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Rivers of London: The Roleplaying Game - PDF

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2023 ENNIE Awards

Magic has returned to our world

“I think becoming a wizard is about discovering what's real and what isn't.”

—Ben Aaronovitch, Rivers of London

In Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game, players take on the roles of newly recruited members of the London Metropolitan Police Service’s special magic branch, aka “the Folly.” You will solve mysteries, catch criminals, and come to grips with the “demi-monde”—those who have been irreversibly changed by magic.


What's Inside

The Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game core book contains everything you need to start exploring Ben Aaronovitch's magical version of London.

The World at your Fingertips

New Recruits

This single, epic volume is for both players and Game Moderators alike! The tome comprises all the rules you need for fully-fledged Rivers of London campaigns.

Build your group of freshly-recruited officers of the Folly with character creation, expand and grow those characters with the complete rules for character advancement, and enjoy extensive advice for running tabletop RPGs—and Rivers of London specifically—provided for the Game Moderator.


Learn to Play by Playing

Collaborative Storytelling

Explore a magical mystery in London, and learn the rules of the game as you play! The solo adventure, based on the short story “The Domestic,” is designed to introduce a player to the world of Rivers of London and the mechanics of the game.

Also included is “The Bookshop”—a standalone adventure designed for a first-time group of players.

Additional Rules

Explore Magical London & Beyond


Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game includes setting information and history, and the wondrous details of how the “Newtonian” magic system works. The book also contains a full list of spells derived from those found in the novels of Ben Aaronovitch.

To give both players and Game Moderators the best sense of the setting and role of their characters, special attention is paid to detailing how police work in London, and how criminal investigations are carried out.

This book also includes exclusive Rivers of London short fiction by Ben Aaronovitch.

Tower Bridge

Do you play Call of Cthulhu?

Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game is based off the award-winning Basic Roleplaying System used in Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest and many other games.

If you are familiar with the core mechanics from Call of Cthulhu like rolling D100s, using Luck, and getting Hard Successes, then you’ll pick up Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game in no time!.

What is Rivers of London?

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch is the first novel in the long-running series of urban fantasy novels, that focuses on the Officers of the Folly as they explore the magic-tainted city of London, and solve intricate, arcing mysteries.

You can buy Rivers of London and other novels from Ben Aaronovitch’s webstore, on Kindle and Kobo eReaders, and from all good bookshops.

Downloads for this Product

GM Map and Diagram Pack
GM Plain Text Handouts Pack
GM Reference Booklet
NPC Portrait Pack
Player Handouts, Map and Diagram Pack
Players Rules Crib Sheets
Pre-Gen Investigators
Blank Character Sheet

Rivers of London Auto-Calc Character Sheets

Rivers of London - Investigator - Color
Rivers of London - Investigator - Greyscale (PDF)
Rivers of London - Demi-Monde - Color
Rivers of London - Demi-Monde - Greyscale

What The Critics Say

Rivers of London Reviews

  • "A superb realization of a much-loved series, dripping with character while offering fast and streamlined mechanics. Another classic in the making, and deservedly so... Chaosium have been pushing out great game after great game for years now, and this is no exception. A delight."

    — Paul Mackintosh, RPGNet Review.

  • "Rivers of London is in good hands... Gamers new to the system or new to RPGs will find a surprisingly clear and concise presentation of the rules in a step-by-step procedural format, complete with meaningful and relevant examples that are both easy to understand and easy to find."

    — Runeslinger, Youtube Review.

  • "A fantastic gateway into tabletop role-playing games… All in all, if this was your first ever role-playing game, you’re in good hands... If you’re a fan of the series of novels, this game is probably a must-have. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something that isn’t loaded with well-worn fantasy tropes, then this might be worth considering, especially for novice gamers."

    — British Fantasy Society, Rivers of London Review.

  • “A superb adaptation"

    — Rolling Boxcars, Rivers of London; Giving it a London Once-Over.

  • “9/10: You don’t have to be well-versed in Rivers of London to want to pick up this roleplaying game… a ‘must own’.

