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Spaces of the Unknown


Spaces of the Unknown is a dead simple, light, fantasy role-playing game designed to be played on the internet using the most awesome human invention: the written word.

Download now from DriveThruRPG for USD $3.99


Number of players:At least 2, one GM and one or more players with characters
Setup:An online forum, shared email thread, or shared Google doc
Dice:Standard gaming dice, including d20s, d10s, d8s, d6s, and d4s. Recommended for online rolling:
RPG inspiration:Early Dungeons & Dragons and Searchers of the Unknown

The players will explore abandoned and overrun ruins, and reclaim them for civilization.

Don't need a new system? The game includes 6 lairs stocked with monsters, ready for old-school play.

What makes it different than other RPGs?

  • The GM rolls all dice during play.
  • All PCs are fighters (with some ability to cast magic)
  • Spells are typically cast by reading a spell scroll
  • There's no gold and no gold economy
  • When a PC's Hit Points are reduced to 0 or less, the PC is not killed or knocked out; he or she is sidelined. A sidelined PC is still conscious and can grant bonuses to other PCs, but cannot attack for the rest of the fight.
  • The party levels up as a group, not PCs individually.

What's Included

Here's what you'll get in this release:

  • A PDF containing all the rules, with maps by Dyson Logos and art by Peter Seckler
  • An .azw3 file for newer Kindles
  • A .mobi file for older Kindles
  • An .epub file for other eReaders
  • An .odt file with all the text, so you can copy-and-paste whatever you need
  • A PDF of character creation that you can send to players (or download it here right now!)
  • A 1-page PDF “cheat sheet” of the game's core rules (or download it here right now!)
  • A 1-page PDF “cheat sheet” of the combat rules in more detail (or download it here right now!)


This is an edited extract of an actual game played using a playtest version of these rules. We played the game on Google Spaces from May to July of 2016.

Brent Newhall • May 17 Create Your Character

Brent Newhall • May 17 Create your character here!

Example: Humphrey the Bald (AC 5 MV 6 hp 14 #AT 1 D 1d10 with 2-handed sword)

Joe England • May 17 Trunnion of Sarossu (AC5 MV 6 hp 5 #AT 1 1d10 Trident/Pitch fork)

John Payne • May 17 Mel the Grandiloquent (AC 4, MV 5, hp 5, #AT 1 1d8 sword, 1d4 broken lute)

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • May 20 Jamison the Juggler - AC7, MV9, hp 6, #AT1: 1d10 (quarterstaff) or 1d4 (dagger) or 1d6 (thrown dagger)

Cédric Plante • Jun 8 My character: Gura the wild AC 9 (wolf pelt) MV 12 hp 7 #AT 1 D biting 1d4 (small), stone spear 1d6 (ranged), big club 1d8 (melee)

Jaye Foster • Jun 11 Jynx Jard the Shieldmaiden AC 6 MV 8 hp 7 #AT 1 D 1d8 (melee), 1d6 (ranged)

At only 5ft tall, Jynx Jard is as small as her shield is tall. She's lent against a tree, her square shield at her back. She's fair skinned with brown eyes above a broken nose. Her brown hair is shaved at the side but falls all the way down her back from the top. She greets the party with a raised eyebrow. “Mornin'. Names Jynx an' I've 'eard youse lot is in need of someone who knows 'ow to 'andle a shield.”

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 Scene 1: The Underground Lake

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 The party continues down the corridor. Everyone now hears the sound of rushing water from further on. The party comes to another chamber, this one about 16 meters square.

In the center of the room, the dim torchlight reveals a large circular opening, and a circular set of stone steps leading downwards. The light peters out at the far end of the room.

Frescoes cover the walls here, as well as more scarred Shadovar runes.

The sound of rushing water seems to come from the staircase. Your ears also now pick up splashing sounds from that direction, as well; something not rhythmic.

[What do you do?]

Cédric Plante • Jun 30 “I hear rushing water from further down the corridor.”

