Expanding Runehammer


Two words:

Forum Participation

“Use this site…to introduce new LUMPY HEADS to the legion!”

“…We’re exploring new territory in terms of the great conversations we’re having online about tabletop gaming and all things Runehammer.”

Based on some quick approximate calculations, in recent months it seems:

  • Of over 1600 registered users on this forum, fewer than 20% of our community members visit the site at least once a month.
  • Within that small fraction, fewer than half of those visitors either post a reply or leave a like during a typical month, making the majority of users lurkers.
  • Fewer than one visitor in eight posts new content or a new topic for discussion each month, usually averaging only one or two new topics each day—that’s about 2% of the total community driving the vast majority of the site content.

The four fifths of this community that are largely nonparticipatory in Runehammer’s primary online presence are actually the vanguard of the company’s next big wave of fans. They are already aware of the Runehammer games and books enough to have visited this site and registered, but what they found here was insufficient for them to alter their routine from day to day or week to week in terms of visiting Runehammer.online, consuming content, and adding to the discussion.

Now imagine if that same 80% of registered users could be inspired and converted to the same level of online engagement as you who are reading this post; they would share in forging the same creativity, thoughtful interaction, and fun that are the hallmarks of ICRPG, and they would bring those boons back to their own tables and social circles. If that registered majority of infrequent lurkers and occasional visitors saw enough going on here to become invested themselves, something approaching a fivefold increase in the ranks of the global Runehammer fanbase within a year seems like a very attainable goal.

More voices add dimension to the discussions, ease the burden on the old guard and the active community leaders, and generally magnify the blossoming creative space that is Runehammer.online, making continuing development of anything ICRPG-related more expedient, more fun, and ultimately more profitable. Our contributions of game content, campaign write-ups, mechanical discussions, and all the other manifestations of the esoteric aspects of the hobby we enjoy—showcasing the game system we admire—are the keys to achieving the shared objective of growing the Runehammer community.

It starts here—with US. When newcomers visit this forum for the first time, they should be enchanted and excited by the scope of the content and the activity surrounding games they’ve already heard about; the online experience here and an invitation into this community will be what seals the deal—IF WE DO OUR PART.

Can we work together to make Runehammer.online seem as welcoming and encouraging to new visitors and their potential contributions as it is comfortable and enjoyable for the longtime devotees who got in on the ground floor and have already proven their mettle by helping ICRPG achieve its current levels of prominence and refinement?

This site has the potential to be the very best advertising Runehammer Games could possibly ask for—not only because it represents excellent potential with regard to high return on investment but also because it is 100% AUTHENTIC, and authentic engagement is ultimately more compelling than the best ad copy.

The only thing required for that to happen is for each of us to do more of what we already do—even giving a few likes or a quick reply each visit makes a difference—and that is hardly a hardship. We can all have a hand in seeing ICRPG (and TTRPGs in general) continue to flourish and develop into the best game it can be, and that ultimately does good for the world by bringing more people together for good times around the table.

(Who put this soapbox here, and why am I standing on it?!)


Another thing to consider might also be: do we want to highlight that you can play your favourite genre using ICRPG-mechanics and therefore have actual plays of Alfheim, Warp Shell, Ghost Mountain, Blood & Snow, Vigilante City, Altered State, Black Light etc. or do we want to highlight the mechanics and how rules-light the game is?


Also, members of the Shield Wall might actually want to put some honest customer reviews of Runehammer products up on the Modiphius US website; right now, depending upon the print or digital edition, there’s something like one review or less currently published per product.


I like the way Professor DM puts it. I’m paraphrasing but the gist is the rule set streamlines play for any genre or setting.

You can even use the ideas for something that doesn’t even use a D20 system like Tiny D6.

It is easy to convert classic bad guys to ICRPG monsters.

Basically as a DM you don’t have to learn a whole new world, you can use 5e or any other settings with the streamlined ruleset. That is one of the strengths of it.

Showcasing that on a stream, youtube video or just a playthrough could help too.

  • Deathbare


There’s a parallel with Dungeon World (the game book, not the no longer named in internet rpg space co-creator) in that ICRPG is a mega GM tool kit. There’s also parallels with WWN/SWN. If you’re going to be marketing the Runehammer brand, the “GM’s friend, no matter your system” aspect of ICRPG is legendary and should be pushed.

Both of those products are well regarded in the RPG space for their GM advice - there’s better PBTA examples out there and SWN/WWN are ADnD with streamlining and genre details (I’m a die hard SWN GM) but both offer really useful and non-system specific tool kits.