    — The Gaming Gang, Review and Page-Through Video.

  • “I genuinely think we’re in the middle of a Chaosium golden age right now, and Rivers of London is one of the fruits of it… As for the game itself, it’s got a lovely presentation – with nice full-colour art, a crisp, clear, readable front, no distracting background patterns to impact readability, and two ribbon bookmarks. The actual execution is an interesting mix of classic Chaosium design and organisation principles with modern attitudes, which is exactly what you’d want to do when introducing a new game line which feels fresh and distinct enough to appeal to a new audience whilst still being part of a longer-standing family of games.”

    — Refereeing & Reflection, Rivers of London: Classic Chaosium Project, Modern Chaosium Attitude.

  • "The whimsical and at times humorous Urban Fantasy setting of Rivers of London makes it ideal as either a first TTRPG or a transition game for players looking to expand beyond Dungeons & Dragons. There’s just enough familiar fantasy stuff to be engaging, but not so much that it feels tired or cliched... It goes without saying that if you’re a fan of the novels, Rivers Of London: The Roleplaying Game is a must-have addition to the bookshelf, and stands alone in its own right as an excellent and accessible TTRPG with something to offer everyone."

    — GameOnAUS, Rivers Of London: The Roleplaying Game.

  • ”(The) close relationship with Aaronovitch and the team’s passion for the project has paid off with a game that faithfully captures both the tone and feel of the books.”

    — 'Scry me a River’ - Wyrd Science #4, Wyrd Science #4.

  • “Ben Aaronovitch has achieved one of his life’s ambitions and has an RPG of his work created. This thing of beauty exists!”

    — Files and Records blog, Looking beyond the Rivers….

  • “Based on the wildly successful novels of the same name, the Rivers of London RPG blends fantastical adventures with good old police procedural action to create a wonderfully unique experience at the tabletop.”

    — Tabletop Gaming Magazine #77, Rivers of London: The Roleplaying Game Review.

  • "Rivers of London: the Roleplaying Game is absolutely the roleplaying adaptation that Ben Aaronovitch dreamed of for his novels."

    — Reviews from R'lyeh, Fantasy of the Folly.

See the Call of Cthulhu Characters from the Rivers of London Cast

Lucinda Songthrush Character Sheet Image

See Call of Cthulhu investigators based on the ones created by Molly, Nightingale, Abigail, and Indigo during the short story “An Introduction to Collaborative Storytelling,” by Ben Aaronovitch, found in the book.

Download the ZIP file here.

Rivers of London, including all distinctive characters and locations © 2011–2022 Ben Aaronovitch. Used with permission.

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Rivers of London
Year Released:
Page Count:
Full Color PDF
Ben Aaronovitch, Graeme Barber, Paul Fricker, Adam Gauntlett, Lloyd Gyan, Lynne Hardy, Gavin Inglis, Mike Mason, Keris McDonald, Lucya Szachnowski
Cover Artist:
Lin Hsiang
Interior Artist:
Gary Bedell, Irene Cano, JB Casacop, Caleb Cleveland, Doruk Golcu, Richard Hardy, Kurt Komoda, Anh Le, Lucas Marques, Ernest Mason, Maurice Mosqua, Nicholas Nacario, Matt Ryan, Brooklyn Smith, Anastasia Magloire Williams
Alyssa Faden, Matt Ryan, Anna Urbanek
Nicholas Nacario, Simeon Cogswell
  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Magic British Cops is Fun

