Runecairn: Core Rules
Books | | Links: Print | Itch.io | SRD
In a long forgotten age, a raging war shattered and devastated the worlds of gods and men. Now green life blooms amidst the ruins of the lost worlds. Wondrous and terrible beings roam the Nine Realms. Civilisation stumbles forward, fresh and reaching.
Fate carves the skein anew but there are loose threads, lost long ago in the wars, with no place in the tapestry. These threads must seek the fire within and weave their own path.
Strap on your bearded axe and linden wood shield, delve into the forsaken barrow and cleanse the draugr within. They will overhwhelm you at first so prepare to die. But when you wake up at the bonfire, you’ll know what to expect for your next attempt. Parry their attacks, disarm them, and hack them to pieces. Defeat the mad jotunn within and claim the soul remnant they protect.
Death is not the end.
Runecairn: Core Rules is a 44-page, black and white tabletop RPG zine, which includes a Norse fantasy setting, a full game system, and character creation rules for adventures set after Ragnarok destroyed most of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology. Runecairn is based on Cairn by Yochai Gal, with streamlined rules, fast character creation, and gameplay based on exploration and player choice.
Core Rules Includes:
- Play designed for two players, one Warden and one Adventurer.
- Full rules for play, based on the streamlined Cairn system and with mechanics inspired by the Dark Souls game series.
- Death is not the end as Adventurers re-awaken at a bonfire when slain.
- Four starting classes with unique weapon and item abilities: the hearty warrior with an axe and shield, the nimble scout with dual knives, the cunning seer with a staff and runestone magic, and the spirited skald whose voice channels the power of the gods.
- Dynamic combat filled with devastating weapons, reactive magic, and reactive abilities.
- 30 forceful runestones spells for the cunning seer and 26 versatile sagas for the resolute skald.
- 15 unnerving and mysterious monsters drawn from tales of Norse mythology.
Illustrated throughout with evocative black and white line-art. Printed in black and white with colour covers.
What Others Have Said
Chris McDowall (@Bastionland), designer and creator of Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland:
I absolutely love Runecairn! As soon as I read it I wanted to steal its ideas. It changed the way I think about the type of games that the Into the Odd system can run.
Rich August (@RpgAugust), designer and writer at Steamforged Games (Dark Souls: The Roleplaying Game):
Thank you for such an awesome game - I loved reading Runecairn and it’s on my list of 2022 games to get to the table. And the layout is lovely too.
Richard Kelly (@SprintingOwl), designer:
If you’re looking for a moderately crunchy duo TRPG, or if you’re a fan of Souls games, or if you want to see a stellar adaptation of video game mechanics to tabletop, I would strongly recommend giving Beneath the Broken Sword (and Runecairn) a shot.
Sebrina Calkins (@EntwifeXP), reviewer:
This is a quality game, adapting Cairn to an apocalyptic Norse setting with a greater emphasis on arms, armour and combat without losing the deadly and considered tone of its forebear.
Also now available:
- Beneath the Broken Sword, an introductory dungeon crawl adventure for Runecairn
- Runecairn: Advanced Rules, adds two new starting classes and rules for 1-3+ players
- SRD: https://runecairn.byodinsbeardrpg.com/srd
- Character generator: https://runecairn.byodinsbeardrpg.com/generator/
The full text is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
UK: By Odin’s Beard RPG, Rook’s Press, Dungeonland, Igloo Tree, Secret Cat Shop
EU: All the Problems in this World
US: Exalted Funeral, Iron Buffalo Gaming
Canada: Ratti Incantati, Monkey’s Paw, and Four Rogues Trading Company