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RetroRoleplaying: The Blog





Updated: 2017-12-15T14:43:02.070-05:00

 



New Map of The City-State of the Invincible Overlord

2017-11-24T15:40:23.872-05:00

To be honest, there's rarely anything new released that is of immediate use to me in my RPG campaigns. Today was one of those rare -- and very happy -- exceptions. Bat in the Attic Games has released (with permission of Judges Guild) a new map of the City State of the Invincible Overlord. This isn't a just a better scan of the original map from 1976, but a new map created from scratch based on the original map. To quote the description: "Now forty years later that map has been redrawn in full color. It preserves all the original detail while adding new ones like rocks, foot paths, trees, and shrubbery. This has been checked against the no-name city blueprint that was the first draft of the map. This helped to clarify details obscured by the offset printing process used in the 1970s. This map is not a scanned image of the original but has been redrawn from scratch."For a mere $8 you get several versions:* A vector based PDF with layers at 22" by 34" * A bitmap based PDF at 22" by 34"* A jpeg of the map with building labels and legends removed suitable for virtual tabletop software.* A 17" by 14" map with the city arranged in its correct location on the original 5 mile hex map published on the back of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.* A PDF with overlapping sections of the full map suitable for printing on letter size paper.* A PDF with a letter sized black and white only map suitable for taking notes on during a campaign.It's wonderful -- especially that large PDF with layers. It is much cleaner than my original from the 1970s and better in just about all ways than the scanned versions Judges Guild is currently selling in RPGNet. If you are a City State of the Invincible Overland fan, click the link below and get your copy. Thanks and a tip of the hat to Rob Conley and Bat in the Attic games for starting my holiday season off with a bang. I'll be using this map for my next Sunday game in two days. New Color City State of the Invincible Overlord Map via RPGNet (Affiliate link -- buy it via this link and I get a small percentage of the price)Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



BX Advanced Rules: Multiple Success Rolls and Probability

2017-11-18T13:20:24.027-05:00

In the "GM Advice" section of the BX Advanced rules, I'm trying to tackle a problem I see quite a bit of in play: Gamemasters not truly understanding that requiring multiple successful rolls to complete a simple task will reduce the final chance of success. Even those Gamemasters who realize this often do not seem to realize just how much requiring even a single extra roll will reduce the chance of success. The theory seems to be that players enjoy rolling dice and that having to roll dice increases tension, so breaking a task down into smaller steps that each require a success roll is a good thing. Don't get me wrong, it can be a good thing if used carefully, but most of the GMs I know don't understand how probability works when dealing with multiple independent events like die rolls. To find the probability of success you have to multiply the probabilities involved which means the final result is likely to be lower that one might expect. For example, if you require two rolls to successfully complete a task and the character has a 60% chance of success with the first roll and a 45% chance with the second roll, the character's actual chance of successfully completely the task is only 27% (.60 x .45 = .27) -- which is likely less than the average GM assumes it will be.I've added a few paragraphs on this to the GM Advice section of the BX Advanced rules. I'm trying to explain the situation clearly while not going into a lot of math/probability theory detail and will not taking up a lot of space in the room book (as I expect most peoples' eyes will glance over if I explain the math in detail or if the section is "too long". Here is my current draft. I would really like comments on it. Is it clear enough? If not what needs to be clearer? Does it take the right tone (i.e. I'm not trying to say never require multiple rolls, just that if one wants to require them one needs to understand their effect on the game)? Is it too long? Too short?Note that the quoted text below is Open Game Content under the OGL and any suggestions for improvement that you make and I use will be released as Open Game Content under the OGL. Multiple Success Rolls and ProbabilityMany Gamemasters like to break tasks like climbing a cliff into a number of success rolls, as players tend to enjoy rolling dice and Gamemasters often believe that rolling dice adds tension to the game. There is nothing wrong with doing this provided you understand and accept the effects requiring multiple successes have on the chance of failure. For example, let's take climbing a cliff. You have decided that the party needs to roll 15 or less on a D20 (a 75% chance of success) to successfully climb the cliff face and that each attempt will take about an hour. This is one roll and the characters have a 75% chance of successfully climbing you gave them, so the characters will find themselves at the top of that cliff in an hour 3 out of 4 times (i.e, 75% of the time just as you would expect from their success chance). However, if you decide that the cliff is high enough that two rolls are required, one to reach the midway point of the climb and another to reach the top of the cliff from the midpoint, then the characters will only find themselves at the top of the cliff about 12 times in 20 attempts - their chance of success dropped from 75% to about 56% (75% x 75%). If you require three rolls, the characters will only find themselves at the top of the cliff about 21 times out of every 50 attempts - the chance of success dropped to just over 42% (75% x 75% x 75%). Requiring 4 rolls drops the chance of reaching the top to just under 32% (75% x 75% x 75% x 75%). Requiring 5 rolls drops that chance to about 24% (75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 75%).While multiple die rolls for success can fun and can increase tension, multiple rolls should probably be used sparing due to the reduction in the chance of success caused by requiring multiple successful rolls to complete the task. When you choose to require multiple rolls you should generally ensure that the result of f[...]



My Five Favorite Microlite20-Based Games

2017-11-13T14:51:50.425-05:00

With the publication of the third edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection, I've been asked what some of my favorite Microlite20-based games are as there are a large number of variants in the collection. I'm always reluctant to answer such questions as my tastes in games don't always match up well with the tastes of others. However, for what its worth, here are my five favorite Microlite20-based games -- and I'm picking any the of games I've written. 5th Place: Scions of a Primordial Planet -- Some humans (Vikings!) end up on a Barsoom-like version of Mars. Of course, you could ignore the vikings and just use these rules to play on ERB's Barsoom. Either way, this is a good little game that is fun to play.4th Place: M20 Hyborian Age -- What can I say, I'm a fan of Robert E. Howard's Conan stoies and this two page (plus one page for the OGL) set of rules provides a fast and simple way to run games set in Hyboria. You have to know the world of Conan to make it work, but if you are a Conan fan like me, this isn't a problem.3rd Place: SpyLite -- I've been a fan of espionage RPGs since TSR's original Top Secret and Victory Games' James Bond games. I really wanted to like Spycraft, but found it far too complex and time-consuming for my tastes. SpyLite's goal was "to take Greywulf's excellent Microlite system, beat it senseless, and create a game that will do one-tenth of what Spycraft does, but with only one-half the work." in just 16 pages of rules, SpyLite manages to do much better than that. A couple of short SpyLite supplements are also included in the collection.2nd Place: Tumbleweed -- I grew up on Westerns, and while I can see their many flaws today (heck, I saw many of them as a kid but ignored them), I still like the fictional Old West as a setting. Tumbleweed provides a nifty set of Microlite20-based rules for Old West campaigns that work and do not include some type of fantasy aspect. Note that there are other two Old West variants in the collection that do include fantasy aspects if you want goblins or magic in your setting.1st Place: Stargate 1895 -- "In November of 1893 the renowned Egyptologist Lord Conway made an amazing discovery in the Qattara Depression. It was in a previously unsurveyed temple complex, buried beneath the floor of what appeared to be a great tomb. In his journal he described the artefact as ‘a giant quoit of an unknown metal, some 8 yards across." Yes, a stargate is discovered by English explorers in the late Victorian era and eagle-headed men come through when it is opened a couple of years later. The British government turns the problem and the stargate over to Mycroft Holmes. The PC are explorers travelling through the stargate. What's not to like when you combine Stargate with the Victorian era British Empire? There are many more good variants, including variants designed around Star Wars, Star Trek, superheroes, zombie invasions, Star Frontiers, etc. Download the free/Pay-What-You-Want copy of the Third Edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection and you can decide the best ones for yourself.You can download the current (2017) edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection in the above listed games and many more on RPGNow (click here to download) where it is a "Pay-What-You-Want" game with a Suggested Price of $0.00. Just enter a "0" in the price box and you are good to go. The current edition is about 2000 pages and is a 63 megabyte download. If you don't have an RPGNow/DriveThruRPG account, you can get 2017 edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection via this Mediafire link (but you have to put up with Mediafire's ads). You can also get the individual games from the download area of the unofficial Microlite20 website if you do not want the entire collection.I'd love to hear about your favorites in the comments! Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a[...]



