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Introducing the Microlite81 Warlord Class

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warlord imageA new draft of Microlite81 (Draft 0.40) is available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors with the usual password. This draft includes the first versions of the optional Dragonborn, Tiefling, Warforged, and Warlord classes I promised in my Christmas day post.

As a teaser for the upcoming first public beta release, the Microlite81 version of the Warlord class (or at least the initial draft of it) follows. I tried to capture some of the "shoutiness" of the popular late edition version of this class with the inspiration powers but without the features many old school players consider silly, such as shouting wounds away. The inspiration powers cost HP as magic does and can be considered magical or non-magical abilities, whatever makes the most sense in each specific campaign using the class. Note that the following was pasted in from Microsoft Word, so if you view the HTML there will be all sorts of junk.

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Warlords are warriors trained to lead in combat. Any fighter is able to lead others in battle but warlords specialize in battle leadership. Prime Requisite: STR. Requirements: CHR 9+.

Weapons and Armor: Warlords may use light or medium armor and may use shields. They may use any weapon.

Class Abilities: When leading a group of hirelings under their command, the hirelings subtract the Warlord’s fighter bonus in any morale checks and add one-half the Warlord’s fighter bonus (round up) to their attack and damage rolls. Warlords are expert at riding and at small unit tactics.

Battlefield Prowess: At 5th level, a warlord inspires those organized units (mercenary companies, etc.) under his direct command. Any organized military units under the command of the warlord have a +1 bonus to their morale. At 10th level, this bonus becomes +2.

Inspiration: Warlords are able to inspire allies during combat by battle cries and shouting encouragement. Only allies who can clearly hear the warlord are affected by these abilities. Each of these abilities may only be used once per combat (and cannot be used again until the warlord has rested for at least one turn (10 minutes). The effects of these abilities do not stack under any circumstances.

·          Inspire Courage: Warlords can use their action to grant all allies who can hear them +2 bonus to saves against charm and fear effects and a +2 bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls for a number of rounds equal to twice his Fighter Bonus. Using this ability costs the Warlord 3 hit points.
·          Inspire Greatness: Warlords of at least 5th level can use their action to inspire greatness in a single willing ally who can hear them. The ally gains 12 (plus twice the target’s Constitution modifier) temporary hit points, a +2 bonus on attack rolls, and a +2 bonus to saves against charm and fear effects for a number of rounds equal to twice the Warlord’s Fighter Bonus. Using this ability costs the Warlord 5 hit points.
·          Inspire Derring-Do: Warlords of at least 9th level can use their action to inspire daring-do in a single willing ally who can hear them. The ally gains a +4 bonus to their AC and all saving throws for a number of rounds equal to twice the Warlord’s Fighter Bonus. Using this ability costs the Warlord 7 hit points.
·          Inspire Heroism: Warlords of at least 11th level can use their action to inspire heroism in a single willing ally who can hear them. The ally gains the effects of a Heroism potion for a number of rounds equal to the Warlord’s Fighter Bonus. Using this ability costs the Warlord 10 hit points.

Mercenary Unit: At level 9 a warlord can raise a mercenary unit from a friendly populated area. The Warrior must spend 2d4 days doing nothing but spreading the word in the local region and rallying interest. On the morning following his efforts, the Warrior will have gathered together a fighting force of (his level + CHA bonus) x 10 men-at-arms. The GM may increase or decrease this number by up to 50% to reflect the population of the area.  The warlord is responsible for food and supplies for these men, and they will follow him so long as they are treated well. A warlord may only have one such mercenary unit at a time.

Stronghold: At level 12 a warlord may build a fortress in the borderlands or wilderness. The fortress will also attract settlers over time and they will look to the warlord for leadership.

Experience Base: 2200/120000.

