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Microlite75 2.0 Standard Draft 2 (and Basic Draft 3) Available for Donor Download

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Microlite75 1.0 CoverWhile I have not said much about it, I've been quieting working on Microlite75 games in the background. Unfortunately, I somehow messed up the word files in such a way that trying to print a pdf to upload to the donor area produced PDFs over 70 megs! I finally figured out the problem. A couple of huge images got pasted into the template file in such a way that I only saw them by looking for hidden text in the template. How very weird. Anyhow, as of today the problem is resolved, so I've uploaded new (and reasonably sized) drafts of Microlite75 Basic and Microlite75 Standard to the donor area of Microlite20 Download Library.

Microlite75 2.0 Basic is a version of Microlite74 Basic with a more standard 0e advancement and experience system. There are a few other minor changes such as all monsters have morale ratings and spell casters must memorize their spells. Draft 3 is "almost complete" -- it's actually close to a release candidate.

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 draft is also almost complete and close to being a release candidate.

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


Official 1.0 versions of Microlite75 Basic and Microlite75 Standard are planned for public release around the first week of March if all goes well. This means that if you would like your name listed as a sponsor of the these two (and serveral future) Microlite75 games in the published game, you need to make a donation to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund for $25 or more ASAP (like within the next week). Donors not only get listed in upcoming Microlite75 games but they get access to donor-only downloads (present and future) and access to draft version of these and future games. A donation of $25 gets a Bronze Donor listing. ($50+ earns a Copper Donor listing, $75+ Silver, $100+ Gold, 200+ Platinum, 300+ Electrum, $500+ Adamantine) -- see the sidebar for a list of donors so far. If you would like to sponsor Microlite75 games with a donation, you can send a donation in any amount -- small or large -- to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund via Paypal.




Microlite74 Ultimate Edition Draft Available for Donor Download

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Microlite74 Ultimate Edition Draft CoverA draft of Microlite74 Ultimate Edition is available to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors in the RRCF download area. Like all donor downloads, it is password protected with a password given to RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors.

Microlite74 Ultimate edition combines Microlite74 Extended with option rules for Companions I and III, a treasure listing, advice for the Game Master, some new material, and a sample small hexcrawl setting with a few sample adventure areas. It is something like Microlite81 Complete except it uses the regular (short) Microlite74 monster and spell listings as these are more popular than the longer, detailed descriptions in Microlite74 games. It includes numerous optional classes and races as well as optional rules. It is in tablet digest form and is currently about 320 pages. The rules are 90+% complete. Initial work on the sample Moonfall hexcrawl setting is included in this draft.

Microlite74 Ultimate Edition is an experiment. When finished, the illustrated version will be for sale on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. A free version without illos will be released at some point in the future.

RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors can download this password-protected file here:

OD&D PDFS: What Do You Really Need to Play?

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OD&DOriginal D&D from the mid-1970s has finally been released in PDF form on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. As most readers of this blog know, I started playing D&D back in 1975. OD&D was my first RPG and is still one of my favorites today. This is a short post with my suggestions for what you need to buy to play OD&D and what additional items might be nice to have.

The only rulebooks you really need to have a copy of to play are the three little booklets originally sold as a boxed set: Dungeons & Dragons Original Edition (0e). This is a scan of the sixth printing rules as cleaned up for WOTC's expensive Collector's Edition in the wooden box.

While playing with just the three little booklets is popular in some old school circles today, back in the 1970s, most people played with material from the OD&D supplements TSR published. Everyone I knew or played with in the 1970s at least used material from the first supplement, Greyhawk. For example, Greyhawk added the thief class, different hit die sizes for the various classes and weapons, expanded options for non-human classes, added lots or new spells, monsters, and magic items, and more. Even if you elect not to use everything, you really need this book to understand how OD&D was usually played back in the mid-1970s.

The second supplement, Blackmoor, is a mixed bag. It adds the assassin and the monk classes, hit locations (which no one I knew actually used), underwater adverting rules and monsters, rules for specialists and disease, and a few other minor things. The star of the Blackmoor supplement, however, was the detailed writeup of one of the adventure locations for the Blackmoor campaign: the Temple of the Frog. This was the first complete example of a dungeon that most player and GM of the time ever saw. Is this supplement necessary for play? Unless you want to do underwater adventuring or add the assassin and monk classes, probably not.

