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Longwinter: Referee's Book

The snows are alive. A soft, cold spirit courses through them. Her lace threads the world; watching, drinking, listening, stroking, soothing, killing. Her touch is soft and icy. She is Winterwhite, the daughter of the Waterdrinker and the Northwind, and she is a terrible god. An avatar of ice and hunger, of visions and death.

Longwinter is the RPG sandbox of a realm that has broken its vows to Winterwhite and will now pay the cold price.


This book contains secret knowledge and mechanics for the referee. The Visitor's Book is the setting gazetteer with information to be shared by all the players.

The setting is profoundly close to that of Witchburner (by the same author and artist). 


This sandbox includes:

  • ~110 pages of content.
  • some colour illustrations.
  • 3 variations of the Brezim map to represent changes as Winterwhite's curse bites harder.
  • faction trackers for the 5 key factions and over 40 events to represent different groups growing or waning in strength depending on player actions.
  • detailed weather and event tables to simulate a living setting.
  • detailed encounter tables for night and day, which grow harsher as Winterwhite's curse grows stronger.
  • several more tables to generate corpses, caches, vaults, and memories of summer.
  • optional playing card-based escape mechanic with 54 different locations, challenges and characters encountered in each location.
  • alternatively, the escape section serves as a resource to mine for winter locations, challenges, and characters.


Be aware:

  • This is a book of factions and winter encounters for the full-fledged mini-setting detailed in the Longwinter Visitor's Book.
  • The content is mostly system-neutral. It references some 5E or d20-style conventions, but should work with most low-power systems easily.
  • Many of the encounters, and particularly the escape, will not work with characters resistant to cold, capable of flight, or otherwise able to avoid the environmental challenges.


Finally, thank you for considering running Longwinter for your players. It is a bit of a tribute to the mountains and myths I've walked and heard over many years, and I hope you will find fuel for many adventures and good memories herein.

 It has also been a challenging project to prepare. Many people helped make it as good as it is. The fault for all errors and typos is my own. 

 —Luka, December 2020


Longwinter Completely Bundled

CategoryPhysical game
Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars
(5 total ratings)
Tagsdnd, Fantasy, Horror, longwinter, OSR, Tabletop role-playing game, winter


Buy Now$13.00 USD or more

In order to download this gamebook you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $13 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Longwinter Referee Book - 1.2 - digital 250dpi.pdf 17 MB

Development log


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Having seen Collab without permission's review this project sounds fantastic. Looking at the page count however I feel rather daunted and put off indeed as I'm not sure how I'd keep all the different threads in my head.

Although I've done a fair bit of GMing, it's nearly all one page collaborative player lead story telling or indie 1-15 page scenarios.

In terms of both getting the most/appreciating the depth of this lovely work, how easy is it to guide through it while enjoying the offshoots?

Hope that makes sense.


The simple answer is that you don't need to keep all the different threads in your head at the same time.

Use the player lead approach you're used to. Give the visitor's book to the players to reference and build off, then use the referee's book to surface challenges and problems as they play. The referee's book presents factions, events, and locations to provide fuel, not firm structure. You can share events between sessions and ask players to pick what they'll focus on, while rolling randomly to see what else happens in the background.

The basic idea of most OSR or OSR-ish or sandboxy games (whichever term you prefer) is to give content you then generate from randomly or semi-randomly (or even just for straight-up cherry-picking). There's no right or wrong way to play an adventure, much less a sandbox.

And best part is, if you break it, it's fine - it was made for breaking :)