with them by the end of the first session.

The set-up is that they are people with extraordinary skills and abilities who have been recruited into the Department for Extraordinary Exigencies. This is led by Mycroft Holmes and includes some members of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen as senior members with whom the player characters will occasionally interact.

The year is 1895 and the Ripper appears to be stalking Whitechapel, and causing widespread consternation amongst the lower classes and various immigrant communities.

The team, as their first mission together, are being sent to assist Chief Inspector Rush of F Division (and yes I am ripping off the BBC’s Ripper Street).


The first session consisted of them examining the bodies in F Divisions Ice Cellar, roaming Whitechapel questioning witnesses and friends of the victims, getting in touch with the criminal underworld and discovering there have been more murders than the Police are aware of.

Creating a list of the missing body parts from each victim, they are beginning to come to the conclusion that someone is constructing a new body. For what purpose they are unsure.

They are also beginning to suspect that two, well-dressed and swarthy men – one with a magnificent mustache – have something to do with this.


No combat or tactical situations in the first game, and the rules are standing up very well to investigation work. Plenty for each character to do.

The next session shall be in a fortnight and I shall report back here on the shenanigans that result as I begin to increase the pace and danger levels for the team.

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Dead Simple – Seventh Edition update

With the assistance of a few stout fellows we now have a proofed and improved draft of the seventh edition. I have replaced the file in the downloads section with this new version.

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Dead Simple Fantasy – 7th Edition

Ladies, gentlemen and you at the back,

I am pleased to release the first full draft of seventh edition. This has been a labour of love/hate/frustration over the last year or two (do not ask about sixth edition, it is not pretty).

You will find this slim, fourteen page, booklet at the top of the rules downloads page.

Although this has been play-tested with my local victims I look forwards to all your questions and nit-picks ūüôā A good place to communicate with me is on the Dead Simple RPG Facebook page:¬†

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The Waltzing Dead

I am afflicted with creativity. When I get an idea I just have to jot it down and play with it for a bit. Many such ideas are awful or I just lose interest in them. Here is one that came to me earlier this week. What do you think?

An RPG that looks at life from the zombies’ perspective.


The characters are all people who recently died during a zombie apocalypse.
Characters are created by making five choices from the list of traits.
Despite what the living think zombies have minds, personalities, and ambitions.
They advance and heal by killing living people and consuming their favourite bits.

The basic zombie has limited mobility, strength, eyesight, hearing and sense of smell.
Choosing traits will improve one or more of these.

Trait  Effects
Big nose  You get a two dice bonus to perception checks involving smell.
Blackeyes  You can see up to thirty yards/metres in the dark.
Bonehead  You get an extra hit for your head.
Crispy  You have already survived being immolated once, so are now immune to fire attacks.
Doorman  You remember how to open door handles and bolts.
Dreadful  Because of your terrifying appearance living enemies are at a one dice penalty to fight you.
Flexi-Z ¬†You can dislocate your joints to get through gaps as small as 12″/30cms across.
Gripping hands  You get a two dice bonus to grappling attacks.
Linguist  You can remember and use a single sentence of human speech of up to eight words.
Lurching walk  You get a two dice bonus against shooting attacks.
Miasmatic  You are surrounded by a fog of gas and flies so living enemies are at a one dice penalty to shoot you.
Mimic  You get a two dice bonus when trying to get close to the living without being identified as a zombie.
NBK  You remember how to use simple hand weapons such as clubs, batons, knives and axes.
Possum  You can collapse and very convincingly play dead.
Projectile vomit  You gain a short-ranged, four dice acid shooting attack.
Radioactive  Living enemies take a hit each turn they are fighting you. A side effect is that you glow in the dark.
Regeneration  Once a day you can regenerate one body location for free without feeding.
SBD  You get a two dice bonus to stealth checks.
Smasher  You get a two dice bonus when attacking doors, gates, fences etc.
Speedy  You get a three square bonus to movement.
Tainted bite  You infect anyone you bite with the Z-virus
Talons  You get a two dice bonus to fighting attacks.
Tanned hide  You get a two dice bonus against fighting attacks.
Tough  You ignore the first hit in any encounter.
Two good ears  You get a two dice bonus to perception checks involving hearing.
Two good eyes  You get a two dice bonus to perception checks involving sight.
Wall-crawler  You get a two dice bonus to climbing.
Wet-rot  You get a two dice bonus to swimming.

To gain a new trait a zombie must feast upon the brains of three living victims.

Hit location chart

d10  Location  Hits
1  Right Leg  2
2  Left Leg  2
3-4  Abdomen  2
5-7  Chest  3
8  Right Arm  1
9  Left Arm  1
10  Head  2 (+1 if you are a Bonehead)

Once a location has taken its listed number of hits it becomes useless.
If the Abdomen becomes useless the zombie can no longer walk. But it can still crawl.
If the Chest becomes useless the zombie can no longer use its arms. But it can still bite.
If the head becomes useless the zombie is dead, for now.

Feasting on a living victim fully restores one body location
A living victim will feed up to three zombies.

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Dead Simple Design Notes

Being an occasional series in which I discuss some of my reasons or lack of them…

A few players have asked me why in the Dead Simple range of RPG rules I do not use hit points or some sort of level-based increasing number of wounds.

My main reason is that I believe that such mechanics wreck roleplaying. For example, knowing they have plenty of hit points or wounds left, encourages players to have their characters engage in long, drawn out battles and ignore all the ways you could roleplay the result instead. Diplomacy, carefully planned ambushes, engaging the support of allies and even avoiding a fight altogether, all fall by the wayside when a character can take twenty, solid sword hits and keep on fighting.


The Monk says there may be an ambush ahead!

A roleplaying game should not be reduced to being just another a skirmish wargame. A mistake TSR made with D&D 4th edition.

So the system I have designed approaches this from another direction. Characters can buy better protection, invest fate/destiny points in improving defensive skills or even rely on the use of Fate/Destiny points for re-rolls, instead of a progressive hit point/wound system. However, when you are wounded, it has consequences.

Knowing that even the toughest hombre can be killed makes players think about alternatives to just fighting everything they meet.

The incapacitated rule also adds to the opportunities for roleplaying. When was the last time your characters in any other game surrendered to prevent a wily foe from slitting the throat of an incapacitated comrade? It happens all the time in books and films, but rarely on combat-orientated RPGs.

Some people have countered my approach by saying that RPGs should be heroic. Well, what is more heroic than facing actual mortal danger, rather than wading into the fray knowing you are pretty much invulnerable?

On a practical note it certainly reduces book-keeping. When I play with my friends we just put red beads behind a figure that is wounded, until they are incapacitated when we lie the figure down. This also helps to remind players and the GM what negative modifiers to apply to the figures actions.

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North of the Wall

Well, later today we begin the long trek from Mid-Wales to Falkirk in Scotland. Google tells me it will take six hours, but they have not met the official Ministry driver – Lorna, my wife.

There we shall be attending:
Carronade 2016
7th May 2016, 10am Р4pm
Graeme High School, Falkirk FK1 1SY

There shall be 30 + Clubs Presenting Demonstration & Public Participation Games, 40+ Traders, a Flea Market and a Bring & Buy.
Adults are £2.50 and Concessions £1.50
More details at:

I am so looking forwards to seeing all you Scots, Picts, Highlanders, Lowlanders and even any English who can get their passports stamped by Nicola Sturgeon ūüėČ

I shall be presenting and running Blood Eagle participation games all day, as well as flogging copies of that and Daisho if any of you are interested.

A report and pictures shall be forthcoming, you have my word on that.

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