BX Advanced Update: New Playtest Edition and Other News

2017-11-11T10:19:47.581-05:00

A new playtest version of the BX Advanced project is available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors. BX Advanced is a clone the Basic/Expert rules using the First Edition classes, spells, monsters, and treasure. In other words, it is First edition played the way many people who started playing with B/X (or later, BECMI) and then moved on to the "advanced" edition played the game. This second playtest edition simply combines the open game content from a popular B/X and a popular 1e clone with new material. Major new material in this second playtest pdf: barbarian class, bard class, experience rank system, advantages and disadvantages, psionics, unedited optional dominion rules. The formatting has been greatly improved since the first playtest version -- which makes this version much more useful. While more material will be added, what you have here should be quite playable "as is".Other BX Advanced News: First, A number of people have asked me if I could also produce a "less modified" version of BX Advanced -- one that stays closer to being just 1e using the B/X rules and does not include mutations, additional classes, technology, etc. Given that none of these additions have made it beyond notes we are using in my Sunday game (and that generally have major changes from week to week), I think I can do this. When all the standard stuff is finished (probably by the next major published playtest version, 0.3) and works well, I will go ahead and publish a "BX Standard" which will just have B/X rules with 1e material (and a few optional rules). Those who don't want a couple of hundred pages of additional rules for mutations, technology, unusual classes, etc. as they just want to play 1e with B/X style rules can use this BX Advanced Standard Version. Second, I've been asked if I can give some idea of a publication schedule. A everyone following this blog and my games knows, real life means I have missed almost every publication prediction I have made -- sometimes by 6-12 months. With that warning, I will say that I hope to have the newly announced standard version of BX Advanced available within the next 3 or 4 months and the full version of BX Advanced available by the middle of 2018. Finally, I've been asked if BX Advanced will be free or paid. Like most of my games, there will be a pay-what-you-want/free version and a paid tablet/epub version. The pay-what-you-want/free version will be released first. Current plans have this true of both the just announced above Standard version and the "as originally planned" "extended" version with mutations, technology, lots of optional classes and rules version. The production schedule mentioned above is for the pay-what-you-want/free versions. Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund help make the free versions possible. Speaking of donations, if you are a RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donor, you have the password that will unlock the second BX Advanced playtest pdf and may download the (password-protected) zip file here: BX Advanced Playtest Version 0.2If you do not have the password and would like to have access to this (and future) sets of BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



Halloween Sale: Microlite81 Complete, M74 Ultimate, Etc. 25% Off

2017-10-30T17:55:51.951-04:00

(image) It's Halloween and that sounds is a good excuse for a sale. The new Microlite74 Complete Digest Epub Edition is now 25% off on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. All our other products (that are not already "pay what you want") are also on sale at 25% off.

This sale runs through November 1st at 9am CDT.


Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal.

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Microlite81 Complete Digest/Epub Price Permanently Reduced to $7.50

2017-10-30T09:01:48.868-04:00

I released a slightly revised and expanded (with 25 additional monsters) digest/epub version of Microlite74 Complete on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow last weekend for $9.95. That seemed to be a reasonable price for 380+ page PDF. However, after releasing it I decided to do an initial rough conversion of Microlite81 Advanced to a digest-sized document. That document turned out to be about 550 pages without any illustrations and without the 50 or so new monsters I intend to add for the digest/epub version. The final Microlite81 Advanced degist-sized document will probably be at least 600 digest-sized pages. As I do not want to charge more than $9.95 for the Microlite81 Advanced Digest/Epub edition, I quickly decided that price I decided to ask for the 380+ page digest/epub version of Microlite81 Complete was too much and lowered it to $7.50. I have contacted those who purchased it before the price change to offer $2.45 refunds. If you purchased a copy of the digest/epub edition of Microlite81 Complete for $9.95 during the first 24 hours or so of its release and did not receive an email from me offering a refund of the $2.45 difference in price, please contact me. Note: This week is full of doctor appointments for my wife (and me as I have to do the driving), so --in the worst case-- responses may be delayed until this weekend.If you don't have a copy yet, you can get a copy of the new digist/epub version edition of Microlite81 Complete on its page on RPGNow for its new price of only $7.50. RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors will be able to download their copy from the donor download area within a few days.Microlite81 Complete Digest/Epub on RPGNowMicrolite81 Complete Digest/Epub on DriveThruRPGPlease Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