Warlord Advancement Table
Level
HP
PCB/MCB
FB
Mem
Save
XP
1
1d6
+0/+0
+1
0
14
0
2
2d6
+0/+0
+1
0
13
2200
3
3d6
+1/+0
+1
0
12
4400
4
4d6
+2/+1
+1
0
11
8800
5
5d6
+2/+1
+2
0
10
17600
6
6d6
+3/+1
+2
0
9
35200
7
7d6
+3/+1
+2
0
8
70000
8
8d6
+4/+2
+2
0
8
140000
9
9d6
+4/+2
+3
0
7
260000
10
9d6+2
+5/+2
+3
0
7
380000
11
9d6+4
+5/+3
+3
0
6
500000
12
9d6+6
+6/+3
+3
0
6
620000
13
9d6+8
+6/+4
+4
0
5
740000
14
9d6+10
+7/+5
+4
0
5
860000

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Finally, I'd like to thank the large Christmas Day donors to the Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive who boosted our total donations to the point where we only need $213 to reach the $1500 sub-goal -- where we hold our second drawing for the Gygax autographed AD&D books. Please donate today if you can. Thank you!


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $1287. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

A Merry Microlite81 Expanded Christmas

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Microlite81 Playtest Draft CoverMerry Christmas! I hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful Christmas! We are having a quiet Christmas this year, just my wife and I (and 5 dogs and two cats, of course).

I have a Microlite81 Expanded Christmas present, at least for some fans of my Microlite74/81 games. I've been convinced to include some popular with new school D&D players classes as optional classes in Microlite81 Expanded: the Warlord, the Tiefling, the Warforged, and the Dragonborn. These classes will be modified as necessary to fit B/X sensibilities, but should be recognizable and fun to play for those who like them. As they will be entirely optional, those who have no interest in them can simply ignore them.

I'm sure that their mere presence (even as options) will offend some old school players and the fact that they are modified to fit B/X play (instead of B/X play being modified to fit them) will offend some new school players. This, of course, is the essence of a good compromise, everyone gets something they want but no one gets everything they want. Seriously, several people have added versions of these classes to Microlite74, so there is quite a bit of demand for them. I night as well make people who like them happy. After all, it's Christmas.

The next donor draft of Microlite81 should have my initial ideas on these classes in the rules. When the rules get to public beta form around the first of the new year (finger crossed), I will need those who enjoy these classes to give them a good playtest as they probably will not get a lot of testing from my Sunday group as no one there really likes these classes.


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $927. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

RetroRoleplaying Holiday Cancer Fund Drive: First Giveaway Winners!

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White Dwarf magazine Issue 1 June/July 1977The drawing for the first $750 progress giveaway item (the first 25 issues of White Dwarf magazine) was finally held on Saturday. It was originally scheduled for last Thursday, but holiday doings delayed it a couple of days. The winner of the 25 issues of White Dwarf is one of the "additional donors who wish to remain anonymous". He still wishes to remain anonymous but has told me I can report that he is very happy to have won these items as it will give him a complete collection of the first 100 issues of White Dwarf. He had issues 7 and issues 23-100. This will complete his collection.

I also had some Steam keys to give away. These were donated by Rod, one of my Sunday game players, who had recently purchased one of the Humble Bundles, but only wanted a few of the games in the bundle. The lucky winners are:

John B.: Orcs Must Die! GOTY (Steam key)
Alstair C.: Garry's Mod (Steam key)
Alan G. Sanctum: Collection (Steam key)
Brain I.: Natural Selection 2 (Steam key)
Joesph N.: Magicka and 2 DLCs (Steam key)
James P: Cities in Motion 2 (Steam key)

The next drawing (when we reach $1500) will be for a set of AD&D books signed by Gary Gygax (Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, DMG, Monster Manual II, Oriental Adventures, and Unearth Arcana). To see the huge list of third party D&D items that will go to lucky donors at the end of this drive, see the original post (Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items)), but here is just one of the ten sets of items that a lucky donor will receive:

7th Group, published by Phoenix Games or by Martian Game Modules: The Book of Fantasy Miniatures (Phoenix Games, 1978), The Lost Abbey of Calthonwey (Phoenix Games, 1979), The Mines of Keridav (Phoenix Games, 1982),
T.H.E. Non-Player Character (Martian Game Modules, 1978), and
T.H.E. Fighter (Martian Game Modules, 1979).

Donations are much appreciated and I'd like to thank everyone who has donated or will donate!


