Welcome to Death & Taxes

letterAn ivory tube was cushioned in a traveler’s chest between the official’s silk pantaloons and soft velvet overcoats. Within, a writ’s wax stamp sealed a few terse commands, “Welcome the Salise back into our embrace. Pinpoint its wealth, then squeeze without mercy. You are beholden to no one.”

Without hesitation, the letter’s bearer set forth accompanied only by his handpicked porters, servants, and scribes. A detour to the windswept wastelands of the savage cold plain found him the type of soldiers he needed, ones who make looting a sport. They would enlist in his venture with promises of vengeance. The pay would be mere tokens from the spoils acquired.
He entered each town and gave a rough speech. “Welcome back to the glory your grandfathers knew,” he shouted. “Long have you lived a life of hardship beyond the fringes of the Empire.”

“We have much to do,” the official explained, “We shall begin by conducting a census.”

“If he is only here for a census,” they thought, “why does he need the half-giant Auditor and a pack of gnolls?”

After a welcoming feast, Æthelbert answered.

We are very pleased, and more than a little relieved, to present Lesser Gnome’s newest signature adventure, Death & Taxes. A limited number of Collector’s Edition sets are available now. These sets were designed for campaigns using rules inspired by classic fantasy systems (i.e. Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord). To purchase your copy head on over to our web store.


Death & Taxes is being converted for Pathfinder as well as that other fantasy game (currently in its 5th iteration). These are expected to begin layout after the holidays. There will be other formats in the coming months including-

  • A PDF release designed to use the advantages of the format. It will include links, buttons, layering, and, I hope, the ability to display content based on the rotation of a tablet or reader. A scaled down version for reading and use
  • The Compendium Hardcover
  • Death & Taxes without all the fuss- a Retro style module.

Each of these versions were selected and funded by backers during our successful Kickstarter project that ended in November 2014.

What is it?

Death & Taxes is a comprehensive box set designed for Game Master’s who run open-ended, or “sandbox”, games. Deliberately designed to be useful for existing campaigns, Death & Taxes does not make assumptions about the Game Master’s world, keeping its focus on a small, relatively isolated area.  References, like Gods and distant lands, beyond its scope are left out or presented in a minimal way to allow its easy integration.  It in a small region experiencing great change and many unknowns. Non-player character factions have believable goals that are not necessarily good or evil. In the midst of these troubles ancient powers with their own agendas have begun to stir.

The Adventure Book includes-

  • The two floors of the Auctor– The opulent palace built by ancient powers. Amid the splendor of kings and the forbidden chambers of Empyr Wards, a tenuous peace exists among competing interests.
  • The tunnels and caverns immediately beneath its floors- Excavated as warehouses for the hoarding of salt, the underground works were later repurposed. They evolved into a debtors’ prison that filled with penniless paupers as quickly as the vast stores were drained.  When the rulers fled, the lower levels turned feral, home to a small subterranean environment.
  • The caverns deep below the Auctor’s foundation- The Abscess is a cavernous darkness where ancient Abyssal powers have breached the wall between worlds. This antechamber of the threshold conceals the Hryggan.

The Game Master’s Guide provides-

  • Background information
  • Optional location specific rules
  • Summaries of important encounters
  • A creature catalog with twenty-seven full creature descriptions
  • An appendix detailing 34 unique magic items

The Setting Guide includes-

  • Background information on geography and a brief history of The Salise.
  • Three towns with descriptions of key locations including some prominent local actors
  • Other places and personalities and factions not easily categorized

The Death & Taxes Collector’s Box Set

Game Contents


Three softcover game books describing the places, people and events in Death & Taxes.  Set in a small region called the Salise, Death & Taxes describes a primary adventure location, three towns and over 25 Non-Player Characters for use in fantasy campaigns influenced by classic rule systems. It is designed to be very open ended, giving the tools to the Game Master to weave the locations and events they wish into their own worlds with minimal effort. The details of the setting beyond the small regions’ borders is vague and mysterious.

The books in the Collector’s Edition are…

  • Death & Taxes Adventure Book
  • Game Master’s Guidebook
  • The Salise: Regional Setting Guide

All three books contain a combined total of 200 color pages. Written by Zach Glazar & Edwin Nagy, each of the books lavishly illustrated by Lloyd Metcalf with additional pieces by Andrew DeFelice, Brian “Glad” Thomas, and Michael Brand. The fantastic cartography was done by Alyssa Faden. Proofreading and content suggestions were done tirelessly by G. Scott Swift. Miniatures in the box set were sculpted by Nicolas Genovese, Michael Brand and Mark Evans.