Expanded Microlite81 Complete Digest/Epub Version Now Available

2017-10-21T11:00:54.404-04:00

A slightly revised and expanded (with 25 additional monsters) version of Microlite74 Complete is now available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow in a digest and epub combo format -- perfect for printing out or reading on a tablet. Microlite81 Complete is based on the Basic and Expert (B/X) boxed sets of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game published in 1981. This game takes the popular B/X version of the game and recreates it using the rules-lite Microlite20 version of modern D20 system. You get all the advantages of the B/X system with a more modern set of rules. In other words, Microlite81 Complete is a conversion of the B/X rules to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old-school play without strictly old-school rules. The Microlite81 system does for B/X what Microlite74 did for 0e: easy to learn and use modern rules that can used to play old adventures designed for the B/X system (or the many new adventures created by OSR publishers) with very little conversion effort required -- general little more than converting the descending AC used in old adventures to the modern ascending AC (and yes, how to do this is explained in the rules). Unlike most of the games I write, Microlite81 Complete is a complete game with complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic tems instead of the short one ot two sentence descriptions. There are even examples of play and information for the GM on how to create dungeons and wilderness areas. Microlite81 Complete also does not assume an experienced GM who has access to better descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic treasure in the SRD or in other old school books. This tablet/epub version of Microlite81 Complete includes some new and revised material not included in the free "condensed type" version.Microlite81 Complete includes everything one needs to play except dice and paper. The 480+ page illustrated digest-sized rulebook -- designed for easy reading on tablets -- includes:Simple Character Creation Rules: Roll 4 attributes and select a class, and alignment (and background if using the Extended Rules Set).Standard Classes: Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Thief, Dwarf, Elf, HalflingTwo short sets of "core" rules: standard and extended. The standard rules are less complex while the extended rules incorporate many of the author's house rules)Extended rules include backgrounds which provide a simple and fast way to factor in a character's culture and non-class-related a abilities without including a complex skill system.Simple and fast-playing combat system -- which tracks physical damage (aka body points) separately from luck/skill/fatigue (aka hit point) damage if the extended rules are used.Hit points recover with a night’s rest. As in Microlite20, spells cost hit points to cast. Actual wounds recover more slowly. (Optional rules for more standard "fire-and-forget" magic are included for those who prefer "Vancian" magic.) Rules for hirelings, monster reactions (not every monster wants to fight), morale (not every monster fights to the death), strongholds, magic research, and more.Optional rules for character advantages and disadvantages, character goals and personality traits, fire-and-forget magic, traditional saving throws, psionics, divine intervention, and moreA complete list of spells, monsters, and treasure with detailed descriptions and random tables for monsters and treasureCompatible with most other B/X or BECMI based games and adventures: both old and newThis tablet/epub edition of Microlite20 Complete includes 25 new lower level monsters and a few additional rules sections not included in the free version of Microlite81 Complete.This is the tablet/epub version of Microlite74 Complete. You receive two files: a standard pdf and an epub file. The digest-sized pdf is suitable for printing or for easy reading on a tablet. Unlike the "pay what you want" version of Microlite74 Complete, this pdf is fo[...]



The Microlite20 RPG Collection: Over 1100 Downloads in Two Weeks

2017-10-18T15:40:14.358-04:00

It's been just about two weeks since I released the free third edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection. Between RPGNow/DrivethruRPG and Mediafire, it has been downloaded just over 1100 times as I write this post. That's an amazing amount of interest. I'd like to thank everyone who downloaded a copy. I hope you are enjoying it. If you haven't yet downloaded your free copy of the 2000+ page PDF, you can download a free copy either from RPGNow/DrivethruRPG or from Mediafire. Somewhat to my surprise, over 70% of the downloads so far have been through RPGNow or DrivethruRPG. I guess having to have a RPGNow/DrivethruRPG account is causing less of a hassle than I expected -- or at least is less of a hassle than all of the ads on Mediafire.The downloads are free. However, if you like it please consider a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. Donations are really appreciated.I've been asked what else I'm working on. BX Advanced, of course is my primary writing project. It is moving along slowly due to the need to playtest and tweak my new method of adjusting XP requirements for things like psionics, mutations, and other optional rules. The Microlite20 XP system I used in my Microlite74 games made such adjustments easy. For the more standard OSR XP used in my Microlite81 games, I used a modified version of the method used in the Adventurer Conqueror King system. It works well but requires a lot of math from players and GMs -- more math than some are comfortable with. I'm experimenting with a new system with about 20 standard XP tables (numbered 1 to 20). Adjustments are made by adding or subtracting small numbers from the XP table number. For example, a standard thief might use XP table 4. Minor mutations might add 1 each, so a thief with 3 minor mutations would use XP table 7. Those readers familiar with the system I used in Microlite81 games will understand how much easier this system will be. All I have to do now is make it work.I'm also finally working on tablet/digest versions of Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced. The tablet/digest version of Microlite81 Complete is in final layout now. As a special bonus, the tablet digest version has 25 monsters that were not included in the free "condensed type" edition. These are 25 mainly lower level monsters. Assuming the real world does crash and burn my schedule, it should be ready for release in a week or two. The tablet/digest version Microlite81 Advanced will have the 25 lower level monsters included in the tablet/digest version of Microlite81 Complete plus an additional 25 middle and higher level monsters for a total of 50 more monsters than in the free condensed type version.Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



The Microlite20 RPG Collection (2017 Edition) Available For Free Download

2017-10-05T10:55:18.752-04:00

The new 2017 Edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection is now available for free download. The Microlite20 RPG Collection is a PDF compilation of Microlite20 based games. Each individual game is copyrighted separately, is based on the Open Game License (because the original, Microlite20, is OGL), and is available for free. Each game is a separate entity with its own copyright and license. The author of each individual game is solely responsible for his or his work. No editing of individual games has been done. The original 2010 edition was a single volume with around 600 pages. The 2012 edition about 1400 pages. This third, 2017, edition is just over 2000 pages.In addition to the standard Microlite20 rules (and a large number of optional systems and expanded rules), The Microlite20 RPG Collection (2017 Edition) includes the following Microlite20-based role-playing games: Microlite20 Revised, M20 SIWDCC, Microlite20 House Rules, MicroFantasy, Alter Microlite20, Ultimate Ultramicrolite20, Nanolite20, Microlite20 Modern, M20 Modern: Expert, Microlite20 Ultimate Modern-Day, M20 Hard Core Rules, Swords against Sorcery, M20 Heroic, Iron Heartbreakers, Microlite11, WildWalker’s M20 4e, Microlite20 Variant 4e, Microlite 4E, Micro Action Fantasy, Microlite20 5e, Microlite5e, MicroFive Core, M20 Fifth, MULRAH, Lite20, Mini20, Realms of Renown, Microlite77, Microlite20 OSS, Advanced Microlite20 OSS, Argo, M20 Hyborian Age, Microlite Conan, Prehistoric Microlite20, Microlite20 Bronze Age, Microlite Dark Sun, Omerian Tales, Beacon, WarEngine RPG, Yamato M20, Challenges & Champions, Microlite20 Elf Lords, Microlite20 Dark Heritage, Microlite20 Resident Evil, Microlite20 Cthulthu, Microlite20 Vampires, Microlite20 2012, SpyLite, Giant Bug Invasion, Cyberpunk, SuperLite, Microlite20 Ultimate Costumes, Tumbleweed, Gunsmoke & Goblins, Owl Hoot Trail, Microlite Storytelling, TileHack, Dragoons, ZombiePocalypse, Microlite Tri-Stat, Relics & Ruins, OmegaLite20, RABID, Microlite20 Vermin, Where No Man Has Gone Before, Galactic Methuselah, FrontierLite, M20 Star Wars, Microlite20 Star Wars, Scions of a Primordial Planet, Micro MechWarrior, Stargate 1895, Blaster D20 Microlite, Pendragon D20 Microlite, Diabolical D20 Microlite, TMKT, Microlite20 NG, PathfinderLite20, Microlite20 Edición Némesis, Microlite74 1.1, Microlite74 3.0 Basic, Microlite74 3.0 Standard, Microlite74 3.0 Extended, Microlite78: First Edition Lite, Microlite81, Microlite81 Extended, Gyphons & Gramarye, Microlite20 Golden Edition, DungeonFinder Player’s Guide, DungeonFinder GM’s Guide, DungeonFinder Book of Monsters, and Grimm Lite.You can download the current (2017) edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection on RPGNow (click here to download) where it is a "Pay-What-You-Want" game with a Suggested Price of $0.00. Just enter a "0" in the price box and you are good to go. (The game is "Pay-What-You-Want" with a suggested price of $0.00 because games listed as "Free" on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG reportedly don't get counted in the stats correctly.) The current edition is about 2000 pages and is a 63 megabyte download. If you don't have an RPGNow/DriveThruRPG account, you can get 2017 edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection via this Mediafire link (but you have to put up with Mediafire's ads). The first volume of the second (2012) edition had almost 17,000 downloads on Mediafire over the last five years. Microlite20 games apparently really are popular.The downloads are free. However, if you like it please consider a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. Donations are really appreciated.Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medi[...]