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $898. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Microlite81 Expanded Progress Report

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Microlite81 Playtest Draft CoverAs I announced a few days ago, I've decided to try to push to get Microlite81 Expanded to public beta form by (or shortly after) New Year's Day. I've made progress over the last few days, including two "donor releases". I've updated the basic rules from the last time I did any work on Microlite81 Expanded to match those in the Silver Release version of Microlite81. I've added rough drafts of a number of optional rules, added the Druid optional class, added Weapon mastery rules, cleric special ability rules based on deity type, basic ritual magic rules, reformatted spell lists to make them more readable, etc. In other words, real progress is being made.

Donors to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund can download the latest version (0.35) as of this post from the Current Project Drafts (for Donors) area of the the Downloads area of the RetroRoleplaying Forum. The files are protected by the usual donor password. Here's a link to the most recent version:

Microlite81 Extended Draft 0.35 (1.25 meg password-protected zip file)

Donors may wish to check back every couple of days for new versions as I tend to forget to post about them.


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $847. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Pushing Microlite81 Expanded to Beta over the Christmas Holiday?

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If you have followed this blog for a long time, you are probably aware that many of the players in my Sunday game never carefully read the Microlite74/Microlite81 rules. I have a couple of players who admit they have never even skimmed the free copies I give them. One of the nice things about old school gaming is that mastering the rules does not really help much in the game as the game is not about using the rules to the best effect. This also means that players who aren't interested in "system mastery" don't handicap themselves or the other players in the game -- even those players so uninterested in "system mastery" that they can't be bothered to read the rules at all.

While this is very nice and is one of the things I want in any game I'm going to GM, there are players who enjoy reading (and sometimes studying) the rules -- even if that will not give them the advantage it does in games based around "system mastery". While I have a couple of players who never read the rules, I also have players who want to read the rules. Last Sunday, at our last game of the year, one of those players told me that the best Christmas present I could give him was to finish putting the Microlite81 Expanded rules (which is what we are using at the moment) down on paper -- at least to the "public beta" point.

I'm been mainly working on Microlite81 Complete the last few weeks because working on it covers lots of "new ground" and is therefore more interesting for me to work on. For those who are wondering about Microlite81 Advanced and why I haven't even produced an early draft, this is why. Microlite81 Advanced covers a huge amount of new ground. If I started working on it, I'd likely only move back to working on other versions of Microlite81 if held at gun point.

However, I have taken up this Microlite81 Expanded challenge. I'm going to put Microlite81 Complete on the back burner for the rest of December and work on the Microlite81 Expanded rules. The plan is to have a version suitable for public beta (and use by the players in my Sunday game) around the new year. Even with the holiday season, this should be something I can actually do (if I push myself) because after today, my wife has no further doctor or physical therapy appointments until after the first of the year. As she has been having three (or more) a week for most of the last four weeks (and I'm her transportation), this means I will have more free time to work on Microlite81. The more donations the Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive gets during this period, the less my wife will object to me spending extra time on Microlite81 work, so if you are interesting in seeing more work done on Microlite81 and have spare cash, your donation will help give me more time to work on Microlite as well as help us keep our house. (BTW, donors get to see pre-beta copies from the donor download area.)

BTW, this afternoon my wife has another steroid shot to the spinal cord to help relieve her back pain. Even with the local they give her, it's fairly uncomfortable. (Okay, my wife says "painful.") Prayers and good thoughts for her this afternoon would be welcome. Thanks.


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $785. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Holiday Cancer Fund Drive: $17 Away From First Giveaway Drawing (First 25 issues of White Dwarf)

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I've been so busy with my wife's doctor and physical therapy appointments that I have not posted much to this blog over the last few weeks and that has probably hurt the Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive some. Still we are only $17 from the first goal of $750. Assuming we hit it in the next day or two as I expect, I'll hold the drawing for the first 25 issues of White Dwarf magazine Thursday evening. Anyone donating by noon Thursday (CST) will be in this first drawing (assuming at least $17 more is raised). In addition, we will be drawing for a few steam keys (donated by Rod, one of the people on the "wait list" for an opening in my Sunday game), including a copy of Natural Selection 2.

