A downloadable Role-Playing Game

The inspiration for this small game came from two articles about the 1937 edition of The Hobbit and how it differed from its more commonly read revised version and what kind of world was implied by that edition, sans Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. The articles probably explain it better than I can, so I linked them below, but here is the introduction text to the game.

You are an adventurer in the world of The Hobbit. Specifically the world as it appeared in the 1937 edition of that book. Anyone can be a wizard with the right knowledge, trolls turn to stone in the sunlight, animals or magical objects can speak, elves aren't always nice, and the wild is full of terrible creatures like goblins, giant spiders, and even dragons!

You need 3d6 and the rules to play. When you print the sheet, set it horizontally/landscape, two-sided, binding on short edge. And don't let the printer scale it down. Then fold it accordion-style so that the title is on the front and the character sheet on the back. (Fold it once more if you want to stick it in your pocket.)

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(28 total ratings)
AuthorRay Otus
TagsDice, Fantasy, role-playing-game, zine


Original Rules in English 5 MB
Polish Trans. by Tytus Rduch 401 kB
Italian trans. by Francesco Catenacci 5 MB
Italian translation by Vittorio De Stefano 148 kB
French trans. by Bruno Bord, illus. by Guillaume Jentey 3 MB
German trans. by Clemens Meier 6 MB
Spanish Trans. by Yop de la Torre de Ebano 1 MB

Development log


Log in with itch.io to leave a comment.

Love it. Really great ideas. I'm going to give it a go as soon as possible!

Hi Ray! 

Thank you for this great game! I had made a hungarian translation, and I hope you will share it on your page with the other translations. Thank you in advance, 

And the link: https://balintkapos.itch.io/there-and-back-again-hungarian-translate

(1 edit)

Hello, Ray!

I’ve made up a russian translation to your system some time ago and would like to send it to you so you could put it here in the downloads list. How can I contact you to send the .pdf?

And thank you for your game, we had lot of fun playing it!

Small typo:

Choose a high Fate if see your character as magical, either innately, through training, or having magical trinkets.

Fate if you see your

I hope this is helpful.

(1 edit)

Hi. I've done a modification of this game, by adding some rules taken from The One Ring, by Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi. 

Would it be ok to share my version of the game online (no profit intended, of course!)?

Here is the PDF in case you'd like to take a look at it first.

Thanks a lot for your work and for sharing it!


The license is CC-BY-NC-SA. So you can share it (and derivatives of it) - with credit - for non-commercial (can't sell it) - under the same license. As long as you follow those rules you can do whatever you like. I have funny feelings about bringing in rules from another Tolkien inspired game. I'm still sorting that out. I requested access to your doc and will probably have a clearer mind once I read it. But again, the license allows you to do stuff, regardless of what I think. :)


I've been playing this with my family and running adventures in it, what a lovely little system! I don't know that it could sustain a long-running campaign, but we plan to have a couple months of weekly adventuring with this game. It's a fun, simple, non-crunchy story game ruleset for those who want to go on adventures and roleplay rather than rolling a bunch of dice and tracking stats. 


That’s awesome to hear!! Thanks for sharing. Of course the real credit I’m sure goes to you as the GM. :)


Thing I'm thinking about Take Courage ... already have house-ruled this, partly. Why should it only be Rhyming that can give the group a benefit? Why not also Cooking, or Music? And for the individual, perhaps Carousing could be restorative.

Also thinking that in the Wild you would get the partial benefit as in the rules, whereas in a Haven you would get the full benefit but still would need to make a roll. This would make the game a bit more stressful than the original books.

All in service of a post-war campaign I'm starting, called Shadows and Ash. It's set in the lands of the old Barbarian Prince game, after prince Cal Arath has won back his throne and started a widespread war in the process.

This is a brilliant little game with a lot of potential for play.

Awesome! Thank you. Listening in now. 


https://www.patreon.com/posts/69746119?pr=true Patreon post. There was one little thing you got incorrect about the rules in play, but it didn't matter all that much -- see the post. I enjoyed watching you play. Especially when you spent several Fate points and still failed. It was fun seeing you get excited about the fiction. 

haha fair. That may have definitely helped. My dnd was showing a little with how I treated combat.

One of my favorite one-page games! If I were to translate it into Polish, would you be willing to add the translation to your page? Also, are you allowing people to publish hacks of your game?


yes and yes!

Awesome! Will come back to you once I have the translation ready :)

Hi again, I finished the Polish translation of the game, you can find the file here

I don't get it... how should I fold the list so that title is on the front and char.sheet is on the back side?

I’m just now catching up to your messages. A Russian translation is super cool. Do you still need some kind of raw text file? I’m guessing not. The original is an accordion fold in four columns. Fold it back and forth and at the end fold it over once in the horizontal axis to get the cover on one side and char sheet in the back. Perhaps not an ideal format. 

Deleted 2 years ago
(1 edit)

I would like to translate this into Russian.

If you would like to add ru-translation here as well, then I would be grateful for the plain-text version of this file or .md version.

So... i've just finished the translation and have a .md file for it if you want.

New translation! Clemens Meier has this to say about his effort in converting the doc. "I stayed with your accordion fold layout, but since translation into German blows up the text by about 25%, I've had to reduce the font size a bit and switch around parts of enumerations where I thought I could get away with it to make it fit the line breaks better. Then I put it on A3 paper (11.7×16.5 inches) and I think it looks fine."

(1 edit)

Hello, is the Clemens you speak of from Bielefeld Germany or at least studied there? I'm searching for him since years we used to play pnp 20!years ago. 


Lovely little game! Makes me wish to write a hack.

(1 edit) (+5)

I've used / am using these rules in four games now:

- solo play of the Barbarian Prince by Dwarfstar Games

- group play in Middle Earth

- group play of the Barbarian Prince

- duet play in Middle Earth.

Trying to persuade a prospective DM to use them for another group play Middle Earth game.

They're good multi-purpose rules that work for any not-overdone fantasy / fairy tale setting. The freeform but limited Magic concept especially works well, but the choices made in character building between combat and other skills also present some complexity that makes the rules fun to play with.

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing. 

is it any different / updated from the one you put on your website sometimes ago?

Nope. Just migrating things over here. 

You did the translation right? Is there a link I can use to point people at it?


yes, sure: it's online here



Thanks for putting this up here Ray!