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. I'd be fine with people doing supplements. I'll have to draw up some sort of guide, I suppose, for people using the Blood & Treasure name.


  2. This game's gonna be great. 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the retro clone, with Blood and Treasure, Dungeon Crawl Classics and others.


  3. I just purchased this (the players guide), and am loving it, but I am wondering if there are any cheat sheets available for it? (I'm guessing most of what I'd like to know would fit on a handy one pager, so I will likely make such a creature if one does not yet exist.)


  4. I don't have a cheat sheet yet, but I'm thinking about it. Would you be looking for something that aids in the character creation process, or something else?


  5. I am most keen to have something to support actual play, to minimise the need to consult the rulebook very often (a trend of modern D&D roleplaying that I really don't enjoy at all). I've come up with one that has the following on it, for Saturday night's trial game:
    * Combat (initiative, actions, special manoeuvres)
    * Encounters (reaction, distance, surprise, morale)
    * Heroic tasks (check types, a list of all tasks with save + stat)
    * Conditions

    I'll email you a copy, so you can see what I'm talking about.

    I'm thinking I will also pull together an equipment handout, and maybe (maybe) a character generation handout.


  6. You know what would be awesome? A forum where all the fans of Blood & Treasure can go to discuss the game. Do you have any plans to make one Matt? Or have any ideas where we all should go to start threads about it?


  7. I'll look into that. I'm not especially savvy with this here internet thing (which is why I use blogger 😉 – but I'll see what I can find.


  8. I like 'The Tumbled Towers' but if you're going to assign #s to skills (equal to the appropriate saving throw), you should probably also add the relevant ability score, or at least identify it. Many might think the given # already incorporates all modifiers, when it actually does not.


  9. I like Tumbled Towers, but you should include the ability scores in the skill #s, or at least identify the ability score for each skill. I think many people would assume that the given skill rating (e.g., Bardra/Bend Bars 12) would include any appropriate modifiers, such as STR, but they do not.


  10. I found this page via Google looking for a retroclone not “too old”. Reading the reviews I have seen that you have adapted some concepts from newer editions, so I have ordered the complete game in hard back to give him a try.

    Can't wait to get my copy! Hope that Lulu sent mine soon!! ^_^


  11. The skill points is sort of an add-on thing, so I hadn't considered it with multi-classing. However, because normal multi-class characters have the skill sets of both of their classes, I would probably allow them to combine the skill points of both classes. If that seems like too much, maybe use the higher of the two skill point totals for the classes.


  12. I went with the higher of the two because that felt right, thanks for the reply! I really do like this and only for the second time have I ordered a print form of a game from lulu!

    Thanks again…I see some osr gaming for my kids and I have a TON of modules to challenge them!


  13. Hello John, just bought a Complete Tome of Blood & Treasure in PDF and soon I'm going to order a printed version, since I'm really liking what I'm reading so far: compliments for the development of such an awesome game! having said that, a couple of questions:
    1) I think that the Fighter could be WAY too much stronger than other warrior type classes, because of its 3 or 4 attacks per round. What do you think? Is it an issue or a flaw of the game, according to you, or just one of its features? If it could become a flaw, how could it be balanced? Could Rangers, Barbarians and Paladins (and even Monks) get at least 2 ( or event 3) attacks per round, maybe at a slower rate? What do you (and even other players) think about this issue?
    2) what about introducing an Armor Proficiency Feat, that allows characters to become capable of using kinds of armor initially unavailable to them?
    Many Thanks,


  14. Edit: Sorry, I correct what I said in my previews post: Monks get multi attacks, but Duelists don't, If I understand correctly the game, so the question stays the same: are warriors – non fighters too weak if compared to Fighters? What do you think?
    Many thanks again,


  15. Hi everybody, yet another question: how do you handle in B&T perception checks, for example to spot enemies hidden or lying in ambush?
    Many thanks again,


  16. In terms of monsters, old school games use surprise checks – usually a 1 in 6 chance of being surprised, but you can adjust the odds as you like. For sneaking up on a creature, characters make a move silently task check. if the TK thinks the creatures he is sneaking up on are particularly vigilant or perceptive, he can apply a difficulty to the task check.