The Salise

The Salise regional map by Alyssa Faden

  • Adventure map folio – The complete set of interior adventure maps are re-printed for quick in-game reference.
  • Poster map of the Salise – 26″ x 20″ folded map printed on gallery quality white poster paper

Play Accessories

  • The Sealed Letter
  • 2 Shrink-wrapped Card Decks
    • Monster Cards (14)  – Color illustration on front, creature description/stats on reverse
    • Magic Items Cards (10) – Illustrations with color highlights on front, item descriptions and function on rear

Dice & Extras

  • Chessex 7 die polyhedral set, plus 2 Custom Dice (d6, d10)*
  • Suedecloth™ 4″x6″ dice bag
  • Custom silver coin
  • Renowned Gnome Swag™

Miniatures – (25 total)

  • Personalities – The Taxman, The Herald (Horn blowing goblin), M. Mange, Nogrod, Thopas, each with slotted bases (when appropriate)
  • Empyrean Wards- Archivist, Harpy, Siren, Sylph (incl. 4 slotted bases)
  • Gnoll War Band –  A pack of four  mercenary Gnolls (Archer, Axe bearer, Mace wielder, and Spearman with slotted bases)
  • Torlings – Nine Individually sculpted Torlings, swarming pack hunters found both above and below ground
  • Hryggan-  A newly arrived visitor located in bad place who came from a worse one
  • Bone Byrgh – Bottom of the food chain clad in bone ‘armor’ it borrowed from less successful visitors
  • Empyrean Guardian –  Watchmen waiting for trouble to arise (slotted base)

A collection of pictures showing the figurines in Death & Taxes can be found by clicking here.

Pick up your copy here.

Still not convinced, click here to read the Adventure Book on Adobe’s cloud reader (works in most browsers)


Review copies, podcast inquiries and general promotional requests should be directed zach@lessergnome.com for an enthusiastic reply.


  1. I’m first! Me damn it! Me!

    WTF you mean “ineligible to win?”

  2. I’m uncertain whether or not Canadians are eligible for this contest, but on the off chance that you welcome entries from the Great White North … Please count me in.

    • What would work even better is if I could follow the rules of the ruddy contest, and note that I would love to see one of these fabled sets up close and personal. I expect that it would look lovely alongside my BECMI boxes, and add luster to my suddenly expanding RPG collection.

      In any event, very warm thanks for offering this to the community.

    • Zach - Lesser Gnome

      Canadians are indeed eligible

  3. A. Nother, gnome

    I recommend it very strongly for reasons. Aside from the gnomishness of the lead author, everybody on the team is great, especially the editorial staff. I am also, apparently ineligible to win, and not because I’m Canadian. Darnit!

  4. will tijerina

    Wow and I do mean wow. I would love to win this. I love sandboxes and from reading all the above this is the ultimate! What more could one ask for? Thank you for the opportunity.

  5. Dave Chato

    Although I already have the .pdf a boxed set would be wonderful.

    • Zach - Lesser Gnome

      This is for the just released today box set, the only PDFs are in my adobe cc cloud drive 🙂

  6. Robert Miller

    I already own both Whisper and Venom as well as Death and Taxes, and Tenkar is right, once you open the D&T box, good luck getting it all back in! As for why I’d love to win another copy? I like being cool. Plus its Alyssa maps and a nice dry gnomish humor that gives me a chuckle as I read through the products. As for why I think anyone should buy this? Well, its jam packed with not only good writing, good layout and artwork, but with originality! Sure, the material has similarities to other RPG products out there, but the creativity is in the details, the NPC’s, the new monsters, the humor, the locations, everything. Plus gorgeous maps by Alyssa. I honestly think you cannot go wrong buying this product, or Whisper and Venom.

  7. Keith Nelson

    Highly recommend both of the major Lesser Gnome products. These are packed full of incredible plot hooks and interesting and different plot threads that go well beyond “Adventurers seek monsters, Adventurers find monsters, Adventurers kill monsters, Adventurers return to tavern in triumph”. Also, the sheer quantity of awesome extras in each and every box set.

