Grim Fantasy

Grim Fantasy is a hack of Lasers and Feelings, which can be found free to download on the internet, that tries to recreate the feeling of classic Stark Trek shows. Grim Fantasy tries to adapt this basic structure to create a game with a similar comedic feeling that is a respectful parody of dark fantasy games like Warhammer, Esteren and Zweihander.

For me the key elements of these games are their broody self-conscious seriousness, the “gritty” element, and the fact that no matter how much the may dislike high fantasy in the Dungeons and Dragons tradition they can’t quit it either. You may have to pin a scroll to your jerkin and light candles on your hat but there are still fireballs and hippogriffs.


The game is made up of two styles Grim and Fantasy.

You use Grim when accomplishing something requires hard work, knowledge, experience, skill, sacrifice, endurance or physical practice.

You use Fantasy when the problem requires flamboyance, magic, occult, luck, religious fervour or knowledge of things outside of the realm of the common.

In some cases the same problem may have both Grim and Fantasy approaches that might solve it.

Choosing your number

Each character has a Grim Fantasy number which must be between 2 and 5. When rolling dice a die is a success if below the number on a Grim approach or above the number on a Fantasy approach.

If you roll the number exactly you have scored Grimdark!

For each Grimdark you roll you may ask the GM a question which will be answered honestly. The answer is to the player so your character may not know the result. Sometimes the question and the action will be combined so the character learns the answer to the question.

In the metagame you can use your Grimdark questions to create leading questions about the game to push it in a direction you would like to see.

Grimdark questions are answered before the action represented by the dice roll happens. The player may choose to ignore the current roll and take a different action based on the answers to their questions.

Rolling dice

A character always rolls at least one dice, if their character description is relevant they roll another dice, if they are prepared or have a bonus dice for any other reason they can throw that as well.

If the players scores no successes on a roll the action fails and the situation worsens with the GM narrating the action.

If one success is rolled then the action is partially successful, the situation is changed with the player having the first narration. The GM then has narration after this to reveal a new complication or to intensify the remaining aspects of the situations.

With two successes the action is successful and works as the character expected it to. The GM only intervenes to protect the established narrative.

On three successes the action is successful and the GM either awards a bonus die for future actions or advances the narrative in favour of the character’s goals.


If a player wishes to help another character they must narrate their attempt to succeed and roll successfully for the approach required. If they do then they add a die to the acting player. If they fail then the GM can narrate the danger the character has exposed themselves to their attempt to help.

Scenario suggestions

Lasers and Feelings is played out over a standard scenario about the officers having to take over from an incapacitated captain that has randomly generated threats that face the them.

One of the key aspects of the game is the way that the narrative is shared between the GM and players through the metagame mechanic of being able to ask questions. This means the scenarios should only be skeleton outlines to allow the players to fill in the answers to some of the narrative.

Here are some suggestions for one shot scenarios that have a clear threat to overcome but can have multiple twists and variants.

A group of Norse raiders have their boat sunk by a Leviathan and have to to return home across an ice-filled sea and coast.

In the New World a settler has disappeared, seemingly kidnapped. The lizardmen will turn them into a lobotomised slave if they aren’t rescued quickly.