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Microlite75 2.0 Extended Draft 1 Available for Donor Download

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Microlite75 2.0 CoverThe first draft of Microlite75 2.0 Extended is now available for download in the Donor area of Microlite20 Download Library. Microlite75 2.0 Extended Draft 1 is not quite as far along as I would like thanks to a lot of real life stuff in the last week (a major fire at a neighbor's house on Christmas day, tornadoes in the area affecting some of my wife's animal rescue friends, one unscheduled doctor visit for my wife just to get a prescription renewed but it still took a morning, etc.). However, it's is far enough along for donors to see where it is going -- and I did promise something before the new year. Hey, I made it with a few hours to spare. (Yes, I known that illo is for the Standard edition, but I'm running out of time and energy.)

Microlite75 2.0 Extended is a version of Microlite74 Extended with a more standard 0e advancement and experience system. Extended adds three classes so far (Assassin, Barbarian, Monk) and the house rules I used in the late 1970s.

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors have the password that will unlock this file and may download it here:



Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1335 dollars have been donated. That's about 38% of our goal and about 78% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite81 Rules Now Available in a Free Tablet-Friendly PDF

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Microlite81 Tablet Digest Edition coverThe Microlite81 Tablet-Digest Edition has been released for free download. This should have happened about a week ago, but I forgot to upload it in all the preparations for Christmas.

For those who do not know, Microlite81 emulates the B/X version of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game. The Microlite81 rules are based on the two boxed sets (Basic and Expert) published in 1981, often referred to as B/X. The rules are not intended to be a clone of the B/X rules, but rather a conversion of them to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old-school play without strictly old-school rules. Microlite81 is based on the third edition of the original Microlite74 rules.

The tablet digest version of Microlite81 is designed to be easy to read and use on tablets. Pages are digest-sized, the text is in a single column with a relatively large font (10pt Verdana). There is nothing new in this edition: material has simply been reformatted for tablet use.

The Microlite81 Tablet Digest Edition is now available for download in the Microlite20.org download area. Here is a direct link to the download: Click Here to Download: Microlite81-Silver-Tablet-Digest-Final.pdf.

The Microlite81 Extended Tablet Digest Edition will be released when we hit $1500 in donations to the Winter Holidays RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive.

I'd like to thank everyone who has donated to the Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive so far! Please keep those donations coming in.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1311 dollars have been donated. That's about 37% of our goal and about 75% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Holiday Cancer Fund Drive: $199 Away From Second Giveaway Drawing

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It's the day after Christmas and as I write this we need just under $200 to reach the second goal of $1500 -- and the second donor giveaway drawing. The second drawing will also include a couple of extra items which have been donated to the cause: a pdf copy of Castle Gargantua and a pdf copy of the S&W version of Rappan Athuk.

Christmas Day was a bit more eventful than I would have liked and reminded me just how much worse things can be. It was about 2pm, we had just finish Christmas dinner when we heard some type of explosion. Something (probably natural gas related) had exploded three houses up the street from us. The fire department was there quickly but natural gas was feeding the fire so they could not do much until the gas was turned off. Our neighbors had made it out of the house with their dogs but the house is a near total loss. It doesn't look too awful from the front, but it looks very bad from the back. The fire took over an hour to put out and three fire companies were on the scene. It was the worst fire house I've ever seen live (Unfortunately, this is the sixth I've seen live, although two were vacant houses.)

This reminded me that in spite of all of Donna's heath issues, we do have a lot to be thankful for. I've canceled by Sunday game for tomorrow to continue to help our neighbors save as much of their stuff as possible. However, the heavy rains now expected tonight may limit that quite a bit.

Now is a great time to donate to the Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive to help us keep our house and to get in on the second drawing as well as the future drawings described at the link above. Click that link for more information on the drive and to see the large list of items being given to lucky donors.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1301 dollars have been donated. That's about 37% of our goal and about 74% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Gift Suggestions for Your Favorite OSR Gamer

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Dark Albion CoverIf you are looking for a Christmas present for an OSR gamer or would like to spend some of your Christmas cash on yourself, here are some of my favorite newish OSR products on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG. There have been a large number of very good OSR products released this year, the following as some of my favorites:

White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying: Take Swords & Wizardry White Box and mix it with Star Wars-favored Traveller and you get White Star. I easy to modify very basic science fiction RPG that is compatible with Swords & Wizardry White Box. This game leaves a lot to the GM (including how interstellar travel works) as it does not provide or even assume a specific setting. Some people hate this, but most OSR gamers I know love it as much (or more) than I do. A PDF is $10 well spent, IMHO.

