This tabletop RPG is nearly five years in the making, adopted from pages (and pages) of personal notes, scribbles in sketchbooks, house rules and the private wiki I use around my gaming table. I started writing on a whim back in November 2011. A year and several months later in August 2013, I released an early version called Project Corehammer on Strike-To-Stun.net. However, it became clear that the project was evolving into a wholly unique game system. From there, I scrapped the title, as Corehammer just didn’t have the right ring to it. Thanks to a few enterprising folks over at Strike To Stun, I embraced the community-suggested title of ZWEIHÄNDER. It roughly translates into “big friggin’ sword” in German and “press tongue firmly into cheek” in English.
Following this, I brought a reliable group of playtesters onboard to help test and perfect the system. The watchwords were this – make it dark and gritty; make it perilous and challenging; make it a system that carries uncertain outcomes in an unforgiving world; and make it world-agnostic, so it can be used with any low fantasy campaign world. I shortened this to simply ‘grim & perilous’ gaming.
Following internal play testing, I released the GRIMDARK Public Beta in December 2014. It proved to be wildly popular with OSR players. Shortly thereafter, the largest Spanish-speaking tabletop RPG forum IGARol.org translated the beta into Spanish. This set everything into motion for self-publication. But, I needed help along the way to make it a reality.
Realizing that I could have something material to bring to market, I contracted Dejan Mandic to begin working on concept art. He helped envision what a grim & perilous RPG would look like through his lens of creativity. Jussi Alarauhio beautifully illustrated the cover image and logo. Tanner Yea joined on as co-writer, reshaping the narrative of the game without inherently disrupting the system’s rules. Milena Lakicevic – our Mother of Dragons – began layout, working alongside Dejan to bring the formatting and publication standards up to snuff. Following a successful Kickstarter and the sheer volume of work ahead of us, I contracted veteran editor Matthew Pook to bring it home. And, after many years of hard work and play testing, ZWEIHÄNDER became a reality in 2017.
And finally in 2018, ZWEIHÄNDER was nominated and won both gold categories in the ENnie Awards at GenCon 2018 for Best Game and Product of the Year.
ZWEIHÄNDER has been revised and rebuilt through three major iterations across 240 playtest sessions and countless hours of number-crunching, with invaluable feedback from our internal and public playtest groups. We feel confident in saying that there isn’t any other tabletop RPG on the market that comes near its slavish devotion to the original influences behind the system.
Happy gaming, and be sure to tell us what you think of ZWEIHÄNDER over at these communities:
Home Page https://grimandperilous.com/
~ DANIEL D. FOX, CREATOR & LEAD DESIGNER