Porcupine Publishing

header photo


altMALANDROS: A tabletop role-playing game of swindlers and street fighters, of love, hate and community – in the last days of imperial Brazil.





About the Game

Rio de Janeiro at the end of the 19th century: a city of slums and palaces, street gangs and tycoons, magic charms and outlawed martial arts. Cunning, bohemian and streetwise, the malandro walks its streets without fear - because there's always a way out.

Malandros is based on the award-winning DramaSystem rules engine. It's a game of personal struggles and interpersonal dramas.

You play characters in a tight-knit community caught up in tumultuous times: gang leaders, captains of industry, fishermen, martial artists, swindlers and more. You all know each other - you're family, friends, rivals or enemies, all living in the same part of town. You all want something from each other. Maybe it's respect, maybe it's love. Maybe it's fear, or something else. 

Will you get what you want? That's what we're here to find out.



The text of Malandros is available free under a Creative Commons licence. I don't think it's Powered by the Apocalypse but quite a few people disagree. 
Click here to read the game in plain text.


How to get a copy of Malandros

Click the links below to order a copy in the format of your choice.

If you buy a printed book, please get in touch and I'll send you a free copy of the PDF to go with it – make sure to uncheck the "add PDF" option on the ordering page.










"The most singular and romantic RPG in my collection." - Tun Kai Poh

"Malandros does for Hillfolk what Urban Shadows does for Apocalypse World (and what second-gen OSR games like the Black Hack do for BECMI D&D). It’s a second generation spin on a foundation text, clarifying and retooling [an] innovative system into something more accessible and functional, but also a conscious deviation. Malandros is something special, and if you’re a tablet reader the PDF is a bargain." - Ralph Lovegrove, Department V

"An exciting narrative game set in a city of colour and culture. Malandros is an excellent example of a roleplaying game dedicated to dramatic interactions. Everything in the book, text, layout, artwork and rules supports this goal. Worth buying just to look at." - Jaye Foster, 6d6 Blog


"Tom McGrenery did some splendid work on this game. It's a rare gem, regarding its historical setting and flavor."
- Josephe Vandel, Mapforge

"O período histórico e seus ricos personagens são explorados de maneira magistral." ("The historical period and its rich personalities are explored in a masterful manner.") - André Cruz, O Velhinho do RPG



altThese corridors and decks are all you’ve known your entire life. It’s all your parents knew, it’s all your children will know. As the ship you’re in glides through the cold black vacuum of  space you have to deal with the reality of being Poor Amongst the Stars.

Poor Amongst the Stars is a setting for Malandros, written by Jaye Foster, that takes the players below decks on a generational starship. Where other games focus on the heroic deeds of the senior officers, Poor Amongst the Stars is about the powerless and unimportant characters aboard ship. Their struggles to improve conditions, gain respect or find romance are the core stories of the game. Malandros’ superb dramatic interaction system turns the conflicts within a community that lives in a confined space into a compelling narrative.

The book places the players in control of the stories and makes the creation of setting central to the game. Every ship and every game is different as the players decide what is important to their stories and what gives the character's lives meaning. Are they humanity's last hope or a bold first step into interstellar space? Is the spaceship a utopia of science and technology or an over-crowded slum where the bare necessities are an everyday struggle? Poor Amongst The Stars allows the players to explore the best and worst of humanity in a unique setting. The book adapts the classic People You Meet and Signature Moves of Malandros from the streets of Imperial Rio to the corridors of your personalised starship.

Trapped in the vast darkness of interstellar space, humanity must find a new way to live. What will you discover when you play Poor Amongst The Stars?

Buy Poor Amongst the Stars here (PDF, US$3.95 – includes PDF of Malandros Free Edition)







A ready-made neighbourhood for your Malandros game. 


São Roque is a fictional district in Rio de Janeiro where rich and poor live side by side. The PDF includes 12 major characters and details their often fractious relationships with the other eleven, with stats to use them as PCs in Malandros

Also included are a cast of supporting NPCs, 24 story seeds and a brief guide to 19th century Brazilian gangster slang.

Buy São Roque here (PDF, US$3)






GANGS OF TITAN                                                

A science fiction setting for Malandros written by Stras Acimovicalt

A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies! Titan Station is the gateway to the galaxy and the last, best hope for the future. Home to ambassadors, soldiers, spacefarers, spies... and you. 

Gangs of Titan is a 26-page PDF containing setting information, new character types, signature moves, and NPCs. 


Buy Gangs of Titan here (PDF, US$6)











OTHER BORDERS Other Borders cover

There are borders everyone sees: the looming fence with its sporadic observation platforms, the tags claiming this block or that in the name of a local gang or drug cartel, and the wrought-iron fences surrounding gated communities.

There are borders that are real only in our minds, like the imaginary lines that divide country from country, or one race from another.

But in this little southwestern town, another border reveals itself to those gifted with the power to see it: the veil between the worlds. Even today, the old ways of magic are still taught; spells, curses, visions and transformations are still practiced, and opposing clans are locked in a daily battle that no policia would ever understand.

OTHER BORDERS is an alternate setting written by Tod Foley, designed for Tom McGrenery's Malandros - a DramaSystem game.

Buy Other Borders here (PDF, US$6)





ALUMINIUM WARS   Aluminium Wars cover

A Malandros setting supplement by Mark Galeotti

In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed, and everything was up for grabs. In the industrial city of Krasnoyarsk, while the big beasts of the new gangster-businessman world fight it out for control of the local aluminium industry, corrupt cops, ambitious politicians, hustlers, thugs, and even a few idealists struggle to thrive and survive in a new Russia without rules, rhyme or reason.

 This is a world that is grimy and sullen, gritty and bitter. But it is also one in which all of a sudden nothing is impossible for those who have the guts, the ruthlessness, the luck or the confidence.

A maths teacher can become a millionaire if he learns how to run a pyramid scheme before anyone else, a boxer can become a mayor, a working girl can become the local TV anchor, a soldier back from the war in Chechnya can become a ganglord.

Buy Aluminium Wars here (PDF, US$6)






altA Malandros setting supplement by Thomas McGrenery

June 1928. East Sydney has another name: Razorhurst.

The districts of Darlinghurst, King’s Cross, Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills are a warren of sprawling slums and ramshackle, rat-infested terraces, home to violent criminals, whores, alcoholics, drug addicts and anyone too poor to move somewhere nicer. It’s a place where you can indulge all your vices.
The swirl of criminality is founded on a slew of prohibitions: evening drinking, off-track betting, prostitution, and narcotics. These bans all offer opportunities for people prepared to go the extra mile to meet customer demand. And to fight for their piece of the pie.

The Sydney Razor Gangs contains 27 pages of antipodean villainy, including new rules, new character types, setting material and 6 real-life figures of the Razorhurst underworld for use as quickstart Player Characters. 


Get The Sydney Razor Gangs here (PDF, US$3