BLOOD & TREASURE 2nd Edition





If you buy a hard cover, send me your receipt and I’ll send along a link for a free PDF download of those same rules!


Bloody Basic is the basic version of the Blood & Treasure rules. It comes in several editions, all compatible with one another, but each taking a slightly different look at the rules.

The Classic Edition rules include rules for the classic races, classes, spells and monsters of fantasy role playing, including elves, dwarves, halflings, fighters, magic-users, clerics and thieves.

The Contemporary Edition rules include rules for the contemporary races, classes, spells and monsters of fantasy role playing, including automatons, drakkens, gnomes, fighters, sorcerers, clerics and thieves.

The Mother Goose Edition rules include rules for the races, classes, spells and monsters of fairy tales, including little pigs, sprites, knaves, charming princes, woodsmen, and maidens.

The Sinew & Steel Edition rules remove the magic and supernatural elements from the game, making it a game of medieval adventure. It includes rules for creating medieval characters, adventuring, jousting, and besieging and storming castles. (Paperback Not Yet Released)

The Weird Fantasy Edition rules are inspired by the wondrous prose and poetry of Clark Ashton Smith and Lord Dunsany and the art of such luminaries as Aubrey Beardsley and Sidney Sime. It include rules for the races, classes, spells and monsters of weird fantasy tales.

More editions are on the way, including the Bodacious Barbarian Edition, Chaos Edition, Asian Adventures Edition, Shakespeare Edition and Jules Verne Edition.

BLOOD & TREASURE 1st Edition 

The first edition is on its way to Elysium, but the following titles are still available. They will, however, be updated to 2nd edition soon, and then they’re off to join their buddies on the other side.

NOD Companion

Monster Tome



Free download – HERE.

Print edition can be purchased HERE.


Check out THIS THREAD on the Blood & Treasure message board for most updated errata


Three official goodies from Tanner Yea

SUP 1 Heroes of Lore – 52 class variants for Blood & Treasure. Download it at his blog Pulpwood or download it here.

SUP 2 Races of Lore – 8 new races for Blood & Treasure. Download it here.

SUP 3 Psionics of Lore – A full psionics system for Blood & Treasure, including races, classes, powers, monsters and treasures. Download it here.

If you would like to write supplements or adventures of your own and use the official Blood & Treasure product dressing, let me know. I’d be happy to do the layout and add them to the page. All material you write remains your property!


I’m slowly working on translating all the monsters in the TKT into stat block. You can find the document HERE.

James Robertson has produced a nice B&T Cheat Sheet for download.

David Williams has put together an alternate progression for the optional skill points system that tracks more closely with the base skill system. Dig it HERE! (Updated Dec 2013)

Two more items from David Williams! A very cool TK Screen (an astounding amount of info here – updated April 2013) and a detailed Character Sheet. The character sheet includes a space for a Fame house rule he uses.

For folks who like Attack Matrices, I worked up a set for Blood & Treasure you can download HERE.


Keith Davies wrote a nice review at his blog, Keith Davies – My Campaign. Thanks Keith!

Check It – B&T is an international hit. A nice review at the Raskal RPG blog en francais . Merci Raskal!

Mike David, Jr., of Mike’s Amazing RPG Fun Pad, wrote a nice review here.

Aaron Siddall, an excellent artist wrote a nice review of the game at his Random Acts blog.


Bloody Basic character sheet


First Edition Players Tome

Blood & Treasure began to form the first time I was writing something for NOD, which used the Swords & Wizardry system, and needed to use a monster or spell that wasn’t in S&W. You see, I love the retro clones to death, but I’ve always been a far-ranger when it came to my RPG playing … i.e. if it’s cool, I use it regardless of what book/game/edition is appears in. As a kid, my friends and I played “D&D” – it was really a conglomeration of Moldvay/Cook rules, all the cool classes, races, spells and monsters in AD&D and whatever cool thing we’d just seen in an issue of Dragon Magazine.

As I wrote hexcrawl after hexcrawl, I found myself often needed to “convert” a spell or monster that was in the SRD or otherwise open content, but which wasn’t in S&W. Eventually, I decided it might be worth my time to grab all the monsters and spells in the SRD which weren’t in S&W and produce them as conversion books, to keep me from having to rewrite things in the magazine. Once I made this decision, the next leap – just rewriting the entire SRD (well, not 100% of it, but most of it) as an old school resource – was an easy one.

So, what is Blood & Treasure? It’s an RPG that lives somewhere between the various editions. It tries to link up a simple set of rules that are recognizable to most people who have played the game in the last 30+ years with all the goodies that 30+ years of gaming creativity have given us.


First Edition TK’s Tome

Let’s get into the nuts & bolts of the game.

Ability scores are rolled with 3d6 … or 4d6 drop the lowest … in order or rearranged … you see, I don’t really give a crap how you roll up a character in your game. The default is 3d6 in order, but you can do whatever you really want with it. It’s the six ability scores you know and love, with ability bonuses/penalties inspired by B/X D&D (i.e. -3 to +3).

