Microlite81 Complete Public Beta Available for Download

Microlite81 Complete is intended to be standard Microlite81 with more complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic items and a few extras like an example of play and instructions for GMs which will hopefully make the game more friendly to players with less experience with old school gaming. Microlite81 Complete allows the GM to select which version of the "core game rules" to use (the standard B/X-like rules from Microlite81 or the B/X-like rules with the author's house rules from the early 1980s added as in Microlite81 Extended).

This is a public beta version which the author beliefs to be feature complete. It needs (at a minimum) proofreading, layout and artwork before it will be ready for formal release. If you notice typos, missing material, or the like, please let the author know.

Microlite81 Complete is now available for download in PDF format in the Microlite20.org download area. Here is direct download link: Click Here to Download: Microlite81-Complete-Public-Beta.pdf. (If this link does not work, the beta is no longer available because a release candidate or the final version is available.)

2015: Many New Versions of Microlite74

When I last had access to this version of the site, Microlite74 2.0 was the latest version of Microlite74. Since then, A lot of new Microlite74 material has come out. The current edition is 3.0 and there are a number of companions and variant versions available.

Microlite74 is a family of free old school tabletop roleplaying games produced by RetroRoleplaying.com. The goal of Microlite74 games is to recreate the style and feel of that very first (“0e”) fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1974 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions. Microlite74 games are based on the original 1974 edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game filtered through the rules light Microlite20 version of the third edition of the rules system. Microlite74 games are not intended to be a clone of the 0e rules, but rather a conversion of them to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old-school play without strictly old-school rules.

There are three major versions of Microlite74: Basic which is similar to the original 3 little booklets in the 0e boxed set, Standard which is similar to the original 3 little booklets in the 0e boxed set plus most of the material from the supplements and “official” material published in the early magazine articles, and Extended which includes everything in Microlite74 Standard does and adds the 0e house rules the author was using in the late 1970s.

Microlite74 Companion volumes add optional rules and optional expansions to the Microlite74 system. There are currently five Companion volumes: Companion I: Optional Rules, Companion II: Treasure, Companion III: More Optional Rules, Companion IV: Bestiary of Monsters, and Companion V: First Edition Spells. These volumes provide many optional rules as well as more complete descriptions of treasure, monsters, and spells. Using Companions IV and V along with the Microlite74 Standard or Extended rules provides a “first edition”-like experience (instead of the original “0e” edition).

Finally, there are special versions of [i]Microlite74[/i] designed to provide a specific “feel” for specific types of campaigns. Currently, two special versions are available. Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is Microlite74 Extended with many special rules designed for swords & sorcery style campaigns. Microlite74 Special Version I was designed for a specific campaign setting for a Retro-Roleplaying Cancer Fund contributor who graciously allowed us to make the rules available to everyone (stripped of specific information on his campaign world).

Microlite74 and Eberron

Today I ran a one-shot for a friend using Eberron and Microlite74. It was a weird blend of conflicting designs that didn’t end up running very smoothly.

Microlite74, of course, focuses on tweaking Microlite to resemble old-school brown-box OD&D — about as old-school as you can get. I would describe it as almost of a gritty feel. Eberron, OTOH, is inspired by movies like Indiana Jones — several steps beyond high fantasy into a sort of pulp and dark adventure feel.

My friend started off by rolling up an elf — acting as a M-U. The adventure started as the intrepid elf stumbled across a body on one of the skyways of Sharn (I was adapting the sample aventure from the back of the Eberron campaign setting for this game). There was a satchel in the corpse’s hand, and as the elf looked through it, a warforged swung up from one side of the bridge and demanded the satchel with a drawn battleaxe.

Two combat rounds later, my friend was rolling up his *second* character (In a regular 3.5 game, I would have expected the PCs to kill or drive off the warforged miscreant within two rounds — not get slain and have to restart with a new character!), this time a dwarf fighter who heard screams of “Murder!” and “Summon the watch!” from a nearby tower. Investigating, he stumbled across the same crime scene. Some poor elf was murdered!

…oh, and there might have been some other body there, too. Or something. So much for the nominal adventure plot.

From there, we had a bit of intrigue with a mysterious cloaked figure giving a hint to a clandestine meeting in the back of a tavern, a patron handing out a quest to retrieve a MacGuffin to the befuddled dwarf, and a boisterous dwarven cleric drinking buddy coming along for the ride.

