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Helvéczia: Picaresque RPGClick to magnify
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Helvéczia: Picaresque RPG


“Venture into a rugged land of stamp-sized, steadfastly independent petty states, populated with robber bands, pious clergymen, wig-wearing philistines, adventurous countesses, and wily cheats: the cantons of Helvéczia, a territory of forbidding mountain ranges and endless forests betwixt rival empires. (…) A re-imagination of old-school fantasy role-playing in a late 17th century Switzerland that never was, Helvéczia is a fast-paced and colourful game of guns, dames, deviltry and steel, based on swashbuckling tales, penny dreadfuls, local legends, and the strange stories of the Brothers Grimm.”

A complete, new old-school game system for picaresque fantasy role-playing campaigns set in a strange alternate-world Switzerland where danger lurks in the deep forests, and even weirder things are afoot in the high mountain valleys. Helvéczia is a love letter to the penny dreadfuls and cheap picaresque novels describing the lives and changing fortunes of scoundrels, bravos and never-do-wells – adventurers in the truest sense. With cover art by Peter Mullen, players’ cartography by Sean Stone, and illustrations by the old masters. This version contains:

  • A 208-page rulebook including character creation, simple yet flexible rules, spells, monsters, magic items (mostly new), GM advice, random tables, a starting adventure, and a brief setting guide. The rules are intended to be easy to learn, and the book can be picked up by beginners rather quickly. Going beyond a simple rules variant, Helvéczia comes with detailed explanatory notes for players, and an in-depth guide for Gamemasters.   
  • An A3 overview map by Sean Stone, providing an overview of Helvéczia’s geography on one side, and its main cantons, towns and territories on the other.
  • Eight more player and GM hex maps for the entire extent of Helvéczia, and some of the surrounding territories (two of each map included to last multiple campaigns)
  • A deck of 32 cards in case you want to play a hand with the devil – according to Hungarian card sharp traditions (these are digital images of an antique, out-of-print edition, different from the version included in the print version).
  • Character sheets, sample characters, reference sheets, and a calendar booklet to keep strict time records with for a meaningful campaign.

In Helvéczia, you can…

  • get surrounded by a band of brigands, shoot your way out, and make your getaway on one of their horses…
  • seduce an adventurous countess, and lose all your money to her in a game of cards (how did she do it?!)…
  • get devoured by giant frogs lurking in an abandoned well…
  • blow up the Devil’s stagecoach and live to tell the tale…
  • die in an unlucky first aid attempt (many such cases!)…
  • hunt wolves from horseback with grenades…
  • learn useless sciences like Hermeneutics and Vacuum Theory, then find them surprisingly useful…
  • get captured by the Inquisition, and escape from their clutches with the aid of a Holy Bible they gave you for your final night…
  • team up with the Inquisition against a blasphemous nest of fishmen…
  • dig up the fingerbones of a hanged man for the Skeleton Key spell, and procure a tanned dogskin for Emilio Sciarelli’s Spectacle…
  • play cards with the Devil for your immortal soul!

All of these, and more have happened in Helvéczia games (although some took place in the land of Catalonia, for you can play the game in other pseudo-historical milieus with a little effort).

This electronic edition is provided free of charge to people who have purchased the print version.

Reviews (2)
Discussions (2)
Customer avatar
Hendrik N May 15, 2022 3:14 pm UTC
I've got two questions concerning the sample character Jan Olbrecht (2nd level Czech vagabond):

1) Where does his ranged bonus +4 come from - with +1 in Dexterity, shouldn't his ranged attack bonus be +2?
2) His crossbow is listed with 1d8 damage (+2 for the Czech special ability); the rulebook has crossbows at 1d10. Which damage value is correct?
Customer avatar
Hendrik N June 24, 2022 8:44 pm UTC
Over a month and not a single reply... It's sad there is no better support for this game on this site.
Customer avatar
Gabor L July 08, 2022 7:24 am UTC
Apologies for the late response - DriveThruRPG doesn't send notifications of new comments, so I only see them when I check them on a title by title basis.
1) Good catch; this is a mistake. Jan should have a ranged attack bonus of +2.
2) 1d10 is the correct value.
Customer avatar
Hendrik N July 15, 2022 11:28 am UTC
Thanks for your clarifications, much appreciated!
Customer avatar
Charles M February 08, 2022 1:25 am UTC
“This electronic edition is provided free of charge to people who have purchased the print version.“ Where are print versions sold? An internet search only turned up reviews and limited second-hand copies. Thank you.
Customer avatar
Gabor L February 11, 2022 2:04 pm UTC
Thanks for your inquiry! The game is available at my store,, in both a hardcover and a (more extensive) boxed set edition.
Customer avatar
Stephan P January 10, 2023 7:18 pm UTC
Thank you for this...So I just ordered the Box Set. How do I get the pdfs?
Customer avatar
Gabor L January 10, 2023 9:58 pm UTC
Hi Stephan -- thank you for your order! I have sent you the PDF link (this is not automated, so it can take a little time).
Customer avatar
Stephan P January 15, 2023 5:42 am UTC
Thank you!
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Silver seller
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208.08 MB
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File Last Updated:
October 18, 2021
This title was added to our catalog on October 19, 2021.