My wife has her last doctor appointment this year tomorrow -- for another pain relief shot into her lower back. After that, I'll have more time for posts and Microlite81 work as Christmas this year is just my wife and I. She's not up to the 2 hour drive to see her mom and her mom can't drive down until she gets her second cataract removed (in January). So Christmas will not be a production this year -- which is good because she's not up to all the cooking that requires.

Anyhow, now is a great time to donate to the Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive and get in on the first drawing. Click the link to see the large list of items being given to lucky donors in this drive.


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $733. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Donor Downloads Moved Off Mediafire

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D is for Donors imageAs mentioned in a post a couple of days ago, Mediafire was dropped their "password protect" feature. As this was the main reason I was still using Mediafire for donor downloads, I've moved all the special downloads for RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors to the RetroRoleplaying Message Board Download area (as password-protected zips. This will mean donors with have to deal with zip files, but will no longer have to put up with Mediafire ads.

The Donor Downloads may not be found in this directory on RetroRoleplaying web site: Donor Downloads and its sub-directories. As of now the only sub-directory is for current project drafts: Current Project Drafts (for Donors).

The files are now stored as password protected zip files (using the same password donor have been given in their thank you emails). If you need software to extract zip files, try the following free programs:

7zip (Windows/Linux): http://www.7-zip.org/
Keka (MacOS): http://www.kekaosx.com/en/

(Note that I do not have a Mac to try Keka on, but I've been told it works well.)

A text file has been placed at the old Mediafire download area giving this same information, so prior donors who do not see this post can easily find the new download area.

To kick off this new download area, Donors can now download a copy of Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft 0.30 from the link below as a zip file (password-protected using the usual donor password):

Download Microlite81 Complete Playtest 0.30. (1.1 meg zip file holding a 1.18 meg PDF)


Please Donate imageThe Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive on on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $652. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Undead and Level Drains: Other Ideas

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VampireLevel drains in D&D are always good for controversy. Many people can't stand the idea of level drains. Others feel they are essential to making undead into terrifying monsters.

Level drains in WOTC editions of D&D are particularly troublesome because complex WOTC characters really have to be recalculated and rewritten if their level changes. In TSR D&D, this isn't nearly the problem as all one has to do for most characters is reduce hit points, write down the characters new attacks and saving throws (which may or may not have changed), spell casters lose a few spell slots, and thieves need their thief skills reduced -- but in general a TSR D&D character losing a level means only a few minutes work both when a level is lost and when it is regained.

There are alternatives to level loss. Negative levels seems to the official one, but negative levels seem to be almost as much trouble in WOTC D&D as losing a level. Another common replacement for level loss is losing one point of Constitution instead of a level. This works fairly well in TSR D&D, but can cause a lot of character sheet recalculation in WOTC D&D (especially 3.x).

Here's a replacement for level drains I've used in Microlite74 and Microlite81:

Each energy level drained subtracts one from any roll to which the character would add his level (or his level/2). 1 point of energy drained is recovered every L days where L is equal to the hit dice of the monster that drained the energy level.

This level drain replacement is something like negative levels and fades away over time even if the party does not have access to restoration-type spells. However, it's fiddly and M74 players and GMs find it annoying to track.

I've come up with another alternative to level drain:

When a character suffers a level drain, roll 1 die (of the character's hit die type) and subtract it from the character's hit points permanently. If a character's maximum hit points is reduced to zero hit points by level drain, becomes an undead just as if his level had been reduced to zero by level drains. Restoration spells and magic effects give the character another hit die roll which adds to his permanent hit points (but no higher than his original, undrained hit points).

This alternative to level drain is simple to implement -- even in WOTC editions. Yet it preserves the "terror factor" of level drains. Like the original TSR level drain rules, the effects are permanent. The only way to counter them is with restoration magic or gaining levels. If a group prefers drain effects which heal themselves over time, characters could regain permanent hit points slowly over time -- perhaps 1 drained hit point per week of total rest (or per month of normal activity).

For games using my "house rules" with body points and hit points, an even less complex method could be used: each level drain could simply permanently remove one body point. Restoration effects could restore one permanent body point. If desired, drained BP could recover naturally at the rate of 1 BP lost to level drain restored per week of total rest. Due to the effects of lost body points in my house rules, these alternative level drain rules would give effects very similar to those in Bram Stoker's Dracula: a drained character would recover energy (hp) more slowly -- and would permanently have less energy and be less effective at his tasks.

