A downloadable TTRPG

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Brighter Worlds is a whimsical fantasy tabletop RPG with modular crunch. It is my attempt to bridge the gap between GMs (and players) who want minimal rules in fast, lightweight systems with players who want a more involved character creation, and fiddly rules to muck around with.

Each class (named Callings in this game) has it's own set of rules that (mostly) don't interact or involve anything else in the book. So each player only has to worry about the things on their own Calling's page. Each of the (currently) fifteen Callings is designed to appeal to a different sort of player. Ranging from the Alchemist, for players who are constantly collecting every plant and animal part they find to mix together into potions. to the Cleric of Small Gods for players who prefer freeform magic systems over spell lists.

Contains 50 spells, fast, flashy and fleeting magic you can cast in a fight, along with 50 rituals which are slower, more complicated, and more powerful.

Writing & Layout by David Lombardo (twitter,itch.io)

Artwork by Evlyn Moreau.

Text only online SRD found here: https://brighterworldsrpg.com/

Brighter World’s text is licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

It is unfinished, currently at version 9.1, almost there!

Rules based on Into the Odd by Chris McDowall (www.bastionland.com), Cairn by Yochai Gal (cairnrpg.org), and Macciato Monsters by Eric Nieudan (@surcapitaine).

Updated 1 day ago
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(29 total ratings)


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

BrighterWorlds_0_9_3.pdf 44 MB
BrighterWorlds_CharacterSheet.pdf 58 kB
BrighterWorlds_CharacterSheet_Fillable.pdf 60 kB

Development log


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I just wanted to say that this has some of the most exciting character classes I've seen in a game. I loved how they are each categorized into what kind of play style they are for. That's super helpful for new players.

My test for most systems I encounter now is, "Can you play as a Fairy witch riding a wolf?" (my wife's character she came up with), and I think this is the system that seems the easiest to find something comparable.

I also like the Druid one, which I usually play in DnD 5e, so that gave me hope that I could have a not OP version of that class in an OSR game. Tempted to try running this now that the OGL drama is in full swing.

Edit: Also, I love the death system. This is a great way to let players choose between "death makes a good story" and "I want to live forever!" 


Thanks you! And that’s a hilarious test for a game, I’m very glad Brighter Worlds manages to pass it! The Shaman/Druid calling is actually at the top of my list for needing playtests, so I’m glad there’s interest in it.

If you end up playing or running, please do let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear about it and I’m always looking for more feedback!


Just finished our first game of the system today, which included a person for whom this was their first TTRPG ever! System was super easy to get into, the options were largely intuitive (though some elaboration on things like Devoted's Minor Miracle would be nice). Lots of options to get excited about, combat felt very impactful, and that every die roll mattered way more than other systems, and the way Foreground Growth works meaning advancement isn't limited to what is in the rulebook just made it a fantastically good time.

We're already talking about running it again tomorrow, and I've already not only got the desire to try and see how far I can take "Kassity the Devotee of Tier" (who is a Fertility/Love deity), but already looking at other characters I can make in the setting with glee.

Unless I'm given a better location to provide feedback, I'll mostly be replying to this comment chain. Thank you so much for this system!

Also, if you have any questions, never hesitate to ask. ^^


Thanks so much for your feedback! I love to read how people are getting on with the system.

I agree the elaboration on the more open ended elements is needed, I’m currently planning to expand the “Cast & Crew” chapter to include guidance and examples for things like minor miracle, runes, and cleric domains.

I have two specific things I’d love to ask, if you don’t mind. First, for character creation, did you feel you had enough options to give you the ability to really customize and create the character you wanted? In the opposite direction, was there too much front loaded leading to it feeling overwhelming?

Second, I’m very interested in hearing how combat feels as you continue play. I want to maintain that impactful feel you mentioned, while also avoiding things being too swingy. And I’m a little concerned that particularly beefy enemies might lead to long, frustrating fights. So less a specific question and more a request that if anything ever stands out to you in combat to please share!

As for where future feedback should go, for now here is honestly probably the best place. I might switch this itch page from comments to a forum though, which would help organize things a bit more.

- so, I'll talk from the prospective of the person who'd literally never played a TTRPG before. She was able to pick "Witch" based purely on liking the idea, we let her pick her starting ritual and spells rather than roll them, and she had a lot of fun reading through them, and ultimately built someone with the monster grafting ritual as well as a big bird familiar. Character creation was so simple someone with no prior TTRPG experience was able to do it pretty easily with guidance, and make a character she was excited to play and enjoyed throughout the session. Also, even though it was a class that might me more complicated for a first time player in other systems, the way your system runs made that a non-issue. 

