A downloadable Zine

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Seek the empty, the broken and dilapidated; it is closer than you think.

Search for the uncanny, the hidden and wrong; they are unsettling to you.

Observe this spot with your eyes, your hands and breath; let it inside you

Whisper so that only you may hear:

“I wish to see the vast in the dark”

And fall backwards without fear.

You are already there-

The sky is black as night, a tectonic rumbling can be heard overhead; the ruins sprawl out with a fractal madness, their shapes incoherent and puzzling; and a vast sea of colorless sand stretches out into the darkness, broken only by the titanic pillars that disappear impossibly into the lightless sky.

This is The Vast, a liminal realm hidden far away from our own. Always waning and on the verge of collapse, it is host to countless lost souls and alien treasures hidden within its crumbling ruins.

The Vast in the Dark is an exploration setting for the world’s most popular role-playing game and takes place in a crumbling alien wasteland filled with brutalist mega-structure ruins. It includes tools for generating massive areas to explore as well as unique player options and gameplay changes to keep the focus on player choice and ingenuity over dice-rolling and chance.

The Vast in the Dark Contains:

  •  Brutalist Alien flavor: the setting is a lightless wasteland populated by brutalist megastructures. Small societies of and factions have cropped up and settled within the various ruins attempting to survive and remain sane.
  •  No-Prep World Generation: The main goal of this zine is to provide GMs a toolbox to build a massive hexcrawl map, a local area within each hex, and dungeon complexes within those smaller local areas quickly and easily enough that you can do it on the fly (no prep work needed). 
  •  Player Options of The Vast: some feat/perks with flavor, from "Ruinplucker" to "Vacant Amygdala" designed to give "weird tools" for the player to use and exploit.
  •  Navigation, Inventory, and exhaustion system: quick down-and-dirty rules for surviving the wastes and how to run these areas without worrying about micromanagement.
  •  Optional Horror Elements: The Harrowing is a form of ego-decay, a slow erosion of the psyche that befalls all who find themselves trapped within The Vast. Linger too long and you will lose memories, joys, and even the drive to leave. It is only a matter of time before you become one of the Crawl...
  • Soundtrack: A haunting, ambient soundtrack by Donn Stroud, for exploring the blasted wastes and the alien depths...


For physical copies, come visit our online store!


Buy Now$5.00 USD or more

In order to download this Zine you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $5 USD. You will get access to the following files:

The Vast in the Dark - original A5 zine.zip 71 MB
VitD_Discount.pdf 157 kB
Location and settlements.pdf 1 MB
VitD Character Sheet.pdf 1 MB
VitD-Expanded_Digital.pdf 20 MB
if you pay $15 USD or more

Development log


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Hi! In the Digital expanded version, in the text of the Cinderhowl (at pg 39) the summon damage is still missing

I love this so much! The art in this is the most evocative and melancholic out of any piece of art I have ever seen ever.

any way we could get a pdf of the expanded edition’s character sheet?


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Hi, I didn't notice the expanded version in tiered purchasing before I bought the base level. What email would be best to contact you after throwing another $10 at the game? I see you've posted different emails in the comments here.

Also, is the itch version supposed to come with a free copy of the Bandcamp soundtrack, or do we need to buy that separately?

Howdy, shoot me an email to charlesfergusonavery@gmail.com

Thanks! I've sent an email with proof of my receipt.

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Hi! Bought the expanded version of this adventure the day before yesterday and all in all I can say is that it looks amazing! Can't wait to dive my players into this world this Saturday!

I do have one question about Grit and Flesh.

Do I understand correctly that these two parameters completely replace HP, and the main mechanical difference between Grit and Flesh is the recovery rate?

Also, I would like to understand how these stats work narratively, since my players are very interested in wagering even small wounds :)

If a character has 10 Grit and 5 Flesh (10/5) and has to take 9 damage, he's left with 1/5. And as a result of such a hit, the character will only get bruises and minor scratches, right?

And if the character with 1/5 gets 4 damage, does that mean he has 0/2 left and from the narrative point of view he gets quite a serious wound?