Jaye Foster • Jun 30 “These frescos mean anythin' to anyone?”

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 The frescoes depict humanoids on the ground, offering objects with raised arms to large humanoids hanging in the sky above. The latter group are shown attacking each other with stylized spears and swords.

[What do you do?]

John Payne • Jun 30 “The vast stores of knowledge!” says Mel. “I must find out more!” [Mel attempts to make sense of the runes.]

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 The runes have been scarred and scratched out, so they're unfortunately no longer readable. It looks like the scratches were deliberate.

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jun 30 Any one giant in particular that the humanoid figures worship? Or is it more of a general “Don't kill us because we're giving you things” type of vibe?

John Payne • Jun 30 Does Mel recognize any of the giant figures?

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 Several of the figures are recognizably dangerous gods: Cyric, god of murder and lies; Kossuth, god of purification through fire; Talos, god of storms and destruction; and Tempus, god of war at least. It's not a pantheon of evil, though, and the vibe does indeed appear to be “don't kill us because we're giving you things.”

[What do you do?]

Joe England • Jun 30 Trunnion starts searching around the statues to see if any offerings where left behind?

Cédric Plante • Jun 30 Gura look at the figures with a mix of fear and awe. But quickly the center well and stairway get hold of her attention and curiosity. She look downward and try to listen better to the non rhythmic sound.

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jun 30 Let's get some light on the back half of the room as well. I bet our next path is down, but let's see what else we have to work with.

Brent Newhall • Jun 30 The room is clear of any objects; you suspect the chamber was raided at some point and anything significantly valuable taken. The non-rhythmic sound sounds like humanoid creatures climbing out of the water.

The rear of the room reveals a continuation of the passage you followed coming in, and what looks like a set of stairs at the end. You can't tell from here whether they go up or down.

As Gura looks down to concentrate, she notices tracks in the dust. Recent tracks, no more than a week old, of clawed feet.

[What do you do?]

Jaye Foster • Jun 30 “I'm ready to take the lead again, once we're done here.”

Cédric Plante • Jun 30 Gura points downward in the well: “There are things that walk on two legs down there.”

“Do we follow their tracks?”

Jaye Foster • Jul 2 “Where do they go?”

Cédric Plante • Jul 2 “Down in this stairs.”

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jul 2 “Can we lure them into attacking so we can hit them as they come up the circular stairs?”

Cédric Plante • Jul 2 “I can be the bait, I move fast.”

Jaye Foster • Jul 2 “Makin' lots of noise could also attract them”

Cédric Plante • Jul 2 Gura smiles like a child. “Let do this!” She starts banging the stairs with her big club in a rhythmic sequence that her tribe used when she was a young cub.

She also chants a hunting song that her tribe used to lure the spirits of the animals of the incoming hunt.

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jul 2 The rest of us will get into position to strike, assuming they bother to investigate.

Jaye Foster • Jul 2 Jynx tries to find a position where anyone coming up the stairs would not see her until too late

Brent Newhall • Jul 2 The sounds of wet, clawed feet running up the circular stone stairs fills the room, then charging up the final few meters you see a line of enraged fishfolk! Roughly humanoid and very muscular, with scaly green skin. Their arms end in massive claws, which grip large tridents.

There are a total of four fishfolk, though the fourth is still in the shadows of the stairwell.

The lead fishfolk wears a red gem on a piece of cord around its neck.

Jamison, Jynx, and Gura run forward towards the first fishfolk. Gura swipes at it but it dodges out of the way. Jamison brings his quarterstaff down on the fishfolk's head with a mighty crack! It wobbles, dazed, on its feet, and Jynx takes the opportunity to run up and slam it with her shield. The fishfolk turns just in time to see the shield crunch into its already vulnerable skull, smashing bits of bone and brain matter into the metal. The fishfolk then bounces off and falls limply down the stairwell.