Coming Very Soon: The Microlite20 RPG Collection 2017 Edition

2017-10-03T14:47:56.227-04:00


The first (2010 edition) had about 500 pages. The second (2012 edition) had about 1400 pages. The new 2017 edition has just over 2000 pages. It will be free, of course. However, on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG it will be "pay what you want" with a suggested price of $0.00 -- as items listed as free do not show up in their stats. With luck it will be available for download later this week.


Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal.

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More Drama in the OSR (And How I Avoid It)

2017-10-03T14:48:16.457-04:00

I pulled my head up from working on the next edition of The Microlite20 RPG Collection (which looks to be about 2000 pages this time, that about 500 more than the 2012 edition) last night and hit Tenkar's Tavern to see what was going on in the rest of the OSR world. I discovered that there apparently has been another big blowup on social media (G+ this time) -- see "Guest Post by Greg C re: The Current Drama on G Plus in the OSR - A Must Read IMHO" if you are as in the dark as I was.I'll be honest, all the drama is one of the reasons I'm not as active posting as I used to be, except about my various gaming projects. I have never had much interest in mixing discussions of real world politics, real world religion, real world current affairs, or the like in my gaming discussions. In fact, I banned such discussions from my gaming tables and game group mailing lists and game group get-togethers many years ago (in the 1980s). When I get together to game or to discuss gaming, that's what I want to do. I don't want to discuss divisive issues like politics or religion. That way, I can game with you even if our positions on such issues are 180 degrees apart. People don't have to agree to work or play together, but sometimes it helps to just not discuss off-topic things that are likely to cause discord and strife. The world will not end because you played in the same game or were quietly discussing gaming over coffee with someone whose political, religious, and/or philosophical opinions are opposed to yours. So I avoid the drama by being just refusing to allow off-topic discussions that are most likely to lead to drama when I'm in charge and by refusing to participate in them (by leaving if necessary) if I'm not in charge. Some people say this makes me just another asshole. Perhaps it does, but I haven't had fights over real world religion, politics or philosophy tear any of my gaming groups apart or turn game sessions sour. That's a big win in my book.Now, I'm going to start my real-world-drama free Sunday game. Actually, I expect lots of drama today, but all of it will be the exciting and fun in-game adventure type of drama. I wish the same to all of my readers.Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



Time for a new edition of the Microlite20 RPG Collection

2017-10-03T14:48:06.405-04:00

On April 4th, 2014 I made a post stating it was probably time for a new version of the free Microlite20 RPG Collection (see Time for the 2014 Edition of the Microlite20 RPG Collection) and that I hoped to have a new version out by the end of that month. When I made this post I had no idea that my life was about to be upended a few days later when my wife's mother passed away on April 10th after a sudden illness.TThe next couple of years have been a blur: my mother-in-laws's funeral, moving to Dallas (first just to oversee repairs on my mother-in-law's house so it could be sold, then deciding to keep the house in Dallas) and sell the house in Waco, with almost ten months of remodeling in there, my wife being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, deciding to sell the house in Dallas so we could move to an area with less heat and humidty (my wife's MS made her very intolerant of high heat and high humidity), selling our house, my father-in-law passing away while we were selling the house, moving to Ohio, and setting up a new house (complete with some remodeling to make all the the house accessible to my disabled wife).During all that time, I managed to produce and release a number of new games: Microlite78: First Edition Lite, some Microlite81 games, the new version of Microlite75, etc. The updated Microlite20 RPG Collection, however, fell through the cracks -- completely forgotten. I believe it is time to fix this broken promise and prepare and release a new version of the free Microlite20 RPG Collection.While there have not been a large number of new Microlite20-based games released, there have been enough new and revised M20-based games to make the current collection from 2012 out of date. Adding the new and revised Microlite20 games I have found and collected will not be hard. The real question is what to do with all of my free Microlite7x and Microlite81 games. As they are all based on Microlite20, they probably belong in the collection. The the 2012 edition has the few that were available at the time: the three versions of Microlite74 3.0 (Basic, Standard, and Expanded) and the first Microlite74 Companion volume. Since then I've released 4 more Microlite74 Companion volumes, Microlite78: First Edition Lite, four versions of Microlite81 (Standard, Expanded, Complete, and Advanced), three versions of Microlite75 (Basic, Standard, and Extended), and several Microlite74 variants (Light vs Dark, Swords & Sorcery, 3d6 Edition). Including all of these new Microlite7x and Microlite81 based games would probably add 800 to 1000 pages to the already large collection. I'm not sure this is a good idea. What I'm considering is including the Microlite74 Basic, Standard, and Extended games (which are in the current Microlite20 RPG Collection and Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended. All the other Microlite7x and Microlite81 games would be simply descripted briefly and download links provided. This would make the collection less complete, but would avoid a huge increase in page count from including all of my generally large Microlite20-based games and would make the volumes less about my games and more about all the wonderful and interesting Microlite20-based games others have created. If have an opinion on this issue, I'd love to hear about it in comments.Finally, if you know of any additional new Microlite20 games or variants (and their locations on the Net) please let me know. If you know of any updated versions of games included in the Microlite20 RPG Collection 2012 Edition, please let me know. Even if you believe I probably know about it, play it safe and tell me about it. Thank you.Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free co[...]