White Lies: White Lies is another Swords & Wizardry White Box based game. This game takes the simple S&W White Box system into the world of espionage and paramilitary action and adventure. If you enjoyed TSR's old Top Secret game, you'll probably like White Lies. The system is very different from Top Secret as it is based on 0e, but it is just as much fast-moving fun.

PX1 Basic Psionics Handbook: This is a very nice psionics system for OSR games. While it is written for Labyrinth Lord, it would be easy to adapt to any version of TSR D&D. It includes 2 classes, over 100 psionic powers, a working psionic combat system and more. This is one of the best takes on psionics in D&D I've seen and since my Empire of Arn setting has a lot of psionics in it, I've seen just about everything psionics and D&D starting with Eldritch Wizardry.

CC1 Creature Compendium: Over 200 monsters for Labyrinth Lord and other OSR games for only $2.00. While I would not use some of the monsters, most of them are interesting and useful. At less than a penny per monster, it's a bargain.

Dark Albion: The Rose War: Take England during the War of the Roses mixed with sorcery, demons and fae, and frog-like beings living in France. Okay, the latter bugs me a bit (like Ducks do in Glorantha) but doesn't stop me from enjoying the setting. Most of the book is system neutral, but their are appendixes with gaming info for OSR games including the publisher's excellent Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.

Castle Gargantua: This is a very usual (and huge) OSR dungeon. Dungeon generator might be a better description. The dungeon itself is a huge building as tall as the Empire State Building with over three million square feet of huge rooms and corridors -- huge as in scaled for giants. I don't think I can do better than the product description -- "Its rooms and corridors are so huge that condensation clouds of mist hover within and that it rains inside sometimes. There are miniature tornadoes in the spiral stairs and strong drafts of wind when the corridors are slightly sloped. If a curtain would fall, its weight alone would smash a dozen men to a pulp." Definitely something different. However, it is more of a generation system than a already laid out and described room-by-room adventure. Although there are a few detailed sample areas.

The Golden Scroll of Justice: This is a supplement for adding wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology and folklore to old school games. There are two new races, two new classes (and guidelines for using more standard classes in the setting), new magic and monsters, a "kung fu" system and more -- all modular so you can add only what you want to you game.

Note: I am an OBS affiliate, so if you purchase something through one of the above RPGNow links, I get a small commission.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1257 dollars have been donated. That's about 35% of our goal and about 66% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite75 2.0 Standard Draft 1 (and Basic Draft 2) Available for Donor Download

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Microlite75 1.0 CoverThe first draft of Microlite75 2.0 Standard is now available for download in the Donor area of Microlite20 Download Library. As is the second draft of Microlite75 2.0 Basic.

Microlite75 2.0 Standard is a version of Microlite74 Standard with a more standard 0e advancement and experience system. Standard adds the thief, illusionist, druid, assassin, ranger, and paladin classes. There are a few other changes such as spellcasters must memorize their spells, new dungeon and wilderness guidelines, stronghold construction rules, etc. This is a draft, but it is fairly complete -- just not proofread.

The second draft of Microlite75 Basic. It adds expanded material on adventuring and switchews to the new turn undead system among other changes.

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors have the password that will unlock these files and may download them here:


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1141 dollars have been donated. That's about 32% of our goal and about 51% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

New Turn Undead System for Microlite75

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Microlite75 1.0 CoverI've never been happy with the Microlite20-based system for turning undead that I used in Microlite74.

From Microlite74 3.0 Basic: "A Cleric can Turn Undead with a successful Magic Attack. DC is 10 + twice the Hit Dice of the undead. One undead flees per point over the roll needed. This can be used (2 + Level + MIND bonus) times per day."

It avoids the need for a table, but really doesn't feel that much like turning undead in 0e. Undead can only be turned. They are never destroyed as they can be in 0e. The number of undead turned depends on how well the player rolls on the turn attempt instead of being a random 2d6 undead.

I remember seeing a system where you rolled 2d6 and added twice the difference between the cleric's level and the undead's hit die, but that seems a bit "too much math" to be fun for many people. Looking at the formula, it looked like rolling 1d6 plus the difference between the cleric's level and the undead's hit dice (or 1d6 + Cleric Level - Undead Hit Dice) would be more or less equivalent but with less math. I started with a roll of 4 or higher needed to turn 2d6 undead and 8 or higher needed to destroy 2d6 undead. This worked, but roll 4+ was inconsistent with the roll 5+ system I've decided to use for things like surprise and perception (the same as the 0e roll 1-2 on a d6 but inverted to make using modifiers easier).

