A downloadable role-playing system

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Ellipses RPG makes tabletop role-playing more accessible than ever by focusing on chaotic, collaborative storytelling - not number crunching.


  • Streamlined, Adaptable, Accessible Ruleset

The mechanics of Ellipses RPG fit within only 3 pages of text, and are designed to work with any setting you can imagine. Role-playing newcomers can create a character within 15 minutes! Additionally, if you find yourself wanting more or less complexity, the Ellipses ruleset has built-in points of adaptability so you can create your ideal role-playing environment.

It's also free.

  • Innovative Event and Effect System

Ellipses RPG's innovative Event and Effect (or Log) system allows you to continue building your character long after their original creation. The experiences of your character, and the decisions you make, have a continuing effect on your journey through a campaign. Again, this isn't a system focused on numbers, stats, and complex abilities. It's about you, and the stories you create with others.

Did I mention that it's free?

  • Session Starters Manual with Scenario Ideas!

If you choose to donate and support this system - first of all, thank you. Along with my undying gratitude, you'll receive the Session Starters manual. This guide won't provide complete, pre-built worlds for you to explore. Instead, it contains over 30 separate scenario ideas to spur your own, customized adventures.

From a Victor Frankenstein/Dracula team-up to a quest to gain the trust of a sentient castle, I hope these strange universes help spark your imagination, and get a full-blown role-playing session started that much faster!



8-14-18: Inspired by playing an absolutely irresponsible amount of Yakuza 0 and falling in love with the absurd, sincere, human stories you participate in as a Crime Dad, I've added a scenario to Ellipses about solving problems in 1920s Chicago as bada** Mobster Moms.

You're welcome.


6-15-18:  In the biggest update for the system yet, the rules for Ellipses have been comprehensively rewritten for clarity and profit, the game now has a proper logo that also looks gorgeous,  and the Session Starters manual has 11 new scenarios written by some of the best writers in gaming (and me!).

Many thanks to Raven Stark for her incredible art skills, and this update's awesome scenario contributors: Laura Michet, Hannah Powell-SmithTea-Powered Games, Cash DeCuir, Cat ManningKevin Snow, Heather Robertson, Katherine Morayati, and Kristin Ruff-Frederickson!


7-14-17: This update brings the total number of Session Starters over 20 with 5 new scenarios. Go to a barbecue as aliens wearing the skin of a suburban family in 1950s America! Take your eldritch spawn to their first day of school in Necrodadicon!

Not to toot my own horn, but this is my favorite series of additions yet.


5-7-17: Added 2 new, religion-focused scenarios to the Session Starters manual. Update includes giant spiders, Victorian nightmares, and italics.


4-19-17: Added 5 new scenarios to the Session Starters manual, including 2 Jacked 2 Hack, a cyberpunk hacking, punching fantasy, and SkeleCaddies. The latter is, of course, about skeleton caddies assisting the future ruler of the Underworld in the most dangerous golf match of all time.



Download NowName your own price

Click download now to get access to the following files:

Latest Ellipses RPG Ruleset 693 kB
Ellipses RPG Session Starters 1.1 1 MB
if you pay $4.99 USD or more

Development log


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Hey, for some reason, I can't open the PDFs? Like, they just straight up don't exist. Neither in their compressed form or uncompressed.

That's odd! I'm not seeing that through any other piece of the project backend.

That said, if you message me your email via Twitter @WritNelson, I'd be happy to send you the PDFs in another format!

No, I'm sorry. I discovered later that it was definitely on my end. Sorry for worrying you.

i am in pain for i can't for my life open zip files on mobile


Hi. First of all, happy new year! I hope you and your relatives be healthy.

I bought the "itch.io bundle for racial justice and equality" and I discovered EllipsesRPG there. Is the "Ellipses RPG Session Starters 1.1" included in the bundle?


It should be!


Ellipses is a twelve page generalist system with a mechanic for houseruling mechanics on the spot.

It has stats and HP and d20 target numbers, but the beating heart of Ellipses is that if the GM thinks something should become a permanent part of a character, it does.

If you got into tabletop rpgs through DnD, this is a pretty gentle step in a more freeform direction.

If you haven't played trpgs before, this may not be the one to start with, as it sort of expects you to already know some of the fundamentals.

Overall, I'd recommend this to folks who have played a D20 game, liked it, but are interested in seeing what a GM can do with a lot more creative freedom.


For how many players would you recommend these scenarios?

(1 edit)

I've found a maximum of roughly 6 is ideal, and you can do it with one GM and as little as one player!

This looks amazing! I have been playing and DMing D&D for years, and I love it to death, but this just opened up a whole new world for me. With the stats so simple and skill checks and attacks simplified to 7/12/17+ for difficulty, I could use this to run any campaign or one-shot idea almost instantly.

Ik this is simplified and meant to work for any setting, but do you have any recommendations for how to treat magic? It could easily be defined by the player's imagination + a roll against the difficulty, but having some way to limit/increase with level the power or number of spells seems necessary. I'm not looking for a rule here, but I'd like to know if you have suggestions for how to handle it.


I just got this from the "Racial Justice and Equality" bundel and it looks really awesome and beginner-friendly.
Now I wonder a bit if there are good suggestions on how to handle the health points of player. Like...how do they take damages or restore health and what is a reasonable way to determine it? What's the damage of a dwarves punch? 1d4? I feel a bit unsure about that, maybe you got experiences to share on what works good?
Thanks a lot!


Damage, methods of determining damage, and methods of healing, are up to the DM/group!

From my experience, settling on something minimal (every enemy hit is 4 damage; it hits if the DM rolls above a 12) works best. What's important is enabling interesting storytelling - so the more quickly and effectively you can establish pillars that support it, the better.

Thanks a lot! :)