Here’s a pretty exciting offering in the free old school RPG category – Hackmaster Basic is now available as a free download!

For those who aren’t aware, the HM rules offer some pretty interesting twists to the classic fantasy RPG model, and for the low, low price of absolutely free, you get 231 pages filled with spells, magic items, GM tips, and more. If that’s not enough, the combat examples are illustrated and demonstrated by B.A., Bob, Dave, Sara, and Brian from the Knights of the Dinner Table!

If that’s not enough, then just take a look at that flippin’ sweet Erol Otus cover. That should clinch it all, right there. If it doesn’t, then you’re reading the wrong blog.

You can download the Hackmaster Basic PDF at the Kenzer and Company website.

wjw

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The 2012 edition of the Microlite20 RPG Collection is available for download – it’s a massive 1300 page collection of material for the retroclone RPG system. The RetroRoleplaying Blog gives us the rundown on what’s inside:

In addition to the standard Microlite20 rules (and a large number of optional systems and expanded rules, The Microlite20 RPG Collection (2012 Edition) includes the following Microlite20-based role-playing games: Microlite20 House Rules, MicroFantasy, Alter Microlite20, Ultramicrolite20 Revised, Ultramicrolite20 Revised II, Nanolite20, Microlite20 Modern, M20 Modern: Expert, Microlite20 Modern-Day, M20 Hard Core Rules, Swords against Sorcery, M20 Heroic, Iron Heartbreakers, Microlite11, WildWalker’s M20 4e, Microlite20 Variant 4e, Microlite 4E, Micro Action Fantasy, MULRAH, Lite20, Mini20, Realms of Renown, Microlite74: Basic, Microlite74: Standard, Microlite74: Extended, Microlite74: Companion I, Microlite77, Microlite20 OSS, Advanced Microlite20 OSS, Argo, M20 Hyborian Age, Microlite Conan, Prehistoric Microlite20, Microlite20 Bronze Age, Microlite Dark Sun, Omerian Tales, Beacon, WarEngine RPG, Yamato M20, Challenges & Champions, Microlite20 Elf Lords, Microlite20 Resident Evil, Microlite20 Cthulthu, Microlite20 Vampires, Microlite20 2012, SpyLite, Giant Bug Invasion, Cyberpunk, SuperLite, Microlite20 Costumes, Tumbleweed, Gunsmoke & Goblins, Owl Hoot Trail, Microlite Storytelling, TileHack, Dragoons, ZombiePocalypse, Relics & Ruins, OmegaLite20, RABID, Microlite20 Vermin, Where No Man Has Gone Before, Galactic Methuselah, FrontierLite, M20 Star Wars, Microlite20 Star Wars, Scions of a Primordial Planet, Micro MechWarrior, Stargate 1895, Blaster D20 Microlite, Pendragon D20 Microlite, Diabolical D20 Microlite, PathfinderLite20, Microlite20 Golden Edition, DungeonFinder Player’s Guide, DungeonFinder GM’s Guide, DungeonFinder Book of Monsters, and Grimm Lite.

And it’s completely free!

BUT…

…before I give you the link, I’d like you to consider donating to the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund, to help out a fellow gamer with her medical bills. You can find out more at the link. It’s a good cause, and not only will you be rewarded with the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped a fellow human being in need, you also get some classic RPG goodies for your trouble, and could be entered into a drawing for even more.

And now, with no further ado, here’s that link to a whole lot of Microlite.

 

Made of clay, but ready for ADVENTURE!

I’m running low on quality material for my 1d12 days of Christmas, so I’d like to wrap up the series with one last holiday-related post, in which I take a time-honored holiday tradition and turn it into a mechanic for a roleplaying game!

The dreidel is a small top, usually made of wood, that is used in a game played during Hanukkah. It has four sides that are marked with the Hebrew characters נ (Nun), ג (Gimel), ה (Hey), and ש (Shin), and is usually played with foil-covered chocolate coins or other tokens.

Players start with a collection of the coins and take turns spinning the dreidel, following the direction of the Hebrew symbol that ends up on top:

Nun – nischt – “nothing” – the next player spins
Gimel – gantz – “all” – the player takes the entire pot
Hey – halb – “half” – the player takes half of the pot, rounding up if there is an odd number
Shin – shtel – “put in” – the player puts one or two in the pot

The last player with coins or tokens in their collection is the winner of the game.

Of course, when you or I look at something like a dreidel, we don’t see a top. We see a four-sided die.  And when we think of dice, we think of other ways we can use them for games… don’t we?

So here it is, my quick-and-dirty dreidel-based roleplaying game. Bring your own genre and theme – I’m just giving you the system. This is my first ever RPG design, ever. It’s terribly derivative. Don’t hate me for that. I’m not that good at game design. Improvements, suggestions, house rules, and constructive criticisms are very welcome… but please be polite.

EQUIPMENT: A dreidel or 4-sided die (three of either would be even better), a large quantity of chocolate coins (or tokens, glass beads, etc.) You can make your own paper dreidel here, if you’d like to keep it real.

