A downloadable game

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Scherzo is a story-first OSR-compatible solo retroclone, inspired by World of Dungeons and Into the Odd, with a dash of Scarlet Heroes. It can also be run as a duet or with several players, with or without a GM.

Play is light and swingy, and often abruptly dangerous; expect reversals of fortune frequently. The core mechanic is roll under one or more stats, using pbta tiers of success. Character generation is quick, descriptive, and sentence-based. HP is minimal.

The core booklet has all the mechanics you need to play with a light adventure theme. Perfected First is a lyrical dungeon crawl, and Anomaly-Two is cargo-hauling blasters-and-mutants space fiction.

It was created for NaNo-make-a-game-O, entirely in the month of November, from inspiration to publication (including art, layout, and solo testing). The title is a reference to the musical term, for a light, playful work that can be occasionally surprisingly grim and weighty. Have fun!

Note: spreads are designed to be print-friendly, but the 1up version is probably better for digital reading!

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

scherzo-core-1up.pdf 4 MB
scherzo-perfect-first-1up.pdf 8 MB
scherzo-anomaly-two-1up.pdf 7 MB
scherzo-core-spreads.pdf 5 MB
scherzo-anomaly-two-spreads.pdf 8 MB
scherzo-perfect-first-spreads.pdf 8 MB

Development log

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Playthrough - Adventure Seeds

SeedSameOppositeExtreme
1adventurequestcomfortcalamity
2icefrosttropicarctic
3redemptionrescuedamnationmartyrdom
4escapeflightsteadfastnesspanic
5traveljourneyhomestuckpilgrimage
6betrayaldeceptioncommitmentsabotage

In case someone might like to see a sample of how to set up a game.

My character is "3 A pirate, robbed of pride and treasure, disavowed kin to a king. 2 meddling with forces beyond comprehension." LUCK 8.

what kind of paper do you recommend for printing this? I personally only have letter paper

If it's to mark up and play on the spreads, copy paper should work, no problem. The stiffer outer shell is just to serve as a "folder" for the spreads, which are ordered to be kept loose/unstapled for duet play, so any heavier paper should work fine there!