The final system I came up with was roll 1d6 + Cleric Level - Undead Hit Dice. If the result is 5 or higher, 2d6 undead are turned. If the modifier turns out to be +4 or higher (i.e. automatic success), then 2d6 undead are destroyed. While this does not give exactly the same as the table in 0e, it does not require a table and gives results much closer to 0e than the Microlite74 method. We tested in system in my game yesterday and it seemed to work while being easy to use.

Unless I hear a lot of objections to this system, I will probably use it in Microlite75 2.0.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1122 dollars have been donated. That's about 32% of our goal and about 49% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite75 2.0 Basic Draft 1 Available for Donor Download

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Microlite75 1.0 CoverThe first draft of Microlite75 2.0 Basic is now available for download in the Donor area of Microlite20 Download Library.

While this is a first draft, the game is really ready to go (except for proofreading, layout, and a final decision on how I am going to handle saving throws). The Microlite20-based level advancement and experience systems of Microlite74 have been replaced with systems much more similar to those of 0e (similar to how Microlite81 handled things). Charisma has been added as a fourth stat -- it is really too important to old school gaming to leave out. Morale Ratings have been added for monsters. Group initiative is now standard -- with individual initiative optional -- reversing how it was in Microlite74 Basic. Spellcasters have to memorize spells. Saving Throws are currently handled by a one throw system somewhat like S&W, but I may switch to a more standard 0e system.

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors have the password that will unlock this file and may download it here: Microlite75-Basic-20-DRAFT-1


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1089 dollars have been donated. That's about 31% of our goal and about 44% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

It Really Is Okay to Just Say "No"

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Dice saying NOA popular (and relatively new from my old-timer point of view) GM meme goes something "Always say 'yes' or 'yes but'" with a strongly implied never say no. Personally, I think this is some of the worst GMing advice I've ever heard as there are times when saying anything but "no" is going to seriously hurt a game session or even a campaign.

For example, players who want to play characters who do not fit the campaign premise or the campaign's setting need to be firmly told "no" as allowing characters who do not fit the campaign is going to make the campaign less fun for the GM and probably less fun for at least some of the other players. As a GM you should not feel you are somehow obligated to accept every character concept a player comes up with or to change the campaign setting or premise to compromise with a player. If a character does not fit the campaign premise, the setting, the play style of the rest of the group, or uses rules that you as GM do not want to use, don't feel bad about rejecting the character outright. Do not feel an obligation to compromise with the player over a poorly fitting character concept unless such a compromise does not interfere with the campaign.

Another example, some things are simply impossible to do as they violate the "physics" of the campaign world. While a character running fast enough that time flows backward might be acceptable in a high-powered comic book superhero game, it's going to be simply not possible in the average fantasy or spy campaign. While this is an extreme example, I found over the years that players often come up with ideas that are just impossible -- and they need to be firmly told "no, you can't do that" when they do. Saying "yes" or even "yes, but" when something is actually impossible leads to all sorts of problems. A more reasonable example would be a character with a lot of skill in diplomacy trying to use a skill roll to talk an NPC enemy ruler into doing something that no one in their right mind would agree to (like turn control of the country's army over to the enemy PC). It doesn't matter how skilled one is in diplomacy, no sane person is going to agree to something like that unless he is under the influence of drugs, magic, blackmail, or the like so the character is effectively trying to do something that is simply not possible: no matter what they roll, the attempt should fail. Some cases where people see "broken rules" are really fine as the rule in question is only broken if the GM never says "no, that's impossible."

Saying "yes" or "yes but" when you can is a good idea. However, when "when you can" becomes "always", I've found it to be a very bad idea. Think before you say "yes" (or before you say "no" for that matter) -- don't let some "rule of good GMing" (that someone made up) force you to say "yes" when saying "yes" is actually a bad idea. This is even more true in old school games.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1089 dollars have been donated. That's about 31% of our goal and about 44% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Why Don't You List Monster Challenge Ratings in your Microlite7X/81 Games?

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Challenge Rating Clip ArtI was recently asked why I don't include "Challenge Ratings" (CRs) for monsters in my old school Microlite games as that would allow people who want to design set piece encounters for their games to do so much more easily.

The answer is actually fairly simple. I neither have the time nor the interest to do so. Coming up with actually useful CRs for organically designed monsters requires lots of time-consuming testing -- a lot of combats played out and carefully recorded to see just how difficult a challenge each monster actually presents and how much this varies with how the monsters is used in combat. As I have no personal interest in set-piece encounters and find combat to be one of the least interesting parts of the game (exploration and roleplaying are far more interesting to me), I really can't see myself doing all this combat playtesting to come up with accurate CRs for 100+ monsters for those who would like to have them.