The third supplement, Eldritch Wizardry, is one of my personal favorites. The psionic rules therein allowed me to play in a setting I had been creating for a novel I wanted to write since the late 1960s -- the Empire of Arn. The novel never did happen -- be thankful as I can't write fiction worth reading. The Empire of Arn setting, however, has been by go to setting for D&D -- used in about 60% of the campaigns I've ran over the years. In addition to the psionics rules (which most people consider unplayable at best and incomprehensible at worst), there are rules and spells for the Druid class, some new monsters (including demons), and rules for magic items of great power: artifacts and relics. Like Blackmoor, however, this supplement is only needed if you need some of the material in it.

The fourth supplement, Gods, Demigods, and Heroes, contains brief descriptions of deities from a number of pantheons, with a few magic items used by those deities. This fourth and final supplement isn't all that useful. It was written in part to counter the "California" style of play with its ultra-high level characters. From the forward: "This is our last attempt to delineate the absurdity of 40+ level characters. When Odin, the All-Father has only(?) 300 hit points, who can take a 44th level Lord seriously?" It failed, as most people who really used this supplement were the "California" style players and GMs who just treated the deities in this supplement as powerful monsters to try to defeat and take their stuff. It can be fun to read, but is probably the least necessary to have of all the OD&D supplements.

TSR did not actually publish any adventures for OD&D. The original version of B1-In Search of the Unknown and B2-The Keep on the Borderlands were included in the Holmes Basic Set (B1 in early printings, B2 in later printings). Unlike the Basic D&D sets of the 1980s, the Holmes Basic set was intended to be an introduction to OD&D. Therefore these two modules work quite well with OD&D. I've often used both to start a campaign: starting at the Keep but placing the B1 dungeopn nearby and planting a few treasure maps leading to it in the B2's Caves of Chaos. Both these modules give a lot of good GMing advice.

I strongly recommend one third party product from Judges Guild to all OD&D GMs: the Ready Ref Sheets. This is a booklet with copies of the combat tables from OD&D/Greyhawk, quick monsters lists and lots of useful random tables from early Judges Guild products: character social levels, poison types, metal and gem types, civilization and technological levels, non-player character cutups, construction and research guides, movement obstacles and wilderness terrain, beggars, shock recovery, crime and punishment, guards and garrison troops, resurrection results, special encounters, and more. I use my hardcopy from 1978 in games I run today. It's one of the useful third party supplements I've ever purchased.

Judges Guild also published a number of adventures for OD&D. They are a mixed bag that I hope to cover in a future post. However, I have gotten a lot of use out of City State of the Invincible Overlord, Wilderlands of High Fantasy (note, you need to buy the maps separately), The Book of Treasure Maps I, Modron, Castle Book I, and Village Book I. Unfortunately, many of the other JG OD&D products I like aren't available in PDF -- at least not in their OD&D forms. The Caverns Of Thracia module is available in an edition rewritten for 3.x, but the original version is much easier to use with OD&D.

Finally, you might want to consider picking up All the Worlds' Monsters. This is a three volume collection of monsters written by many different GMs published in the 1978s by Chaosium. The monsters are a varied bag and are of all power levels. The first and second volumes are better, at least in my opinion, than the third volume. However, I have used monsters from all three volumes over the years. Some of these monsters are completely original, others are adapted from folklore and literature.

All the Worlds' Monsters Vol. 1 (includes 265 monsters)
All the Worlds' Monsters Vol. 2 (includes 243 monsters, The "Perrin Conventions" for D&D combat, and a T&T conversion guide)
All the Worlds' Monsters Vol. 3 (includes 238 monsters and an index to all three volumes)

Note All product links are affiliate links.

Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced Available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow (Still Free)

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Microlite81 Advanced CoverI've added my last two games, Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced, to those available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. Finally. When I started this "simple" project I had no idea it was going to take so much of my time. However, it's now done and I can get back to my other projects, Microlite75, Microlite74 Ultimate, revised the RetroRoleplaying web site, etc.

For those not familiar with Microlite81 games, they are based on the Basic and Expert boxed sets published in 1981 Like are Microlite20-based games they use trimmed-down miniature versions of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules designed to be quick and easy to play, especially when compared to modern incarnations of the game. The goal of Microlite81 games is to recreate the style and feel of the B/X versions of the world's best known fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1981 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions. Microlite81 games 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 Complete: Take the standard version of Microlite81 and provide much more detailed descriptions of spells, monsters, and treasure and some advice for GMs and players and you get Microlite81 Complete. This is a version of Microlite81 designed to be easier to use for people who are not as familiar with tabletop fantasy RPGs as Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended assume. The entire illustrated rulebook is only 128 pages.