Many Interesting New Old School Games at RPGNow

2017-09-17T15:36:42.644-04:00

When I go out to RPGNow there's generally only one or two new games that get my attention, so I was surprised to discover a five such games this morning. Unfortunately, most are well above my PDF price limit of $10. However, I thought I would point them out on my blog as the Christmas season is approaching and my wife has been known to check my blogs for gift ideas. The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia: This is a megadungeon by the author of Barrowmaze, Greg Gillespie. While I really would like to have this, at $35 for a PDF, I am unlikely to ever buy it as it is over 3 times the maximum I'm willing to pay for a PDF -- especially one I am unlikely to ever use more than pieces of. However, it sounds very interesting: "The lost city of Archaia - an ancient ruin sunken into the earth - lies deep in the badlands. In recent years, caravans from Eastdale have come under attack from orcs, goblins, and worse. Some say these blood-thirsty warbands have made lairs in the deep caves and ruins. Sill others say the ancient halls are filled with magnificent treasures left by the Archaians." Cover art is by Erol Otus and the interior art includes "special surprizes by former TSR artists". If you are willing to spend more money on PDFs than I am and would like what will (judging by Barrowmaze) probably be an excellent old school megadungeon, you may want to pick this up.Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea -- Second Edition: This caught me by surprise as I didn't know a second edition was in the works. I found the first edition full of interesting ideas, if a bit rough around the edges. However, I liked it enough that I'm looking forward to eventually getting the second edition. According to the blurb, "AS&SH™ has been expanded to include new classes, news spells, new monsters, new magic items, and more! It also includes a new, full colour map, an introductory town and adventure, as well as hundreds of new illustrations!" All the stuff in the first sentence really makes me want a copy. The second sentence, not so much. I really don't need hundreds of illustrations, but I imagine I'm not really the target audience for that part.Mighty Protectors: Mighty Protectors is the third edition of Villains and Vigilantes. And V&V is the only superhero game aside from TSR's excellent Marvel Superheros (aka FASERIP) that I would be willing to run these days. The first two editions of V&V were great old school superhero games and all I've heard about the third edition is good, so I'm looking forward to eventually getting a copy of this game. I might even be willing to pay a bit over my $10 PDF limit for it because it is something I stand a good chance of actually playing. I'm really happy to see V&V back and wish Jeff Dee and Jack Herman the best of luck with it.Raiders of R’lyeh: I was really surprised to see this game as it is one of the very late kickstarters that a lot of backers apparently never expected to see. At just under $40 in PDF form, it's way outside my budget. It looks as interesting today as it did when I first heard the idea several years ago: pulpish style mythos adventures in the Edwardian age (1900-1913). Of course, as Pulp Cthuthlu has been out a while (and is an excellent game and one I already own), this game will probably not have the impact it might have had if it had come out when it was originally supposed to.Fringeworthy d20 edition: I own the first two editions of Richard Tucholka's Fringeworthy. It was a fantastic interdimensional exploration setting saddled with a overly-complex game system. While D20 system versions of games are often square pegs driven into round holes, in this case the D20 system almost has to be an improvement over the original system -- at least for me. If you a[...]



Labor Sale: Microlite74 Ultimate Edition (and others) 25% Off

2017-09-03T10:43:54.001-04:00

(image) It's Labor Day and that sounds like a great time for a sale. The Microlite74 Ultimate Edition is now 25% off on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. All our other products (that are not already "pay what you want") are also on sale at 25% off.

This sale runs through Tuesday September 5th at 9am CDT.


Please Support BX Advanced with a Donation: If you would like to have access to the BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills and more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal.

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BX Advanced: A Draft Barbarian Class

2017-09-18T12:44:11.009-04:00

One of the most requested classes so far for BX Advanced is the Barbarian. It's not found in either Labyrinth Lord or its Advanced Edition Companion -- probably because the original class from Unearth Arcana was a bit over-powered and hard to play in a normal party with spell-casters. I've tried to piece together a Barbarian class suitable for BX Advanced from open game content scources and my own ideas. Here is what I have so far. Please note that it has not been really proofread, let alone playtested. However, as one of my players really wants to play a barbarian, I needed something to work from to use in tomorrow's session.You will note that I've toned down the barbarian's issues with magic to make the character easier to use in a typical campaign. A Barbarian will adventure with arcane spellcasters types, if reluctantly, but he will not tolerate spells cast upon him. This should reduce the -- frankly ridiculous -- contortions often needed to play a 1e barbarian in a "normal" adventuring party while keeping the "distrusts magic" flavor.I've also modified the Barbarian's Battle Rage so that the Barbarian can end it at will (thus preventing the barbarian attacking his own party if a battle ends before his rage does). However, I've made the Barbarian's rage exhausting, leaving the barbarian fatigued and weakened for 10 minutes per combat round the Battle Rage lasted.Comments, complaints and ideas are welcome.The character class (offset by a blue blockquote line) below is open game content under the OGL statement for this blog. Here is the addition Section 15 copyright references for this class:First Edition Fantasy: Supplement #2, OSRIC Unearthed, Copyright 2007, Charles Rice; published by Ronin ArtsBarbarian: A Player Character Class for Labyrinth Lord, Copyright 2012, James M. SpahnBarbarians Requirements: Str 12, Con 12Prime Requisite: STR and CONHit Dice: 1d10Maximum Level: NoneBorn in the wild and raised among savage nomads, Barbarians are warriors hardened by nature and able to survive in the wild with little more than a weapon and their own willpower. Their skill in battle comes not from training or discipline, but from sheer brutality and tenacity. The sheer unwillingness to fall in combat and drive a foe into the ground makes them fearsome opponents to even the hardiest of foes.Though they are not often found in civilized lands, some find their way onto the path of adventure. Whether they are the last remnant of a dying tribe, cast out for an act of dishonor, or secretly scouting the civilized worlds for invasion, the occasional barbarian can be found adventuring in more civilized lands.Barbarians are proficient in all melee weapons and may wear padded armor, leather armor, studded leather as well as use shields. Because of their savage nature Barbarians may only be Neutral or Chaotic alignment. Barbarians use the Attack Value and Saving Throws of a fighter.Sense Danger: Barbarians have an almost supernatural ability to detect danger. This gives them a chance to avoid surprise and to avoid traps after they are triggered. If a Barbarian is with a party that is surprised and they successfully Sense Danger, they are not surprised. That is they may take their actions as normal during the surprise round even though the rest of their party may not act. If a trap which would affect the is activated and they successfully Sense Danger, they may avoid the trap effects completely (leaping out of the way, etc.) so long as there is any physical way to avoid the trap. A successful Sense Danger roll will also negate any bonuses for attacking a Barbarian from behind (or from ambush, from invisibility, etc.)Battle Rage: Barbarians can fly into a rage [...]



BX Advanced Playtest Draft 0.1 Available for Donor Download

2017-08-14T14:47:25.034-04:00

A very early and very rough playtest version of my new project BX Advanced is available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors. BX Advanced is a clone the Basic/Expert rules using the First Edition classes, spells, monsters, and treasure. In other words, it is First edition played the way many people who started playing with B/X (or later, BECMI) and then moved on to the "advanced" edition played the game. This first playtest edition simply combines the open game content from a popular B/X and a popular 1e clone with a bit of my own material. The formatting is very raw and uneven and little to no proofreading has been done, but this first playtest draft provides a good starting point that I will be building on. Like most of my Microlite7x/81 games, I will be adding lots of optional rules and house rules in future playtest editions. The final product will be much more that what you see here. However, what you see here should be very playable -- if not super original or super easy to read because of formatting issues. I'm also happy to report that my new Sunday game group has decided to play using the BX Advanced rules I'm working on instead of a set of special rules like I we had previously discussed. This means that we can start play next week and that I will have a group of players using these rules -- which makes testing ideas much easier (and much faster). Back in the 1980s, I used to use the mutations out of Gamma World more or less "as is" in my games. Promising to include rules for fairly complete mutations in the optional rules section of BX Advanced secured the agreement to playtest the BX Advanced rules. There aren't any rules for mutations in the current playtest draft, but they (and psionics) will be the first major new section of optional rules I add. While the psionics rules will be similar to the (fairly popular) version of psionics in my Microlite7x/8x games, the rules for mutations will have little in common with the rules for mutations in the optional science fantasy rules for Microlite7x/8x.RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors have the password that will unlock this first BX Advanced playtest pdf and may download the (password-protected) zip file here: BX Advanced Playtest Version 0.1If you do not have the password and would like to have access to this (and future) sets of BX Advanced playtest rules (as well as other donor files -- like free copies of all the "for sale" Retroroleplaying publications), you can make a donation towards my wife's medical fund (old oral cancer bills more current MS-related bills). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $10 or more will also earn a listing as a sponsor in the BX Advanced rulebook. A donation of $10 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($25+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $50+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor BX Advanced with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal. [...]



