Welcome to Sad Press Games. Everything here is free and/or pay-what-you-want. You may also want to visit Sad Press Games on DriveThruRPG and/or itch.io.

Everything here is also (more or less) mothballed, while we focus on other projects. That said, if you write, design, develop games, and you have something very cool and unusual and experimental idea that is looking for a home, do get in touch. Sad Press would be especially interested in games with political themes, storytelling engines, immersive storytelling, ludic writing, games about the future, games that help us to think / learn / imagine differently, generative aesthetics, data perceptualisation, games that create games, and things like that. Also check out the links list below for more interesting independent games.

RPG Generator

RPGs were my first introduction to procedurally generated content and aleatoric storytelling. So I wonder: what happens when you procedurally generate RPGs themselves? This is an experiment in development. See the pilot here.

Scenario exploration tool

Connections is a storytelling game and scenario exploration tool, designed to help experts, policymakers and other stakeholders narratively explore risks and opportunities associated with technological, ecological, and social change. If you're running a workshop or other event and you'd like to use Connections or something similar, get in touch and I'd be happy to advise on facilitation.

Tabletop RPGs in permo alpha

These two games have all the rules you need to play them, although I wouldn't call them finished exactly.
  • Dungeons & Drapers, also known as Hunger Games & Dragons. Play a candle-maker moonlighting as a mage. Try not to get swept into the Prosperous Game ...
  • Ends, a diceless system where you search for your lost friends in a semi-submerged New York City.
Realistically I don't see much opportunity to continue work on them in the near future, sorry! Why you might be interested anyway: Dungeons & Drapers is a fairly extensive (90 pages) fantasy RPG with quite a few interesting quirks, especially in its setting and its approach to healing. Ends is shorter, has no dice or random number generation, and has a really unusual approach to character progression, incorporating almost board game-like elements.

Tabletop RPGs

Three mini-RPGs.
  • Daiquiris & Demigods, also known as Dungeons & Drinking, a featherweight universal system where drinking replaces dice.
  • Drama & Dice, a featherweight universal system with a core mechanic you can retrofit to most tabletop RPGs.
  • Shadows & Shapes, a lightweight dungeoncrawler based around a trick-taking card game. Of particular interest is the collaborative, puzzle-like aspect of combat.
Free or pay-what-you-want.

Interactive fiction

Skycrawl, a text-based adventure game that runs in your browser. Also a fragment, and likely to stay that way, but still a live and a pretty big fragment. Skycrawl is set in The Vale, same as Dungeons & Drapers and Shadows & Shapes (only it is set in the Second Age, before the banning of the Adventuring Guilds. So you're not forced to be a Reeve or whatever).

Hacks, generators, and miscellaneous
  • Dungeons & Dead Presidents, brief guidelines on adding gambling to tabletop RPGs.
  • Ambershadow Ambler, an experiment in collaborative game / story authoring, using Twine. Star Trekky.
  • Bardabracadabra, a ridiculous bardic magic supplement for use with any fantasy tabletop RPG.
  • Dungeons & Decks, a ridiculous hack for using tarot cards to cast magic in D&D and other fantasy tabletop RPGs. Instrumentalizes the numinous & numinizes the instrumental. What if you do real magic while you're doing fake magic? Includes Excel grimoire.

Tabletop RPG concept
  • Dreams & Dystopias, near future mutant teen adventures, based on the diceless Disempowered by the Apocalypse (TM) rule set. Working on this is at the bottom of a really long list, but you may be interested in the very distinctive and curious conflict-resolution mechanics (Chess moves!).
About me

This site is mostly Jo Lindsay Walton. My other sites are herehere, & here. I'm on Twitter as @jolwalton. I run @sadpresspoetry with Samantha Walton. Despite the similar name, I'm not the author of a number of SFF novels including Among Others, The Just City, etc. (But I recommend them!)


Skycrawl: to teach myself the interactive fiction engine Twine, I started building a little text-based dungeon crawler. It got a lot bigger than expected. You're very welcome to playtest. The setting is similar to that of Dungeons & Drapers, though without the "adventuring in secret" premise (it's set a little earlier, perhaps, in the Second Age). Related: here's a very short unseelie bit excerpted, and a YouTube video describing one of the techniques (using arrays to create locations). As of 2020, I may work on Skycrawl on and off, but the fragment is big enough to play and probably get killed by baddies (or ARE they?! I mean yes actually they are) before you reach its glitching edges. And if you do get to its glitches, maybe you can finish that story in your mind ... ?

Links: mostly tabletop RPGs
Links: software, engines, tools
Links: other
If you have any trouble ordering or downloading, please accept my flustered, charming-but-in-an-annoyingly-knowing-way apologies, & let me know via Twitter or Gmail (josephclwalton). Or if you'd like to pay in kind or not at all for something, do hit me up & I'll arrange it.