A downloadable tabletop RPG

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by Abigail Hanley and Kirt Dankmyer

Only you, the mages who live in the Grey Zone,  can see both incoming disasters, simultaneous and inevitable. Only you recognize the field of stars in someone's eyes as a sign of Dualism, the worship of these twin singularities. Three hundred years of history sits on your shoulders, and most people don't even believe the threat exists. 

Only in the Grey Zone, between the Confederation of the Cosmic All and the Meritocratic Republic of Syble, do the four types of mages mix.   The people who come to the Grey Zone are rebels, heretics, pioneers and mercenaries.  Some want to build a shining city in the wastes, others just want to live another day. 

At the heart of the Grey Zone lies the planet Exaltation, your home.  It is the only habitable planet in the system of Deviance, ruled by the Quantum Circle, a group of mages that view the Goddess as a force of chaos.  Everyone is free to use whatever substances they please, and hedonism is rampant.  

But only here can you see a threat so powerful that it echoes back from the future, and only here can you stop it. If you fail, magic is doomed, the Goddess will die, and the cold war between the Confederation and the Meritocracy is going to turn very, very hot indeed.

With the power of the River of Stars and the Cosmic Deck at your fingertips, and a little luck, may you prevail!

The River features:

  • Galaxy-spanning science fantasy! 
  • Diceless, non-random resolution for non-magickal tasks
  • Two completely different core magick systems!
  • Card based resolution mechanics for magick! Both magic systems use the same deck of ordinary playing cards (plus jokers) -- mages just use their hand and the Cosmic River very differently
  • Four Charts (playbooks), two for each type of magic, which further twist the way you control the universe: Weavers, Touched, Slicers, and Talented
  • Ordinary people empowered by a twin disaster echoing backward through time!
  • Playable with 1 GM and 2 or more additional players 

NOTE: This game is under development. What you're seeing here is an early, but playable, draft. Stay tuned for updates! This draft is 99% complete, we'll probably do an additional editing pass or two.

StatusIn development
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars
(4 total ratings)
GenreRole Playing
Tagscosmic, Futuristic, goddess, Magic, Tabletop, Wizards


Buy Now$2.00 USD or more

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The_River_old_file.pdf 1 MB
The_River.pdf 1 MB

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Development log


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(1 edit) (+1)

Hello! I really liked your game. I don't know when/if I'll be able to play it but from my perspective it gives you a lot of tools to play and have fun with and also it is vague enough to lend itself to a lot of variation and changes, which I love in RPGs.

Firstly, I really like the story proposed for the creation of the different classes. The connection of the Touched with the Goddess (also the concept of the Goddess in general, hello? Although I am always a fan of overly-complicated pantheons of polytheistic religions, there is something to be said about an all-powerful being that is Good and we know watches over us), and how others also desired what it brought alongside and trying to get it in different ways. 

I think personally my favourite class has to be the Slicer, because it uses the Flow (which I like above Conjuring for its simplicity and openness to interpretation) and yet has that interesting element of knowing that your power was stolen from another and might very well be taken from you again. 

I am not sure how I feel about J/Q/K representing gender, because often I do not like to play with gender dynamics in my games (100% out of my tiredness of the role they play in my daily life), but I like to be challenged, so I may come around to them. 

The unpredictability and wildness that comes from the Joker is so great! Likewise for the Doom event of the end of the deck. Wonderfully ironic that the use of magic brings forth its destruction and viceversa. 

Also! I really /really/ like that in the Conjuring list you have taken care to implement the spell modifications. Perhaps they are a bit too many for first time players (then again, you could always have a cheat sheet and refer to it publicly since everyone can know your hand)  but I think they provide a lot of interesting changes to the scene. Likewise, I love that the HQ advancements propose how different advancements can interact with one another and give you additional benefits. Very well thought out! (By the way, your "moderate HQ advancements" section is repeated. Might want to delete that if you do another pass at it.) 

Lastly, the concept of the Twins also has me really intrigued. Not gonna lie, I kinda like them /a lot/. You get star eyes, and also null powers? Hell yes! And although I enjoy the intricacies of the "there is no greater evil" RPGs in which you have to debate about the nature of humanity, how we are all equal, etc. sometimes it is just nice for all the PCs to have a clear common enemy -- and the previous points can easily still apply. There is however a point I am still not completely clear on, which I would love some clarification on: if you forget about the Twins when you go to the CCA/Meritocracy, would you re-remember when you get out? Like, how am I to play this with my players? Am I just supposed to never take them to either of the empires? Would they have to constantly re-learn what they knew about dualism? Thank you! 

Gods was this a long comment. I hope it is not too much of a bother to read! I just had a lot of thoughts after going through your corebook. Again, I really like it! Thank you :) 


We're very glad you liked it and definitely are very pleased by the detailed feedback! I'm going to pass this on to my co-author, she's going to be extra pleased to see this. :)

My PDF reader says it can't read the file.

That's... strange. I'll investigate.

Okay, it should be fixed now. I apologize. Try re-downloading it. 


Thank you! I'm excited to dive into this one!

The PDF doesn't seem to be properly formatted?


Okay, it should be fixed now. I apologize. Try re-downloading it. 


It's blank pdf with no text. I have tried different readers with no change.

Yeah, you're the third person to report problems. Investigating.

Okay, it should be fixed now. I apologize. Try re-downloading it. 


Perfect. Thanks!