Frog God Games Now Has An Official Discord Server

2017-09-18T10:57:07.459-04:00

Someone associated with Frog God Games just posted on following on the Microlite20 message board. As the board doesn't get much use, I decided to report the info here. I'm personally not that interested in voice chat, but I know many gamers are, so this may be news at least some old school players can use. Frog God Games produces some very high quality (and often very expensive) stuff for Swords & Wizardry (and other games of much less interest to readers of this blog -- like Pathfinder).

Howdy, Frog God Games the makers of Swords and Wizardry, Rappan Athuk, Tomb of Abysthor, and Slumbering Tsar just launched their official discord server. I would like to invite you to come join us to talk about Swords and Wizardry, 5th Edition, Pathfinder, Starfinder and other Frog God Game products.
We have voice channels for pickup games as well. Lots of free content and resources.

Step 1.) Go here https://discordapp.com/download
Step 2.) Click which is best for you Windows, Mac, Android, IOS, or Linux and download it.
Step 3.) Once it has finished downloading click the + button surrounded by a dotted circle on the left hand side
Step 4.) Click the Join a Server button and copy and paste this into it https://discord.gg/HKUZfUv

Side Note: Normally, I'd consider a forum post like this "advertising without approval" and delete it, but I decided to not to be a complete jackass of a "forum GM" and leave it up. This should not be considered setting a precedent -- it is always better to ask first when when comes to anything advertising related on the forum (anf most other forums, for that matter).(image)



Next Old School Project: BX Advanced?

2017-07-31T13:17:55.908-04:00

I've been working on Microlite74 and its many variants since 2008 During these nine years, I've produced:The original Microlite74 (and two revised editions, the second of which has three separate versions: Basic, Standard, and Extended)Five supplemental volumes for Microlite74 and the original Microlite75 (which became Microlite74 Extended in the third edition of Microlite74)Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Edition (An "E6-like" set of Microlite74 rules aimed at swords and sorcery campaigns)Microlite74 Light vs Dark (A version of Microlite74 designed for low -- but common -- magic campaigns with summonable spirits and two opposed deities)Microlite78 (slightly modified Microlite74 rules with the spells, monsters, and treasure of the first edition of the "Advanced game) Microlite81 (The B/X version of the game given the Microlite74 treatment in three different versions: Standard, Complete, and Advanced). Microlite75 (A revised version of Microlite74 using the standard experience system instead of the Microlite20-based system of Microlite74, also in three versions: Basic, Standard, and Extended) Microlite74 Ultimate (nearly 400 tablet/digest-sized pages combining the rules from Microlite74 Extended with the additional rules from first, second, and third Microlite74 Companion volumes, full treasure listings, some new additional rules, a sample setting, and several short location-based adventures)Microlite74 3d6 Edition (a version of Microlite74 that uses D6s (and only D6s): 3d6 are rolled when a D20 would be rolled in standard versions) and the system includes partial successes as well as success and failure)That's a lot of games from something that originally started as a quick project to do a small Microlite20 version of the original 1974 "0e" whose only intended purpose was to help people used to 3.x try "old school" play to see if they liked it. (Take a look at Microlite74 1.1 to see this version of the game.)The only game I've published during this time that wasn't somehow based on that original Microlite74, is Tarnhelm's Terrible Tome which provides my "standard" house rules in a form suitable for the original 1974 game, Swords and Wizardry, Delving Deeper, and other versions of 0e. Tarnhelm's Terrible Tome also includes a version of the Magic-User, the Mnemonic Mage, which uses a system closer the original magic system used in Jack Vance's early Dying Earth stories.You can view (and download) these games on RPGNow from this link -- most are "Pay What You Want" (and free/$0 is fine if that's what you want to pay).While I have several Microlite75 variants I am supposedly working on, I'm not making a lot of progress. I suspect a large part of my very slow progress is that I am somewhat burned out on working with the Microlite74/75 systems. Like I said, I been working on Microlite7x/8x systems for nine years now. I've considered try taking a break and working on something not based on Microlite20/7x/8x rules before, but have never really done so because I did not have any others ideas that interested me enough to actually work on for more than a few days or weeks. However, my post a few days ago "Creating a 'Best of TSR D&D' Rulebook" saw several people commenting that really like the B/X systems with the AD&D classes, spells, treasures, etc. and would really like a set of rules that combined the rules of Labyrinth Lord and its Advanced Edition Companion in one rulebook. As the vast majority of the text of both is Open Game Content under the OGL, this would be relatively easy to do. I suspect that only reason its never been done is because eve[...]



Creating a "Best of TSR D&D" Rulebook?

2017-09-18T10:34:06.456-04:00

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Most old school D&D players realize that it is fairly easy to use an adventure written for one version of TSR D&D with the rules for a different version of TSR D&D. While each version (OD&D, Holmes D&D, 1e, B/X, BECMI, 2e, and RC) are different enough to be separate games, they have some much in common that it often takes little effort to use an adventure or setting designed for one version with another version. In most cases, many experienced GMs can convert adventures on the fly as they run them.

A lot of people used to mix rules in play as well. Many people playing AD&D were actually using the less complex systems from B/X D&D with the classes, spells, monsters, and magic items from AD&D. Others just added what they liked from second edition AD&D to their first edition AD&D games. And so forth.

This got me thinking, what would a "best of" set of rules taken from all of the versions of D&D TSR published look like. Naturally it would look different to different people because everyone interested in TSR D&D likely has different ideas of what the best rules in TSR D&D were. While I haven't given this the hours of thought I would need to if I were going to actually write such a set of rules, I can immediately list some of the important rules pieces that were be in my personal "Best of TSR" edition of D&D.

* I'd use the basic game systems from B/X D&D as they are clear and fairly simple.

* Race and Class would come from AD&D, mostly from 1e. The Bard however, would come from 2e. I'll probably also use the specialist priest material from 2e.

* Spells would come mainly from 1e. 1e has a somewhat larger selection than OD&D or B/X, but not the seemingly endless list that 2e plus supplements had.