The only way to avoid all this testing is to what 4e seems to have finally done: decide what each CR means in terms of hit points, attack bonus, saving throws, damage per round, etc. and then decide what challenge rating a monster should be and use those stats. Unfortunately, it is impossible to design monsters organically that way. You can't have a monster with the hit points of a CR 5 monster, an attack bonus that falls between CR 1 and CR 2, the AC of a CR 7 monsters even if that's what would accurately describe the monster. And this is before you have to consider special abilities which by their very nature are hard to quantify accurately in a CR system. I have zero interest in monsters designed to fit a CR formula instead of designed organically to fit their niche in a setting. Besides, monsters from the old school games my Microlite20-based systems emulate were not designed according to a formula so changing them all to be designed around a formula would "break" them both from the point-of-view of player expectations and using old school modules with the game.

What this basically boils down to is that while my Microlite7X and Microlite81 games certainly can be used to play out carefully-balanced set piece encounters, they are not designed for this style of play and do not provide any easy way to design such encounters. If you want to use my games this way and need an accurate CR-type system, you are going to have to design your own as I am unable to provide such a system. For a very rough system, you can take the number of hit dice of a monster has and add +1 for each special ability (if any) and -1 for each special weakness (if any) and consider that the monster's Challenge Rating. Yes, I know that is probably not nearly accurate enough, but it is the best I can provide.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1065 dollars have been donated. That's about 30% of our goal and about 41% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Plans For (Free) Microlite75 2.0 Games

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Microlite75 1.0 CoverYou are probably asking what is Microlite75 2.0? The first version of Microlite75 was published during the same period as Microlite74 2.0 and was Microlite74 plus my house rules from the 0e era (late 1970s). The "75" in the name came from 1975 -- the year I first played D&D. When it came time to do a third edition of Microlite74, my 0e era house rules were incorporated in the Expanded version of Microlite74 3.0 and Microlite75 became a all-but-forgotten artifact of the Microlite74 2.0 era.

Next you are probably wondering why I am bringing Microlite75 back? Last summer, I received an email telling me that it was time for a new fourth edition of Microlite74 because it would be five years old in 2016. I said I did not see a need for a fourth edition of Microlite74 in a blog post last August. However, I asked what others thought and received a number of replies (mailing in email or in PMs on the message board) saying that if I did a new edition, would I please use the more standard advancement and XP system I used in some of the Microlite74 variants and in Microlite81. After thinking about it, I concluded that while there probably were many people who would prefer advancement and experience handled more like in the original game, there were probably just as many or more who liked the simple Microlite20-based system used in the Microlite74 3.0. As I have no desire to alienate current players with such a major system change, I announced in an early October blog post that I would publish such a modified system, but under the Microlite75 name, keeping Microlite74 as it for those who prefer the current system.

I said I would talk more about Microlite75 2.0 after I finished Microlite81 Advanced. That finally happened last week -- see Microlite81 Advanced is Now Available for Free Download (Free Old School RPG) for download information -- so it's time to talk about my ideas for Microlite75.

The first releases will be Microlite75 Basic, Microlite75 Standard, and Microlite75 Expanded. These games will be the same as their Microlite74 namesakes but will have the more standard class descriptions and advancement system used in 0e and in Microlite81. Assuming the world (especially my wife's medical issues) does not throw me for a loop, these three products should be out in the somewhat near future. In fact, I hope to have draft versions of all three in the hands of RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors by the end of December. Once these are finished, I'll move on to some "completely new" ideas like the following:

Microlite75 2.0 Basic Extended: The three classes of Microlite75 Basic with the rules from Microlite75 Expanded. The backgrounds from the expanded rules can easily be used to expand the standard three classes of fighting man, cleric, and magic-user to cover any number of things that have been classes in many editions of the world's first fantasy RPG.

Microlite75 Swords & Sorcery: The swords and sorcery variant of Microlite74 is very popular. One of the most common complaints about the game is the "E6" basis of the system where there are only six levels. Microlite75 Swords & Sorcery will try a different method of creating a S&S feel that is not quite so limited level-wise.

Microlite75 Swords & Mythos: As many readers probably know, I'm a fan of Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos fiction. Some authors have tried combining Swords & Sorcery with the Cthulhu Mythos. I've always found these stories to be a lot of fun, so I'm going to create a game around the idea by taking swords & sorcery into a setting where most of the sorcery and many of the monsters are mythos-based. I'm looking forward to this one. Even through one of my current players actually suggested the idea, I don't think my players are looking forward to this nearly as much as I am.

