A downloadable Tabletop RPG

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What is This?
The Indie Hack (TIH) is a minimalist fantasy roleplaying game, build up from the ideas in The Black Hack, that is played with pencils, paper, dice, and imagination. It takes OSR-style gaming and gives it an indie edge. That is, it takes dungeon delves with heroes, magic, traps, and monsters and gives the players more control over the richness of the story. The characters are ruled not by abstract ideas of goodness and order, but by Masters (who they need to try to impress) and Goddesses (who they try to appease when they are near death). The characters have relationships with each other and NPCs that mechanically evolve. Players answer class-centric questions about the world during character creation, to help the GM develop the setting and tone of the adventure.

There are seven classes to choose from: The Veteran and Exorcist replace the Warrior and Cleric of other games. The Hunter and Scoundrel are variations on the Thief. The Elementalist and Occultist are two very different kinds of Wizard. And The Outlander is... well... different.

In The Indie Hack, you don't collect XP, you collect scars, and be as concise or as gruesomely detailed as you like.


Buy Now$5.50 USD or more

In order to download this Tabletop RPG you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5.50 USD. You will get access to the following files:

IndieHack 1.0 12 MB
IndieHack 1.1 18 MB


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Hello, I've only just played in my second session of TIH yesterday. I find it intriguing, but am struggling to understand some of the concepts.

One question that came up: Can class-based positive details (like the Weapon Master of the Veteran) also be used to gain a +1 once per scene? Or is this only applicable to the details of items?


Hi Florik,

  We've always played it as "+1 once per scene" no matter the type of detail. The combat was suitably fast-paced that it didn't feel like too much of a restriction (i.e., the players or the monsters were dead/fleeing after 4 to 6 rounds). If it feels oppressive, I could be convinced that "class details of +1 can be exploited once per level per scene" would work not too badly.




Hey Slade, thank you for the answer, that was helpful.

May I ask just one more convoluted question? I'm not sure I understand scene details, even with the examples you give in the rules. 

  • "My mace smashes the floor tile to pieces!" Ok, I could see how I'd follow up on that, drive my opponent back and make them stumble, or try to reveal something hidden beneath that tile. I'd get a +1 for exploiting a detail if I did either of those, right?

It's really the second example that gives me a headache:

  •  "I slash at his left arm!" How is that a scene detail and not just, um, a declaration of intent? Can't I just say where I hit my opponent when I add a hard detail? Isn't damage always specific?

I'd be more than happy to hear your thoughts on that problem.


Hey Florik,

  Glad to see someone else grappling with the rules to the same extent that I do!

  Your mace example is right on. The tiles are now smashed, and it's up to you to discover opportunities to exploit (of which your two examples are great, and you'd get that +1 for either when exploited).

  The second example is not a great example on my part, the more I look at it. I think in that specific play session I was trying to get the bandit to let go of something that was in his left hand, like a weapon or a key (this was many years ago, so my memory is hazy). In our early play sessions, we mostly dealt damaging hard details like "Battered" or "Deep Incision" because they were pretty broad, and therefore, were ripe for exploitation (I had some fairly cheesy players at that time). Nowadays, I would encourage the sort of play you're describing "Okay, I hit the bandit with a hard detail? I put down "Slashed left arm" on him as a detail." It's not a tactical thing, as such, it's just a certain type of hit.

  (As an aside: This is the sort of area where I hope I'm offering up a fruitful void in the game's design. Some play groups will say you have to spend a turn 'earning your aim' at a specific part of the body, because that's hard to do and you give up opportunities in combat to do it, whereas others will apply more specific details because that's more flavourful and interesting to them, even if it might be harder to justify exploiting them later on.)

Anyhow, sorry for the headache!



Thank you, Slade, that really is helpful. Sure, some things will always have to be negotiated by individual groups, but I think I now have a better understanding of the intended game flow. For tonight we have another session scheduled, and our GM (who is also following this discussion) has hinted at upcoming fights, so your timely advice is very much appreciated.


Glad to help!

The directions groups take the rules is always really interesting for me to hear. And it's so tough with a 30-odd page text to create a narrative basket that doesn't have many, many large holes. I'd really like to revisit this game system in a fuller form some day. Perhaps that could happen in 2024 or 2025. If I do, I'll certainly think long and hard on these distinctions among detail types.

Hope you enjoy the session! And let me know if I can offer further interpretations.




Hello! I'm a Japanese TTRPG player.

On August 20th, 2022, I played The Indy Hack with friends.

It was a lot of fun! I summarized the impressions tweeted by everyone on Twitter.

Please read it!

* used the Japanese version here.


Thank you! I greatly appreciate hearing about other people playing the game!



I love TIH. Are there ways for me to find more TIH content?


Great! I love to hear that people are enjoying it!

There are a few more things to have a look at, if you like it:

If you want an intro adventure, there's this theatre full of goblins:


If you like steampunk and alchemy, there's a big setting for that:


If you like JRPGs, there's a setting hack for that in Codex Crystal:


If you want to make your own hack, you can check out the SRD:


Thanks Slade! I just listened to your interview from a few years ago on The Gauntlet. I appreciate your take on TIH and some of what it addresses in the space between DW and trad games. You said that you didn't like when indie games come out and the creator doesn't follow up with more support material. Now that it's been years, would you ever go back and make more like Noises? Or would you change/update portions of TIH?

Ps, I think The Gauntlet tried to force you to validate your design process in that interview and you did a great job clearly communicating your thoughts under pressure. 


Oh wow. Time has given me some wisdom on that topic. I still don't like it when indie games stop producing content, but I can see why it happens for really quirky games. I have some ideas about a second edition of TIH that comes in a larger form (100-200 pages of locations and NPCs and items etc.), with more adventure hooks built in. I also have a few zine-sized ideas that would be good as TIH or system-neutral pieces.

I can't recall being overly pressured back then, but my mind goes blank when I'm being recorded, for sure. I have lots more design thoughts now too. I wonder if they'd have me back...