I'm interested in hearing what you think of these alternative level drain ideas -- as well as any alternative level drain rules you have used and liked. Would you like to see the "hit point loss" alternative level drain rule as an optional rule in Microlite81?


The Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive on on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $632. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

New Microlite81 Playtest Draft Finally Available for Donors

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Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft CoverA new draft of Microlite81 Complete is finally available for download. RetroRoleplaying Cancer fund donors can download this (and all future drafts) at the usual donor download location with the usual password.

The delay has been Mediafire. Their "password protect" feature disappered about a week ago and they have finally tld me that they have simply removed it for new files. If you want to password protect new files, they need to be zipped and the zip file password protected. Sigh. I've done that with the Microlite81 Complete 0.20 draft to make it available quickly. However, this chance negates the reason I used Mediafire to store donor files to begin with: the ability to easily password protect downloads without making downloaders deal with zip files (or more annoyingly, with password protected PDFs). I plan to move all the donor files to the RetroRoleplaying Message Board Download area (as password-protected zips) soon. This will mean donors with have to deal with zip files, but will no longer have to put up with Mediafire ads.

Until then, RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Donors can download a copy of Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft 0.20 from the link below as a zip file (password-protected using the usual donor password):

Download Microlite81 Complete Playtest 0.20. (1 meg zip file holding a 1.15 meg PDF)


The Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive on on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!

We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $632. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Microlite81 Complete: Very Early Draft Available For Donor Download

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Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft CoverA very early draft of Microlite81 Complete is now available for download. RetroRoleplaying Cancer fund donors can download this (and all future drafts) at the usual donor download location with the usual password.

Note that this is a very early draft. I started with Microlite81 and have added more complete spell and monster descriptions -- although some editing of both is needed. Equipment descriptions and better treasure descriptions should be added next in the next early draft.

Once it has reached a "full first draft" state I will release a public draft available to everyone (not just donors) for comment.

Donors should expect a new revised draft of Microlite81 Expanded soon as well.

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Donors can download a copy of Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft 0.10 from the link below using the usual donor password:

Download Microlite81 Complete Playtest Draft 0.10. (1.1 meg PDF)


The Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive on on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!


We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, as of this post this drive has raised $544. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!

Microlite81 Is now Available for Free Download (Free Old School RPG)

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Microlite81 1.0 CoverMicrolite81 1.0 Silver is finally finished and ready for download. In case you've missed all the previous posts on Microlite81, Microlite81 is to the B/X edition of the world's best known tabletop RPG as Microlite74 is to the original 1974 edition of that game. That means that Microlite81 has taken the 1981 Basic and Expert boxed sets and converted the system to one based on Microlite20 -- a rules light version of the D20 system. You can use Microlite20 to play any published adventure you could use with the B/X version with only a few minor changes (like inverting AC). If you like Microlite20, Microlite74 or the 1981 Basic/Expert sets of the world's best known tabletop RPG, Microlite81 is probably worth looking at - especially since the price is right: absolutely FREE.

This is the "Silver" version of Microlite81 which includes rules as well as complete (but brief) descriptions of spells, monsters, and treasure. If you've ever played any version of the world's best known tabletop RPG, you should have no problem playing or running Microlite81. However, if you would like more complete information on spells, monsters, and treasure as well as a few examples of characters and combat, the upcoming Microlite81 Complete will probably serve you better. This is the "Silver" version because a final "Gold" version will be published when all the planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Expanded, and Microlite81 Advanced) with any errata added and a complete list of Microlite81 sponsors but no other additions.

Sponsors? Yes, anyone donating at least $25 to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund during the design period for Microlite81 games will be listed as a sponsor in Microlite81 (and also in Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Expanded, and Microlite81 Advanced). We already have a number of sponsors and can always use more.

Copper Donors: Those donating 25-50 dollars will be listed as Copper Donors.

Silver Donors: Those donating 51-100 dollars will be listed as Silver Donors. Silver donors may run a small text ad for their game, gaming related item, or game-related item on the main RetroRoleplaying web site.

