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

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Microlite81 Extended Cover ImageMicrolite81 1.0 Extended Silver is finished and ready for download. In case you've missed all the previous posts on Microlite81 and Microlite81 Extended, Microlite81 is to the B/X edition of the world's best known tabletop RPG as Microlite74 is to the original 1974 edition of that game. That means that Microlite81 has taken the 1981 Basic and Expert boxed sets and converted the system to one based on Microlite20 -- a rules light version of the D20 system. You can use Microlite81 games to play any published adventure you could use with the B/X version with only a few minor changes (like inverting AC). Microlite81 Extended is an expansion of the standard B/X-based Microlite81 rules to include a Microlite81 version of the house rules I created in the late 1970s and used with all TSR editions. In addition these rules add a number of optional additional human and non-human classes including Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Illusionist, Paladin, Ranger, Warlord, Dragonborn, Tiefling, and Warforged. A large number of optional rules are also included.

This is the "Silver" version because a final "Gold" version will be published when all the planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Expanded, and Microlite81 Advanced) with any errata added and a complete list of Microlite81 sponsors but no other additions.

Sponsors? Yes, anyone donating at least $25 to the Retro-Roleplaying Cancer Fund during the design period for Microlite81 games will be listed as a sponsor in Microlite81 (and also in Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Expanded, and Microlite81 Advanced). We already have a number of sponsors and can always use more.

Copper Donors: Those donating 25-50 dollars will be listed as Copper Donors.

Silver Donors: Those donating 51-100 dollars will be listed as Silver Donors. Silver donors may run a small text ad for their game, gaming related item, or game-related item on the main RetroRoleplaying web site.

Gold Donors: Those donating 101-250 dollars will be listed as Gold Donors. Gold donors may have a monster, spell, or magic item of their creation included in at least one version of Microlite81 (Expanded, Complete, or Advanced) and credited to the donor plus the benefits for Silver Donors.

Electrum Donors: Those donating 251-500 dollars will be listed as Eltectrum Donors. Electrum donors may opt to have character’s name and description used as one of the characters in the example of play planned for Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced; plus the benefits for Silver and Gold donors – or they may have a half-page ad for their RPG product or web site included in the final (Gold) versions of all currently planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Expanded, Microlite81 Complete, and Microlite81 Advanced)

Platinum Donors: Those donating over 500 dollars will be listed as Platinum Donors. Platinum donors may opt to have their names used as a player in the example of play planned for Microlite81 Complete and Microlite81 Advanced; plus the benefits for Silver, Gold, and Electrum donors – or they may have a full page ad for their RPG product or web site included in the final (Gold) versions of all currently planned Microlite81 editions (Microlite81, Microlite81 Expanded, Microlite81 Complete, and Microlite81 Advanced).

All Donors (any amount, no minimum) also have access to a number of special donor downloads, including "work-in-progress" versions of whatever I'm working on (Microlite81 Complete, Microlite81 Advanced, and Microlite20 "Next Generation" are my next projects). You can donate via Paypal if you wish to help.

Download your FREE copy of Microlite81 Extended 1.0 Silver

You can download the "standard" version of Microlite81 1.0 Silver from the download area of our message board or from Mediafire. The download is a 2.3 meg PDF file (60 pages).

Download Microlite81 Extended from our message board.

Download Microlite81 Extended from Mediafire.

Whither Microlite20?

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I received an email over the weekend bemoaning the fact that latest versions of Seth Drebitko's revision of Microlite20 seems to be pulling a "DnD 4e" -- publishing an almost completely different game under the name of an older game and that you had to pay to download copies of Microlite20. I was somewhat surprised by this because the last version of Seth's revision I saw, which he was then calling Microlite20 Prime still seemed quite derivate of D20 and able to run D20 material without a lot of work -- even if it was beginning to incorporate some non-traditional storygame-like elements.