  17. I think the question of fighters comes down to one's philosophy about these games. If you look at it as “fighter vs. paladin – who wins”, the fighter is more powerful at high levels. If you take a more expansive point of view, fighters are good at fighting, and other warriors are good at other things – better saving throws in some cases, other special abilities, spells, etc. If you want to give other warriors multiple attacks, though, go ahead. The rules are just a starting point – you should always work to make them suit the kind of game you want to play.

    In terms of armor – access to armor was a big part of differentiating the characters in old school games, but if you would like characters to have the ability to use heavier forms of armor, you can certainly add an Armor Proficiency feat of some sort – probably based on the Weapon Proficiency feat.

    Hope this helps.


  18. Thank you very much, John for your replies! I wanted also to say, is there anyhting like a Perception Check for characters to detect hidden enemies? Thanks again,
    P.S.: I realized that there's a B&T Forum on this blog, I'm going to post my next topics there!
    Thanks and Cheers again,


  19. Just to be more precise, to make a Perception Checks to spot hidden enemies, I'm tinkering with the idea of allowing characters to roll a Ref. saving throw modified by Wis. (I initially thought of Will mod. by Wis, by I want Rangers to be good at Perception, more than Wizards and Clerics, but I'm really not completely sure about this…). What do you think of it?
    One more question: does the +1 bonus of humans to saving throws apply also to Heroic Tasks with Skilled capabilities?
    Many thanks, John, and … ehi… really really AWESOME GAME!!!


  20. John, another question that has come up…when it comes to the “monsters” as pc types there are some limitations there for each of those races. You explained those only using the “Basic” classes how did you envision that working with the other classes that are offered? Thanks in advance!


  21. In cases where I limited a monster race in terms of classes, my intent was to disallow the monster from advancing in any but the classes listed. In other words, if I didn't mention the paladin, then they can't be paladins – it was a mechanism to keep things fair. Naturally, a TK can change those suggestions however they see fit.


  22. Hi, John and fellow gamers, and first of all thanks John again for Blood & Treasure: I find it a game comfortably familiar and stimulating and new at the same time: I wrote some topics a few days ago in the B&T forum – my nick name is Galannor – about some gaming issue and house rules (Shamans, Clerics swapping prepared spells for healing ones, use of feats, ability tests…). I'd like to know what anyone interested thinks about them … so if you want, please, give them a look and post your ideas!
    Many many thanks (in advance)!


  23. Hi, John, don't worry and take your time, I'm absolutely in no hurry!
    I'll be looking forward to reading your answers and comments,
    Thanks again!


  24. Just ordered a Complete Game Blood & Treasure Hardcover RuleBook through Lulu: I'm really excited and really really looking forward to receiving it! It's really a terrific game, that leaves vast spaces to GMs' implementations and creativity!
    2 Thumbs up and Kudos again, John! (and even Tanner Yea and all the contributors to this game!)


  25. I've also appreciated the Random Class Generator Method: it's really a great tool to create unusual PCs, but also and foremost, in this moment, for me, new and unpredictable NPCs, able to surprise my players!
    I'm really enjoing this game, and looking forward to reading future supplements!


  26. Send me an email with your receipt copied into it and I'll send you a link to download the PDF for free.

    As for supplements – I'm about half finished with the NOD Companion, and I'm now formatting Tanner Yea's new psionic supplement for the game.