All the races and classes from the core SRD are present, with the addition of the Assassin and Duelist as full classes. I tried to walk them back to old school levels of power, and did my best to write-out the “one million bonuses and penalties” mentality of the SRD. Why? Because it makes for a simpler game.

Feats are there as an option, but they are significantly pared down and there are no feat chains. They just exist as simple ways to tweak a character, if they’re permitted.

Equipment and weapons and armor are about what you would expect. Damage values are in line with the “advanced game”. Most of the alchemical items and special materials from the SRD are there, but I couldn’t bring myself to include tanglefoot bags. Sorry, I’m still a grognard at heart. You can add it back in yourself if you want.

Saving throws are in three categories – Fortitude, Reflex and Will. I figured it was a happy medium between S&W’s one save and the five categories of old D&D. They work more like old D&D saves – a simple target number you need to meet and beat.

Non-combat tasks work like saving throws. The basic tasks for dungeon exploration are there – breaking down doors, bending bars, finding secret doors, picking pockets, find/remove traps, etc.. If something is difficult, you roll dice. If your character is skilled at something (i.e. thieves doing their thief things, fighters breaking down doors, rangers tracking), you roll a saving throw, modifying it with a relevant ability. If you aren’t skilled at it, but have a knack for it (i.e. elves finding secret doors) you either roll 1d20 and try to meet or beat ’15’ or just roll 1d6 and try to get a 1 or 2. If you aren’t skilled at it and have no knack, you roll 1d20 and try to meet or beat ’18’ or just roll 1d6 and try to get a “1”. Each additional difficulty to a task, as determined by the Treasure Keeper (i.e. Game Master), applies a -2 penalty to the roll – nothing you need to look up, you can do it in your head. A skill point system is provided as an optional rule for people who prefer it.

Combat works like it does in most editions – roll initiative (group or individual), move and attack, etc. No attacks of opportunity, simple combat maneuvers (just attack a set “difficulty class” and then the target can negate it with a save), death at 0 hp (or use the optional death and dying system), etc. The only add-on here is the idea of tactical advantage. A few tactical advantages are listed as examples, but they’re primarily figured out between the TK and the players. Each tactical advantage an attacker has gives him or her a +2 bonus to hit. Every tactical advantage a defender has gives him or her a +2 bonus to AC. So, smart players are rewarded, but you don’t have to memorize a bunch of different combat modifiers. In Blood & Treasure, close enough is close enough.

Almost all of the spells from the SRD are there, but they are generally simplified, streamlined and brought back to older forms. A few of the psionic powers are also turned into spells, and a few from other sources show up as well to round things out. Spell casting is simple – spells are cast on a spell caster’s turn in combat, and saving throws and magic resistance apply to everything (maybe there are a couple exceptions in the text, but you get the idea). My hope is that Blood & Treasure will be a game people spend more time playing and less time discussing and arguing over.

Almost all of the monsters from the SRD are in the game, along with many from other sources and a few originals. Monsters work like they do in old games – HD, AC, attacks and damage, movement rate, saving throws and XP value. I carried over the idea of set conditions (entangled, comatose, etc.) and special attacks (swallow whole, rend) from the SRD because it means less to memorize, but I tried to keep them simple. Monsters are also rated by size (tiny, small, medium, large and huge), by monster type (animal, humanoid, outsider, fey, undead, etc.) and intelligence (animal, low, average, high, super). Many monsters have a paragraph for using them as character races, and most of the humanoids have some rules for using them in mass combat. About the only monsters that didn’t make it into the game were the ones where it was just an existing monster with added class levels or HD, some of the psionic monsters that rely more heavily on the whole SRD psionics system (which isn’t in the game) and some of the epic monsters. There are a few templates, but primarily serve as idea generators for modifying existing monsters.

The SRD magic items are mostly there – again, a few that relied on rules I got rid of didn’t make it, but I’d say about 98% of them are there. In all cases, they were simplified. I also include some ideas on gathering rare materials to make magic items.

Blood & Treasure does have a system for strongholds and domain play, along with some mass combat and naval combat rules. It covers dungeon design and dangers, wilderness design and dangers and settlement design and dangers, along with some nifty random tables to help you along.

Ultimately, I want a game that is playable with most of the editions, though some editions would need more conversion work than others. There will be an appendix that covers converting the game from the various “eras” of fantasy role playing. Also, races, classes, spells and monsters in the game are given a notation of “A” for “advanced era” and “E” for “expanded era” to allow TK’s to screen out things they don’t want in their personal campaigns.

For more glimpses and thoughts about the game, click HERE to see previews from the blog.

The game will be published as a PDF, soft cover and hard cover. There will be a Player’s Tome and Treasure Keeper’s Tome, as well as a combined Complete Tome for those who just want one big-ass book for their shelves. The Player’s Tome will probably weigh in at 150 pages, the TK’s Tome at 220 – something like that. Folks who buy the hard covers will get the PDF for free. I’ll keep the pricing as reasonable as possible – I mostly want to make my money back on the art I bought for the game (which, frankly, I won’t … c’est la vie).

