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Free Games from RetroRoleplaying.com
We publish a number of free games, most based on Microlite20, a trimmed down, sub-miniature version of the 3.x Primary Fantasy SRD rules which designed to be quick and easy to play. Most of these games are designed for "old school" play.
- Microlite74 recreates the style and feel of that very first ("0e") fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1974 using somewhat more modern rules. The third edition of Microlite74 was released on October 1, 2011. Microlite74 is not quite a clone of 0e, but most people find it close to a clone. There are three versions of Microlite74 available: Microlite74 Basic, Microlite74 Standard and Microlite74 Extended. The current edition is 3.0.
- Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is a special version of Microlite74 3.0 designed for Swords & Sorcery style campaigns.
- Microlite75 was a heavily expanded and house-ruled version of Microlite74. It has been replaced by Microlite74 Extended.
- Microlite20 OSS (Old School Style) is an attempt to do "old school style" with rules that can use all the standard SRD monsters, spells, and treasure just as you can with standard Microlite20. Version 1.0 is available for download.
- Advanced Microlite20 OSS is an expanded version of our basic Microlite20 OSS rules with supplemental material from Expert Microlite20 and other modifications. Version 1.0 is available for download.
- The Microlite20 RPG Collection is a 1300 plus page PDF compilation of Microlite20 rules and variants as well as a large number of Microlite20 based games. In two volumes, the current 2012 edition is available for download.
RetroRoleplaying Site Features
Our Games: This section of our site covers the games we have published, including the Microlite20-based games mentioned above, a number of older games designed in the 1990s to play in chat in SFRT3 (the third Science Fiction Roundtable) on the old GEnie Online Service, and some early attempts at small, universal RPG systems. All of these games are free, although donations to the Retro-Roleplaying Cancer Fund are welcomed.
Retro-Clone Introductions: Thanks to the Open Game License (OGL) and a number of System Reference Documents (SRD) released under that license by publishers, fans of out-of-print game systems have been able to produce a number games that "clone" the rules and systems of popular out of print games in "new" games. These retro-clone or simulacrum games were originally designed so that individuals and companies who want to produce new adventures and supplements for the original game can do so, referring to the retro-clone to avoid legal problems with trademarks. However, many of these games have proved popular with gamers as they are free to download which means every player in a game can have a copy without having to track down an affordable used copy.
Reviews: Finding reviews of Old School products (both old and new) by Old School reviewers can be a chore. There are a lot of reviews out on the Web, but finding them can be a pain. The Reviews section of this site will be a growing collection of reviews. A few reviews may be published here, but most will be published elsewhere on the Web, and linked to here. The plan is for this section of the site to slowly become an index to Old School product reviews.
Game System Introductions: There are a lot of different out-of-print RPGs available. The Game Systems section of this site will introduce you to classic roleplaying games like Original D&D, Basic Dungeons & Dragons, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Runequest, and others. It will help you find low cost sets of rules and adventures to play with those rules. There will be reviews so you can decide what to buy, advice on finding affordable playable copies on eBay, links to free rules and adventures on the web, and more to help you get started playing these classic roleplaying games. We will also cover a few card and war games like Ace of Aces, Magic Realm, and Poker.
Blog: The webmaster maintains a blog, creatively named Retro-Roleplaying: The Blog, whith information on this site and commentary on RPGs from the point of view of someone who started playing D&D in 1975 with a third printing brown box set and the first supplement.
RetroRoleplaying.com started out as a site devoted to out-of-print, unsupported, and/or out-of-style tabletop roleplaying games (and modern "retro-clones" of those games). While we have over one hundred pages devoted to this, as of 2010 we are probably better known as the publisher of free Microlite20 variant games designed to reproduce the feel and style of "old school" editions of the "worlds most popular tabletop RPG" including the popular (and free) games Microlite74 and Microlite75.
While it may surprise many people, the earlier editions of classic RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons sold many more copies than the newer D20 and 4e versions. These once very popular games are available in hardcopy on the RPG MarketPlace, Amazon, or eBay -- and are still being played today. Retroclones are much less expensive, however (often free in PDF form).
Many people prefer older tabletable roleplaying games because of their less complex, easier to modify rules and their "feel." While many 3.x and 4e games feel more like playing a computer game around a table with much emphasis on optimal character building and detailed tactical combat, pre-D20 games feel more being in a movie or novel -- the emphasis is what the characters do in the campaign world as opposed to what skills and feats are on their character sheet.