Rasping Sand

A low tide – Carmel, California. The visuals I associate with the Rasp of Sand setting.

In 2019 Dave Cox kickstarted a “Rogue Like” tabletop RPG setting with a heavy sea scape theme. A reverse dungeon crawl where the heroes, in this case familia heirs that are attempting to return an artifact to the lowest level of the dungeon. I feel in love with the setting in my first play as a PC and quickly wanted to share this with the rest of my group.

Challenge for this setting is that just about everything is procedurally generated: rooms, encounters, situations, character traits, equipment, and more. While I love the concept of procedurally generated stuff, it is challenging to use real-time on the tabletop. So I built myself a tool that allows all of this to be generated with the push of a button, which you can find here for your own use. I’ve also created a family & heir character sheet which might be helpful to understand how these two elements go together.

This does not include the artifact grade treasures, loot tables, monster appendix, or spell pearl details. To really play this setting you’ll need the book itself and you’ll be supporting the Indie RPG scene.

Our group has had good fun with A Rasp of Sand, after the 3rd generation they are making their final descent to level 5. Maybe a few of my regular players will chime in here about their experience with this setting.

My only critique is that A Rasp of Sand was designed for play with Knave, which I find to be a bit too light for my tastes in a fantasy rpg. It may be I just don’t understand the finer points of the 7 page rules. I expect that Rasp of Sand could be played with just about any rule set by relying on the heir stat generation and capacity to gain levels while in the dungeon (i.e. +1 to 3 different stats per level).

8 thoughts on “Rasping Sand

  1. Anonymous November 22, 2020 / 9:51 pm

    Being one of the players, I can say that the setting is very evocative and if you play ocean sounds in the background it is quite different form you typical dungeon setting. The rules seem very light and I am not sure if the different generations change the characters much. Since I play a family of priests, it sort of feels like the same character regardless of generation. But the dungeon I setting is engaging and encourages the group to work together. when we split up someone dies and that generation is done and the next has to take over.


    • Aron Clark November 22, 2020 / 10:27 pm

      Yes I agree that the characters feel a bit too same-same, generation to generation. I think this would run even better with something like a blue box D&D character class / mechanic laid on top. Maybe someday we’ll try another group with that.


  2. 144artist November 23, 2020 / 8:17 am

    I’m also playing in the regular game and love the setting and generational characters. Reminds me of Pendragon back in the day where success and failure are just grist for the narrative. Funny that I am playing the other priest family in our group. I think that the first couple of characters were similar in part with how they are rolled up. If one of us dies now before we complete the mission then the new characters will have some advantages in the rolls and could be a little more different then or at least less average. The setting has been fun and made for plenty of creatures that fall into the “what the hell is that” category. Highly recommended.


  3. Kersus November 27, 2022 / 9:27 pm

    Curious if you ever tried another system. I am not fond of Knave although I can’t explain why other than it just feels all wrong. I might try Blueholme but I don’t want to lose any particular flavour Knave gives the setting. ARoS doesn’t seem to have much of a following but Knave has it’s own Discord and they have not heard of ARoS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aron Clark November 27, 2022 / 10:52 pm

      Have given some thought to running A Rasp of Sand with something other than Knave (e.g. Holmes). I think it would certainly work. I’m certain there is a solution here. Let me know if this is something you would like to collaborate on.


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