Hyper Light Drifter: Tabletop Role-Playing Game

Created by Andreas Walters

A tabletop role playing game based on the award-winning video game: Hyper Light Drifter.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Development Update
2 months ago – Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 02:12:19 AM

Hey All!

Just wanted to provide an update to you all to show you what's been going on. 

I'm happy to share with you the current version of the Corebook (just sent out the distribution via backerkit which will provide you a discount code to redeem on our website). I apologize the process for getting the PDF is sorta convoluted, but its the best way that I can manage the digital versions and continue pushing updates without having to update multiple locations. This means you only need to 'purchase' once, for me to push updates to you.

I pushed v6 of the corebook out to all backers who are getting the Drifter Corebook. 

And there is still more to do

It contains the latest version of the corebook so far. In it, we've scaled up the page size from 5x8 up to 8x11.45 inches. This scales perfectly with the aspect ratio we had before. Also we learned we need to upscale our base images 1000x to ensure that we achieve the maximum pixel quality. So I've been working through the various art pages and clearing them up. 

In addition, I feel like I've nearly rewritten the entire book, explaining everything and writing it all out. 

I'm just putting the editors onto it, so you will likely find a few errors here and there. 

Other Updates: 

  • Backgrounds have been removed, as there isn't enough mechanical depth to support the wide list of options with the limited mechanical set that drifter is build on
  • We're removing Ability Scores (as they were a source of a lot of confusion), and now introducing Drives as a new sort of narrative advancement. 
  • And with Drives, we've started building out the Advancement options, which provide a bonus to your Drive 
  • Introduced a few Advancement Paths, this fleshes out a few ideas that we had and want to see how you play with them
  • I've reworked all of the Phases to better explain how they work and provide useful tools for them

There is still more to do, and some of it will be incomplete

I'm aware that the World of HLD and the Roleplaying and Narrating chapters are very incomplete, as well as the Allies and Adversaries section. These are the next things I'm looking to immediately address. 

From there I'm also looking at content expansion, from equipment, advancement, I think downtime needs a little bit of rebalancing. But we're getting there. 

Also, I still have to remake the character sheet, but business taxes are due the 15th and I gotta have those done. But I really wanted to share this big update with you all since its the beginning of the new quarter. 

Honestly, the best place for feedback and ideas is on our #Feedback channel in our discord (join here).

I'll keep an eye on the Kickstarter comments, but KS is a tough tool to look over. 

Its a huge step, and I'm super happy to get to this point, the game should be very playable at this point, and I'm excited to see the adventures you have!


Development Update (lots of art!)
3 months ago – Thu, Mar 18, 2021 at 12:39:07 AM

Hey Drifters, I hope all is going well. 

I know its been awhile since my last update, and I'm going to try to be a bit more consistent with them. But overall work on the Game Book has been going very well. The art team has been hard at work, and I've been busy expanding out the book sections to be more coherent (also in a milestone, I've finally sent off writing to the editor so that we can get it cleaned up and more consistent). 

One of the challenges we've been addressing was information flow. Since drifter is not a d20 (like dnd) game, we need to really make sure everything comes together and makes sense for anyone who picks it up. So far these will be the first spreads you see after the Table of Contents, which aim to quickly explain ttrpgs and the basics of the system before really going in-depth. .

Some of them still need a bit of box tweaking and the addition of background art (esp pg 10-13)

If you're been holding off for an intro primer, you can view the first 42 pages here (they are not edited and art is not final). This includes the mechanical primer, and then after which, will follow Resources, Character Creation, Equipment, Roleplaying, Phases and Adversaries.

Development Status

Development on the Setting book has been on hold for the time being, as I've been putting all of my effort into the Game Book, so that we can get the final version of the game into your hands as soon as possible.

I know in our last update we mentioned we'd be delivering physical product 2021Q1, and I hate to say that we won't be delivering physical product in that time. That said, development has been going very well, and I'm happy where we are with the current state of the game. 

Right now, my development effort is not on crafting mechanics, but writing the text around the book and it's sections, explaining concepts and writing out the details of mechanics as-intended. 

Currently, I am hoping to get a final (unedited) version of the Game Book PDF to you all next month. As for physical product, 2021Q3 seems more reasonable, as we can't deliver physical rewards until the Setting Book is done (so i have some work to keep progress on that moving).

Fragments EP

Chatted with Disasterpiece, and it looks like we'll be getting the Fragments EP around August 2021. 

Access to Rewards

Right now the only things that have been distributed are the Playtest PDF, and the Soundboard. As soon as I finish my full write-out pass of the game book, I'll add that to the list. 