ICRPG does this in spades - killer games are all over the place. Tools to go from average to excellent to epic GM levels are not!

Then there’s the wholesome aspect - Hank is clearly a fucking ace human being. There’s a ‘made by a real person who cares’ feel to Runehammer products. It’s DIY dnd done by a craftsman. Runehammer makes being an RPG hacker approachable by Hank showing how he makes things.

Another RPG system to look at is Mothership - it’s success (I believe) is due to it’s bevy of well designed pamphlet modules made with high design standards that promote table useability. I’ve never run mothership but I’m using Dead Planet, Gradient Descent and Prospero’s Dream and love them! When the influx of “5e is my first RPG” types get sick of essay adventures and scattered rules, where are they going to go for their next game? Maybe to something that actually helps them GM - that’s what happened to me at least.

Not direct suggestions, just an observations from working in sales - unique selling points and pain points are your golden geese when you’re convincing someone that they want your thing…


I think @chrisbynum makes some great points about forum activity. The research done here support to a degree the expected 20/80 rule of contribution to any one thing including communities.

When I came into Runhammer/ICRPG, a MAJOR reason was this forum. Back then, it was MUCH more active. Take a look at the game postings channel. Some time ago there were frequent offerings and a number of people doing so. Its really dried up now with almost nothing.

The reason for this imo was the introduction and push towards a Discord server. The conversation moved there. And that’s fine. Perhaps many prefer that form of instant conversation. But conversation spent there is not spent here. And worse, its temporal. All those good ideas/discussions evaporate within a day, where as back when they took place here, they would stick as a sort of searchable library. People find old posts from years ago that can be just what they were looking for as an example.

I think too that games are offered up within Discord but those don’t reach a new audience. When I first landed here at this forum, there were lots of invites for a new curious but apprehensive person like myself to join a game, many hosted by established contributors here who were great ambassadors for the game. Were I to land here in the current state, I think I may have moved on for lack of opportunity to try an actual game.


@Runehammer @Alex
Very good point made by Wildstar about forums vs discord participation. I don’t know if there is a happy medium, but I think he is onto something.

Game On!



FWIW - I’m a patron (at the $1 level) and I cannot seem to access the Discord server despite many troubleshooting efforts to do so.

If lots of ICRPG activity is there that I’m missing out on, that’s a bummer for me.
If lots of ICRPG activity is there behind a paywall for potential new shield-wall warriors, that is a friction that should be reconsidered in my opinion.

I’ve been watching Hank’s videos for a couple of years now, I own the 2e and ME books, and yet I’m brand new to this forum. I do wish the forums were a bit more active so that I could entice some of my gaming buddies to witness the games and threads of the growing and vibrant ICRPG community. It kinda sounds like that much of that energy is encapsulated within the Discord server, from what Wildstar described.


Honestly, the Discord was first only for Immortals, IIRC. It was opened to all Patrons only after the pandemic hit. And it has had plenty of growing pains due to that.

Adding to the official Discord everyone that might want to enter might not only revisit these issues but also make them incorrigible without serious ‘trauma’ to the community.

I understand the ‘wall’ view (especially since you’re for some reason locked out of it), but there are the repercussions to be thought about.


You’re right, that was the tipping point. When the Discord opened up to all patrons. I understand the reasons behind doing it, but when it happened most of the conversation moved there.

Discord is a great thing, especially when small. But a repository for ideas and reference it is definitely not.

This forum on the other hand is well built and organized. At the end of the day, any community contributions have a much longer shelf life here. I am humbled to see some get value from things I posted years ago and I’m sure others feel the same way. For many, they’re just getting here with questions we once had that are now old hat. :slightly_smiling_face:


On the other hand, there’s stuff that just wouldn’t have happened without the Discord.

Anecdotal example of mine: My Grimoire Skills system for my VDS Hack would NOT have happened without the Discord. Why? 'Cause Hank responds much less here than he does there, and it would not have gotten where it is without his help.

But, when the bulk of it was done, I brought it here. Notice it has not one reply. Zero interaction. I’ve been editing it as I talk to my walls.

The Sharpshot and Weapon Specialist fixes, from crits to hits? Happened because of Discord. It was played out there, in play-by-post fashion, after some discussion on probability of unending loops happening.

There is a place for both. Learning to balance it is the key, not favoring one over the other.


