A downloadable TTRPG

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Available in print here.

Helm is a role-playing game inspired by dark fantasy and sword and sorcery fiction typically set in worlds resembling that of our own world’s Middle Ages (5th—15th century). Players take on the role of bloody Men-at-arms carving out an existence in the shadow of a crumbling empire. In this day, craven nobles play at conquest and throw countless soldiers into the war machine, fueling what has come to be known as the Ruination. Masterless warriors, seeking to profit from the nigh-endless discord, are hired by armies as shock troops and supplementary forces. An integral theme in this genre is human nature and morality, as one struggles between being a good human being or falling into madness and evil.

Within the 16-page MEN-AT-ARMS Handbook, you'll find: 

  • Best practices and tools for safe play, for Men-at-arms and Quartermasters both
  • A minimalist, easy-to-run 2D6 system with four stats
  • Randomized character generation in four easy steps
  • Detailed lists of arms and armor, along with their properties

Within the 16-page QUARTERMASTERS Handbook, you'll find:

  • Best practices and tools for safe play, for Men-at-arms and Quartermasters both
  • Tools for new and experienced GMs alike
  • Explanations of enemy stats and sample combatants
  • Conversion notes for running your favorite old school adventures with HELM
  • Hit Location and Injury tables

Within the 16-page CAMPAIGNS Handbook, you'll find:

  • Best practices and tools for safe play, for Men-at-arms and Quartermasters both
  • Adventure hooks and guidelines on running campaigns
  • The Empire, a crumbling countryside for your Men-at-arms to explore
  • A map of the Empire drawn by the talented Hodag RPG
  • Rules for mass combat on a grand scale


Resources for HELM


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Check out this eclectic and growing playlist made by the author!


Buy Now$15.00 USD or more

In order to download this TTRPG you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $15 USD. You will get access to the following files:

HELM Vol.1 MEN-AT-ARMS Printer Friendly 1 MB
HELM Vol. 2 QUARTERMASTERS Printer Friendly 1 MB
HELM Vol. 3 CAMPAIGNS Printer Friendly 4 MB
HELM Third Party License 1 MB

Exclusive content

Support this TTRPG at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Community Copies

Thanks to all those that purchased HELM, there are a limited number of free community copies available. For every purchased copy, two will be added to the pool. Please do not claim a community copy if you can afford to purchase the product. These are intended for those who cannot.

Development log

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So, at some point I must have smuggled this game into my library, and boy am I glad it did! Like a minimalist baby born of Warhammer Fantasy, Cairn, & Maze Rats. 

I really think this system is brilliant, having run it through a few short oracle guided quests and social encounters. It's compact and simple, but it does have a few sub systems to make things interesting. 

I plan on making a simple magic system that suits the power balance of such a low fantasy world like this setting has. In many ways it reminds me of a sort of more "realistic" (or at least more down to earth) Mork Borg. Both are set in the end of their respective eras, a post apocalypse soon approaching, but Helm is more grounded, and mechanically more interesting to me. 

Having a narrative combat system that employs on the fly tactics with ease, there's never a time I was bored of fighting. Speaking of which, the combat is DEADLY in this game! Particularly for solo players, but from what I've seen so far has been fair, with only minimal tweaking reqiured.

I did have a question on 1 thing though, if you wouldn't mind indulging me. 

On page 8 of the Quarter Master Pamphlet it says:

> When defending, Men-at-arms

suffer damage equal to an

enemy’s pain stat. 

Create interesting complications for the

players to overcome as a result

of damage received.

Is this meant only when players take an Injury, or any time one of their body zones is damaged? What sort of example might help illustrate that for slow little me? 😊😁

This game seems very cool. I'm an especially big fan of the "PCs as mercenaries" framework and minimalist take on weapons. I do have some questions about mass combat though. I played out two examples and walked away with the same questions.

  1. How should injuries be handled outside of "tally them up, most injured is more likely to lose"? I imagine you distribute them among troops after combat, but is there any effect during?
  2. If 1 combatant = 1 Unit Strength, then would a Light Footsman contribute as equally as a Heavy Horseman?
  3. Is there generally any way for players to influence Tides of Combat, or are they basically "locked in" once the combat starts?

Any other advice or guidance is appreciated.


Loving these! I ran a demo fight the other night, and realized I wasn't sure about a few details. I know the best answer is probs "up to your table", but just wanted to know what you found worked easiest/quickest:

When a Player wounds an NPC, do you roll on the wound table or just ad-lib? If you roll, do you roll multiple times in the same location?

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Awesome! Would love to know how that demo went!

I usually roll on the wound table and ad-lib from there. If the same result is rolled multiple times, I describe it as targeting an already damaged location.

is there a full picture of the map?


Received my print copy yesterday and i'm super excited about the game! Now some questions about weapons. What's the benefit for two-handed weapon vs one hand weapon. And what's the benefit between a broadsword vs shortsword for exemple? Curious about your thought.


Thanks for your support! The benefits are purely narrative based. For example, a dagger and a broadsword do the same damage, but a dagger is easily concealed. A warhammer and an axe are equally deadly, but you can't cut down a tree with a warhammer.


I picked up a print copy of the three-volume collection over at Exalted Funeral just today but the included PDF only has the first volume (Men-At-Arms). Is it possible to get PDF copies of the missing volumes (Quartermasters & Campaigns)? Thank you!


