About RetroRoleplaying.com

RetroRoleplaying.com is a  site devoted to old school and OSR tabletop roleplaying games. These days, it is an archive site holding my older material such as my old blog (RetroRoleplaying: The Blog). main features are my old blog and a free game download area. This site is ran by a hobbyist as a hobby and is not a business. We do not accept paid advertising in any form. Server bills, however, have to be paid so links to commercial products are often affiliate links.

Most activity has moved to my new site, RulesLightRPGs.com, which is devoted to rules light games in general: old school, new school, no school such as Microlite20, The Black Hack, OD&D and B/X D&D, Tiny D6, Knave, GLOG, OneDice, 24xx, etc.

New in Downloads

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Prowler's Microlite2020 Character Sheet

Prowler said: Mocked together a simple character sheet for Microlite2020 and thought I would share it. It's fillable, so might be useful for online sessions. Please note that in order to attach a picture of your character, you must use Adobe Reader or equivalent (it's not possible in the web browser, or via simple PDF readers like SumatraPDF).

Apologies for the A5 format, but it should look pretty decent on half-letter or letter as well.

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Microlite2020 Character Sheets

Excellent Microlite2020 character sheets created by Vanya. Both PDFs for printing and .docx files for modifying are included in the zip file.

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Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Edition 1e

Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Edition is a special version of Microlite74 3.0 designed for Swords & Sorcery style campaigns. Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is based on Microlite74 Extended 3.0 but with many special rules designed for Swords & Sorcery style campaigns. For example, there are only two classes (Adventurer and Sorcerer) and 6 levels, magic is limited and casting certain spells can corrupt the caster, and many 0e style magic items are relics of dead civilizations from long ago. Humans are assumed to dominate the world and most enemies are other humans and animals. True monsters certainly exist but they are assumed to be rare. This is the first version of Microlite74 to provide detailed information on treasure. This is the first edition.

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Microlite75 Original Version

This original version of Microlite75 (published in 2011) is a version of Microlite74 (Version 2.0) based on the 1974 0e edition with its supplements and material from 0e magazine articles, some 0e third party material, some of the house rules the author used in the 1970s, and selected ideas from other roleplaying games. The Characters & Magic (aka "player") book contains the complete basic rules and the equipment and spells lists. For many campaigns, this booklet contains everything a player needs to know to play. The Options & Monsters (aka "GM") book contains a large number of optional rules a GM might elect to include in a campaign as well as monster lists and other GM-oriented information.

Note: Microlite75 was renamed Microlite74 Extended when Microlite74 Version 3.0 came out. Much later, the Microlite75 name was reused for a variant version of Microlite74 3.0.

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Microlite74 Version 2.0 Wary's Grimoire

Microlite74 Version 2.0 Wary's Grimoire is a supplement to Microlite74 Version 2.0 adding most of the classes, spells, and monsters from the supplements to the original edition of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game. Also included, 6-9th level spells and more monsters.

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Microlite74 Version 2.0 Ancient Auguries

Microlite74 Version 2.0 Ancient Auguries is a supplement to Microlite74 Version 2.0 adding four pages of optional rules, including: Specialist Class, special abilities for each standard class, skills, ritual magic, metamagic, fire-and-forget magic, combat stunts, etc.

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Microlite Version 2.0 Standard

Microlite Version 2.0 Standard (10 pages, no covers or interior art, standard M20 small print, 167K PDF) The second edition of Microlite74 is Version 2.0 was released on March 4, 2009 in honor of the first anniversary of the passing of Gary Gygax. Major changes include more complete spell and monster descriptions and spells and monsters were modified to make them more like those of 0e and more compatible with those in other (much larger) 0e retroclones.

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Microlite74 Release 1.1

Microlite74 Release 1.1 Standard is a six page PDF. It includes variant rules based on Microlite20, a complete spell list and monster list, and a short designer's note section touching on the differences in style between "old school" and the usual style of play encountered today. Release 1.1 contains minor error corrections, information on other OGL retrogames based on early editions of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game, and new rules for morale, hirelings, and equipment. Microlite74's rules were written to support the "old school" style, while retaining many of the more modern rules features of OGL games based on the 3.5 SRD. Microlite20 trimmed the fat from the 3.5 SRD, paring the game down to a fast-moving and easy to learn two-page system. Microlite74 takes the M20 system and modifies it for a 1974 style, but leaves most of the basic Microlite20 rules in place.

