What is LUMEN?

LUMEN is a rules-lite system for making and playing RPGs focused on telling the stories of powerful characters. LUMEN was first developed for the games LIGHT and NOVA, and has been converted to this genre agnostic SRD so that you can use it to make your own games with the same system.

At its core, LUMEN is designed to tell power fantasy stories. The characters played have access to incredible powers, and use those powers relentlessly in pursuit of their objectives. It’s inspiration comes from video game genres such as looter shooters (Destiny), hero shooters (Overwatch), and dungeon crawlers (Diablo).

LUMEN is also combat focused. While it doesn’t require maps or measurement, games made with this system tend to work best if they are about powerful characters fighting their way through missions.

Which leads to the third part of LUMEN. It is driven by a core gameplay loop. Characters go on adventures, missions, quests, whatever you want to call them. They return after they succeed, share a brief downtime, and then get back to work.

Most importantly, LUMEN is quick to design for, and easily modifiable. Because there are not many moving pieces, you have the ability to change things to suit your game and style.

What is This?

This is the LUMEN SRD and design guide. As an SRD, it is genre agnostic, and provides you with the core rules for a LUMEN game. It also provides guidance and advice on how to create games of your own using LUMEN, or how to make things for existing LUMEN games.

Lastly, it provides insight into some of my design decisions. That means this isn’t going to be written as a straightforward SRD. My voice will be in every line. We’re having a conversation about LUMEN as we read, and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

Who Do You Need?

LUMEN games use the traditional grouping of a Game Master (GM) and some amount of players. In my experience, 3 has always been the sweet spot, but your experience will vary. The GM’s role at the table is one that requires some improv skills, as the games we design with LUMEN are not prep-heavy, and the combat is more reactive than proactive on their part.

The players just need to be ready to feel badass. We’ll do that with their Classes (page XXX).

What About Dice?

LUMEN games are designed to use d6 dice only. This keeps things simple, and most people can grab a d6 from an old board game box in a pinch. Bringing on polyhedral sets will complicate the game, limit who has access to it, and crucially runs at odds with the core mechanic.

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