Earthdawn and FU – Mind Blown!

Earth dawn Age of Legends

earthdawn age of legendI discovered today that a new iteration of Earthdawn is on the way, published by the very clever folk at Vagrant Workshop. While I only briefly explored the exotic lands of Barsaive, it captured enough of my attention that I still have an Earthdawn poster up in my games room! I remember reading many issues of Australian Realms (our very own antipodean games magazine, sadly no more) and the many articles, reviews and advertisements for Earthdawn. It seems to me that there was a time in the 1990’s when it was THE fantasy game to play. More amazing (for me, anyway) is that this new game will use a set of rules based on my own game, FU. How amazing is that? I am looking forward to seeing what Vagrant Workshop does with this new game.

Not Just Earthdawn…

equinoxI obviously haven’t been paying attention, though, because Vagrant Workshop actually have another game with a set of rules based on FU. Equinox is a very cool looking sci-fi game of high-octane action and mystic powers. It appears to be a an exciting pulp setting setting filled with pirates and misfits and an evil galaxy-spanning government to bring down. The Equinox Setting Guide is a generic setting book so you can play it with your favourite set of rules (*cough* FU *cough*), and Vagrant Workshop have published two sets of rules specifically designed to use with the setting. The Equinox Storygame Guide is the system based on FU.

But wait, there’s more!

So many people have done amazing things with my little game and I feel incredibly proud that it has inspired such imaginative and exciting works. There are now a number of professionally published games based on FU, as well as the many, many awesome hacks that fans have created for their favourite games and settings. I am going to try and spend a little time over the next few weeks reviewing some of these great games and hacks.


FU - Freeform / Universal RPG

FUlogo-125FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG. FU is a game of action, adventure and fun! It is a roleplaying game of grand proportions and stupefying simplicity. FU lets you create exciting stories in any setting imaginable, with a minimum of fuss, or even preparation.

Get your copy of FU from RPGnow


FU Yahoo Group

Fans of FU are invited to join the Yahoo group, where you will find much lively discussion on the game. Check it out here.


May The FU Be With You! Star Wars Hack

I Know Kung-FU The Matrix Hack

Lego FU The Lego hack by Andrew Smith

Licensing FU (CC-BY)

cc-byFU is now released with a Creative Commons Attribution License. This is a very flexible license that allows you to copy, remix, edit and create awesome stuff based on FU. Perhaps, most importantly, it is not a “viral” license, in that it does not require you to share your new creations with the same license. Of course, I would love it if you did – that way other people can use your awesome ideas and we can continue to build the totally fantastic community of FU Fans!

So, what kinds of things can you do with FU under this license? So long as you following the requirements (below), you can:

  • Share the work
  • Copy the work
  • Translate the work
  • Create new things derived from the work


The most important requirement for anything you do based on my work is attribution: you must give me credit. Wherever you put your own copyright notice, you must add the following text:

This work is based on FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG (found at, by Nathan Russell, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (

This text must be the same size as the rest of your copyright section. If it is an electronic product you can make “Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license” a link to and “FU: The Freeform/Universal RPG” a link to, instead of printing the URLs.

Second, you cannot imply that I (Nathan Russell) endorse, sponsor or recommend you or your product, in any way. You can use the Powered By FU logo (see below).

Finally, you cannot use this work in any way that is prejudicial to my (Nathan Russell) honour or reputation.

Powered By FU

You may use the Powered By FU logo on your work. THere are two versions of the logo – choose the one that best suits the background you’re putting it on. To make legal use of either logo, you must include the following text:

The Powered By FU logo is (c) Nathan Russell and is used with permission.

Once again, this text must be placed with your own copyright information, and must be the same size as the rest of the copyright section.


Download Powered By FU logos .zip file


The Beast of Limfjord

Gather close and hear the saga of the great warrior, Hrothgar, and his journey home. Many were his triumphs in the years that he explored the north, west and east. Stories of his battle with the Serpent of Iceland, the defeat of the Tyrant of Wales and his tangle with the Witches of Rus were spread from fireside to fireside, wherever men shared tales. But as the weariness of ages grew upon Hrothgar he (as all men do) longed to return home and claim the prizes of old age – a welcoming hearth and a warm woman. So it was that Hrothgar and his crew of bondsmen set out for home. But the Gods often have plans for the bold of heart and able of body, and the north winds were unleashed upon Hrothgar and his crew, smashing their longship upon the shores of far northern Jutland, a desolate place of rugged men and great peril. It was here that the villagers of Limfjord, recognizing the warrior in their midst, petitioned Hrothgar to save them from the Beast that had descended upon them.

