Dead Simple RPG Rules

Following on from the success of my one page Wargames rules (FUBAR), I wondered if the same principle could be applied to roleplaying, and here’s the result:

Dead Simple Fantasy RPG Rules v3.0

Those of you that have already downloaded this set may wish to download the core rules again. The are now in an A4 Portrait Three-column style that gives me more space for good stuff.

As promised I have started to produce supplements to the core rules:

Supplement 1 – Dead Simple Game Mastering

Supplement 2 – Going Underground

Supplement 3 – Loot!

Supplement 4 – The Marketplace

Dead Simple – Supplement 5 The Village of Grobblet

Dead Simple – Supplement 6A The Denizens of the Dark

Dead Simple – Supplement 6B Dark Forests…

Dead Simple – Supplement 6C Death is only the beginning…

Dead Simple – The Tomb of St.Magnus Part 1

As these rulesΒ are only one page they are very easy to adapt to your own setting or theme. For example here’s a version set in the Reformation in 17th Century England:

Blood & Faith – Simple One Page Reformation RPG Rules

You can even change genres in the flick of a page. Here’s a SF/Space Opera version:

Blaster – Simple One Page SF RPG Rules




33 Responses

  1. OK I found how to do it πŸ™‚
    Excellent work there!
    I’m going to put a post on the dedicated Dead Simple blog about this effort ( So hopefully others can see what you are doing.

  2. Hi Pat,
    Sorry for the slow reply, very busy writing for and promoting In Her Majesty’s Name at the moment.
    What you are doing sounds very interesting, however, no link came up on your comment. Could you try again please? I would love to see this.

  3. Hey, just thought I’d let you know that I’m working on a hobby RPG computer game and I’ve pretty much adopted this system for the game! It’s in its early stages but it seems to be a pretty good fit.

    The devblog should be linked to my name in this comment if you’d like to take a look.

  4. Hey, just a quick question,
    I’m pretty new to PnP rpgs, so I was wondering about the combat, I’ve been over and over the rules and they still don’t quite make sense to me. If I have a fighter with a total of 7 in fighting, and I’m trying to hit, say, a goblin with 5 dex, how do I know if I hit it? How do I know how much I “need” vs. how much I “get”? Maybe it’s just because I’m used to systems where the higher number is better, so I could be just confused. Thanks!

  5. Do the monsters need to have higher stats now that you’ve gone to a d20 instead of a d10. My poor poor goblins are never getting a shot in on my platest battles.

  6. Oh, wait, Can a Wizard, Move?, Use Magic, and then Attack? (assuming a ranged weapon, since he couldn’t use a spell adjacent to an enemy?)

    I appologize for my previous Post. it reads very confrontational. That is not what I meant. I am just very puzzled by some of this and want to get it down before I run a game.

  7. I have a few questions about Dead Simple Fantasy RPG rules.

    First, I like the game, very fun.

    Why do weapons (Marketplace) have such a wide range of cost. Since material and weight are really all that important shouldn’t the cost reflect effectiveness. What I mean is the two handed sword and great axe (assumed 2-handed) would both have the +1 damage bonus but the great axe costs less.

    I have an issue with how Magic attacks work. If I understand correctly if a Wizard wants to cast firebolt a second time on the second round of combat he has to make a successful knowledge roll, then a shooting roll, then the enemy gets to resist and the damage is reduced by the enemy’s INT, then this damage is further reduced by armor. This seems nerfed. I must be doing this wrong. Why the resist roll? Why the need to make a knowledge roll? Isn’t shooting and the enemy’s armor enough? Sure the wizard doesn’t need to buy more ammo but he also can’t wear armor.

  8. Hi Daniel,

    Barbarian Overkill/Slaughter is a classic case of revision creep. These were skills in an earlier edition that got dropped, but remained in the supplements – may bad.
    If you want to use it, here it is:
    Slaughter; A Barbarian can choose to kill instead of KO an enemy that is already wounded.

  9. I played this a couple times with a couple ESL students and we like it. We made one change though: we combined craft and shooting (dex int), renaming it hand/coordination and added power, which is Str Str. power can be used for lifting or smashing stuff- very useful.

  10. I can’t seem to find an explanation for the professional abilities:

    Barbarian (Overkill)
    Barbarian (Slaughter)

    They are mentioned in the monster descriptions in supplement 6, but I can’t find descriptions of them. After digging through the other pdfs I finally found the descriptions for Shrive, Mask, and Sneaking, however.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know I can make up my own rules, but I want to know what you meant by them.)


  11. Thanks Mate.
    Drop a link here and I can then put you on my blogroll – one good turn deserves another πŸ™‚

  12. Tossed together a quick low ink open template, layered png


  13. Thanks Craig,

    Glad you liked it.

    Everything was done in Photoshop, I’ll clean up the Psd post it here or at my blog, still have to design the card back , planning to put together a 3×3 sheet for easy printing.


  14. Hi Bloodsworn,
    That card is little short of magnificent! We could print that and write equipment and such on the rear.
    I use 5″x3″ index cards for my characters and NPC’s, but that is so much nicer.
    Can you share with us how you created it and then we could do some more to give the full race/profession range for the many players out there.
    I’ve subscribed to your blog by the way, and over the next week or so I’m going to work my way through your work. Looks good πŸ™‚

  15. Love it.. A must play, but i didnt see a character sheet. If I missed it /facepalm..

    I whipped up this


  16. Hi James,

    Sorry to hear that. It’s a bummer when that happens.

    Well there’s always the next campaign πŸ™‚ Have you looked at Busiris yet?


  17. Thanks for the offer, but my campaign has just ended for lack of players, so I’m not as good at it as I sound πŸ™‚

  18. Hi James,

    A simple clarification, but a good one, thank you. I am making a note of that for the next edition.

