WATERHACK is here

Good morning, and Happy Friday!

The little post-apocalyptic RPG I’ve been working on, inspired by OSR style hack games, is officially available on DriveThruRPG and on Itch.io. I’d love it if you took a look and helped spread the word.

In WATERHACK, you play Accountants (seriously) who wander around the wastes trying to insure communities have access to water. In order to do so, you may have to fend off water ghouls, vapor vampires, waste monsters, and other strange creatures and deal with conflicts. The game uses a roll under system on a D20 and requires actual water receptacles as representative of your hero’s health. Lots of tongue in cheek humor and stuff embedded in the rules. I hope it makes you laugh!

Get it for $4.99.

Happy Gaming!

WATERHACK Preview #2

WATERHACK goes live tomorrow on DriveThruRPG. I will be putting it on the itch.io side of things as well shortly. To whet your appetite (or thirst), here are a couple of pages from the core book.

Download a 2 page Preview PDF here:

I am open to doing a print version of the game, but I imagine there will be some errata and balance fixes as it goes out into the wild. I’ll wait until I get some of that feedback before working a print on demand option.

WATERHACK is coming

I am proud to introduce WATERHACK, a game I’ve been working on in the background for a while and decided to just get it over the finish line.

WATERHACK is a post-apocalyptic roleplaying game set in a quasi-future where water and liquids are really scarce, and everyone is thirsty. It uses some inspiration from David Black’s Black Hack, which is a great take on OSR fantasy roleplaying, with six stats and a roll under on a D20. Add in some Jack Vance style humor, gonzo journalism, irreverence, and recognition of the struggle for water. Oh, and fun!

It will drop on DriveThruRPG on Friday, March 19.

Here’s a preview:


The greatest environmental collapse of Earth didn’t happen overnight – the disaster unfolded in slow motion. The rain stopped coming, for all kinds of reasons. The scientists admitted it was probably humanity’s fault, but it wasn’t permanent so no one should get worked up about it. Water sources were drained rapidly over the next hundred years or so. Lush forests turned brown and crackled under the heat of the blistering sun. Rain faded to a distant memory. Only the rich could waste their precious drops on a shower. The lack of hydration became the new normal.

Add in an unhealthy dash of war, violence, and nationalism. Once wells and lakes dried up, the people packed up and moved to where they could get a drop or two of refreshment. Limited supplies meant harsh measures. Harsh measures meant anger, desperation, and chaos. Bombs, tanks, guns, spears, hockey sticks, dirty socks – whatever people had at hand became a tool to secure nourishment for their families. Some supposedly decent types even resorted to unthinkable and disgusting means to slate their parched bodies.

Whether nuclear bombs actually dropped at some point is a matter of debate. Some travelers have claimed to witness giant craters where cities used to be, tingling waves of energy melting your hair off in less than ten seconds the closer you got. Others think they’re just seeing things and need a drink.

Typically, whenever someone does find water, word gets around. People in armored cars roar in, claiming they got there first and if you don’t like it say hello to a sawed off shotgun. Religious cults descend in droves with bombs made out of old potted plants, smiling to win you over and dropping edicts that label you a heretic by morning. Cousins and aunts you didn’t know you had show up for hugs and handouts and a long sip.

Of course, this is where the heroes of this story come in – Accountants. Accountants are unlikely heroes who waltz in and out of danger to keep everything fair and negotiate some kind of peace. When wasteland warlords or drought- plagued mayors need help, they call in the nearest wandering Accountants to make life… a little easier. After all, water is life.

You get to play an Accountant, and if you’ve got the guts and ingenuity, you’ll leave the world a little less thirsty and a little safer for everyone else.

Welcome to the Waterless Wastes.


As with all of my products, I’ll be looking to respond to feedback and make adjustments for balance, gameplay, and fun.

Debate Night in America Is Updated

In 2016, I released Debate Night in America based off of a Halloween game night of Cthulhu-inspired fun, mixing horror and election season tension. Because it’s been four years and we are back in the midst of a contentious election, why not revise it a bit? While the adventure still has great bones, I spent the day fixing some grammatical errors and adding some tidbits here and there to fill plot holes and round out possibilities for the adventure. Ultimately, you get about 5 more pages of goodness in all.