Going into the dungeon, the scrappy dwarves got themselves ambushed by a pair of shifters and another warforged. That turned out to be a pretty easy fight. While the PC and his NPC ally were both wounded, they won, so they had an easy time retreating and healing back to full HP to continue on. This was another definite jarring moment — the adventure had a bit about fighting in the sewers, valves opening, and water flows affecting the battlefield, but we weren’t using minis for combat, so I wasn’t sure how to incorporate that into the fight. Also, one of the 0e retroclone themes is ‘exploration and treasure hunting above simply killing things’ — and this segment was geared more towards having a simple speed bump combat on the way to the goal (though the bit with the water flows looked cool, if only I could have incorporated it…).

Beyond that, the party ran into a trapped door — when opened, magic symbols shot acid in front of door. Party got zapped three times before they bypassed it by pushing the door open with a 10′ pole! They completely missed the (admittedly subtle) clues about touching a journal in their possession to the symbol on the middle of the door in order to deactivate the trap.

From there, they went down a vertical shaft that gradually angled to the horizontal. First they dropped a corpse from the shifter/warforged fight first, then a torch with a rope tied to it (burned part of the rope off before they hauled it back up and doused it in sewage, ew), then they rappelled down themselves.

At the bottom, they came to a large rubble-strewn chamber. Another short combat ensued where a beetle swarm rushed forth to defend its nest — they had to retreat and distract the swarm to avoid dying — and finally the party made it to the peaceful-looking ruins of an ancient temple. They didn’t search very thoroughly, so they missed the holy water font (the remaining water acts as three Cure Light Wounds potions), and that’s where we broke off the game due to time constraints.

There really were a lot of jarring “oops, these don’t mesh well” moments. In the future, I doubt I’ll use Eberron as a Microlite setting — it seems like it requires too much time and effort to reconcile competing design themes.

Working on Microlite74 2.0

I’m finally working on the long-awaited “revised and expanded” Microlite74 2.0. You can follow progress, comment, and make suggestions on my Microlite74 board at Retroroleplaying.com. There will not be a lot of changes to the current M74 rules, but there will be a number of new optional rules and the monster list is being completely reworked to be much closer to 0e and 0e retroclones.

Microlite20 Psionics!

From the pen of San Kim comes Microlite20 Psionics, a ‘litified rendition of the SRD Psionics rules complete with the Psion and Psychic Warrior classes, Powers, Items and Monsters!

Download it here.

UPDATE: San has revised this document further, making it even smaller (in the best Microlite tradition), added additional credits and a shiny updated layout and logo. If you’ve already downloaded it, grab it again for the update!

UPDATE 2: Now available in handy pocketmod format!

Download the Psionics Pocketmod
Download the Powers Pocketmod

Microlite20 VERMIN

Tooth and claw in the streets!

“Could you be just a little more quiet, Barkhead,” growled Trom, the rat. “It’s not like we’re begging to get noticed or anything.”

Barkhead snickered, “Sure… like there’s anything awake in this alley in the middle of the night. Let’s just go in, grab the ham and get out. I don’t even know why I’m helping you guys. I don’t even eat ham.”

“Because, you, you, you’re our friend,” squeaked the little mouse sneak Keiter. “And, and, we smelled pine nuts. Promise.”

Barkhead scrambled up the wall unto the windowsill. “Ok… grab this rope and get up here,” he said, concentrating for a moment. “… … …,” he appeared to scream. “… … …

Get the pdf here, by copycat042.

Moving the blog

I’ve decided to move my RPG blog to here: http://oldguyrpg.blogspot.com/

I’m not giving up on microlite20! I’ll still be here adding stuff to the Macropedia and participating, but I wanted to get some blogging going on where I could customize the look/feel and do some things that Drupal doesn’t support. Greywulf’s been nothing short of wonderful and I greatly appreciate his hospitality of my ramblings here.

I’ve moved some of my older posts there. Anything related to m20, the m20chargen and m20npcgen will still be posted here!

Long live microlite!

Critical/Fumble rolls and injuries

I’ve discovered the blog “The Tao of D&D” and [url=http://tao-dnd.blogspot.com/2008/10/hit-points.html]this post on injuries[/url] got me to thinking.

I know that I’m not as learned as some on the fine arts of D&D, but one thing I do appreciate are light rules and quick gameplay. There’s alot that can go on in combat, and when there are opportunities to inject some additional role playing elements into it, I’ll take those opportunities, but not at the expense of making the game harder or more rules bound.

The idea of someone suffering a broken arm, or potentially loss of limb, makes combat a bit more precarious. The problem is, as pointed out in that post, how to incorporate “injury” into combat. Do you put some sort of “alternate” HP in place? Do you do something like D&D4e, which has the concept of “blooded” (1/2 total HP loss, if I remember correctly)?

Since I like simple, and I’m sure everyone has done something like this at some point, I thought tie bad injuries to fumbles and criticals.

I have a list of possible effects and I randomly choose one, so I’m going to add the broken/useless/loss-of limb effect.