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

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Microlite81 Complete 1.0 Silver CoverI'm happy to announce that final "silver" version of Microlite81 Complete 1.0 is finished at last and is now available for free download. I'm also pleased to say that I managed to limit the page count to my goal of 128 pages (the same length as B/X) after all. If you read my last post you saw that I was afraid it might go to as many as 144 pages. Thanks to discovering that I had some unneeded blank pages at the end of the file and a bit of rearranging things, I was able to keep the page count to the original 128 page target. Due to all the artwork, the file size ballooned from just under 2 megs in the last release candidate to 17.2 megs.

In case you haven't read my blog in a long time and have no idea what I'm talking about, Microlite81 Complete is 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. Microlite81 Complete is intended to be standard Microlite81 with more complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic items and a few extras like an example of play and instructions for GMs which will hopefully make the game more friendly to players with less experience with old school gaming. Microlite81 Complete 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).

Microlite81 Complete is the third game of four planned in the Microlite81 series. The first two, Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended have already been released. The fourth game in the series, Microlite81 Advanced, in about 80% completed and I hope to have it out by the end of the year. Microlite81 Advanced uses the Microlite81 rules with the spells, monsters, and magic items from the first edition (circa 1978) of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game. This will provide rules for one of the most common styles of play in the early and mid-1980s, adding 1e classes, spells, and magic items to the B/X rules.

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. 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 Complete 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-Complete-Public-Beta.pdf.

As usual, Microlite81 Complete 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 Gryphons & Gramarye and a new 0e-era project that will be announced shortly.) By the way, as I write this we need just under $100 in donations to trigger the first "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 $657 dollars have been donated. That's about 19% of our goal and about 87% of the way to the first drawing trigger point of $750 dollars.

Microlite81 Complete Final Enters Layout -- Final Release Soon

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Microlite81 Complete Beta CoverI'm pleased to be able to announce that Microlite81 Complete is in layout for the final release version. Barring real life issues interfering, The final version of Microlite81 Complete should be ready for free release by the end of the September. One "sad" note, adding art will make Microlite81 Complete longer than the 128 page target I was aiming for. I'm not going to cut text and many people would probably kill me if I reduced the amount of artwork, so it will just have to be longer than 128 pages. My new target is 144 pages or less.

I'd like to thank all of those who have supposed Microlite81 with money for the Microlite81 RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund drives, with email messages, and most of all with proofreading comments over the last couple of weeks. There's still time for a few more proofreading comments, so please send them in!


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 $653 dollars have been donated. That's about 19% of our goal and about 87% of the way to the first drawing trigger point of $750 dollars.

The Paladin and Gryphons & Gramarye Basic Public Playtest 1.0 Available

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Gryphons & Gramarye Basic Public Playtest 1.0 CoverAbout 10 days ago I posted a playtest report on Gryphons & Gramarye (see Gryphons & Gramarye Report from the Trenches: What Works and What Fails) where I reported that the Hunter class had problems and players really wanted a cleric class. This sparked a few changes to the game. I've eliminated the Hunter class (at least for the time-being as I still like the basic idea. I changed the Magician class slightly, it lost healing abilities and gained more nature-related spells. Finally, I've added a Paladin class.

The G&G Paladin is a competent warrior (like the Scout and eliminated for now Hunter class) who can also turn undead and has a number of prayers (including healing abilities). Prayers do not work like magic spells. They use a different system where the Paladin as to roll to succeed it obtaining divine help and the more times the Paladin asks for such help during a day the more likely the Paladin's deity is to say "sorry, no more for a while". The amount of help the Paladin's deity will give increases as the Paladin goes up in level.

I tried to post the first draft of the Paladin class to this blog a couple of days ago without success. For some reason pasting from Word isn't working for me right now (at least not if I want to keep anything like the original formatting). Therefore I decided to release an early public playtest version of Gryphons & Grammarye -- or at least of Gryphons & Gramarye Basic.

The goal of Gryphons & Gramarye is to recreate the style and feel of early fantasy roleplaying games (e.g. 0e, B/X, 1e) published back in the 1970s or very early 1980s without trying to duplicate the exact features of any of those games. Gryphons & Gramarye will try to do some new things with old school while retaining basic compatibility with adventures for 0e, B/X, and 1e.

This first public playtest version of Gryphons & Gramarye reimages the classes but otherwise mainly uses Microlite74 Extended rules. Public Playtest 1.0 has five classes classes: Fighter, Scout, Paladin, Magician, and Wizard. The Fighter is a very powerful warrior (better than a 0e fighter). The Scout is a less powerful warrior with outdoorman and “thief” abilities. The Paladin is a holy warrior with the ability to pray for miracles. The Magician has limited warrior abilities but wields illusion and nature magic. The Wizard is next to useless as a warrior, but can wield powerful magic.

