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Block, Dodge, Parry aims to be somewhat of an 'Advanced Edition' to Yochai Gal's Cairn. It is playable as an entirely standalone game, or as an 'expansion pack' to CairnInto The Odd, Electric Bastionland, or any other Mark of the Odd-type games.

I hope it also proves helpful as a toolbox: a collection of ideas that hopefully inspire you to use what you like, tweak what you want, and expand where you find it lacking.

The main concepts behind its contents are 

  • To integrate 'fiction' into OSR-style play. If you are a wizard, it should be fun and easy to do wizard stuff, without causing major balancing issues.
  • To make any fantasy character concept a player might have, easy to 'build' and play. The backstory is the character building.
  • To provide players and Wardens with meaningful, impactful choices that emerge naturally during play.
  • To organically create 'prompts' for new adventures from play itself. Do you want to master a new weapon? Use it! Do you want to learn how to master a particular skill? Find someone who can teach you!

Block, Dodge, Parry has 33 pages, and contains the following:

  • Time, Gear & Skill; a system for ‘skill checks’ without requiring a whole list of skills, that rewards the character’s background and preparation.
  • Fantasy Species; a simple framework to play as non-humans with unique properties.
  • Extended rest rules, rewarding more comfortable places of rest with more rejuvenation.
  • Social Conflict; an alternative to physical combat, allowing for tense negotiations. It straddles the line between “complete abstraction” and “having the players actually argue with the Warden” by using dice rolls as prompts.
  • Blocking, Dodging & Parrying, the namesake of the system, giving players more tactical options during combat while maintaining its overall flow and simplicity.
  • Location-based critical damage; an optional system to add a bit of impact to your blows.
  • Weapons; wherein each weapon can deal one of three types of damage, combined with fast, balanced, and heavy attacks and different special properties, which characters master by using.
  • Careers: 16 careers, each with a description, related skills, and "common knowledge" (things any person of that career would know)
  • Skills: 97 skills, which give you tangible new options during play. These skills can be picked at character creation, or learned along your travels.
  • Training: A system to learn new skills by studying, doing, or finding the right trainer.
  • Magic; a free-form magic system inspired by GLOG, allowing you to freely sculpt energy, hinder opponents or alter reality. To inspire the free-form system, 12 common magic effects are expanded upon, and the offensive magic section has more than 15 tags to start with.
  • Miracles; divine magic allowing you to banish your foes or aid allies. Compose your own Higher Power using one of the 100 domains, and dedicate your actions to your Higher Power to receive healing and bonuses.

Updated 1 day ago
CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(7 total ratings)
AuthorDice Goblin Games
GenreRole Playing
Tagscairn, Fantasy, into-the-odd, OSR, Tabletop role-playing game


Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Block, Dodge, Parry - v1.2.pdf 2 MB
bdpgenerator.html 502 kB

Download demo

Finding A Trainer - Block, Dodge, Parry Bonus Content.pdf 347 kB
Dueling - Block, Dodge, Parry Bonus Content.pdf 342 kB
Age & Experience - Block, Dodge, Parry Bonus Content.pdf 308 kB

Development log


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(1 edit) (+1)

Great stuff, your weapon and damage proficiencies, as well as training system for character advancement won me over between this and Ruincairn. I think the dependence on gold and finding trainers is a great motivator for player buy in and agency. When developing this is their a source for gold/item values that you had in mind or drew from? I want to ensure I can balance when adapting published adventures for other systems.

Also are you intending to allow monsters to have weapon/damage proficiencies, and/or the ability to block/dodge/parry?


I'm not too deep into fantasy economics, as it immediately ties into a lot of other price dynamics. I find that Brave has a very strong list of goods and services, and I feel like that would be a pretty good guideline (though maybe training should be a bit more expensive than that).

I think the cost of training should not just be gold - there's a lot of fun to be had in finding and convincing trainers, before gold even enters the picture.

Appendix B goes into making NPCs (and monsters). My general usage of it comes down to:

  • NPCs and monsters are always damage proficient.
  • Notable skilled combatants might be weapon proficient. This makes it A) easier to run as a Warden, and B) reinforces the danger of these combatants.
  • Notable skilled or dangerous combatants might have the ability to fight back, block, dodge or parry - see Appendix B for suggestions.

Really like the combat and spellcasting material here. Have a creature-prep question for you: 

Given the guidelines you mention for NPC creation and the considerations you offer for what sort of combat abilities different npcs might have, if we have (say) an orc who can block, how many times (or how much fatigue) would you imagine giving a monster like that access to in combat against the PCs? A certain number, and the players can wear them out? Or functionally-infinite fatigue, and the PCs then need to change-up their tactics? I can imagine both being viable, but I wonder from your own play what you found to feel good at your table. 

Thanks for your time, and for your great work!

Glad to hear you enjoy it!

A couple of considerations:

  • You could keep track of the orc's inventory and keep Fatigue in line with that, reinforcing the idea that NPCs are really the same as PCs
  • You could give NPCs 1, 1d4, 1d6 or even 1d8 empty slots to fill with Fatigue, as a way to quickly scale it.
  • But, most likely: give them functionally-infinite fatigue, because I personally had very few fights last more than 3 rounds. This stuff is *lethal*, so long-term Fatigue tracking for NPCs hasn't really come into effect yet on my end :)

Do Magic and Faith Dice ever get used up? And can you try to Dodge every attack that comes your way or only once a "round"?

Magic and Faith Dice do not  get used up. They do have other resources tied to them, however; Magic incurs Fatigue (and that is a limited resource), and Miracles 'cost' Willpower.

You can technically only be in 'dodgeable' situations twice per round, as all attacks against you are 'summed up', and only the highest damage roll is used. Rounds are split in 'quick turns' and 'full turns', so there are two situations in which you can take damage that is dodge-able. There's no explicit rule forbidding multiple dodges. Dodges also incur fatigue, so I'd say dodging multiple times is allowed.

Wonderful thank you very much. Awesome stuff.


Wow, what a superb ruleset. Thanks for putting this out there!


Hello! I have a question about the 4 options when a character is under attack.
Is the chosen option intended to be a free reaction (besides the Fatigue costs, if any) or does it count as an action?

Getting attacked happens outside of the player's turn, so, without diving into 5E parlance too deep, let's call it a "reaction".

This means that Fighting Back can allow for 2 attacks in quick succession (You get attacked > Fight back, take damage, deal damage back > Your turn now, you can attack back)


Neat and quite clear now. Thank you!


Good stuff. Love the social conflict system and weapon skills.

Thank you!


Awesome awesome product, exactly what I was looking for for Cairn. The careers and skills are great as well as the training and arcane/divine magic. I'm looking to expand the practical magic effects out so they cover most spells, and then this will essentially be the exact system I wanted. Thanks for putting in the hard work!

Thank you!

Yeah, the practical magic effects can definitely be expanded quite a bit. I hope the base list gives enough fuel for your own ideas! I think, most importantly, the various bullets with each tag are there for inspiration - players should feel free to interpret 'open', 'read', 'charm' etc. however they see fit!


Love it! Where did you get the art?

The art is by the amazing https://twitter.com/Bertdrawsstuff!


How many pages is this?