[That was a very successful surprise round! Now Jamison, Gura, and Jynx are gathered around the top of the stairs. There are 3 more fishfolk heading up. Two will be able to fit at the top of the stairs and still do damage to those crouched there, but they won't be able to move past you. I'll give you the rest of the day to declare your actions. Since you all are pretty close, we'll combine movement and action phases.]


Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jul 2 Hopefully that gem hasn't been washed away… I'll stand my ground and use the height advantage to do as much damage as possible.

Jaye Foster • Jul 2 Jynx will also hold position and stab at anything foolish enough to come close.

Joe England • Jul 2 Trunnion moves in with his torch hoping fish folk don't like fire.

Brent Newhall • Jul 2 [Okay, cool, so to be clear Trunnion is attacking with his torch?]

Cédric Plante • Jul 2 Gura smash!

Joe England • Jul 2 [Trunnion is attacking with his torch]

Brent Newhall • Jul 2 [Okay, cool]

The rest of the fishfolk rush up to replace their fallen comrade. The heroes take their swings; Jamison and Jynx fail to connect but Gura smashes her club against the head fishfolk's shoulder. It howls in pain and retaliates, watery eyes burning in hatred. It stabs its trident at Gura, and she's unable to get away in time, leaving a nasty gash in her side. [Gura takes 6 damage, which takes her down to 1 HP]

The middle fishfolk cheers in a strange, bubbly voice and stabs at Jamison, who finds himself unable to dodge. The trident connects and pulls back, dripping with blood. Jamison's eyes flutter and he collapses to the hard stone. [Jamison takes 6 damage.]

The last fishfolk is now visible, and it's different than the others. It's a little shorter and visibly older, its scaly skin sagging around its frame. It also carries a large leather pouch, and in its hands it holds what looks like several dead fish. It stares straight at Jynx, the one who sent the first fishfolk over, with murder in its eyes. It murmurs a strange, burbly set of words, then the objects in its hands disappear in a flash that is replace by lightning, racing out from the fishfolk's claws towards Jynx. It hits Jynx's shield and electricity courses over her body. She convulses and falls to a lightly smoking heap on the floor. [Jynx takes 7 damage.]

Trunnion rushes forward and swings with his torch. The fishfolk dodge out of the way, snarling, putting their hands up to shield them from the light but holding their ground for now. They appear unwilling to retreat after the death of their comrade.

[Wow, bad luck on this round! The fishfolk rolled high on both attacks and damage. Jamison and Jynx are down, with Gura at 1 HP. I haven't seen anything from John yet, so I'm not committing Mel to the battle yet.]

[I'll try to process the next round late Monday evening (Eastern Time), so you have about 30 hours to decide. Move/Actions?]

Joe England • Jul 3 Trunnion yells, “Do we have any oil? If so lets light these fish up! If not we need to grab our fallen friends and escape this!”, he continues to keep the torch moving between the fishfolk and his comrades.

Jaye Foster • Jul 3 [Ow. I'll stay on the ground and grant +1 to Gura]

Cédric Plante • Jul 3 [ow indeed]

Cédric Plante • Jul 4 Seeing Jynx and one of her new friends fall down, Gura is enraged. Ignoring her wound, she snarl and jump on the fishman shaman and try to smash it skull.

[retreating seem like a good plan, but we have no one to cover us while we drag the wounded.]

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jul 4 [I choose to give +1 to Trunnion. Hoping it helps….]

Brent Newhall • Jul 4 The first fishfolk clambers up onto the cave floor, stepping over the prone body of Jamison, and launches itself at Trunnion. Trunnion waves the torch at it, and it steps back a pace, shielding its eyes.

Meanwhile, Gura leaps on top of the shaman as it climbs up to the top of the steps. There's a moment of confused rage, then the shaman manages to dig her claws into Gura and fling her away onto the steps just below the shaman herself. [Gura takes 2 damage.]

The other fishfolk clambers up the steps behind the first and positions itself to attack Gura, but is too confused by their momentary grappling to connect.