I'll get into contact with EF and remedy that! Thanks for letting me know!

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That's good to hear! Thanks for your reactivity. I look forward to reading the print copies - and complete PDFs - once they arrive. EDIT: It's been updated and all three volumes are there! Thank you kindly!


I absolutely love this little system! One question though: How whould you handle firearms in HELM? I'm thinking of handgonnes, arquebuses and the like. Has anyone done something in these lines already? 


Funnily enough, I'll be uploading a black powder supplement for HELM here shortly! Suffice to say, reskin the ranged weapons, beef up the ranges, and add a misfire mechanic.

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More questions. The hit location table doesn’t state left or right arm/leg. How would you determine which side is hit? Weapons, there are a couple that aren’t that beneficial cost-wise and weight-wise and without properties, like long sword. Not sure if I missed some rulings about that. If you’re a minmaxer you’d never buy a sword. Of course you shouldn’t be a minmaxer, but still… :)


Flip a coin! As for weapons, it's all about the story at my table. Sure, there's no real difference between an axe and a longsword, but you can't chop down a tree with a sword ;)

(2 edits) (+2)

Two questions about equipment. Can you exceed your inventory slots, i.e. carry more than your strength allows? If so, what penalties apply? Second, what does the “pace” column mean in the Armor table? Is it max pace or penalty to your pace? Thanks. Awesome game!

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I let individual Quartermasters determine that for their tables. Me personally, I start reducing Pace by 1 for each item over carrying capacity. As for the Pace colomn in Armor, that is your max Pace while wearing that particular armor type. Thanks for your support!


Nice spotify playlist. I see you are a cultured individual well versed in classics.


Hi! I'm a little confused about weapon ranges. I understand that the number corresponds to paces (squares) at which distance the weapon can hit. But why do missile weapons have three ranges? Do you apply a negative bonus at greater range, or something like that? If there's no difference at different ranges, then why isn't it simply one "max range" rating?


Also, I don't understand what should happen if you have a injury maximum higher than 5. (My rolls gave me an 8 INJ). If I have been injured in my 5 body parts, do I die? If not, is it even possible to die? (I theoretically can't take injuries to body parts I have already injured, per the System Shock rules, right?) If I'm to simply wait for System Shock (after failing a CON save)... then what's the point of having a high INJ? Seems to me like "Double Constitution to determine Injury maximum" causes problems!


That's... actually a really good point. Looks like I have some retooling to do!

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Ha! Hell yeah. To think out loud a bit: If your INJ is equal, not double, to your CON (i.e., equal to your TRUNK score), then only someone who rolls the highest TRUNK rating (6) is put into the "can only die of system shock" category--and that makes a kind of fun sense to me.

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I'll direct you to System Shock under the Players section of the SRD. It's a more updated version of the rules that I'll be adding to the zine.


This is how I utilize weapon ranges: 

The three ranges represent short/medium/and long range respectively. At short ranges, apply +1 bonus to damage; at long ranges, apply -1 to damage.

YMMV, do what feels right at your table.


Cool thanks. That's what I'd guessed the idea was, but (unless I'm missing something very obvious!) the rules don't specify. I know I can make it work however I want/need, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking something in the text.


I am having trouble following how combat between players and monsters work. "For instance, if an enemy has an injury stat of 3(2) then they must suffer six points of damage total to receive three injuries. " So the number outside the () is armor? But there is also a DR stat for monsters.. so I confused.


The number inside the () is the amount of damage needed to trigger an injury, the number outside the (). So, a 3(2) enemy needs to recieve 2 damage 3 times in order to fall.


Ah! Ok I get it now.  It's "max injuries (damage to cause an injury)".  I'll  see how some man-at-arms vs monster combats work out.  Thanks!


Curious about overflow damage… in the example above - if the 3 (2) monster suffered a total of 6 damage with a single blow they just die? 


It depends on the table, but that's how I run it!


This TTRPG is just "amazing". The idea and the theme are unique. The art is inspiring. The game mechanics are a mix between the best of the "OSR" and the best of the "FKR". The character sheet is one of the most original I have ever seen and it's an invitation to play. We have our winner for the OSR JUNE JAM, it's HELM !


will this ever get community copies? looks great!

That's the plan! Some time after Vol. 3 is released!


oh neat! i'll keep a lookout, thanks for all your hard work.

Community copies available!


i got one quick! thank you so much :D <3


An idea of the page count, and more previews would be nice.

Will we have to pay separately for volumes 2 & 3?, or does getting this game entitle one to the others (thus explaining the price rise)? Otherwise, $7.50 (or more) for a 16 page book of which 5 are full page illustrations seems a bit much.

I agree, a print friendly version would be nice. Printing out white print on black background uses a lot of ink, and for a reference table that gets handled frequently it is (depending on your printer) quite smudgy.

The very gothic large letters, like in ‘Helm’ on your character sheet, or on the Armor-Shields-Missile Weapons table is nigh unreadable for me half the time. The other font used for headers, and the ‘stat names’ on the character sheet isn’t much better.

Made some improvements that might be a bit more to your liking!


Would be great to have a print friendly version. It will take a lot of ink to print this. Love the book anyways :D


I'll get to work on that! Thanks for your support!