New Release: Tarnhelm's Tome of Wonder An Original Edition Toolkit

Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonder: An Original Edition Toolkit is large collection of optional rules and subsystems for the original 1974 (0e) version of the world’s most popular tabletop fantasy roleplaying game (and modern clones), with a selection of new monsters, treasures and ideas for dungeon and wilderness hazards tossed in for good measure. Many of the optional rules are modern renditions of the better house rules the author used with his Original Edition games in the 1970s. This volume may be thought of as a revised and greatly expanded edition of our free Tarnhelm’s Terrible Tome (from 2014) presented entirely as optional modules instead of as a supplement revising the game.

Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonderi s full of options — some of them mutually exclusive as they provide different ways of doing basically the same thing. It’s a toolkit for an Original Edition Referee to select from to use as written or as a starting point for homebrewed material that better fits their needs.

  • Section I provides many optional rules and systems for Backgrounds and Talents, Heroic Characters, Psychic Gifts, Variant classes, Combat Stunts, Mobs, Hit Point Powered Magic, Common Magic, Divine Intervention, Funerals and Tombs, Mooks, Property and Finance, Psionics, Death and Dying, Encumbrance and Movement, Allegiance (replacing Alignment), Wound Points, and about 40 more!
  • Section II covers the “endgame” where PCs run their own domains and provides two systems: one simple and one more complex. Basic rules for mass combat are also provided.
  • Section III has more monsters (mythos monsters and human cultists) and guidelines for NPC adventuring groups.
  • Section IV provides over 40 pages of new new treasures, including some designed for use with some of the optional rules in Section I.
  • Section V talks about “hazards” for both dungeons and wilderness areas.
  • Section VI provides two different system for mutations — one simple, one complex. Although these guidelines are mainly intended for Referees to mutate monsters, these rules can work for mutated player characters.
  • Section VII gives a selection of comic book style superpowers designed to work with the Original Edition. While brief, experimental rules for superpowered PCs are included, this section is really for the Referee to model comic book superheroes should the PCs ever encounter any.
  • Section VIII gives some simple rules for firearms of different eras.
  • Section IX provides useful random tables for the Referee.
 

What Do You Get?

If you buy the paid tablet/digest version of the Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonders ($9.95 on DrivethruRPG) you receive the following:

  • a pdf of the single-column digest-sized version — 380 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the “Condensed” letter-sized, two column version — 144 pages, with art (i.e. the upcoming PWYW version with art in the large white spaces)
  • bonus epub and mobi versions for ebook readers
  • a zip file containing editable .docx, .rtf, .odt, and markdown file formats of a special “SRD” version (single column, letter-sized, fully editable).

The bonus epub and mobi versions contain tables. Many ebook (especially epub) readers display tables in a single column unreadable mess. Epub reader software designed to display epub3 files usually have no problem with the tables. Note that tables in epub and mobi files may not adapt well to small screen devices. Some ebook readers do not display all of the art. The mobi format does not appear to support the graphic fonts used as decorative space-fillers. The epub and mobi conversions have minor font size issues not present in the pdf version, but are quite usable if your ebook reader displays tables properly.

Which versions of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game can I use with Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonder?

Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonder was written for the original edition of the game (published as a digest-sized boxed set in 1974) and its numerous popular modern day clones. As the B/X version (published in 1981) is very similar in many ways, most of the material in Tarnhelm’s Tome of Wonder should also work without much conversion in B/X and B/X clone games.

Recent Release: Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition

Dungeon Delving Brown Box EditionDungeon Delving Brown Box Edition is a retroclone of the original fantasy role-playing game published in 1974 (aka “0e”). It is an edited reconstruction (using open game content) of that game in easier to understand and use form. If you have wanted to play 0e but found the original rules confusing, disjointed, and apparently written for people who already understood the game, Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition may be what you are looking for: a close emulation of the the original game presented in an organized manner intended for today’s gamers instead of 1970’s wargamers.

The first three sections of Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition present the material from the original three 0e booklets (with an optional thief class from the first supplement), just with better organization and clearer writing. The fourth section adds a number of optional rules and guidelines allowing the Referee to tailor the main rules to the needs of their players and their campaigns — rules that the editor has created for use in his various campaigns over the last 45 or so years. Four appendixes complete the volume with an introduction to old school play, advice for the referee, advice for running adventures from the early days designed for large groups of players with the smaller groups of players more common today, and random tables the Referee will find useful.

Referees can easily design their own dungeons, towns, and wilderness or use published adventures and settings designed for 0e, B/X, or (with a bit of conversion work) 1e. Hundreds of published adventures both from the 1970s and 1980s and from OSR publishers today are available for use. All a player needs is paper, pencil/pen, and dice. The game itself is easy to learn and is fast and easy to play. Characters can be created in 10 minutes and a combat encounter seldom lasts much longer than that.