Microlite75 Alternate Classes: Microlite75 with versions of the alternate classes I first suggested for Gryphons & Gramarye. I still like these classes even though they do not seem to work as well as I hoped in Gryphons & Gramarye. This version of Microlite75 with given them a home.

Microlite75 Forgotten Magic: A version of Microlite75 set in a world where powerful magic was created and used by a long extinct non-human empire. Current races, however, cannot seem to truly master magic and are left using what little they can find and actually use from the dangerous ruins of this ancient civilization.

I have other ideas (like Microlite75 in Space), but these are the ones I currently see myself working on first. Note that the titles are subject to change. Many readers are probably thanking deity for that right now. Title idea are welcome -- especially something better than "Basic Expanded".

You can sponsor Microlite75 games with a donation of $25 or more to the Retroplaying Cancer Fund. Sponsors will be listed in the Microlite75 games (at least the ones that are released after they make their sponsor donation) as well as receiving all the standard Retroplaying Cancer Fund donor benes. Sponsors can opt to remain anonymous (as about 50% of donors have in past sponsorships) is they wish to, of course. The following are the sponsorship categories:

  • Donate $25.00-$49.99 and you will be listed as a Bronze Donor
  • Donate $50.00-$74.99 and you will be listed as a Copper Donor
  • Donate $75.00-$99.99 and you will be listed as a Silver Donor
  • Donate $100.00-199.99 and you will be listed as a Gold Donor
  • Donate $200.00-299.99 and you will be listed as a Platinum Donor
  • Donate $300.00-499.99 and you will be listed as a Electrum Donor
  • Donate $500.00 or more and you will be listed as an Adamantine Donor

If you have any ideas for Microlite75 2.0 in general, for a specific Microlite75 2.0 game. or even an idea for a different Microlite75-based game, please let me know.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (formerly called the Lazy Days of Summer fund drive) is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio or a complete set of numbered issues of Imagine Magazine. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned Winter Holidays giveaway items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1055 dollars have been donated. That's about 30% of our goal and about 40% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Winter Holidays Cancer Fund Drive (Imagine Magazine Added to Donor Giveaways)

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Imagine #12 CoverDuring the summer, I started the Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive and awarded the first set of Giveaway items in October. However, I have been to busy with my wife's many doctor visits (and there are two more this week and one next week for another another outpatient surgery/pain treatment) and finishing Microlite81 Complete and Advanced to post much to this blog. And if I don't post, people (including me, I'm sorry to say) forget about the donation drive. As I'm going to make this blog and starting work on the Microlite75 2.0 games a priority in December and January, I decide to rename the donation drive from the "Lazy Days of Summer" drive to the "Winter Holidays" drive -- because it's hard to think of summer when it is 50 degrees outside (or it is when your summer temperatures are in the upper 90s). It's the same drive with a new name and -- and thanks to discovering my old collection of TSR UK's Imagine magazine in a box marked "Xmas" that I probably have not opened since I lived in San Antonio -- with some additional giveaway items.

Background: We have recently had a lot of medical bills (5 MRIs, and ultrasound, and a spinal tap for my wife) with 20% co-pays -- which took all the money we had saved to pay the $3800 property tax due by the end of January -- it looks like it is a good time to have a fund drive. Fortunately, the tax bill will be lower in future years as our homeowner exemption will kick in, but that's no help here. Why so many MRIs? The first MRI was my wife's annual cancer screening MRI, done months later than it should have been because of trying to find new doctors. No signs of her cancer returning, but her doctor saw something unusual in her spine and set her to a neurologist. He looked at the MRI and said it was most likely either be radiation damage or multiple sclerosis -- and given some of her other symptoms which had been previously blamed one her bad lower back, he was leans toward MS. Sigh. So he order 4 additional MRIs (one head, one neck/upper back each with and without some type of dye) which would be able to rule out damage from hee head and neck radiation treatments. The whatever he was seeing in the spine would show up differently if it was radiation damage. Unfortunately, it wasn't radiation damage, so he wanted a spinal tap to be sure it was MS. Unfortunately, the spinal tap showed that it was MS so now my wife has to deal with MS as well as the after effects of head and neck cancer. The ultrasound? Her legs were swelling badly and her doctors wanted to check for blood clots. There were none, the swelling was caused by nerve dame in her spinal column and was treated by her pain doctor.

Imagine 22 CoverOkay, now that the background is out of the way, it's on the the goodies I have to give away to lucky donors. The following items will be given away randomly selected donors. Every $10 donated gets one chance in this giveaway:

The first two groups are items I found at a garage sale earlier this year

Group 1: These items Awarded in October.

