Trespasser hews closely to the tradition of the classic dungeon crawlers that inspired it. If you’re already familiar with any version of D&D, you’ll find the system easy to learn. What sets Trespasser apart is how it mixes old school and modern gaming concepts to create its own shade of rules-medium tactical roleplaying.

Old School Concepts

  • Sandbox Survival. The system is intended for exploration-based survival campaigns. Adventurers start with next to nothing and need to set goals and pick headings for themselves.
  • High Lethality. Adventurers aren’t quite as flimsy as old school ones, but they aren’t superheroes, either. Volatile combat and a disregard for encounter balance will make you think twice about solving problems with violence.
  • Random Characters. The adventuring party is forged in a harrowing ordeal called the First Day, a bloody adventure that other games term a ‘funnel session’ or ‘meat grinder.’ For the first session only, you and each other player will control four randomly generated peasants. Though most will meet a gruesome death, at the end you will choose one of the survivors to be your character.
  • Challenge-Based Play. Unfair situations can occur, but they can also be circumvented with creativity and planning. A high level of danger challenges players rather than the abilities written on their character sheets, encouraging them to find inventive solutions and use every advantage.
  • Classic Reward System. Characters gain much of their experience by amassing treasure, encouraging a more classic cycle of play: the adventurers make excursions to perilous dungeons, return with valuables, and use them to build up their stronghold. A story emerges organically, but it is not necessarily the central purpose or motive force for rewards and advancement.

Modern Concepts

  • Tactical Combat. More than half of the game’s text is devoted to a robust, grid-based tactical combat system inspired by 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons. Characters have a toolbox of combat options even at low levels, and players are encouraged to fight cooperatively and think about party synergy.
  • Character Builds. Players use a randomly generated character as a foundation, but the system all but ensures several viable paths forward no matter their starting attributes. A steady stream meaningful choices allow players to build in the direction they want or reinvent their adventurer over time.