    With thinking like that have you thought of joining the Forge of War development group?


  19. maybe it could be written

    “He must roll less than (his Toughness minus the remaining damage), or he becomes Wounded”?

  20. Craig,
    Thanks for answering my ‘stupid’ question. I had it figured out a couple days ago, but this confirms that I understand. I look forward to trying this out.

  21. Hi Patrick,
    There is no such thing as a stupid question πŸ™‚ When you are writing one page rules every single word coun ts and that sometimes means things are not exactly clear to all people.

    If we look at the rules they say:
    If his armour doesn’t stop all the damage the defender must make a Toughness skill roll.
    He must roll less than his Toughness minus the remaining damage, or he becomes Wounded.

    So, as you can see, the damage that remains after it has been reduced by armour, is deducted from the Toughness Skill – but ONLY for the purposes of this Toughness Check.

    Say you have a Toughness of ten and three points of armour. You are attacked and take six damage. Three points of damage are absorbed or deflected by your armour meaning three points get through.

    Now you must take a Toughess check, and your Toughness iis reduced by three to seven. You have to score six or less to remain unwounded.

    I hope that helps.


  22. Hi,
    Stupid question…
    Where does the damage from combat get deducted from? Total skill points? Sorry for the dumb question. I’m tutoring an kid who has shown an interest in RPG and this looks like the simplest one, while still being interesting.

  23. Hi Stephen,

    I’ve had a word with my resident experts.

    One says: “I don’t know if this has anything to do with it but under my Yahoo settings there is a place to manage the privacy settings. In that area is a check box that says “Hide my profile”. My check box is not checked. That’s where I would look first.”

    Others have said that they had to set up ‘virgin’ Yahoo Accounts to join any groups.

    I hope that helps. If not I’m happy to manage this through e-mail.


  24. Hi Stephen,

    Not being a computer person (you have no idea how long it took me to put this ‘easy’ blog together :)), I really don’t know.

    I’ll ask the guys on the group, some of them are under 40 and probably know.


  25. Craig,
    I attempted to join Forge of War, but I am having difficulties. I have a yahoo profile, but it says I need a public profile. Is this normal? Maybe I’m just being daft.

  26. Stephen,

    All the rules here are free to copy and adapt. I’d be more than happy to see you create a CofC supplement πŸ™‚

    If you wish to have it looked over before publication come and join the Forge of War Yahoo Group. This is where most of our rules and supplements are hammered out.

    I’m happy for people to host their own versions of these rules on their own blogs, or pass them to me to host here and then link to them.

    Our only rules are:
    1. They must be offered free.
    2. Credit must be given to the author (i.e. you) and anyone else who helps you develop them.


  27. Dear Craig,
    I enjoy Dead Simple immensely. I also enjoy Call of Cthulhu. So, if I made a Dead Simple version of Call of Cthulhu, would I be able to share it with others, or would I be violating a copyright?

  28. Hi Knuckles,
    Some of this is answered in the Games Mastering Supplement… but…
    One of downsides of large rulesets is that they take these decisions away from GM’s by having a rule or a table (or several tables) for every situation. Many GM’s ‘grow up’ having never had to take a real decision, they just refer to the rules.
    The upside of rules like Dead Simple is it gives that power straight back to you. There is not a rule for every situation so you have to make a decision based upon the circumstances that face the characters at that moment.
    For example, if I cast blind on you in a street, other than not being able to see me coming the worst that could happen is that you would trip over a cart, or bump into a wall. Now lets do that with you in a burning building or close to a precipice – everything changes.
    So, look at the circumstances and make a decision based upon common sense.
    This is the real fun of being a GM.

    PS: a new edition of Dead Simple will come out in the next few days, so keep an eye out for it.

  29. Thank you for creating this system! I’m trying to play a little game and have a few questions.

    I’m confused by skills… I’m assuming the GM has to determine the difficulty of a task…like jumping 10 feet versus 15 feet. How would the GM know what kind of modifier to add to the task?

    Second, how do I know the effects of “Blind” on a monster? Do i remove their Dex bonus against an attack?

    Anyhoo, thanks for creating this – I’m enjoying trying to implement it.

    – Knuckles VI

  30. Hi BBT,

    There will be, honest πŸ™‚ Both DS & NBS are front line projects for me. Along with FUBAR and something new called Machinations (DS Steampunk). I tend to follow my inspiration rather than any plan.

    And because I’m a nice guy:

    Ogre Warrior
    Profession: Fighter
    STR: 7, DEX: 2, INT: 1, SPT: 3.
    AGI: 4, CFT: 3, FTG: 10, KNW: 2, PCP: 4,
    PRS: 6, STG: 3, SPD: 9, STL: 5, TGH: 10.
    Armour: Thick Skin & Furs [Light Armour]
    Weapons: Two-handed Great Club
    Double Trouble

    Troll Berserker
    Profession: Barbarian
    STR: 6, DEX: 3, INT: 1, SPT: 1.
    AGI: 6, CFT: 4, FTG: 7, KNW: 2, PCP: 2,
    PRS: 2, STG: 4, SPD: 9, STL: 4, TGH: 9.
    Armour: Troll Hide [Medium Armour ]
    Weapons: Talons
    If not KO’d at the end of a turn a Troll
    can regenerate a single wound, unless that
    wound was caused by fire or magic.

    Both these guys are seriously nasty, so use them wisely.


  31. Dead simple is good quick fun. Will there any stats for ogres and trolls? Also will there be any more stats for nasty, Brutish and short?

  32. It is indeed Superscenic, and there’s a lot more to come πŸ™‚

  33. Treasure! For me, and its free.

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