We’ll begin with roughly the Original (Whitebox) rules, see OD&D Engine for a summary. Delving Deeper v4 will be used as the primary reference text.

We’ll probably add further house rules as the campaign proceeds. See House Rules to Consider.

Familiarity with the rules is not really required to play. The GM will ask you to roll when necessary.

If you’re curious how PCs are generated, see Character Creation.


Character Stable

Once a player has brought a character to 1st level (i.e. survived one expedition), they are eligible to create more characters for their stable.


Under normal conditions, only one character from a player’s stable may join a given expedition (though the player may choose which).

However, under special circumstances the referee may decide to allow a player to choose a primary PC, and then bring 1 or more additional, lower-level PC along as a temporary “retainer”. The retainers will be under “loose” player control, and may be subject to morale checks. Unless they end up replacing the primary during the delve, they will earn only a half share of XP. They will expect at least a half share of gold.

PCs may not go from 0-level to 1st level as a retainer. I.e. a PC must be a primary for one expedition (or part of one expedition, if they replace a fallen PC during an expedition), in order to rise from Apprentice (0-level) to Adventurer (level 1).

0-level retainers may earn XP up to 1 less than the XP required for 2nd-level. After that point, any XP are lost, until they are taken as a primary on an expedition, and reach level 1.


100xp is awarded per hit die of monsters permanently defeated or neutralized in the dungeon. This is scaled according to the ratio of dungeon level to average character level.

1xp is awarded per 1sp recovered from the dungeon and brought back to a safe haven.

Experience is awarded for silver spent on Public Spending.


We’ll start the campaign out with only human PCs. Other sophonts exist but they are NPCs.


All characters start as level 0 apprentices. Upon surviving their first expedition & returning to a safe haven, your PC gains level 1 and you choose a class.

The only universal modification to character classes from RAW is that any character may use any normal weapon or armour, but they will fight as a 1HD monster unless using armament allowed by class. Use of magical weapons & armour is RAW.


Thieves are RAW, save that their abilities are as follows (the following description of thief abilities is OGC, see the License):

At levels 1–4 a thief accomplishes all of the above with a throw of 4-6 on a six-sided die; at levels 5–10 he requires a throw of 3–6; and at levels 11–12 he requires a throw of 2–6. Should he fail to disarm a trap it will be sprung with all the usual consequences.

Ability Scores

Remember: the extremes of the ability score range are truly exceptional. E.g. a Strength of 18 is equal to that of an ogre or a bear: a superhuman level of strength.

Also: ability scores have prime requisite effects (Strength for Fighters, Dexterity for Thieves, and Intelligence for Sorcerers).


When in Haven Town you can purchase anything you like from the Market.

Movement & Encumbrance

These are handled in an abstract manner.

You can carry up to your Strength in significant items. Beyond that you are encumbered, the effects of which are adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.

The maximum number of significant items you can carry is Strength x2.

Oversized items are considered to take up 2 slots.

For purposes of wilderness travel, characters wearing Heavy armour are considered encumbered.

A week’s worth of rations is a single item for purposes of encumbrance.


Discern Noise: 1-in-6

Force Doors: 2-in-6, +Str

Search: 2-in-6


Surprise on 2-in-6.

Reaction check 2d6: 2 attack, 3-5: hostile, 6-8: uncertain, 9-11: accepting, 12 enthusiastic (+Cha, additional mods based on circumstance)


Turn sequence:

  1. Referee will give some indication of the monsters actions for the turn.
  2. Players declare action for this turn. Generally, players should declare with a sentence or two. The ref will ask for clarification if needed.
    1. Any spells are declared first. A target must be declared, if applicable.
    2. Missile fire is declared next. A general target may be declared, at the player’s option (e.g. “shoot at an orc”). If the figure is capable of split-move-and-fire, they can declare whether they will be moving or not.
    3. Melee attacks are declared. A general target may be declared, at the player’s option (e.g. “engage the orcs”). Other considerations can be declared here, e.g. “join the shield wall & engage the orcs” or “fall back slowly but hold the line”.
  3. Roll 1d6 combat hazard die for initiative and other matters.
  4. Resolve actions in accordance with hazard die result.

Attack roll: d20 + number of HD + modifiers + target's AC ≥ 20 is a success.

For example, for a 1st-level character (1HD) to hit a target in mail (AC 5) they need to roll a 14 or higher on d20 (14 + 1 + 5).

Combat Options

Fighter-only Combat Options:

Hit Points

If you get a long rest in a safe place, you reroll your hit dice. If the new total is higher than your current, keep that.

You also reroll hit dice when you gain a level. Again, if the new total is higher, keep it.


If a hit reduces your hit points to 0, or if you’re hit and your hit points are already 0, roll on the following table.

If you’re carrying a shield, and you take such a hit, you can instead opt for your shield to be sundered. The shield is completely destroyed, but you escape this table … for now! 👹

2Instant Death: Decapitated or other grievous wound
3Fatal Wound: gutted, stabbed through lung, broken back; you’ll die in 1d6 rounds
4Severed Limb: roll a d4: 1 – sword arm, 2 – shield arm, 3, 4 – leg; you’ll die in 3d6 rounds unless you cauterize the wound using fire or stop the bleeding using a tourniquet
5Broken Bones: roll a d4: 1 – sword arm, 2 – shield arm, 3 – leg, 4 – rib; healing takes 2d4+9 weeks
6Painful Loss: roll a d6: 1 – nose, 2 – eye, 3 – ear, 4 – finger, 5 – d6 teeth, 6 – mean cut and ugly scar
7, 8Unconscious: knocked out and helpless for 2d6 rounds unless wearing a helmet; with a helmet, stunned for a round
9Stunned: unable to act for a round; with a helmet, only knocked down
10Knocked Down: enemies get advantage, you can get up next round and either attack or retreat
11No effect: you can take it!
12Adrenaline Surge! Roll half your HD (round up), gain that many HP; after the fight your HP drop back to zero and you faint for 2d6 rounds

The above table is Open Game Content (see the License).

More Info