* Monsters and Treasure would mainly come from 1e. Again, 2e just as too many.

* I'd take the domain and mass combat rules from BECMI/RC.

If you were designing a "best of TSR" set of D&D rules, what would you include?



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New Old School Sunday Game Campaign Coming Together

2017-09-18T12:44:11.028-04:00

Yesterday was the first meeting of what will hopefully soon become my next Sunday Game. Six potential players and myself met over all-you-can-eat pizza to discuss campaign and rules ideas. After several hours (and a lot of pizza and soft drinks) we've hashed out some ideas for my next old school campaign.It will be set in a version of the Judges Guild Wilderlands -- the main differences from the Judges Guild "canon" will be religion and magic. Exactly where it will be set is still up in the air. People seem torn between starting in the City-State of the Invincible Overlord, starting in a smaller town, or starting in a sea port with pirates. There are two votes for each. Sigh. Religion: The campaign will have only one true deity (an incomprehensible "creator") who interacts with the world and its people through thousands of demi-god-like avatars. While some of these avatars might be avatars of "evil" things like theft or murder, all are opposed to Chaos. Chaos is what is outside "creation" and seeks to swallow it up and destroy it (that is, return it to formless chaos). The main effect on the campaign is that there will be lots of little religions with most people praying to many deities depending on what they need. Clerical characters focus are more focused a single deity (but even they will pray to other Gods when they need help in their specific area of power. The game effects for clerical characters are that they can basically create the deity they want to follow and I will create 2 or 3 special prayers realed to that deity that their characters can access in the game. Clerical powers will tend to be low key because none of the thousands of deities worshiped inj the world are individually very powerful. Magic: According to legend, before an ancient world-wide magical disaster, people could easily wield very powerful magic by making a few gestures, saying incantations, and imposing their will on the magical energy of the world. However, people somehow pushed things too far and let Chaos into the world and there was a huge backlash of magical energy that ended this "golden age" of magic and somehow changed the very nature of magic. Now, very little can be accomplished magically with just gestures, incantations, and a mage's will -- most magic has to be performed through lengthy and often complex rituals. Mage characters will be able to do some "wand magic" (probably something like minor magic in my current Microlite75 Extended rules), but most magic will have to be done through rituals. Players will be able to design rituals to do anything from charming a being long term to moving mountains around. Of course, the more powerful the effect, the more steps needed to do the ritual (e.g. research, special items, special times, sacrifices, magical energy, etc.). Character Classes:Fighter: A powerful warrior class that gets +1 to hit and damage per level, is skilled at commanding men-at-arms, knows all sorts of special combat maneuvers and combat tricks, etc. Fighters will be able to design combat tricks on the fly and they will not be penalized for trying using them -- if they critical hit, they do normal damage and impose the special effect from the trick, if they hit the defender can choose to accept the special effect or take the damage rolled. Highly skilled with weapons and armor.Scout: A lesser warrior (+1 to hit per 2 levels) who is also skilled in outdoorsman and some thief-like abilities. Normal skills with weapons and armor.Paladin: A lesser warrior (+1 to hit per 2 levels) who is also a priest/priestes of [...]



How I Recruit Players for my Old School Games

2017-07-13T10:10:47.094-04:00

I occasionally receive email asking me how I manage to get so many players for my old school games -- giving that most potential players aren't familiar with them -- or if they are familiar with them do not have a very positive opinion of old school play. Given that the basement gaming area of my new house in Ohio is finally available and I'm currently recruiting players in yet another area where I don't know many people, this sounds like a good time to make a post on how I recruit players for my long-running old school campaigns.First, let me say that I really don't have any good ideas for taking a currently existing group of players and convincing them to play in an old school campaign. In my 35+ years of gaming, I've never really done that. I never had a group of friends who are already playing tabletop RPGS and tried to convince them that they want to spend years playing in one of my campaigns. Instead of trying to convince a pre-existing group who are not playing old school games to play in my campaign, I simply recruit a group of people who want to play what I want to run. This is really my secret to success -- I find people who want to play what I want to run instead of trying to convince an existing group to play what I want to run.Since I run an old school style game where players just tell me what they want their characters to try to do and I tell them whether they succeed, fail, or what to roll to find out what happens, I don't need to limit my search to people who already know the game system I am running. This also means I don't have to limit my search to people willing to buy and study the rules to play. Therefore, I can recruit people that many modern gamers would not have any interest in recruiting: people who might want to play but who aren't interested in studying and learning hundreds of pages of rules just to be able to play a character in an "elf game". That said, I spend most of my time telling other gamers about my campaign. I tell them that it is old school where they are playing normal people who may become heroes, not people who are already awesome heroes. I explain that my campaigns aren't centered around combat encounters (or even encounters in general), but around exploring the campaign world, searching for and recovering treasure, and interacting with the world in character. I explain that player skill matters more than character skill -- and that running headlong into situations without any playing and preparation will eventually get their characters killed. I tell people I I do not have a story to tell, but that I run a sandbox campaign where the players can choose to have their characters try to do just about anything and the the campaign's story consists of what the players' characters do in the campaign world.I'll be honest, most people's eyes get big and they quickly decide that they want nothing to do with my campaign. That's okay, because I want people who want to play in my campaign. However, generally about one in every ten or fifteen people seem actually interested in maybe giving such a game a try, I tell these people when the game is (or will be ran). If they are still interested I tell them how to join the campaign mailing list (or you could use a private Facebook group, etc.) where they can see the rules, learn about the campaign, and talk to other players (or potential players). Once I get a couple of people who are definitely interested, finding more becomes easier and these new players often have friends who they think might like the gam[...]



The Microlite74 3d6 Edition is Now Available (Free Rules)