[OK! Misses pretty much all around, except the shaman got a claw attack against Gura. Two of the fishfolk are on the cave floor, one attacking Trunnion on one side of the steps, and the other being the one that attacked Gura. The shaman and Gura are both at the top of the steps, the shaman ahead of Gura.]

[Actions? You've got about 13 hours for the next round, until noon Eastern Time on Tuesday.]

Cédric Plante • Jul 4 [+1 to Trunnion]

Joe England • Jul 5 Trunnion swings his torch to make contact with the closest Fishman.

John Payne • Jul 5 “Zounds my somnambulation has high cost!” says Mel as he snaps out of his daze. “Taste my steel thy ichthyic horrors!” [Mel attacks the nearest fishfolk.]

Brent Newhall • Jul 5 Trunnion swings his torch at the fishfolk and connects, bashing the fishfolk's skull and setting it on fire. It squeals and backs away, trying to brush off the fire, then groans and collapses in a heap. The stench is incredible.

Mel advances on the fishfolk on his side. His advance is loud enough that the fishfolk just barely has enough time to dodge out of the way, the tip of Mel's blade nearly grazing its skin. The fishfolk snarls and lunges at Mel, sinking its claws into Mel's flesh. [Mel takes 8 damage!]

The shaman clambers over Gura's prone form and skitters down the stairwell, clearly intent on something at the bottom of the stairwell.

[Ouch, and that's the round! Trunnion got in a good blow against his opponent, but the other one rolled max damage with those nasty claws. I do believe that that takes out Mel. :-/]

[So Trunnion is the only one still able to attack. There's one fishfolk remaining in the chamber, with the shaman retreating (?) down the stairwell.]


John Payne • Jul 5 “May Scheherazade be proud of me,” calls out Mel as he dodges back and forth, attempting to distract the fishfolk attacking Trunnion. [Stunt for +2 on Trunnion.]

Joe England • Jul 5 Trunnion swings wildly at the last Fishfolk with his torch as he calls out to his companions, “Jynx, Gura, Jamison, and Mel” the silence he hears in returns makes him more determined to finish off this last fishfolk

Brent Newhall • Jul 5 Trunnion and the fishfolk attack each other, Trunnion fierce but cautious, and the fishfolk shielding its eyes from the blaze and distracted by Mel's dancing. They push forward at the same moment. Trunnion slams the torch into the fishfolk's face and it screams, slashing as Trunnion. The fishfolk stumbles backwards, fire consuming its body, and finally collapses in a blazing heap.

[You all return to full HP. You hear what sounds like the shaman splashing around at the base of the circular staircase, maybe 10 meters down.]

[The room smells like someone vomited in a fish store. It's incredibly vile. The two burning bodies still give some light.]

[What do you do?]

John Payne • Jul 5 “Have they the courage for a second attempt to orphan Scheherazade?” says Mel to no one in particular. “Vengeance for the foul shaman! To arms!” Mel descends the stairs to pursue the shaman.

Joe England • Jul 5 Trunnion follows Mel down the stairs, “anyone have any extra torches? it appears I can hit better with them then my old pitchfork.”

Cédric Plante • Jul 5 Gura grunts as she regain some energy, and she painfully helps her friend Jynx to stand up.

Jaye Foster • Jul 5 “When did fish folk get so good at fighting?” Jynx takes Gura's proffered hand and slowly stands up. Picking up her dropped shield she follows the others down the stairs.

Jim White (T.W.Wombat) • Jul 5 I'll check the leader's body quickly, then head for the stairs, daggers ready to throw. “An unattended shaman is a worrisome thing.”

Brent Newhall • Jul 6 The party troops down the stairs. About halfway down, they can see that the stairs end with the surface of a flowing river. Apparently, the stairs once descended into a deeper hallway that has since filled with water. The shaman is just now heaving the body of the first fishfolk (the one with the gem on the necklace) onto the bottom steps, and has collapsed on top of it, apparently weeping….

games/spaces_of_the_unknown.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/11 17:00 by brent