  8. Chris Dawson

    I heard the Save or Die podcast, when Mike Badolato discussed Whisper & Venom with the SoD cast. Very impressive review. High quality art, and graphic design, coupled with innovative design, at least that is what I took away from the podcast. Examining Death & Taxes above, it looks like Lesser Gnome has another equally high quality product with yet more innovative design. Unfortunately I just couldn’t afford the kickstarter for either product. So who knows maybe I’ll get lucky with this contest!

  9. Jayson Gardner

    Would love to read this. See you at Garycon!

  10. John McCollum

    I would enjoy winning the box set because it looks to be of fabulous quality, and the material that it offers is presented with flexibility in mind. I don’t want my setting to be dictated to me, I want tools to enhance my own setting in the way I see fit. This set looks like it fits the bill.

  11. Well, that looks like an awesome boxed set. I’d sure like to roll that crit.

  12. Drnathanjpanke

    I have heard tales of this great setting, but I’d love to get my grubby little mitts on it. I love sandbox setting and box sets for my OSR systems of choice. If I win or not I’ll most likely pick it up 😉

  13. Andrew Branstad

    I keep hearing about Lesser Gnome on some of my favorite podcasts. If y’all are good enough for the Save or Die crew, then you’re good enough for me. (Here’s the part where I jump up and down saying “pick me…pick me”)

  14. Ryan Hixson

    I have the PDF of Whisper and Venom. It’s a great product, well thought out and very well organized. It’s an excellent adventure and town setting for any campaign. The PDF is great because it has many hotlinks to the maps and creatures.

    I’ve seen and looked at a copy of the Death and Taxes. Wow! Full of gaming goodness. It is true, just like Tenkar said, once you open the box and remove the contents you’ll never get it back in.

    Merry OSR Christmas!

    • Ryan Hixson

      Oh, let me be clear: I would love me some Death and Taxes. I never actually stated that in my original post.

  15. Elizabeth Stewart

    Being a proud owner of the awesome Whisper and Venom box set, it’s a pretty safe bet that Death and Taxes (oh my gosh, I nearly typed in “Death and TEXAS” there) will be equally fantastic. Also, I wish to be the cool kid who owns this. If we don’t win, we’re buying.

    P.S. This isn’t just because of a rumor table in a previous module. Really. LG products are cool even without that.

  16. Wayne Humfleet

    I would love to get my hands on that sweet looking box of goodness. I’ve been hearing about it around the interwebz for a couple of days and Death and Taxes sounds interesting!

  17. I’d love to win this awesome giveaway for Death & Taxes, because quite simply, I’ve heard really great things about it, as well as your other products (namely Whisper & Venom) and would love to get back into some good old fashioned Swords & Wizardry style gaming in the new year.

  18. Winning this would put me over the moon. Nothing… and I mean nothing.. is as great a subject as taxes. I love them, love to pay them and wish I could pay more of them. Mixing that in with my gaming sounds idea.

  19. Jim Santagate

    Having purchased Whisper & Venom at that last NTRPGCon, I’d love to add Death & Taxes to my collection. I started running Whisper & Venom for my group a few months ago and it is simply my favorite published adventure/campaign that I have run in the last ten years. Production values are off the charts and adventure content is worth every penny. I’m sure Death & Taxes is equally as awesome!

  20. ShotofEntropy

    Ooh, I actually need a new dicebag!

  21. Stu Ordana

    I love the maps! And the artwork is fantastic too!

  22. Rob Brennan

    I’d love to win as I love OSR and sandbox games – this is one I don’t have!

  23. I want it. Why? Where to start? The production values look amazing, I love sandbox games, the adventures sound great, I devour settings…this thing looks absolutely amazing.

  24. Goodness gracious me! I don’t think I’ve ever seen any adventure packed full of amazing components and high production values…including minis. I’m slowly exploring “sandbox” style play, so Death & Taxes intrigues me. Thanks for your generosity!

  25. Keith Sloan

    With artwork like that, who would NOT want to win something like that?!?

  26. I would love to have this so I could jailbreak it and run it in several settings that its rules did not intend! Creativity and beauty like this should have the opportunity to get displayed in Guns of Telluria, Fictive Hack, and other weirdo games! Good for their resume. =)

  27. Rhacos is easily the best Death Chicken in my collection, and possibly one of the Best Minis Ever. The figures for Death & Taxes look amazing — count me in for any adventure with such deliciously OSR figures!