This is the tale of Hrothgar and the Beast of Limfjord…

The Beast of Limfjord
 is an RPG Playset of dark age fantasy, inspired by the Norse sagas. It has everything you need to play out epic adventures, including:

  • 5 mighty heroes, ready for you to customize and play
  • Simple, entertaining rules that drive your heroes to dramatic situations
  • Detailed GM guide
  • Epic plot outline in 3 Acts
  • 3 starting scenes, 5 ready-to-run scenes and more than 30 other challenges provide plenty of tools, suggestions and inspiration to make the saga infinitely customizable and replayable
  • Rules for character advancement and creating your own heroes, so your adventures can continue when the saga of the Beast of Limfjord ends

Inspired by the tales of Beowulf, mighty Saxon Kings, Viking tales and hollywood epics,The Beast of Limfjord is your chance to create a legendary saga of your own.

Get your copy of The Beast of Limfjord from RPGnow

Perpetual City

Perpetual City RPG

The City sprawls endlessly, a wilderness of towers, cobbled streets and teeming masses. It has existed since time imemorial, and has been built to last forever. It is a conglomeration of stone and iron buildings, each built tight next to or on top of its neighbors. The City is industrial, overcrowded, dark, claustrophobic and busy. People work around the clock, in the mines, boiler rooms and kitchens, on the walls of the Cage, on woven seaweed fishing boats and in the catacombs. Smoke chokes the air, stains the walls and falls in a flaky precipitation.

The City is many things to all people: home, work, playground, passion, bastion and prison.


Perpetual City began life as a fantasy-cyberpunk fusion, a game created in 24-hours, called Verge. Since then it has grown into something much more. This game is currently in development, but you can still see the original game:

The Green & The Tan

Green and Tan wargame toy soldiers

The Green and the Tan are fast-playing and fun miniature battle rules to use with plastic army men – you know, the cheap toy soldiers you get from discount stores! Easy for new players to get involved quickly, without having to worry about detailed army lists or complex charts, but detailed enough to provide veteran players with an entertaining diversion too.

Here is the Designer’s Notes from the game;

The Green & the Tan was initially written to be played with my young nephews (6 and 7 at the time). It provided an entertaining diversion and a great introduction to the world of model soldiers. It was also easy (and cheap) enough for the boys to go home and have a go with their mates and their Dad’s. I play a variation of it with my own, much younger,children. I hope you have as much fun with it.

This game has some abstractions that let the game run smoothly and allow younger players get to grips with the rules without having to really understand the ideas behind them. Rolling to see if a unit can move is one “command / control” system. Small squads (like mortars and machine guns) are unlikely to move very often, highlighting the way they might be utilised in battle. The big abstraction is morale and combat effectiveness. In this game a rifle squad’s ability to move and shoot is directly proportional to the number of figures in the squad. The idea is that as casualties mount up the remaining soliders feel more stressed and are less likely to “stick their necks out” to move or take “good” shots. I think this works quite well, if I do say so myself!

The other point of difference from many wargame rules is that victory points are calculated on what you have left, not what you have destroyed. The stuff more likely to get targeted by the enemy or that is easier to “kill” is worth more victory points. The idea here is that it makes a player think about casualties, and where, how and when they commit their troops in order to minimise their own losses.

Finally, I wanted this game to be flexible. I wanted the units and weapons described within to have an internal logic so you can add your own stuff. There are so many toy soldier “kits” out there that it is impossible for me to cover every available squad or weapon. Hopefully you have enough information within this short book to let you make your own special rules.

Get your copy of The Green & The Tan from RPGnow

Space Rat

Space Rat Adventure Game

At last! A roleplaying game based on your favourite intergalactic anti-hero, Jack Cosmos – the Space Rat! Now you can take part in his over-the-top, outragous adventures adventures too!

Space Rat: the Jack Cosmos Adventure Game! is a roleplaying game in which the characters must work together to get their mission completed, while at the same time they compete for the attentions of the galaxy’s greatest hero! This is  a fast-paced game of fun and action as players pit their wits and luck agaist one another in an exciting space adventure.

Space Rat: the Jack Cosmos Adventure Game! is a complete roleplaying game. The 74-page book includes;

  • Complete character creation rules and pregenerated characters including fan favourites Cosmarina the Space Girl and Valerie the Slave Girl!
  • Flexible, cinematic rules able to cope with any situation, no matter how ridiculous or outrageous!
  • Devious luck rules where one bad roll can put your fate in another player’s hands!
  • Comprehensive Directors chapter with helpful advice such as “Don’t be fooled and don’t be a sucker!”
  • A bestiary of the Space Rat’s most famous adversaries, including Robotic Ape Men and the dreaded Eye Robot!
  • A complete adventure.

What People Are Saying About Space Rat

The space Rat rules are a wonder of clarity and intertwined, logical design. Femme Babes are badasses with style!

