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Starting Work on the Microlite20-OSS Edition

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While I like Microlite74 and think it is an excellent conversion of the style of that Zeroth Edition of the world's most popular fantasy RPG from 1974 to Microlite-style rules, it's not really a game I'd run regularly. If I wanted to run Oe I'd either just run it or the new Swords & Wizardry retro-clone.

Therefore, I've decide to write yet another Microlite20 variant tentatively titled Microlite20-OSS Edition (Microlite20 -- Old School Style Edition). This version will aim to be old school in feel but will not try to duplicate the specifics of any edition. Instead it will be the rules I would like to use in my own M20 games. I have no idea if anyone else will like them, but when they are done I will be making them available to any who are interested for the usual M20 price, free.

M20-OSS will start with Microlite74 and make changes. Some of the major new features currently planned for M20-OSS include:

SKILLS: The return of M20's five skills, but used in an old school way where the skill roll is completely secondary to the player's description of what his character is doing. Each class will have two class skills at 1d20+level (one will be determined by character's class and the other will be picked by the player which will allow an easy way to create a "subclass" effect). The other three skills will be at 1d20+(level/2).

CLASS ABILITIES: The special class abilities I usually add to fighters (weapon specialization). magic-users (minor magics), and clerics (healing touch) via house rules will be in the rules.

RITUALS: Rituals are only thing I really like from 4e, they will be added but not as replacements for standard spells (as they are in 4e) but as a way to cast special magics or spells one does not have memorized.

PSIONICS: Psionics are important in my Empire of Arn setting, if I am to be able to run Arn games with M20-OSS, I will need some type of psionics rules. These will be optional.

SPELLS: Will run to 9th level for Magic-Users and 7th level for clerics.

There will be a number of minor tweaks and changes as well. I have no idea how long this will take me to develop and write-up, but I will be making reports here and on the Retroroleplaying forum.

Dan's Diminutive d20 -- New "Minimal" Version of D20

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There's another mini-D20 fantasy RPG out, Dan's Diminutive d20. This is a free 12-page pdf with a unique take on D20 minimalism:

* Generic Classes: 3 core classes (Fighter, Rogue, and Wizard), with easy-to-remember saves and skills.
* Limited Levels, Magic, and Feats: Limited to 12 character levels, 5 magic items maximum, and class bonus feats only.
* Level-Based Skills: No skill points are spent or recorded.
* Equipment in Brief: Your core adventuring needs, with a unique measurement system that makes encumbrance a snap.
* Monsters Redux: All the major monsters, reduced to fit in just 3 pages.
Like most mini-D20 games, Dan's Diminutive d20 is almost entirely OGL material so others can build on this game. Dan's Diminutive d20 has some resemblance to the popular Microlite 20 games, but is based on generic classes from the OGL material in Unearthed Arcana -- and has no clerics! It's definitely worth a look, especially if you'd like something with a bit more crunch than Microlite 20.

Trouble Letting Go -- The Heartbreak of Selling Wrath of the Immortals

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As many readers know, I've been selling off parts of my RPG collection since my marriage. The reason is simple: lack of room -- two forty-somethings each get married, each for the first time, and have to combine two houses worth of stuff into one house. However, I've been keeping many older items like really like, such as my Classic D&D rules and adventures.

Last week, however, I looked at my copies of the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set from TSR and The Primal Order from WOTC and realized that I have never used them and probably never will. I just do not need detailed rules on deity-level NPCs. I run my deities as deities -- plot devices who can do whatever I need them to do within the limits of their areas of power. They don't really need hit points, let alone detailed lists of powers and how many points of divine energy each power uses. And that's what TSR's Wrath of the Immortals and WOTC's The Primal Order do. Sure, Wrath of the Immortals also has rules for a campaign with PCs as Immortals, but I'm never going to run anything like that.

As my wife still says my games take up too much space, I decided to go ahead and sell these. Someone who will use them (or some collector who just has to own everything) can have them. In a way it breaks my heart to sell a Classic D&D item, as OD&D and CD&D are the games I am most likely to run in my "old age," but I have to be realistic. I've never going to use it. The rules aren't anything I need and the adventure changes the Known World in ways I really don't like -- almost as bad as the changes to the Forgotten Realms for D&D4. Logically, I know this feeling is silly, but I still have it. Oddly enough, I have no such feeling about selling The Primal Order even though it is the first RPG product WOTC's published and it is a fun read.

I'd like to know what my readers think of this. Do you have trouble letting go of gaming materials you know you will never need or use?

Adventure Module BL1-2? This Looks Good

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I stumbled on this on the web site of Roll for Surprises! -- a company I've never heard of before. This looks very good -- it will apparently be available for free download in PDF form and in hardcopy from Lulu.

Adventure Module BL1-2: The Ruined Hamlet/Terror in the Gloaming

Into the Unknown! The wilderness around the cave stronghold called Gold Hill Trading Post is dangerous and scattered with ruins of large and small settlements. Will your party find fame and fortune, solve ancient mysteries, or just disappear into the Borderlands like so many that came before?

This module contains underground and wilderness maps that form a detailed adventure and mini-campaign for beginning characters, including an abandoned village, haunted graveyard, ruined church, traders' camp, wilderness encounters, and monster lairs. It also includes a ruined keep and dungeon, as well as a mapped and detailed "base camp" stronghold.

For new characters, levels 1-2. 60 pages.

Download Version Coming Soon!
[In final layout 9/1/08]
I can't wait to see this.

Hidden Valley Towns II (Hidden Valley Setting, Part X)

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Cities and Towns in the Hidden Valley

Longpoint (pop 1700, Girwyllan)

Longpoint used to be the midpoint on a road to Byrne, but the bridges to Byne were magically destroyed during the Kinstrife and never rebuilt. The road between Longpoint and Byrne is now little more than a hard to follow trail. Longpoint is the main staging ground for expedition into the Fens and several small merchant houses specialize in product than can only be found in or made from things found in the Fens. Sir Gillford is Lord Mayor of Longpoint, but he allows an elected council to do most of the ruling. He despises Baron Eden of Thornhold.

Arquay (pop 6070, Girwyllan)

Arquay is a thriving agricultural center centering the towns and farms in the central Goodlands. It is also the home of the Moon Waters Monastery, noted for its healing waters and well-trained medical monks. Arquay is ruled by the Imperial Baron Arquay. The current baron is an elderly man who is well-liked by the people and his subject knights. Unfortunately, his health is failing and people worry than his only child, Elizabeth, is more interested in her many bed partners than she is in the welfare of the lands she will soon inherit.

Ost Caves (pop 4300, Girwyllan)

This town is named for the huge cavern system east of town. The upper caverns are used to farm mushrooms and other fungus. Passages to the deeper areas are well guarded as several times most years horrible creatures come up from below. According to legend the caverns continue downward to the edge of hell itself. The town is also noted for its spring festival which features athletic contests or all types. Ost Caves has been governed by a council of area knights since the death of the last Baron Druse over 60 years ago.