As a reminder, Backerkit will provide you a discount link so that you can use it in our webstore to redeem. The reason its done this way is that it gives me one place to update digital files. In addition, whever I make updates everyone will get them. 

Backerkit does have an integration to Shopify (our webstore), however, it does not integrate into the digital file access, which is why we do it this way, (annoying but works).

More Art

As noted, the artists have been hard at work! Here is a brief feature of some of the art that's been made. 

Illustarted by Alex (@koschei_dev)
Illustrated by Alex (@koschei_dev)
Illustrated by Biovyx (@Biovyx)
Delve Tiles, Illustrated by Rose (@modernmodron)

The Delve Tiles are looking really good, and I'm happy with how they're coming out. We might try a few art variants, but this still will be enough for us to get the baseline done and out.

Base Combat Board by Dani (@NostalgiaTree)

You've probably seen us share a bunch of the combat boards before. This one is going to be the base one that comes with the book. We're working on a number of other combat boards to match other locations in the setting we're working on. 

Combat Boarsd

Anyways, I hope you all have been doing well, If you have any questions feel free to ask.

I always feel weird doing short kickstarter updates but I am always accessible. here are a few social links if you want to jump in or keep contact. 

Thanks again, if you want to know about anything in specific, feel free to ask and I'll try to include it in the next update. Thank you and stay awesome!


A Merry Christmas Update
6 months ago – Tue, Dec 29, 2020 at 10:47:46 PM

Hey Drifters, 

I apologize for the delay in updates, its been a very very busy year. I'm super happy to be at the point where things seem like they're moving quickly cause there is a lot of good stuff going on. 


You should have received emails from backerkit, these will contain discount links to the various products that we're setting up. Each has to be used individually (because Shopify is dumb and doesn't allow multiple discount codes to be used out-of-box). 

You may notice that there may be multiples (this is because of how the digital distribution rules work with backerkit, a bit clunky). So if you see  (Basic rules-1, and Basic Rules-2) they're the same discount code and you only need to redeem one. 

Also please don't share these links, there's no easy way to do individualized codes, so these are for backers only. 


As we noted in the past, we were looking to Q1 2021 for fulfillment. This is gonna be a close timeline for us, as the products are just coming together. What we might end up doing is printing and fulfilling the corebook and game products before the setting book (but I have to chat with Alx and see what his schedule looks like). 

v5 update

I'm super excited to announce the release of v5 rules. Part of the reason it took so long was because I was working on a new layout format (A5-landscape). Not only is this intended to be our free-basic rules but also we're looking to have its own little product form (with its own box) and goodies (separate from the "Starter Box" that we have as a reward (the starter box is going to be more like the core box). 

And since we're on the topic of the Corebook. It will be scaled up size wise (~12 x 8.5in), this way we preserve the art resolution and we can re-use page and art layouts as necessary.  

Features of v5

Introducing the Talent Bar/Ability Slots

Something that we found with ability systems is that as characters level, their arsenal of talents and abilities get longer and longer. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing if you plan for it, however, what does happen is players start running into analysis-paralysis. 

In this system, you start with all slots filled out. And as you advance you can gain abilities (and add to your talent list). During downtime, you can then swap those abilities out (so if you're preparing for a boss fight, you could slot different talents fitting the encounter). 

We've set up 6 ability slots, 1 for you Dash ability (which is powered by your Dash charges), 4 for your General Talents, and 1 for your Passive Talent.

Abilities by Discipline

Social Talents (basic rules)

We seperated all of the abilities (which before were by class), and broke them up into Disciplines, then into three categories (Dash, General, and Passive). This provides with a huge oppertunity in character build diversity, as well options. To reinforce class specialization and identity, we've now limited the total number of talents you can have slotted from your non-specialized discipline (to 2). 

This means, if you're a wielder, you can only slot two combat talents. Though, once we start rolling out our ideas for advancement, you'll have oppertunities to change this number. (not sure if 2 is too many at this point, but we'll see). 

Final Phase: Delve (exploration)

In earlier versions we've had all the other phases pretty much accounted for, with the exception of delve (which before just defaulted to unstructured roleplay) which we had ideas for, but just haden't formalized yet. I myself, am a very low-prep narrator/dungeon master. So, when building a phase, I look at it from the lens of how can I best inspire the creative process, and lessen the load for Narrators/GMs (especially if they're new). 

