The first Public Playtest Version of Microlite81 is now available for free download in PDF form. What is Microlite81? Microlite81 is to the 1981 “B/X” edition of the world’s most popular fantasy RPG as Microlite74 is to the original 1974 “0e” edition. That is, Microlite81 is a version of the Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert based on the superlite Microlite20 rules.
Microlite81 Public Playtest Version 1.00 is a complete, playable game with rules, spells, monsters, and treasure. It does assume a basic knowledge of D20 systems and fantasy rpgs in general, of course. However, the rules are very much a “rough draft” — Microlite74 rewritten for B/X. Your input during playtesting will help shape the final game. As Microlite74 has had years of actual play, we already know the basic systems work well. What needs to be checked in playtest is that the changes made to the Microlite74 system both make the game more B/X like and work well (and don’t break anything, of course).
Here are some specific changes that need careful review and playtesting:
Hit Points and Magic Casting Cost: There are fewer hit points available in M81 than there were in M74 as I tried to stay closer to B/X expectations. Therefore I lowered the hit point cost for spells. This needs careful playtesting to see if adjustments to the number of hit points or the hit point cost of casting spells need to be made.
B/X Conventions: This section is a complete revision of the M74 “0e Conventions” section. This needs to be checked to be sure the material works well in play and matches the way B/X does things. For example, rounds in B/X are 10 seconds in B/X (instead of one minute in 0e). I forgot to change this until one of the RetroRoleplaying Cancer Fund donors with early access to drafts mentioned it. I’m sure there are other such issues in this section.
Spell Lists: The spell lists and spell descriptions were modified to be more in line with B/X. These need to be checked for clarity (as well as for stupid mistakes in conversion).
Monster Lists: Monsters were revised to use B/X standards (and most non-B/X monsters were removed). Treasure Classes were added to each listing (referring to the Treasure Class chart near the end of the Treasure section.) Please point out any problems, omissions, monsters that really should not be there, etc.
Treasure Lists: These are a work in progress, but should be good enough for use. Please note any issues, but be aware that I know cleanup needs to be done.
Although Microlite81 will probably have a number of changes before the final version is released, it is not too early to make sure that the explanations and descriptions in these rules are clear and make sense. While no game based on Microlite20 principles will ever have explanations and descriptions detailed enough for players who are new to tabletop RPGs and/or new to the standard D20 system, what descriptions and explanations are provided need to be understandable and match what is intended as well as being very concise in the Microlite20 tradition. If you see areas that need work, please make suggestions for improvement. Note that the descriptions of treasure and B/X conventions are not as concise as they should be, this will be fixed in future drafts.
As I am known as the “Typo King,” I’m sure there are all sorts of spelling and grammar errors in Microlite81 Public Playtest Version 1.00 document. It is too early in the progress to point them out unless they make the meaning unclear. While I really need and truly appreciate proofreading help, detailed proofreading is a waste of your valuable time until we get to release candidate versions.
If you are interested in playtesting (or even just reading) Microlite81, you can download a copy of the first public playtest rules draft from Mediafire in PDF form. It’s free now — and like all RetroRoleplaying games, the final version of Microlite81 will also be free.
Download Microlite81 Public Playtest Version 1.01 (38 page PDF, about 850K)
[Updated on 25 July: Version 1.0 was replaced by version 1.01 as Version 1.00 never explained the Fighter Bonus. A silly omission on my part. If you have already downloaded a copy of 1.00, you’ll find the missing Fight Bonus info in this post: Microlite81: The Fighter Bonus Explained.]
Thank you very much for reviewing and/or playtesting these rules. You can report any comments, issues, or ideas on the Microlite81 Playtesting area of the RetroRoleplaying Forum (http://www.retroroleplaying.com/forum/index.php) or by email if you have my email address.