Empire of the Petal Throne BoxGroup 2: S1 - Tomb of Horrors, S2 - White Plume Mountain, S3 - Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, S4 - The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

And then some other groups of items from the 1970s and very early 1980's from the collection I got from Jay:

Group 3: All TSR Tekumel games: Empire of the Petal Throne, Legions of the Petal Throne, War of Wizards.

Group 4: Gamescience Tekumel Boxed Sets: Swords & Glory Volume 1, Swords & Glory Volume 2.

Tekumel Journal #1 CoverGroup 5: Imperium Publishing Tekumel games: The Tekumel Journal #1 and #2, Book of Ebon Bindings, MISSUM!

Group 6: Adventure Games Teklumel material: Deeds of the Ever-Glorious, Tsolyani Language, Parts 1 and 2, Armies of Tekumel, Vol 1: Tsolyanu, Armies of Tekumel, Vol 2: Yan Kor and Allies.

Group 7: Awarded in October.

Group 8: TSR early SF/F wargames: Star Probe, Star Empires, Warriors of Mars, Lankhmar, Divine Right.

Tricolor CoverIn addition to the eight giveaways available to all donors, the top 5 donors will have a separate drawing for the following very special item: The Artists of TSR portfolio. This is a fairly rare portfolio the RPGA (TSR) published in 1980 -- only about 200 copies were printed. Jay had this one -- each of the 12 prints is enclosed in its own mylar sleeve. (Unfortunately, the portfolio cover was not and has yellowed.) The portfolio has two black and white illos by each of the six artists: Jeff Easley, Larry Elmore, Jim Holloway, Harry Quinn, Jim Roslof, and Tim Truman. I'll also be awarding Shrink wrapped copies of FEZ I and a set of the 30 issues of TSR UK's Imagine magazine from the early to mid 1980s. (Note: The Imagine collection does not include the unnumbered "Special Issue" as I have never even seen it.)

Two of the eight groups (randomly selected -- groups 1 and 7 were selected) were given away when the drive reached $750 in donations, two more will be at $1500, two more will be at $2250, and the last two (and the special "top five giveaways) when we hit $3000. Additional items not mentioned here may be given away at various points during this fund drive as well.

Star Probe CoverIn addition to these giveaway items, I will be releasing "tablet-digest" versions of Microlite74 and Microlite81 games and supplements throughout this drive, current plans are for one release for every $250 in donations.

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. Book 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 Retro-Roleplaying Cancer Fund web page as well as in progress draft downloads of my current projects).

Due to several requests I've added Gryphons & Gramarye and Microlite75 2.0 sponsorships to the benefits for RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors. Donors (including those who have donated since the start of the Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive) will be listed as sponsors in Gryphons & Gramarie and Microlite75 2.0 games -- unless they opt to remain anonymous (as about 50% of donors have in past sponsorships) in the following categories:

  • Donate $25.00-$49.99 and you will be listed as a Bronze Donor
  • Donate $50.00-$74.99 and you will be listed as a Copper Donor
  • Donate $75.00-$99.99 and you will be listed as a Silver Donor
  • Donate $100.00-199.99 and you will be listed as a Gold Donor
  • Donate $200.00-299.99 and you will be listed as a Platinum Donor
  • Donate $300.00-499.99 and you will be listed as a Electrum Donor
  • Donate $500.00 or more and you will be listed as an Adamantine Donor
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 as I am still failing Mind Reading 101.

To get help us pay the medical bills (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. Every $10 donated gets one chance in the above giveaways. 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.


Imagine#1 CoverThe Winter Holidays (formerly the Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. Donate $25 or more to be listed as a sponsoring donor in upcoming Microlite75 2.0 games. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1055 dollars have been donated. That's about 30% of our goal and about 40% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite81 Advanced is Now Available for Free Download (Free Old School RPG)

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Microlite81 Advanced CoverI'm happy to announce that final "silver" version of Microlite81 Advanced 1.0 is finished at last and is now available for free download. I'm sorry to say that I could not limit the page count to my goal of 192 pages (64 x 3) -- at least not and have any reasonable amount of art. However, at 206 pages, it's still not a huge game. This file size is only 14.2 megs. This is several megs less than the 128 page Microlite81 Complete, but there is not nearly as much art as in Microlite81 Complete.