For myself, I love the way the system gives me some of that 2E D&D feeling of progress. The Eulogy system means I'm constantly rewarded for play in a way where some TTRPGs fail. Also, if anything, I'd love more calling options, and our DM is already in the process of homebrewing a couple. ^^

I'll let you know how combat feels as we go on. We didn't end up running today, sadly. However, one thing that was made abundantly clear is how important having a bigger die is. I did the silly thing of starting with a Blackened Whip rather than a Hand Me Down Flail, ignoring the mechanics, purely for the joke of a character of the deity my character follows having a whip to go with the rest of her fairly risque persona, and I definitely felt the difference in combat. Not that I'd change anything about character creation, but I'm already planning to get a better weapon and some more armor the second a shop becomes available to do so. That said, my d8 STR was also felt as many times I was able to roll high enough on my STR-checks to invalidate enemy attacks entirely, even if they max rolled, so that was fun. It made me more excited for the prospect of leveling and improving my dice now that I know just how powerful just a simple bump from d6 to d8 is.

On that note, it sort of feels like the bump a d4 to d6 is a trap at character creation. Realizing 1 XP can do the same thing, and you're essentially throwing XP away for not going for a 10, so long as you don't die to things that challenge your low die long enough to get 1 XP, you're just ahead XP-wise by going d10 at creation and using your first XP to shore up your weak stat rather than shoring it up at creation, and spend 3 XP to go from d8 to d10. Also, the book accidentally skips the ability to spend 2 XP to bump from d6 to d8, unless that's intentional. If it IS intentional, I recommend making that explicit, because we're currently running under the assumption it's just missing, and that we can pay to go d6 to d8 w/ 2 XP.


Whoops, the missing d6-d8 cost is absolutely not intentional. You guessed right, and I must have just dropped that bit of text somewhere along the way, I’ll get that fixed on the website and in the PDF for the next update.

That’s a really good point about the starting attribute bump being a bit of a trap. I added that in the most recent version to give people more flexibility at character creation, but there’s absolutely an “optimal” choice, which is something I really want to avoid. I’ll have to think about ways to address that.

Really appreciate this feedback, and I hope your game is fun!

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Thinking about how my inner munchkin feels about it, I think  bumping player xp cost for d4->d6 from 1 to 2 xp would just make it seem not worth to bump your d6, essentially pushing off the issue...

Maybe bumping cheaper stats could give you a 1 xp discount for the next several stat bumps, totalling up to however much you "missed out on" by not initially bumping your d8? Perhaps as an optional rule if the players feel disgruntled 


I haven’t pushed the update yet, but this is what I’m currently planning as an adjustment to fix the “optimization” issue, lemme know what you think.

For attributes you just assign d4, d6, and d8.

Then at “finishing touchings” you write a Eulogy Entry that describes a previous exploit of your character. Either gain 1 XP, or roll d10s on any equipment table to see what you gained from that adventure.

If you gain XP here, you can choose to immediately spend it to gain +1 Grit, or to step your d4 Attribute up to a d6.


Allo, I was the DM for this, and I had my own input, though I might have trouble putting it easily into words.

Wanted to mirror Miah's statement that this was a lot of fun and very easy from my POV as the DM to run, I was using another adventure meant for OSE as my test for this and it more or less worked swimmingly.

We didn't end up having a beefy enemy battle due to the RP, and if we run into that in future runs of other adventures I'll be sure to note if there are issues on my end. I actually had a concern on the conversion for this, as the "direct conversion of Cairn statistics into grit" had me worried about the skeletal enemies I was using for the adventure, especially since they had outnumbered the party and 5 grit seemed a bit much. I ended up relying on the fact that the fiction of the adventure gave them a clear weak point to attack, and gave enhanced rolls striking for it. But that might have been on me for not accounting for a slightly undersized party.

Otherwise, it went well, the ability for people to intuitively and through the fiction understand what they can do and how they can use it and my own inclinations as a DM were extremely harmonious with the game.

The main thing I'd be thankful for is more of an idea of how to handle treasure and items in the game, especially since once again, trying to convert Cairn's items over causes some issues I don't think are intentional - such as being capable of getting 3 armor (at the cost of it being Bulky and vaguely expensive) if a substantial amount of gold is acquired via buying Plate. Some guidance on what kind of things can be bought and what the general expectations of buying items should be would be appreciated, if only cause armor and weapon purchases have a substantial effect on the effectiveness of the players (which they should!) that I'm worried is unintended.


Hello, thanks for running Brighter Worlds!

For the conversion guidance, I do need to take a second look at those. Under the original combat rules stats were far more comparable between Cairn and BW, but now characters are much more fragile at low STR, and much more durable at high STR, so I’m not yet sure how I want to tweak the guidance for converting Grit. If you find yourself consistently feeling that using Cairn HP as Grit is too much that’s good information.

Writing a price list is one of the last “big” chunks of the game I haven’t done yet. So your want of it is very reasonable. If you’re looking for something short term, I’d recommend looking at the equipment prices in Electric Bastionland, which is usually where my head is at about these things.

For armor specifically, my eventual intent is that any single piece of equipment that provides 2 armor should have some sort of drawback or limitation (outside of stuff produced by Calling abilities). I plan to have a number of examples for this, because as you said high armor is very useful so it’s going to be in high demand.

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I would have to run the system more to get a stronger read on it, but from what I can tell, honestly? I genuinely think that 3-4 grit is universally the sweet spot for most NPCs, even the tough ones.

