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Ultralight roleplay inspired by Blades in the Dark.


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

Messerspiel v2.2.pdf 4 MB
Messerspiel v2.2 Italian Translation.pdf 4 MB
Messerspiel v2.2 Print Friendly.pdf 174 kB
Messerspiel v2.2 Print Friendly Italian Translation.pdf 207 kB
Messerspiel v2.1.pdf 4 MB
Messerspiel v2.0.pdf 4 MB
Messerspiel v1.7.pdf 187 kB
Messerspiel v1.7 Italian Translation.pdf 178 kB
Messerspiel v1.6.pdf 562 kB

Development log

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Hello Oz! Just a rulings question: when you resist an outcome using your stress die, do you risk decreasing your pool too? As I understand, no matter the size of your pool, when you resist you only role your stress die, right? Thanks for the clarification! I was looking for the similitude/hack to FitD.

yeah, basically every time you roll your stress die there’s a risk of reducing your pool

grateful! I understand, very elegant solution to BitD way. Thanks again for clarifying!

(1 edit)

Thank you for writing this. It's the most elegant thing I've seen in a long time. The idea of dropping character detail like this and basing your dice pool on the five statements is absolutely amazing. I love the resolution mechanic from Blades, but was looking for something more freeform like FU or Risus. It would have never occurred to me to just get rid of descriptors like this. Gorgeous.

Edit: I just went to see what else you made and realised that you wrote OZR and Ultimate which are both incredible too. Thank you!


Thanks for the kind words! I’m glad you’ve found my stuff useful.

The Polish translation of Messerspiel can now be found here: https://gestaltist.itch.io/messerspiel-pl

Hello. I'd love to translate this game into Polish if you're open. :) I've used it to good success in oneshots, and having a localized version would make things even smoother.

absolutely, it’s CC-BY so you don’t need my permission, but you have it anyway. if you wanna send me the text i can drop it into the layout too.

Is there any way we could communicate privately about this?

i’m ozmodeuz on discord

Perfect, I sent you a friends request. My handle is “gestaltist” on discord

Thanks for your elegant design. One question though :

Let's say a character with only two "regular" dice left in her pool besides her stress dice,  is (1) not injured, (2) trained and (3) has the upper hand. Since she only have two "regular" dice left, does she "may" or "has to" roll her stress die too ?

Is it a player's choice ? (the rules imply the stress die is rolled only under stress, to resist outcomes, or being the very last die of the pool).

Thanks again for sharing.

Player’s choice, losing dice to stress reduced how effectively you can apply yourself (and/or risks more stress).

Joining my voice to the praise of this. Very elegant, sir.




I was looking for a super-streamlined version of Blades, and someone recommended this one. I really like what you're doing here! Thanks so much.


Cheers! I always intended to bolt on extra bits, flash backs, downtime. But never got round to it. Plus it always felt fairly obviously how to handle those elements (to me anyway).

Yeah, the way you've folded the conversation around positioning and risk into the core move is very clever while still feeling very much like Blades. If you ever want to do a 2-page version, that would be cool, but no pressure! I bet it would be easy to do a downtime thing where the city/NPCs/factions get to make a move for every downtime move the PCs make. And maybe different "playbooks" could get an extra die for specific types of actions or something. But again, that's something individual groups could add on themselves or not. Definitely inspiring.

What I’d like to do is a post-Messerspiel text that uses the same dice system, with some add ons for making characters, handling recovery of the pool, advice for flashbacks and other structural ideas about running that sort of gang/heist game.

But I think Messerspiel itself is done now. I might even have gone too far ‘refining’ it. I know some people prefer version 1.x (which is why I uploaded a bunch of old versions).

I know how that goes! Some folks still play the alpha drafts of some of my games too. I understand about making a separate thing too. That lets this stay simpler and cleaner.

As someone who is very skeptical of FKR (read: would probably not enjoy), I still really love this. This game is polished, concise and very, very well designed. The way it combines multiple of the core systems of Blades is admirable.


Thanks! I think that might mean you like FKR though!


Minimalistic and wonderful. Bravo. 5/5 stars.

Thanks so much!

No problem :-)

(2 edits) (+3)

Very solid. The most minimally complete implementation of dice pools that I've ever seen.

Could benefit from a rule for replenishing the dice pool.


Hi! Glad you liked it!

An earlier draft actually did have a rule for replenishing the dice pool (at the start of each session) but playtesting revealed to me that the rate of replenishment should be variable per game/setting/tone.

However! “I want to restore a die to my pool” is a perfectly worthy player goal to be stated in phase 2, and to be adjudicated by the ref.

I'm thinking about a "bad outcome" for that goal ...

... "You meant to rest and recuperate, but after four days and nights of drinking you awaken broke, half-naked, and shivering in a vomit-spattered alleyway. You're pretty sure some of the vomit is yours."

For some people that might count as a good outcome!

I really want to get some people to play this.

For another take on fairly-minimal gaming, you could check out my Mad Hermit rules.

I will! If you do try it out let me know how it goes, either here or on the FKR Collective Discord server.


Great take on dice pools. That's a mechanic often overwrought and too clunky for it's own aims. This is solid.


This seems elegant. The mechanic with the stress die and comparing the result to the size of the pool is great.

Thanks! I wanted a way to play without having anything written down (ideally).

Though of course in ‘online’ play it’s not always so simple…