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Mazes Fantasy Roleplaying

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Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more of Santa's savings, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

Mazes is a return to the classic sword and sorcery dungeon crawler with award-winning, yet delightfully simple modern rules. The first TTRPG to use the polymorph system, Mazes is easy to learn and teach, and ready to play without a lot of prep.

Designed for episodic play, Mazes is ideal for one-shots and conventions. It's a distillation and modernization of the classic Dungeon Delve, making it a perfect introduction for those new to roleplaying, as well a great excuse for grognards to get back into the dungeon!

Pages from Mazes

Make Characters Fast

At character creation, each player selects one polyhedral die to represent their character, and narrates actions to the Maze Controller (MC). The MC may then request rolls against a chart of moves. Players roll their one die, comparing the outcome against the success numbers listed for each move type (a BOOTS move, for example, succeeds on rolling a 2 or 3). Success numbers vary across move types, which means different die sizes are more likely to meet with different forms of success.

A Smash Hit

MAZES quietly hit the indie TTRPG scene over two years ago during the first Kickstarter Zinequest event. Fans and RPG industry leaders saw the elegant simplicity of this game's ruleset and nominated Mazes for an ENnie for Best Rules ENNIE and an IGDN Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Rules. Mazes won the IGDN Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Rules in 2020! Now we’ve brought together years of development work on this brilliant underlying game system and its pulpy, dark fantasy world to bring players this definitive edition of the modern Fantasy Role Playing experience.

Polymorph

Mazes is powered by polymorph – which is a compact yet comprehensive rules framework for roleplaying. It’s designed to provide the full experience of a crunchy RPG, but with minimal setup and prep – all without giving up the fun, mechanical depth of an exciting roleplaying system. Sorry, there isn’t any math – we did all that work for you!  In a polymorph game, each player only ever uses a specific polyhedral die – a d4, a d6, a d8, or a d10.  Each die represents a different “way to play” or a  different “role” that they have in the group. Whenever a player asks “can I do something”, they roll their die and with a quick glance at their character sheet to know if they succeed.

There is NEVER any math involved (no modifiers, no masters). Depending on the game world and what kind of character that you are playing – you may roll with advantage or disadvantage (or not need to roll at all); and the MC (the person running the game) never rolls dice. The MC has tools to control the flow of game, and resources like the players to ensure that game play is fast, fair, and fun - without needing to memorize a million rules.

Features 

  • Everything you need to make characters and run games of Mazes
  • Carefully crafted "gold edition" of the rules — 25% new content, 25% updated, 50% collated and collected from the previous 9 zines
  • A Curious Grimoire & Book of Hazards — countless spells and monsters!
  • Guide to GMing Polymorph games and using Darkness & Treasure to inspire outstanding storytelling
  • Fiction "interludes" by Nat Mesnard to set the mood
  • Updated rules to include campaign-style play

Award-Winning

Mazes won the 2020 IGDN Indie Groundbreaker Award for Best Rules, and was nominated for an ENnie for Best Rules in 2020 as well. More recently, Mazes received a 2022 IndieCade nomination, and is up for the festival's Jury Prix, Grand Jury, Developer’s Choice, Innovation in Interaction Design, and Innovation in Experience Design awards, as well as the award in Tabletop Design.

Awards


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Reviews (2)
Discussions (9)
Customer avatar
Craig W April 19, 2024 4:49 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A few things are a bit unclear in the rules, specifically regarding Advances.

On page 65, it gives the basic Edge list, splitting the 44 Edges into 7 groups, one of which is Advances. On page 73, it says that “Advances are not usually available to starting characters (though there are always exceptions.)” It then lists 36 Edges, which includes most of the Basic Edges list.

This seems to suggest that the only Edges available to new characters are Beautiful, Bugbear, Charming, Cunning, Ilf, Keen, Smallfolk, and Young. Is this correct?

Then, according to page, 53, a character gets an Advance after their second adventure. It seems that this is the one and only time they do so. So a character who has 100 adventures grows in knowledge and skill after the 2nd, but never again. Am I understanding correctly?