Since grit is effectively "warm up"/"wasted" damage, having high grit and a high str die is genuinely painful, and a lot of the Cairn monsters by default have both if they're meant to be chewed through, something that favors Team Monster more than the players in a lot of situations.

I genuinely think that 3 grit with a d8 strength die (let alone a single point of armor) is genuinely more difficult to kill than even a 10 grit creature with a d4 hit die since the variance on a d8's rolls (not to mention the attack rolls targeting it) can result in it feeling like if you could just get ONE hit in you'd be able to bulldoze through it, whereas with the 10 grit creature it feels like wearing it down is inevitable, just that it will get its attacks in while you do.

I'm going to try the "All NPCs have 3 grit and their durability is based on armor and strength die"  approach myself and see how it goes, I will let you know!

You’re absolutely right about how high STR makes things much more durable than high Grit. Not only do you have the entire die’s worth of “damage” to get through, you have a higher chance of any given attack not getting through at all.

Now, some caveats to that:

  1. It encourages people to gang up for simultaneous attacks so they can add the damage together. This goes both ways though, so a single PC trying to fight a big group can get dangerous fast.

  2. NPCs have to make Morale Saves to avoid fleeing every time they take Critical Damage. So they won’t necessarily stick around for the PCs to get through all their STR.

  3. Stepping down STR means an actual wound, and something that takes time to heal. Whereas Grit heals almost instantly. This isn’t necessarily something that will come up in an average session, but when combined with Morale Saves or if they’re recurring characters it can start to matter.

For myself, I usually use d4 for mooks, and d6 for almost everyone else. And then step up above that only for enemies that are supposed to be very difficult to simply attack down.

Which is all to say: I need to expand the guidance in the book to cover all this. Part of this is that I haven’t sat with the newest version of combat rules long enough to have 100% internalized them. Another thing on the “to do” list, haha.

Any thoughts you have about any of this as you continue, especially with your plan to use only armor and STR as your “toughness” dials. I’ll be really interested to see how that pans out.


Love the premise of the system! I didn't get to play it yet but here is some feedback from reading it:

 I read it in ReadEra on Android and in the dark mode the white background of some pictures overlapped the text and made it unreadable. The two pictures on page 12 work as intended, so do whatever you did to those to the rest as well and that shouldn't be a problem. 

You might want to rethink using the term water bender, as it feels dangerously close to copyright issues. 

As for the actual content : I would allow to reroll 1s as a result from the Death table the first time they die and allow players to chose it freely instead. This way people that like high lethality will have it while keeping the rest of the group alive more likely. 

I love how open the fluff text for Blessed of Water or Cleric of Small Gods is, I wish it was as open for other Callings (for example artificer or alchemist). Also it would be nice if they were organized alphabetically. 

The cipher part of the Archivist's expert reader trivializes riddles, which I would dislike both as player and GM. 

The Grimblade reads as if it is insanely strong (as said before, haven't played it yet). Combining from character creation on armor, a strong attack and the ability to cast spells. And the advanced abilities feel strong enough so that a Grimblade won't fall off later in the game. 

I would have liked some examples, not necessary an exhaustive list, for the Cleric of Small Gods domains. 

There are so many things I liked, from the artwork, to how things are written to mechanical implications, that pointing all of that out would be excruciatingly long. In conclusion: I love this and hope to see a finished version of this! 


This is all fantastic feedback, thank you!

I honestly didn’t even know dark mode for pdfs was a thing, so I’ll have to look into how it works and how I can adjust to fit it.

Making the Death table optional is a good idea and easily done with a small change.

My own opinion of how good the “fluff” is from calling to calling is highly variable, so I think I’ll end up trying to do a rework of all of them at some point. This is good feedback to know what to aim for. Alphabetizing is also something that’s been on my list, but there are a couple wrinkles I need to solve first.

Agreed that the Archivist it can (and does, from my experience) trivialize some things. I’ll have to think on how to change it to keep the spirit but retain some puzzle challenges.

Grimblade is one of the, as of yet, untested Callings so it could easily be busted. I already had it earmarked as probably the strongest “go and fight things” Calling, but I’d like to see it at the table before I make big changes.

I do have example builds of each Calling planned, but having a small set of examples specifically for the more open ended Callings like the Cleric is a good call.

Overall, thanks! Not sure what of these changes will make it into the next release, but know that I’ve got it all noted down.


Love the new callings in v0.8

I’ve been watching this project closely. Is is so lovely!

Thanks! I’ve got a couple more callings currently percolating, although I’m not sure if they’ll be included in the next update.


This is beautiful! Excited to see where this might go!


I love so much about this! Can’t wait to see what it might grow into :)


Thank you, that's an extremely kind review of the game!

Any chances you finish it? I like it (as a Macchiato Monsters fan) but think it can be improved.


I've actually been slowly working on a new version, but keep getting sidetracked by other projects. I'll try to move it back to the top of the pile.

If you have any feedback about parts you like or dislike I'm always happy to hear it!