Since I missed Monday, I am going with two Picks today for Goodbye RPGNow Week. This one has one of the most confusion full titles I’ve seen in a long time – Microlite78 First Edition Lite Expanded Second Edition. It’s highly popular on RPGNow, and there are good reasons for it, but if you’re not already immersed in what the Microlite project is, you’ll need to do a bit of digging to grock it. The essence, however, is a pathway to Old School D&D gaming that’s meant to be clean, clear, and fun (even if the title belies that).
Interested in the First Edition of the world’s most popular tabletop fantasy roleplaying game, but put off by its seemingly random mechanics and design elements? Interested in trying some of the best known First Edition adventures with old school play but want to use the “better designed” D20-style mechanics you already know. The second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite is the game for you. These rules take the First Edition rules and filter them though the D20-based Microlite20 system to produce a conversion of the First Edition rules to a rules-lite D20-based system that encourages old-school play without strictly old-school rules.
This Expanded Second Tablet/Digest Edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite is the ultimate version of the second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite. It is suitable for digest-sized printing or tablet viewing (pdf, epub, and mobi versions are included). This 1008 page digest-sized PDF includes new material not included in the standard (orin the “pay-what-you-want”) version of the second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite, for example:
- New (Optional) Classes: Alchemist, Commander, Monk, and Necromancer
- 120+ additional monsters
- over 50 new magic items, including some magic items designed specifically for Microlite78 systems (e.g. items working with the hit point fueled magic system)
- new spells, including 8th and 9th level spells for Illusionists
- Additional optional rules
- rules for using small parties of 1-3 characters in old TSR adventures designed for 8+ PCs
- a sample campaign and several sample adventures (including a walk-through of creating a dungeon)
- more advice (e.g. on environmental and terrain hazards) and random tables for Microlite78GMs
- more art.
Of course, the Microlite78 First Edition Lite Expanded Second Tablet/Digest Edition includes all of the standard features of the second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite:
- Simple Character Creation Rules: Roll 4 attributes and select a race, class, alignment and a background.
- Basic Classes: Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Druid, and Thief.
- Additional (Optional) Classes: Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Illusionist, Paladin, and Ranger.
- Races: Human, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, and Halfling.
- Simple and fast-playing combat system that tracks physical damage (aka body points) separately from luck/skill/fatigue (aka hit point) damage. Combat is BAB-based: no to-hit tables or THAC0.
- Hit points recover with a night’s rest. Spells cost hit points to cast. Actual wounds recover more slowly.
- Rules for hirelings, monster reactions (not every monster wants to fight), morale (not every monster fights to the death), and more.
- Many optional rules (Advantages and Disadvantages, Psionics, Action Points, Sanity, more traditional magic and saving rolls, etc.): use none, some, or all.
- A complete information on spells, monsters and treasure.
- Gamemaster section with setting design information, and advice.
- Rules for PC-ruled dominions.
- Compatible with most other 1e based games and adventures — as well as many designed for 0e, B/X, BECMI, and 2e.
The rules needed to create characters and actually play are short and sweet. Character Creation rules (including race, class, alignment, and background descriptions) are 48 digest-sized pages. The Core rules (skills, saving throws, magic, combat, experience and level advancement) are 22 digest-sized pages. They are written in fairly normal english, not “High Gygaxian”. The 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. Microlite78 First Edition Lite games can easily use adventures and material from early editions of the world’s most popular tabletop fantasy roleplaying game or modern clones.
This is the second edition of Microlite78 First Edition Lite. Core changes from the first edition: The Barbarian and Bard classes were added. The method of determining the number of experience points needed to advance no longer requires recalculating entire experience point advancement charts if optional rules are used. Treasure items are more like those of the first edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game which makes the game easier to use with published adventures. Rules for character-ruled dominions are included. Gamemaster section with advice for creating and running campaigns added. Some artwork is in color.
Microlite78 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.
Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, Freedom Squadron, and much more!
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!