Machinations – Dead Simple Steampunk RPG

Welcome to the Eternal City, the home of the Machinations RPG.

Take on the role of an Adventurer, an Alchemist, an Artificer or even a deathless Automaton. Band together with others to form a Free Company and then  hire yourselves out to perform acts of sabotage, espionage, assassination, extortion, blackmail or plain old robbery.

All in a world a short step from our own, where reason has been lost, empires exist to be built and strange technology dominates all walks of life. It is a world of  sinister intrigue, awful power, terrible events and dark portents. There is also beer, song and glory 🙂

Below are the main rules you will need to play in this Steampunk RPG:

Machinations – One Page Steampunk RPG Rules

Machinations – The Eternal City Setting

Machinations – Tools of the Trade

Machinations – Adversaries

As with all Dead Simple RPG’s the main rules cover but a single side of A4 leaving you to roleplay, not ruleplay.

More supplements are in construction.




10 Responses

  1. Sounds good to me. I’m sorry if I came across in a rude way, I’m just interested in this rule set for the reasons you mentioned. When we first started role-playing we owned only the Warhammer Fantasy Role-Playing Game and miss matched dice. Many of the games were GM’ed by guys who had never read the rules but knew that, since the game was all about percentage rolls, you could fudge just about anything. Those were great days. Since then I’ve played Pokethulhu (, which is also a nice slim game but hadn’t seen anything like these rules before. If anyone has done a play through this I’d love to hear from you. And thanks guys for answering all my questions.

  2. Hi Cpt Phoenix,
    The Dead Simple RPG engine has been tested out and works just fine. The key thing to remember with such a simple set of rules is that how you run it is up to you. Its very simplicity liberates you from having to interrupt the flow of the game to refer to a rulebook.
    Be willing to make things up as you go along and let the players play.
    For decades many roleplayers have been restricted by the very systems they play because the big companies are desperate to keep their business so they lock them in with more and more rules and supplements.
    For example – D&D. If you just bought the core books you’d have a 1,000 pages to work from. And this from a set that began with a single slim booklet. Were the games less fun back then? Well I can tell you that they were not because I was playing and DM’ing in 1976.
    For me the eureka moment was when I read all four pages of Microlite D20 and realised I no longer needed a bookshelf full of hardback rulebooks to have fun. That was when Dead Simple was born.
    Since then I have churned out a number of variants, many on a whim, some of which got played and some which didn’t, but all have had hundreds if not thousands of downloads. So somewhere out there is a Machinations GM having a laugh with his mates with these rules.

    if she or he is out there perhaps they can step up and give some advice to Cpt Phoenix?


  3. Cpt Phoenix, I simpy decided on the most important elements of the lesson I wanted my students to focus on and understand then wrote rules myself. They were not things I would share with the public other than teachers, but the students spent a lot of time discussing the ramifications of the issues that came up over the week that the game ran.

  4. So then how do you know the game will actually work? And where could I find others who have played the game? I’m looking for a simple game to run with some of my students who are not necessarily role-players.

  5. Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to actually run the game, and the same goes for a few other ‘niche’ Dead Simple games.

  6. I vote the author run an online session for those of us who want to try out the game (on Skype or something)

    My character is ready!

  7. Hi Ettrick,

    Nice work, I shall certainly keep you in mind. Especially if we ever do a compendium version that need a cover and some internal art.


  8. Yeah, I was conscious of the one-page format. If it works that you are doing an additional and supplemental part in this, I’d be happy to help. Of course, after seeing this, I read the bit on your Home page that you have an artist in your group.

    My deviantArt site is mostly photography, but here’s an image I did for a kid’s story: and a gift for my brother-in-law: This is cocnept art from my photobucket account: Feel free to browse other sections of both though the dA doesn’t have much more than that. PB has a bunch of concept and sculpt stuff.

  9. Hi Ettrick,

    You are very kind. The only problem is the one page format of the rules and its supplements doesn’t leave much room for images.

    However, if I were to produce cards depicting the common enemies of the adventurers such illustrations would be very welcome.

    Do you have any examples of your work that I could peruse?

    Kind regards,
    Prof. Craig Cartmell, CDM, DipSO & Bar.

  10. Heya, I just got the Machinations pdf group through Miniature Wargaming. Cheers.

    Would you want any photography or sketches to go with your text?

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