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Unbound RPG

Unbound is a universal, rules-light roleplaying game that puts the whole player group at the forefront of the world. Newly redesigned for its second printing, the book contains both the Cyberpunk and Urban horror expansions.

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As players make their characters, they’re guided by the gamesmaster through a series of questions to build the setting, the plot, and the supporting characters that’ll make up the game.

Fleshing out that world through play, games are broken up into 5-session long adventures focusing around a set of characters – and once they’ve told their story, the group moves on to a new set of characters to explore a different facet of the setting they’ve created.

Unbound now contains both Cyberpunk and Urban Horror expansions!

The book has beautiful artwork from Adrian Stone throughout, and a selection of world-building charts from such game design luminaries as Cara Ellison, Gav Thorpe, Naomi Alderman and Jason Morningstar.

What's in the book?

Want to tell a story about CORRUPT CYBERPUNK POLICE OFFICERS in OVERCLOCKED POWER ARMOUR? You can do that. Princesses riding SOULBOUND UNICORNS? YUP, as long as you LET US PLAY TOO. Captains in charge of ELITE MILITARY UNITS, taking back a fractured city, BLOCK BY BLOODY BLOCK? 100%. BEARS, as in, everyone just plays a BEAR, and some of the bears are wearing HATS? A HUNDRED TIMES YES.

We designed the rules to be liquid, in that whatever space you create with the setting, they’ll FLOW NATURALLY IN to fill it up perfectly. (We are VERY PROUD of the rules.)

ALSO you make the world when you make the characters. How great is that? I’ll tell you – MANY GREAT. Gamesmasters, tired of having to spend HOURS slaving over a HOT NOTEPAD while your players SWAN UP every week like they OWN THE PLACE? We’ve written a system that lets you run with BASICALLY THE SAME AMOUNT OF PREP AS YOUR PLAYERS because they do MOST OF THE WORK and you turn up and TAKE ALL THE CREDIT.

What’s more, making a character is EASY and FUN AS HECK. Here’s the breakdown: a character’s CORE is their motivation, their story position. Every character in the group shares the same core – like WARRIOR or OUTLAW or DEVOUT – and it comes with SIX GROUP QUESTIONS that cement the WORLD and the PLOT into place in ONE FELL SWOOP. Okay, SIX FELL SWOOPS.

Next up is the ROLE- the particular way you rock in combat. DEADEYES are masters of shooting stuff; WARDENS are excellent at getting punched in the face; STRIKERS stab people and look good doing it; PROTECTORS heal and support their allies; and BRAWLERS generally get their teeth kicked in but take a few guys down with them.

Finally there’s the TRAITS, and traits are awesome stuff like MIGHTY WEAPON or SPIRIT or FIRE or THE UNNATURAL or RAGE, and they FLAVOUR your character and give them COOL POWERS. Want a pet swarm of bees? Want to become a werewolf? Want to teleport to the SHADOW REALM with one UNLUCKY CHUMP who GOT IN YOUR WAY? We’ve got that covered. And they all have QUESTIONS ATTACHED which BUILD THE WORLD, like: Who is your BEE SENSEI? How am werewolf happen? WHAT AM SHADOWREALM? Et cetera.

POP QUIZ, HOTSHOT. What’s the average intended length of a roleplaying game campaign? Yes, you at the back – that’s right, FOREVER. You get a bunch of people together and you pretend to be elves once a week until a) level 20 or b) you get bored, and AIN’T NO-ONE GOT TIME FOR THAT. Unbound works in LUMPS OF STORY called ADVENTURES which are FOUR TO SIX GAMES LONG. Loads of ADVENTURES make a SAGA.

But here’s the deal; you change characters when you change adventures. You find some interesting part of the world and explore it through play like a GENIUS. You play the BAD GUYS. You play the KIDS of the previous characters. You play ALIENS landing six thousand years in the future, skimming through the wreckage. You play the CHUMPS left behind to defend the city while the HEROES went off on an adventure. You keep playing, you keep changing focus, until you want to make a new world.

And that’s UNBOUND.


“Mate. Unbound. Bloody excellent. […] We’ve never had so much fun building and playing in a campaign world together.” – Anthony Stiller, games designer and artist


“Unbound has a great combination of action and drama – it’s tactical enough to get your teeth into, but cinematic enough that you don’t get bogged down in the mechanics and always have a chance to do something cool.” – Joanna Piancastelli, winner of the 2015 Golden Cobra live games award


“I think UNBOUND might be my favorite RPG, for serious. I had fun with it before, but we played again tonight with the newest rules, much changed, and it’s badass. One guy had never played an RPG before, asked if his character could be “basically Swamp Thing” and it was great to be able to say yes. And have it be true! I’ve been playing and GMing a lot of new RPGs lately and this one was by far the most fun, right out the gate.” – Andy North, livegames designer and improv genius


“Unbound is so awesome. Building a world out of stories is super satisfying – it’s like creating a mythology. A whole damn mythology!” – Ed Croft, comedy musical pirate and games designer


“The hierarchy of adventure-building tools is very very elegantly put together.” – Laura “Smith” Loolaid, writer and playtester


  1. Sam

    A lot is said about this game having the best session zero in the hobby, which it categorically does. But that ignores how tense, cinematic, and just downright fun sessions 1 onwards are.

  2. emily (verified owner)

    I’ve been playing campaigns with this for 2 years, absolutely love this book and this system, I always recommend it as a fun new system that’s easy to learn and great for people who love roleplay-heavy games. It really emphasizes creative improv and co-creating, which I think is great

  3. abeffrey (verified owner)

    Honest to god, love this game, always trying to get it to the table.

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