This is the system reference document—SRD—for the Dangerous Journeys—DJ—system. DJ was designed by E. Gary Gygax and friends to emulate the world of adventure stories as presented in various media.


In an adventure story one has an adventure. The adventure can occur most anywhere, at any time, and for any reason. It very often, but not always, involves travel, meeting people, and finding new and different things. It may mean finding a lost civilization, discovering a lost treasure, or learning anew a lost secret. It is the sort of thing characters such as Gilgamesh of Uruk and Scrooge McDuck of Duckburg get involved in.

The Player

As a player it is your role to play a role, to take on the part of an individual—called an Heroic Persona, or HP in DJ—who’s part it is to have adventures. That is, to go off the new lands, meet exotic peoples, encounter strange beasts, and return home with tales to tell.

Your most important task is to amuse the guide, the Journeys Master in Dangerous Journeys. As part of that you’ll need to stay involved, engaged in other words. And that means not getting distracted by matters outside play such as email, another game, or side talk. Stay focused in other words.

Most importantly, play your role. Be the wandering vagabond or star ship crewman on leave in some deteriorating dive. Let yourself interact with who or whatever you meet as if you were actually there and he was actually interacting with you. That means staying in the moment and in first person.

Think of it as a sort of very intimate improvisational theater

And remember that an RPG is at best an imitation of reality, not reality itself.

The Guide

As the Guide—Journey Master or JM in DJ—it is your t, ask to present the setting of the RPG in question. Your setting may be an Oort Cloud object in Abyss, or a run down street in Unhallowed, but regardless of where the adventures take place you will need to know it well enough to give a good description to your players, and its inhabitants well enough to play them convincingly.


Be there. Whether guide or player be there. Participate, get involved and stay involved. In short, stay in character. You’re supposed to be Harold the goblin handyman looking into rumors of strange creatures haunting a London crypt in Mythus, and not a player to whom Harold is just a playing piece.

Dangerous Journeys is only a set of tools for having imaginary adventures, and those adventures can only really work so long as you are there.


This work is dedicated to the memory of E. Gary Gygax who designed the Dangerous Journeys system


This work is ©2018 by Alan Kellogg, all rights reserved.

The mechanics described here on the other hand are in the public domain since they are mechanics and so cannot be considered unique expressions but procedures. As procedures they can be patented but not copyrighted. Since they are by and large based on procedures used by earlier workers, that means that they really can’t be patented since by and large the procedures they are based on are in the public domain anyway.