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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.