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A Tiny RPG

A minimal any-genre RPG by Ian Thomas - everything you need to play in a deck of cards.

The Game

Over the many years I've been roleplaying I've got more and more fed up with roleplaying systems. As exercises in game mechanics, they're lovely things to read... but when actually playing, you keep hitting combat and the whole game goes into treacle... or you hit an obscure rule that one player nearly knows and the rest don't and you have to look up the answer in a terrible index. All these things get in the way of the story, which is the bit I enjoy.

Over the last few years, more streamlined systems have appeared, but I've still to find something really lean. So I put something together. It really is minimal. Just enough to resolve challenges of any sort. No genre, no setting, just a resolution system. In a box, so you can take it with you and play anywhere - you don't even need a flat surface to roll dice on!

At its heart, it really is as simple as: player puts down a card from their hand, GM puts down a card from their hand, they turn them over and work out how well the character did from the result. That easy.

However, you will need to know how to roleplay! The rules for the game are written on 6 playing cards - not enough space to explain the whole concept of roleplaying!

The Art

It was a silly little side project, so I wanted to get it out there as fast as possible - not to make any sort of money, but just to have it done. So, with no budget, I thought I'd see if I could find some interesting public domain art. I stumbled over Ivan Bilibin, a wonderful Russian illustrator of fairytales who died in 1942. The art was perfect, making for some very evocative cards.

But despite the images being in the public domain, I feel uncomfortable with using art for free. I won't get much of a profit from the sale of these cards, but there will be a little bit (depending on the sales platform and whether I do a reprint in bulk). So I'm going to donate a significant proportion of any profit to The House of Illustration, a public gallery founded by Quentin Blake dedicated to illustration (and a registered charity).


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