Elections really do matter, and while this little adventure is fun and a bit hectic, let’s not pretend that your vote won’t make a difference. It will! We can stop fascism! We can stop hate! We can make the world lurch one more step toward equality and care for all people.

Get it now: Pay What You Want over at DriveThruRPG

2D10 RPG is now Creative Commons licensed

Another nice post of good news –

The 2D10 RPG, in all of its one page rules of glory, is now officially Creative Commons licensed. You can use it to create your own works of creativity and imagination, as long as you give some attribution. I am glad there are fans and writers who see it as something valuable to use to power your own games and creations.

(And special thanks to Shawn E. for encouraging me to make this change.)

I am linking a very simple formatted of the basic rules with the license embedded (via Dropbox), but I will find a more formal way to upload this on the 2D10 page soon.

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments or send me a quick email.

The Basic Hack Gets an Update

I’ve collected feedback, and I do want to say thanks to the 1000+ people who have downloaded or bought the game. Thank you for your generosity, your love of gaming, and your support of the Basic Hack.

The July update is now available at RPGNow.

It’s a small update, but it corrects some typos, missing periods, and slight layout issues. I definitely have a few more things to work on along those lines, so look for a future update which makes the layout a little cleaner (or more interesting).

The rule fix is that wizards and clerics now can only cast a number of spells each day equal to their maximum hit points. In addition, I cleaned up and simplified the Rest section which added confusion to the spell casting rules. Now, a rest can either provide full HP back, half HP, or no HP, depending on the difficulty and unpredictability of a party’s evening.

I also added a sentence or two.

Long term, I am still working on the teachable character sheet, but I am also thinking about completely changing the defense roll aspect when it is the monster’s turn to attack. In this route, your Defense roll would not go against Dexterity, making it the most important stat of the game, but a new stat that is a combination of armor + hit points + any other bonuses. This would make things both more difficult for heroes and interesting for everyone else. A Warrior would still have a clear edge, but spells and special abilities could really help other classes too. We’ll see how it shakes out.

Basic Hack Is Out

I’ve sort of been living under a hole or something, because the Black Hack and White Hack (and other variants) have basically been unknown to me. These are sort of old school versions of D&D, harkening back to some of the original fantasy games. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but some of the simplicity and wonkiness of those classic games are fun.

These new versions often add changes to keep the simplicity and streamline the game. I dig it. It means you have tons of resources that you can easily modify to work from all the variations of D&D, but you can also get playing quick and easy.

Black Hack is the chief among these.

It’s my kind of D&D-clone, using a familiar core and then going nuts in a bid for simplicity and speed. I love it. In fact, last night, I started a fantasy campaign with my kids using an even more stripped down version which I call the Basic Hack.

Here’s how it works:

  • Use your six core attributes and roll under to succeed. (I like the Black Hack’s attribute generation technique to keep things balanced.)
  • Pick a class. Fighters are good at fighting. Clerics can heal and turn undead. Wizards are good at casting spells. Rogues are good at sneaking and stealing.
  • Pick a race. Elves can see in the dark. Dwarves can find secret doors. Humans get a +1 to an attribute of choice. (You can easily switch this up or add more complexity.)
  • Hit points are standard. I gave the fighter 10 and the wizard 4. (Might want to give them more in the future.)
  • For class or race features, I give them advantage on the roll per 5th Edition. Fighters always get to roll two D20s when attacking for instance.
  • I’d give wizards and clerics two starting spells they can cast once per day. In a bid for simplicity, don’t worry about levels. Our wizard got sleep and magic arrow (aka magic missile). I’d give a cleric heal wounds and remove curse. The key is to pick spells that will have an impact in the story right away to make all the characters feel useful.
  • Weapon damage can be standard. I like armor as written in the Black Hack to keep things simple. (Plus, teaching your kids math is a bonus.)
  • No experience points, no levels. As the characters advance, give them magical items, extra hit points, new spells, or a new ability. Or let them raise another attribute.

I’ll be writing this up in a couple of pages to post on RPGNow this weekend sometime.

— Nathan