Gold Donors: Those donating 101-250 dollars will be listed as Gold Donors. Gold donors may have a monster, spell, or magic item of their creation included in at least one version of Microlite81 (Expanded, Complete, or Advanced) and credited to the donor plus the benefits for Silver Donors.

Electrum Donors: Those donating 251-500 dollars will be listed as Eltectrum Donors. Electrum donors may opt to have character’s name and description used as one of the characters in the example of play planned for Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced; plus the benefits for Silver and Gold donors – or they may have a half-page ad for their RPG product or web site included in the final (Gold) versions of all currently planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Expanded, Microlite81 Complete, and Microlite81 Advanced)

Platinum Donors: Those donating over 500 dollars will be listed as Platinum Donors. Platinum donors may opt to have their names used as a player in the example of play planned for Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced; plus the benefits for Silver, Gold, and Electrum donors – or they may have a full page ad for their RPG product or web site included in the final (Gold) versions of all currently planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Expanded, Microlite81 Complete, and Microlite81 Advanced)

Donors are also entered in the current Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive giveaway drawings mentioned below and have access to a number of special donor downloads, including "work-in-progress" versions of whatever I'm working on (Microlite81 Complete is my next project).

Download your FREE copy of Microlite81 1.0

You can download the "standard" version of Microlite81 1.0 Silver from the download area of our message board or from Mediafire. The download is a 1.7 meg PDF file.

Download Microlite81 from our message board.

You can also download it from Mediafire

Playtesters have enjoyed playing Microlite81 and I hope you will as well!


The Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive on on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win one or more of more than 40 non-TSR D&D items published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. You can see the complete list of giveaway items and read more about this fund drive in this post: Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items). This is in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetrpoRoleplaying Cancer Fund. All donations will be used to pay the property taxes on our house as we had to use the money saved for this to pay for more medical treatment for my wife's cancer and other medical problems treatment related bills (see the linked post above for more info), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal.Thank you!


We need to raise about $3400 by the end of January, so far this drive has raised $273. Thanks to everyone who donates, spreads the word, or thinks positive thoughts for us!


Holiday 2013 Cancer Fund Drive (with lots of Third Party D&D Giveaway Items)

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Ironhoof Highlands cover illoAs I mentioned in my post from November 1st, my wife had a chance to get medical treatment (cancer follow-ups and her back problems -- which turned out to be partially cause by her radiation treatments for her cancer) thanks to the generosity of a local group who arranged to pay 10 times what we we gave them (the $4500) we came up with will pay for up to $45,000 in tests and treatment. Unfortunately to we had practically no advance notice on this and the only way we could come up with much money was to raid our property taxes savings account. Donna's already had 3 MRIs, 2 CT scans, X-rays, other tests, seen numerous doctors, proven to be still cancer free, discovered one of her vocal chords is paralyzed, is starting PT and will likely have surgery on her right and and wrist after the first of the year. The MRIs and CT Scans totaled almost $19,000 (one of the MRIs was so complex it was 8K alone) so this has been a great deal for her. However, if we don't raise about $3400 by the end of January we will not be able to pay the property taxes and will probably lose our house. So we are going to have a Holiday Cancer Fund Drive with a very large number of hard to find giveaway items (thanks to a bequest of old RPG games from a long time former player in my games (see this post: Received Five Boxes of Old RPG (mainly D&D) Items). This time most of the giveaway items will be D&D items from third party (i.e. not TSR) publishers from the late 1970s and early 1980s. There are a lot of items and they will be given away in up to 10 groups (generally grouped by publisher).

Here's a list of the items in the various groups:

1st Group, published by Attack International Wargaming Association or by the John Scott Clegg Company: Book of the Dragons (AIWA, 1977) and The Interfax of Spells, Necromancy and Black Magic (AIEA, 1978), Notmaidag Robber Headquarters (Clegg, 1979), The Tombs of Valla (Clegg, 1980), and The City of Valla (Clegg, 1981).

Spring Quest cover illo2nd Group, published by The Companions: The Curse on Hareth (1982), Plague of Terror (1983), Brotherhood of the Bolt (1983), Streets of Gems (1983), and Gems for Death (1983), and Treasure Trove I: Cards of Power (1982).

