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Them Deeper Bones?
Them Deeper Bones is a retro adventure role-playing game in the vein of the BECMI (“Red Box”) D&D and AD&D 2nd Edition. In TDB adventuring heroes set out to explore the post-post-apocalyptic fantasy world and piece out the history of their lost homeland. If you like to solve problems through your own wits and role-playing instead of dice-rolling and character optimisation, this is the TTRPG for you.
Some key features:
- Role-playing as the primary problem solving tool. Think using your wits in escape rooms, but where the sky’s the limit on how strange the puzzles can get.
- Streamlined d20-based system - of summing up dice with the base d20 instead of static bonus and penalty mathematics.
- Emphasis on the exploration and archeology parts of dungeon crawling, with treasure serving as a tool, not the end purpose.
- Magic system that allows individual spells to be both relevant and unpredictable.
- Tense and fast-paced combat system. The players have all the information they need to act thanks to the decide first initiative, things escalate quickly and the innovative Hit Dice method used stops it from ever becoming a grind.
- Group-focused play - through the Rediscovery Company framework that makes developing and investing in the whole group as important as individual characters in it
Download a short preview
(preview currently from version beta.1.3.0)
Get the full version from Discord
Tools and Downloadables
Character Sheet b.1.1 (A4)
Character Sheet b.1.1 (letter)
Character keeper b.1.0
Current ToDo -list
The Player's Book — Current published version: beta.1.4.1 (9th Nov 2021).
Changes from beta.1.3.0:
- Split the manuscript into three — The Player's Book, The Guide Book and The World Book. Big structural and text changes to accommodate for this.
- Banked dice are now referred to as "Threat dice."
- Experts no longer have "Tinker with magic."
- Fighters get two new Fighter Skills — "Charge" and "Prepared Stance."
- Cure Wounds number ranges checked.
- Followers and Apprentice role perks removed.
- Signature Spell and Double Duty role perks added.
The Guide Book — Current published version: beta.1.4.1 (17th December 2021).
Changes from beta.1.3.0:
- Opponents have suggested combat maneuvers if they already didn't have special attacks.
- Reorganisation of the data to three books.
- Basic guide instructions (saving throws, ability scores).
- Social interactions added to gameplay procedures.
- Fireball-analogue added to Treasures chapter as an example of a more powerful spell.
The World Book — Current published version: beta.1.3.0 (27th August 2021). Still in the old format.
Changes from beta.1.2.0:
- Major reorganisation of text
- Major changes to how ability scores work (characters no-longer have 2d20 take lower scores, only opponents get to those shenaningans)
- Company Vault is now Company Ledger
- Experience removed from investing in the Company Ledger (was confusing)
- Titles are now Tales
Work in Progress:
- The Old Bear House example adventure
- Mundane treasures
- Example: Combat
- Crafting magic items
- More opponents (repeat task)
- Chase rules
- Hireling death cost
- More perks (repeat task)
- More magic items (repeat task)
- More spells (repeat task)
The games I know to have had a huge influence on the development of Them Deeper Bones:
- Frank Mentzer’s Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (The “Red Box”), Finnish translation (1988)
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition
- Dungeon Crawl Classics
- Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
- Runequest, Finnish translation (1988)
- Lamentations of the Flame Princess
- Blades in the Dark and Forged in the Dark games
- Apocalypse World and Powered by the Apocalypse games
- Principia Apocrypha (it’s not a game per se, but..)
- Five Torches Deep
And some games that do not have an official release yet as of writing, but whose design process has still had an influence on the design:
- Jonas Mustonen’s Vankityrmiä & Louhikäärmeitä
- Ville Takanen’s Al Presa
- James Malloy’s Minimal Viable Dungeon