Presenting the Delve Deck! (I still have to make tables for it for non-card use), but how it works is that you build a deck for a dungeon/facility on what you want the players to run into. Tiles include things like Facility Features, Puzzles, Bosses, Discoveries, Teleporters and Room Traits (at least starting out).

prototype delve deck in action (excuse the janky lines)

The players will take that deck, and place face-down 1-3 cards, directly connecting to the start/entrance card.  When the party wants to explore a tile (move into a new area of the dungeon), they will flip it over, revealing its contents. The narrator can use the card to describe the room/challenge (we'll also be making a booklet of scenarios). 

When a room is flipped over, the players can draw more cards to place face-down, connecting to the room they explored (not every tile pathway needs to be connected). And this process repeats until they complete the deck, or find/complete their objective.

This means, the size and composition of the deck will determine whats in the dungeon, and the narrator can stack the deck or even shuffle its contents for very different dungeon experiences (or even fully usable while gmless).

This leaves tons to explore, with character abilities (like the passive manipulation talent, teleporter or secret passage) allowing players to mess with the tiles that are on the board.

(the janky lines were actually a result of us discovering we couldn't have general alternating connection patterns, cause how the diagonals would mess with the dungoen buildout). Also, Illustrations for the deck start this week! So that should be the next big download coming your way. 

Changes to the Character Sheet

base character sheet image flip

In addition to the need to rework our entire character sheet to fit the ability bar, we've made the character sheet so that you can flip between dark and light, so now you can print your character sheet whenever you want. All you need to do is toggle the dark layer off. 

Shown above is the art layer of the character sheet and it's missing all the boxes). 

Change to Woe

Instead of being Tested on your survival Discipline, we've given it it's own special discipline that gets used for nothing else but being tested (thoguh depending on how some mechanical expansions go, we might expand it, but we'll see). 

Disciplines Temperance and Fortune 

As you may notice, earlier versions we called it Fortune and Jugment, the problem we had with this is having consistent language. Becuase then it was meet-or-beat Fortune, and get-less-than Jugment to get a judgement result. Overall was just confusing. So to make it consistent we've tweaked Judgemnt to Temperance, and its now all meet or beatto achieve these thresholds (no mechanical change comes from this). 

Also, now that the ratings are seperated, when you create your character, you can use your starting points to reduce as you see fit. (so far I still like the idea of reducing), but we could invert it so you place points to make things harder (which would make it easier to describe).

Combat Changes Rebalancing And Movement

Movement in combat is now going to be limited to edge travel (before it was unrestricted), however, some dash abilities will be able to ignore this restriction. (considering making it all dash abilities).

Consequence changes

We've alter the consequence system, now it will provide points to the narrator which they can use to move and apply consequences. We've also clarified that consequences don't necessarily have to impact the one who triggers them, nor do they need to originate from the target the consequence was triggered on. All of these will allow for a more dynamic combat experience.

Narrator Section

First time we've presented some of our thoughts on how to be a narrator. Some of these are still a bit rough rough aruond the edges, and we'll be improving it as we go, especially as we develop out the core book and aim towards supporting GMless play.


Just in the past two weeks I've been ramping up a kickass pixel-art team. With the relative completion of the basic rules layout, I now have an inventory of art that artists can now fill in. So in the coming weeks you'll be seeing a lot more art updates coming down the pipe. 


I think i said it above, but i'll say it here as well, Now the the basic rules are pretty much set, we're going to start 'content expansion' this is for the corebook. Soon, I'll share another product link to the corebook, this like the Basic-Rules will be in-progress and will recieve numerous updates as we go. 

A little Different: PULSE the Hyper Light Drifter Fanzine

Earlier on in the year, a whole team came together to create an amazing Hyper Light Drifter Fanzine, with all the proceeds going to the American Heart Association, to which they raised over $6,000!! 

We offered to help the team out with shipping and fulfillment, and was even able to help order a few extra copies of the fanzine, to keep it avaliable after the project completed. I've been meaning to tell you all about it, but I've been terrible with kickstarter updates (my apologies). If you want to check it out, you can see it here https://metalweave.games/products/pulse-a-hld-fanzine 

Also a ton of the art can also be appreciated on their official Twitter (@PulseHLDFanzine) or on Tumblr (pulsehldfanzine)

Thank you!

I hope everyone had an good christmas/happy holiday break. We're definatly looking forward to the new year, as we'll be finishing this game and getting it into your hands. 

Messaging on Kickstarter is a pain, but i do try to keep up, I do recommend joining our Discord Server (https://discord.gg/Ykab2ns) or following me (@andreas_mwg) or our dedicated HLDrpg account  (@HLDrpg).