3rd Group, published by Dimension Six, Inc.: The Compleat Fantasist (1980), Mountain of Mystery (1980), The Temple to Athena (1980), The Town of Joundan (1981), The Nine Doctrines of Darkness (1980), The Second Adventure, The Nine Doctrines of Darkness (1981), and Furioso (1980).

4th Group, published by Dragon Tree Press: Monster File Number One (1981), The Handbook of Tricks and Traps (1981), The Dragon Tree Spell Book (1981), Stones of the Selt (1981), Amazon Mutual Wants You! Volume One (1982), Book of Artifacts (1981), Book of Plots Volume One (1981), and Desert Plots: Amazon Mutual II (1983).

5th Group, published by The Fantasy Factory or by Varanae: Overland Encounters: First Through Fourth Levels (Factory, 1978), Overland Encounters: Fifth Through Eighth Levels (Factory, 1978), Overland Encounters: Ninth Level and Above (Factory, 1978), The Trap Manual (Varanae, 1979), Monstrum 1 (Varanae, 1980), and Book of Dragons (Varanae, 1981).

6th Group, published by Massconfusion 1984: Dragonrunners of Kola, Torture Tower, The Tomb of St. Duncan, Lady Eileen's Castle, Werewolf Country, The Dungeon of Dr. Demento, The Book of Paith, and The Condo of Dr. Demento (all published in 1984).

7th Group, published by Phoenix Games or by Martian Game Modules: The Book of Fantasy Miniatures (Phoenix Games, 1978), The Lost Abbey of Calthonwey (Phoenix Games, 1979), The Mines of Keridav (Phoenix Games, 1982), T.H.E. Non-Player Character (Martian Game Modules, 1978), and T.H.E. Fighter (Martian Game Modules, 1979).

Lost Abbey of Calthonwey cover illo8th Group, published by Riverside Adventure Gaming Society (RAGS) or by North Pole Productions: Quest for Excalibur (RAGS, 1981), Temple of Veesah (RAGS, 1981), Spring Quest (RAGS, 1982),Seven Easy Pieces (RAGS, 1982), Tome of Mighty Magic (North Pole, 1982) and The Serpent Island (North Pole, 1983).

9th Group, from assorted publishers: Lair of Medusa (Delf Enterprises, 1982), The Phantastical Phantasmagorical Montie Haul Dungeon (Gamelords Ltd, 1982), Ironhoof Highlands (Group One Games, 1981), and The Book of Swords and Other Magical Weapons (Loremasters, 1982)

10th Group, from assorted publishers: The Book of Mars (The Image Game Company, 1981), Pitfall I (Inner City Game Designs, 1982), and Escape From the Minotaur's Lair (International Dungeon Designs Ltd, 1981), Down in the Dungeon (Squadron/Signal, 1981), Your Paladin Has Been Stolen!! (!By Druids!) (TAG Industries, 1981), and Order of St. Talis (Zeppelin Publications, 1979).

Interfax cover illoOne group will be given away at the end of this drive for every $300 donated. If less than 10 groups end up being given away, the groups to be given away will be select randomly. 50% of the groups given away will go to the two of the five highest donors (3 for one random high donor winner, 2 for the second random high donor winner if all ten groups are given away) with the high donors able to have their choices of groups from the groups being given away (high donor selecting first). Any ties will be broken with TSR/AD&D trivia questions. The remaining groups (5 groups if all ten groups are given away) will be raffled off: for every $10 a person donates, they will receive one chance for each group of items in this raffle.

In addition, the following four special items will be raffled off as money is raised, the first item when $750 is raised, the second when the total reaches $1500, the third when the total reaches $2250, and the last when $3000 is raised:

* First 25 issues of White Dwarf magazine
* Set of AD&D books signed by Gygax (Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, DMG, Monster Manual II, Oriental Adventures, and Unearth Arcana)
* Photocopies of Domesday Book Issues 4 - 12
* The Artists of TSR (portfolio)

Occasional additional donated items (gift cards, Steam game keys, Judges Guild modules, etc.) may also be raffled off either during the drive or at the end of the drive.

Tomb of St DuncanBook rate postage will be free to winning donors in the US and Canada. Others will need to pay for postage over the first pound.