2017-09-18T10:56:37.773-04:00

The Microlite74 3D6 Edition is now available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow in a digest format -- perfect for printing out or reading on a tablet. This version of the Microlite74 3D6 Edition is "Pay What You Want". $0 (aka FREE) is a perfectly acceptable amount, although I hope you will consider a higher than zero amount as every dollar I receive means less time I have to work to pay medical bills and more time I have to work on projects this this one.What do I mean by "3d6 Edition"? I been asked in the past if it would be possible to play a 0e-like game with only D6s. I've always replied that if you use the original (Chainmail-like) combat system in the 0e books, you have a system that only requires D6s. My answer hasn't be well-received as it seems very few people like the original combat system. I've been urged by some to come up with a system that is more like the D20-based system people are used to, but only uses D6s. This idea did not interest me very much -- or it did not interest me until I tried running a few sessions of Dungeon World old school-style last year. I liked the idea of partial successes but did not like the "your level has no effect on your chances of success" way Dungeon World did thinks. So I borrowed the idea of partial successes from Dungeon World. Instead of Dungeon World's 2d6 roll, I used a 3d6 roll for success and that allowed enough "room" for a level-based modifier to the success roll -- that is, like in real TSR editions, the higher your level, the better your chance of success. I expected that the rest of 0e would need a lot of tweaking to make this work. I was surprised to find that it really did not. Substituting a 3d6 roll for a D20 roll had far less of an effect on the feel of the game than I expected it would. The odds of success were not the same, but the game played well without a lot of adjustments to hit points, damage or game procedures. It just took a session of two of play to get used to the effects of the 3d6 bell curve. Partial successes turned out to be a lot of fun in play -- so much fun that I revised the magic system to require a skill roll when casting magic with a partial success meaning the spell works and fades from memory like usual while a full success means the spell works and remains in memory so you can cast it again. Given that spells can now fail to work, this chance of being able to use a spell again does not seem to make magic-users and clerics too powerful.The 68 page digest-sized PDF book contains the rules for the Microlite74 3d6 Edition, including:Simple Character Creation Rules: Roll your attributes and select a race, class, and background.Only three classes (Fighter, Magic-User and Cleric) but backgrounds allow an infinite variety of characters.Simple and fast-playing combat system that tracks physical (body point) damage separately from luck/skill/fatigue (hit point) damage.Hit points recover with a night’s rest. Actual wounds recover more slowly.Casting a spell casting requires a successful action roll.Rules for hirelings, monster reactions (not every monster wants to fight), morale (not every monster fights to the death), and more.A complete list of spells and monsters.Compatible with most other 0e based games and adventures.The Microlite74 3d6 Edition is designed to be easy to play and rules light. Limiting the dice needed to play to D6s makes the game more accessible as almost everyone has a few standard six-sided dice around. While the Microlite74 3d6 Edition can be used with adventur[...]



Old School Design Idea: 99% of the Population are Zero Level Characters

2017-06-16T14:00:02.645-04:00

I have been thinking about my next game design and after much thought, I've designed I would like to take 0e and "redesign" it with some different assumptions.

The first of these different assumptions will actually be more like what the original designers probably expected. The game will be based on the idea that at least 99% of the population are 0 level characters who have 6 hit points or less. For example, normal humans will have a negative combat bonus and a saving throw of 20. Here's what I'm current thinking:

Level  Hit Points  CB  ST   WpnD    Talent
Child 1 hp -3 20 1 -
Youth 2 hps -2 20 1d2 1 talent (1 Good at)
Adult 3 hps -1 20 1d3 2 talents (or 1 Expert at)
Master 3 hps -1 20 1d3 3 talents (or 1 Master at
or 1 Expert at and 1 Good at)

While those with combat training will look something like this:

Level  Hit Points  CB  ST   WpnD    Talent
Milita 4 hps 0 20 1d3 1 talent
NCO 5 hps +1 20 1d4 2 talents
Officer 5 hps +2 20 1d4 2 talents
Cmdr 6 hps +2 20 1d4 3 talents

where CB is Combat Bonus, ST is saving throw, WpnD is the damage they do in combat with any weapon, and Talents is the mundane skills they have.

This means a 1st level fighter with (as currently planned) hit points of 1d6+8 and a CB of +3, a ST of 16, and a WpnD of 1d6+3 is already head and shoulders above a trained and experienced human warrior, let alone a normal farmer or merchant.

Let's look at what this means with regard to monsters. A normal human only has a 5% chance of making a saving throw, this means that monsters with special abilities are truely a terror to the normal population. A first level fighter will have a 25% chance of making their save which is five times better than the vast majority of the population. Most 1 hit die monsters will do at least 1d6+1 damage which means they do more damage than even a trained and experienced normal warrior. The least healthly first level fighter will have 9 hit points, that is 50% more than the most experienced normal human with combat training and 3 times the amount the average adult has.

First level characters in this game will not be that much more powerful that first level characters in most OSR games, but because you will not normally have leveled characters as blacksmiths, innkeepers or villiage guardsmen, they are effectively (and noticeably) more powerful in the world. This means the 4th level fighters will truly be the heroes and 8th level fighters will truly be the superheroes that they were originally called in 0e.(image)



Playing D&D 3e Without Tears

2017-04-16T09:28:45.412-04:00

A week or so ago, I mentioned that I was playing in a D&D 3e game -- a long running campaign that started as a 2e game in the early 1990s -- and that the campaign avoided most of the many 3e problems discussed on forums because the game was played as if it were 2e and used a few house rules to fix some of the more obvious issues. Naturally, I was asked what those house rules are. So this campaign is the subject of today's post.The most important reason for this campaign's success with the 3e system (and note, it is 3e -- not 3.5 or Pathfinder) isn't the house rules, but the fact that the players and the GM play it as if they were still playing 2e. What does this mean? To start with, it means the group still has the 2e era zero-tolerance for players who are rules lawyers and/or min-maxers (now more tolerantly called "optimizers"). The rules as written are less important than the GM's rulings, the setting integrity, the house rules, and common sense.  This solves many of 3e's issues without any house rules at all.After all, if you don't have min-maxers looking for rules issues to exploit, many of 3e's issues simply are not likely to come up at the table. Those that are stumbled on my accident are going to be handed by maintaining setting integrity or by a ruling from the GM. For example, an exploit that can be simply stumbled into without any min-maxing is the infamous (at least on 3.x discussion forums) bear summoning exploit where a druid always summons bears and all the bears are far more effective in combat than any fighter could be. In this campaign's setting, however, druids are servants of "Mother Nature" and are granted their powers by "Mother Nature" to be used mainly in the protection of nature -- just as they were in 2e. If a druid were to start summoning bears nearly every time combat is joined, chances are many of those combats aren't going to be about protecting nature. Therefore, "Mother Nature" is going to eventually stop providing bears when the rules-exploiting druid tries to summon them. This simple solution works because in this campaign setting integrity and common sense trump the rules as written.A number of actual rules changes have been made, however. As I am not that interested in rules when I get a chance to play, I do not know all of them, but here are some of the major changes to the 3e system that I do know they've made:While the standard 3e saving throw groups are used, they have been modified to work like they do in 2e. That is, they get better as you go up levels -- and for magic, the level of the caster has no effect on the save.All spell-casters start with only a few randomly determined spells. The only way a spell caster gets more spells is to find them (in scrolls, books, etc.) in the game. Players cannot simply choose to know any spell in the spell lists. If a spell-caster is takes damage (or is otherwise distracted) before his spell goes off, the spell automatically fizzles. A concentration check is allowed to see if the caster retains the spell in his memory -- if the concentration check fails, the spell fades from the caster's mind.Fighters can move and still make a full attack.There are no attacks of opportunity -- and least not in the 3e style. Instead characters and monsters have what amounts to zones of control that one cannot just move through. (Combat is "theater of the mind" -- minis and battlemats are not used.)3e open multi-classing is allowed [...]



Easter Sale: New Microlite74 Ultimate Edition (and others) 25% Off

2017-04-15T10:28:37.292-04:00

(image) It's Easter weekend and a great time for a sale. The new Microlite74 Ultimate Edition is now 25% off on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. All our other products (that are not already "pay what you want") are also on sale at 25% off.

This sale runs through Tuesday April 18th at 9am CDT.(image)