This version is popular for convention and meetup games as it is short enough that copies can be cheaply printed for each player.

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Microlite74 Release 1.0

This is the very first released version of Microlite74. It's only 5 pages long (including the OGL in fine print). It includes variant rules based on Microlite20, a complete spell list and monster list, Microlite74's rules were written to support the "old school" style, while retaining many of the more modern rules features of OGL games based on the 3.5 SRD. Microlite20 trimmed the fat from the 3.5 SRD, paring the game down to a fast-moving and easy to learn two-page system. Microlite74 takes the M20 system and modifies it for a 1974 style, but leaves most of the basic Microlite20 rules in place.

WARNING: This version is very broken as it was not playtested beyond third or fourth level (and higher level characters are far too powerful for 0e monsters and adventures). The original idea for Microlite74 was that it could be used to introduce 3.x-era players to old school gaming. If they liked old school gaming, I just assumed they would they start a game using "real" rules. So I never actually played beyond third level. When others decided they liked both old school gaming and M74 -- and wanted to just play Microlite74 -- the problems with higher level characters were immediately apparent, were reported to me, and Microlite74 1.1 was released.

 

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Scarlet Sea Campaign Setting

This is a small setting for a Microlite20 campaign: a coastal area long the Scarlet Sea.

This zip file contains the setting/adventure area description in two pdfs (one a pockmod) and two jpg maps of the area (one color, one black and white).

News and Views

New Articles on Rules Light RPGs

New posts are now appearing on my new site: RulesLightRPGs.com. The following feed lists the five most recent News and Article posts from RulesLightRPGs.com.

RSS Recent News and Articles on RulesLightRPGs.com
  • Mini-Setting: The Pan-Sentient Confederation (Part 3) July 19, 2022
    The StarForce The StarForce is the Confederation’s military arm. It is charged with the defense of the Confederation, the enforcement of Confederation law in space (and, when necessary, on member planets to the limited extent allowed by the Confederation constitution), and exploration. Most of the Confederation budget goes to its support. StarForce Ship Designs Due […]
  • Dreamlands as a Multisetting Campaign Device July 3, 2022
    One of my players said that it would be fantastic if there was a way to play a single character in every universe possible with the Tiny D6 rules. Naturally, I came up with several ways this could be handled as we were talking about the idea to the slight shock of my players who […]
  • Mini-Setting: The Pan-Sentient Confederation (Part 2) June 22, 2022
    This is the second part of a short series of posts on the Pan Sentient Confederation, a system neutral “final frontier” mini-setting. The first post is here. Please remember that this material was created in the 1990s for SRRT3 on the Genie online service with writing fiction in mind, so it probably goes into more […]
  • Kickstarter: By This Axe: The Cyclopedia of Dwarven Civilization June 21, 2022
    Autarch has a new Kickstarter for ACKS and other OSR games: By This Axe: The Cyclopedia of Dwarven Civilization — a 200 page compendium of information on dwarves. The first day isn’t over as I write this and By the Axe has already funded. From the Kickstarter page: In this tome you will find the […]
  • Mini-Setting: The Pan-Sentient Confederation (Part 1) June 19, 2022
    I’ve occasionally heard people say they would like to run campaigns in the Traveller’s Third Imperium universe, the Star Trek universe, the Star Wars universe, etc., but they never do because they don’t want to deal with the canon fanatics. My solution is to just not play with canon fanatics. However, I realize that this […]

