Advanced Search

Against the Darkmaster Core Rules
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Against the Darkmaster Core Rules


Your epic saga is about to begin!

The Darkmaster, an immensely powerful being of pure Evil, threatens the world once again. The last hope of the Free Kins lies in a handful of heroes, who alone dare to defy Him.

Will you stand against the coming Shadow? Will you heed the call to adventure?


Against the Darkmaster is a tabletop Epic Fantasy roleplaying game of high adventure, heroic action, and heavy metal combat.

If you put together works like The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time, sprinkled them with a bit of Labyrinth and Dragonslayer, and put everything in a blender together with a healthy dose of classic Heavy Metal, you’ll get a typical Against the Darkmaster game session.

Travel to distant lands, face terrible dangers, uncover ancient items of power, and gather the armies of the world under your banner to defeat the ultimate Evil.

A complete rule system, including:

  • Unified d100-based action resolution mechanic

  • Huge variety of character customization options

  • Detailed travel mechanics for long overland adventures

  • Flexible magic system with over 300 spells

  • Tactical combat and brutal Critical Strikes

  • Immersive rules for character driven adventures

  • A Bestiary with over 60 fearsome creatures

  • A full introductory campaign in three parts

Grab your dice and get ready to join the fight Against the Darkmaster!

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (5)
Discussions (26)
Customer avatar
Robert R October 23, 2021 12:37 am UTC
I would *really* like to pick up a POD or other physical copy of this!! I just picked up the Quickstart and I'm loving what I see; if a POD option had been available I would already have a copy of this core book in my pdf library and a printed copy under way. I checked out the webstore and the book is sold out in the US sadly :(
Customer avatar
Donald H September 06, 2021 5:46 pm UTC
Ok, the review tool hates me so I'll leave one here.

I thought this was a retro clone of chart master or Merps, but this is much more. Sure with a little adjustment you could run Merps, but with a moderate amount of work, you can play in any Middle-earth game system.

The game does require charts. The charts are both easy to use, and not too crunchy for a seventies roleplayer like me. The flavor text is perfect*, the artwork is stellar, the mechanic itself is easy to pick up.

It can be easily used to create your own game world with a unique darkmaster built by the players as well as the GM. The players are included in many aspects of the game that they normally don't have much input.

They give an excellent mechanic to flesh out and drive the narrative. They also provide an influence section that includes a whole train car full of metal music.

I bought this and the GM screen for a very reasonable price in PDF.

* They list metal as...See more
Customer avatar
Paul K July 29, 2021 7:01 am UTC
My video review!
Customer avatar
karry K July 26, 2021 5:34 pm UTC
Is there any hope of a Bestiary?
Customer avatar
Nikola S July 26, 2021 7:29 pm UTC
Maybe! ^_^
Customer avatar
karry K September 30, 2021 5:10 pm UTC
Just a quick note, When you search the site for "Against the Darkmaster" you can find your game, but...
if you search for "Against the Dark Master" your game ceases to exist in the search list
That space is a nasty bugger in the search algorithm.
Customer avatar
Charles R June 28, 2021 12:31 am UTC
Totally awesome game system! It is a simplified 100 system making it far easier to play. It is really easy as well to add to it and play in any fantasy style that you like. It is deadly though and focuses more on thinking things through instead of just charging in. Make sure your players are aware of this. New game masters need to appreciate this when creating their own adventures; if you don't, you could easily end up with a total-party-kill. The treasure/money system is very simplified, as to an extreme. I am not sure yet about how I feel about that. I have to play around with it some more. That said, you can easily adapt rules for money and the cost of items from about any fantasy system. What I really like about it is that the players are the heroes, not just running around looting and stealing treasure. I recommend this game system to everyone! :-)
Customer avatar
Xavier B May 24, 2021 11:02 am UTC
Doesn't ship to the UK from their store: Shipping There are no shipping options available. Please ensure that your address has been entered correctly, or contact us if you need any help.
And they are not setting up the PoD here.
So, I'll blame this on the Tories I suppose.
Customer avatar
DIOGO A April 22, 2021 10:29 pm UTC
I really wish you could send a physical copy to Brazil. Is not like UPS/DHL/Fedex don't deliver here in a safe way.
Customer avatar
Jakob S March 07, 2021 10:57 am UTC
I can't review this here since I bought (pre-ordered) it through my FLGS; just want to say that I'm actually a little surprised how wonderful this system turned out. I have some MERP nostalgia, but I also remember MERP as being pretty dry and rigid. Against the Darkmaster makes the system a lot more flexible without making it more complicated (in fact, some stuff has become simpler), and it has tons of flavor (and, like me, you don't need to be a metal fan to appreciate the latter). Don't be intimidated by the page count, a lot of it comes down to encyclopedic things like the bestiary and the spell lores - and to a pretty big campaign that is included. This is firmly rules medium.
I'm running a series of blog posts about the game, here's the first one:
Customer avatar
Matthew S January 29, 2021 10:03 am UTC
When can we buy this in print? And where is your store located? I live in the UK, so American shipping is usually a deal breaker.
Customer avatar
Nikola S February 18, 2021 1:27 pm UTC
Physical books are available on our online store, but unfortunately we're currently unable to ship to the UK due to the brexit situation. We should solve this problem in a month or two.
Customer avatar
Matthew S March 16, 2021 9:19 am UTC
I don't understand why you can't put them in the mail and ship them regardless of Brexit...I mean it's not like the UK isn't accepting incoming mail.