Microlite81 Advanced: Take Microlite81 Extended and use the classes, spells, and treasure of the first edition of the world's most popular tabletop fantasy RPG and you have a game based on B/X rules but using the classes and magic of 1e. In other words you have the game similar to the game many people who started with B/X played in the 1980s: 1e features with the less complex B/X rules. Like Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Advanced includes detailed descriptions of spells, monsters, and treasure and some advice for GMs and players. It also includes a large number of optional rules modules that can be used or not used as the GM desires. The illustrated rulebook covers all of this in only 206 pages.

These two games are free and is still available in all the usual places, they are now also available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. (If you are wondering if it is better to "donate" via paying what you want on DriveTruRPG/RPGNow or directly to my Paypal account, I see much more of the money if you donate directly to my Paypal account -- and you also get access to donor goodies.)

Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended Available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow (Still Free)

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Microlite81 Extended CoverI am continuing to add games to those available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. Today, the first two Microlite81 games are available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games: Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended.

For those not familiar with these games, they are trimmed-down miniature versions of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules designed to be quick and easy to play, especially when compared to modern incarnations of the game. The goal of Microlite81 games is to recreate the style and feel of the B/X versions of the world's best known fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1981 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions. Microlite81 games 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: The rules are about 14 pages, including detailed class descriptions for clerics, fighters, magic-users, thieves, dwarves, elves, and halflings. The rules cover combat, adventuring, building strongholds, magical research and more. Optional rules are included to make the game less like its Microlite20 base and more like the original B/X. Spell, monster, and treasure descriptions are also included. Microlite81 comes together in a mere 46 pages.

Microlite81 Extended: This version includes everything in the standard version of Microlite81 with the author’s house rules from the 1977-1983 era modified as needed to work with a system based on B/X instead of one based on 0e. A number of optional classes (Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Illusionist, Paladin, Ranger, Warlord, Dragonborn, Tiefling, and Warforged) and more optional rules, including a psionics system, are included. Like the standard version of Microlite81, Microlite81 Extended includes everything one needs to play except dice and paper in 60 pages.

These two games are free and is still available in all the usual places, they are now also available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. (If you are wondering if it is better to "donate" via paying what you want on DriveTruRPG/RPGNow or directly to my Paypal account, I see much more of the money if you donate directly to my Paypal account -- and you also get access to donor goodies.)

Microlite78 First Edition Light, Microlite74 S&S, Microlite74 Light vs Dark Available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow (Still Free)

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Microlite78 First Edition Lite coverThree more of my "Microlite20" based old school games are available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games: Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery, Microlite74 Light vs Dark, and Microlite78 First Edition Lite. For those who are not familiar with these games, here are brief descriptions.

Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is has been the second most popular version of Microlite74 by number of downloads after Microlite74 Extended. Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is designed for low level play in swords & sorcery settings. If the fantasy stories of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, Clark Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore, Karl Edward Wagner, and David Gemell are more to your taste that those of Tolkein or Eddings, this version of Microlite74 may be just what you are looking for. Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is based on Microlite74 Extended 3.0 but with many special rules designed for swords & sorcery style campaigns. For example, there are only two classes (Adventurer and Sorcerer) and 6 levels, magic is limited and casting certain spells can corrupt the caster, and many 0e style magic items are relics of dead civilizations from long ago. Humans are assumed to dominate the world and most enemies are other humans and animals. True monsters certainly exist but they are assumed to be rare. Unlike most Microlite74 games which use a Microlite20-based experience system, this version uses a more standard experience point system.

    Download Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery

Microlite74 Light vs Dark was originally known as Microlite74 Special Version I. That was an awful name so I decided to change it to something (hopefully) less awful. Microlite74 Light vs Dark is designed for a campaign world with only two deities (a Lord of Light (order) and a Lord of Darkness (chaos) who oppose each other. Magic is both common and rare in this campaign world in that about 25% of the population have the ability to use Minor Magic at will (including all characters and NPCs with a class level), but arcane magic is otherwise limited to long, complex, and costly rituals. Clerics have limited spell-like abilities called prayers. True magic Items are almost non-existent. What true magic items do exist are created by the GM as needed and are always one-of-a-kind. Magic items created by binding spirits to material items are more common.

