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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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
  • Design and Development • Flexible magic/spell systems (for m20 variant)
    Does anyone have a favorite magic system from other games that either uses flexible spells (i.e. set effects you can dial up or down as needed) or is completely freeform?I want to offer an alternative to the typical Vancian-style "spells," whether they run off of spell slots or HP (as in Purest Essence), and I'm […]
  • The Prancing Pegasus • Looking for advice on designing a very basic RPG
    This is purely as a little hobby. I wanted to try my hand at a really simple RPG design for an online wargaming universe called Three Plains, with the support of its creator. I have chosen the Creative Commons-licensed Simple RPG System for mechanics.Thing is, I really have no clue what I'm doing, so I […]
  • The Prancing Pegasus • Has DTRPG abandoned small creators?
    I have been posting self-produced sets of rules on DTRPG and its associated sites, wargames and RPGS, for years. What I loved about DTRPG was how they not only allowed us little guys to submit our stuff but also supported us. That seems to have changed. I don't want to complain. DTRPG is still an […]
  • The Prancing Pegasus • The World in this video needs to be an RPG
    My wife sent me a link to this 11 minute long video short (Whiddershins) yesterday. After seeing it, I want to play in a game set in this quirky steampunk universe. iframe Statistics: Posted by randalls — Mon Jul 04, 2022 9:22 am — Replies 0 — Views 360
  • Site and Community • Rules Light RPGs Discord?
    Back when this site was Microlite20 Nexus, I had requests to set up a Discord server for this site. I never did because I don't have time to be active on a Discord server. However, I'm hoping that if this new site attracts more active users some of those users might like Discord, be on […]

Back in 2015, I created a special version of Microlite74 designed for my Wilderlands of High Fantasy game. It was sort of a “Basic Plus” version in that it limited itself to the original three character classes of Microlite74 Basic and the original 0e boxed set, but used the more complete/complex rules from Microlite74 Extended. It also allow Magic-Users to select between four spell lists at character creation and clerics to select between two. A “special edition” of this game (entitled Microlite74: Perilous Adventures) with donated art was released for RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors in the Spring of 2015. I panned to release a generally available version with public domain art about a year later.

As it’s now the summer of 2018, I’d say the schedule slipped a bit — because I forgot all about my plan to release this game to everyone while working on things like moving to Ohio and other games. However, Microlite74: Perilous Adventures has been cleaned up, reformatted with public domain art, and is now available as a “pay what you want” game on RPGNow/DrivethruRPG. The rules have been slightly revised for this release and a few additional optional rules have been added. As normal, $0 (aka free) is a perfectly acceptable amount to pay.

Get your copy of Microlite74 Perilous Adventures on RPGNow.

Why download this game? Microlite74: Perilous Adventures provides a look at a different path 0e might have taken. A path that expanded character design options without starting down the road that leads to a huge number of separate classes each with their own rules and other bits and bobs. The entire game — rules, spell lists, monsters, magic items, etc. — fits in a 72 page rulebook.

Microlite74 games are trimmed-down miniature versions of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules designed to be quick and easy to play, especially when compared to modern incarnations of the game. 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.

These rules assume that the GM understands the basic concepts of roleplaying games, but provides information for both the GM and the players on the various “old school” styles of play. Microlite74 games can easily use adventures and material from early editions of the world’s most popular tabletop fantasy roleplaying game or modern clones.

I’ve had several requests (including a number of requests from 1 person ::waves to Robert::) for a digest/ebook version of Microlite78 First Edition Lite. I’ve finally had time to reformat Microlite78 into a single column digest-sized pdf (and produce .epub and .mobi ebook versions), so a digest/ebook version is now available. The digest-sized pdf is 505 pages and sells for $4.95. Note that this is the same content as the 158 page “condensed type/pay-what-you-want” version that has been available for a few years. The only changes are formatting, larger type, different art, and a fixing 3 or 4 minor typos I noticed while laying out the digest version.

You can find it on RPGNow.

Coming next week. Microlite81 Advanced: Expanded Tablet/Digest Edition.

The Microlite81 Advanced: Expanded Tablet/Digest Edition takes the popular Microlite81 Advanced rules and puts them in a format designed for easy use on tablets (larger type, smaller single-column pages). However, it also adds a lot of new material that is not in the pay-what-you-want “condensed type” edition of Microlite81 Advanced — such as:

  • about 100 additional monsters
  • over 50 new magic items, including some magic items designed specifically for Microlite81 systems (e.g. the hit point fueled magic system)
  • a few new spells
  • rules for using small parties of 1-3 characters in old TSR adventures designed for 8+ PCs
  • expanded rules for dominions (the territories high level PC rule).
  • sample adventures
  • art — lots more art, including color art.

There are 888 pages in the pdf version. Epub and mobi versions are also included, although the formatting may not be perfect (especially on small screen devices like phones). The price will be $9.95.

I’ve created a Dungeon Delving Undying Light “SRD” web site where the entire Dungeon Delving Undying Light rules are online as web pages. The site is not spectacular to look at, but it is functional and allows reading the Dungeon Delving Undying Light rules from a web browser on just about any modern computer, tablet, or smartphone. SRD sites are popular with other games like D&D 3.5, Pathfinder, Dungeon World, and others; and I’ve had requests to provide such sites for my games. Since Dungeon Delving Undying Light is a small game and I recently discovered a way to easily convert MS Word files to Markdown (which can then be converted to html without the mess of weird Word html you get from converting Word directly to html), I decided to give it a try. If this site proves popular, I will try to find time to create SRD web sites for my other games.

You’ll find Dungeon Delving Undying Light “SRD” web site here: https://dungeondelvingulsrd.retroroleplaying.com/