Recent Discussions on
The Forum @ Rules Light RPGs

RSS Latests Discussion Topics
  • The Prancing Pegasus • Dust Devils!
    http://www.bozbat.com/2022/10/12/monste ... st-devils/Dust Devil Stats:Hit Dice: 3d8Hit Points: 13AC: 17Initiative: +7Claw Attack: +4 Melee (1d4)Breath of Dust: The leaders of a group of Dust Devils usually use the Breath of Dust to weaken their enemies so that the others can pounce on them with their claw attacks; a 10 foot cone of irritating dust particles […]
  • Rules Lite RPGs • Referencing rules at the table
    So I've been going down the rabbit hole of at-the-table reference material lately, specifically things like home-made cheatsheets.Given the concise nature of e.g. m20 Purest Essence as well as some of the more expanded rulesets, how does everyone typically look up rules at the table?Page through the rules booklets? If so, what size? Anyone still […]
  • Rules Lite RPGs • A Modern Bard (without magic)
    I am trying to create an interesting version of bard for modern settings without magic. I must admit I am a bit stumped as to what 'powers' to give such a character. Any ideas or suggestions?Statistics: Posted by squirewaldo — Tue Sep 27, 2022 4:18 pm — Replies 3 — Views 345
  • Rules Lite RPGs • Should monsters also use hit points to cast spells?
    Players use hit points to cast spells, should the same be true for monsters or would that make encounters perhaps too easy? What is balance-wise the best approach?Let's say if we look at a DnD Skeletal Mage keeping in mind the Microlite20 Purest Essence guide, it might look something as such:HD: 1d8+3 (7hp)AC: 12Weapon: Crooked […]
  • Rules Lite RPGs • Alcohol and Drug Use and Abuse
    I am working on a project based upon Microlite 2020 Complete, but set in the modern age. How would be the best way to deal with alcohol and drug use and perhaps abuse?Statistics: Posted by squirewaldo — Fri Sep 16, 2022 6:54 pm — Replies 2 — Views 308

The paid version of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition is now available. The free version will be out early next week.

If you buy the paid version of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition you will receive the following:

  • a pdf of the single-column digest-sized version — 164 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the two-column letter-sized version — 68 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition Player’s Guide — 10 pages, no art: has all the player-facing rules (plus equipment and spell lists) and is designed to be printed and given to players.
  • epub and mobi ebook versions of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition
  • epub and mobi ebook versions of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition Player’s Guide

The free version will only include a copy of the two-column letter-sized version — without art version. In either case, you will get all the rules: Basic Rules, Basic Rule Examples, Expert Rules, Equipment, Spell Lists (Magi, Cleric, Illusionist, Druid), Monster List, Gamemaster’s Guide, Designer’s Notes (explaining the hows and whys of Microlite20’s design), Appendix A: Minor Rules Expanions, Appendix B: Microlite20 Martial Arts, Appendix C: Microlite20 Psionics, Appendix D: Rune Magic, Appendix E: Microlite20 Mass Combat, Appendix F: Microlite20 Mecha and Starships, Appendix G: Microlite20 Old School Style, and (of course) a copy of the OGL.

You can find the paid version on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG for $7.50:

Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition on RPGNow
Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition on DriveThruRPG

 

Coming next week: the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition. As I mentioned about a week ago, I discovered a copy of a game I was working on in 2015 on my drive. I have finished it up and will be releasing it next week. The price for the paid version will probably be $7.50.

What is the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition?

In its raw form, Microlite20 and its more important optional and supplemental sections are a hodge-podge of pdfs produced by different people and formated however the producer of that section wanted. The Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition takes all this material and combines it in one document — all formated the same and somewhat reorganized in places to make it easier to use. The end result is either a 68 page two-column letter sized pdf or a 164 page digest-sized pdf. Both formats are included in the paid version. Both are full of artwork.

What Do You Get?

If you buy the paid version of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition you will receive the following:

  • a pdf of the single-column digest-sized version — 164 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the two-column letter-sized version — 68 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition Player’s Guide — 10 pages, no art: has all the player-facing rules (plus equipment and spell lists) and is designed to be printed and given to players.
  • epub and mobi ebook versions of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition
  • epub and mobi ebook versions of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition Player’s Guide

The actual rules include the following sections: Basic Rules, Basic Rule Examples, Expert Rules, Equipment, Spell Lists (Magi, Cleric, Illusionist, Druid), Monster List, Gamemaster’s Guide, Designer’s Notes (explaining the hows and whys of Microlite20’s design), Appendix A: Minor Rules Expanions, Appendix B: Microlite20 Martial Arts, Appendix C: Microlite20 Psionics, Appendix D: Rune Magic, Appendix E: Microlite20 Mass Combat, Appendix F: Microlite20 Mecha and Starships, Appendix G: Microlite20 Old School Style, and (of course) a copy of the OGL.

