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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.

October Microlite81 Report: Final Version 1.0 Available Very Soon

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Microlite81 Playtest Draft CoverOctober was a very busy month which is why I haven't had many blog posts or even much sign that I was even alive. Work on Microlite81 has continued, however. In fact, I'm going through the last draft one last time to try to catch a few more typoes and errors. While there have been over 250 downloads of the release candidate, there have been only a small handful of typo reports. Either I'm getting better at catching them or, more likely, I'm simply getting better at not making immediately noticeable typos. Assuming real life allows me to keep most of next week free of doctor appointments and lab work for my wife, Microlite81 1.0 Silver should be available for free download next week.

Now for my excuse for not posting much to this blog in October. My wife had three MRIs, two CT Scans, x-rays, a barium swallow test, a number of doctors appointments, etc. in October And since with her back problems she can barely walk, let alone drive, I've been her transportation.

As if this did not eat up enough "spare" time, my wife's hard drive died mid-month and I had to put a new drive in and (re-)set up her Windows 7 and her software. I put Pro on this time instead of the Home Premium that came with it. After doing this and seeing how much faster her system was cleaned up, I decided it was past time to bite the bullet and reformat my system to clear out 2.5 years of cruft (many software installed to test for clients). As I now have a copy of VMware Workstation, I'll test software for clients in a VM on the refreshed machine. This should help keep the core system cleaner.

The news on my wife's back was not good. Surgery probably would not help. Pain management and PT look to be her best options. Her annual head/neck CT scans (for cancer) came back with no changes at all, however. That's very good -- especially as her ENT was worried that a paralyzed vocal cord could be a sign that the cancer was returning, just lower in the neck than before. These tests have really run up the bills, however. More fund-raising is in my future. :( We used the money saved for our property taxes to get this stuff started, which means I need to raise about $3200 by the end of January (or we lose our house). Donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund would be much appreciated (you can donate via Paypal). I'm putting together a large package of giveaway items now and all donations made after this post will qualify.

Over all, October was a very mixed month, but my wife being still cancer free is a good thing. Over 5 years now. November looks to be better, at least in the spare time department. As mentioned above, I plan to finish work on "standard" Microlite81 next week. Then I'll work on first drafts of Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Expanded. Microlite81 Complete will be standard Microlite81 with more complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic items and a few extras like an example of play which will hopefully make the game more friendly to players with less experience with old school gaming. As much of this is "boilerplate", it should not take too long to get a first draft out to donors. Microlite81 Expanded will be Microlite81 with my house rules from the 1977-1983 era. Most of the house rules used in Microlite74 Expanded will also be used in Microlite81 Expanded (modified to work with B/X based rules), but many of the extra classes and optional rules included in Microlite74 Expanded will not be in Microlite81 Expanded -- as they will be a better fit for Microlite81 Advanced. An early draft is available to donors now, but it needs some major work.

I also hope to have time for more blog posts this month -- and I apologize for being missing for most of October. BTW, if you have found typos in the release candidate for Microlite81, there is still time to get them to me (and get a proofreading credit in the Silver edition of Microlite81 1.0). Please send them by email to the temporary email address listed in the introductory material in the Microlite81 release candidate, which you can download here (48 page PDF, about 890K).