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Year Zero Mini BETA
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Year Zero Mini BETA


While Year Zero Mini has been playtested for over a year by multiple groups and GMs, it is still in Beta. This means that it is playable as is, but actual playtesting feedback would be greatly appreciated. You can find links on the PDF's title page to get in touch.

SETTINGS: Like any other rules-light game, Year Zero Mini (YZM) is designed to provide a light framework to allow you to quickly jump into your favourite setting. Where other rules-light games might emphasise action or heroics, YZM is a little more down to earth - telling stories of a more gritty and relatable nature.

Using the Year Zero Engine (soon to be covered by an OGL from Fria Ligan), this game uses pools of standard six-sided dice, and success is measured by any 6s showing up in a roll. You won't find target numbers, complicated mechanics, or funky dice here. We want this game to be accessible to a wide range of people!

While YZM is best experienced in one-shots, convention games, or short campaigns (around a dozen sessions), it's also perfectly suitable for longer-term play.

INFLUENCES: YZM is inspired by a whole host of games, including the Year Zero Engine games Tales From the Loop, Vaesen, and Coriolis, but it is also sprinkled with a little bit of Burning Wheel, FATE Core, FFG Star Wars, Ironsworn, Delta Green, and Alas for the Awful Sea (an awesome PBTA game). This heady mix is then smoothed out to create an extremely light & story-driven framework.

CONTENTS: Condensed down to only a handful of A4 pages (plus a title page), YZM is a quick read, designed to help you hit the ground running! It is likewise free from large pieces of art and backgrounds, intended to be printed out. Inside you'll find:

• Page 1 covering character creation.
• Page 2 containing the core rules.
• Page 3 with GM advice for running YZM.
• Page 4 with advice on preparing your setting.

SETTINGS: While short, two page (ish) settings are planned for YZM, there are already a number of settings available. You can find all of them on our website, but here are the ones currently on DTRPG:

Fiends & Furrows by Odd Bard Games
Riptide by Odd Bard Games

FIND OUT MORE: You can find additional content (including settings) on our website. In addition, there are groups for YZM on Facebook, MeWe, Discord, and Reddit. Links for all of these are found on the title page of the PDF.

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Discussions (4)
Customer avatar
Diego B May 21, 2020 6:47 pm UTC
The most updated character sheet is the 0.9 version, that is on the blog/site, right?
Customer avatar
Matthew K May 23, 2020 4:19 pm UTC
Hi Diego, yes that's right, but there are quite a few elements of that sheet that don't line up with the working version of the rules which are here on DTRPG (v0.4d).

For example, the v0.9 sheet has Look, Motivation, and Problem, whereas the v0.4s rules have Conviction & Impulse. Another example - the v0.9 sheet has Harm & Stress as types of Trauma, whereas v0.4d only has a single Trauma track.

If you want to playtest this newer version, please head to the Discord server where you can grab a draft version of v1.0. The link to it is in my previous comment on 25th April.
Customer avatar
Matthew K April 25, 2020 3:34 pm UTC
Quick update: I am a player in an ongoing Year Zero Mini campaign with my home group (six sessions so far), and as a result I have been delaying v1.0 due to the framework being put through its paces. This type of playtesting is invaluable (I hadn't previously tested this with a long campaign) and the final version will be a better product as a result. Thanks for your patience! If you want to follow development (including sneak peeks at draft versions, head over to the game's Discord server at
Customer avatar
Melvin S January 09, 2020 8:23 am UTC
A very good discovery. Elegant and interesting game design choices. I hope version 1.0 is still planned.
Customer avatar
Matthew K January 09, 2020 10:21 am UTC
Hi Melvin, thanks!

Yes, indeed, a version 1.0 is still planned. I've been doing a little tweaking and playtesting around other commitments and I'm nearly there. The three biggest changes will be (1) Advancement being changed to only tallying failed rolls. It's easier to track and still scales nicely as Attributes increase. (2) Trauma will get a little tweak to allow for Scars *and* Insanity, both permanent. (3) Luck points are changing to work a little like a mashup of dark/light side points from FFG Star Wars and darkness points from Coriolis. Pushing and personality traits will be changing as a result. I playtested this over the holidays with a mouse-based setting and 3 roleplaying newbies and it worked extremely well.

I'm also planning on including at least one 2-page sample setting. Finally, a little bit later I hope to create eBook (ePub & mobi) and / or interactive phone PDF versions.
Customer avatar
August S February 12, 2020 11:33 pm UTC
Sorry, but .. interactive phone PDF versions, whats that? :)
Also, thanks
Customer avatar
Matthew K February 13, 2020 5:34 am UTC
A PDF designed for viewing on a phone. For a product with a short page count like this, it's a great format. I'm not allowed to put links in here for some reason, but if you Google "DTRPG phone PDF" you'll find the support article which has a ton of info on it.
Customer avatar
JB B November 22, 2019 11:47 pm UTC
Hi Matt,

This is pretty neat! A lot of cool concepts in not many pages.

One small correction, you've used "climatic" (to do with climate) where I expect you meant "climactic" (to do with climax).
Customer avatar
Matthew K November 23, 2019 9:44 am UTC
Thanks JB! I've made note of the typo. Hoping to get version 1.0 out before the end of the year, though no promises - I've got a lot going on!
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This title was added to our catalog on March 28, 2019.