Is There a Free Version?
Of course, there is. Or there will be within a week or so after the release of the paid version. The PWYW/free version of the Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition will not have art and will probably have slightly smaller type. The PWYW/free version will only come in one format (letter-sized two column pdf) and will not include the player’s guide or ebook versions.

What is Microlite20?

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably know. However, if those who do not know: Microlite20 is an OGL role-playing game containing character generation, combat and rules for magic, monsters and level advancement. It ripped the guts out of d20 leaving just the essence of the game. Skills are much simplified, there are no feats and combat is as simple as it gets. Microlite20 is a trimmed-down, subminiature version of the Primary Fantasy Tabletop RPG SRD rules that has been designed to be quick and easy to play. The goal was to create a simpler game, but one where all of the resources of Primary Fantasy SRD (monsters, spells, adventures and equipment) could be used without conversion. It was designed for the 3.5 SRD but will work with the 3.0 SRD or even the PF SRD. The original rules for character generation, combat, magic and level advancement took up a single sheet of paper (of very fine print), making it great for introducing role-playing to new players, gaming one-shot adventures or tailoring into your own game system. Of course, the Microlite20 quickly grew breyond the original (extremely basic) rules with a number of optional systems and supplemental modules (e.g. lists of equipment and spells) designed to make the game playable without needing to constantly refer to a copy of the SRD. Microlite20 is also the basis for a large number of independent variant games in many genres — the current (2017) edition of the Microlite20 RPG Collection has just over 2000 pages of Microlite20 based RPGs.

Cover of the Single Column Digest Version

Cover of the Letter-Sized Two Column Version

First Page of the Player’s Guide Handout

Queue the Twilight Zone theme song. I was cleaning up the projects area of my hard drive this morning. I found a game, Microlite20 Comprehensive Edition, that I apparently worked on and finished in 2015. I somehow forgot about it. All it needs is layout. How could I have forgotten an entire game? I know we were dealing with a lot of doctor visits for my wife that year, but still, how could a complete game have slipped my mind? I vaguely remember putting it together for players in my old Waco group who wanted a version of Microlite20 that incorporated a lot of the early extensions and additions. I’ve just ask on the Waco group mailing list if I ever gave anyone a copy or if it has sat uselessly on my drive for 3 years.

Microlite78 fan Robert has been at it again. While he was happy to see the digest/ebook version of Microlite78 First Edition Lite, he pointed out that i could do a version much closer to 1e now that I have more than the Microlite74 material to work with.

He’s right. The original mandate for Microlite78 was to combine the Microlite74 Extended rules with Microlite74 Companions II (Treasure), IV (Bestiary of Monsters), and V (First Edition Spells) into a single volume that could be used to play 1e style games — and to use the more standard XP and advancement system I was developing for Microlite81. The idea was that I could toss this together in a month or so. I agreed to do this a few days before my wife’s mother past away unexpectedly (and our move to Dallas), so my one month project ended up taking about a year.

Robert has convinced me to look at doing a second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite. In fact, I already have a fairly compete draft version available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors (usual place, usual password — direct links: Draft 1 and now Draft 2). While there are not a lot of major changes, the changes made are significant:

  • The math heavy system for recalculating advancement tables if certain optional rules (like psionics) are used have been replaced with the Experience Rank system I’ve developed for the BX Advanced games. Some granularity is lost, but dealing with advancement adjustments from optional rules is reduced to simple addition and subtraction of small numbers.
  • The treasure section is more like that of 1e. Many 1e magic items were not included in the Microlite74 Companion II rules (and therefore were not in the first edition of Microlite78). The majority of them are present now.
  • The first edition rules — like the Microlite74 games they were based on — did not include much information on how to run the game for the GM. More recent RetroRoleplaying releases have added section of GM Lore with helpful GM advice and procedures. This material is included in the second edition.
  • While high level characters received strongholds, little information on handling player-controlled areas was included in the game. There was really nothing beyond the costs of building a stronghold. The second edition includes rules for running player-controlled dominions.
  • There are a number of minor additions: a few more optional rules, sample wilderness and dungeon encounter tables, etc.
  • The contents have been reorganized.

The basic version of this game will be “pay what you want” and will not have a lot of art. There will be an Extended Version with more art and more monsters, treasure, etc for sale. The aim is to get these out by the end of summer — at the latest. Fingers crossed for no medical or family emergencies.