These rules were designed for a specific campaign's proprietary setting and then the proprietary element's were removed to create this set of rules. The proprietary setting was centered around a large decadent empire which which was starting to fall apart at the seams while its borderlands were breaking away or were being overrun by subhumans and monsters. The central portions of the empire were ignoring the problems. The Church of Light was aware of the problems but its influence on the imperial government had been reduced by scandal after scandal. In the borderlands, however, the Church of Light was often the only institution able to see beyond local issues. The campaign world was early renaissance, at least in the central parts of the empire, but hand guns and long guns were never invented. However, the Microlite74 Light vs Dark rules will work fine for any setting with two powerful opposing deities and weak, but fairly common magic.

    Download Microlite74 Light vs Dark

Microlite78 First Edition Lite is a trimmed-down miniature version of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules designed to be quick and easy to play, especially when compared to modern incarnations of the game. The goal of Microlite78 First Edition Lite is do for First Edition (1e) what Microlite74 did for the Original Edition (0e): to recreate the style and feel of the First Edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1978 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions.

The Microlite78 First Edition Lite rules are based on the Microlite74 Extended rules modified as necessary to fit the 1978 First Edition (1e) of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game. Modifications include detailed first edition class descriptions with a standard old school experience system (instead of one based on research); complete monsters, spell, and treasure descriptions; rules for strongholds, magic , optional psionics, and more. These rules are not intended to be a clone of the first edition rules, but rather a conversion of them to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old school play without strictly old-school rules. Although Microlite78 First Edition Lite is a complete game, it assumes a basic knowledge on the part of the GM of how roleplaying games and the basic D20-system work. At about 160 pages, the rules are lean and do not hold your hand. These rules can easily be used with all original first edition adventures and settings (as well as those for BECMI or second edition with a bit of work) as well as with modern OSR adventures and settings.

    Download Microlite78 First Edition Lite

These three games are free and is still available in all the usual places, they are now also available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. (If you are wondering if it is better to "donate" via paying what you want on DriveTruRPG/RPGNow or directly to my Paypal account, I see much more of the money if you donate directly to my Paypal account -- and you also get access to donor goodies.)

All Five Microlite74 Companions Available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow (Still Free)

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Microlite74 Companion V CoverI've made more progress in listing my free games on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow with all five Microlite74 Companion volumes now available for download as "Pay What You Want" games (and free is a perfectly acceptable amount to pay).

For those not familiar with these booklets, they expand on the core Microlite74 games with additional rules and information. There are currently five Microlite74 Companions.

Microlite74 Companion I: Optional Rules -- This volume includes many optional rules. Most can be used with any version of the third edition of Microlite74: Basic, Standard, or Extended. There are optional rules included for stat generation, races, classes, class abilities, advantages and disadvantages, traditional saving rolls, skills and talents, metamagic, ritual magic, counterspells, weird science, fire-and-forget magic, combat stunts, armor for all classes, weapon damage by class, minis and battlemats, action points, fame, sanity, aspects, Psionics, spirits (combat, powers, and binding), fixed level campaigns, science fantasy, and more.

    Download Microlite74 Companion I: Optional Rules

Microlite74 Companion II: Treasure -- This volume contains a large number of magical items of treasure and a sample system for randomly determining what treasure is a given group of monsters has. With the publication of this Microlite74 3.0 Companion volume, Microlite74 becomes a complete and self-contained system with no need for the SRD or reference to other old school rules. This volume includes any classic treasure items as well as a few new items designed for the Microlite74 system.

    Download Microlite74 Companion II: Treasure

Microlite74 Companion III: More Optional Rules -- This volume includes many optional rules. Most can be used with any version of the third edition of Microlite74: Basic, Standard, or Extended. There are optional rules included for Supplemental Stats: Sanity and Luck, Optional Races (various goblinoid races, Tieflings, Catfolk, Dragonborn, and many more ), Optional Classes (Witches, Necromancers, Delvers, Swashbucklers, and many more), Optional Experimental Classes (like comic book Superhero), Races as Classes, Experimental Class Options (for standard classes), Specialist Priests (Clerics than vary by deity followed), Monster Mash Advantages (turning characters into vampires, lycanthropes, and ghosts), Spell Sphere (free form magic), Magic Item Creation, Feat of Strength and Skill, Shield Wall, Climbing on Enemies, Action-Type Initiative, Unusual Weapons, Mounted Combat and Jousting, Critical Hit Special Effects, Critical Miss Special Effects, Prime Requisite Experience Bonuses, Conjurer Spell List (Arcane, 7 levels), Necromancer Spell List (Arcane, 7 levels), Shaman Spell List (Divine, 7 levels), Ascetic Spell List (Arcane, 6 levels), Thaumaturge Spell List (Arcane, 7 levels), Witch Spell List (Arcane, 7 levels), Additional Monsters, and Traps, Natural Hazards, and Diseases.