As usual, anyone donates anything at all (even a dollar) to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund gets access to a few special downloads (like pdfs of two 1970s D&D fanzines I edited, a special edition of Microlite74, and more) as described on the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund web page as well as in progress draft downloads of my current projects).

If you would like to help but cannot make a donation, please help spread the word around the blogsphere (and other places). In fact, if you make a post to your blog talking about this fundraising drive and post a link to your post in a comment to this post, we'll give you one entry in the raffle. Note: Your blog will have to have some way for us to email you if you get lucky or will will not be able to get your prize to you. I still have not been able to pass Mind Reading 101.

To get help us keep our house (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. My apologies for having to ask for donations and my heartfelt thanks to everyone who donates. If you cannot donate but wish to help, please spread the word about my request and offer. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

(Special Note: We have already raised $270 since I mentioned this in my post from November 1st. Special thanks to our early donors!)

Retreating from Combat is Pointless in D&D?

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army in retreatThere is apparently a discussion on retreating from combat in D&D where a number of people are reported saying that trying to retreat is pointless because the monsters will always pursue and the result will be a "total party kill". This simply is not my experience in many years of playing D&D. Retreating works 9 times out of 10 assuming the party does a fighting withdraw (instead of turning and running in rout) and decides to retreat before they have so many wounded and dead that they really don't have a chance no matter what they do.

I can only think of one TPK that resulted from retreating from combat (as opposed to turning and running away). In this case, our party thought we were on the 2nd level of a dungeon when we really on the 5th level. We retreated done a passage that we thought was safe, but discovered that it was not the passage we were expecting (because of a teleport trap we had not detected) and we "retreated" into some even more nasty monsters.

Of course, we have always played under TSR-style rules where NPCs have morale checks. When your hirelings and henchmen start leaving in droves, it gives the PCs a big hint that it may be time to break off combat before it is too late. WOTC systems seem to lack morale rules which means players don't get this nice warning that it may be time to retreat before its too late to do so. I've also been told that WOTC editions of D&D lack rules that allow the GM to determine how long monsters (without specify orders to pursue) are likely to continue the chase. TSR editions had rules for this, generally allong the lines of these rules from my upcoming Microlite81 game:

Avoiding Monsters [Dungeons]: Unintelligent monsters normally automatically attack. Intelligent monsters may follow their orders, make a reaction check, automatically attack, etc. depending on circumstances. Unless surprised a party may try to flee to avoid a battle. Monsters will generally pursue if there is less than 120 feet between the two groups. Monsters will only pursue around a corner or through a door on roll of 1 or 2 on a d6 (1 if a secret door is used). Fire will deter many monsters. Food will distract many monsters: unintelligent monsters 90% of the time, semi-intelligent monsters 50% of the time, intelligent monsters 10% of the time. Treasure may also distract monsters: unintelligent monsters 10% of the time, semi-intelligent monsters 50% of the time, and intelligent monsters 90% of the time. All chances may be adjusted by the GM depending on circumstances. These same rules determine how monsters will pursue if the characters disengage and retreat (or rout) from a battle.

Avoiding Monsters [Wilderness]: Unintelligent monsters normally automatically attack. Intelligent monsters may follow orders, make a reaction check, automatically attack, etc. depending on circumstances. Unless surprised a party may try to flee to avoid a battle. Monsters will generally pursue so long as the party can be detected, there is a 50% chance monsters faster than the party will catch it (30% chance for monsters about as fast as the party) in each hex traveled through. Woods or swamp reduce the chance of being caught by 25%. Monsters will pursue into another hex on the map 50% of the time. The chase continues until combat occurs or the monsters break off. The party must rest for one-half day for each hex traveled during a pursuit. All chances may be adjusted by the GM depending on circumstances. These same rules determine how monsters will pursue if the characters disengage and retreat (or rout) from a battle.

In my opinion, dropping rules for morale checks (for NPCs and monsters), reaction rolls for encounters, and rules for avoiding monsters/retreating from combat is a major reason why so many people seem to expect all encounters with "monsters" to not only automatically result in combat but combat to the death. The game is not better for this, at least in my humble opinion.