That said, it would still be super helpful for fans in the UK if you allowed PoD from Drivethru.

Also, where is your store shipping from?
Customer avatar
Paul D April 05, 2021 3:54 pm UTC
PoD from Drivethru isn't down to the publisher but Drivethru, they only allow PoD for products that have sold a certain volume.
Customer avatar
Matthew S April 08, 2021 8:37 am UTC
That is...not true at all. As a publisher, I have routinely set up PoD for new products so that they go live basically at the same time as the PDF. I am a very small publisher and have never had the hits of a kickstarter behind my brand. Anyone who publishes on Drivethru can list their product as PoD. In fact, they could even have the product be PoD only as far as I know. They just have to put in the work to get the files in the proper format (which since they have an offset print run, they already have). I mean, even if what you said were true, this is a Gold seller. It has sold hundreds of copies and if Drivethru placed some restriction on number of units sold, they have long since blasted past it.
Customer avatar
Matthew S April 08, 2021 8:50 am UTC
In fact, selling your products POD would enable you to sell to the UK market without dealing with Brexit at all as it would be shipped from inside the country.
Customer avatar
Laszlo S January 24, 2021 5:31 pm UTC
Is a big adventure campaign planned for this?
Customer avatar
Nikola S January 25, 2021 3:22 pm UTC
Hi, we have several adventures/supplements planned, we'll have some announcements during the course of 2021.
Customer avatar
Gianfranco B January 15, 2021 4:57 pm UTC
Comprando il pdf di questa versione potrò avere quello italiano un domani o dovrò ricomprarlo?
Customer avatar
Nikola S January 15, 2021 10:38 pm UTC
Salve Gianfranco, non saprei cosa risponderle al momento visto che non abbiamo ancora discusso i termini per una eventuale traduzione italiana.
Customer avatar
Luciana V December 30, 2020 11:21 pm UTC
Great game!
Any plans for support on VTTs like Roll20? At least a character sheet?
Customer avatar
Nikola S January 02, 2021 1:29 pm UTC
Thanks! There's a fan-made Roll20 sheet coming in the near future, and you can find some resources for the Foundry on our Discord channel.
Customer avatar
Kai Z December 26, 2020 11:14 am UTC
How does this differ from the original MERP versions?
Customer avatar
ANIL K December 20, 2020 3:20 pm UTC
Hello can we have a better 300 or higher dpi pdf? I recently bought a high res tablet and the artwork quality seems low quality even with the newest 1.3 version 150dpi pdf. Somebody also mentioned it below but the answer to that comment suggested the 150dpi pdf looks ok unfortunately in my experience it is not that great. It wasn't noticeable on my low res cellphone but on the tablet artwork seems a little bad when I zoom in. I can't buy physical books because the shipping and customs fee is too much for me I can only use pdfs and print some of the good art in the books
Customer avatar
Nikola S December 22, 2020 8:50 am UTC
We'll add an hi-res version with the next update!
Customer avatar
Carlos C December 02, 2020 3:11 pm UTC
Will Amazon sell the physical books?
Customer avatar
Nikola S December 02, 2020 5:21 pm UTC
Physical books will be sold through our website
Customer avatar
Paul B December 29, 2020 11:29 pm UTC
Any idea when those will be available?
Customer avatar
Carlos C November 20, 2020 5:02 pm UTC
Hello! I just pulled the trigger for the PDF and my intent is to print it, but I noticed that the artwork is low resolution, I believe. Could you upload a high resolution option for download? Thank you guys and I'm loving this tome!
Customer avatar
Nikola S November 24, 2020 4:01 pm UTC
Hi Carlos, make sure you've downloaded the latest version of the file (1.3 currently), which should be 150dpi. Physical books (offset print) will be soon available on our website.
Customer avatar
Matthew S November 28, 2020 12:00 am UTC
Where will you ship from? I would be interested but live in Europe.
See 16 more
Narrow Results
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Gold seller
File Size:
74.43 MB
Original electronic
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
October 11, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on September 25, 2020.
Open Ended Games, Inc.
Publisher Average Rating