    • Everyone else is lucky this is a random contest because “death chicken” would have taken it. I love the Rhacos feather and all.

      • The feather is what makes that one illustration where they look like sharks so hilarious….*JAWS music*

  28. Awesome giveaway! You are a gentleman and a scholar.

  29. Sal clarino

    I would love a copy of this because as a life long gamer I need to try every RPG atlest once.

  30. I have Whisper and Venom, and I look forward to the day I can run them for my boys.

    It is a work of love, put together by someone who truly enjoys the game. And who doesn’t like the idea of a demented little villain bringing ruin to . . . well, everyone.

  31. I am familiar with Lesser Gnome through the mythoard boxes. The material they have provided there has been wonderful and this would fit perfectly in my new sandbox campaign. Happy Holidays to the OSR.

  32. Benjamin Wade Hruby


    I am unsure how to enter, or how to win. In fact I am not even sure what is going on! I saw a facebook post, ended up here, and other comment(ors) are excited to “win” some contest. I would like to enter if possible, but how does one enter?

    Thanks in advance! And cheers to all races, short or old, may the ever-night star guide your path!

    • Just say why you want to win a copy and you get entered into the contest 🙂

      • Benjamin Wade Hruby

        Understood! Sandbox has always been my go to method of gaming. Yes I used pre-imagined modules, yes I use pre-imagined worlds, but in the end, I find myself grabbing dozens of references and throwing them at my players 3-4 at a time. Choices are EVERYTHING. And while I don’t railroad, I do make it clear that just because they aren’t going somewhere “Now” doesn’t mean things won’t change! Winning(or buying should I come up unlucky) would add an Amazing looking resource to my arsenal. And since it is designed FOR the sandbox style, I will have to do less prepping and that means more Role Playing! What more can one ask for!?!

  33. Lincoln Shone

    This looks great. I’d love to see the looks on the faces of my players when their peregrinations lead them to a mysterious part of the broader map…and I open up the Death and Taxes box, cackling to myself!

  34. That D&T set looks fantastic. The physical components are just amazing but, more importantly, the adventure reads as though it would be great fun to play.

    Merry Christmas!

  35. Jacob Kipfer

    I want to win this fantastic item because I love rpg box sets! Thanks for making this happen. Have a happy holiday

  36. Evan Edwards

    My wife and I host about 60 people a week at our home who all play games. So having this on the shelves would give many many people an opportunity to play.

    And since I’m rolling dice for every OSR Christmas item, 2d10: 14.

  37. I’d like to win because this looks amazing! Thanks!

  38. I’ve not had the chance to play Death and Taxes, although we’ve discussed it in my gaming group. Would love to win this to play it.

  39. Matthew Skail

    Holy cow, this is beautiful! I want to win it because it looks like it would be an amazing campaign!

  40. This looks like a pretty awesome set, with the maps and handouts and minis. I greatly prefer sandbox style games and the miniatures look great.
    Thanks for doing this!

  41. I would love to win this because I am just getting back into tabletop gaming, and this would be a huge boon to my sparse resources. Thanks for the chance 🙂

  42. I’m excited about Death & Taxes because it looks like such a comprehensive sandbox… I can’t think of another of such depth.

  43. Robert Lambert

    I’m chaotic evil and greedy so I want the prize! I deserve the prize! I will stop at nothing to get the prize!

  44. Why do I want a copy of Death & Taxes? The obvious reasons are obvious – the entire thing is gorgeous from top to bottom, the premise intriguing and it would be a steal of a deal if paid for, much less won. But that’s an easy calculus, ingrained in my gamer DNA – shiny books and excellent art and mini’s and dice and . . . oh my, where did all my shelf space go? That’s why I pick something up off the shelf. But it’s not why I end up playing it.

    I want Death and Taxes because, years from now I want to point to a sprawling campaign map, made of printed scraps and hand drawn hex-sheets all tacked and taped meticulously around the poster map above (now LADEN with sticky notes and pen scratches of past adventures) and say “Yeah, that’s where the campaign started. See, there was this Taxman and . . .”: ‘cuz a good location based adventure isn’t just an adventure, it’s a tiny corner of a sandbox that hasn’t been explored yet and yearns to be. And, well, I can see the hint of sandy dunes already just in the opening lines – empires, Auctors, auditors and gnolls? /I/ certainly want to see what’s over the next horizon, and I’m sure my players will too.

