this looks wonderful! how complex would you say the ruleset is? my group can be a little stubborn about branching out into new systems.
Under Hill, By Water
A downloadable RPG
Adventures? No thank you.
The OSR is pretty metal. And metal rules. But it’s fairly far away from the source material of Tolkien and the eclectic, rustic, anachronistic little British gentry that were the center of his stories.
This is an OSR(ish) game that’s about living in the cozy under-hill homes of the halflings.
What do you do in Under Hill, By Water?
- This game is about capturing your aunt’s escaped ornery goat.
- This game is about growing the biggest turnip for the Harvest Festival.
- This game is about gathering rare ingredients for a birthday feast.
- This game is about being simple and silly.
What's the game like?
Under Hill, By Water is a stand-alone game with parts and procedures familiar to fans of old-school TTRPGs. It's explicitly a game about the quiet pastoral life of halflings so a lot of fat from dragons and/or dungeons has been trimmed off. There are tons of flavorful randomizers to make sure your halfling's life is quiet, but never boring.
The book is split into three parts:
- Chapter 1 covers the basics of being a tiny little gentle person. Players use this chapter to create their characters and GMs use this chapter to create the characters’ home village.
- Chapter 2 covers the rules for ambling around the countryside, getting into nasty business, and cozying up to your fire at the end of the day. GMs and players use this chapter to understand the basic mechanics of the game.
- Chapter 3 details the flow of the four seasons and the random events that trouble your peaceful pastoral life. The GM uses this chapter to randomly create scenarios for the players.
In order to download this RPG you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $9 USD. You will get access to the following files:
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"Not complex, but random" is my best answer to that. By and large, the flow of the game is probably merely handled by GM adjudication--similar to how things are outlined in the OSR anti-canon codex the Principia Apochrypha. The bulk of the game is randomizers for both players and GMs to create characters, neighbors, villages, seasonal events, etc. The rules themselves only come up sometimes and they're usually resolved with a die roll or two.
I really really like a lot of things about this game, but I find the presence of such relatively involved combat rules to be somewhat baffling. Some much of rest of the book is fabulous, and drives straight at that 'small local problems' vibe, and then you have several pages of attack order and 'what happens if you get hurt too much' wedged between "What has it gots in its pockets?" and FEASTS for heaven's sake. Feels very weird to give it even so much attention as you did.
When I run this game, I will probably discard that entire section.
I am absolutely in love with this game. Are there any plans to do a print on demand version or is one already available?
I don't have any active plans at the moment. I'd have to learn more about it, honestly! I'm glad you got a kick out of the game though!
Well, if you're interested in learning please let me know. I'd be glad to help out. (I've published for years on DriveThruRPG, though Lulu would probably be much easier if you're unfamiliar with PoD publishing)