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

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  • 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 reaction to my recent post on a Microlite74 Edition designed for “Swords & Sorcery” genre play has been very positive. I’m happy to announce that I have started to work on it. So far, work consists on taking a copy of Microlite74 Extended Edition and starting to trim material from the document that will not be needed in a Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Edition and beginning to give some careful thought to what is needed to give the game a more swords & sorcery feel.

Your input will be welcome. As with previous Microlite74 projects, I will be talking about the project on this blog (and eventually in the forum) and draft copies of the rules will be available to download and comment on. Unlike some of the “big company” playtests and open design projects, I really am interested in comments and they influence my work.

A homemade D&D module from 1981 called G2 Squared: Habitition of the Stone Giant Lord is available for free download at PlaGMaDA. It’s typewritten, illustrated, has hand-drawn maps on graph paper, and full of typos (like the one in the module title). It’s also full of gonzo fun stuff like a kitchen full of female giants who defend themselves by throwing (giant) kitchen utensils and an introduction that includes this line: “If the adventurers return without sufficient evidence of kills they may be hanged or otherwise executed…” There’s also the advice to “Trust no one!” (Years before the publication of Paranoia, but keeping your laser handy would be helpful too — if you only had one). BTW, the designer was 14 at the time.

Go download this amateur gem now either by viewing the scanned pages at PlaGMaDA or by downloading a PDF version here.

Edit: As noted in a comment below, this PDF was created by mwschmeer at his Rended Press blog. A CBZ version is also available there.

According this a post on the RPGSite from Windjammer, there is an amazing amount of free 4e material on the WOTC web site — and not behind their paywall. Enough material to play 4e for quite a while — and without most of the limitations of their basic set. While I’m not a fan of 4e and have little interest in playing it again, I thought the info in Windjammer’s post should get wider attention.

With 4E on its way out, I thought it may be helpful to alert people to the sheer amount of free material WotC released for this game over the past year. Basically, they put out all the base classes and quite some canonical monsters on PDFs and released these for free. Throw in the Quick Starter rules PDF and you got a complete game at your hands, and one ‘fully up to date’ too.

Read the entire post with the links to all the free 4e material you need to play.

I’ve been asked if I could make a “Swords ansd Sorcery Edition” of Microlite74 by someone who would be willing to donate a few very nice AD&D items for a Cancer Fund drive. He’s asked that a Microlite74: Swords and Sorcery Edition have characteristics like these:

* Based on Microlite74 Extended
* Like “E6”, be limited to 6th level with advancement thereafter be limited to things like talents and action points.
* Player characters should be human and limited to two classes: Adventurer (think Fighter) and Sorceror (magic-user with access to both arcane and divine magic). Backgrounds could be used to create specialists.
* Magic should be divided into white, grey, and black with different costs for each.
* Only spell levels 1 and 2 (with some level 3 spells as specials after achieving level 6) should be directly castable. Higher level spells should require lengthy rituals.
* Fighters should have some mild mechanical customization something like the Fighter Special Abilities optional rules in Companion 1.
* Sorcerors should not have Magic Dart but can have minor magic. Can use weapons and armor, but casting in armor should be limited.
* No alignment, but virtues and vices might be okay.
* Single saving throw (like in Swords and Wizardry).
* Drop the grand tour of old school games
* Include some treasure

It really would not be very hard to create a Microlite74: Swords and Sorcery Edition that fulfills most (or even all) of those requests. Would anyone else be interested in such an edition? If you are interested, do you have any issues with the above characteristics or have additional requests?