  45. I want Death and Taxes because the whole idea of a Tax collector coming to the frontier is great. Too often games taxes and such are ignored but they shouldn’t be. I am excited to see how it is used and how it can force players to deal with moral problems in a campaign.

    Also it looks pretty.

  46. Mark Merrell

    That looks amazing! Sign me up!

    I’m actually planning an OSR campaign and was fumbling around with world creation. This might be just the thing!

    Whoever wins…lucky bastard!

  47. Anthony Ray

    As an exotic (Australia) more than happy to fork out for shipping given the awesomeness of the giveaway!

  48. Mark W Bruce

    I’ve been looking at this and the Whispers & Venom boxed set recently as I’m about to kick off a new campaign next year and am looking for a new sandbox. I particularly like the amount of detail that both boxed sets seem to contain, so am hopeful to win a copy of Death & Taxes here. Thanks to Tenkar and The Lesser Gnome!

  49. Max Schneider

    Looks like a great box set. Would love a new sandbox setting to play.

  50. The primary reason I would like to win this is that Old School sandbox campaigns are my jam, so this set looks like a perfect compliment to my usual play-style. In addition, the physical set just looks attractive with lots of stuff that will be fun sorting through even before play itself begins.

  51. I wanted to be able to back the Kickstarter for this when it was running, but didn’t have the money to do so. After everything I have read and heard about it since, I have been struggling to come up with a way to get it. Fingers crossed for the season — Thanks!

  52. Bob Brinkman E.A.

    I prepare taxes for a living, this could truly bring fear to my gaming table…

  53. Ben Trautman

    This setting would be great for my group. We’ve been looking for a unique sandbox to convert to our playstyle. Death & Taxes or any of the books would fit perfectly. Not to mention the art and maps look fantastic!

  54. evangineer

    This would be a heck of a way to kickstart my new hobby as a first time GM. I’ve only discovered RPGs and OSR in the last year or so and have been trying to figure out how to get started as a GM. Death and Taxes looks like an amazing tentpole to build a sandbox around.

  55. I would love to win this. But I don’t want to be too greedy like the IRS. Besides, I’m still hoping Santa has a first printing of “Bird Of A Feather” to put in my stocking. Maybe someday.

  56. Chris Monkus

    I would love to win this sandbox, I have read so many good comments concerning Lesser Gnome products that I would definitely be jazzed up to win it. Plus I love all things Gnomish. Gnomes rule, Dwarves drool!

  57. Ngo Vinh-Hoi

    I would love to win this box set because who wouldn’t? Thanks for the amazing work & Happy Holidays!

  58. Thomas Vanstraelen

    I would love to win this because it looks very cool and I’d really like to try sandbox play.

  59. Kelly L'Roy

    I need to win “Death & Taxes” so that I may lock it away and save the world from death & taxes, thereby being a complete hero to everyone. What do you mean, you have more? Hmm, my plan may need adjusting…. But you’ve got to start somewhere to why not me, here, now?

  60. Avram R. Shannon

    I love campaign settings, of all types. I am fairly new to OSR (in many ways being brought in by the generosity of the OSR Christmas). I would like to win a copy of the “Death and Taxes” box set because of my love of sandbox settings, and because having this beautiful box set would give a great chance to experience OSR style gaming first hand.

  61. It was cool meeting the lesser gnomes at Garycon this year. Look forward to getting in some games with you if able this year. With all the Gygax drama I’m beginning to wonder what the future will hold. I painted the gnome wizard mini I got at your booth and the lesser gnome button is proudly displayed

    • I will certainly be at GaryCon and would love a pic of the Mini! As for games this year I am hoping the run the next Braunstein game, I love the games there that cannot be played anywhere else 🙂

  62. Jan Groeneveld

    I heard so many good things about this product (and Erik gushes about the quality of Lesser Gnome products in general like a schoolgirl about Justin Bieber) that I want to see it for myself.

  63. I love boxed sets and I will hug it and squeeze it and call it George.

  64. Shawn Rice

    02-18-22-34-59 and the powerball is 11. Did I win!?!?!?

  65. Congratulations to the winners, and thank you again to the kind folks at Lesser Gnome for making OSR Christmases deadlier … er, more taxing … uh, Gnomier. That’ll do.


  1. Moe Lane » So, Death & Taxes is up for an Ennie! - […] and when the dust cleared I didn’t think that I had enough players to run it properly.  But Death…

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