However, I went over to Seth's Microlite20 site and sure enough it does look like you have to pay to download. Fortunately, this is not true. Seth is simply requesting donations. However, he's using Gumroad to automate the progress. While Gumroad's interface is great for selling downloads, it is horrible for "pay what you want including zero" as it starts by asking for credit card info. Fortunately, I've used Gumroad before and know the "trick" for paying $0 for "pay what you want items": fill in your email address, skip over everything credit card related, and put 0 in the price blank. The credit card info part of the form disappears and you are good to go. I can't blame Seth for requesting donations, game design is work and hosting web sites isn't free, but I can blame Gumroad for an interface that makes it look like you have to pay something even for a product that is priced at "0+". (Note: if you do give zero, you can come back later and give something if you like the product -- Gumroad actually handles this part of "pay what you want" quite well.)

Having jumped through Gumroad's hoops, I was able to download a copy of the latest playtest version of Seth's Microlite20 revision. Unfortunately, the email I received was correct, Seth's latest revision of Microlite20 really is a very different game: a game that would be very hard to use as a simple version of the D20 system which can still easily be used with most of the material published for the D20 system. While Seth's Microlite20 revision still has some D20 in its DNA, the majority of its DNA comes from games like Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Numinera, etc. This mix is interesting in its own right, but isn't very compatible with all the D20 material out there, which very important to many long time Microlite20 fans. Calling this game "Microlite20" will probably cause as much confusion and argument as calling "New Coke" "Coke" did -- which is a shame because what Seth is working on is a nice "microlite" version of "Apocalypse World, Dungeon World, Numinera" type systems. It just isn't a "microlite" version of D20.

However, what I found most upsetting wasn't the poor UI on the donation system or the non-D20 Microlite20 revision playtest, but how broken the web site was. Many of the Microlite20 third party game download links on the site lead to errors. While almost all the third party Microlite20 games are available from the RetroRoleplaying Forum's download area, this isn't a lot of help for people who go to the logical place to find Microlite20 material: the Microlite20 web site. Sadly, the new Microlite20 (Vanilla-based) forum seems to have disappeared completely. The old and now closed (SMF-based) Microlite20 forum is still there if you go to its URL directly. Unfortunately, this means the small community of players and designers now no longer seems to have a real home on the Net.

Original Microlite20 Rules in Word Processor Formats

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M20 logoI've been told that it's hard to find editable "doc" files of the original Microlite20 rules on the web any more. Some googling on my part backed this up. So I've created a lightly formatted file with the rules to the original Microlite20 in Word 2010 and saved it in .docx, .doc, .rtf, and .odt formats and uploaded a zip file of those four formats to the Microlite20 download area of the RetroRoleplaying Forum. If you want a copy of Microlite20 that you can easily edit and modify, it's now available for free download here:

Microlite20 Editable Files (doc, docx, rtf, odt)

Microlite81 Extended: Download Release Candidate 1 (Free RPG)

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Microlite81 Playtest Draft CoverThe first (and -- with luck -- only) release candidate version of Microlite81 Extended is available for free download. The game has even had an initial proofreading by myself (useless, I know) and by some of the players in my Sunday game.

Microlite81 Extended is 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. An number of optional classes (Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Illusionist, Paladin, Ranger, Warlord, Dragonborn, Tiefling, and Warforged) and optional rules are included.

Microlite81 Extended is now pretty much feature complete. Please proofread the release candidate for both spelling/major grammar errors and for "completeness/clarity" -- that is places where rules are not clear or something seems to be missing. I'll correct any reported problems and then release the final "silver" edition. Although a second release candidate isn't planned, if enough problems are reported one may become necessary.

You can down the PDF of Microlite81 Extended Release Candidate 1 from the download area of the RetroRoleplaying forum by following this link:

Download Microlite81 Extended Release Candidate 1

I know this release comes a week later than I promised and I apologize. We canceled the Sunday game on the 2nd because of ice (the last time I canceled a game because of winter weather was in the 1980s -- its really rare around here). Unfortunately, I slipped and fell taking the trash out to the street that night. This made sitting very painful last week, so most of what little time I spent in a chair had to be for work instead of for working on games (or even a blog post explaining what happened).