In case you haven't read my blog in a long time and have no idea what I'm talking about, Microlite81 Advanced is like Microlite81 Complete -- a greatly expanded version of Microlite81 (a Microlite20-based version of B/X) designed for those who are less familiar with roleplaying games and those who simply prefer more complete information in a larger book to minimal information in a shorter book. Unlike Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Advanced is a mashup of B/X and 1e -- designed for the way many people actually played the game in the early 1980s using the less complex rules of B/X with the classes, spells, monsters, and treasure of the first "advanced" edition (1e). Microlite81 Advanced also allows the GM to select which version of the "core game rules" to use (the standard B/X-like rules from Microlite81 or the B/X-like rules with the author's house rules from the early 1980s added as in Microlite81 Extended) and includes a number of optional rules modules that can be used or ignored as the GM desires. Optional modules include rules for psionics, mutations, action points, sanity, advantages and disadvantages, and more.

Microlite81 Advanced is the fourth game of four planned in the Microlite81 series. The first three Microlite81 Microlite81 Extended, and Microlite81 Complete have already been released. With the release of Microlite81 Advanced, all the games planned for the Microlite81 series are now available. Due to a death in the family (and the move to the DFW area that resulted) and my wife's new medical issues (MS), completing the series has taken over a year longer than I had planned. My next project is Microlite75 2.0 and continuing work on Gryphons & Gramarye

I'd like to thank all of those who have supposed Microlite81 with money for the Microlite81 RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund drives last year, as well as with ideas, with email messages, and with proofreading comments. As I did with Microlite81 Complete, I'd also like to thank Kevin Crawford and his artists (not to mention those who funded his kickstarters) for donating a great deal of art from several Sine Nomine games to the public domain so that those of us with no budget for art can use it.

Microlite81 Advanced is now available for free download in PDF format in the Microlite20.org download area. Here is direct download link: Click Here to Download: Microlite81-Advanced-1.0-Silver.pdf.

As usual, Microlite81 Advanced is a free game: it is free to download, free to use, free to print copies of, and the text (except for a few proper names) is open game context under the OGL. If you like the game and have some money to spare, donations to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund are really appreciated. We are having a fund drive right now (see below) and everyone donating $25 or more will be listed as a donor in current projects (currently Microlite75 2.0 and Gryphons & Gramarye.) As I write this we need just about $470 in donations to trigger the second "donor goodies" drawing in our current fund drive.


Swords and Glory Volume 1 BoxThe Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $1027 dollars have been donated. That's about 30% of our goal and about 37% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite81 Advanced Now in Layout. Aiming for a Thanksgiving Release

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Microlite81 Advanced CoverThe text of Microlite81 Advanced is complete and the project is being laid out. If all goes well, I will be releasing the final "silver" version of Microlite81 Advanced next week, in time for (US) Thanksgiving. The only thing that might delay it would be more medical issues with my wife. Her MS-related balance issues caused a bad fall about a week ago. She looks like she lost a boxing match and was lucky she did not fracture her skull or break an arm.

I added a lot of new material to Microlite81 Advanced since the last draft was released to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donor download area. I am going to try to keep the final copy of about 200 pages even if that means there will be less art. The final version will be free, just like all the other games in the Microlite81 series.

Speaking of the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund, our current drive has stalled out. There have been no donations to speak of in about two weeks. This is probably my fault as I have been too busy working on Microlite81 Advanced and dealing with my wife's medical issues to make any posts to this blog and to Google+ to keep the drive in the public mind. We are just shy of one-third of our goal -- but we only have two months left to raise the needed money, so if you can afford to donate $10, $20, $50, or more please consider using the donation links below. Thanks! Remember, those donating $25 or more will be listed as a donor in my next major project Microlite75 -- unless they don't want to be listed, of course. Anonymous is amazing popular.


Swords and Glory Volume 1 BoxThe Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $994 dollars have been donated. That's about 29% of our goal and about 32% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Microlite81 Advanced Draft 2 Available (for Donors)

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Microlite81 Complete 1.0 Silver CoverWhile the illo is of Microlite81 Complete, this post is really about Microlite81 Advanced. Yes, it's a bait-and-switch post! Microlite81 Advanced is still on track for release around the end of November. A second "draft" copy is now available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors. About 20 pages have been added (including -- by special request -- and optional half-ogre class) and numerous typos and other issues have been fixed. The optional rules section has really grown. The file is password-protected and all RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors have the password. Donate today to get one.


The main hold up is the promised mutation system. I'm torn between the simple one that I've used for years (see Microlite74 Companion 1) and a more complete/complex one that I've been playtesting recently. Playtester opinions are about equally between the the two, some prefer the short, simple, and open-ended original version, other prefer the detailed mutation descriptions and the "balance" provided by adjusting XP requirements for characters with mutations that the new system provides.


