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A downloadable micro-setting

Get this micro-setting and 5 more for $15.00 USD
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Beyond the desert mountains lies the ruins of a forgotten civilization. The reason for its collapse is a subject of study to scholars from many realms, but one thing is known for certain: there lies the largest vein of arcane crystals in the known world! Yet, extracting them is no easy task and many ventures have already failed miserably...

The Archon Ruins is a system-agnostic microsetting for tabletop adventure games. Here you play as treasure hunters in a place full of mysterious magic, dangerous conflict, and pottery creatures! The zine is written for two styles of gameplay: those who enjoy using minimalist rulesets with lots of improvised rulings, and friendly tables without a Game Master.

As a GMless adventure, the text has no secrets to be discovered or revealed, except what can be added through randomness or player input. The challenges and situations have no expressed solution and are expected to be solved with creativity. 

Ps.: Traditional GMs are also welcome to use this zine as a starting point to prep their own sessions beforehand!

You can get a shorter version of the zine for free in the demo section if you want to take a look before purchasing it. By donating 6$ you get the full zine with the following contents:

  • Two regional maps, the Desert Plateau (overworld),
    and the Glowing Caves (underworld)
  • Six dungeon maps with six rooms each
  • Six factions of dungeon reavers with their own goals
  • Six arcane scholars looking for lost knowledge
  • 11 unique Potkin monsters to fight
  • 36 magical artifacts to find in the ruins

By donating 12$ or above, you get access to the following trinkets:

  • All maps in high resolution
  • A notebook version of the zine to take notes
  • All monsters and NPCs as paper minis

Thank you for your support, be kind and have fun!

Obs.: The document is still being revised and altered before being taken to print. When the time has come, the print copies will be announced here and on my social media accounts, look for @gnarledmonster on Twitter and Instagram!


Get this micro-setting and 5 more for $15.00 USD
View bundle
Buy Now
On Sale!
50% Off
$6.00 $3.00 USD or more

In order to download this micro-setting you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $3 USD. You will get access to the following files:

The Archon Ruins - Half Letter.pdf 24 MB
The Archon Ruins - A5 - PTBR.pdf 23 MB
The Archon Ruins - Notebook.pdf 31 MB
if you pay $6 USD or more
Archon Ruins - Printable Paper Minis.pdf 13 MB
if you pay $6 USD or more
Archon Ruins Maps Full HD.rar 54 MB
if you pay $6 USD or more

Download demo

The Archon Ruins - Preview Copy.pdf 13 MB

Development log


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O conteúdo minimalista de rpg de gnarledmonster tem me surpreendido positivamente cada vez mais, agora com sua nova campanha em andamento (Beyond the Borderlands 3) só faz crescer esse universo maravilhoso, meu grupo adorou a aventura em The Archon Ruins e aguardamos mais recursos serem disponibilizados como tiles para Hexkit e talvez uma zine sobre equipamentos e artefatos, quem sabe uma expansão desse cenário maravilhoso que é The Archon Ruins.

gnarledmonster's minimalist rpg content has been positively surprising me more and more, now with its new campaign in progress (Beyond the Borderlands 3) it only makes this wonderful universe grow, my group loved the adventure in The Archon Ruins and we wait for more resources to be made available like tiles for Hexkit and maybe a zine about equipment and artifacts, perhaps an expansion of this wonderful scenario that is The Archon Ruins.

Hey, just wanted to say i'm in love with this one... Any chance we get that sweet sweet art as png for Foundry VTT?


oh man, I love that this is what's past the broken bridge in BtB #1!!


You just reminded me why I had put that bridge in the first place, thank you! hahahaha


Similar to a few other folks, I wasn't able to purchase because of the Stripe error. I tried contacting Itch support but no luck. Really love this zine!!

I still don't know why stripe doesn't work for me :/ It's a shame


PT-BR please!! Parabéns Alex pelo trabalho, suas ilustrações são muito inspiradoras. 

Obrigado! To trabalhando na tradução, logo mais sairá o financiamento do impresso!


Informações pra fazer por PIX por favor!


Tirei a opção do pix porque não tem a edição pt-br ainda e pretendo fazer o financiamento logo mais onde você poderá adquirir o impresso e o digital, então se puder esperar é melhor nós dois!

Vai rolar Pix agora que saiu a versão BR?
To tentando comprar mas o stripe não ta rolando (como já vi em outros comentários)


Agora você pode comprar o pdf e os zines físicos pelo site da caramelo jogos!

so if you buy this do you get the finished product if/when you finish it?

It's finished now, go take a look!


Hey, tried to purchase, but's payment system doesn't want to transfer funds from US to BR (This is a Stripe thing, not an thing as far as I know). This must be a new policy, as I've bought your other works. Don't know if you want to reach out to about changing payment systems. I know there are a lot of BR creators on here, and a lot of US customers.

This looks lovely! How did you promote it? Or did the itch community do its magic again?

Twitter and instagram, mostly!

Hey there! Any progress on this?

It's almost done! I'm finishing the last illustrations right now

Great news!

It's finished, go take a look!

Got it, looks great


Any update? Thank you :)


The writing is 90% done, I'm working on the final illustrations right now. I'm planning to have everything finished by the end of October!


It seems something has thwarted your plans and October is over now. I hope it can be finished till the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

i hope me too!


Let me buy it in the physical version! Preferably from Sword Fish Island - just like your previous projects.

Thank you for finding the strength to keep working and creating.

Good luck and I look forward to your next projects.

Yes, please print!!!

We now have print copies for sale on this page.

sorry Crowns is now in physical copy not The Archon Runis

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I love the art in this, it has such a lovely vibe to it. Looking forward to seeing how this setting develops.

I just went to back the project, but this project seems to only process payments via making an account through PayPal, which unfortunately is giving me issues. I am able to pay with card on other projects, but for some reason it only gives the option to pay through PayPal here. Is there way for you to enable paying through card, or is there perhaps another way to back the project aside from through PayPal?

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Thank you for the compliments! Unfortunately, I can only accept payments through PayPal right now (unless you're brazilian, you could send me a PIX!) but once it's done you'll probably have the option to buy the physical copies elsewhere, if you follow my itch page you will be notified! o/


Oh no, that's a shame. I very much understand though, thanks for letting me know! Definitely let us know when physical copies are going to be available elsewhere and where, so I can make sure to pick up a copy then.

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Alex's works always amaze me.
This one in particular has a very specific vibe that I like a lot. I feel that playing in this setting won't be like anything else I've played so far. The art is super cool, and the dungeons maps are awesome.

Can't wait to throw my players in this setting to smash (and get smashed by) some pots!


I really think setting stuff like this is where the value's at, and rules are valuable only insofaras they enrich a setting. With that in mind, does your zine provide any rules that define the use or value of these "arcane crystals?"

Yes! I'll describe how they are used and how much they are valuable inside and outside the setting, so you can bring them over to your own campaigns. I don't have any specific mechanics in mind yet, but it will probably be something neutral like "x-in-6".


What are potkins? Are they those creatures that look like lamps and teapots?

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Exactly, they are these living creatures made of clay in the shape of pots!