  27. 2011 I returned to D&D after a 21-year hiatus (we used to play B/X, AD&D1e and BECMI back then). I chose RC for the comeback, but during the mini-campaign we realized that we wanted a little more crunch and more…well…stuff (classes, gear etc). For a while I contemplated 2E, but it's kinda messy with all extra books, so I settled on Labyrinth Lord + AEC, and started writing a players compendium with extra rules and stuff. Then – enter B&T. It has it all. Lots of “stuff”, but simple base mechanics. Love it, and it'll be our go-to rules set. I've got the hardback complete rules, and I'm about to order 2 copies of the Player's Tome for the gaming table. There's going to be some house rules (mainly stuff from Jack Shear's “Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque”, like horror and madness rules and some other goodies). Also, very important, I like that the game acts like a bridge between the old editions of D&D (up to 2E) and 3E. I have stuff from lots of different editions and clones, and it's very simple to use stuff from any edition with B&T. So, thanks a lot John! Looking forward for new stuff for B&T. A suggestion would be a cool GM screen – I love those!


  28. I wanted to love B&T, I really did. There was one hang-up I couldn't get past, however, and that was the significant imbalance between multi-classed characters and single-classed characters. There is no incentive to play a Paladin, for example, when a Cleric-Fighter of comparable XP is devastatingly more powerful. The relatively low universal XP requirement for multi-classed characters exacerbates this problem.

    I know that class balance isn't necessarily a feature of old-school style play, which B&T aims to mimic. But when the power gap is so wide that entire classes become completely uninteresting to play by comparison, its worth a revisit to see where the rules can be shored up a bit.

    AD&D closed this gap somewhat by imposing level limits and by requiring the XP sum of both classes in order to advance. Some systems even add to this sum (C&C) to make multi-classed characters even tougher to advance.

    I think with a revisit to the multi-class rules and the application of a little balance, B&T could be Awesome instead of just “really good as long as the players don't figure out that a Dwarf Cleric-Fighter is the most dominant character to play in the game.”


  29. I can see your point, so consider what follows an official (!) optional rule for multi-class characters in B&T:

    “For TK's who are worried that multi-classed characters are too powerful compared to their single-classed associates, one of two methods can be used to tame them:

    METHOD A: Multi-class characters are limited in how far they can advance in their classes. In their favored class (fighter for dwarves and half-orcs, magic-user for elves, illusionist for gnomes, thief for halflings), they may advance to 8th level. In their other class, they may advance to 6th level. If the adventurer has a prime ability score for that class (i.e. strength for fighters, intelligence for magic-users, etc.) of 15 or higher, their level limit for that class is increased by one. Thus a dwarf cleric/fighter with a strength of 17 could advance to 9th level as a fighter and 6th level as a cleric.

    METHOD B: Rather than use the standard XP column for multi-classed characters, sum the required XP for each class to find the required XP per level for the multi-classed character. A dwarf cleric/fighter, for example, would need 2,000 (fighter) + 2,000 (cleric) = 4,000 XP to advance to 2nd level, instead of the normal 3,000 XP for a multi-classed character. A fighter/thief, on the other hand, would need 3,500 XP to advance to 2nd level.”

    When I revise the books next year (essentially to insert the collected errata and maybe add a few pieces of art), I'll include this as an official option.


  30. I just wanted to come here and say thanks for your work on Blood and Treasure. I love the rules simplicity as well as the relative compatibility with all editions of the most famous rpg.

    I will be starting my first campaign in a decade using Blood and Treasure as the base rules for the game. As with any system (and I think most GM's) there will be house rules and tweaks to your foundation but they will be minimal.



  31. So I have the Companion and like proficiencies but you left off notes about how to handle racial knacks and skilled classes. From looking at it I think the easiest option is a knack is a free noivce level and being skilled Means you start as an adept. Does that sound about right?


  32. Hello sir.
    Some friends and I have just started to play blood and treasure and we are LOVING IT. Really. Despite my almost dying every night we play.

    Anyway, I was wondering is there a forum or some place I can go to ask questions about the rules and things like that?

    Many thanks 🙂



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