Swords and Glory Volume 1 BoxThe Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $994 dollars have been donated. That's about 29% of our goal and about 32% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Why I Have Little Interest in Trying the Average New RPG

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illo of a pile of RPG booksI'm often looked upon as some strange type of gamer as I have no interest in even trying most of the new RPGs that are published every year. This is apparently especially annoying to some RPG players as I'm willing to try just about any boardgame at least once. There are, however, major differences between trying a new RPG someone I know has bought and wants to run and trying a new boardgame someone has bought and wants to play.

With the boardgame, all I have to do is show up and play. I don't have to invest any time or money in trying the game other than the hour or three it takes to show up and play. Rules are generally easy to learn as you play and no one expects me to purchase the game and study rules before I show up. On the other hand, most of the people who want me to try new RPG X expect me to buy a copy of the rules and at least read through them before the first session. That's too much of an investment of both money and time for me, especially since I already have RPGs I really enjoy and of which I already own and know the rules. Unless I am very sure that I will both like the new game at least as much as the ones I already own and play, investing time and money on a new game has too high of an opportunity cause to be something I want to do.

I believe that one of the reasons I've never had any trouble getting people to play the RPGs I run is that from a player's perspective, playing in one of my campaigns is a lot like playing a boardgame -- you can just show up and play. I can teach a new player all the mechanics he really needs to know in 10-15 minutes while I help him create a character and then all he has to do to play in my game is pretend to be that character and tell me what his character is trying to do and I'll report what happens, asking for any die rolls that might be needed. Players have no need to buy and study rules in advance. Actually, players have no need to ever read (let alone study) the rules unless they just want to as owning and studying the rules for the games I run gives one little or no advantage over players who never learn more about the mechanics than I taught them in their first session. In my opinion, the further an RPG strays from this "keep mechanics and play simple enough to play well without knowing the rules" principle the harder task someone who want to play that RPG is likely to have when it comes to recruiting players. RPGs that expect people to "master" their rules to play seem to strongly appeal to most hard core tabletop RPG players, but they also limit the pool of possible players to those who have the time and interest to study and master those rules -- not to mention the spare cash to buy a copy of rules they may only use two or three times.

Personally I'd rather spend the cash on my wife's medical bills and rather spend the time and effort I would spend on reading a new and very different RPG actually playing RPGs as I only have a few hours a week to devote to RPGs. What this generally means is I'm going to be playing the RPGs I already know and know I enjoy instead of trying new RPGs -- but I'm still happy to try a new boardgame. I'm also often willing to try a new RPG that is just a relatively minor mechanical variation on a RPG I already know and enjoy. That's why I'm generally happy to try a RPG based strongly on the rules of TSR D&D, the rules of Classic Traveller, the rules of TSR's Marvel Superheroes, the rules of West End's Star Wars, or the rules of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying Game. I can just sit down and play a new game based on one of these sets of rules without having to invest any time or money in them -- almost like a boardgame.


Swords and Glory Volume 1 BoxThe Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $994 dollars have been donated. That's about 29% of our goal and about 32% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.

Should I Move the Microlite74/78/81 Forum to a Google+ Community?

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Google+ Communities LogoMicrolite74 has a forum. You may not know this because it has not been very active the past couple of years. I've received several suggestions that I should just move it to a Google+ community -- from people who would prefer it to be a Google community, of course. While I hate to depend on a third party service that could disappear or be changed to something not useful on the whim of some corporate executive, I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea if people would actually use a Microlite74/78/81 community.

Please let me know what you would like? Keep the current forum or move discussions to a Google+ community? If you like the idea of a Google+ community, I'm open to ideas as to what to call it. I want one community to handle discussions of all my "old school" M20-based games (as I'd go nuts trying to keep up with one Community from Microlite74, one community for Microlite78, one community for Microlite81, one community for Gyphons & Gramarye, etc.) -- but that makes coming up with a name that covers all of them and is also recognizable enough so people will see the name and know what is covered hard. But then as anyone who has ever played in my games knows, I'm horrible at coming up with names off the cuff.


Swords and Glory Volume 1 BoxThe Lazy Days of Summer RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund Drive is on. Every $10 donated gives you one chance to win a one of the many early D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, and early TSR games items items described in the above-linked post. Multiple drawings will be held as described in the above linked post. The highest donors will have a separate chance to receive an Artists of TSR portfolio. These are in addition to the usual PDF downloads and other benefits of a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund. To get help us pay our medical bills (and to get access to some special downloads and possibly the above mentioned lazy days of summer items), send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to me via Paypal. Thank you!

As of the time of this post $901 dollars have been donated. That's about 26% of our goal and about 19% of the way to the second $750 drawing trigger point.