I made you a game. Well, really, I made us a game. I made everyone a game.
It’s called Sword&Sorcery PocketMod. It’s a small game you can print on a single piece of paper and play with just a d6, a d8, and a buddy. The friend part may even be optional if you’re feeling brave and don’t mind relying on a janky micro oracle – or an external solo decision-maker that doesn’t suck, maybe.
This game is a tiny slice of Howardian pulp fantasy. You will wear the mantle of cutthroat reaver or ambitious diabolist sorcerer, strike out into the misty and timeless ages when humanity was young and magic was already ancient, and stake your claim to a contested crown or undertake a quest for powerful artifacts and unclaimed riches!
Sword&Sorcery PocketMod is an expanded version of the 200 Word RPG toy that I wrote while sick with COVID-19 in January; it is thematically identical and borrows at least some of the central mechanical underpinning from that project, but is expanded and refined. It sounds weird to say it, but when I was done fussing with that little 200 Word RPG, I found myself sort of inspired by the cute, simple resolution gimmick I’d come up with despite the strict word constraints, and I kinda noodled on an expanded version. When I came back to publish that 200 Word RPG the other day, I figured I’d polish up what I had and try my hand at another “constrained creativity” project with the same idea, this time for One Page RPG Jam. At least one box on my Calendar of Challenges can get checked off this way!
To some degree, this tiny PocketMod is – like my contribution to Big Mikey Lombardi‘s Beneath the Canals collection from some years back or my own adventure The Forest from Dicember 2021 – an exercise in content density and a neat layout experiment moreso than a strict effort at superior game design. I love cramming as much stuff as I can in as small a page count (or page size) as possible or trying to make something pretty and simple. I like the challenge of restrictive design, I guess. At the end of the day I think I just like DIY most of all. As a result of this, you can expect the following pile of features from this tiny game that fits on one single sheet of paper:
- a “complete” rules-lite system,
- eight example monsters for the GM to draw from,
- 48 example spells to inspire your spell-slinging,
- an extremely barebones basic solo play oracle,
- a combined 3484 pre-generated randomized dice rolls,
- 32 pre-generated example rooms divided by theme,
- 48 pre-generated room features divided by theme,
- and 24 pre-generated NPC archetypes/names to help facilitate play.
I told you, there’s a ton of stuff crammed in here. Part of my goal was to make it entirely playable offline and without access to dice, hence the large pre-generated dice roll pools for you to make use of. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a couple of my fellow nerds playing this in a waiting room or a lobby or a long car ride where rattling dice might not be appropriate and WiFi might not be available. To this end, you could play with a pencil and dice, a note app and a diceroller app, or some combination of both!
Something about how just a tiny PocketMod booklet about the size of a playing card and a stubby golf pencil could allow for a wild ride through the vine-covered Haunted Tombs of Xotaltun in pursuit of the vile thaumaturge Orfeo and his sacrifice-to-be really warmed my heart, so here we are.
Anyway. I’ve released it on itch.io for the purposes of joining in on the One Page Game Jam occurring over there, and mentioned way back in like January on my Calendar of Challenges. It’s free, or PWYW if you feel like funding my donations to other creators on itch.io; anything I get will just be given to other people immediately. But it really is free, and it’s CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, so you can feel free to email a copy to your buddy in Accounting or a lady in your group text who has young nerdy kids and no idea what itch.io is.
Please, do share it far and wide (no Nazis).
Go download it there. Instructions for printing it and how to fold/cut a PocketMod are on that page as well. It’s really easy, I promise. You’re gonna need one piece of paper, a printer, a pair of scissors, or a razor-knife, and like five minutes tops.
If you print this and make yourself a booklet, please please post it on Instagram or Twitter and tag me so I can see! That’d be the highlight of the month for me, that’s for sure. I can be tagged at the user name @dungeonspossums on either site. Hopefully I get to see a bunch of them out in the wild, being used to explore lost pyramids and wipe out bands of corrupted Dagon cultists.