These rules assume that the GM understands the basic concepts of roleplaying games, but provides information for both the GM and the players on the various “old school” styles of play. Gryphons & Gramarye can easily use adventures and material from early editions of the world’s most popular tabletop fantasy roleplaying game or modern clones. Note this is a set of playtest rules, the final version of Gryphons & Gramarye will likely be much different. Your feedback is welcome and will help shape the final version.

You can download a copy of Gryphons & Gramarye Basic Public Playtest 1.0 from the Public Playtests section of the Download are of Microlite20.org.

Due to several requests I've added Gryphons & Gramarye 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 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

I hope you like this very early public playtest of Gryphons & Gramarye Basic. Comments and ideas are welcome as always.


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 $634 dollars have been donated. That's about 18% of our goal and about 85% of the way to the first drawing trigger point of $750 dollars.

Microlite81 Complete Release Candidate 1 Available for Free Public Download

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Microlite81 Complete Beta CoverThe first (and with luck only) Release Candidate version of Microlite81 Complete is now available for download and comment. Microlite81 Complete is intended to be standard Microlite81 with more complete descriptions of spells, monsters, and magic items and a few extras like an example of play and instructions for GMs which will hopefully make the game more friendly to players with less experience with old school gaming. Microlite81 Complete 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).

Microlite81 Complete Release Candidate 1 is 110 pages. This means with artwork the final version should come in at 128 pages or less -- which will make it no longer than B/X. I have my fingers crossed that I can manage this.

Microlite81 Complete Release Candidate 1 is a public version which I believe to be feature complete. It needs (at a minimum) proofreading, layout and artwork before it will be ready for formal release. If you notice typos, missing material, or the like, please let me know in comments here, in email, etc. Remember, I'm a horrible proofreader, so if you see a problem its best to report it to me even if you think it isd so obvious that I can't miss it. Unfortunately, not only can I miss it but the chances are I will miss it.


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 $634 dollars have been donated. That's about 18% of our goal and about 85% of the way to the first drawing trigger point of $750 dollars.

Gryphons & Gramarye Report from the Trenches: What Works and What Fails

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Gyphons & Gramarye playtest coverWe've been running Gryphons & Gramarye long enough now that I can see what is working and what isn't -- at least from what My players are telling me.

Classes: All of the classes have now been used in play by at least one player. Here's how they are shaking out:

Fighter: Everyone loves the G&G Fighter class. It is very powerful in combat and looks like it will stay powerful even at higher levels.

Hunter: While some like the idea of this class (using knowledge to defeat monsters without magic but not in standup combat), no one likes the way the class works in practice. Expanding the old clerical "turn power" to other monsters provided the Hunter finds their weakness in lore and sets up the equivalent to the holy relic to use against them just is not working in practice. As one player said, "It feels far too gamey."

Scout: This is another class that people seem to really like. Combining a competent combatant with outdoors skills and some "thief" abilities seems to be a very good mix that avoids the problems of the weak "thief" class from most old school games. It also produces a character who is more generally useful.

Magician: There is mixed reaction on this class. In general people like the idea of combining illusion magic with minor combat abilities okay. Including clerical magic isn't as well liked -- perhaps because, as noted below, players really seem to want some type of clerical class. My impression is not that this is a problem with the magician's spell mix, but that there is a problem with the lack of a cleric class of some type and players are seeing the magician as some type of "poor substitute" for the cleric.

Wizard: No problems with this class -- not surprising as it is nothing more than a minor variation on the standard magic-user.

Cult Rules: These are almost universally disliked (one player likes them). Some players dislike the whole idea of "holy powers" as an add-on to any class. Other players like basic "religious cults" idea but do not like the idea that being involved in one slows down advancement in one's class. The general consensus seems to be that these abilities should be given to a cleric class -- perhaps something like the one I wrote up in my blog early this year (see Fantastic Adventures: Early Cleric Draft).

Summary: First, it looks like I need to either replace the Hunter class or at least think of a better method of handling it mechanically. Second, my idea of using RQ-like cults that anyone could join to replace clerics isn't very popular in actual play. As much as I like the idea, it isn't really viable if players don't like it. I'm not sure what to do on this point.


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 $624 dollars have been donated. That's about 18% of our goal and about 83% of the way to the first drawing trigger point of $750 dollars.