Small Games

Notes on a series of games and supplements that were in early-testing stages, and abandoned projects that simply didn’t work out. For historical/archival purposes.

the words

GM-less card-based game about dark magic, martial arts, and manifest inner demons in a world descending into an apocalypse of monsters and insanity due to ancient, once-hidden words of horror. More of a pre-alpha set of thoughts with pseudo-mechanics.


Dark sci-fi action with intergalactic criminals who choose to commute their sentences by undertaking deadly black-ops missions for the military. A Sorcerer-inspired design from the early 00’s that reached beta testing, but couldn’t overcome some fundamental mechanical problems.

Wizards in the Vineyard

A Dogs in the Vineyard hack about wizards who rule cities on the coasts of a Mediterranean that never was. Finished but untested.

Stars Over Africa

Another Iron Game Chef entry. Resulted in more of a board-less boardgame about resource collection and utilization than an RPG. Design never moved past alpha stage.

Dragons at Dawn

A game of dragons ruling over men. Written for the Iron Game Chef contest held by the Forge. The rules never quite distilled into anything playable.

Temple of Elfemental Evil

A crude and cheeky parody for Elfs based on the classic AD&D adventure. Only the Village of Hommlet section was ever ‘finished’.

Immortal: Revelations

A variant of Sorcerer for playing Immortal: Invisible War, written in ’01. It was never quite completed, and needed polishing and clarification. However, a number of people stated it helped them make better sense of Immortal.

Saga Under the Dark Sun

An extensive rewrite of the card-based SAGA system for the Dark Sun setting, from the late 90’s, including solid rules for sub-par weapons, wilderness survival, psionics, and defiling; and fixed the “tossing cards just to redraw” issue. I’m told it inspired quite some discussion by the WotC staff of the time.

PEGASUS Gaming System

My first attempt at system design outside of the D&D paradigm; from the late 90’s. Crude, early attempts at narrative-focused design which contained concepts later independently replicated and improved upon by other designers in the narrative RPG community. Still heavily influenced by classic RPG design; ie: other designers did it better later.

Nth Edition

A 3rd-Edition AD&D variant from the mid-90’s. My collection of house-rules and design improvements: Hit points as Luck. Psionicists rewritten as a wizard-variant, called Sorcerers (before Sorcerer was even a D&D class). Dramatic combat styles. Spell school limitations for wizards. Etc.