Pitfalls and Penguins is a goofy tabletop fantasy RPG that favors improvisational comedy and imagination over simulation.
Let’s have fun!
Pitfalls and Penguins is a game where you and your friends will use your imagination to tell a story together.
Like many pen and paper role-playing games, the core of Pitfalls and Penguins is a book that explains all the rules, lists the funny playable classes and species, and has plenty of hilarious comics and illustrations that help you and your friends immerse yourselves in a goofy fantasy world with exotic cities like Topeka and Detroit.
We've nearly finished the game, and you can download a .pdf of the current Playtest Edition draft at http://pitfallsandpenguins.com, but we need your help to print it!
Let's also have funds!
The more copies of a book you print, the less each book costs.
We're launching this Kickstarter in hopes of funding the first printing of Pitfalls and Penguins. The more we exceed our goal by, the better a deal we can negotiate with our printer (Vanderbilt University Press in Nashville, TN).
Unlike the prototype "Playtest edition" we'll be taking to Connecticon and PlayOnCon this summer, Pitfalls and Penguins: First Printing will be perfect bound and feature artwork front and back.
If we don't meet our goal, the game will still exist as a .pdf download, but we won't be able to print it.
If you back us with a dollar or more, you'll soon gain access to a high-resolution .pdf of the latest "Pitfalls and Penguins: Playtest Edition" draft through a backers only update. When the book goes to print after the Kickstarter campaign closes, you'll get a high-resolution .pdf of "Pitfalls and Penguins: First Printing" as well. If you can only afford a dollar, that's fine—in fact, we'd be thrilled with 4,000 one-dollar backers we don't have to sign anything for or mail anything to (though we have been practicing writing funny messages for books).
At higher reward levels, you'll receive physical copies of the book, posters of the cover, or advertising for your game shop, webcomics, etc. in the book (family-friendly ads only).
The best deal for your money is the $20 physical copy of the book with shipping anywhere in the US. It's also the option with the smallest margin for us. If $20 is all you can give, we won't complain, but the signed copies ($50 US shipping, $60 intl) help us out a ton too, and we'll all write nice thank you messages in those.
If you have any questions about rewards, feel free to ask in the comments!
Exciting play mechanics
Pitfalls and Penguins is optimized for fun rather than simulation, and several core mechanics of the game veer hilariously away from the Open Gaming Licensed SRD content we’ve built upon. There's a few of those below:
Wishes are funniest when granted literally.
When a 1 is rolled on a d20, the character achieves his goal literally, but with undesirable collateral damage and consequences.
For example, if you rolled a 1 on an attempt to hot-wire a car, you might start the car easily, but soon learn that the mob had sabotaged the car in hopes of killing the owner.
If you were trying to force open a door and rolled a 1, you might find the door opened easily when unlocked from the other side by a security patrol.
A six-level system
Past continental destruction has left Pao with a legacy of caution toward powerful individuals, so it is relatively low-powered compared to other fantasy settings.
Our six-level system is based on the OGL E6 rules by Ryan Stoughton, where character growth beyond the sixth level is achieved through the selection of additional feats.
In practical terms, if you play a Pitfalls and Penguins campaign for a long time, your characters will grow more powerful, but not uninterestingly godlike.
On Pao, confidence is everything, and over-confidence is hilariously effective.
Your Imaginary Modifier represents how much better you think your character thinks he is at something than he actually is. In addition to rolling three dice to determine each of your Ability Scores at character creation, you will also use a fourth die to determine your Imaginary Modifier.
You won’t die
Pitfalls and Penguins is a collaborative improv game. Players should try things because they are awesome and hilarious, even at great risk to themselves.
In this game, if a Playable Character’s health drops below 0, that character is considered unconscious. If the entire party is rendered unconscious, the Pitfall Master should simply time-skip to the party waking up, possibly in prison or about to be sacrificed to an ancient god.
Players may elect to allow their characters to die for role-playing reasons, such as sacrificing themselves for the good of the party.
Everyone can own the book for free
Your entire group may not have spare cash to buy a physical copy of this book. Don’t worry, you can download a low-resolution digital copy for free at:
As Pitfall Master, you have total discretion to run the game as you please. We provide the world of Pao as a starting place, but you could use our rules to create whatever you think you and your players would enjoy!
Yes! Penguins are a playable species.
They are intrinsically proficient with chainsaws and hand grenades, and because the Penguin God hates learning new names, he respawns them when they die.