Thanks for any clarifications you can give.
Customer avatar
Craig W November 19, 2023 4:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Quick question:
I have seen some publishers provide a PDF copy for free if we can show proof of a physical purchase. Do you do that?
Customer avatar
Chad K June 21, 2023 10:54 pm UTC
Any expansions on character races or classes? Archer, Dwarf, etc.
Is there a discord or any place to chat on the game.
Thanks!
Customer avatar
William G April 21, 2023 3:52 am UTC
I also own the hardback copy. I love this game, it is unfortunate I cannot write a review w/o rebuying the book here. I enjoy all the Polymorph games I have run and played in. The mechanics make character creation and play fast. I think it is a great game to introduce people to RPGs. I look forward to more Polymorph products in the future.
Customer avatar
Jan H April 10, 2023 8:18 am UTC
I am owner of the hardback copy, so I can't really review in here, or comment on the digital version.

I just want to say the system is great.

I am not sure I agree with its self identification of being an OSR product. If among OSR pillars are a high lethality, limited character abilities and need to "workaround" threats and encounters, Mazes support way better an opposite approach - gonzo head-on action of the pulpiest manner. And it's simply glorious.

The best comparison I can think of is probably with Fate Accelerated, but with cleaner, better rules design, immensely better economy of resources (which is finally independent on GM's ad hoc evaluation of ideas or RP).

The game works great in portraying iconic heroes (as opposed to characters with large mechanical development), to improvise heroic deeds or spells is easy enough, as the framing of such actions is very well done, while not limiting creativity. I never had a better session of swashbuckling...See more
Customer avatar
Eric B August 27, 2022 1:45 am UTC
There are quite a few references to a hardback version of the book. Was it only available at GENCON?
Reply
Customer avatar
Chris O August 27, 2022 1:55 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
No, but it did recently come out in July 2022. You can get https://www.9thlevel.com/product-page/mazes-hardcover-rpg at Indie Press Revolution or at your friendly local game store.
Customer avatar
Phil W July 28, 2022 5:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why is this locked from adding bookmarks? Why are there no bookmarks at all?
Reply
Customer avatar
Nat M August 15, 2022 5:21 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
We're on it! Replied with details to your one-star review. If you have questions, don't hesitate to let us know.
Reply
Customer avatar
Phil W August 16, 2022 9:13 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That's great. I look forward to updating my review.
Reply
Customer avatar
Alexander G October 14, 2022 5:34 am UTC
Hello,
It's been 2 months since this comment and I see the PDF was still last updated in July. When will this be done? It shouldn't take more than a couple hours to complete this.
Reply
Customer avatar
Nat M November 02, 2022 2:37 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi Alexander! Thanks for following up. We resolved this issue privately with Phil W, but he hasn't yet updated his review. While due to our custom layout design for Mazes it's not possible for us to auto-generate bookmarks, I have updated the PDF here in DTRPG so that adding your own bookmarks to the PDF should now be possible. If you already have a DTRPG copy of Mazes and need the updated, bookmarkable version, please reach out directly to marketing@9thlevelgames.com and let us know!
Customer avatar
George K July 26, 2022 2:34 pm UTC
227 pages listed on the Drivethru description, but there are 231 pages on the contents page?
Reply
Customer avatar
Phil W July 28, 2022 9:47 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I think that is because the PDF software is counting the double-width pages as single pages. When I go to "An Invocation" the corner of the page says "5" but PDF-XChange says it's page 8. Move forward a couple of double-width pages to the next single page and the page corner says "10" while PDF-XChange says "11. There are a several more double-width pages after that such that when you get to marked page "231" the PDF viewer thinks it is only "220".
Customer avatar
Dani J July 26, 2022 3:52 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi i am a kickstarter backer. Can I get a comp copy here?
Reply
Customer avatar
Nat M July 26, 2022 3:28 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Hi, Dani! Happy to help. Could confirm your Kickstarter email address here or contact us directly at contact@9thlevel.com? Thanks so much!
Reply
Customer avatar
Dani J July 26, 2022 4:53 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Email sent! Wow thanks!!
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on July 25, 2022.