TO PLAY: All players make a character by writing some sentences down about the character, and giving each of these qualities a rating from 1 to 3. Your total ratings cannot be higher than 12.

For example:

BRADLEY STRAT
Bradley is a very good guitar player (3)
Bradley likes to play soccer (2)
Bradley knows a lot about inventing things (3)
Bradley can run long distances (2)
Bradley likes to debate about things (1)
Bradley is lucky (1)

The GM and some players get together to tell a story (holiday or Hanukkah themed stories would be best, but do as you wish). Each participant (including the GM) take a pool of nine coins for themselves, and leave an open space within reach of all players for the story pool. When a player wants to perform an action in the story, they tell the GM what they want to do, which of their qualities they would like to use to do it, and how many dreidels they would like to spin – they can spin as many as their quality rating, but the more they spin, the more of their coins they risk.

The player then spins that amount of dreidels (or rolls d4s), and chooses the best result from the spins (or rolls) from the following table:

Shin (Put) / 1 – Total failure – GM has full control over the story, and describes some kind of penalty that the character now suffers. The player must put coins in the pot equal to the amount of times they spun the dreidel.

Nun (Nothing) / 2 – Marginal failure. GM has control over the story, and describes a moderate failure for the character.

Hey (Half) / 3 – Moderate success – Player has limited control over the story, and describes how their action succeeds. Player takes half of the coins in the pool (rounding up) and adds them to their pool.

Gimel (All) / 4 – Total success – Player has full control over the story, and describes how their action succeeds, along with a bonus result. All coins in the pool go to player’s pool, and the player may choose to give some of the coins to other players (limit 2 per player) without having to pay the GM (see below).

 A player who is out of coins is out of the story somehow – unconscious, incapacitated, imprisoned, or suchlike (the GM decides). Other players can bring them back into the story, but they must donate coins to their pool to do so, at the cost of 1 coin to the GM’s pool. (So if a player wanted to donate 2 coins to an unconscious character to bring them back into the story, they would have to pay 2 coins to the GM as well, for a total of 4 coins paid).

And there it is – a dreidel-based RPG rule system! Special thanks to my buddy Stormbringer for inspiration, and to Jared Sorensen, S. John Ross, and any other RPG designers that I have stolen ideas from.  If you try this out and enjoy it, please let me know!

L’Chaim!

wjw

I worry for whatever is on the other end of that rope...

What’s this? Another holiday random encounter? As you pull a card from the Deck of Many Things, you encounter…

More Krampus! This time he comes to you in the form of a free 3-page PDF from Nevermet Press, a system-neutral holiday NPC for you to download, convert to your favorite system, and let loose on your campaign!

Have your PCs been naughty? Then it might be time for them to get a lesson from our favorite Alpine Christmas Demon! Download Krampus – a system neutral holiday NPC here!

Epic Christmas adventure! And like any good gift, it's free!

It’s here! Another completely random day of the 1d12 Days of Christmas! As you reach into Santa’s Bag of Holding, you pull out…

It Happened One Christmas, a free adventure for one of my favorite RPGs of all time – Faery’s Tale, from Firefly Games. In it, Father Christmas enlists the aid of some of the fair folk to help a village that has come under a terrible curse from a a nasty prince. It even includes a new faery type (Christmas Elves) for the characters to play.

The adventure is a bit on the short side, but could easily be beefed up – in fact, a section at the end contains several suggestions for extending the story. One of them even gets Old Man Winter involved, and I can think of a bunch of other characters from Christmas lore (*cough*Krampus*cough*) who fit right in to the story.

If you have young people who are interested in trying out roleplaying (or you’re interested in gettting them interested), Faery’s Tale is an excellent choice for an introductory game, and this adventure would be great as their first one ever.

Or you can play it with all grownups. It’s okay. No one will judge you. We’re all friends here.

Download it from Firefly Games right here: It Happened One Christmas

If you’re not subscribed to the Roleplaying Tips newsletter, you really should be. And if you haven’t downloaded the ZIP archive of the past 514 installments, you really should do so. It is a veritable flood of ideas, advice, and suggestions for tabletop RPGs – over eleven years worth – that is practically guaranteed to inspire and/or improve your roleplaying sessions.

(Yeah, it’s the second post in a day after an absence of over a month. Try to contain yourselves.)

About 10 years ago, Wizards of the Coast put PDFs of a lot of classic AD&D 2E modules and supplements up on their website. I can remember begging a (non-gamer) friend of mine to download all of them for me and burn them to disc, because I didn’t have a CD burner yet. Then, after I got a burner, I forgot I already had them, and downloaded them all and burned another copy.

Then a few years later, when backing up files from my old, ailing computer, I forgot I had already burned them to disc… and burned another copy.

But back to the point. Recently, Wizards took all of them down, sending lots of ten-year procrastinators into a panic. Thankfully, Michael Curtis at The Society of Torch, Pole, and Rope has discovered a way to still get them, through the Wayback Machine at archive.org.

Not only that. but this good gentleman has graciously supplied a list of links to every one of the classic AD&D products!

Now I can finally download them all and burn them to disc! And so can you!

(Thanks to David Shepheard for the link!)