“On Orn the pauper dreams of a liquid, black as starless night. The power of gods, distilled into midnight ink.”
The Electrum Archive is a science-fantasy TTRPG zine series inspired by the worlds of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, Dark Sun and Ultraviolet Grasslands. It uses simple core rules inspired by other OSR games like Cairn, Mausritter and Whitehack to quickly get you started playing.
The game is set on the world of Orn, a place long ago abandoned by an alien race now known as the Elders. The magical ink left behind in the shipwrecks of these ancient aliens is now used as currency and inhaled by warlocks as fuel for their spell casting. Adventurers called inkseekers venture out into the decaying world beyond the cities ruled over by scheming Merchant Houses to look for Elder artefacts and ink.
What's in this first zine?
A robust system of core rules and procedures to get you started exploring Orn.
A large point crawl map of the inhabited portion of Orn.
Descriptions of the eight major factions and their schemes.
60 plot hooks spread over six detailed regions to kickstart your adventure.
120 engaging encounters to come across on your journeys.
A bestiary with over 30 monsters to discover and a table for generating NPCs.
High-quality physical copies will be available in October 2022.
Resources and Third Party License
Check out electrumarchive.com for resources like digital character sheets! It also contains a third-party license if you want to create and publish your own hacks and supplements :)
To set the mood while you are reading the zine or while you are playing, Sam Leigh has put together a wonderful playlist for The Electrum Archive.
Want to review the game?
If you are looking to review this game on stream, a blog post, or some other channel, please grab a community copy! Tag me @emielboven and I'll share your review and add 10 more community copies.
Join the Cult!
Come hang out in the CULT OF THE LIZARD KING Discord!
have you thought about putting out a review copy to people like Questing Beast for some exposure? I really hope this project of yours goes well, my play group has had a serious blast playing!
*Edit- Apologies if this was in the book, may have missed it. Another question that has come up is how crits work with attacks that use multiple dice
For example, a staff doing 2d4, lets say AV of 3, one of the rolls is a 4 and the next 2, should the damage be considered 6 and then reduced by 3, meaning 3 damage, or should it be considered a damage of 4, since that d4 roll was a crit? Same question with damage spells, as well as whether a damage spell can crit at all.
2nd Edit*- When doing damaging spells how is the damage determined for multiple targets?
For example, moderate spell, against two targets, 2d4, rolls 8, does it then do 8 damage to each or do you split the end number between the targets for 4 each?
Yes, I've sent out a bunch of copies for review a while back, but so far it is going really well! If you want some more folks to chat with about the game you can consider joining the Discord (which is also a great place to ask rules related questions) :)
Regarding the critical hits with multiple dice, you have to roll max damage on both dice. Spells can't crit unless that's part of how the spell is formulated.
The damage of spells targeting multiple creatures is dealt to all of them undivided. The damage given as an example is for 2-3 targets so the Seer should probably scale it down when the spell targets more than 4+ targets at once. The spell damage is really just a guideline so feel free to scale it up and down, and spice it up with other effects spells are supposed to be pretty flexible and fun to mess around with.
I think there may be a typo in the playtest scenario? What I'm reading in the section regarding Moseth Nalu. It seems part of the section describing the storm shelter is inserted into that section, here is the part I am talking about bolded:
House Favor – something he has no authority to give out, but he hopes his retrieval of the lost object The shelter is a domelike structure hidden against the side of a rock formation. It is made of the same kind of electrum-speckled sandstone as the rocks around it. A bronze double door large enough for a cart to enter through is set into the side of the dome. will help the council forgive him using the Favor seal without their approval.
Also, two questions. My players have wondered if they can repair and maintain items or refill usage dots on things like rations away from towns in any way. They are also wondering if there is anyway to gain talents, like an archivist gaining ink tech or spirits for example.
Yes, I caught that a few days ago and it will be updated together with the new 1.1 version of the zine I'll publish soon :) Thank you!
I'd say players can repair a single usage dot by making a successful check using a relevant attribute (Potentially even all dots if they specifically take a break from travelling for a whole day to repair it. In that case a failed roll should still fill at least one dot.) For rations, I'll include a better system in a later zine but you can try and tinker with the above a little to make it make sense for rations too (like, take whole day to hunt extra rations instead of the hunting that is assumed in the travel roll).
As for talents, that will also be covered in a later zine but for now, I'd say that if characters take their time to learn a new talent (at least a month of regular study with a tutor, or twice as long when trying to teach themself) they can add the talent to their sheet.
Quick question, can a character only have one vial or can they have multiple, just taking up inventory slots? Only played a little and wasn't sure if that would mess up balance for warlocks or effect treasure hauls and the blind banker system.
Thanks for the reply, follow up question, are vials special and rare or can you use any old glass vial or flask to hold ink?
I have been using this to play what is basically the game Kenshi but with more fantasy and it has been a blast, seriously looking forward to further issues. This has ignited a serious interest back into tabletop for me and it's just so cool like.
Have played two games of this and am absolutely loving it, got a community copy but will definitely be buying when I can. Seriously awesome, can't wait for more! Setting is awesome, mechanics are simple and very quick to get things going. I LOVE the spell system, simple yet flexible and super interesting. Tons of encounters and generators. Just super solid all around.
I saw this on the OSRRPG Instagram page and was intrigued. Really glad I grabbed this. The mechanics are light, but a little more meaty than a lot of other light systems (which I am grateful for), the setting REALLY freakin' neat, and the art is perfect for what this zine brings to the table.
I really can't wait for Volume 2. I hope it has more than the Irr too. I am pretty stoked to learn about the Sunless Princedoms, but I'd also love some more worldbuilding and weird stuff. I put on my Electric Wizard playlist and dove deep into the zine. So glad I nabbed this!
I like playing it with 2-5 people, but you can just scale encounter sizes to your liking so adapting it for solo play shouldn't be too much trouble. The encounters tables are filled with encounters that can spiral into their own sub-adventures so I think that would help a bunch when playing without a Game Master.
I haven't officially approached any other retailers yet but Ratti Incantatti in Canada and LFOSR in the US will definitely stock them. ALL THE PROBLEMS IN THE WORLD in Germany will probably also sell them since they were happy to carry my other game DURF :)
This is so incredibly well done. I’ve just skimmed it and already have a dozen ideas of things to incorporate into my own games. If you took everything that’s inspiring and mind-bending about science fantasy of the Moebius/Heavy Metal variety and distilled it down into one zine, you’d get The Electrum Archive.