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Empty | A Distemper Jumpstart & Playtest GuideClick to magnify
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Empty | A Distemper Jumpstart & Playtest Guide


Empty is a jumpstart/playtest document for Distemper, a post-apocalyptic tabletop roleplaying game. It is intended to help a group start playing quickly and easily by providing everything a GM needs to run a game for a group of 2-5 players. This includes pregenerated characters, maps, VTT assets, an initiative tracker, as well as an overview and explanation of the various game mechanics as they become relevant to gameplay. 

Taking place a year after the apex of the dog flu, a lethal and highly contagious mutation of canine distemper which killed 80% of humanity in a matter of months, players in Distemper take on the roles of survivors who are trying to make their way in this new world. In addition to regular supplies of food, water, and ammunition, players are going to have to make sure they can secure a shelter or base of operations that they can hide or defend from the other survivors who are all in need of the same, scant resources. 

From survivalists protecting their supplies to nomads looking for safe haven, from bandits raiding anyone they stumble upon to militias and gangs securing their lands, from the fledgling warlords looking to seize power to religious leaders recruiting zealots to help them navigate the end-times - the world may have lost 6 billion souls, but there are more than enough left to make life more challenging for the others that remain and the players will need to decide how they are going to deal with other survivors. 

On the more realist end of the TTRPG/Comic-book spectrum, there are no zombies, no aliens, and no mutants to contend with - just the gnawing hunger, biting cold, and the constant threat of other, desperate people. 

The Distemper TTRPG is set against the backdrop of stories told in the Distemper comic books, and this Jumpstart opens up with a 6-page short story drawn by the very talented Hernan Gonzalez which help sets the tone for a GM, as well as showing one potential outcome to the story.

Empty is primarily intended for playtesting and, as such, is heavily scripted  to ensure key game mechanics are tested by the group deliberately excluding many of the full game's core systems, such as character creation and community building. 

For a beta copy of the Distemper core rules,  more information, and additional resources, please visit us at, or follow along on Twitter @xerosumgames or Reddit at r/distemper

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Matthew T December 28, 2022 10:00 pm UTC
FYI, the PDF preview is busted.
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Xero S March 29, 2023 8:39 pm UTC
Thank you so much for letting me know - fixed the preview. Thanks again!
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File Last Updated:
November 19, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on November 07, 2022.