Stay happy, Stay Healthy, Stay Awesome Drifters. 


Development Update
8 months ago – Tue, Oct 13, 2020 at 10:14:56 AM

Hey Drifters!

I apologize how long it's been since I've posted an update, but I haven't been idle. There has been a LOT going in the world of drifter (let alone for the madness of 2020). 

Setting book - most of the setting locations have been written out and we've begun further detailing out the world map, and starting to acquire art for each of those areas, so far the most challenging process.

Game Book - I am currently finalizing the latest version of the playtest. I think we're doing really good with what we have and the feedback has been super helpful. I've been spending a lot of time recently working on new layouts, which are usable for both the basic rules and the gamebook, so there should be less work going into future layout. 

In addition, I've put a lot of extra effort into the accessibility side of the layout, in terms of clear presentation and being a good teacher of the rules and foundations of the mechanics, as many who pick up Drifter have not played ttrpgs before. 

Character Sheet Update: This was an interesting side project, but I figured out how to make our PDF character sheets dynamic. So when you update your max and current Health and Energy, they will adjust after you leave the cell. I spent quite a bit of time looking into creating online tools, but my web skills arent quite there yet (but still looking into them)

Dynamic PDF HP counter

 Basic Rules Update - This has been a big challenge, with the new layouts (can see those below), I want a semi-final version of this to go out before the end of the month. Part of the challenge with these layouts is that each page needs to be done at pixel resolution, otherwise it looks off, so only Text and tables are done in InDesign and the rest is done in Photoshop, so there's a bit of back and forth. The cool thing though is that when we upsacle the pixel versions we're up-rezzing them to  3857x2625 (924.94%)!!

Also, I'm currently testing out the final set of the new Delver Mechanics, which will provide a pedo-structured method of creating dungeons/ruins for players to explore. 

Other Mechanical Updates:

We've created a 5th class, called the Wayfinder. This ensures that there is a class for each of the disciplines. As well we've recalibrated how the action economy works a bit, so now Fortune results are now akin to critical hits, while judgement and temperances still successful (no more 1 dmg), but still suffer consequences. And finally, Temperance consequences is now -2, instead of -1. 

I'm working on some introduction videos to accompany the basic rules, so you'll be able to see everything explained out and how they work. 

Fragments EP - I checked in with Disasterpiece a few weeks ago and he's still chugging on the EP, Im not pressuring him for time, so when it's done, its done. 

Sound Board - I hope you've all been enjoying it, I'm doing a website migration this month, and will have to re-add all backer access to it, so I'll post an update when that's done. 

And Finally, Art!

I can't go long without showing off some of the art that has been made, and this includes some of the new pixel-layouts we've been working on.


And most notably! the Combat Boards.

I'm hoping to have one made for most of the major zones of the game, so they can be used everywhere. In addition, they are illustrated with plenty of buffer space, so that people can either enjoy the extra atmosphere or even use them for stream overlays. We haven't worked much on creature art, but once the final version of the basic rules is out, we're working on content buildout. 

Combat Boards

As a reminder, We're looking at delivery to be around Q1 of 2021. If your address needs to be changed in backerkit, just let us know and we'll get you sorted out. 

If you have any questions or want to hear about anything specific I'll try to include it on the next update. 

Also, I am going to post more updates, I know its been awhile and I've probably skipped over a lot of whats developed over the past few months (I think the mechanics videos will be a great start on that).

All the best


Charing Credit Cards 6/21
about 1 year ago – Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 01:52:55 AM

Hey Drifters, 

Today I was supposed to charge credit cards in Backerkit today, but I missed sending out a final warning message. So instead of charging today, I am going to push it out till Sunday night (6/21 8pm-ish PST). If you are not in a stable financial situation and need us to hold off, send us a message so we can make sure we don't charge your card when Sunday comes around.

Some Drifter cool stuff, 

I've been working on v5.0, and I think this will be the last public version before I start making backer-exclusive updates.

Been working on a Hex-grid format, to help facilitate exploration

 Had a long stream where I talked about the mechanics of Drifter (going over all the current rules, 4.2), I will make a shorter introduction video as we get closer to release

And, I had a great developers playtest focusing on combat and looking at changes for 5.0.  Here you'll see a lot of how combat will run in drifter and some of the mechanics thinking that goes behind the scenes. 

And of course if you missed the Playstation event, check out the Solar Ash trailer!

Hope you all are staying well! And you'll be hearing more about 5.0 from us soon!