Yes to all of the above, it also sets up some interesting situations where someone is all grit but low flesh (someone who operates on spite and tenacity) versus a low grit high flesh character (someone who gets injured pretty easily but manages to survive time and time again)

interesting, thanks for the answer!:)

Hi.  I brought the physical copy from the Feral Indie Studio site and it stated it came with the pdf available from this site.  Not sure how to claim it as it mentioned nothing about it in the order confirmation email.  Any help is much appreciated.

Can do, shoot us an email at feralindiestudio.com and we'll square you away

I would like to get in contact over direct messages involving a small error with my purchase that I would like addressed if possible?

yup, shoot me an email to charlesfergusonavery@gmail.com and I'll get you settled

Rushed my purchase and didn't see the option for the expanded version. Already paid 5$. Is there a way to upgrade to the full expanded version if I paid up for the base?

yup, just throw another 10 and shoot me an email to charlesfergusonavery@gmail.com, I'll get you a key

Uhhh so I bought this and it doesn't include the Expanded Edition like the artwork implies? What gives?


It was mentioned below by others, but on page 37 the description for “Cinderhowl” is incomplete. looks like something got accidentally highlighted and backspaced while writing.

“Once cast everything within However, the noise from the spell…”


Yes, I also came to ask about the missing text for Cinderhowl!

Yeah, I'm replying 9 months after and have become quite annoyed that we can't get a simple errata posted.


I did buy first the zine then the expanded edition. And i must say that although the zine was great the expanded edition..is even better. The author has gone and expanded what made this setting so evocative and unsettling.
If you want to live existencially terrorific adventures in a doomed brutalist landscape this is for you. And if you don't give it a try anyway ^^

Has shipping for the expanded version already begun?

Yup, some are still in transit, so far none have been returned to sender

Still didn't get the physical copy :(

Btw: can I get the soundtrack?

I purchased the original a while back and then purchased the expanded edition today; but, when I access the files the VitD-Expanded_Digital.pdf is not among the files (only the other 4). 

OK. I didn't see the grayed text stating $15 to include the Expanded. Since I already purchased the original at $5 and just now paid another $5 then can I pay another $5 to get access to the Expanded? Sorry if I'm making it difficult - why not just have separate pages(?).

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Gar! I purchased the original from DTRPG! OK, since I paid $5 here then can I pay another $10 to get access to the expansion or do I need to pay another $15? 

no problem, yeah if you just pay the 10 I'll send you a key. Shoot me an email at feralindiestudio@gmail.com and we'll sort it out


Awesome book! Some great tools, the art rocks, the setting does neat things. Key book for most gaming collections


The tier purchase doesnt seem to be working, i broughtthe non expanded game and realized that there was an expansion, but when im going to add the 10 dollars it doesnt seem to be broughting the expansion, want to buy it but it seems to cost me the full 15 dollars


Same issue here. :(

I don't know if you've gotten it sorted already given it's been a while, but the way the tiered purchase works on itch is having a single purchase for the full amount. Feral Indie Studio in other comments is saying that if you just add another $10 purchase and email them, they'll send you a key.


Has anyone managed to decode the binary square on page 35 of the expanded edition? I think it might be a 2D barcode when you color it in but none of the scanners seem to be able to detect anything.

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Yep, it’s just text encoded to binary, so pasting it in any binary to ascii decoder will suffice. Decoded, it’s the ritual for leaving the Vast, which is basically the inverse of the one for entering it. It was a bit tricky to copy the diagonal text block on mobile but I managed it. Here’s the plaintext:

Leaving the Vast

Seek the lush, the mended, and familiar

It is closer than you think

Search for the canny, the clear and benign

They are comforting to you

Hide this spot from your eyes, your hands and breath.

Leave it outside you

Shout so all may hear:

I wish to leave the vast in the dark

And fall forward with dread

You are home.


I've purchased the original on DrivethruRPG.  Is there a way to obtain a discount for the expanded edition, either here or on DRPG?


Following up.  Any thoughts?


Not entirely sure why no responses here, or on the DTRPG site.


On page 37, for the Cinderhowl spell, the description is incomplete. it only lists the consequence and not the spell effect


Bumping this since I also noticed that and am wondering what that spell’s intended to do.

(2 edits) (+2)

Is there a way to get the 5 usd discount on the expanded game here? I purchased the original game, over an year ago and I thought I'd pick up the expanded version.


As a previous supporter, I'm wondering about this as well.