What Do You Get?

If you buy this paid tablet/digest version of the Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition ($9.95 on DrivethruRPG) you receive the following:

  • a pdf of the single-column digest-sized version — 254 pages, with art
  • a pdf of the “Condensed” letter-sized, two column version — 110 pages, with art (i.e. the PWYW version with art in the large white spaces)
  • bonus epub and mobi versions for ebook readers
  • a zip file containing editable .docx, .rtf, .odt, and markdown file formats of a special “SRD” version (single column, letter-sized, fully editable).

The bonus epub and mobi versions contain tables. Many ebook (especially epub) readers display tables in a single column unreadable mess. Epub reader software designed to display epub3 files usually have no problem with the tables. Note that tables in epub and mobi files may not adapt well to small screen devices. Some ebook readers do not display all of the art. The mobi format does not appear to support the graphic fonts used as decorative space-fillers. The epub and mobi conversions have minor font size issues not present in the pdf version, but are quite usable if your ebook reader displays tables properly.

Is There a Free Version?

Of course, there is. The Pay-What-You-Want/free version of Dungeon Delving Brown Box Edition has no art. The PWYW/free version only comes in “condensed” format (the letter-sized two column pdf) and will not include the Tablet/Digest version, the ebook versions, or the zip file of editable versions. You can get a copy of the Pay-What-You-Want/free version here.

Our Games

RetroRoleplaying.com has a number of old school games available as PDFs on DrivethruRPG. Most of these games are priced as “Pay What You Want” (PWYW). A few are “Premium” but their price is $10 or less. While we hope you will feel motivated to toss a few dollars our way for our PWYW games, “free” is a perfectly acceptable price if that’s what you wish to pay. So go ahead and enter a zero for what you want to pay and download it for free without feeling guilty. I want you to have a copy of my pay-what-you-want games far more than I want your money! The various pay-what-you-want Microlite20-based games are also available as free downloads in the Download area of Microlite20 Nexus.

Click on the cover illo of a game you are interested in knowing more about to go to that game’s page.

RetroRoleplaying Games

Microlite74 Games

Microlite74 games 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.

Microlite75 Games

Microlite75 games 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 Microlite75 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. Microlite75 games are based on the third edition of the original Microlite74 rules, modified to use advancement and experience systems closer to those of the original game and including some of more popular systems from Microlite74 Extended (e.g. Body Points and Backgrounds).

Microlite78 Games

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.

Microlite81 Games

Microlite81 games 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. Just as the goal of our Microlite74 games is to recreate the style and feel of “0e”, the goal of Microlite81 games is to recreate the style and feel of the “B/X” edition of the world’s first fantasy roleplaying game published back in 1981 without giving up all of the clearer mechanics of modern D20-based versions.

BX Advanced Games

The BX Advanced Gold Edition rules are based on the 1978 advanced first edition edition of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game with the less complex game systems of the 1981 B/X edition. In other words, this is a modern version of the fantasy roleplaying  game many people played in the 1980s. They started playing with the B/X edition and just added the races, classes, spells, monsters and treasures from the first Advanced edition, instead of using all the more complex rules from the Advanced Edition. All of the first advanced edition fun without all the often complex and fiddly rules.

Dungeon Delving Games

Dungeon Delving Undying Light is a trimmed down and simplified version of Swords & Wizardry. This game takes the Continual Light edition and cleans up the rules and the formatting, then adds backgrounds, more monsters, rules for morale and reaction rolls, additional minor optional rules, four optional systems (True Magic Rituals, Action Points, Body Points, Advanced Combat), and some basic explanations for the referee on how to handle dungeon and wilderness exploration. . The complete game — all the standard rules, monster and spell descriptions, and guidelines for the GM on adventuring procedures — are covered in a mere 19 pages.

Delving Deeper Brown Box Edition is a retroclone of the original fantasy role-playing game published in 1974 (aka “0e”): a close emulation of the the original game presented in an organized manner intended for today’s gamers instead of 1970’s wargamers.

Tarnhelm's Tomes

The Telmhelm’s Tome series are supplemental rules for the original 1974 edition (aka “0e”) of the world’s most popular fantasy roleplaying game. They will also work with most modern “clones” of “0e” such as S&W, Dungeon Delving: Brown Box Edition, etc.

Other Games

About This Site

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 Microlite74Microlite78, and Microlite81.

While it may surprise many people, the earlier editions of classic RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons sold many more copies than the newer D20, 4e, and 5e versions. These once very popular games are available in hardcopy via Amazon or eBay (and many are available in PDF)– 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.