Quick notification: I’m launching a Zine Quest Kickstarter on Sunday! It’s a lushly illustrated, zine-sized adventure you can drop into any campaign setting. Compatible with Knave (of course) and other OSR rulesets. Check it out here and get notified when it goes live! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/questingbeast/the-waking
High compatibility with OSR games. If you have a library of OSR bestiaries, adventure and spell books, little or no conversion is needed to use them with Knave.
Fast to teach, easy to run. If you are introducing a group of new players to OSR games, Knave allows them to make characters and understand all the rules in minutes.
No classes. Every PC is a Knave, a tomb-raiding, adventure-seeking ne’er-do-well who wields a spell book just as easily as a blade. This is an ideal system for players who like to switch up their character’s focus from time to time and don’t like being pigeonholed. A PC’s role in the party is determined largely by the equipment they carry.
Abilities are king. All d20 rolls use the six standard abilities. The way that ability scores and bonuses work has also been cleaned up, rationalized, and made consistent with how other systems like armor work.
Optional player-facing rolls. Knave easily accommodates referees who want the players to do all the rolling. Switching between the traditional shared-rolling model and players-only rolling can be done effortlessly on the fly.
Copper standard. Knave assumes that the common unit of currency is the copper penny. All item prices use this denomination and approximate actual medieval prices.
A list of 100 level-less spells.
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: You are free to share and adapt this material for any purpose, including commercially, as long as you give attribution.
Designer commentary. The rules include designer comments explaining why rules were written the way they were, to aid in hacking the game.
Source text. When you purchase this game, you also get a copy of the Word document I used to make it. Edit it to create your own custom Knave ruleset! (You will need the free fonts Crimson Text and Sebaldus-Gotisch to display it properly).
Version 0.2 of my classless OSR houserules is now up for my supporters on Patreon!
I’ve been running Maze Rats at my 5th grade after-school club for a while now, but the main problem is that it’s not very compatible with OSR monsters, spells, and mechanics in general. So what I’m looking at now is a way to make something as fast, simple and intuitive as Maze Rats that will work pretty seamlessly with my gaming bookshelf. I’m calling it Knave until I think of something better.
The first problem: how to make it classless? It needs to be classless because I don’t have time to teach each kid how a different class works every week. Things need to be as obvious as possible. My solution right now is to tie everything into encumbrance slots. You have as many slots as you have Strength, but everything that might make you more martial or more arcane are just items. (All classes lie on the martial/arcane spectrum, and don’t tell me I’ve forgotten rogues, all adventurers are rogues).
So if you want to be more of a fighter, you pick up more fighty things: better armor and weapons. Armor runs from AC 12 to 16, and takes up 1-5 encumbrance slots. Shields and helmets (+1 AC each) also take up a slot. Weapons deal d6, d8 or d10 damage and take up 1, 2 or 3 slots. So a fighter that’s really decked out for war can easily fill 8-12 slots, especially if they’re hauling around a few spare weapons.
I’ve solved the wizard problem by just making encumbrance slots the same thing as spell slots. Each spell is now a spell book that can be cast once per day, and which takes up 1 encumbrance slot. PCs can only cast spells of their level or lower (it’s always bugged the hell out of me how these don’t align in normal D&D), and PC level only goes up to 10. You never get new spell books as a result of leveling up; you have to find them like any other item, and the high level ones are incredibly rare. PCs are flatly incapable of creating or copying the spells in spell books. It’s a lost art. This way magic users have to claw their way to every scrap of magic they have, be constantly on the lookout for people trying to steal their grimoires, and have to wade into battle flipping through the mobile library they have hanging off them.
An early draft of Knave is out now for my supporters over on Patreon.