It SHOULD be available as a purchase of 10 extra dollars, itch allows for tiered purchasing so if you bought if for $5 it should only cost $10 (or $15 total)

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The tier applies to only new buyers, I guess?

crap... if you bought it for $15 altogether and it doesn't go through I'll send a key via email

Okay, I will try and get back to you.

Awesome, I'll give this a shot.


The tiered purchase doesn't work for me, either. I bought the pdf a while ago here on itch :(


I also don't see the tiered purchase price

Love the original! Can't wait to see the Expanded!

Hmmm...I'm getting vibes  of Dark Souls,  the Night Land, and  that  BLAME! Manga in the description of this setting?


Not wrong, the Dark Souls vibe is more coincidental (it unfortunately influences damn near everything I make at this point) while the setting of BLAME! definitely played a part in influencing Vast. 

Never heard of The Night Land, but looking into it I'm intrigued.


I'd personally recommend "The Night Land" retelling by James  Stoddard, which  updates the archaic prose/characterization of the original and really lets the "Far future Earth where  the sun has gone out and horrors swarm around the final fortress cities of humanity" setting shine.


I ordered a physical copy of the original zine through the store on your website. How do I get my discount code for the expanded version?

Hi! I really love this zine, bought on dtrpg a bit ago, and today saw that this page had the VitD "Expanded" and the images of the spreads for pages 12-13 with new art and rules for pillar delving. So I bought it again, and I do not see any expanded content, just the original zine I downloaded. Did I miss something obvious? 

Info from Reddit: preorders for the physical copy start on the third and distribution is planned for December.

My own conjecture: as the images here have updated I am assuming that the PDFs here may get updated closer to or after the above timeframe, but that’s still just a guess, so yeah

Oohh cool thnx!


Hey! So yeah, there's going to be an updated and expanded version of the zine later this month. The original will still be available here for $5 but there will also be the expanded version for $15 (or as a $10 upgrade if you already own the original).

I've been busy finishing the zine so haven't had the time to put together a devlog.


Thank you for letting me know!

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Can you play solo?


just got this, is there any way we could get a Spreads version and a Booklet version for pdfs? thanks so much, excited to try it out.


I'd had my eyes on this little game for a while, which seemed like a cousin to the very attractive family of underground and mysterious space exploration games (I'm thinking of Grant Howitt's The Rules of the Deep but also the sublime Veins in the Dark of course), with, indeed, a small system to generate infinite and dark spaces.

This is a game that's all about sketches, but with a system of rules that supports this atmosphere of survival / anxiety: adapted inventory rules, a logic of memories serving as health points, a very nice bestiary...

It makes me want to go underground once again, and that's not just a question of high temperatures.

Oh neet stuff


Hello. I just brought this, was the soundtrack suppose to be included?

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Yep, this was pretty cool.  I was going through the KS and somehow missed there was a soundtrack.  I need to pay more attention.

I was going through this and noticed one small thing on the last stretch goal:

$17K - Printable Paper Minis - All backers get a PDF for printable minis of Characters and monsters for the Vast in the Dark.

I can't honestly find a link to the printable paper minis.  I went and bought the itchio bundle because I like to support developers and I noticed it didn't have it either.  Were these made or forgotten?  It happens sometimes.  I might have to email you directly.

The sense of scale is great here. I love how you build out the hex maps and layer them up; same with the ruins. Can't wait to run this. 


I’ve read and re-read this zine multiple times. Love it. 


I don't know what I was expecting when purchasing, but I'm pretty impressed by the depth of content.  Definitely a standout compared to a lot of zines, especially for the price.  I plan on using it in conjunction with Veins of the Earth for some monolithic, alien, Underdark play :3

Any suggestion for what level D&D characters would be good for a mini campaign through the Vast? 


Adding my name to the list of folks who want this in print again!


Were you ever able to find a distributor did physical copies in the US? Would love to buy one if there are any out there!


Hi, it looks awesome. I +1 POD requests. Keep up the good work!

The location and settlements pdf, if I was looking to print that out would it work fine on regular 8.5 by 11 paper?

Yup! That or A4 paper, if its a little off (because of printer bleed limits) just do "Fit to Page" and it should be fine!



Any updates on a print copy being made available somewhere in the US? Thanks!

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