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Stone faced ruiner, I beg you do not leave, let this home bask in wet light. 

When the thousand thousand tongues were cut the song of life ceased to pool. Time turned into a vicious tooth. Was paradise before this filled with a more doting light? Was it red and cruel as now? Could one dry in it?

In the Rungs, True Names are rarely spoken. These haunts of demiurges clasp together as hands in a great chain, and we as motes move upon them.

You poured the anointing oil upon your stone face, its  puissance made you heavy, shattering Rungs as you plummet. You consumed thing. Nascent doom that you are.

RUINER is a rules lite retro-clone standing upon the shoulders of replicated giants. Assess your Abilities, choose your Anointment, and hide your True Name before exploring the countless Rungs which now dot this strange new existence.

This Revised edition expands upon the initial system by adding ideas such as:

  •  Sycophants to follow at your footsteps sated by your Sorcerous Words. 
  • Rung compositions and how they connect to one another. 
  • Stats of Foes for reference and bastardizing. 
  • Expanded Weapons & Curios. 
  • A sample Rung  to explore and encounter its odd denizens.

Inspired by games such as Whitehack, Troika,  The Vanilla Game, Bastards, OZR, Tunnel Goons, and Stay Frosty.

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(17 total ratings)
TagsAtmospheric, Dark Fantasy, Dungeon Crawler, Exploration, Fantasy, Retro, ruleslight, weird


Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

RUINERrevisedpages.pdf 97 kB
RUINERrevisedspreads.pdf 94 kB
RuinerCharacterSheetCOLOR.pdf 57 kB
RUINERrevisedpagesBW.pdf 96 kB
RUINERrevisedspreadsBW.pdf 94 kB
RuinerCharacterSheetBW.pdf 57 kB

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I like the systems-of-influence - are there any books/movies/music videos that are a thematic influence? Reminds me a bit of another game called Amen Break, which has a different feel but a similar conceit (when you leave this dungeon it is destroyed). 

Anyway very cool stuff, I love the included dungeon and 'monsters'.


hey thanks! i appreciate the comment. i guess the main influences when writing this were some paintings by Zdzisław Beksiński as well as this particular album of dungeon synth (idk why, i guess its just what i was listening to when making it)


This game needs more attention. It openly cribs mechanically from Whitehack, Troika, Maze Rats and probably some others, but the feel is definitely unique.

Starting characters pack a lot of punch and essentially have an equipment list granting them immediate access to two magic items, as well as potentially great powers from the abstracted spell system, high damage output, multiple attacks and even 'extra lives' (at a cost) with the True Name system. Despite this, it can be GM'd as deadly even with these advantages. The resulting experience feels a bit like immediate mid-to high level OSR play from the get-go, crunchier than many indie rules light games but entirely manageable. Add in the modularity of the planeshopping Rungs system that make up the implied setting and you've got something perfect for quick pick up and play games or short campaigns.

Don't drown in the hype stream, check out Ruiner instead!


This really stokes my imagination. I love the title, and the descriptive text grabbed me right away. I want more! 

thanks! i might make more Rungs for fun in the near future!!


This is a really solid, minimal system with a few interesting quirks. The idea of the ‘rungs’ is really evocative and things like the syllable rule for casting ‘sorceries’ is really cool. And the whole thing’s laid out stylishly. Can’t wait to see how this expands eventually.