Absolutely! That’s one of the great things about Discord. The ability to catch people at the water cooler and get that instant feedback and real time dialog. Plus, Discords grown from Patreon generally ensure the most passionate fans of a thing so the energy is there. They also tend to be the primary source for a creator who uses the model (which makes sense).


I now think that most of what I suggested and hypothesized earlier regarding this topic is probably wrong.

I have had some time to consider further what I wrote here previously on the subject of forum participation, and I have been inspired by recent events to reflect upon it and reevaluate it.

The short version: Forum participation may (or may not) be a DESIRE, but it is not a NEED, nor is it necessarily a means to a significant desired goal.

(The long version…)

My entire life I have been an idealist, and whenever I have stuck to my ideals without remembering to balance them with logic and realism, I have gotten screwed, so let me balance my previous idealism with some logic and realism so no one gets screwed.

Upon rereading the first two posts in this thread, I realize I erred by conflating Runehammer the larger entity inclusive of its online player community with Runehammer the game company/publisher. This was my mistake, and I own it. I will be careful not to make it in the future, and that might lead me to proffer fewer mistaken conclusions in public.

Needs are real; desires beyond needs are merely expressions of ideals. We NEED to breathe, maintain core temperature, and ingest nutrients to live. We DO NOT NEED to be happy, even though most people desire happiness to some degree.

Let me backtrack and attempt to use some unflinching logic to make better educated guesses and fix what I wrote…

“Forum participation” sounds desirable, but it is definitely NOT necessary to the continued success of Runehammer Games. The truth is that Runehammer Games probably doesn’t NEED to have more members and more member participation—at least not here in its dedicated online community—to continue to be successful. I am not speaking for anyone, but I am guessing the Shield Wall probably reached critical mass some time ago in terms of its practical developmental utility for Runehammer Games. The key players have already been here for some time, they have been useful in the development cycle needed to establish the core system for games like ICRPG, and they can continue to serve indefinitely when the company DESIRES input, feedback, or a test bed. Conversely, each new voice, while it may hold the potential to fuel exponential growth in the dimension of the games through the contribution of a unique point of view, will inevitably have diminishing returns in terms of actual impact on any future development of products, one whisper among many. (That’s just math.)

I’m no economist, but I understand that underlying need of any for-profit company in a capitalist system is market share. As long as Runehammer Games is principally a game developer and publisher, operationally that means book sales—even though I am certain the creator/publisher has a higher philosophical goal in mind. So if time and energy spent here basking in the afterglow of discovering ICRPG were instead channeled into more direct action fueling book sales—organizing and playing the games, introducing new players to the company’s offerings, requesting Runehammer Games products in local stores, and buying copies for friends and family—Runehammer Games would be more directly served from a balance sheet perspective. In terms of these direct actions, I can say honestly that I have done my part in every one of these aspects as a humble individual working only in peripheral to this industry…

It is inevitable that more and more people are going to get excited (to one degree or another, at one pace or another) about games that Runehammer Games publishes, and it has become popular (even expected) for people to be able to pursue their interests in online spaces like this one. This is nice, but it is largely irrelevant, as it serves the community directly but not the company’s bottom line. Operationally, the underlying determination of the level of individual consumer engagement can be reduced to one simple metric: how many books did they buy?

(Other forms of visibility and buzz will surely open doors to success and profit for Runehammer Games, but such speculation is outside the scope of the point I’m attempting to make here.)

(More thoughts…)

I have no doubt that the creator behind the games and groundbreaking original ideas that inspired this community will continue to reward the loyalty of his fanbase with unparalleled access and interaction for as long as it is feasible, but it is a simple reality of numbers that—behind a paywall or not—as more people join a community they place more demands upon community resource, and the creator’s time—which is finite here as well as on Patreon or Discord—is this community’s chief commodity as well as its principal draw, one that gets whittled away as it is further subdivided with each new member registration.

Sure, there is a value to the fraternity achieved by likeminded fans sharing ideas and inspiration among themselves, but that does not need to take place under company auspices. I would imagine that one-way marketing, outreach needs, and an adequate semblance of customer and fanbase interaction and support could probably be better (or at least more efficiently) served by a combination of scrums within the space of mainstream social media along with a small hardcore devotee community desiring discourse, advance information, and playtesting opportunities interacting behind a profitable paywall barrier sufficient to keep the signal-to-noise ratio high in both directions. That may not be what anybody believes they want, but I believe there is a plausible logic to such thinking—if one puts sentimentality and idealism aside.