Every time I publish something, people want to know about supplements. Of course, there will always be little bits of supplemental material in NOD, but I also plan on the following (with no definite release schedule):

The Tumbled Towers – An intro adventure for 1st level characters. See above for the free download link!

Catacombs of Ophir – An adventure for levels 2 to 4, based on material I’m currently using for play-testing Blood & Treasure, and expanding on an article for Knockspell I did a while back.

The Ship in the Cave – An adventure for levels 4 to 6, based on material I’m currently using for play-testing Blood & Treasure.

Tome of Gods – Collection of the pantheons published in NOD, with a few more added in.

Tome of Armies – This would be an expansion of the mass combat rules (not a major expansion – they’ll still be rules lite), along with a dozen or so fantasy and historical armies with Osprey-style army illustrations.

72 thoughts on “BLOOD & TREASURE

  1. Well, yes and no (mostly no). I set up a forum for Blood & Treasure (you can find a link to the forums over on the right), but since I had to delete about 100 spam posts a day from the B&T forum (opposed to maybe one legitimate post a day), I had to seal it off. I might open it again and see how it goes, but it seems no matter how strict the security was, the spam got through.


  2. Ah that is a shame. I completely understand though running forums is always a pain.

    I am getting there with the rules and it isn't effecting the game play so….while it might not always be the way you meant it…we are loving it 🙂

    Thank you!


  3. John, hi, hello, howdy and such. I just purchased Bloody Basic off Lulu and felt overjoyed to see my artwork (balrog demon guy) on page 25. Unfortunately I think you credited Luigi for it instead. I am guessing it's my fault as I copied his artist statement/disclosure from his DTRPG description.

    This particular piece was quite popular. I'm truly overjoyed to have it appear in your game which is slick and elegant as heck.

    But, could you please credit me? I am Jeremy Hart. The sole dude at Omegapointillist Studios.


  4. I've been a bad, bad publisher. I got myself so busy with writing and work and such, and then, to be completely honest, I forgot that I hadn't done it already. Dang. I hereby pledge, with St. Cuthbert as my witness, that I'll get my butt in gear and publish the Monster Tome as a softcover this week (which technically gives me until Saturday at midnight).


  5. Hello John,

    Are you still working on your Bodacious Barbarian Edition, Chaos Edition, and Asian Adventures Edition? Is your Barbarian Edition different than your Barbarians and Basilisks or did it evolve into that game. Is your Chaos edition a balance to your Barbarian edition, so instead of mighty thews you will have dangerous magic? Finally, will your Asian version be Pan-Asian, so we can there will be a mix of Chinese style wuxia and Japanese chanbarra?


  6. “Working on” may be too strong a phrase, but I do plan on producing some more Bloody Basics in the future. Barbarians & Basilisks was done in place of the Bodacious Barbarian Edition, but I do want to do Chaos and Asian editions. The Asian edition should dip its toes into various milieus – China, Japan, etc. I keep them light, so it won't delve too deeply into anything in particular.


  7. Hi John. Thanks for all the great work. I've purchased a decent amount of your stuff and I'm happy with it. It'd be nice to be able to purchase 1st edition B&T though. I prefer getting the hard cover book editions and your 1st ed. pic links to 2nd ed. on lulu. Keep up the great work!


  8. Thanks for the kind words! I plan on bringing it back at some point, but was waiting a bit to avoid people accidentally grabbing the old when they really wanted the new. Currently, I'm thinking Jan 2018 will be enough of a cushion that I avoid too many problems.


  9. Thanks John. I picked up the NOD companion in hard cover recently. Great addition. I saw the proficiency rules (good stuff) which gave me an idea. One is a Blood Mage class. Probably a sorcerer sub-class that uses blood sacrifice (hit points) to drive spell enhancements/feats. Along the same lines would be a more generic 'blood magic' that might be used for arcane or divine classes. I was thinking a character would lose 1d8 worth of hit points for each proficiency point gained. Another option could be to reduce it to 1d4 per proficiency point but make the damage such that it can only be healed naturally. In either case the proficiency points gained in this manner would have to be spent immediately and would be done in conjunction with casting the spell. Optional advanced enhancements may be to use blood from other magic using creatures. Naturally limits and balances would need to be put in place to keep power and game mechanics reasonable. Also would make for a great module.


  10. I meant modification points not proficiency points. Folks, if you don't have the NOD companion I highly recommend it. Don't be a 'thunder cannon' and just buy it. You'll have to read the book to find out what that is!


  11. And I'll remind folks here that the 2nd edition version is coming – still writing and editing, but I think I can get it out by October for sure. Basically the same book updated to the 2nd edition rules, but with a few bits from NOD's I've published since the original release added. This time, it's called Esoterica Exhumed.


Comments are closed.