Ron Edwards

I am tempted to describe it as the game for people who found Macho Women With Guns insufficiently ironic. The game presupposes an nonexistent entertainment property and then prompts you to emulate its tropes. Space Rat, a rodent analog to Futurama’s Zap Brannigan is an icon of cheesy 70′s novels and a TV series. He is an NPC; you play the bevy of scantily clad, pulchritudinous space girlfriends who, in competing for his shiftless affections actually do all the work in successfully completing his assignments.

Robin Laws

Get your copy of Space Rat from RPGnow

System Free

System Free RPG Resources

System Free Resources are exactly that – resources you can use in your RPG’s, no matter what system you are using. Each stand-alone product provides an interesting, entertaining and / or helpful set of ideas, rules or other material that can be easily integrated into your games.

Fantasy Character Hotseat

Fantasy Character Hotseat is the very first System Free Resource – a game resource that is useful no matter what game or system you are using. This resource provides more than 240 inspirational prompts that you can use to create interesting backgrounds and agendas for your fantasy characters. This first Hotseat resource focuses on the iconic fantasy classes of Warrior, Spellcaster and Rogue, and also provides background questionnaires for the four most common fantasy races of Human, Halfling, Dwarf and Elf.

This is a great resource for players, providing inspiration and ideas when creating a new character. Often, a player has a kernal of an idea for their character (“I want to be a dwarf fighter.” Or, “I want to be a surly elf.”) but not a lot else. Delving straight into character generation can be daunting and you might often be left wondering things like “What skills are important for my character?” Or, “Why should I give me halfling rogue any ranks in a sailing skill.” Or, “Will I need any abilities for talking to nobles?” Fantasy Character Hotseat helps by sketching out your character’s past and giving them a goal or agenda. Armed with the knowledge of where your character has been and where they are going, you can get on with creating your new hero!

Fantasy Character Hotseat is also a great resource for game masters. A GM can quickly and easily generate background details for NPC’s, or even use it as the spark for a villain’s motivations. The other big advantage for GM’s is that the Hotseat gets players thinking about their character before you ever get to stats, skills or whatever else your game uses.

Get your copy of Fantasy Character Hotseat from RPGnow

Free Games

Free Tabletop Games

This is what it is all about – the creating, playing and enjoying of games is the sole purpose of Peril Planet. There are all kinds of things here – have a browse, see what you like and leave some feedback, either by email or on the forums.

Big Game Hunt

A game of dinosaur hunting for ages 7 and up! These straightforward, fun rules take up an entire 2 pages, including character record sheets! Plenty of fun with miniature figures, toy dinosaurs and anything else you have lying about.

Come With Me If You Want To Live!

The world is ending and only You have any chance of saving humanity. Survive natural disasters, divine interventions and social collapse, and bring along as many followers as you can. But act quickly, because it will soon be all over! Come With Me If You Want To Live! is a light-hearted, beer-and-pretzels board game for four players.

This boardgame was the winner of the first annual Iron Game Design Chef, during the 2010 Uprising event. The core rules and concept were created in a two-hour time period and demonstrated to judges. There were many great games created during this event and hopefully we will see more available in the not too distant future.

Conquest of the Lost World

Conquest of the Lost World is a miniature battle game of Victorian-Pulp adventure. It is a unit-based wargame set in a world that might have been. This is the world of Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle, a place where mad scientists, industrial powers and primative warriors clash in a land that time had forgotten.

It is currently in development and YOU can help make it better by playing the game and sending me feedback.

Dungeon Quest

A straight-forward fantasy RPG totally free for you to use and abuse. It is released to the world under a Creative Commons-Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike License, which means you can use it for free so long as you don’t try to make money off it or claim it as your own.

Frogger the board game

Created as part of a game design course, this is the first, rough iteration of a game based on the old Atari classic. It works, is playable solo, and is fun. One day I will refine it a little further, simply some of the clunky stuff and rename it a non-trade-marked name! In the meantime, get it for free!

Space Rat – original 24 hour version

Written as part of Ron Edward’s “Ronnies” challenge, this is the precursor to the fully tricked-out 74-page game. The themes and core concepts in this first 24-hour game made it through to the final game, so check it out.


Join the StarCorps, see the galaxy and kill some aliens! A “mini” RPG I wrote waaay back. It was the test piece for a range of games that I am yet to get to. It has everything you need to create characters, and a sketch of a system that should get you started. Check it out and let me know what you think.


The land of Lenor is engulfed in darkness and besieged by evil, only the Templars can bring the Light to the Darkness. This is a setting for a campaign I ran back in 2005. Detailed enough for casual campaign play. It was originally written for D&D and I am contemplating re-fitting it for True20. This document has no system info – it is all fluff.

The Last Human

When the robots re-awoke their human charges were dead. All but one, an infant girl. You are one of the robots left to protect and care for this child. What will you do now? This was my very first 24-hour RPG.


A simple universal rpg that I have used to run everything from super-heroes to grotty, goblin-based fantasy. This is the game that FU is based on.