    Posted by Paul Fisher on 12th Mar 2023

    Bottom line is this game is a ton of fun. To be exact, I have ran this system with my two regular RPG groups, one online and one in person. None of my players were familiar with the Rivers of London books. This includes both running the prewritten adventure and writing two more of my own. Pros: - Explaining the rules to someone who has played some DnD or other RPGs is dead easy. - Using the books as a basis for the setting is wonderful because there is so much background you can use to add color beyond what is in the handbook. - Rules are clearly written and straight forward to run. - Basically premise of cops hunting ghosts, negotiating with gods, and solving crimes is inherently fun. We had people stitched up in laughter across our games and people want to play again. Cons: - The core rules mostly contain content from the books summarized. Ex. the spell list is limited enough that having more than a few magical characters will mean heavily overlapping spell choice. Adding more spells and new NPCs/creatures would of been nice. - Lack of pre-written first or third party casefiles. I'm enjoying writing my own but it would be very nice (and I would pay for) some additional well written casefiles I could easily run. Overall a very fun system that could use some additional supplemental content to ensure longevity and support new GMs.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    Rivers of London: Great first scenario!

    Posted by Rob Helm on 13th Feb 2023

    I had a great time with my family running The Bookshop included scenario. The group was not that familiar with roleplaying games but picked up the system immediately. One player who had read the books said the game did a great job using the setting. It made for a fun afternoon. I am glad I bought this and I recommend it.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Empty Star 4
    A game of magical mysteries - Great for those new to the system.

    Posted by Will Wilshere on 14th Jan 2023

    As someone with no previous experience of CoC I was unsure how quickly I would adapt to this game. However, the solo tutorial adventure takes you through step by step and by the end you have quickly learnt the basics of both character creation and gameplay - with replay value due to the "choose your own adventure" style of the tutorial. As a long time RoL fan this is packed with lore fans will recognise, but also works as a standalone introduction to the universe. RoL is a series about magical police, but grounded in the mundane of investigating it like any other mystery - just with exceptional means. Action is short and sharp - guns are rare in this setting and even minor fist fights hold tension brilliantly. No DnD style slog fests that I'm used to. The system also allows for fights to end "badly" without ever being deadly, your character being "down" may just mean not able to continue fighting whilst the baddies run away. The London setting has plenty of information, though as I am now living in Germany I look forward to attempting to use the rules for creating new settings to attempt to create a game based in my now local Lower Saxony. The game could use slightly more information on supernatural opponents to create - particularly ghosts - though it is generally Fae and human magical or semi-magical situations you will likely create adventures around. The game does offer plenty of prompts for cases you can create, and the investigation aspect is the key - and combat is generally not the ideal resolution.

  • Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star 5
    excellent, easy-play game in the CoC family

    Posted by Neil Taylor on 30th Nov 2022

    Phew! rushed over and bought the PDF, and have dipped in to key sections. Overall - I like it! Very like recent CoC, but further simplified - so you end up starting with 0, 30% or 60% in skills - untrained, not-incompetent, or competent. Nice! Keeps Luck, but reduces refresh ... OK De-emphasises firearms - it's based in the UK, so only specialists ever use guns. Combat is dangerous. You have what amounts to 4 HP. Weapons do 1 or 2 typically, unless dangerous, or special roll - 3 is bad, 4 is deadly, 5 is gone (unless you have Luck to burn). Umm - don't get hit kiddies! OTOH most combat is non-lethal - all parties may be "taken out" of the fight, but recover after end of combat. If the Law wins, the bad guys get arrested at that point. If the heroes lose, they get dumped, robbed, or taken away (to be rescued later!). Magic - I'm not sure about. It's very easy & playable, but loses the flavour of RoL books. Coming in as an Ars Magica fan, Aaronovitch's novels are *very* like Ars Magica (Latin, Formae,...)... but this is D100, and a simplified, playable variant even of that. Single "Magic" skill, starting at 60% for trained practitioners, and you can Master spells to grant an automatic Bonus Die when casting. Hefty emphasis on investigation. Sense Vestigia is a Common skill (base 30% for everyone) - hmm - I thought you really needed to have Vestigia pointed out to you before you stopped ignoring them. Improvement/Development does away with the faff of ticking skill uses for experience, throws out improvement rolls, and adds Development Points - typically 1/session, +1 or 2 at "end of chapter" which is when you spend them on 5/10% boosts, on new skills, or accumulate to buy Talents. Much better! You can also use DP to learn or master spells.