Runehammer Games has established itself by being an independent trendsetter, not a trend follower. It does not need to continually broaden its base to pander to the capricious whims of the mainstream. Its core ruleset, ICRPG, has achieved a stage in its ongoing development cycle where it has become more important to maintain and assert what makes it unique that to pursue aspects it doesn’t already comprise.

Will ICRPG (and other Runehammer games) continue to evolve? Of course. I think its creator would get bored if he weren’t exploring new ground. But like Leonidas before him, I believe he only needs a dedicated cadre of 300 or so who will follow him without question and fight to the death, not a vast army of lesser soldiers who risk diluting the ideals for which he stands.

The Shield Wall is a beautiful metaphor, with each man standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother as a testament to the courage, honor, pledge of protection, shared beliefs, and mutual respect that unite the whole group. It’s a wonderful and inspiring ideal, but perhaps one that gets harder to live up to in reality with the addition of each new soldier.

These opinions are my own, based only upon a couple of months as part of this community, a couple of years playing ICRPG, twenty years helping market independent businesses, and over four decades playing tabletop RPGs. I could certainly still be wrong, but I think—if I am—it simply demonstrates the unnecessary complexity of operating in the very privileged world around us.

I know I will continue to buy and play Runehammer games, wish the company and its creator every success, and witness the examples of the senior members here as they continue to shape the online community they helped to build.

Hopefully, my understanding of how this community works will improve in time. Thanks to all of you here who have supported my learning so far and helped to open my eyes. Thanks also for your indulgence; I have used more than my fair share of bandwidth and will now attempt to discover and reap the benefits of constructive lurking.


For me, what I plan on doing is an attempt to produce high-quantity cost-effective ICRPG resources for gaming.

What I think would be a good investment is to support good quality online gaming resources for Roll20 and other online gaming servers not unlike what you have done for VTT. A good-looking high-quality Character sheet on these systems, free goes a long way to encourage play. I also really love the card system and I am working on Cavern Cards © for printed cards and for online use. One of the things that got me into the game was these resources and now this is my main system for gaming with my gaming group.


Thank you so much for the clarification :smiley:


If I may, I am a very green GM with little experience and learned about ICRPG through Professor DM, because I wanted to play something besides 5E. I think that more content is key! After discovering ICRPG I dug deep to find recent ICRPG content. My experience has been with Fantasy AGE from Green Ronin and the Cypher System from Montecook. When I discovered those systems I wanted to find a community and plentiful content to bring to my table.

I frequent my LFGS and they are itching to have more GMs. I think that’s where I would offer my two cents in spreading the word of ICRPG and Runehammer by running games.

It would also be amazing to have beginner modules that can be run as introduction. Similar to the Grey Hill Inferno, but more fleshed out.

I believe that the community here has potential and I want to offer what help I can too.

This is all to just say that I think we need more ICRPG contents, live plays etc.


@Jenetiks, Does your local store have any policies that limit games ran at the store with product that is/can be sold at the store? Such a policy stymied my suggestion of an ICRPG game at my local game store for Free RPG Day years ago.

I agree wholeheartedly with your modules idea, and it would be great if such modules could be produced as relatively inexpensive softcover books (perhaps even in a “Rolled and Told” style magazine format) so they could be found on the shelves of our local game stores.


I don’t think there are any policies that I am aware of like that at my LFGS. There are two LFGS that I go to. Geeky Tea & Games in Burbank, CA and Odysee Games in Pasadena, CA. Geeky Tea & Games is smaller and I can just rent out their TTRPG room to run any game I want. Obviously they have it decorated for D&D. As for Odysee they’re a bigger establishment and when I last spoke to one of the associates, they invited me if I wanted to run one of their tables. It doesn’t have to be D&D but the way they have it set up it’s kind of like an in-person D&D and Pathfinder league for anyone who wants to learn the hobby.

I’m working a lot now, but I do want to start running local games in the near future.


Next time you see Ron outside seeking minis, tell him I said ‘hello!’

Edit - to promote RH? Get some girls involved.


I like your themed modules. One thing I feel ICRPG does really well is it bridges the gap between full gridded maps and theater of the mind. Poker sized cards instead of index cards likewise are a finished product people can buy. I think that if themed packs of poker sized cards representing locations, monsters, loot, etc specific to each module were offered, it would be a great way to expand what ICRPG could do, and therefore grow the target audience. Most of us on here are natural homebrewer/creative types that ICRPG works great for, but this would help target the vast majority who are not.