    Download Microlite74 Companion III: More Optional Rules

Microlite74 Companion IV: Bestiary of Monsters -- This volume contains descriptions of a large number of 0e and 1e monsters, including demons and devils. These descriptions are somewhat more detailed than those included in the Microlite74 rules. These monsters are usable with any version of Microlite74 3.0 including Microlite74: Basic, Standard, or Extended and the Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Edition.

    Download Microlite74 Companion IV: Bestiary of Monsters

Microlite74 Companion V: First Edition Spells -- This volume provides more detailed descriptions of spells and provides many new spells similar to those in the first edition of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG. Using the spells in this companion volume instead of the ones in the Microlite74 Standard or Extended rules will make your game more similar the First Edition (1e) than the Original Edition (0e), especially when combined with monsters from Microlite74 Companion IV: Bestiary of Monsters. Most of these spells are suitable for use with either the Standard, or Extended versions of Microlite74. With care some can be used with the Basic version of Microlite74. Healing spells list alternative effects for the Basic/Standard HP system and for the Extended HP/BP system.

    Download Microlite74 Companion V: First Edition Spells

These five Microlite74 Companion volumes games are free and is still available in all the usual places, they are now also available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. (If you are wondering if it is better to "donate" via paying what you want on DriveTruRPG/RPGNow or directly to my Paypal account, I see much more of the money if you donate directly to my Paypal account -- and you also get access to donor goodies.)

Microlite74 Basic, Standard, and Extended Available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow (Still Free)

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Microlite74 Extended Cover CoverLast week, I decided to try listing one of my free games, Tarnhelm's Terrible Tome, on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games as a test. It was a success with over 100 downloads. I'm now going to go ahead an make all of my free games available via DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. Today, the first three Microlite74 games are available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow: Microlite74 Basic, Microlite74 Standard, and Microlite74 Extended. Next week, I'll released the five Microlite74 Companions and the two special versions of Microlite74 on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow.

For those not familiar with these games, they are trimmed-down miniature versions of the Primary Fantasy SRD rules designed to be quick and easy to play, especially when compared to modern incarnations of the game. The goal of Microlite74 games is to recreate the style and feel of that very first (“0e”) fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1974 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions. Microlite74 games are not intended to be a clone of the 0e rules, but rather a conversion of them to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old-school play without strictly old-school rules.

Microlite74 Basic: This version has about 4 pages of actual rules (and about 6 pages of spell and monster lists). It emulates the 0e version of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game in its earliest form: the original 3 little booklets in the 0e boxed set. You have Fighters, Clerics, and Magic-Users, hit dice are all d6s (and is all weapon damage and most monster damage), there are relatively few spells (and they top out at 6th level, 5th level for clerics), and the maximum suggested level is only 12-14. It may sound limited, but it can be a lot of fun.

Microlite74 Standard: This version has about five and a half pages of actual rules (and about ten and a half pages of spell and monster lists). It emulates the 0e version of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game in its complete form: the original 3 little booklets in the 0e boxed set plus most of the material from the supplements and "official" material published in the early magazine articles. You have Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, Clerics, Druids, Magic-Users, Illusionists, and Thieves (and optionally Assassins, Bards, and Monks), with variable hit dice and weapon damage, a complete set of spells (through 9th level for Magic-Users, 7th level, for Clerics, Druids, and Illusionists), and combat is covered in slightly more detail. Microlite74 Standard has all the features of 0e as most people played it back in the late 1970s.

Microlite74 Extended: This version has about 8 pages of actual rules (and about 15 pages of spell, monster and equipment lists). This version emulates the 0e version of the world's most popular fantasy roleplaying game with versions of many of the house rules the author used in the late 1970s -- and uses today in his Wilderlands campaign. In includes everything Microlite74 Standard does and adds rules for character backgrounds (optional in Basic and Standard), alignment, spell casting with implements and rituals, Body Points (representing actual major wounds), a slightly more detailed combat system, more spells and monsters, and other minor rules changes. It is slightly more complex in play than Microlite74 Standard, but not considerably so.

These three games are free and is still available in all the usual places, they are now also available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow as "Pay What You Want" games. (If you are wondering if it is better to "donate" via paying what you want on DriveTruRPG/RPGNow or directly to my Paypal account, I see much more of the money if you donate directly to my Paypal account -- and you also get access to donor goodies.)